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Biographies (128)

Ancient comedy playwrites

Fundanius

ROME (Ancient city) ITALY
Fundanius, C. Fundanius, a writer of comedies in the age of Augustus. Horace (Sat. i. 10. 41, 42) praises his management of the slaves and intrigantes of the comic drama. He puts into the mouth of Fundanius (Sat. ii. 8. 19) a description of the rich but vulgar supper of Nasidienus, that is, of Salvidienus Rufus. (Suet. Octav. 66; Vet. Schol. ad Hor. Sat. i. 10. 41.)

Athletes

Euprepes

Euprepes, celebrated in the racing annals of Rome as having carried off 782 chaplets of victory, --a greater number than any single individual before his time had ever won. He was put to death when an old man, upon the accession of Caracalla (A. D. 211), because the colours which he wore in the circus were different from those patronised by the prince, who favoured the Blues. (Dion Cass. lxxvii. 1.)

Doctors

Criton

Criton (Kriton). A physician at Rome in the first or second century after Christ, attached to the court of one of the emperors (Gal. De Compos. Medicam. sec. Locos, i. 3, vol. xii. p. 445), probably Trajan, A. D. 98-117. He is perhaps the person mentioned by Martial. (Epigr. xi. 60. 6.) He wrote a work on Cosmetics (Kosmetika) in four books, which were very popular in Galen's time (ibid. p. 446) and which contained almost all that had been written on the same subject by Heracleides of Tarentum, Cleopatra, and others. The contents of each chapter of the four books have been preserved by Galen (ibid.), by whom the work is frequently quoted, and have been inserted by Fabricius in the twelfth volume of the old edition of his Biblioth. Graeca. He wrote also a work on Simple Medicines (Peri ton Haplon Pharmakon) of which the fourth book is quoted by Galen (De Compos. Medicam. sec. Gen. ii. 11, vi. 1, vol. xiii. pp. 516, 862); he is also quoted by Aetius and Paulus Aegineta, and may perhaps be the person to whom one of the letters of Apollonius of Tyana is addressed. (Ep. xvii. ed. Colon. Agripp. 1623, 8vo.) None of his works are extant, except a few fragments preserved by other authors. He is perhaps the author of a work on Cookery, mentioned by Athenaeus. (xii. p. 516.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Evelpistus

Evelpistus (Euelpistos), all eminent surgeon at Rome, who lived shortly before the time of Celsus, and therefore probably about the end of the first century B. C. (Cels. de Med.vii. praef. p. 137.) He is perhaps the same person one of whose plasters is preserved by Scribonius Largus, de Compos. Medicam, c. 215, p. 230.

Emperors

Augustus (31 BC - 14 AD)

Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman empire, was born on the 23rd of September of the year B. C. 63, in the consulship of M. Tullius Cicero and C. Antonius. He was the son of C. Octavius by Atia, a daughter of Julia, the sister of C. Julius Caesar, who is said to have been descended from the ancient Latin hero Atys. His real name was, like that of his father, C. Octavius, but for the sake of brevity, and in order to avoid confusion, we shall call him Augustus, though this was only an hereditary surname which was given him afterwards by the senate and the people to express their veneration for him, whence the Greek writers translate it by Sebastos. Various wonderful signs, announcing his future greatness, were subsequently believed to have preceded or accompanied his birth. (Suet. Aug. 94; Dion Cass. xlv. l, &c.)
  Augustus lost his father at the age of four years, whereupon his mother married L. Marcius Philippus, and at the age of twelve (according to Nicolaus Damascenus, De Vit. Aug. 3, three years earlier) he delivered the funeral eulogium on his grandmother, Julia. After the death of his father his education was conducted with great care in the house of his grandmother, Julia, and at her death he returned to his mother, who, as well as his step-father, henceforth watched over his education with the utmost vigilance. His talents and beauty, and above all his relationship to C. Julius Caesar, drew upon him the attention of the most distinguished Romans of the time, and it seems that J. Caesar himself, who had no male issue, watched over the education of the promising youth with no less interest than his parents. In his sixteenth year (N. Damascenus erroneously says in his fifteenth) he received the toga virilis, and in the same year was made a member of the college of pontiffs, in the place of L. Domitius, who had been killed after the battle of Pharsalia (N. Damasc. l c. 4; Vell. Pat. ii. 59; Suet. Aug. 94; Dion Cass. xlv). From this time his uncle, C. Julius Caesar, devoted as much of his time as his own busy life allowed him to the practical education of his nephew, and trained him for the duties of the public career he was soon to enter upon. Dion Cassius relates that at this time Caesar also brought about his elevation to the rank of a patrician, but it is a well attested fact that this did not take place till three years later. In B. C. 47, when Caesar went to Africa to put down the Pompeian party in that country, Augustus wished to accompany him but was kept back, because his mother thought that his delicate constitution would be unable to bear the fatigues connected with such an expedition. On his return Caesar distinguished him, nevertheless, with military honours, and in his triumph allowed Augustus to ride on horseback behind his triumphal car. In the year following (B. C. 45), when Caesar went to Spain against the sons of Pompey, Augustus, who had then completed his seventeenth year, was to have accompanied his uncle, but was obliged to remain behind on account of illness, but soon joined him with a few companions. During his whole life-time Augustus, with one exception, was unfortunate at sea, and this his first attempt nearly cost him his life, for the vessel in which he sailed was wrecked on the coast of Spain. Whether he arrived in Caesar's camp in time to take part in the battle of Munda or not is a disputed point, though the former seems to be more probable (Suet. Aug. 94; Dion Cass. xliii. 41). Caesar became more and more attached to his nephew, for he seems to have perceived in him the elements of everything that would render him a worthy successor to himself : he constantly kept him about his person, and while he was yet in Spain he is said to have made his will and to have adopted Augustus as his son, though without informing him of it. In the autumn of B. C. 45, Caesar returned to Rome with his nephew; and soon afterwards, in accordance with the wish of his uncle, the senate raised the gens Octavia, to which Augustus belonged, to the rank of a patrician gens. About the same time Augustus was betrothed to Servilia, the daughter of P. Servilius Isauricus, but the engagement appears afterwards to have been broken off.
  The extraordinary distinctions and favours which had thus been conferred upon Augustus at such an early age, must have excited his pride and ambition, of which one remarkable example is recorded. In the very year of his return from Spain he was presumptuous enough to ask for the office of magister equitum to the dictator, his uncle. Caesar, however, refused to grant it, and gave it to M. Lepidus instead, probably because he thought his nephew not yet fit for such an office. He wished that Augustus should accompany him on the expedition which he contemplated against the Getae and Parthians; and, in order that the young man might acquire a more thorough practical training in military affairs, he sent him to Apollonia in Illyricum, where some legions were stationed, and whither Caesar himself intended to follow him. It has often been supposed that Caesar sent his nephew to Apollonia for the purpose of finishing his intellectual education; but although this was not neglected during his stay in that city, yet it was not the object for which he was sent thither, for Apollonia offered no advantages for the purpose, as may be inferred from the fact, that Augustus took his instructors -the rhetorician Apollodorus of Pergamus and the mathematician Theogenes, with him from Rome. When Caesar had again to appoint the magistrates in B. C. 44, he remembered the desire of his nephew, and conferred upon him, while he was at Apolionia, the office of magister equitum, on which he was to enter in the autumn of B. C. 43. But things turned out far differently. Augustus had scarcely been at Apollonia six months, when he was surprised by the news of his uncle's murder, in March, B. C. 44. Short as his residence at this place had been, it was yet of great influence upon his future life : his military exercises seem to have strengthened his naturally delicate constitution, and the attentions and flatteries which were paid to the nephew of Caesar by the most distinguished persons connected with the legions in Illyricum, stimulated his ambition and love of dominion, and thus explain as well as excuse many of the acts of which he was afterwards guilty. It was at Apollonia, also, that Augustus formed his intimate friendship with Q. Saividienus Rufus and M. Vipsanius Agrippa.
  When the news of Caesar's murder reached the troops in Illyricum, they immediately offered to follow Augustus to Italy and avenge his uncle's death; but fear and ignorance of the real state of affairs at Rome made him hesitate for a while. At last he resolved to go to Italy as a private person, accompanied only by Agrippa and a few other friends. In the beginning of April he landed at Lupiae, near Brundusium, and here he heard of his adoption into the gens Julia and of his being the heir of Caesar. At Brundusium, whither he next proceeded, he was saluted by the soldiers as Caesar, which name he henceforth assumed, for his legitimate name now was C. Julius Caesar Octavianus. After having visited his stepfather in the neighbourhood of Naples, he arrived at Rome, apparently about the beginning of May. Here he demanded nothing but the private property which Caesar had left him, but declared that he was resolved to avenge the murder of his benefactor. The state of parties at Rome was most perplexing ; and one cannot but admire the extraordinary tact and prudence which Augustus displayed, and the skill with which a youth of barely twenty contrived to blind the most experienced statesmen in Rome, and eventually to carry all his designs into effect. It was not the faction of the conspirators that placed difficulties in his way, but one of Caesar's own party, M. Antony, who had in his possession the money and papers of Caesar, and refused to give them up. Augustus declared before the praetor, in the usual manner, that he accepted of the inheritance, and promised to give to the people the portion of his uncle's property which he had bequeathed them in his will. Antony endeavoured by all means to prevent Augustus from obtaining his objects; but the conduct of Augustus gained the favour of both the senate and the people. Augustus had to contend against Dec. Brutus, who was in possession of Cisalpine Gaul, as well as against Antony; but to get rid of one enemy at least, the sword was drawn against the latter, the more dangerous of the two. While Antony was collecting troops for the war against D. Brutus, two of the legions which came from Macedonia, the legio Martia and the fifth, went over to Augustus; and to prevent the remaining troops following the example, Antony hastened with them to the north of Italy. Cicero, who had at first looked upon Augustus with contempt, now began to regard him as the only man capable of delivering the republic from its troubles; and Augustus in rettrn courted Cicero. On the 10th of December, Cicero, in his third Philippic, proposed that Augustus should be entrusted with the command of the army against Antony, and on the first of January, B. C. 43, he repeated the same proposal in his fifth Philippic. The senate now granted more than had been asked: Augustus obtained the command of the army with the title and insignia of a pretor, the right of voting in the senate with the consulars, and of holding the consulship ten years before he attained the legitimate age. He was accordingly sent by the senate, with the two consuls of the year, C. Vibius Pansa and A. Hirtius, to compel Antony to raise the siege of Mutina. Augustus distinguished himself by his defence of the camp near Mutina, for which the soldiers saluted him as imperator. The fall of the two consuls threw the command of their armies into his hands. Antony was humbled and obliged to flee across the Alps. Various reports were spread in the meantime of disputes between D. Brutus and Augustus, and it was even said that the death of the two consuls was the work of the latter. The Roman aristocracy, on whose behalf Augustus had acted, now determined to prevent him from acquiring all further power. They entrusted D. Brutus with the command of the consular armies to prosecute the war against Antony, and made other regulations which were intended to prevent Augustus gaining any further popularity with the soldiers. He remained inactive, and seemed ready to obey the commands of the senate. Antony had in the meantime become reconciled with the governors in Gaul and Spain through the mediation of Lepidus, and was now at the head of a powerful army. In these circumstances Augustus resolved to seek a power which might assist him in gaining over Antony, or enable him to oppose him more effectually if necessary. This power was the consulship. He was very popular with the soldiers, and they were by promises of various kinds induced to demand the consulship for him. The senate was terrified, and granted the request, though, soon after, the arrival of troops from Africa emboldened them again to declare against him. But Augustus had won the favour of these troops: he encamped on the campus Martius, and in the month of August the people elected him consul together with Q. Pedius. His adoption into the gens Julia was now sanctioned by the curies; the sums due to the people, according to the will of Julius Caesar, were paid, the murderers of the dictator outlawed, and Augustus appointed to carry the sentence into effect. He first marched into the north, professedly against Antony, but had scarcely entered Etruria, when the senate, on the proposal of Q. Pedius, repealed the sentence of outlawry against Antony and Lepidus, who were just descending from the Alps with an army of 17 legions. D. Brutus took to flight, and was afterwards murdered at Aquileia at the command of Antony. On their arrival at Bononia, Antony and Lepidus were met by Augustus, who became reconciled with them. It was agreed by the three, that Augustus should lay down his consulship, and that the empire should be divided among them under the title of triumviri rei publicae constituendae, and that this arrangement should last for the next five years. Lepidus obtained Spain, Antony Gaul, and Augustus Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily. Antony and Augustus were to prosecute the war against the murderers of Caesar. The first objects of the triumvirs were to destroy their enemies and the republican party; they began their proscriptions even before they arrived at Rome; their enemies were murdered and their property confiscated, and Augustus was no less cruel than Antony. Two thousand equites and three hundred senators are said to have been put to death during this proscription : the lands of whole townships were taken from their owners and distributed among the veteran soldiers. Numbers of Roman citizens took to flight, and found a refuge with Sex. Pompeius in Sicily. Augustus first directed his arms against the latter, because Pompeius had it in his power to cut off all provisions from Rome The army assembled at Rhegium; but an attempt to cross over to Sicily was thwarted by a naval victory which Pompeius gained over Q. Salvidienus Rufus in the very sight of Augustus. Soon after this, Augustus and Antony sailed across the Ionian sea to Greece, as Brutus and Cassius were leaving Asia for the west. Augustus was obliged to remain at Dyrrhachium on account of illness, but as soon as he had recovered a little, he hastened to Philippi in the autumn of B. C. 42. The battle of Philippi was gained by the two triumvirs: Brutus and Cassius in despair put an end to their lives, and their followers surrendered to the conquerors, with the exception of those who placed their hopes in Sext. Pompeius. After this successful war, in which the victory was mainly owing to Antony, though subsequently Augustus claimed all the merit for himself, the triumvirs made a new division of the provinces. Lepidus obtained Africa, and Augustus returned to Italy to reward his veterans with the lands he had promised them. All Italy was in fear and trembling, as every one anticipated the repetition of the horrors of a proscription. His enemies, especially Fulvia, the wife of Antony, and sonic other of the friends of the latter, increased these apprehensions by false reports in order to excite the people against him; for Augustus was detained for some time at Brundusium by a fresh attack of illness. But he pacified the minds of the people by a letter which he wrote to the senate.
  These circumstances not only prevented for the present his undertaking anything fresh against Sext. Pompeius, but occasioned a new and unexpected war. On his arrival at Rome, Augustus found that Fulvia had been spreading these rumours with the view of drawing away her husband from the arms of Cleopatra, and that L. Antonius, the brother of the triumvir, was used by her as an instrument to gain her objects. Augustus did all he could to avoid a rupture, but in vain. L. Antonius assembled an army at Praeneste, with which he threw himself into the fortified town of Perusia, where he was blockaded by Augustus with three armies, so that a fearful famine arose in the place. This happened towards the end of B. C. 41. After several attempts to break through the blockading armies, L. Antonius was obliged to surrender. The citizens of Perusia obtained pardon from Augustus, but the senators were put to death, and from three to four hundred noble Perusines were butchered on the 15th of March, B. C. 40, at the altar of Caesar. Fulvia fled to Greece, and Tiberius Nero, with his wife Livia, to Pompeius in Sicily and thence to Antony, who blamed the authors of the war, probably for no other reason but because it had been unsuccessful. Antony, however, sailed with his fleet to Brundusium, and preparations for war were made on both sides, but the news of the death of Fulvia in Greece accelerated a peace, which was concluded at Brundusium, between the two triumvirs. A new division of the provinces was again made: Augustus obtained all the parts of the empire west of the town of Scodra in Illyricum, and Antony the eastern provinces, while Italy was to belong to them in common. Antony also formed an engagement with the noble-minded Octavia, the sister of Augustus and widow of C. Marcellus, in order to confirm the new friendship. The marriage was celebrated at Rome. Sext. Pompeius, who had had no share in these transactions, continued to cut off the provisions of Rome, which was suffering greatly from scarcity : scenes of violence and outrage at Rome shewed the exasperation of the people. Augustus could not hope to satisfy the Romans unless their most urgent wants were satisfied by sufficient supplies of food, and this could not be effected in any other way but by a reconciliation with Pompeius. Augustus had an interview with him on the coast of Misenum, in B. C. 39, at which Pompeius received the proconsulship and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, together with the province of Achaia. In return for these concessions he was to provide Italy with corn. In order to convince the Romans of the sincerity of his intentions, Augustus betrothed M. Marcellus, the son of Octavia and stepson of Antony, who was present on this occasion, to a daughter of Pompeius.
  Peace seemed now to be restored everywhere. Antony returned to the East, where his generals had been successful, and Augustus too received favourable news from his lieutenants in Spain and Gaul. Augustus, however, was anxious for an opportunity of a war, by which he night derive Sext. Pompeius of the provinces which had been ceded to him at Misenum. A pretext was soon found in the fact, that Pompeius allowed piracy to go on in the Mediterranean. Augustus solicited the aid of the two other triumvirs, but they did not support him; and Antony was in reality glad to see Augustus engaged in a struggle in which he was sure to suffer. The fleet of Augustus suffered greatly from storms and the activity of Demochares, the admiral of Pompeius; but the latter did not follow up the advantages he had gained, and Augustus thus obtained time to repair his ships, and send Maecenas to Antony to invite him again to take part in the war. Antony hereupon sailed to Tarentum, in the beginning of the year 37, with 300 ships; but, on his arrival there, Augustus had changed his mind, and declined the assistance. This conduct exasperated Antony; but his wife, Octavia, acted as mediator; the two triumvirs met between Tarentum and Metapontum, and the urgent necessity of the times compelled them to lay aside their mutual mistrust. Augustus promised an army to Antony for his Parthian war, while Antony sent 120 ships to increase the fleet of Augustus, and both agreed to prolong their office of triumvirs for five years longer. While Antony hastened to Syria, Octavia remained with her brother. Soon after this, M. Vipsanius Agrippa received the command of the fleet of Augustus, and in July of the year 36, Sicily was attacked on all sides; but storms compelled the fleet of Augustus to return, and Lepidus alone succeeded in landing at Lilybaeum. Pompeius remained in his usual inactivity; in a sea-fight off Mylae he lost thirty ships, and Augustus landed at Tauromenium. Agrippa at last, in a decisive naval battle, put an end to the contest, and Pompeius fled to Asia. Lepidus, who had on all occasions been treated with neglect, now wanted to take Sicily for himself ; but Augustus easily gained over his troops, and Lepidus himself submitted. He was sent to Rome by Augustus, and resided there for the remainder of his life as pontifex maximus. The forces which Augustus had under his command now amounted, according to Appian, to forty-five legions, independent of the light-armed troops and the cavalry, and to 600 ships. Augustus rewarded his soldiers with garlands and money, and promised still further rewards; but the veterans insisted upon their dismission, and upon receiving (at once) the lands and all the sums that had been promised them. Augustus quelled the rebellion in its commencement by severity combined with liberality : he dismissed the veterans who had fought at Mutina and Philippi, and ordered them to quit Sicily immediately, that their disposition might not spread further among the soldiers. The latter were satisfied with the promises of Augustus, which he fulfilled at the expense of Sicily, and lands were assigned to the veterans in Campania. Augustus now sent back the ships of Antony, and took possession of Africa. The Roman senate hastened to honour the conqueror in the most extravagant manner; and when he approached the city, which Maecenas had governed during his absence, the senate and people flocked out to meet him. Augustus addressed the senate in a very modest manner, and declined some of the distinctions which were offered him. He celebrated his ovation on the 13th of November, B. C. 36. The abundant supply of provisions which was now brought to Rome satisfied the wants and wishes of the people ; and as this happy state of things was the result of his victory, his interests coincided with those of the people, whose burdens were also lessened in various ways.
  By the conquest of two of his rivals, Augustus had now acquired strength enough to enter upon the contest with the third. He first endeavoured, however, as much as was in his power, to remedy the confusion and demoralisation in which Italy had been involved in consequence of the civil wars, and he pretended only to wait for the arrival of his colleague in order to withdraw with him into private life, as the peace of the republic was now restored. This pretended self-denial did not remain unrewarded, for the people elected him pontifex maximus, though Lepidus, who held this office, was yet alive; and the senate decreed, that he should inhabit a public building, that his person should be inviolable, and that he should sit by the side of the tribunes. Augustus took every opportunity of praising and supporting his absent colleague, Antony, and by this stratagem the Romans gradually became convinced, that if new disputes should break out between them, the fault could not possibly lie with Augustus. But matters did not yet come to this : the most urgent thing was to keep his troops engaged, and to acquire funds for paying them. After suppressing a mutiny among the insolent veterans, he prepared for a campaign against some tribes on the north-eastern coast of the Adriatic, of which the Romans had never become complete masters, and which from time to time refused to pay their tribute. Augustus marched along the coast, without meeting with much resistance, until he came near the country of the Japydes : their zapital Metulum was strongly fortified and garrisoned ; but the perseverance of Augustus and the courage of his troops compelled the garrison to surrender, and the place was changed into a heap of ashes by the brave Japydes themselves (B. C. 35). As the season of the year was not yet much advanced, Augustus undertook a campaign against the Pannonians in Segestica. After several engagements during their march through the country, the Romans appeared before the town of Segesta, which, after a siege of thirty days, sued for pardon. Augustus, to suit his own purpose, imposed only a fine upon the inhabitants, and leaving his legate Fufius Geminus behind with a garrison of twenty-five cohorts, he returned to Rome. Octavia had in the meantime been repudiated by Antony; and at the request of Augustus the senate declared Octavia and Livia inviolable, and granted them the right of conducting their own affairs without any male assistance -an apparent reparation for the insult offered to Octavia by her husband, but in reality a means of keeping the recollection of it alive. Augustus intended next to make an expedition against Britain, but the news of fresh revolts in the countries from which he had just returned, altered his plan. His generals soon restored peace, but he himself went to Dalmatia, where Agrippa had the command. Several towns were taken, and neither life nor property was spared. Augustus penetrated as far as Setovia, where he was wounded in his knee. After his recovery, he gave the command to Statilius Taurus, and returned to Rome to undertake the consulship for the year B. C. 33, which he entered upon on the 1st of January together with L. Volcatius Tullus, and laid down on the same day, under the pretext of the Dalmatian war, though his presence there was no longer necessary, since Statilius Taurus had already completed the defeat of the Dalmatians. Out of the spoils made in this war Augustus erected a portico called, after his sister, Octavia. During this year, Agrippa was aedile, and did all he could to gain popularity for his friend Augustus and himself, and Augustus also made several very useful regulations.
  Meantime the arbitrary and arrogant proceedings of Antony in the East were sufficient of themselves to point him out to the Romans as an enemy of the republic, but Augustus did not neglect to direct attention secretly to his follies. Letters now passed between the two triumvirs full of mutual criminations ; and Antony already purchased from Artavasdes cavalry for the impending war against his colleague. The rupture between the two triumvirs was mainly brought about by the jealousy and ambition of Cleopatra. During the year B. C. 32, while Cleopatra kept Antony in a perpetual state of intoxication, Augustus had time to convince the Romans that the heavy sacrifices he demanded of them were to be made on their own behalf only, as Italy had to fear everything from Antony War was now declared against Cleopatra, for Antony was looked upon'only as her infatuated slave. In B. C. 31, Augustus was consul for the third time with M. Valerius Messalla. Rome was in a state of great excitement and alarm, and all classes had to make extraordinary exertions. An attempt of Augustus to attack his enemy during the winter was frustrated by storms; but, in the spring, his fleet, under the command of the able Agrippa, spread over the whole of the eastern part of the Adriatic, and Augustus himself with his legions landed in Epeirus. Antony and Cleopatra took their station near the promontory of Actium in Acarnania. Their fleet had no able rowers, and everything depended upon the courage of the soldiers and the size of their ships. Some persons ventured to doubt the safety of entering upon a sea-fight, but Cleopatra's opinion prevailed, and the battle of Actium was fought in September, 31. As soon as the queen observed that victory was not certain on her side, she took to flight, and Antony soon followed her. His fleet fought in vain to the last, and, after a long hesitation, the land forces surrendered.
  The danger which had threatened to bring Rome under the dominion of an eastern queen was thus removed, the ambition of Augustus was satisfied, and his generosity met with general admiration. After the battle of Actium, he proceeded slowly through Greece and a part of western Asia, where he entered on his fourth consulship for the year B. C. 30, and passed the winter at Samos. The confidence of his army in him grew with his success, but the veterans again shewed symptoms of discontent, and demanded the fulfilment of the promises made to them. Soon after, they broke out into open rebellion, and Augustus hastened from Samos to remedy the evil in person. It was with great difficulty that he escaped the storms and arrived at Brundusium. Here he was met by the Roman senators, equites, and a great number of the people, which emboldened him to ask for their assistance to pay his soldiers. His requests were readily complied with, and he was enabled to fulfil his engagements towards the veterans, and assigned lands to them in various parts of the empire. Without going to Rome, he soon after sailed to Corinth, Rhodes, Syria, and Egypt. Cleopatra negotiated with Augustus to betray Antony; but when she found that Augustus only wanted to spare her that she might adorn his triumph, she put an end to her life. Egypt was made a Roman province, and the booty which Augustus obtained was so immense, that he could easily satisfy the demands of his army. At Rome the senate and people rivalled each other in devising new honours and distinctions for Augustus, who was now alone at the head of the Roman world. In Samos he entered upon his fifth consulship for the year B. C. 29. The senate sanctioned all his acts, and conferred upon him many extraordinary rights and privileges. The temple of Janus was closed, as peace was restored throughout the empire. In August of the same year, Augustus returned to Rome, and celebrated his threefold triumph over the Pannonians and Dalmatians, Antony and Egypt; and he obtained the title of imperator for ever.
  After these solemnities were over, Augustus undertook the consulship for the year 28 together with his friend Agrippa. He was determined from the first not to lay down the power which his own successes and the circumstances of the times had placed in his hands, although he occasionally pretended that he would resign it. He first directed his attention to the restoration of order in all parts of the government; and, as he was invested with the censorship, he began by clearing the senate of all unworthy members; he ejected two hundred senators, and also raised the senatorial census; but where a worthy senator's property did not come up to the new standard, he very liberally made it up out of his own means. He raised many plebeian families to the rank of patricians; and as he had a predilection for ancient, especially religious, institutions, he restored several temples which had fallen into decay, and also built new ones. The keeping of the aerarium was transferred from the quaestors to the praetors and ex-praetors. After having introduced these and many other useful changes, he proposed in the senate to lay down his powers, but allowed himself to be prevailed upon to remain at the head of affairs for ten years longer. This plan was afterwards repeated several times, and he apparently allowed himself to be always persuaded to retain his power either for ten or five years longer. He next made a division of the provinces, leaving the quiet and peaceful ones to the senate, and retaining for himself those which required the presence of an army. The administration of the former was given every year by the senate to proconsuls, while Augustus placed the others under legati Caesaris, sometimes also called propraetores, whom he appointed at any time he pleased. He declined all honours and distinctions which were calculated to remind the Romans of kingly power; he preferred allowing the republican forms to continue, in order that he might imperceptibly concentrate in his own person all the powers which had hitherto been separated. He accepted, however, the name of Augustus, which was offered to him on the proposal of L. Munatius Plancus. In B. C. 23 he entered upon his eleventh consulship, but laid it down immediately afterwards ; and, after having also declined the dictatorship, which was offered him by the senate, he accepted the imperium proconsulare and the tribunitia potestas for life, by which his inviolability was legally established, while by the imperium proconsulare he became the highest authority in all the Roman provinces. When in B. C. 12 Lepidus, the pontifex maximus, died, Augustus, on whom the title of chief pontiff had been conferred on a former occasion, entered upon the office itself. Thus he became the high priest of the state, and obtained the highest influence over all the other colleges of priests. Although he had thus united in his own person all the great offices of state, yet he was too prudent to assume exclusively the titles of all of them, or to shew to the Romans that he was the sole master. Other persons were accordingly allowed to hold the consulship, praetorship, and other public offices; but these offices were in reality mere forms and titles, like the new offices which he created to reward his friends and partisans. Augustus assumed nothing of the outward appearance of a monarch : he retained the simple mode of living of an ordinary citizen, continued his familiar intimacy with his friends, and appeared in public without any pomp or pageantry; a kingly court, in our sense of the word, did not exist at all in the reign of Augustus.
  His relation to the senate was at first rather undefined: in B. C. 28 he had been made princeps senatus, but in the beginning of the year 24 he was exempted by the senate from all the laws of the state. During the latter years of his life, Augustus seldom attended the meetings of the senate, but formed a sort of privy council, consisting of twenty senators, with whom he discussed the most important political matters. Augustus had no ministers, in our sense of the word; but on state matters, which he did not choose to be discussed in public, he consulted his personal friends, C. Cilnius Maecenas, M. Vipsanius Agrippa, M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus, and Asinius Pollio, all of whom contributed, each in his way, to increase the splendour of the capital and the welfare of the empire. The people retained their republican privileges, though they were mere forms : they still met in their assemblies, and elected consuls and other magistrates; but only such persons were elected as had been proposed or recommended by the emperor. The almost uninterrupted festivities, games, and distributions of corn, and the like, made the people forget the substance of their republican freedom ; and they were ready to serve him who fed them most liberally: the population of the city was then little better than a mob.
  It was a necessary consequence of the dominion acquired by force of arms, that standing armies (castra stativa) were kept on the frontiers of the empire, as on the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates, which in many instances became the foundations of flourishing towns. The veterans were distributed into a number of colonies. For the protection of his own person, Augustus established ten praetorian cohorts, consisting of one thousand men each, which were placed under the command of two equites with the title of praefecti praetorio. For the purpose of maintaining order and security in the city, he instituted a sort of police, under the name of cohortes urbanae, which were under the command of the praefectus urbi. The fleets were stationed at Ravenna, Misenum, and in various ports of the provinces. In the division of the provinces which Augustus had made in B. C. 27, especial regulations were made to secure strict justice in their administration; in consequence of which many, especially those which were not oppressed by armies, enjoyed a period of great prosperity. Egypt was governed in a manner different from that of all other provinces. The division of the provinces was necessarily followed by a change in the administration of the finances, which were in a bad condition, partly in consequence of the civil wars, and partly through all the domain lands in Italy having been assigned to the veterans. The system of taxation was revised, and the taxes increased. The aerarium, out of which the senate defrayed the public expenses, was separated from the fiscus, the funds of the emperor, out of which he paid his armies.
  Augustus enacted several laws to improve the moral condition of the Romans, and to secure the public peace and safety. Thus he made several regulations to prevent the recurrence of scarcity and famine, promoted industry, and constructed roads and other works of public utility. The large sums of money which were put into circulation revived commerce and industry, from which the eastern provinces especially and Egypt derived great advantages.
  Although Augustus, who must have been startled and frightened by the murder of Caesar, treated the Romans with the utmost caution and mildness, and endeavoured to keep out of sight every thing that might shew him in the light of a sovereign, yet several conspiracies against his life reminded him that there were still persons of a republican spirit. It will be sufficient here to mention the names of the leaders of these conspiracies -M. Lepidus, L. Murena, Fannius Caepio, and Cornelius Cinna, who are treated of in separate articles.
  After this brief sketch of the internal affairs of the Roman empire during the reign of Augustus, it only remains to give some account of the wars in which he himself took part. Most of them were conducted by his friends and relations, and need not be noticed here. On the whole, we may remark, that the wars of the reign ot Augustus were not wars of aggression, but chiefly undertaken to secure the Roman dominion and to protect the frontiers, which were now more exposed than before to the hostile inroads of barbarians. In B. C. 27, Augustus sent M. Crassus to check the incursions of the Dacians, Bastarnians, and Moesians on the Danube; and, in the same year, he himself went to Gaul and Spain, and began the conquest of the warlike Cantabri and Asturii, whose subjugation, however, was not completed till B. C. 19 by Agrippa. During this campaign Augustus founded several towns for his veterans, such as Augusta Emerita and Caesar Augusta. In B. C. 21 Augustus travelled through Sicily and Greece, and spent the winter following at Samos. After this, he went to Syria at the invitation of Tiridates, who had been expelled from his kingdom of Parthia. The ruling king, Phraates, for fear of the Romans, sent back the standards and prisoners which had been taken from Crassus and Antony. Towards the end of the year 20, Augustus returned to Samos, to spend the approaching winter there. Here ambassadors from India appeared before him, with presents from their king, Pandion, to confirm the friendship which had been sought on a former occasion. In the autumn of B. C. 19, he returned to Rome, where new honours and distinctions were conferred upon him. His vanity was so much gratified at these bloodless victories which he had obtained in Syria and Samos, that he struck medals to commemorate them, and afterwards dedicated the standards which he had received from Phraates in the new temple of Mars Ultor. In B. C. 18, the imperium of Augustus was prolonged for five years, and about the same time he increased the number of senators to 600. The wars in Armenia, in the Alps, and on the Lower Rhine, were conducted by his generals with varying success. In B. C. 16 the Romans suffered a defeat on the Lower Rhine by some German tribes; and Augustus, who thought the danger greater than it really was, went himself to Gaul, and spent two years there, to regulate the government of that province, and to make the necessary preparations for defending it against the Germans. In B. C. 13 he returned to Rome, leaving the protection of the frontier on the Rhine to his step-son, Drusus Nero. In B. C. 9 he again went to Gaul, where he received German ambassadors, who sued for peace; but he treacherously detained them, and distributed them in the towns of Gaul, where they put an end to their lives in despair. Towards the end of this year, he returned to Rome with Tiberius and Drusus. From this time forward, Augustus does not appear to have again taken any active part in the wars that were carried on. Those in Germany were the most formidable, and lasted longer than the reign of Augustus.
  In A. D. 13, Augustus, who had then reached his 75th year, again undertook the government of the empire for ten years longer; but he threw some part of the burden upon his adopted son and successor, Tiberius, by making him his colleague. In the year following, A. D. 14, Tiberius was to undertake a campaign in Illyricum, and Augustus, though he was bowed down by old age, by domestic misfortunes and cares of every kind, accompanied him as far as Naples. On his return, he was taken ill at Nola, and died there on the 29th of August, A. D. 14, at the age of 76. When he felt his end approaching, he is said to have asked his friends who were present whether he had not acted his part well. He died very gently in the arms of his wife, Livia, who kept the event secret, until Tiberius had returned to Nola, where he was immediately saluted as the successor of Augustus. The body of the emperor was carried by the decuriones of Nola to Bovillae, where it was received by the Roman equites and conveyed to Rome. The solemn apotheosis took place in the Campus Martius, and his ashes were deposited in the mausoleum which he himself had built.
  As regards the domestic life of Augustus, he was one of those unhappy men whom fortune surrounds with all her outward splendour, and who can yet partake but little of the general happiness which they establish or promote. His domestic misfortunes must have embittered all his enjoyments. Augustus was a man of great caution and moderation -two qualities by which he maintained his power over the Roman world; but in his matrimonial relations and as a father he was not happy, chiefly through his own fault. He was first married, though only nominally, to Clodia, a daughter of Clodius and Fulvia. His second wife, Scribonia, was a relation of Sext. Pompeius: she bore him his only daughter, Julia. After he had divorced Scribonia, he married Livia Drusilla, who was carried away from her husband, Tiberius Nero, in a state of pregnancy. She brought Augustus two step-sons, Tiberius Nero and Nero Claudius Drusus. She secured the love and attachment of her husband to the last moments of his life. Augustus had at first fixed on M. Marcellus as his successor, the son of his sister Octavia, who was married to his daughter, Julia. Agrippa, jealous of Augustus' partiality for him, left Rome, and did not return till Marcellus had died in the flower of his life. Julia was now compelled by her father to marry the aged Agrippa, and her sons, Caius and Lucius Caesar, were raised to the dignity of principes juventutis. At the death of Agrippa, in B. C. 12, Tiberius was obliged to divorce his wife, Vipsania, and, contrary to his own will, to marry Julia. Dissatisfied with her conduct and the elevation of her sons, he went, in B. C. 6, to Rhodes, where he spent eight years, to avoid living with Julia. Augustus, who became at last disgusted with her conduct, sent her in B. C. 2 into exile in the island of Pandataria, near the coast of Campania, whither she was followed by her mother, Scribonia. The children of Julia, Julia the Younger and Agrippa Postumus, were likewise banished. The grief of Augustus was increased by the deaths of his friend Maecenas, in B. C. 8, and of his two grandsons, Caius and Lucius Caesar, who are said to have fallen victims to the ambitious designs of Livia, who wished to make room for her own son, Tiberius, whom the deluded emperor was persuaded to adopt and to make his colleague and successor. Tiberius, in return, was obliged to adopt Drusus Germanicus, the son of his late brother, Drusus. A more complete view of the family of Augustus is given in the annexed stemma.
  Our space does not allow us here to enter into a critical examination of the character of Augustus: what he did is recorded in history, and public opinion in his own time praised him for it as an excellent prince and statesman; the investigation of the hidden motives of his actions is such a delicate subject, that both ancient and modern writers have advanced the most opposite opinions, and both supported by strong arguments. The main difficulty lies in the question, whether his government was the fruit of his honest intentions and wishes, or whether it was merely a means of satisfying his own ambition and love of dominion; in other words, whether he was a straightforward and honest man, or a most consummate hypocrite. Thus much is certain, that his reign was a period of happiness for Italy and the provinces, and that it removed the causes of future civil wars. Previous to the victory of Actium his character is less a matter of doubt, and there we find sufficient proofs of his cruelty, selfishness, and faithlessness towards his friends. He has sometimes been charged with cowardice, but, so far as military courage is concerned, the charge is unfounded.
  (The principal ancient sources concerning the life and reign of Augustus are: Sueton. Augustus; Nicolaus Damasc. De Vita Augusti; Dion Cass. xlv.-lvi.; Tacitus, Annal. i.; Cicero's Epistles and Philippics; Vell. Pat. ii. 59-124; Plut. Antonius. Besides the numerous modern works on the History of Rome, we refer especially to A. Weichert, Imperatoris Caesaris Augusti Scriptorum Reliquiae, Fasc. i., Grimae, 1841, which contains an excellent account of the youth of Augustus and his education; Drumann, Geschichte Roms, vol. iv., who treats of his history down to the battle of Actium; Loebell, Ucber das Principat des Augustus, in Raumer's Historisches Taschenbuch, Jahrgang, 1834; Karl Hoeck)

Tiberius I. (14-37 AD)

Tiberius I., emperor of Rome, A. D. 14-37. His full name was Tiberius Claudius Nero Ceasar. He was the son of T. Claudius Nero and of Livia, and was born on the 16th of November, B. C. 42, before his mother married Augustus. Tiberius was tall and strongly made, and his health was very good. His face was handsome, and his eves were large. He was carefully educated according to the fashion of the day, and became well acquainted with Greek and Latin literature. He possessed talent both as a speaker and writer, but he was fond of employing himself on trivial subjects, such as at that time were comprehended under the term Grammar (grammatica). His master in rhetoric was Theodorus of Gadara. He was a great purist, and affected a wonderful precision about words, to which he often paid more attention than to the matter. Though not without military courage, as his life shows, he had a great timidity of character, and was of a jealous and suspicious temper; and these qualities rendered him cruel after he had acquired power. He had more penetration than decision of character, and he was often irresolute (Tac. Ann. i. 80). From his youth he was of an unsociable disposition, melancholy and reserved, and this character developed itself more as he grew older. He had no sympathies nor affections, was indifferent about pleasing or giving pain to others : he had all the elements of cruelty; suspicion nourished his implacable temper, and power gave him the opportunity of gratifying his long nourished schemes of vengeance. In the latter years of his life, particularly, life indulged his lustful propensities in every way that a depraved imagination could suggest : lust and cruelty are not strangers. It is said, too, that he was addicted to excess in wine: he was not originally avaricious, but he became so. He affected a regard to decency and to externals. He was the prince of hypocrites; and the events of his reign are little more than the exhibition of his detestable character.
  Tiberius was about thirteen years of age when he accompanied Augustus in his triumphal entry into Rome (B. C. 29) after the death of M. Antonius: Tiberius rode on the left of Augustus and Mareellus on his right. Augustus conferred on Tiberius and his brother Drusus titles of dignity, while his grandsons, Caius and Lucius, were still living : but besides Caius and Lucius, Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus had superior claims to the succession, and the prospect of Tiberius sueceeding to the power of his mother's husband seemed at one time very remote. The death of Agrippa made way for Tiberius being employed in public affairs, and Augustus compelled him, much against his will, to divorce his wife Vipsania Agrippina, the daughter of Agrippa, by whom he had one son, and who was then pregnant, and to marry Julia (B. C. 11), the widow of Agrippa, and the emperor's daughter, with whom Tiberitius did not long live in harmony. He had one child by Julia, but it did not live.
  He was employed on various military services during the lifetime of Augustus. He made his first campaign in the Cantabrian war as Tribunus Militum. In B. C. 20 he was sent by Augustus to restore Tigranes to the throne of Armenia. Artabazus, the occupant of the throne, was murdered before Tiberius reached Armenia, and Tiberius had no difficulty in accomplishing his mission (Dion Cass. liv. 9). It was during this campaign that Horace addressed one of his epistles to Julius Florus (i. 12), who was serving under Tiberius. In B. C. 15, Drusus and his brother Tiberius were engaged in warfare with the Rhaeti, who occupied the Alps of Tridentum (Trento), and the exploits of the two brothers were sung by Horace (Carm. iv. 4, 14; Dion Cass. liv. 22). In B. C. 13 Tiberius was consul with P. Quintilius Varus. In B. C. 11, the same year in which he married Julia, and while his brother Drusus was fighting against the Germans, Tiberius left his new wife to conduct, by the order of Augustus, the war against the Dalmatians who had revolted, and against the Pannonians (Dion Cass liv. 31). Drusus died (B. C. 9) owing to a fall from his horse, after a campaign against the Germans between the Weser and the Elbe. On the news of the accident, Tiberius was sent by Augustus, who was then at Pavia, to Drusus, whom he found just alive (Dion Cass. lv. 2). He conveyed the body to Rome from the banks of the Rhine, walking all the way before it on foot (Sueton. Tiber. 7), and he pronounced a funeral oration over his brother in the forum. Tiberius returned to the war in Germany, and crossed the Rhine. In B. C. 7 he was again in Rome, was made consul a second time, and celebrated his second triumph (Vell. Pat. ii. 97).
  In B. C. 6 he obtained the tribunitia potestas for five years, but during this year he retired with the emperor's permission to Rhodes, where he spent the next seven years. Tacitus (Ann. i. 53) says that his chief reason for leaving Rome was to get away from his wife, who treated him with contempt, and whose licentious life was no secret to her husband : probably, too, he was unwilling to stay at Rome when the grandsons of Augustus were attaining years of maturity, for there was mutual jealousy between them and Tiberius. During his residence at Rhodes, Tiberius, among other things, employed himself on astrology, and he was one of the dupes of this supposed science. His chief master in this art was Thrasyllus, who predicted that he would be emperor (Tacit. Ann. vi. 21). Augustus had not been very ready to allow Tiberius to retire to Rhodes, and he was not willing to let him come back; but, at the instance of Caius Caesar, Tiberius was allowed to return, A. D. 2. He was relieved from one trouble during his absence, for his wife Julia was banished to the island of Pandataria (B. C. 2), and he never saw her again (Dion Cass. lv. 10). Suetonius says that Tiberius, by letter, entreated the emperor to let Julia keep whatever he had given her.
  Tiberius was employed in public affairs until the death of L. Caesar (A. D. 2). which was followed by the death of C. Caesar (A. D. 4). Augustus, now being without a successor of his own blood, adopted Tiberius, tile son of his wife Livia, with the view of leaving to him the power that he had himself acquired; and at the same time he required Tiberius to adopt Germanicus, the son of his brother Drusus, though Tiberius had a son Drusus by his wife Vipsania (Sueton. Tiber. 15 ; Vell. Pat. ii. 103). Augustus was not ignorant of the character of Tiberius, but, like others in power, he left it to a man whom he did not like, and could not esteem, rather than allow it to go out of his family. Augustus had indeed adopted Postumus Agrippa, the brother of C. and L. Caesares, but there was nothing to hope for from him; and Germanicus was too young to be adopted by Augustus with a view to the direct succession.
  From the year of his adoption to the death of Augustus, A. D. 14, Tiberius was in command of the Roman armies, though he visited Rome several times. He was sent into Germany A. D. 4, and the historian Velleius Paterculus accompanied him as praefectus equitum. Tiberius reduced all Illyricumn to subjection A. D. 9; and in A. D. 12 he had the honour of a triumph at Rome for his German and Dalmatian victories. Tiberius displayed military talent during his transalpine campaigns ; he maintained discipline in his army, and took care of the comforts of his soldiers. In A. D. 14 Augustius held his last census, in which he had Tiberius for his colleague.
  Tiberius being sent to settle the affairs of Illyricum, Augustus accompanied him as far as Beneventum, but as the emperor was on his way back to Rome he died at Nola, on the 19th of Autgust, A. D. 14. Tiberius was immediately summoned home by his mother Livia, who managed affairs so as to secure the power to her son, so far as such precaution was necessary. If nothing more had been known of Tiberius than his conduct during the lifetime of the emperor, he might have descended to posterity with no worse character than many other Romans. His accession to power developed all tile qualities which were not unknown to those who were acquainted with him, but which hitherto had not been allowed their full play. He took the power which nobody was prepared to dispute with him, affecting all the while a great reluctance; and lite declined the name of Pater Patriae, and only took that of Augustus when he wrote to foreign princes. He began his reign by putting Postumus Agrippa to death, and he alleged that it was done pursuant to the command of Augustus (Tacit. Ann. i. 6).
  His conduct in other respects was marked by moderation and prudence; he rejected all flattery from the senate; he conferred offices according to merit, and he allowed persons to grow old in them. He endeavored to relieve the scarcity of bread, a kind of complaint at Rome, which occurred at intervals, notwithstanding, and perhaps, in consequence of, the efforts of the government to secure a supply of food for the city. His mode of life was frugal, and without ostentatious display, and there was little to find fault with in him (Dion Cass. lvii. 2, &c.). He had got rid of Agrippa, who was the nearest rival, and who, if he had possessed merit, would have seemed to have a better title to the imperial power than Tiberius, for he was the son of Julia. Germanicus was the son of his younger brother, and had a less direct claim than Tiberius ; but Tiberius feared the virtues and the popularity of Germanicus, and so long as he felt that Germanicus might be a rival, his conduct was exceedingly circumspect (Tacit. Ann. i. 14, 15). When he felt himself sure in his place, he began to exercise his craft. He took from the popular assembly the election of the magistrates, and transferred it to the senate, for this is what Tacitus means in the passage of the Annals just referred to: the popular assembly still enacted laws, though the consulta of the senate were the ordinary form of legislation front the time of the accession of Tiberius. The emperor limited himself to the recommendation of four candidates annually to the senate, who of course were elected; and he allowed the senate to choose the rest. He also nominated the consuls.
  The news of the death of Augustus roused a mutiny among the legions in Pannonia, which was quelled by Drusus, the son of Tiberius, aided by the terrors of an eclipse which happened very opportunely (27th September, A. D. 14). The armies on the Rhine under Germanicus showed a disposition to reject Tiberius, and a mutinous spirit, and if Germanicus had been inclined to try the fortune of a campaign, he might have had the assistance of the German armies against his uncle. But Germanicus restored discipline to the army by his firmness, and maintained his fidelity to the new emperor. Tiberius, however, was not yet free from his fears, and he looked with suspicion on Germanicus and his high-spirited wife Agrippina, who was also disliked by Livia, the mother of Tiberius. Tile first year of his reign was marked by the death of Julia, whom Augustus had removed from Pandataria to Rhegisum; her husband deprived her of the allowance that she had from her father, and allowed her to pine away in destitution. One of her lovers, Semipronius Gracchus, who was living in exile in a small island on the coast of Africa, was by the order of Tiberius put to death (Tacit. Ann. i. 53).
  Germanicus (A. D. 15) continued the Germanic war, though with no important results, but Agrippina's courage on a trying occasion aroused the emperor's fears, and he had now a man about him, Sejanus, who worked on the emperor's suspicious temper for his own sinister purposes. It became common at this time to listen to informations of treason or laesa majestas against the emperor; and persons were accused not of acts only, but words, and even the most indifferent matters were made the ground of such charges. Thus was established a pestilent class of men, under the name of Delatores, who became a terrible means of injustice and oppression (Tacit. Ann. i. 73), and enriched themselves at the expense of their victims by encouraging the cruel suspicions of the emperor. In the lifetime of Augustus, Tiberius had urged the emperor to punish those who spoke disrespectfully of the emperor, but his more prudent step-father, content with real power and security, allowed the Romans to indulge their taste for satire and pasquinades. (Sueton. Aug. c. 51.) Tiberius followed this wise advice for a time, and made great profession of allowing liberty of speech, but his real temper at last prevailed, and the slightest pretence was sufficient to found a charge of laesa majestas (Sueton. Tiber. c. 28). He paid unwillingly and tardily the legacies left by Augustus to the people, and he began his payment with an act of cruelty, which was not the better for being seasoned with humour (Sueton. Tiber. c. 57; Dion Cass. lvii. 14, tells the same story).
  Vonones, the son of Phraates, once a hostage at Rome, had been invited back to his Parthian kingdom in the time of Augustus, but Artabanus of the royal house of the Arsacidae drove him out (A. D. 16), and he sought refuge in Armenia, which being then without a king accepted Vonones. The new king however was unable to maintain himself against a threatened attack of Artabanus. Tiberius did not wish to get into a quarrel with Artabanus, by giving Vonones aid, and the exiled king took refuge with Creticus Silanus, governor of Syria. (Tacit. Ann. ii. 12.) Germanicus was carrying on the war with success in Germany, and Tiberius, who had long been jealous of his rising fame, recalled him to Rome under the pretext of giving him a triumph. It seems somewhat inconsistent that Tiberius who was addicted to astrology and divination should have allowed this class of imposters to be banished from Italy (Tacit. Ann. ii 32); this, however, was one of the events of this year.
  Germanicus enjoyed (26th of May A. D. 17) the triumph which had been decreed. Tiberius added to the Roman empire the kingdom of Cappadocia, the last king of which, Archelaus, had been summoned to Rome, and died there, probably of old age and grief combined, after being accused of some frivolous matters before the senate. Tiberius was enabled by the produce of the new province to reduce the tax of one per cent. on auctions to one half per cent (Tacit. Ann. ii. 42). The state of affairs in the East, where the kingdoms of Commagene and Cilicia were disturbed by civil dissensions and Syria and Judaea were uneasy at the weight of taxation, gave Tiberius an opportunity of removing Germnanicus from Rome by conferring on him by a decree of the senate the government of the East. Drusus, the son of Tiberius, was sent into Illyricum. This year is memorable for the great earthquake in Asia, the greatest on record at the time when it happened, and the more destructive from having happened by night. Twelve cities were damaged or destroyed, the earth opened and swallowed up the living, and even southern Italy and Sicily felt the terrific shock. Sardes suffered the most of the twelve cities. The emperor alleviated the calamity by his bounty, and in the case of Sardes by a remission of all payment to the aerarium or fiscus for five years. It is just to commemorate his refusal to take testamentary bequests, when not made by persons who were on terms of intimacy with him; but the emperor did not want money, nor yet prudence; and it was not prudent to be taking money from every body, even those of no character. In this year died Titus Livius, the historian, and Ovid in his exile at Tomi.
  Germanicus restored quiet to Armenia (A. D. 18) by crowning with his own hands Artaxias as king in the city of Artaxata. His administration of the East was prudent and successful, hut he died in Syria A. D. 19, and the dislike of Tiberius and the enmity of Cn. Piso, the governor of Syria, gave credibility to the report that Germanicus was poisoned. About this time Maroboduus, king of the Suevi, being driven front his states by Roman intrigues, crossed the Danube, came to Italy and settled at Ravenna. A Thracian king Rhescuporis, who had murdered his nephew Cotys, who was king of part of Thrace, wrote to Tiberius to inform him that Cotys had been punished for his treachery. Tiberius artfully got Rhescuporis into his power, and had him brought to Rome, where he was convicted by the senate, and Thrace was divided between the son of Rhescuporis and the children of Cotys (Tacit. Ann. ii. 64).
  A regard to external decency was one of the characteristics of the reign of Tiberius, and a decree of the senate was made against certain classes of women who professed the occupation of courtezans (Sueton. Tiber. c. 35; Tacit. Ann. ii. 85). But religious tolerance was not one of the merits of the time of Tiberius; a senatus consultum imposed penalties on those who practised the ceremonial of the Egyptian or Jewish worship, though this was not the first example of the kind of intolerance at Rome (Tacit. Ann. ii. 85; compare Seneca, Ep. 108). This year was memorable for the appearance of a new island above the sea near Delos (Plin. Hist. Nat. ii. 87).
  In the spring of A. D. 20 Agrippina landed at Brundisium with the ashes of her husband. The remains of Germanicus received a public interment, but Tiberius and Livia did not show themselves, for which Tacitus assigns a reason, which may be true or false (Ann. iii. 3). Piso, who came to Rome, was accused before the senate of having taken the life of Germanicus. There was strong suspicion, but little or no proof; yet Piso, seeing that Tiberius gave him no support, released himself by a voluntary death, or was put to death by order of Tiberius. His wife Plancina, who was guilty if her husband was, escaped through the influence of Livia. There is certainly strong reason to believe that in this matter of the death of Germanicus as well as of Piso, Tiberius was guilty (Tacit. Ann. iii. 16), though Tacitus does not pronounce a positive opinion. Tiberius gave Julia, the daughter of his son Drusus, in marriage to Nero, the eldest son of Germanicus, which was a popular measure. He also moderated the penalties which the Lex Papia, passed in the time of Augustus, imposed on unmarried persons, with the double purpose of encouraging matrimony and filling the aerarium (Tacit. Ann. iii. 25).
  The year A. D. 21 was the fourth consulship of Tiberius, and the second of his son Drusus Caesar, but it was considered a bad omen for Drusus, because all those who had been his father's colleagues in the consulship had come to a violent death. A great revolt broke out this year headed by Julius Florus, at Treves on the Mosel, and by Julius Sacrovir, among the Aedui. The alleged grounds of the revolt were the heavy taxation, and the oppression of the Roman governors. Sacrovir mustered forty thousand men at Autun (Augustodunum), eight thousand of whom were furnished with the arms of the legionary soldiers, which had been secretly fabricated. and the rest had staves, knives, and other implements of the huntsman. The rising was not unlike the style of insurrection that has often shown itself in France since 1789. The rebellion was put down; and Florus and Sacrovir only escaped from the Romans by dying by their own hands (Tacit. Ann. iii. 40).
  The principle of treason against the princeps (laesa majestas) was already established under Tiberius in its utmost extent, for C. Lutorius Priscus was condemned by the senate for having written a poem upon the death of Drusus, in anticipation of the event, Drusus being then very ill. The senate seem to have proceeded in the mode of a bill of pains and penalties, for there does not appear to have been any law applicable to such a case. Priscus was executed, and Tiberius, in his usual perplexed mode of expression, blamed the senate; he praised their affectionate zeal in avenging insults to the princeps, but he disapproved of such hasty penalties being inflicted for words only (Tacit. Ann. iii. 49). It was on this occasion that a senatus consultum was enacted, that no decree of the senate should be carried to the Aerarium before the tenth day, and thus a reprieve of so many days would be allowed to the condemned (Tacit. Ann. iii. 51; Dion Cass. lvii. 20). In the vear A. D. 22 the senate conferred on Drusus, at the request of Tiberius, the Tribunitia Potestas, the highest title of dignity, and an intimation that Drusus was to be the successor of Tiberius. Though the senate had conferred the honour in terms of great adulation, Drusus. who appears to have been in Campania at the time, did not think it worth while to come to Rome to thank them (Tacit. Ann. iii. 59). Tacfarinas, an African chieftain, had long troubled the province of Africa, and Junins Blaesas was sent as proconsul, with orders to catch him ; but it was no easy thing to take this wandering robber, and Blaesus only seized his brother. Tiberius allowed the soldiers to salute Blaesus with the title of Imperator, and he was the last Roman citizen, except the emperors, who enjoyed this ancient distinction (Tacit. Ann. iii. 74).
  In A. D. 23 Drusus, the son of Tiberius, died, Being poisoned by the contrivance of Sejanus . His death was no loss to the state, for he gave indications of a character in no respect better than that of his father; yet he had lived on good terms with Germanicus, and after his death he had behaved well to his children, or at least had not displayed any hostility towards them. The emperor either did not feel much sorrow for the death of his son or he concealed it; and when the people of Ilium some time after sent him a message of condolence, he returned the compliment by condoling with them on the death of their fellowcitizen Hector (Sueton. Tiber. c. 52). It was remarked that the influence of Sejanus over Tiberius increased after the death of Drusus, and Tiherius began to display the vices of his character more and more. The same was remarked also after the death of Germanicus, and again when his mother Livia died. Tiberius allowed the cities of Asia to erect a temple to himself and his mother at Smyrna, the first instance of this flattery which he had permitted. But when the province of Hispania Ulterior asked permission to do the same thing, the emperor refused, and stated his reason in an oration to the senate, which is characterised by modesty and good sense. This singular man had a sound judgment, and if we formed our opinion of him from his words only, we should place him among the wisest and best of the Roman emperors. His measures too were often prudent and beneficial ; and yet such was his insincerity, that we can hardly know when to give him credit even for a good action.
  Tacfarinas, who had given the Romans so much trouble, was at last defeated and killed by the proconsul P. Cornelius Dolabella (A. D. 24); but Dolabella did not obtain the triumphal honours, though with inferior forces he had accomplished that which his predecessors had in vain attempted: this was owing to the influence of Sejanus, who was unwilling that the glories of his uncle Blaesus should be eclipsed by honours conferred on Dolabella. The system of delations was now in full activity, and Rome witnessed the scandalous spectacle of a son accusing his father, Q. Vibius Serenus, of a conspiracy against the emperor, without being able to prove any thing against him. The abject senate condemned Serenus to death, but Tiberius used his tribunitian power to prevent the execution of the capital sentence, and the man against whom nothing could be proved even by putting his slaves to the torture, was banished to the island of Amorgus. Caecilius Cornutus, who had been charged with being an accomplice of Serenus, committed suicide. On this occasion a motion was made in the senate for giving no reward to informers, if the person accused of treason should die by his own hand before sentence was pronounced; but Tiberius, seeing that this would weaken one of his engines of state-craft, in harsh terms, and contrary to his practice, openly maintained the cause of the informers; such a measure as the senate proposed would, he said, render the laws ineffectual and put the state in jeopardy; they had better subvert all law than deprive the law of its guardians. Tiberius, always fearing enemies, thought his safety consisted in encouraging informers; here he spoke out fairly. and revealed one of his secrets of governing. Cremutius Cordus had written Annals, in which he had commended Brutus and Cassius: he was accused, and as he had made up his mind to die, he spoke boldly in his defence. After going out of the senate house he starved himself to death; the senate ordered the aediles to search for his works and burn them, but all the copies were not discovered, and his Annals were extant when Tacitus wrote (Ann. iv. 35).
  In the year A. D. 26 Tiberius left Rome, and never returned, though he care sometimes close to the walls of the city. He left on the pretext of dedicating temples in Campania, but his real motives were his dislike to Rome, where he heard a great deal that was disagreeable to him, and his wish to indulge his sensual propensities in private. Sejanus may have contributed to this resolution of leaving Rome, as it is said. but Tiberius still continued to reside out of Rome for six years after the death of Sejanus (Tacit. Ann. iv. 57). A great accident happened at Fidenae in the following year: a man named Atilius built a temporary amphitheatre, for the exhibition of a show of gladiators, but being ill-constructed, it fell down during the games, and twenty thousand people, it is said, were killed (Tacit. Ann. iv. 62; compare Sueton. Tiber. 40). Atilius was banished. About this time a great conflagration destroyed all the buildings on the Mons Caelius, and the emperor liberally relieved the sufferers in proportion to their losses, a measure which procured him the good-will of the people. His dislike of publicity was shown during his residence in Campania, by an edict which commanded the people not to disturb his retirement, and he prevented all assemblages of people by placing soldiers in various posts. In order, however, to secure the retirement which he loved, he went (A. D. 27) to the island of Capri (Capreae), which is about three miles from the promontory of Surrento. This retreat was further recommended by having an almost inaccessible coast. A poor fisherman, who had caught a large mullet, with difficulty made his way up the rocks to present it to the emperor, who rewarded him by ordering his face to be well rubbed with the fish (Sueton. Tiber. c. 60).
  The new year (A. D. 28) was opened with the death of Titus Sabinus, a friend of Germanicus, whom Latinius Latiaris bad inveigled into very strong expressions against Sejanus and Tiberius, while he had placed persons in secret to be witnesses. The villains informed Tiberius of the words of Sabinus, and at the same time of their own treachery. The emperor let the senate know his wishes, and this servile body immediately put Sabinus to death, for which they received the thanks of Tiberius (Tacit. Ann. iv. 68). In this year Tiberius married Agrippina, a daughter of Germanicus, to Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, and the result of this union was the emperor Nero. The death of Livia (A. D. 29), the emperor's mother, released Tiberius from one cause of anxiety. He had long been tired of her, because she wished to exercise authority, and one object in leaving Rome was to be out of her way. He did not visit her in her last illness, nor come to the funeral, being, as he said, overwhelmed with public affairs, he who neglected all important affairs, and devoted himself to his solitary pleasures (Tacit. Ann. v. 2; Dion Cass. lviii. 2). Livia's death gave Sejanus and Tiberius free scope, for Tiberius never entirely released himself from a kind of subjection to his mother, and Sejanus did not venture to attempt the overthrow of Livia's influence. The destruction of Agrippina and her children was now the chief purpose of Sejanus, who had his own ambitious projects to serve, as it is shown in his life; he finally got from the tyrant the reward that was his just desert, an ignominious death.
  In A. D. 32 Latinius Latiaris, the infamous accuser of Sabinus, was executed. Cotta Messalinus, a notorious scoundrel, was accused before the senate. but Tiberius wrote to them in his favour. This memorable letter (Tacit. Ann. iv. 6) began with an admission, the truth of which will not surprise any one; but it is somewhat singular, that so profound a dissembler as Tiberius could not keep to himself the consciousness of his own wretchedness: "What to write to you, P. C., or how to write, I know not; and what not to write at this time, may all the gods and goddesses torment me more, than I daily feel that I am suffering, if I do know". This artful tyrant knew how to submit to what he could not hel : M. Terentius was charged before the senate with being a friend of Sejanus, and he boldly avowed it. His courage saved him from death, his accusers were punished, and Tiberius approved of the acquittal of Terentius (Dion Cass. lviii. 19). The emperor also prudently took no notice of an insult of the praetor L. Sejanus, the object of which was to ridicule the emperor's person. Tiberius now left his retreat for Campania, and he came as far as his gardens on the Vatican; but he did not enter the city, and he placed soldiers to prevent any one coming near him. Old age and debauchery had bent his body, and covered his face with ugly blotches, which made him still more unwilling to show himself; and his taste for obscene pleasures, which grew upon him, made him court solitude still more.
  One of the consuls of the year A. D. 33 was Serv. Sulpicius Galba, afterwards emperor. A great number of informers in this year pressed for the prosecution of those who had lent money contrary to a law of the dictator Caesar. The Romans never could understand that money must be treated as a commodity, and from the time of the Twelve Tables they had always interfered with the free trade in money, and without success. The law of Caesar was enforced, but as many of the senators had violated it, eighteen months were allowed to persons to settle their affairs, so as to bring them clear of the penalties of the lex. The consequence was great confusion in the money market, as every creditor was pressing for payment, and people were threatened with ruin by a forced sale of their property, to meet their engagements. The emperor relieved this distress by loans of public money, on security of land, and without interest (Tacit. Ann. vi. 17).
  The death of Sex. Marius, once a friend of Tiberius, is given by Dion Cassius (lviii. 22), as an example of the emperor's cruelty. Marius had a handsome daughter, whom he removed to a distance, to save her from the lust of his imperial friend. Upon this he was accused of incestuous commerce with his own daughter, and put to death; and the emperor took possession of his gold mines, though they had been declared public property. The prisons, which were filled with the friends or supposed friends of Sejanus, were emptied by a general massacre of men, women, and children, whose bodies were thrown into the Tiber.
  About this time, when the emperor was returning to Capreae, he married Claudia, the daughter of M. Silanus, to C. Caesar, the son of Germanicus, a youth whose early years gave ample promise of what he would be and what he was, as the emperor Caligula. Asinius Gallus, the son of Asinius Pollio, and the husband of Vipsania, the divorced wife of Tiberius, died this year of hunger, either voluntarily or by constraint. Drusus, the son of Germanicus, and his mother Agrippina, also died at this time. The death of Agrippina brought on the death of Plancina, the wife of Cn. Piso, for Livia being dead, who protected her, and Agrippina, who was her enemy, there was now no reason why justice should not have its course; yet it does not appear what evidence there was against her. Plancina escaped a public execution by voluntary death (Tacit. Ann. vi. 26).
  In the year A. D. 33 Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilatus, in Judaea.
  It became the fashion in the time of Tiberius either for the accused or the accuser to be punished; and there was perhaps justice in it at such a time. Abudius Rufo made it a charge against L. Gaetulicus, under whom he had served, that Gaetulicus had designed to give his daughter to the son of Sejanus, and Abudius was banished from the city. Gaetulicus was at that time in command of the legions in Upper Germany, and he is said to have written a letter to Tiberius, from which the emperor might learn that a general at the head of an army, by whom he was beloved, was not to be treated like a man who was within the walls of Rome.
  Artaxias, whom Germanicus had placed on the throne of Armenia, was now dead, and Artabanus, king of the Parthians, had put his eldest son, Arsaces, on the throne. But Artabanus had enemies around him, who sent a secret message to Rome to ask the emperor to send them Phraates for their king, whom his father Phraates had given as a hostage to Augustus. Phraates was sent, but he died in Syria, upon which Tiberius nominated Tiridates, who was of the same family, and he sent L. Vitellius to direct affairs in the East (A. D. 35). It was the policy of Tiberius to give employment to Artabanus by raising up enemies against him at home, rather than by employing the arms of Rome against him.
  Rome was still the scene of tragic occurrences. Vibulenus Agrippa, who was accused before the senate, after his accusers had finished their charge against him took poison in the senate-house, and fell down in the agonies of death; yet he was dragged off to prison, and strangled though life was already extinct. Tigranes, once king of Armenia, who was then at Rome, was also accused and put to death. In the same year (A. D. 36) a conflagration at Rome destroyed a part of the Circus contiguous to the Aventine hill, and the houses on the Aventine also; but the emperor paid the owners of property to the full amount of their losses.
  Tiberius, now in his seventy-eighth year, had hitherto enjoyed good health; and he was accustomed to laugh at physicians, and to ridicule those who, after reaching the age of thirty, required the advice of a doctor to tell them what was useful or injurious to their health (Tacit. Ann. vi. 46). But he was now attacked with a slow disease, which seized him at Astura, whence he travelled to Circeii, and thence to Misenum, to end his life in the villa of Lucullus. He concealed his sufferings as much as he could, and went on eating and indulging himself as usual. But Charicles, his physician, took the opportunity of feeling the old man's pulse, and told those about him that he would not last two days. No successor was yet appointed. Tiberius had a grandson, Tiberius Nero Gemellus, who was only seventeen, and too young to direct affairs. Caius, the son of Germanicus, was older and beloved by the people; but Tiberius did not like him. He thought of Claudius, the brother of Germanicus, as a successor, but Claudius was too weak of understanding. Accordingly, says Tacitus, he made no declaration of his will, but left it to fate to determine his successor. Dion Cassius says (lviii. 23) that he named C. Caligula, because he knew his bad disposition; but this is always Dion's fashion. Suetonius (Tiber. c. 76) says that he made a will two years before his death, in which he instituted Caius and Tiberius Gemellus his coheredes, with mutual substitution; and this will might be a disposition of the empire as well as of his private property. Caius had for some time employed all his artifices to win the favour of the emperor, and also that of Macro, who was now allpowerful with the emperor. It seems that Tiberius certainly did not like Caius, and if he had lived longer, he would probably have put him to death, and given the empire to his grandson.
  On the sixteenth of March A. D. 37, Tiberius had a fainting fit, and was supposed to be dead, on which Caius came forth and was saluted as emperor; but he was alarmed by the intelligence that Tiberius had recovered and called for something to eat. Caius was so frightened that he did not know what to do, and was every moment expecting to be put to death; but Macro, with more presence of mind, gave orders that a quantity of clothes should be thrown on Tiberius, and that he should be left alone. Thus Tiberius ended his life. Suetonius, quoting Seneca, gives a somewhat different account of his death. Tiberius reigned twenty-two years, six months, and twenty-six days. His body was taken to Rome, and his funeral ceremony was conducted with the usual pomp. His successor Caligula pronounced the oration, but he spoke less of Tiberius than of Augustus, Germanicus, and himself. Tiberius did not receive divine honours, like Augustus. Tacitus (Ann. vi. 51) has given, in a few words, his character, the true nature of which was not fully shown till he was released from all restraint. He was probably one of those men who, in a private station, might have been as good as most men are, for it is fortunate for mankind that few have the opportunity and the temptation which unlimited power gives.
  In the time of Tiberius lived Valerius Maximus, Velleius Paterculus, Phaedrus, Fenestella, and Strabo; also the jurist Massurius Sabinus, M. Cocceius Nerva, and others.
  Tiberius wrote a brief commentary of his own life (Sueton. Tiber. c. 61), the only book that the emperor Domitian studied: Suetonius made use of it for his life of Tiberius. Suetonius also made use of various letters of Tiberius to princes and others, and his Orationes to the senate. Tiberius made several public orations, such as that on his father, delivered when he was nine years old, but this we must assume to have been written by somebody else; the funeral oration of Augustus; that on Maroboduus, delivered before the senate A. D. 19, was extant when Tacitus wrote (Ann. ii. 63). Tiberius also wrote Greek poems, and a lyric poem on the Death of L. Caesar. (Vell. Pat. ii. 94; Tacitus, Annales, i.-vi.; Dion Cassius, lvii. lviii.; Suetonius, Tiberius)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gaius (Caligula) (37-41 AD)

Caligula, the third in the series of Roman emperors, reigned from A. D. 37 to A. D. 41. His real name was Caius Caesar, and he received that of Caligula in the camp, from caligae, the foot dress of the common soldiers, when he was yet a boy with his father in Germany. As emperor, however, he was always called by his contemporaries Caius, and he regarded the name of Caligula as an insult (Senec. De Constant. 18). He was the youngest son of Germanicus, the nephew of Tiberius, by Agrippina, and was born on the 31st ot August, A. D. 12 (Suet. Cal. 8). The place of his birth was a matter of doubt with the ancients; according to some, it was Tibur; according to others, Treves on the Moselle; but Suetonius has proved from the public documents of Antium that he was born at that town. His earliest years were spent in the camp of his father in Germany, and he grew up among the soldiers, with whom he became accordingly very popular (Tac. Annal. i. 41, 69; Suet. Cal. 9; Dion Cass. lvii. 5). Caligula also accompanied his father on his Syrian expedition, and after his return first lived with his mother, and, when she was exiled, in the house of Livia Augusta. When the latter died, Caligula, then a youth in his sixteenth year, delivered the funeral oration upon her from the Rostra. After this he lived some years with his grandmother, Antonia. Caligula, like his two elder brothers, Nero and Drusus, was hated by Sejanus, but his favour with Tiberius and his popularity as the son of Germanicus saved him (Dion Cass. lviii. 8).
  After the fall of Sejanus in A. D. 32, when Caligula had just attained his twentieth year Tiberius summoned him to come to Capreae. Here the young man concealed so well his feelings at the injuries inflicted upon his mother and brothers, as well as at the wrongs which he himself had suffered, that he did not utter a sound of complaint, and behaved in such a submissive manner, that those who witnessed his conduct declared, that there never was such a cringing slave to so bad a master (Suet. Cal. 10; Tac. Annal. vi. 20). But his savage and voluptuous character was nevertheless seen through by Tiberius. About the same time he married Junia Claudilla (Claudia), the daughter of M. Silanus, an event which Dion Cassius (lviii. 25) assigns to the year A. D. 35. Soon afterwards he obtained the quaestorship, and on the death of his brother Drusus was made augur in his stead, having been created pontiff two years before (Dion Cass. lviii. 8; Suet. Cal. 12).
  After the death of his wife, in March A. D. 36, Caligula began seriously to think in what manner he might secure the succession to himself, of which Tiberius had held out hopes to him, without however deciding anything (Dion Cass. lviii. 23 ; Tac. Annal. vi. 45, &c.). In order to ensure his success, he seduced Ennia Naevia, the wife of Macro, who had then the command of the praetorian cohorts. He promised to marry her if He should succeed to the throne, and contrived to gain the consent and co-operation of Macro also, who according to some accounts introduced his wife to the embraces of the voluptuous youth (Suet. Cal. 12; Tac. Annal. vi. 45; Dion Cass. lviii. 28). Tiberius died in March A. D. 37, and there can be little doubt but that Caligula either caused or accelerated his death. In aftertimes he often boasted of having attempted to murder Tiberius in order to avenge the wrongs which his family had suffered from him. There were reports that Caligula had administered to Tiberius a slow poison, or that he had withheld from him tile necessary food during his illness, or lastly, that he had suffoeated him with a pillow. Some again said, that he had been assisted by Macro, while Tacitus (Ann d. vi. 50) mentions Macro alone as the guilty person (Suet. Tib. 73, Cal. 12; Dion Cass. lviii. 28). When the body of Tiberius was carried from Misenum to Rome, Caligula accompanied it in the dress of a mourner, but he was sainted by the people at Rome with the gretest enthusiasm as the son of Germanicus. Tiberius in his will had apponted his grandson Tiberius as coheir to Caligula, but the senate and the people gave the sovereign power to Caligula alone, in spite of the regulations of Tiberius (Suet. Cal. 14; Dion Cass. lix. 1; comp. Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 6. 9). In regard to all other points, however, Caligula carried the will of Tiberius into execution: he paid to the people and the soldiers the sums which the late emperor had bequeathed to them, and even increased these legacies by his own munificence. After having delivered the funeral oration upon Tiberius, he immediately fulfilled the duty of piety towards his mother and his brother: he had their ashes conveyed from Pandataria and the Pontian islands to Rome, and deposited them in the Mausoleum with great solemnity. But notwithstanding the feeling which prompted him to this act, he pardoned all those who had allowed themselves to be used as instruments against the members of his family, and ordered the documents which contained the evidence of their guilt to be burnt in the Forum. Those who had been condemned to imprisonment by Tiberius were released, and those who had been exiled were recalled to their country. He restored to the magistrates their full power of jurisdiction without appeal to his person, and he also endeavoured to revive the old character of the comitia by allowing the people to discuss and decide the matters brought before them, as in former times. Towards foreign princes who had been stripped of their power and their revenues by his predecessor, he behaved with great generosity. Thus Agrippa, the grandson of Herod, who had been put in chains by Tiberius, was released and restored to his kingdom, and Antiochus IV. of Commagene received back his kingdom, which was increased by the maritime district of Cilicia.
  On the first of July A. D. 37, Caligula entered upon his first consulship together with Claudius, his father's brother, and held the office for two months. Soon after this he was seized by a serious illness in consequence of his irregular mode of living. He was, indeed, restored to health, but from that moment appeared an altered man. Hitherto the joy of the people at his accession seemed to be perfectly justified by the justice and moderation he shewed during the first months of his reign, but from henceforward he appears more like a diabolical than a human being--he acts completely like a madman. A kind of savageness and gross voluptuousness had always been prominent features in his character, but still we are not justified in supposing, as many do, that he merely threw off the mask which had hitherto concealed his real disposition ; it is much more probable that his illness destroyed his mental powers, and thus let loose all the veiled passions of his soul, to which he now yielded without exercising any control over them. Immediately after his recovery he ordered Tiberius, the grandson of his predecessor, whom he had raised before to the rank of princeps jurentutis, to be put to death on the pretext of his having wished the emperor not to recover from his illness; and those of his friends who had vowed their lives for his recovery, were now compelled to carry their vow into effect by putting an end to their existence. He also commanded several members of his own family, and among them his grandmother Antonia, Macro, and his wife Ennia Naevia, to make away with themselves. His thirst for blood seemed to increase with the number of his victims, and murdering soon ceased to be the consequence of his hatred; it became a matter of pleasure and amusement with him. Once during a public fight of wild beasts in the Circus, when there were no more criminals to enter the arena, he ordered persons to be taken at random from among the spectators, and to be thrown before the wild beasts, but that they might not be able to cry out or curse their destroyer, he ordered their tongues to be cut out. Often when he was taking his meals, he would order men to be tortured to death before his eyes, that he might have the pleasure of witnessing their agony. Once when, during a horse-race, the people were more favourably disposed to one of his competitors than to himself, he is said to have exclaimed, "Would that the whole Roman people had only one head".
  But his cruelty was not greater than his voluptuousness and obscenity. He carried on an incestuous intercourse with his own sisters, and when Drusilla, the second of them, died, he raved like a madman with grief, and commanded her to be worshipped as a divinity. No Roman lady was safe from his attacks, and his marriages were as disgracefully contracted as they were ignominiously dissolved. The only woman that exercised a lasting influence over him was Caesonia. A point which still more sliews the disordered state of his brain is, that in his self-veneration he went so far as to consider himself a god: he would appear in public sometimes in the attire of Bacchus, Apollo, or Jupiter, and even of Venus and Diana; he would frequently place himself in the temple of Castor and Pollux, between the statues of these divinities, and order the people who entered the temple to worship him. He even built a temple to himself as Jupiter Latiaris, and appointed priests to attend to his worship and offer sacrifices to him. This temple contained his statue in gold, of the size of life, and his statue was dressed precisely as he was. The wealthiest Romans were appointed his priests, but they had to purchase the honour with immense sums of money. lie sometimes officiated as his own priest, making his horse Incitatus, which he afterwards raised to the consulshsip, his colleague. No one but a complete madman would have been guilty of things like these.
  The sums of money which he squandered almost surpass belief. During the first year of his reign he nearly drained tile treasury, although Tiberius had left in it the sum of 720 millions of sesterces. One specimen may serve to shew in what senseless manner he spent the money. That he might be able to boast of having marched over the sea as over dry land, he ordered a bridge of boats to be constructed across the channel between Baiae and Puteoli, a distance of three Roman miles and six hundred paces. After it was covered with earth and houses built upon it, he rode across it in triumph, and gave a splendid banquet on the middle of the bridge. In order to amuse himself on this occasion in his usual way, he ordered numbers of the spectators whom he had invited to be thrown into the sea. As the regular revenues of the state were insufficient to supply him with the means of such mad extravagance, he had recourse to robberies, public sales of his estates, unheard-of taxes, and every species of extortion that could be devised. In order that no means of getting money might remain untried, he established a public brothel in his own palace, and sent out his servants to invite men of all class to avail themselves of it. On the birth of his daughter by Caesonia, lie regularly acted the part of a beggar in order to obtain money to rear her. He also made known that he would receive presents on new year's day, and on the first of January he posted himself in the vestibule of his palace, to accept the presents that were brought him by crowds of people. Things like these gradually engendered in him a love of money itself without any view to the ends it is to serve, and he is said to have sometimes taken a delight in rolling himself in heaps of gold. After Italy and Rome were exhausted by his extortions, his love of money and his avarice compelled him to seek other resources. He turned his eyes to Gaul, and under the pretence of a war against the Germans, he marched, in A. D. 40, with an army to Gaul to extort money from the wealthy inhabitants of that country. Executions were as frequent here as they had been before in Italy. Lentulus Gaetulicus and Aemilius Lepidus were accused of having formed a conspiracy and were put to death, and the two sisters of Caligula were sent into exile as guilty of adultery and accomplices of the conspiracy. Ptolemaeus, the son of king Juba, was exiled merely on account of his riches, and was afterwards put to death. It would be endless and disgusting to record here all the acts of cruelty, insanity, and avarice, of which his whole reign, with the exception of the first few months, forms one uninterrupted succession. He concluded his predatory campaign in Gaul by leading his army to the coast of the ocean, as if he would cross over to Britain; he drew them up in battle array, and then gave them the signal--to collect shells, which he called the spoils of conquered Ocean. After this he returned to Rome, where he acted with still greater cruelty than before, because lie thought the honours which the senate conferred upon him too insignificant and too human for a god like him. Several conspiracies were formed against him, but were discovered, until at length Cassius Chaerea, tribune of a praetorian cohort, Cornelius Sabinus, and others, entered into one which was crowned with success. Four months after his return from Gaul, on the 24th of January A. D. 41, Caligula was murdered by Chaerea near the theatre, or according to others, in his own palace while he was hearing some boys rehearse the part they were to perform in the theatre. His wife and daughter were likewise put to death. His body was secretly conveyed by his friends to the horti Lamiani, halt burnt, and covered over with a light turf. Subsequently, however, his sisters, after their return from exile, ordered the body to be taken out, and had it completely burnt and buried. (Sueton. Caligula; Dion Cass. lib. lix.; Joseph. Ant. xix. 1; Aurel. Vict. De Caes. 3; Zonar. x. 6)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Claudius I. (41-54 AD)

Claudius I., or, with his full name, Tib. Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, was the fourth in the series of Roman emperors, and reigned from A. D. 41 to 54. He was the grandson of Tib. Claudius Nero and Livia, who afterwards married Augustus, and the son of Drusus and Antonia. He was born on the first of August, B. C. 10, at Lyons in Gaul, and lost his father in his infancy. During his early life he was of a sickly constitution, which, though it improved in later years, was in all probability the cause of the weakness of his intellect, for, throughout his life, he shewed an extraordinary deficiency in judgment, tact, and presence of mind. It was owing to these circumstances that from his childhood he was neglected, despised, and intimidated by his nearest relatives; he was left to the care of his paedagogues, who often treated him with improper harshness. His own mother is reported to have called him a portentum hominis, and to have said, that there was something wanting in his nature to make him a man in the proper sense of the word. This judgment, harsh as it may appear in the mouth of his mother, is not exaggerated, for in everything he did, and however good his intentions were, he failed from the want of judgment and a proper tact, and made himself ridiculous in the eyes of others. Notwithstanding this intellectual deficiency, however, he was a man of great industry and diligence. He was excluded from the society of his family, and confined to slaves and women, whom he was led to make his friends and confidants by his natural desire of unfolding his heart. During the long period previous to his accession, as well as afterwards, he devoted the greater part of his time to literary pursuits, Augustus and his uncle Tiberius always treated him with contempt; Caligula, his nephew, raised him to the consulship indeed, but did not allow him to take any part in public affairs, and behaved towards him in the same way as his predecessors had done.
  In this manner the ill-fated man had reached the age of fifty, when after the murder of Caligula he was suddenly and unexpectedly raised to the imperial throne. When he received the news of Caligula's murder, he was alarmed about his own safety, and concealed himself in a corner of the palace; but he was discovered by a common soldier, and when Claudius fell prostrate before him, the soldier saluted him emperor. Other soldiers soon assembled, and Claudius in a state of agony, as if he were led to execution, was carried in a lectica into the praetorian camp. There the soldiers proclaimed him emperor, and took their oath of allegiance to him, on condition of his giving each soldier, or at least each of the praetorian guards, a donative of fifteen sestertia -the first instance of a Roman emperor being obliged to make such a promise on his accession. It is not quite certain what may have induced the soldiers to proclaim a man who had till then lived in obscurity, and had taken no part in the administration of the empire. It is said that they chose him merely on account of his connexion with the imperial family, but it is highly probable that there were also other causes at work.
  During the first two days after the murder of Caligula, the senators and the city cohorts, which formed a kind of opposition to the praetorian guards, indulged in the vain hope of restoring the republic, but being unable to make lead against the praetorians, and not being well agreed among themselves, the senators were at last obliged to give way, and on the third day they recognized Claudius as emperor. The first act of his government was to proclaim an amnesty respecting the attempt to restore the republic, and a few only of the murderers of Caligula were put to death, partly for the purpose of establishing an example, and partly because it was known that some of the conspirators had intended to murder Claudius likewise. The acts which followed these shew the same kind and amiable disposition, and must convince every one, that, if he had been left alone, or had been assisted by a sincere friend and adviser, his government would have afforded little or no ground for complaint. Had he been allowed to remain in a private station, he would certainly have been a kind, good, and honest man. But he was throughout his life placed in the most unfortunate circumstances. The perpetual fear in which he had passed his earlier days, was now increased and abused by those by whom he was surrounded after his accession. And this fear now became the cause of a series of cruel actions and of bloodshed, for which he is stamped in history with the name of a tyrant, which he does not deserve.
  The first wife of Claudius was Plautia Urgulanilla, by whom he had a son, Drusus, and a daughter, Claudia. But as he had reason for believing that his own life was threatened by her, he divorced her, and married Aelia Petina, whom he likewise divorced on account of some misunderstanding. At the time of his accession he was married to his third wife, the notorious Valeria Messalina, who, together with the freedmen Narcissus, Pallas, and others, led him into a number of cruel acts. After the fall of Messalina by her own conduct and the intrigues of Narcissus, Claudius was, if possible, still more unfortunate in choosing for his wife his niece Agrippina, A. D. 49. She prevailed upon him to set aside his own son, Britannicus, and to adopt her son, Nero, in order that the succession might be secured to the latter. Claudius soon after regretted this step, and the consequence was, that he was poisoned by Agrippina in A. D. 54.
  The conduct of Claudius during his government, in so far as it was not under the influence of his wives and freedmen, was mild and popular, and he made several useful and beneficial legislative enactments. He was particularly fond of building, and several architectural plans which had been formed, but thought impracticable by his predecessors, were carried out by him. He built, for example, the famous Claudian aquaeduct (Aqua Claudia), the port of Ostia, and the emissary by which the water of lake Fucinus was carried into the river Liris. During his reign several wars were carried on in Britain, Germany, Syria, and Mauretania; but they were conducted by his generals. The southern part of Britain was constituted a Roman province in the reign of Claudius, who himself went to Britain in A. D. 43, to take part in the war; but not being of a warlike disposition, he quitted the island after a stay of a few days, and returned to Rome, where he celebrated a splendid triumph. Mauretania was made a Roman province in A. D. 42 by the legate Cn. Hosidius.
  As an author Claudius occupied himself chiefly with history, and was encouraged in this pursuit by Livy, the historian. With the assistance of Sulpicius Flavius, he began at an early age to write a history from the death of the dictator Caesar ; but being too straightforward and honest in his accounts, he was severely censured by his mother and grandmother. He accordingly gave up his plan, and began his history with the restoration of peace after the battle of Actium. Of the earlier period he had written only four, but of the latter forty-one books. A third work were memoirs of his own life, in eight books, which Suetonius describes as magis inepte quam ineleganter composita. A fourth was a learned defence of Cicero against the attacks of Asinius Pollio. He seems to have been as well skilled in the use of the Greek as of the Latin language, for he wrote two historical works in Greek, the one a history of Carthage, in eight books, and the other a history of Etruria, in twenty books. However small the literary merit of these productions may have been, still the loss of the history of Etruria in particular is greatly to be lamented, as we know that he made use of the genuine sources of the Etruscans themselves. In A. D. 48, the Aedui petitioned that their senators should obtain the jus petendorum honorum at Rome. Claudius supported their petition in a speech which he delivered in the senate. The grateful inhabitants of Lyons had this speech of the emperor engraved on brazen tables, and exhibited them in public. Two of these tables were discovered at Lyons in 1529, and are still preserved there. The inscriptions are printed in Gruter's Corp. Inscript. P. DII.
(Sueton. Claudius; Dion Cassius, lib. Ix. ; Tacit. Annal. libb. xi. and xii.; Zonaras, xi. 8, &c.; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xix. 2, &c., xx. 1; Oros. vii. 6; Eutrop. vii. 13; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. 4. Epit. 4; Seneca, Lusus de Morte Drusi)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Nero (54-68 AD)

Nero, Roman emperor, A. D. 54-68. The emperor Nero was the son of Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, and of Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus Caesar, and sister of Caligula. Nero's original name was L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, but after the marriage of his mother with her uncle, the emperor Claudius, he was adopted by Claudius A. D. 50, and was called Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. Claudius had a son, Britannicus, who was three or four years younger than Nero.
  Nero was born at Antium, a favourite residence of many of the Roman families, on the coast of Latium on the 15th of December A. D. 37. Shortly after his adoption by Claudius, Nero being then sixteen years of age, married Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and Messallina. Among his early instructors was Seneca. Nero had some talent and taste. He was fond of the arts, and made verses; but he was indolent and given to pleasure, and had no inclination for laborious studies. His character, which was naturally weak, was made worse by his education; and when he was in the possession of power he showed what a man may become who has not been subjected to a severe discipline, and who in a private station might be no worse than others who are rich and idle.
  On the death of Claudius, A. D. 54, Agrippina, who had always designed her son to succeed to the power of the Caesars, kept the emperor's death secret for a while. All at once the gates of the palace were opened, and Nero was presented to the guards by Afranius Burrhus, praefectus praetorio, who announced Nero to them as their master. Some of them, it is said, asked where was Britannicus; but there was no effort made to proclaim Britannicus, and Nero being carried to the praetorian camp, was saluted as imperator by the soldiers, and promised them the usual donation. The senate confirmed the decision of the soldiers, and the provinces quietly received Nero as the new emperor (Tacit. Ann. xii. 69; Dion Cass. lxi. 1, &c.).
  Nero showed at the commencement that he had not all the acquirements which the Romans had been accustomed to see in their emperors. His public addresses were written by Seneca, for Nero was deficient in one of the great accomplishments of a Roman, oratory. The beginning of his reign was no worse than might be expected in an illeducated youth of seventeen; and the senate were allowed to make some regulations which were supposed to be useful (Tac. Ann. xiii. 4). The affairs of the East required attention. The Less Armenia was given to Aristobulus, a Jew, and son of Herodes, king of Chalcis. Sophene was given to Sohemus.
  The follies and crimes of Nero were owing to his own feeble character and the temper of his mother. This ambitious woman wished to govern in the name of her son, and she received all the external marks of respect which were due to one who possessed sovereign power. Seneca and Burrhus exerted their influence with Nero to oppose her designs, and thus a contest commenced which must end in the destruction of Agrippina or her opponents. Nero began to indulge his licentious inclinations without restraint, and one of his boon companions was an accomplished debauchee, Otho, who afterwards held the imperial power for a few months. Nero assumed the consulship A. D. 55, with L. Antistius Vetus for his colleague. The jealousy between him and his mother soon broke out into a quarrel, and Agrippina threatened to join Britannicus and raise him to his father's place. Nero's fears drove him to commit a crime which at once stamped his character and took away all hopes of his future life. Britannicus, who was just going to complete his fourteenth year, was poisoned by the emperor's order, at an entertainment where Agrippina and Octavia were present. Nero showed his temper towards his mother by depriving her of her Roman and German guard; but an appearance of reconciliation was brought about by the bold demeanour of Agrippina against some of her accusers, whom Nero punished (Tacit. Ann. xiii. 19-22).
  In A. D. 57 Nero was consul for the second time with L. Calpurnius Piso as his colleague, and in A. D. 58, for the third time with Valerius Messalla. Nero, who had always shown an aversion to his wife Octavia, was now captivated with the beauty of Poppaea Sabina, the wife of his companion Otho, a woman notorious for her dissolute conduct. Otho was got out of the way by being made governor of Lusitania, where he acquired some credit, and passed the ten remaining years of Nero's life.
  The affairs of Armenia, which had been seized by the Parthians, occupied the Romans from the beginning of Nero's reign, and Domitius Corbulo was sent there to conduct the war. This vigorous commander re-established discipline among the troops. The chief struggle commenced A. D. 58, with Tiridates, who had been made king of Armenia by the Parthian king Vologeses, who was his brother. Corbulo was ambitious to make the Roman arms again triumphant in the countries in which L. Lucullus and Cn. Pompeius had once acquired military fame. After some attempt at negotiation, Corbulo prosecuted the war with great activity. He took and destroyed Artaxata, the capital of Armenia; and afterwards, marching to the town of Tigranocerta, which the Romans had formerly captured under Lucullus, he took this strong place also, or, according to other accounts, it surrendered like Artaxata (Tacit. Ann. xiii. 41, xiv. 24). The capture of Tigranocerta took place A. D. 60, and the Romans were now complete masters of Armenia. The affairs of the Rhenish frontier were tolerably quiet in the early part of Nero's reign. The Roman soldiers, under Paullinus Pompeius on the lower Rhine, were employed in finishing the embankments which Drusus had begun sixty-three years before for checking the waters of the river; and L. Vetus formed the noble design of uniting the Arar (Saone) and Moselle by a canal, and thus connecting the Mediterranean and the German Ocean by an uninterrupted water communication, through the Rhone and the Rhine. But the mean jealousy of Aelius Gracilis, the legatus of Belgica, frustrated this design.
  Nero's passion for Poppaea was probably the immediate cause of his mother's death. Poppaea aspired to marry the emperor, but she had no hopes of succeeding in her design while Agrippina lived, and accordingly she used all her arts to urge Nero to remove out of the way a woman who kept him in tutelage and probably aimed at his ruin. That Agrippina might have attempted to destroy her son, or at least to give the imperial power to some new husband of her choice, is probable enough; and it is a significant fact, that we find her own head and that of Nero on the same face of a medal, and that at the beginning of his reign she was hardly prevented from assuming the discharge of the imperial functions (Tacit. Ann. xiii. 5). After an unsuccessful attempt to cause her death in a vessel near Baiae, she was assassinated by Nero's order (A. D. 59), with the approbation at least of Seneca and Burrhus, who saw that the time was come for the destruction either of the mother or the son (Tacit. Ann. xiv. 7). The death of Agrippina was communicated to the senate by a letter which Seneca drew up, and this servile body, with the exception of Thrasea Paetus, returned their congratulations to the emperor, who shortly after returned to Rome. But though he was well received, he felt the punishment of his guilty conscience, and said that he was haunted by his mother's spectre (Suet. Ner. 34). A great eclipse of the sun happened during the sacrifices which were made for the death of Agrippina, and there were other signs which superstition interpreted as tokens of the angler of the gods (Dion Cass. lxi. 16, ed. Reimarus, and the note). Nero drowned his reflections in fresh riot, in which he was encouraged by a band of flatterers. One of his great passions was chariot-driving, and he was ambitious to gain credit as a musician, and actually appeared as a performer on the theatre. At the same time his extravagance was exhausting the finances, and preparing the way for his ruin, though unfortunately it was still deferred for some years.
  In A. D. 60, Nero was consul for the fourth time with C. Cornelius Lentulus for his colleague. There was a comet in this year, which then, as in more recent times, was considered to portend some great change. In this year Tigranes was settled as king of Armenia, and the Roman commander Corbulo, leaving some soldiers to protect him, retired to his province of Syria. The fear of Nero now induced him to urge Rubellius Plautus, who belonged to the family of the Caesars through his mother Julia, the daughter of Drusus, to leave Rome. Plautus was a man of good character, and Nero considered him a dangerous rival. He retired to Asia, where he was put to death two years after by Nero's order (Tacit. Ann. xiv. 22; Dion Cass. lxii. 14). In A. D. 61, the great rising in Britain under Boadicea took place, which was put down by the ability and vigour of the Roman commander Suetonius Paullinus.
  The praetor Antistius was charged with writing scandalous verses against Nero, and he was tried under the law of majestas, and only saved by Thrasea from being condemned to death by the senate. Antistius was banished, and his property made public. Fabricius Veiento, who had written freely against the senate and the priests, was convicted and banished from Italy. His writings were ordered to be burnt, the consequence of which was they were eagerly sought after and read : when they were no longer forbidden they were soon forgotten, as Tacitus remarks (Ann. xiv. 49), and his remark has much practical wisdom in it. The death of Burrhus (A. D. 62) was a calamity to the state. Nero placed in command of the praetorian troops, Fennius Rufus and Sofonius Tigellinus: Rufus was an honest inactive man; Tigellinus was a villain, whose name has been rendered infamous by the crimes to which he urged his master, and those which he committed himself. Seneca, who saw his credit going, wisely asked leave to retire; and the philosopher, who could not approve of all Nero's excesses, though his own moral character is at least doubtful, left his old pupil to follow his own way and the counsels of the worst men in Rome.
  Nero was now more at liberty. In order that he might marry Poppaea, he divorced his wife Octavia, on the alleged ground of sterility, and in eighteen days he married Poppaea. Not satisfied with putting away his wife, he was instigated by Poppaea to charge her with adultery, for which there was not the slightest ground, and she was banished to the little island of Pandataria, where she was shortly after put to death. According to Tacitus (Ann. xiv. 64) Octavia was only in her twentieth year; her unhappy life and her untimely death were the subject of general commiseration.
The affairs of Armenia (A. D. 62) were still in a troubled state, and the accounts of the historians of the period are not very clear. The Parthians again invaded Armenia, and Tiridates attempted to recover it from Tigranes. It seems to have been agreed between Vologeses and Corbulo that Tiridates should have Armenia, and that hostilities should cease. But the ambassadors whom Vologeses sent to Rome, returned without accomplishing the object of their mission, and the war against the Parthians in Armenia was renewed under L. Caesennius Paetus. But the incompetence of the general caused the ruin of the enterprise, and he was forced to sue for terms to Vologeses, and to consent to evacuate Armenia (Tacit. Ann. xv. 16; Dion Cass. lxii. 21). In the following year Corbulo came to terms with Tiridates, who did homage to the portrait of Nero in the presence of the Roman commander (Tacit. Ann. xv. 30), and promised that he would go to Rome, as soon as he could prepare for his journey, to ask the throne of Armenia from the Roman emperor. The town of Pompeii in Campania was nearly destroyed in this year by an earthquake. Poppaea gave birth at Antium to a daughter, who received the title of Augusta, which was also given to the mother. The joy of Nero was unbounded, but the child died before it was four months old.
  The origin of the dreadful conflagration at Rome (A. D. 64) is uncertain. It is hardly credible that the city was fired by Nero's order, though Dion and Suetonius both attest the fact, but these writers are always ready to believe a scandalous tale. Tacitus (Ann. xv. 38) leaves the matter doubtful. The fire originated in that part of the circus which is contiguous to the Caelian and Palatine hills, and of the fourteen regiones of Rome three were totally destroyed, and in seven others only a few halfburnt houses remained. A prodigious quantity of property and valuable works of art were burnt, and many lives were lost. The emperor set about rebuilding the city on an improved plan, with wider streets, though it is doubtful if the salubrity of Rome was improved by widening the streets and making the houses lower, for there was less protection against the heat. Nero found money for his purposes by acts of oppression and violence, and even the temples were robbed of their wealth. With these means he began to erect his sumptuous golden palace, on a scale of magnitude and splendour which almost surpasses belief. The vestibule contained a colossal statue of himself one hundred and twenty feet high (Suet. Ner. c. 31; Martial, Spect. Ep. 2). The odium of the conflagration which the emperor could not remove from himself, he tried to throw on the Christians, who were then numerous-in Rome, and many of them were put to a cruel death (Tacit. Ann. xv. 44, and the note of Lipsius).
  The tyranny of Nero at last (A. D. 65) led to the organisation of a formidable conspiracy against him, which was discovered by Milichus, a freedman of Flavius Scevinus, a senator and one of the conspirators. The discovery was followed by many executions. C. Calpurnius Piso was put to death, and the poet Lucan, a vile flatterer of Nero (Pharsal i. 33, &c.), 1 had the favour of being allowed to open his veins. Plautius Lateranus was hurried to death without having time allowed to embrace his children. It is not certain if Seneca was privy to the conspiracy: Dion, of course, says that he was. It is probable that some proposals might have been made to him by the conspirators, and it is probable that he declined to join them. However this may be, the time was come for Nero to get rid of his old master, and, with his counsellors Poppaea and Tigellinus near him, he sent Seneca orders to die. The philosopher opened his veins, and, after long suffering, he was taken into a bath or vapour room, which stifled him. It seems that Seneca died about the time when the conspiracy was discovered ; Lucan and others died after him. The senate was assembled, as if they were going to hear the results of a successful war, and Tigellinus was rewarded with the triumphal ornaments (Tacit. Ann. xv. 72).
  The death of Poppaea came next. Her brutal husband, in a fit of passion, kicked her when she was with child, and she died of the blow. Her body was not burnt, but embalmed and placed in the sepulchre of the Julii. Nero now proposed to marry Antonia, the daughter of the emperor Claudius and his sister by adoption, but she refused the honour, and was consequently put to death. Nero, however, did marry Statilia Messallina, the widow of Vestinus, whom he put to death, because he had married Messallina, with whom Nero had cohabited.
  The catalogue of the crimes of Nero makes the greater part of his life, but his crimes show the character of the man and of the times, and to what a state of abject degradation the Roman senate was reduced, for the senate was made the instrument of murder. The jurist C. Cassius Longinus was exiled to Sardinia. L. Junius Silanus Torquatus, a man of merit, L. Antistins Vetus, his mother-in-law Sextia, and his daughter Pollutia, the wife of Rubellius Plautus, were all sacrificed. Virtue in any form was the object of Nero's fear. For some reason or caprice the emperor gave a large sum, which we may assume was public money, to rebuild Lugdunum (Lyon), which had suffered by a fire; and the town showed its gratitude, by espousing his cause when he was deserted by every body. The grant, however, was made some years after the conflagration.
  In the reign of Nero (A. D. 66) Apollonius of Tvana visited Rome, and, though he was accused of magic, he had the good luck to escape. Nero now became jealous of the philosophers, and Musonius Rufus, a Roman eques and a stoic philosopher, was banished by the emperor. The fragment of the sixteenth book of the Annals of Tacitus concludes with the account of the death of Annaeus Mella, the father of Lucan, and C. Petronius, a man of pleasure, but probably not the author of the Satyrica. Nero, as Tacitus says (Ann. xvi. 21), now attacked virtue itself in the persons of Thrasea Paetus and Barea Soranus. The crime of Thrasea was his virtue: the charge against him was that he kept away from the senate, and by his absence condemned the proceedings of that body. The senate condemned him to die, but he had the choice of the mode of death, and he opened his veins. Soranus was rich, and that made part of his crime. He was condemned with his young daughter Servilia, who had without his knowledge consulted the fortune-tellers to know what would be her father's fate. (Tacit. Ann. xvi. 30, &c.) With the death of Thrasea, who, as the blood flowed from his veins, declared it to be a libation to Jupiter the Liberator, the fragment of the sixteenth [p. 1165] book of Tacitus ends, and the fate of the despicable tyrant has not been transmitted to us in the words of the indignant historian, who himself is compelled to apologise for his tedious record of crimes and bloodshed (Tacit. Ann. xvi. 16).
  The time chosen for the death of Thrasea and Soranus was that when Tiridates was preparing to make his entry into Rome. The Armenian king came by land to Rome with his wife and his children. The provinces that he passed through had to support the expense of his numerous train. He entered Italy from Illyricum, and was received by Nero at Naples, before whom he fell on his knees, and acknowledged him as his lord. Tiridates was conducted to Rome, where he humbled himself before Nero in the theatre, who gave him the crown .of Armenia and permission to rebuild Artaxata (Dion Cass. lxiii. 6). Tiridates went home by way of Brundusium. Vologeses was invited to Rome by Nero to go through the' same ceremony, but he declined the honour, and suggested that if Nero wished to see him he should come to Asia (Dion Cass. lxiii. 7).
  Nero formed some plans for extending the empire, and various expeditions were talked of, but Nero was not a soldier: he had not even that Roman virtue. In the latter part of this year he visited Achaea with a great train, to show his skill to the Greeks as a musician and charioteer, and to receive the honours which were liberally bestowed upon him. While Nero was in Achaea, Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, sent him intelligence of his defeat by the Jews, who were in arms; on which Nero sent Vespasian, the future emperor, to carry on the war against them, and Mucianus to take the administration of Syria.
  In the year A. D. 67 Nero was present at the Olympic games, which had been deferred from the year 65 in order that so distinguished a person might be present. To commemorate his visit he declared all Achaea to be free, which was publicly proclaimed at Corinth on the day of the celebration of the Isthmian games. But the Greeks paid dear for what they got, by the price of every thing being raised in consequence of Nero's visit; and they witnessed one of his acts of cruelty, in putting to death, at the Isthmian games, a singer whose voice drowned that of the imperial performer (Lucian, Nero). Nero also paid a visit to Delphi, and got a kind of indirect promise of a long life; but other matters reported about this visit are somewhat confusedly told by different authorities. He also designed a canal across the Isthmus, which was commenced with great parade, and Nero himself first struck the ground with a golden spade. The works were carried on vigorously for a time, but were suspended by his own orders. While Nero was in Greece he summoned Corbulo there in an affectionate letter, but, on the old soldier arriving at Cenchreae, Nero sent orders to put him to death, which Corbulo anticipated by stabbing himself. Thus perished a man who had served the empire and the emperor faithfully, and whose military talent and integrity entitled him to the name of a genuine Roman (Dion. lxiii. 17).
  Nero had left Helius a freedman in the administration of Rome, with full power to do as he pleased, which power he abused. Helius, foreseeing the mischief that was preparing for his master, wrote to request him to return to Rome, and finally he went to Greece to urge his departure. Nero left Greece probably in the autumn of A. D. 67. He entered Rome in triumph, as befitted an Olympic victor, through a breach made in the walls, riding in the car of Augustus, with a musician at his side; and he displayed the numerous crowns that he had received in his Grecian visit. Music, chariot driving, and the like amusements, occupied this foolish man until, as Tillemont naively remarks, the rising in Spain and Gaul gave him other occupation.
  Silius Italicus, the poet, and Galerius Trachalus were consuls A. D. 68, the last year of Nero's life. The storm that had long been preparing broke out in Gaul, where Julius Vindex, the governor of Celtica, called the people together, and, pointing out their grievances, and pourtraying the despicable character of Nero, urged them to revolt. Vindex was soon at the head of a large army, and he wrote to Galba, who was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to offer his assistance in raising him to the imperial power. Galba at the same time learned that Nero had sent orders to put him to death, on which he made a public harangue against the crimes of Nero, and was proclaimed emperor; but he only assumed the title of legatus of the senate and the Roman people. Nero was at Naples when he heard of the rising in Gaul. which gave him little concern, and he went on with his ordinary amusements. At last he came to Rome, where he heard of the insurrection of Galba, which threw him into a violent fit of passion and alarm, but he had neither ability nor courage to organise any effectual means of resistance. The senate declared Galba an enemy of the state; and Nero, for some reason or other, deprived the two consuls of their office, and made himself sole consul. This was his fifth consulate. Possibly he had some vague idea of putting himself more distinctly at the head of affairs with the title of sole consul, which Cn. Pompeius had once enjoyed before him and C. Julius Caesar.
  Verginius Rufus, governor in Upper Germany, a man of ability and integrity, was not favourable to the pretensions of Galba. Rufus first marched against Vindex, and was supported by those parts of Gaul which bordered on the Rhine; the town of Lyon, with others, declared against Vindex. Verginius laid siege to Vesontio (Besanqon), and Vindex came to relieve it. The two generals had a conference, and appear to have come to some agreement; but, as Vindex was going to enter the town, the soldiers of Verginius, thinking that he was about to attack them, fell on the troops of Vindex. The whole affair is very confused; but the fact that Vindex perished, or killed himself, is certain. The soldiers now destroyed the statues of Nero, and proclaimed Verginius as Augustus; but he steadily refused the honour, and declared that he would submit to the orders of the senate. The death of Vindex discouraged Galba, who was beginning to lose all hopes, when he received intelligence from Rome that he was recognised as the successor of Nero.
  A famine at Rome, and the exertion that Nero was making to raise money, hastened his ruin. Nymphidius Sabinus, who was now praefectus praetorio with Tigellinus, taking advantage of a rumour that Nero was going to fly to Egypt, persuaded the troops to proclaim Galba. Nero was immediately deserted. He escaped from the palace at night with a few freedmen, and made his wav to a house about four miles from Rome, which belonged to Phaon, one of his freedmen, where he passed the night and part of the following day in a state of agonising terror. His hiding-place being known, a centurion with some soldiers was sent to seize him. Though a coward, Nero thought a voluntary death better than the indignities which he knew were preparing for him; and, after some irresolution, and with the aid of his secretary Epaphroditus, he gave himself a mortal wound when he heard the trampling of the horses on which his pursuers were mounted. The centurion on entering attempted to stop the flow of blood, but Nero saying, "It is too late. Is this your fidelity?" expired with a horrid stare.
  The body of Nero received funeral honours suitable to his rank, and his ashes were placed in the sepulchre of the Domitii by two of his nurses and his concubine Acte, who had won Nero's affections from his wife Octavia at the beginning of his reign (Tac. Ann. xiii. 12; Suet. Ner. 50). Suetonius, after his manner, gives a description of Nero's person, which is not very flattering: the "cervix obesa" of Suetonius is a characteristic of Nero's bust.
I  n his youth Nero was instructed in all the liberal knowledge of the time except philosophy; and he was turned from the study of the old Roman orators by his master Seneca. Accordingly, he applied himself to poetry, and Suetonius says that his verses were not made for him, as some suppose, for the biographer had seen and examined some of Nero's writing-tablets and small books, in which the writing was in his own hand, with many erasures and cancellings and interlineations. He had also skill in painting and modelling. Though profuse and fond of pomp and splendour, Nero had apparently some taste. The Apollo Belvedere and the Fighting Gladiator, as it is called, by Agasias, were found in the ruins of a villa at Antium, which is conjectured to have belonged to Nero.
  Nero's progress in crime is easily traced, and the lesson is worth reading. Without a good education, and with no talent for his high station, he was placed in a position of danger from the first. He was sensual, and fond of idle display, and then he became greedy of money to satisfy his expenses; he was timid, and by consequence he became cruel when he anticipated danger; and, like other murderers, his first crime, the poisoning of Britannicus, made him capable of another. But, contemptible and cruel as he was, there are many persons who, in the same situation, might run the same guilty career. He was only in his thirty-first year when he died, and he had held the supreme power for thirteen years and eight months. He was the last of the descendants of Julia, the sister of the dictator Caesar.
  There were a few writers in the time of Nero who have been preserved-Persius the satirist, Lucan, the author of the Pharsalia, and Seneca, the preceptor of Nero. The jurists, C. Cassius Longinus, after whom the Sabiniani were sometimes called Cassiani, and Nerva, the father of the emperor Nerva, lived under Nero (Tac. Ann. xiii.xvi.; Suet. Ner.; Dion Cass. lxi.-lxiii. ed. Reimarus. All the authorities for the facts of Nero's life are collected by Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. i.)

Galba, Ser. Sulpicius (68-69 AD)

Galba, Ser. Sulpicius, a Roman emperor, who reigned from June, A. D. 68 to January, A. D. 69. He was descended from the family of the Galbae, a branch of the patrician Sulpicia Gens, but had no connection with the family of Augustus, which became extinct by the death of Nero. He was a son of Sulpicius Galba and Mummia Achaica, and was born in a villa near Terracina, on the 24th of December, B. C. 3. Livia Ocellina, a relative of Livia, the wife of Augustus, and the second wife of Galba's father, adopted young Ser. Sulpicius Galba, who on this account altered his name into L. Livius Ocella, which he bore down to the time of his elevation. Both Augustus and Tiberius are said to have told him, that one day he would be at the head of the Roman world, from which we must infer that he was a young man of more than ordinary talents. His education appears to have been the same as that of other young nobles of the time, and we know that he paid some attention to the study of the law. He married Lepida, who bore him two sons, but both Lepida and her children died, and Galba never married again, although Agrippina, afterwards the wile of Claudius, did all she could to win his attachment. He was a man of great wealth, and a favourite of Livia, the wife of Augustus, through whose influence he obtained the consulship. She also left him a considerable legacy, of which, however, he was deprived by Tiberius. He was invested with the curule offices before attaining the legitimate age. After his praetorship, in A. D. 20, he had the administration of the province of Aquitania. In A. D. 33 he was raised to the consulship on the recommendation of Livia Drusilla, and after this he distinguished himself in the administration of the province of Gaul, A. D. 39, where he carried on a successful war against the Germans, and restored discipline among the troops. The Germans had invaded Gaul, but after severe losses they were compelled by Galba to return to their own country. On the death of Caligula many of his friends urged him on to take possession of the imperial throne, but he preferred living in a private station, and Claudius, the successor of Caligula, felt so grateful to him for this moderation, that he received him into his suite, and showed him very great kindness and attention. In A. D. 45 and 46,, Galba was entrusted with the administration of the province of Africa, which was at the time disturbed by the licentiousness of the Roman soldiers and by the incursions of the neighbouring barbarians. He restored peace, and managed the affairs of the province with great strictness and care, and on his return he was honoured with the ornamenta triumphalia, and with the dignity of three priesthoods ; he became a member of the college of the Quindecimviri, of the sodales Titii, and of the Augustales. In the reign of Nero he lived for several years in private retirement, for fear of becoming, like many others, the victim of the tyrant's suspicion, until, in B. C. 61, Nero gave him Hispania Tarraconensis as his province, where he remained for a period of [p. 207] eight years. In maintaining discipline among his troops, his strictness at first bordered upon cruelty, for the severest punishments were inflicted for slight offences, but during the latter period of his administration he became indolent, for fear, it is said, of attracting the attention of Nero, but more probably as a naturai consequence of old age. In A. D. 68, when the insurrection of C. Julius Vindex broke out in Gaul, and Vindex called upon the most distinguished men in the other provinces to join him, he also sent messengers to Galba, whom he looked upon as the most eminent among the generals of the time, and whom he had destined in his mind as the successor of Nero. Index accordingly exhorted him to vindicate the rights of oppressed humanity. Galba, who was at the same time informed that some officers in Spain had received secret orders from Nero to murder him, resolved at once to take the perilous step, and place himself at the head of the Roman world, although he was already upwards of severity years old. He assembled his troops, excited their sympathy for those who had been murdered by Nero, and was at once proclaimed imperator by the soldiers. He himself, however, at first professed to act only as the legate of the Roman senate and people. he began to organise his army in Spain, instituted a kind of senate which was to act as his council, and made all preparations for a war against Nero. Some of his soldiers, however, soon began to repent, and as he was engaged in suppressing this spirit among his own men, he received the intelligence of the fall of Vindex, who in despair had put an end to himself. Being thus deprived of his principal supporter, Galba withdrew to Clunia, a small town of his province, and was on the point of following the example of Vindex. But things suddenly took a different turn. Nymphidius Sabinus, prefect of the praetorians at Rome, created an insurrection there, and some of the friends of Galba, by making munificent promises in his name, succeeded in winning the troops for him. Nero was murdered. Galba now took the title of Caesar, and, accompanied by Salvius Otho, the governor of Lusitania, he went to Rome, where ambassadors soon arrived from all parts of the empire to do homage to Galba as the lawful sovereign.
  Galba by this time seems to have lost the good qualities that distinguished his earlier years: a report of his severity and avarice had preceded him to Rome; and it soon became manifest that the accounts of his avarice were not exaggerated. Instead of doing all he could to win the favour of the soldiers, who had only just become aware of the fact that they had it in their power to dispose of the sovereignty, and that they might depose him just as they had raised him, he made several unpopular changes in the army at Rome, and punished with severity those who opposed his measures. The large donatives which his friends had promised in his name were not given, and various rumours about his niggardly and miserly character were sedulously spread at Rome, and increased the discontent. Some of his arrangements were wise enough; and had he not been the victim of avarice, the common foible of old age, and been able to part with some of his treasures, he might have maintained himself on the throne, and the Roman world would probably not have had much reason to complain. In addition to this, he was completely under the sway of three favourites, T. Vinius, Cornelius Laco, and Icelus; and the arbitrary manner in which he acted under their influence showed that the times were little better than they had been under Nero. His unpopularity with all classes daily increased, and more especially among the soldiers. The first open outbreak of discontent was among the legions of Germany, which sent word to the Praetorians at Rome, that they disliked the emperor created in Spain, and that one should be elected who was approved of by all the legions. Similar outbreaks occurred in Africa. Galba, apparently blind to the real cause of the discontent, and attributing it to his old age and his having no heir, adopted Piso Licinianus, a noble young Roman, who was to be his coadjutor and successor. But even this act only increased his unpopularity; for he presented his adopted son to the senate and the soldiers, without giving to the latter the donatives customary on such occasions. Salvius Otho, who had hoped to be adopted by Galba, and had been strongly recommended by T. Vinius, now secretly formed a conspiracy among the troops. The insurrection broke out six days after the adoption of Piso Licinianus. Galba at first despaired, and did not know what to do, but at last he took courage, and went out to meet the rebels; but as he was carried across tile forum in a sedan-chair, a troop of horsemen, who had been waiting for his arrival, rushed forward and cut him down, near the Lacus Curtius, where his body was left, until a common soldier, who passed by, cut off his head, and carried it to Otho, who had in the mean time been proclaimed emperor by the praetorians and legions. His remains were afterwards buried by one Argius in his own garden. A statue of his, which the senate erected on the spot where he had been murdered, was afterwards destroyed by Vespasian, who believed that Galba had sent assassins into Judaea to murder him. (Tac. Hist. i. 1-42; Dion Cass. lxiv. 1-6; Suet. Galba ; Plut. Gulba ; Aurel. Vict. De Cues. 6; Eutrop. vii. 10).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Otho, M. Salvius (69 AD)

Otho, M. Salvius, Roman emperor A. D. 69, was descended from an ancient Etruscan family. His father L. Otho, who was consul in A. D. 33, had two sons, Marcus and L. Salvius Titianus. Marcus Otho was born in the early part of A. D. 32. He was of moderate stature, ill-made in the legs, and had an effeminate appearance. He was one of the companions of Nero in his debaucheries, till he was sent as governor to Lusitania, which he administered with credit during the last ten years of Nero's life. Otho attached himself to Galba when he revolted against Nero, in the hope of being adopted by him and succeeding to the empire. But Galba, who knew Otho's character, and wished to have a worthy successor, adopted L. Piso, on the tenth of January, A. D. 69, and designated him as the future emperor (Tacit. Hist. i. 15).
  Otho thus saw his hopes disappointed. His private affairs also were in. a ruinous condition, and he resolved to seize the power which an astrologer had foretold him that he would one day possess. He enlisted in his design a few soldiers, and on the fifteenth of January he was proclaimed emperor by a mere handful of men, who, with their, swords drawn, carried him in a litter to the camp, where he was saluted emperor. Otho was ready to promise any thing and to stoop to any thing to extricate himself from his dangerous position, and to receive the prize at which he aimed (Tacit. Hist. i. 36). A little vigour and decision on the part of Galba might have checked the rising. The matter was at last decided by Otho and the soldiers making their way into the forum, upon which the standardbearer of the cohort that accompanied Galba snatched from it the emperor's effigy, and threw it on the ground. This was the signal for deserting Galba, who received his death-blow from a common soldier.
  The soldiers showed they were the masters of the emperor by choosing as praefecti praetorio, Plotius Firmus and Licinius Proculus; Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, was made praefectus urbi. On the evening of the day in which Galba was murdered the senate took the oath of fidelity to Otho, who afterwards offered a sacrifice in the Capitol, with no favourable omens. The new emperor showed his moderation or his prudence by protecting against the fury of the soldiers, Marius Celsus, who had maintained his fidelity to Galba, and who showed the same devotion afterwards to the cause of Otho. The punishment of Tigellinus, the guilty encourager of Nero's crimes, and the first to desert him, was demanded by the people, and granted. This abominable wretch received the news of his death being required while he was enjoying the waters of Sinuessae, and he cut his throat with a razor. The indulgence of Otho towards those who were his personal enemies, and the change in his habits shown by devoting himself to the administration of affairs, gave people hopes that the emperor would turn out better than was expected. Still these appearances were by many considered deceptive, and there was little confidence in a man who owed his elevation to the murder of Galba, and the violence of the soldiers, whom he was compelled to keep in good humour. Otho was acknowledged emperor by Luceius Albinus, governor of Mauritania (Tacit. Hist. ii. 58), and by Carthage and the rest of Africa. The legions in Dalmatia, Pannonia, and Maesia took the oath of fidelity to the emperor. He was also recognised by Egypt, by Mucianus in Syria, and by Vespasian in Palestine; by Gallia Narbonensis, Aquitania, and by Spain. But he had a formidable opposition in the legions stationed in Germany on the Rhine, whither Vitellius had been sent to take the command by Galba, in the month of December, A. D. 68. Vitellius was a glutton, a drunkard, and a man of no capacity, but by his affable manners and his liberality he gained the good will of the soldiers who were dissatisfied with Galba. Vitellius had the command of four legions on the Lower Rhine, and two other legions on the upper course of the river were under Hordeonius Flaccus. Some of the Gallic towns also were ill disposed to Galba.
  Neither Flaccus nor Vitellius had energy enough to commence a movement: it was begun by Fabius Valens, who commanded a legion in Lower Germany, and stimulated Vitellius to aim at the supreme power. Alienus Caecina, who also commanded a legion in Upper Germany, and was an officer of ability, hated Galba; and thus, before the murder of the aged emperor, every thing was ripe for a revolt in Germany.
  Vitellius, who was in the town of Cologne (colonia Agrippinensis), was greeted with the title of imperator, on the third of January, A. D. 69. He accepted the title of Germanicus, but he would not assume that of Caesar. There was a striking contrast between the ardour of the soldiers, who wished to march for Italy in the midst of the winter, and the sluggishness of their newly-elected emperor, who even by midday was drunk and stupified with his gluttonous excesses. But every thing favoured Vitellius. Valerius Asiaticus, governor of Belgica, declared for him, and Junius Blaesus, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis. The troops in Rhaetia and Britain were also on his side. Valens and Caecina were sent forward, each at the head of a large army. The lazy emperor followed at his leisure. Valens had advanced as far as Toul (civitas Leucorum, Tacit. Hist. i. 64; D'Anville, Notice de la Gaule, "Tullum"), when he heard of Galba's death, the news of which determined Gallia Narbonensis and Aquitania to declare for Vitellius, though they had taken the oath to Otho. Cluvius Rufus, the governor of Spain, did the same.
  Valens advanced by the route of Autun, Lyon, Vienne, and Lucus (Luc), to the foot of the Alps, plundering, and robbing all the way. The march of Caecina was still more disastrous to the country through which he made his way. He readily picked a quarrel with the Helvetii, many of whom were slaughtered, and others were sold as slaves. Aventicum (Avenche), their capital, surrendered, and its fate was left to the mercy of Vitellius, who yielded to the eloquent entreaty of Claudius Cossus, one of the legati who were sent to mollify the emperor. Caecina, while he was still on the north side of the Alps, received intelligence that a body of cavalry on the Po had taken the oath to Vitellius, under whom they had formerly served in Africa. Mediolanum (Milan), Vercellae, and other towns in North Italy, followed this example. Caecina having sent some Gallic, Lusitanian, British, and German troops over the mountains to support his new friends, led his soldiers across the Pennine Alps, through the snow with which they were still covered.
  The revolt of Vitellius had not reached Rome at the time of Galba's death. As soon as it was known, Otho wrote to Vitellius, and offered to give him all that he could desire, and even to share the empire with him. Vitellius replied by offers on his part, but they could come to no terms, and both sides made preparation for war. A disturbance was caused at Rome by the praetorian soldiers, who suspected that there was some design against Otho. They broke into the palace, threatening to kill the senators, many of whom were supping with Otho, and with difficulty made their escape. The soldiers penetrated even to the emperor's apartment, in order to be assured that he was alive. The tumult was at last allayed, but the approach of a civil war, from the evils of which the state had so long been secure, caused general uneasiness.
  Otho left Rome for North Italy about the fourteenth of March. His brother Titianus remained at Rome to look after the city, with Flavius Sabinus, Vespasian's brother, who was praefectus urbi. Otho had under him three commanders of ability, Suetonius Paulinus, Marius Celsus, and Annius Gallus. He marched on foot at the head of his troops, in a plain military equipment (Tacit. Hist. ii. 11). Otho's fleet was master of the sea on the north-west coast of Italy, and the soldiers treated the country as if it was a hostile territory. They defeated the Ligurian mountaineers and plundered Albium Intemelium (Vintimiglia). Annius Gallus and Vestricius Spurinna were commissioned by Otho to defend the Po. Spurinna, who was in Placentia, was attacked by Caecina, but succeeded in repelling him and destroying a large part of his force. Caecina retired, but the magnificent amphitheatre which was outside the walls was burnt during the contest. Caecina retreated towards Cremona, and bodies of his troops sustained fresh defeats. Martins Macer, at the head of Otho's gladiators, surprised some auxiliaries of Caecina, who took refuge in Cremona, but Macer from caution prevented his men from following them into the town. His conduct brought suspicion on Suetonius and the other generals of Otho, and Titianus, his brother, was sent for to take the conduct of the war. Caecina made another attempt to retrieve his losses, but hewas beaten by Marius Celsus and Suetonius, who, however, would not allow the men to follow up their advantage ; and that which probably was prudence, became the foundation of a charge of treason against him from his troops.
  Valens, who was at Ticinum (Pavia), now joined his forces to those of Caecina, and the two generals, who had been jealous of one another, now thought only of combining to defeat the enemy. Otho's generals advised him to avoid a decisive battle, but his own opinion, and that of his brother and of Proculus, praefectus praetorio, was in favour of bringing the war at once to a close; and this determination ruined the cause of Otho. He was advised to retire to Brixellum (Brescelli), to be out of the way of danger, and he went there with a considerable force. The generals of Vitellius knew the state of affairs in Otho's army, and were ready to take advantage of it. The hostile armies were on the Po. The forces of Otho, under Titianus and Proculus, were marched to the fourth milestone from Bedriacum (Cividale ?), and on their route they suffered for want of water. They had now sixteen miles to march to the confluence of the Adda and the Po, to find the enemy, whom they came up with before they were expected. A fierce battle was fought in which Otho's troops were entirely defeated. It is said that forty thousand men fell in this battle. The troops of Vitellius followed up the pursuit within five miles of Bedriacum, but they did not venture to attack the enemy's camp on that day. On the next day the two armies came to terms, and the soldiers of Otho received the victors into their camp.
  Though Otho had still a large force with him, and other troops at Bedriacum and Placentia, he determined to make no further resistance, and to die by his own hand. After settling his affairs with the utmost coolness and deliberation, he stabbed himself. The manner of his death is circumstantially told by Suetonius. His life had been dissolute, and his conduct at the last, though it may appear to have displayed courage, was in effect only despair. He died on the fifteenth of April, A. D. 69, in the thirty-seventh year of his age. His sepulchre was at Brixellum, and Plutarch, who saw it, says that it bore simply his name, and no other inscription. Suetonius, who records every thing, has not forgotten Otho's wig. His hair was thin, and he wore a perruque, which was so skilfully fitted to his head that nobody could tell it from true hair.
(Suetonius, Otho ; Plutarch, Otho; Dion Cassius, lxiv.; Tacitus, Hist. i. ii.; all the authorities are collected by Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. i.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Vespasianus (Vespasian) (69-79 AD)

Vespasianus, T. Flavius Sabinus, Roman emperor, A. D. 70-79, was born in the Sabine country on the 17th of November, A. D. 9. His father was a man of mean condition, of Reate, in the country of the Sabini. His mother, Vespasia Polla, was the daughter of a Praefectus Castrorum, and the sister of a Roman senator. She was left a widow with two sons, Flavius Sabinus and Vespasian. On laying aside the toga virilis, Vespasian, with reluctance and at the urgent solicitation of his mother, took the latus clavus. He served as tribunus militum in Thrace, and was quaestor in Crete and Cyrene. He was afterwards Aedile and Praetor. About this time he took to wife Flavia Domitilla, the daughter of a Roman eques, by whom he had two sons, both of whom succeeded him. In the reign of Claudius, and by the influence of Narcissus, he was sent into Germany as legatus legionis; and in A. D. 43 he held the same command in Britain, and reduced the Isle of Wight. (Sueton. Vespas. 4.) He was consul during the last two months of A. D. 51, and Proconsul of Africa under Nero, in which capacity Tacitus says (Hist. ii. 97) that he was much disliked. He was at this time very poor. and was accused of getting money by dishonourable means. Love of money indeed is said to have always been one of his faults. But he had a great military reputation, and he was liked by the soldiers. He was frugal in his habits, temperate, and an enemy to all ostentation; of a kind disposition, without the passions of hatred or revenge. He had many great qualities, with some mean ones -a combination not at all rare. His body was strong and his health good; and it is recorded that he used to fast one day in every month (Sueton. Vespas. 8).
  Nero, who did not like Vespasian because he was no admirer of Nero's vocal powers, forbade him to appear in his presence; but when he wanted a general for the Jewish war, he thought nobody was fitter than Vespasian, and he sent him to the East at the close of A. D. 66, at the head of a powerful army. His conduct of the Jewish war had raised his reputation, when the war broke out between Otho and Vitellius after the death of Galba. He was proclaimed emperor at Alexandria on the first of July A. D. 69, in Judaea, where he then was, on the third of the same month, and soon after all through the East. He arranged that Mucianus, governor of Syria, should march against Vitellius, and that his son Titus should continue the war against the Jews. Titus, however, did little until the following year; and Antonius Primus defeated or gained over the troops of Vitellius, who was put to death about the 20th of December. Vespasian was in Egypt when he heard the news of the victory which his troops had gained at Cremona on the 25th of October; and he entered Alexandria, where he saw Apollonius of Tyana. Dion Cassius says that he made himself odious to the Alexandrines by increasing the taxes and imposing new ones, and the Alexandrines, according to their fashion, retaliated by satire and sarcasm. His object in going to Egypt was to cut off the supplies of grain from Alexandria to Rome, and so to compel Vitellius to yield; but this was unnecessary, for Domitian, the second son of Vespasian, then at Rome, was proclaimed Caesar upon the death of Vitellius (Tacit. Hist. iii. 86). The Senate conferred on Vespasian the imperial title, with a specific enumeration of powers, and released him from all the laws from which Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius had been released; and the Senatus-consultum was confirmed by a Lex. A fragment of this Lex still remains. Titus was made consul for the following year with his father.
  Mucianus, who arrived at Rome the day after the death of Vitellius, acted with full authority, for Vespasian had given him all powers. Domitian, also as Caesar, took a share in public business, and availed himself of his new rank to commit many acts of violence. Mucianus presented Domitian to the soldiers, who gave them a largess or congiarium. Mucianus put several persons to death, and among them Galerianus, the son of C. Piso, who had aspired to the empire in the time of Nero. In A. D. 70 Titus was consul with his father, though neither of them was in Rome on the 1st of January; and Domitian was praetor. Antonius Primus had anticipated Mucianus in the defeat of Vitellius; and as Mucianus did not like Primus, who was also a turbulent man, he compelled his legions, which were much attached to their commander, to quit Rome. Mucianus also deprived Arrius Varus of the charge of Praefectus Praetorio, which he gave to Clemens Aretinus. The first care of the senate after the death of Vitellius was to rebuild the Capitol, which had been recently burnt; and Helvidius Priscus laid the first stone on the 21st of June with great solemnity (Tacit. Hist. iv. 53). Vespasian restored three thousand plates of bronze, which had been consumed in the conflagration, the invaluable records of the Roman state (Sueton. Vespas. c. 8). For this purpose all copies of the lost originals were carefully looked for. In this year the Sarmatians invaded Maesia and killed the governor, Fonteius Agrippa. Rubrius Gallus, who was sent by Vespasian, compelled the Sarmatians to retire across the river.
  The Romans had now to carry on a war against the Batavi, who were situated near the mouth of the Rhine. These Batavi furnished soldiers for the Roman armies in Germany and Britain, and were so far in the relation of subjects to Rome. Claudius Civilis, a one-eyed man like Hannibal and Sertorius, and one of the most illustrious of the Batavi, had begun to excite his countrymen to resistance by preventing the march of the new recruits whom Vitellius had ordered to be enlisted. Having induced the Caninefates to join them, the Batavi attacked and defeated the Romans under Aquilius. Hordeonius Flaccus, who commanded the troops in Germany, sent Mummius Lupercus against Civilis with two legions, part of which joined Civilis, and the rest were driven back to Castra Vetera, perhaps Xanten in Cleves. Eight cohorts of Batavi and Caninefates, which Vitellius had ordered to march into Italy, turned back from Mainz and defeated Herennius Gallus near Bonn (Tacit. Hist. iv. 19). Civilis made his troops take the oath to Vespasian, and shortly after he was informed of the defeat of the Vitellians at Cremona, and that he ought now to lay down his arms, if he had taken them up for the cause of Vespasian; but Civilis had no intention to do so, and he declared that his object was to free his country and the Gauls from the Roman yoke (Tacit Hist. iv. 32). The history of this war is told under Civilis, Claudius.
  Domitian left Rome on the news of the revolt of the Gauls with the intention of conducting the war against Civilis, and Mucianus, knowing his character, thought it prudent to accompany him. On their route the news arrived that Cerealis had ended the war with Civilis, and Mucianus persuaded Domitian to go no farther than Lyon. Domitian returned to Italy before the end of the year to meet his father.
  When Vespasian heard at Alexandria of the de feat of the party of Vitellius, his first care was to send vessels to Rome with supplies of corn, which were much wanted. He also forwarded an edict to Rome, by which he repealed the laws of Nero and his three successors as to the crime of laesa majestas. and also banished astrologers, and yet he consulted astrologers himself, for all his good sense had not placed him above this superstition (Tacit. Hist. ii. 28). At Alexandria Vespasian is said to have cured a man who had a disease of the eyes, and a man with a paralysed hand,though probably neither of them was beyond the ordinary means of the healing art (Tacit. Hist. iv. 81). Vespasian, in his voyage from Egypt, visited Rhodes and several cities of Asia Minor. He landed in the south of Italy, and was joyfully received by the Italians on his journey to Rome and on his arrival there.
  Vespasian worked with great industry to restore order at Rome and in the empire. He disbanded some of the mutinous soldiers of Vitellius, and maintained discipline among his own. He cooperated in a friendly manner with the senate in the public administration. Many sites in Rome still remained unbuilt since the great conflagration in Nero's time, and Vespasian allowed any person to build on these sites, if the owners did not do so, after a certain lapse of time (Sueton. Vespas. c. 8). In this year Vespasian as censor purged the Senate and the Equites of many unworthy members, and made up the deficient members by new nominations. He also raised several persons to the rank of Patrician, and among them Cn. Julius Agricola, afterwards the conqueror of Britain. The simplicity and frugality of his mode of life formed a striking contrast with the profusion and luxury of some of his predecessors, and his example is said to have done more to reform the morals of Rome than all the laws which had ever been enacted. He lived more like a private person than a man who possessed supreme power: he was affable and easy of access to all persons. The personal anecdotes of such a man are some of the most instructive records of his reign. He was never ashamed of the meanness of his origin, and ridiculed all attempts to make out for him a distinguished genealogy (Sueton. Vespas. 12). He often visited the villa in which he was born, and would not allow any change to be made in the place. When Vologeses, the Parthian king, addressed to him a letter commencing in these terms, "Arsaces, king of kings, to Flavius Vespasianus", the answer began, "Flavius Vespasianus to Arsaces, king of kings". If it be true, as it is recorded, that he was not annoyed at satire or ridicule, he exhibited an elevation of character almost unparalleled in one who filled so exalted a station. Vespasianus was mainly indebted to Mucianus, governor of Syria, for his imperial title, and he was not ungrateful for the services that Mucianus had rendered him, though Mucianus was of an arrogant and ambitious disposition, and gave Vespasian some trouble by his behaviour. He knew the bad character of his son Domitian, and as long as he lived he kept him under proper restraint.
  The stories that are told of his avarice and of his modes of raising money, if true, detract from the dignity of his character; and it seems that he had a taste for little savings, and for coarse humour, Yet it is admitted that he was liberal in all his expenditure for purposes of public utility. Love of getting money and niggardliness in personal matters are by no means inconsistent with bountiful outlay for great and noble objects.
  In A. D. 71 Vespasianus was consul for the third time with M. Cocceius Nerva, the same probably who was afterwards emperor, for his colleague. The senate had decreed a triumph to Vespasian and Titus separately, for the conquest of the Jews ; but Vespasian thought that one triumph was enough for both, and for the first time, it is said, in the history of Rome, a father and a son triumphed together. Vespasian was very weary of the pompous ceremony before it was over. The temple of Janus was closed as the signal of war being ended, and the emperor commenced the erection of a temple of Peace. Titus at this time began to assist his father in the administration, and undertook the important functions of Praefectus Praetorio. In A. D. 72 Caesennius Paetus, whom Vespasian had made governor of Syria in place of Mucianus, informed the emperor that Antiochus, king of Commagene, and his son Epiphanes, were in treaty with the Parthian king and preparing to revolt. Whether the charge was true or false, Vespasian gave Paetus full powers to act, and the governor entered Commagene and took possession of the country. Antiochus was ultimately settled at Rome, where his two sons joined him, and Commagene was made a Roman province.
  Petilius Cerealis, who had terminated the war with the Batavi at the close of A. D. 70, was afterwards sent into Britain, and reduced to subjugation a large part of the Brigantes. Julius Frontinus, after him, subdued the Silures, or people of South Wales. Frontinus was succeeded by Julius Agricola in the command in Britain.
  A great disturbance at Alexandria (A. D. 73) is recorded by Eusebius, but little about it appears in other writers. It was at this time that Achaea, Lycia, Rhodes, Byzantium, Cilicia, and other places, which were up to this time either considered as free states or governed by kings, were all subjected to a Roman governor, on the ground that their liberty was only used for the purposes of disturbance (Pausan. vii. 17.4).
  The execution of Helvidius Priscus took place under the reign of Vespasian, and by his order; but the extravagant behaviour of Priscus and the mild temper of Vespasian justify us in concluding that the emperor's conduct in this affair may have had a reasonable justification. Priscus was a Stoic, who carried his doctrines to an absurd excess; and he and others of the same sect seem to have aimed at exciting insurrection. Vespasian banished the philosophers, as they were called, from Rome, with the exception of Musonius Rufus. Demetrius, one of these rabid sages, tried the emperor's patience by insulting him in the streets of Rome (Sueton. Vespas. 13). In A. D. 74 Vespasian and Titus made a census or enumeration of the Roman citizens, the last that was made. The conversation which is the subject of the Dialogus de Oratoribus is represented as having taken place in the sixth year of Vespasian, A. D. 75.
  In the year A. D. 77, the eighth consulship of Vespasianus and the sixth of Titus Caesar, Plinius addressed to Titus his great compilation, intitled Naturalis Historia. In the same year Eusebius records a pestilence at Rome.
  In A. D. 78 Agricoia was sent to Britain, and he reduced to submission North Wales and the island of Anglesey, which had before been subjected by the Romans, but had revolted under the administration of Suetonius Paullinus. The following year (A. D. 79)Vespasian was guilty of an act of cruelty which marks his character with a stain. Julius Sabinus, who had assumed the title of Caesar in Gaul at the beginning of A. D. 70, was at last discovered, after nine years' concealment, and brought to Rome with his wife Epponina. The faithful devotion of Epponina during these years of concealment and alarm, has immortalised her name. When she was carried before Vespasian, she threw herself at his feet with the two children whom she had borne to her husband, whom she used to visit in his hiding-place. Vespasian, though moved to tears, condemned both Sabinus and his wife to die. The two children were preserved (Tacit. Hist. iv. 55, 67). The story is told at length by Plutarch.
  Alienus Caecina and Marcellus, both of whom had received favours from Vespasian, conspired against him. The evidence was said to be complete. Titus invited Caecina, against whom he had some cause of complaint, to sup with him, and as he was leaving the palace, he ordered him to be put to death. This irregular proceeding, whatever may have been the guilt of Caecina, is a reproach to the memory of Titus and his father. Marcellus was tried by the Senate and condemned. He cut his throat.
  In the summer of this year Vespasian, whose health was failing, went to spend some time at his paternal house in the mountains of the Sabini. By drinking to excess of cold water he damaged his stomach, which was already disordered. But he still attended to business, just as if he had been in perfect health; and on feeling the approach of death he said that an emperor should die standing ; and in fact he did die in this attitude on the 24th of June A. D. 79, being 69 years of age, seven months and seven days. He reigned ten years all but six days, for his reign is dated from his proclamation as emperor at Alexandria on the first of July A. D. 69.
  The wife of Vespasian died before her husband's elevation to the imperial dignity, and also her daughter Domitilla. After his wife's death he cohabited with a freed woman named Caenis, whom, after he became emperor, he had, says Suetonius, almost as a lawful wife. A marriage with Caenis would not have been a Roman marriage, and she was a concubine, in the Roman sense. Caenis is accused of selling places under the emperor.
(Suetonius, Vespasianus; Tacitus, Hist.; Dion Cassius, lxvi.; Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus (79-81 AD)

Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, Roman emperor, A. D. 79-81, commonly called by his praenomen Titus, was the son of the emperor Vespasianus and his wife Flavia Domitilla. He was born on the 30th of December, A. D. 40, about the time when Caius Caligula was murdered, in a mean house and a small chamber, which were still shown in the time of Suetonius. From his childhood he manifested a good disposition. He was well made, and had an agreeable countenance, but it was remarked that his belly was somewhat large. (Sueton. Titus, 3.) Yet he was active, and very expert in all bodily exercises ; and he had a great aptitude for learning. He was brought up in the imperial household with Britannicus, the son of Claudius, in the same way and with the same instructors. It is said that he was a guest at Nero's table, when Britannicus was poisoned, and that he also tasted of the same deadly cup. He afterwards erected a gilded statue to the memory of Britannicus, on the Palatium. Fitus was an accomplished musician, and a most expert shorthand writer, an art in which the Romans excelled.
  When a young man he served as tribunus militum in Britain and in Germany, with great credit; and he afterwards applied himself to the labours of the forum. His first wife was Arricidia, daughter of Tertullus, a Roman eques, and once praefectus praetorio; and, on her death, he married Marcia Furnilla, a woman of high rank, whom he divorced after having a daughter by her, who was called Julia Sabina. After having been quaestor, he had the command of a legion, and served under his father in the Jewish wars. He took the cities of Tarichaea, Gamala, and other places.
  When Galba was proclaimed emperor, A. D. 68, Titus was sent by his father to pay his respects to the new emperor, and probably to ask for the promotion to which his merits entitled him; but hearing of the death of Galba at Corinth, he returned to his father in Palestine, who was already thinking of the higher destiny to which he was called. Titus managed to reconcile Mucianus the governor of Syria, and his father, and thus he contributed greatly to Vespasian's elevation. Vespasian was proclaimed emperor on the 1st of July, A. D. 69, and Titus accompanied him to Alexandria in Egypt. He returned to Palestine to prosecute the siege of Jerusalem, during which he showed the talents of a general with the daring of a soldier. The siege of Jerusalem, one of the most memorable on record, was concluded by the capture of the place, on the 8th of September, A. D. 70, and Titus received from the acclamations of his soldiers the title of Imperator. The most complete account of the siege and capture of Jerusalem is by Josephus. He did not return to Italy for eight months after the capture of Jerusalem, during which time he had an interview with the Parthian ambassadors at Zeugma on the Euphrates, and he paid a visit to Egypt, and assisted at the consecration of the bull Apis at Memphis (Sueton. Titus, c. 5). On his journey to Italy he had an interview with Apollonius of Tyana, who gave him some very good advice for a youth in his elevated station.
  Titus triumphed at Rome with his father. He also received the title of Caesar, and became the associate of Vespasian in the government. They also acted together as Censors. Titus undertook the office of Praefectus Praetorio, which had hitherto only been discharged by Roman equites. His conduct at this time gave no good promise, and the people looked upon him as likely to be another Nero. He was accused of being excessively addicted to the pleasures of the table, of indulging lustful passions in a scandalous way, and of putting suspected persons to death with very little ceremony. A. Caecina, a consular whom he had invited to supper, he ordered to be killed as he was leaving the room; but this was said to be a measure of necessary severity, for Titus had evidence of Caecina being engaged in a conspiracy. His attachment to Berenice also made him unpopular. Berenice was the sister of King Agrippa II., and the daughter of Herodes Agrippa, sometimes called the Great. She was first married to Herodes, king of Chalcis, her uncle, and then to Polemon, king of Cilicia. Titus probably became acquainted with her when he was in Judaea, and after the capture of Jerusalem she followed him to Rome with her brother Agrippa, and both of them lodged in the emperor's residence. It was said that Titus had promised to marry Berenice, but as this intended union gave the Romans great dissatisfaction, he sent her away from Rome after he became emperor, as Suetonius says, but in his father's lifetime according to Dion. The scandalous story of Titus having poisoned his father at a feast (24th June, A. D. 79) is not believed even by Dion, who could believe any thing bad of a man.
  The year A. D. 79 was the first year of the sole government of Titus, whose conduct proved an agreeable surprise to those who had anticipated a return of the times of Nero. His brother Domitian, it is said, was dissatisfied at Titus being sole emperor, and formed the design of stirring up the soldiers; but though he made no decided attempt to seize the supreme power, he is accused of having all along entertained designs against his brother. Instead of punishing him, Titus endeavoured to win Domitian's affection, and urged him not to attempt to gain by criminal means that power which he would one day have in a legitimate way. During his whole reign Titus displayed a sincere desire for the happiness of the people, and he did all that he could to relieve them in times of distress. A story is told, that one evening, recollecting that he had given nothing during the day, he said, "My friends, I have lost a day". He assumed the office of Pontifex Maximus after the death of his father, and with the purpose, as he declared, of keeping his hands free from blood; a resolution which he kept. Two patricians who were convicted by the senate of a conspiracy against him, were pardoned and treated with kindness and confidence. He checked all prosecutions for the crime of laesa majestas, which from the time of Tiberius had been a fruitful source of false accusations; and he severely punished all informers. He also removed from about him many young men, whose acquaintance had damaged his reputation, and he associated only with persons of good repute.
  At the close of this year Titus repaired one of the Roman aqueducts, and he assumed the title of Imperator on the occasion of the successes of Agricola in Britain. This year is memorable for the great eruption of Vesuvius, which desolated a large part of the adjacent country, and buried with lava and ashes the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Plinius the elder lost his life in this terrible catastrophe; the poet Caesius Bassus is said to have been burnt in his house by the lava, and Agrippa the son of Claudius Felix, once governor of Judaea, perished with his wife. Dion Cassius (lxvi. 21, &c.) has described the horrors of this terrible calamity ; and we have also the description of them in a letter addressed to Tacitus by the younger Plinius. Titus endeavoured to repair the ravages of this great eruption : he sent two consulars with money to restore the ruined towns, and he applied to this purpose the property of those who had been destroyed, and had left no next of kin. He also went himself to see the ravages which had been caused by the eruption and the earthquakes. During his absence a fire was burning at Rome for three days and three nights A. D. 80 : it destroyed the Capitol, the library of Augustus, the theatre of Pompeius, and other public buildings, besides many houses. The emperor declared that he should consider all the loss as his own, and he set about repairing it with great activity: he took even the decorations of the imperial residences, and sold them to raise money. The eruption of Vesuvius was followed by a dreadful pestilence, which called for fresh exertions on the part of the benevolent emperor.
  In this year he completed the great amphitheatre, called the Colosseum, which had been commenced by his father; and also the baths called the baths of Titus. The dedication of these two edifices was celebrated by spectacles which lasted one hundred days; by a naval battle in the old naumachia, and fights of gladiators: on one day alone five thousand wild animals are said to have been exhibited, a number which we may reasonably suspect to be exaggerated. He also repaired several aqueducts, and paved the road from Rome to Rimini (Ariminum).
  In the year A. D. 81 Agricola was employed in securing his conquests in Scotland south of the Clyde and the Forth. After presiding at some games, at the close of which he is said to have wept bitterly, though the cause of his sorrow is not stated, Titus went off to the country of the Sabines in very low spirits, owing to some bad omens. He was seized with fever at the first resting-place, and being carried from thence to a villa, in which his father had died, he ended his life there on the 13th of September, after a reign of two years and two months, and twenty days. He was in the forty-first year of his age. There were suspicions that he was poisoned by Domitian. Plutarch says that his health was damaged by the frequent use of the bath. There is a story that Domitian came before Titus was dead, and ordered him to be deserted by those about him : according to another story, he ordered him to be thrown into a vessel full of snow, under the pretext of cooling his fever. It is reported that shortly before his death, Titus lamented that he was dying so soon, and said that he had never done but one thing of which he repented. Nobody knew what this one thing was; but there were various conjectures. Perhaps the difficulty may be best solved by supposing that he never uttered the words, or if he did, that he was in the delirium of his fever. Titus was succeeded by his brother Domitian. His daughter Julia Sabina was married to Flavius Sabinus, his cousin, the son of Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian.
  Titus is said to have written Greek poems and tragedies: he was very familiar with Greek. He also wrote many letters in his father's name during Vespasian's life, and drew up edicta.
(Suetonius, Titus Flavius Vespasianus; Tacitus, Hist.; Dion Cassius, lxvi.; Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Domitianus, Titus Flavius (81-96 AD)

Domitianus, or with his full name T. Flavius Domitianus Augustus, was the younger of Vespasian's sons by his first wife Domitilla. He succeeded his elder brother Titus as emperor, and reigned from A. D. 81 to 96. He was born at Rome, on the 24th of October, A. D. 52, the year in which his father was consul designatus. Suetonius relates that Domitian in his youth led such a wretched life, that he never used a silver vessel, and that he prostituted himself for money. The position which his father then occupied precludes the possibility of ascribing this mode of life to poverty, and if the account be true, we must attribute this conduct to his bad natural disposition. When Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, Domitian, who was then eighteen years old, happened to be at Rome, where he and his friends were persecuted by Vitellius; Sabinus, Vespasian's brother, was murdered, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that Domitian escaped from the burning temple of the capitol, and concealed himself until the victory of his father's party was decided. After the fall of Vitellius, Domitian was proclaimed Caesar, and obtained the city praetorship with consular power. As his father was still absent in the east, Domitian and Mucianus undertook the administration of Italy until Vespasian returned. The power which was thus put into his hands was abused by the dissolute young man in a manner which shewed to the world, but too plainly, what was to be expected, if he should ever succeed to the imperial throne: he put several persons to death, merely to gratify his desire of taking vengeance on his personal enemies; he seduced many wives, and lived surrounded by a sort of harem, and arbitrarily deposed and appointed so many magistrates, both in the city and Italy, that his father with a bitter sarcasm wrote to him, "I wonder that you do not send some one to succeed me". Being jealous of the military glory of his father and brother, he resolved upon marching against Civilis in Gaul, in spite of the advice of all his friends to remain at Rome; but he did not advance further than Lugdunum, for on his arrival there he received intelligence of Cerealis having already conquered the rebel.
  When his father at length arrived at Rome, Domitian, who was conscious of his evil conduct, is said not to have ventured to meet him, and to have pretended not to be in the perfect possession of his mind. Vespasian, however, knew his disposition, and throughout his reign kept him as much as possible away from public affairs; but in order to display his rank and station, Domitian always accompanied his father and brother when they appeared in public, and when they celebrated their triumph after the Jewish war, he followed them in the procession riding on a white warsteed. He lived partly in the same house with his father, and partly on an estate near the Mons Albanus, where he was surrounded by a number of courtezans. While he thus led a private life, he devoted a great part of his time to the composition of poetry and the recitation of his productions. Vespasian, who died in A. D. 79, was succeeded by his elder son Titus, and Domitian used publicly to say, that he was deprived of his share in the government by a forgery in his father's will, for that it had been the wish of the latter that the two brothers should reign in common. But this was mere calumny : Domitian hated his brother, and made several attempts upon his life. Titus behaved with the utmost forbearance towards him, but followed the example of his father in not allowing Domitian to take any part in the administration of public affairs, although he was invested with the consulship seven times during the reigns of his father and brother. The early death of Titus, in A. D. 81, was in all probability the work of Domitian. Suetonius states that Domitian ordered the sick Titus to be left entirely alone, before he was quite dead; Dion Cassius says that he accelerated his death by ordering him while in a fever to be put into a vessel filled with snow; and other writers plainly assert, that Titus was poisoned or murdered by Domitian.
  On the ides of September, A. D. 81, the day on which Titus died, Domitian was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers. During the first years of his reign he continued, indeed, to indulge in strange passions, but Suetonius remarks that he manifested a pretty equal mixture of vices and virtues. Among the latter we must mention, that he kept a very strict superintendence over the governors of provinces, so that in his reign they are said to have been juster than they ever were afterwards. He also enacted several useful laws: he forbade, for example, the castration of male children, and restricted the increasing cultivation of the vine, whereby the growth of corn was neglected. He endeavoured to correct the frivolous and licentious conduct of the higher classes, and shewed great liberality and moderation on many occasions. He further took an active part in the administration of justice; which conduct, praiseworthy as it then was, became disgusting afterwards, when, assisted by a large class of delatores, he openly made justice the slave of his cruelty and tyranny; for, during the latter years of his reign he acted as one of the most cruel tyrants that ever disgraced a throne, and as Suetonius remarks, his very virtues were turned into vices. The cause of this change in his conduct appears, independent of his natural bias for what was bad, to have been his boundless ambition, injured vanity, jealousy of others, and cowardice, which were awakened and roused by the failure of his [p. 1062] undertakings and other occurrences of the time. In A. D. 84 he undertook an expedition against the Chatti, which does not seem to have been altogether unsuccessful, for we learn from Frontinus (Strateg. 1. 3), that he constructed the frontier wall between the free Germans and those who were subject to Rome, so that he must at any rate have succeeded in confining the barbarians within their own territory. After his return to Rome he celebrated a triumph, and assumed the name of Germanicus. In the same year Agricola, whose success and merits excited his jealousy, was recalled to Rome, ostensibly for the purpose of celebrating a triumph; but he was never sent back to his post, which was given to another person. The most dangerous enemy of Rome at that time was Decebalus, king of the Dacians. Domitian himself took the field against him, but the real management of the war was left to his generals. Simultaneously with this war another was carried on against the Marcomanni and Quadi, who had refused to furnish the Romans with the assistance against Decebalus, which they were bound to do by a treaty. The Romans were defeated by them, and the consequence was, that Domitian was obliged to conclude peace with Decebalus on very humiliating terms, A. D. 87. Another dangerous occurrence was the revolt of L. Antonius in Upper Germany; but this storm was luckily averted by an unexpected overflow of the Rhine over its banks, which prevented the German auxiliaries, whom Antonius expected, from joining him; so that the rebel was easily conquered by L. Appius Norbanus, in A. D. 91. An insurrection of the Nasamones in Africa was of less importance, and was easily suppressed by Flaccus, the governor of Numidia.
  But it is the cruelty and tyranny of Domitian that have given his reign an unenviable notoriety. His natural tendencies burst forth with fresh fury after the Dacian war. His fear and his injured pride and vanity led him to delight in the misfortunes and sufferings of those whom he hated and envied; and the most distinguished men of the time, especially among the senators, had to bleed for their excellence; while, on the other hand, he tried to win the populace and the soldiers by large donations, and by public games and fights in the circus and amphitheatre, in which even women appeared among the gladiators, and in which he himself took great delight. For the same reason he increased the pay of the soldiers, and the sums he thus expended were obtained from the rich by violence and murder; and when in the end he found it impossible to obtain the means for paying his soldiers, he was obliged to reduce their number. The provinces were less exposed to his tyranny, and it was especially Rome and Italy that felt his iron grasp. The expression of thought and sentiment was suppressed or atrociously persecuted, unless men would degrade themselves to flatter the tyrant. The silent fear and fearful silence which prevailed during the latter years of Domitian's reign in Rome and Italy are briefly but energetically described by Tacitus in the introduction to his Life of Agricola, and his vices and tyranny are exposed in the strongest colours by the withering satire of Juvenal. All the philosophers who lived at Rome were expelled; from which, however, we cannot infer, as some writers do, that he hated all philosophical and scientific pursuits; the cause being in all probability no other than his vanity and ambition, which could not bear to be obscured by others. Christian writers attribute to him a persecution of the Christians likewise; but there is no other evidence for it, and the belief seems to have arisen from the strictness with which he exacted the tribute from the Jews, and which may have caused much suffering to the Christians also.
  As in all similar cases, the tyrant's own cruelty brought about his ruin. Three officers of his court, Parthenius, Sigerius, and Entellus, whom Domitian intended to put to death (this secret was betrayed to them by Domitia, the emperor's wife, who was likewise on the list), formed a conspiracy against his life. Stephanus, a freedman, who was employed by the conspirators, contrived to obtain admission to the emperor's bed-room, and gave him a letter to read. While Domitian was perusing the letter, in which the conspirators' plot was revealed to him, Stephanus plunged a dagger into his abdomen. A violent struggle ensued between the two, until the other conspirators arrived. Domitian fell, after having received seven wounds, on the 18th of September, A. D. 96. Apollonius of Tyana, who was then at Ephesus, at the moment Domitian was murdered at Rome, is said to have run across the market-place, and to have exclaimed, "That is right, Stephanus, slay the murderer!"
  There are few rulers who better deserve the name of a cruel tyrant than Domitian. The last three years of his reign forn one of the most frightful periods that occur in the history of man; but he cannot be called a brutal monster or a madman like Caligula and Nero, for he possessed talent and a cultivated mind; and although Pliny and Quintilian, who place his poetical productions by the side of those of the greatest masters, are obviously guilty of servile flattery, yet his poetical works cannot have been entirely without merit. His fondness and esteem for literature are attested by the quinquennial contest which he instituted in honour of the Capitoline Jupiter, and one part of which consisted of a musical contest. Both prose writers and poets in Greek as well as in Latin recited their productions, and the victors were rewarded with golden crowns. He further instituted the pension for distinguished rhetoricians, which Quintilian enjoyed; and if we look at the comparatively flourishing condition of Roman literature during that time, we cannot help thinking that it was, at least in great measure, the consequence of the influence which he exercised and of the encouragement which he afforded. It is extremely probable that we still possess one of the literary productions of Domitian in the Latin paraphrase of Aratus's Phaenomena, which is usually attributed to Germanicus, the grandson of Augustus. The arguments for this opinion have been clearly set forth by Rutgersius (Var. Lect. iii. p. 276), and it is also adopted by Niebuhr. (Tac. Hist. iii, 59, &c., iv. 2, &c., Agric. 39, 42, 45; Suet. Domitian.; Dion Cass. lib. lxvi. and lxvii.; Juvenal, Satir.; Quintil. iv. 1.2, &c., x. 1.91, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Nerva, Marcus Cocceius (96-98 AD)

Nerva, M. Cocceius, Roman emperor, A. D. 96-98, was born at Narnia, in Umbria (Aur. Vict. Epit. 12), as some interpret the words of Victor, or rather his family was from Narnia. His father was probably the jurist, No. 3. The time of his birth was A. D. 32, inasmuch as he died in January, A. D. 98, at the age of nearly sixty-six (Dion Cass. lxviii. 4). He was consul with Vespasian, A. D. 71, and with Domitian, A. D. 90. Tillemont supposes him to be the Nerva mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. xv. 72), but this Nerva is, perhaps, the father of the emperor.
  Nerva was probably at Rome when Domitian was assassinated, and privy to the conspiracy, though Aurelius Victor (de Caes. 12) seems to intend to say that he was in Gaul, which is very improbable. His life was saved from the cruelty of Domitian by the emperor's superstition, who believed an astrologer's prediction that Nerva would soon die a natural death (Dion Cass. lxvii. 15). On the assassination of Domitian, in September, A. D. 96, Nerva was declared emperor at Rome by the people and the soldiers, and his administration at once restored tranquillity to the state. He stopped proceedings against those who, under the system of his predecessor, had been accused of treason (majestas), and allowed many exiled persons to return to Rome. The class of informers were suppressed by penalties (Plin. Pagyr.y c. 35); some were put to death, among whom was the philosopher Sura; and, conformably to the old law, Nerva declared that slaves and freedmen should never be examined as witnesses against their masters or patrons when accused of a crime (Dion Cass. lxvii. 1). These measures were necessary to restore order and confidence after the suspicious and cruel administration of Domitian. But there was weakness in the character of Nerva, as appears from the following anecdote. He was entertaining Junius Mauricus and Fabius Veiento at table. Veiento had played the part of an accuser (delator) under Domitian. The conversation turned on Catullus Messallinus, who was then dead, but had been an infamous informer under Domitian. "What would this Catullus be doing", said Nerva, "if he were alive now"; to which Mauricus bluntly replied, "he would be supping with us" (Aur. Vict. Epit. 12).
  The public events of his short reign were few and unimportant; and it is chiefly his measures of internal administration of which there are any records. Nerva attempted to relieve the poverty of many of the citizens by buying land and distributing it among them, one of the remedies for distress which the Romans had long tried, and with little advantage. The practice of occasionally distributing money among the poor citizens, and allowances of grain, still continued under Nerva, one of the parts of Roman administration which continually kept alive the misery for which it supplied temporary relief. He also diminished the expences of the state by stopping many of the public shows and festivals. Many enactments, by which we must understand Senatus consulta, were passed in his time, among which the prohibition against making eunuchs is worthy of notice but Domitian had already made the same regulation in the beginning of his reign (Dion Cass. lxvii. 2), whence we must conclude that the law had either been repealed or required some stricter penalties to enforce it.
  In the second year of his reign, Nerva was consul, for the third time, with L. Verginius Rufus, also for the third time consul. Rufus had been proclaimed emperor by the soldiers in the time of Nero, A. D. 68, but had refused the dangerous honour. The emperor made no difficulty about associating Rufus with himself in the consulship, but Rufus was a very old man, and soon died. Calpurnius Crassus, a descendant of the Crassi of the republic, with others, conspired against the emperor, but the plot was discovered, and Nerva rebuked the conspirators by putting into their hands at a show of gladiators, the swords with which the men were going to fight, and asking the conspirators, in the usual way, if they were sharp enough. This anecdote, if true, shows that the exhibitions of gladiators were in use under Nerva. The text of Diou does not state what was the punishment of Crassus, but Victor (Epit. 12) says that Crassus was relegated [p. 1168] with his wife to Tarentum, and that the senate blamed the emperor for his leniency; but Nerva had sworn at the commencement of his reign that he would put no senator to death, and he kept his word.
  The feebleness of the emperor was shown by a mutiny of the Praetorian soldiers, who were either urged on by their Praefectus, Aelianus Casperius, or had bribed him to support them. The soldiers demanded the punishment of the assassins of Domitian, which the emperor refused. Though his body was feeble, his will was strong, and he offered them his own neck, and declared his readiness to die. However, it appears that the soldiers effected their purpose, and Nerva was obliged to put Petronius Secundus and Parthenius to death, or to permit them to be massacred by the soldiers (Plin. Panegyr. c. 6; Aur. Vict. Epit. 12; Dion Cass. lviii. 3). Casperius, it is said, carried his insolence so far as to compel the emperor to thank the soldiers for what they had done.
  Nerva felt his weakness, but he showed his noble character and his good sense by appointing as his successor a man who possessed both vigour and ability to direct public affairs. He adopted as his son and successor, without any regard to his own kin, M. Ulpius Trajanus, who was then at the head of an army in Germany, and probably on the Lower Rhine. It was about this time that news arrived of a victory in Pannonia, which is commemorated by a medal, and it was apparently on this occasion that Nerva assumed the title of Germlanicus. He conferred on Trajan the title of Caesar and Germanicus, and the tribunitian power. Trajan was thus associated with Nerva in the government, and tranquillity was restored at Rome. In the year A. D. 98, Nerva and Trajan were consuls. The emperor died suddenly on the 27th of January, in the sixty-third year of his age, according to Victor; but according to Dion, at the age of sixty-five years, ten months and ten days. Eutropius incorrectly states that he was seventyone. Victor records an eclipse of the sun on the day of Nerva's death, but the eclipse happened on the 21st of March, A. D. 98.
  The body of Nerva was carried to the pile on the shoulders of the senators, as that of Augustus had been, and his remains were placed in the sepulchre of Augustus. Nerva received the honour of deification.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Trajanus (Trajan), M. Ulpius (98-117 AD)

Trajanus, M. Ulpius, Roman emperor A. D. 98-117, was born at Italica (Alcala del Rio), near Seville, the 18th of September, A. D. 52, according to some authorities. His father, also named Trajanus, had attained, it is said, the dignity of consul, and been elevated to the rank of patrician; but his name does not occur in the Fasti.
  The son was trained to arms, and served as tribunus militum. It appears that he was employed near the Euphrates, probably about A. D. 80, when he checked the progress of the Parthians ; and it is not unlikely that he was at this time serving under his father. He was raised to the praetorship some time before A. D. 86, and was consul in A. D. 91 with M' Acilius Glabrio. He afterwards returned to Spain, whence he was summoned by Domitian to command the troops in Lower Germany, and he had his head-quarters at Cologne. At the close of A. D. 97, he was adopted by the emperor Nerva, who gave him the rank of Caesar, and the names of Nerva and Germanicus, and shortly after the title of imperator, and the tribunitia potestas. His style and title after his elevation to the imperial dignity were Imperator Caesar Nerva Trajanus Augustus. He was the first emperor who was born out of Italy.
  Trajan was a man adapted to command. He was strong and healthy, of a majestic appearance, laborious, and inured to fatigue. Though not a man of letters, he had good sense, a knowledge of the world, and a sound judgment. His mode of living was very simple, and in his campaigns he shared all the sufferings and privations of the soldiers, by whom he was both loved and feared. He was a friend to justice, and he had a sincere desire for the happiness of the people. Yet it is said that he sometimes indulged in wine to excess, and during intoxication was subject to fits of passion. A strong nature, like that of Trajan, may sometimes have required excitement, notwithstanding his habitual temperance. It is difficult to decide between the testimony of his panegyrist Plinius, who commends the chastity of Trajan, and the testimony of Dion Cassius, the universal calumniator, who says that he was addicted to shameful vices. Julian, a severe judge, has not spared him on this point.
  Nerva died in January A. D. 98, and was succeeded by Trajan, who was then at Cologne. He did not come to Rome for some months, being employed in settling the frontiers on the Rhine and the Danube. It was apparently about this time that the Chamavi and Angrivarii drove the Bructeri from their lands on the Rhine, and destroyed the greater part of them, the Romans being witnesses of the bloody combat, and seeing with indifference, or even pleasure, the mutual slaughter of their enemies.
  In A. D. 99 Trajan did not take the consulship, though it was usual for an emperor to hold this office in the year which followed his elevation. One of the consuls of this year was C. Sosius Senecio, whom Plutarch addresses in the beginning of his life of Romulus, and in several of his moral essays. Trajan entered Rome on foot, amidst the rejoicings of the Romans, accompanied by his wife Pompeia Plotina. This lady is highly commended by Plinius the younger for her modest virtues, and her affection to Marciana, the sister of Trajan. The title of Pater Patriae was accepted by the emperor after his arrival at Rome, and the new designation of Optimus. It seems probable that his wife and sister also had the title of Augustae.
  It was usual for a new emperor to bestow a gift of money on each of his soldiers, and it appears from the medals that Trajan made his congiarium in this year. He also showed the same liberality to the Roman citizens, and extended it to children under eleven years of age, who had not been allowed to share in former donations of this kind. The emperor made allowances for the bringing up of the children of poor free persons at Rome, the direct object being to encourage the procreation, or rather the preservation of children, who otherwise would have been allowed to perish. "It is", says Plinius (Panegyr. c. 27), "a great inducement to bring up children, to raise them with the hope of receiving sustenance (alimenta), of receiving donations (congiaria)". Plinius commends the emperor for being liberal out of his own means, that is, out of the imperial revenue; but this money came either from taxes, or from the produce of lands which belonged to the fiscus. So long as a bounty is paid for the procreation of children, the state may rest secure that it will not want citizens. This system was extended to other towns of Italy, where provision was made for supporting the children of the poor. This was the mode in which the Roman policy attempted to meet an evil, which grows up in all large towns, a population without the means of subsistence (see the Tabula Alimentaria of Velleia). Trajan also occupied himself with provisioning Rome, a part of Roman policy which had been long established. There are only two ways of feeding a people; one way is to let them feed themselves by removing all obstacles to freedom of trade and freedom of communication; the other is by taking from one to give to another, a system which is more agreeable to him who gains than to him who loses. Trajan punished the odious class of informers, a measure that will always be popular.
  There was at Rome a tax of five per cent. (vicesima) on successions, that is, on property which came to a man by the death of another. This mode of raising a revenue contains the principle of the state assuming that a man's title to property ceases with his life, for if the amount of the tax is carried high enough, the whole will go to the state. It is not like a tax annually paid upon the annual produce or value of land, which is only a contribution of a portion of the fruits. Trajan (Plin. Paneg. c. 37, &c.) released from this tax on successions those heredes who were not extranei, and also those who succeeded to a small hereditas. Many of the public buildings at Rome were repaired by the emperor in the early part of his reign, and he added accommodation to the Circus for five thousand persons.
  In the year A. D. 100, various persons enjoyed for a time the honour of the consulship; Sex. Julius Frontinus, the author of a work on the aqueducts of Rome, Tertullus Cornutus, and C. Caecilius Plinius Secundus. In this year Marius Priscus, proconsul of Africa, was tried by the senate for peculation in his province. Plinius and Cornelius Tacitus, the historian, were appointed by the senate to prosecute. Priscus made no defence, and submitted to be convicted. He was banished, but he still enjoyed himself in his exile (Juv. Sat. viii. 120). Caecilius Classicus, proconsul of Baetica, was accused about the same time of pillaging the people whom he had been sent to govern. He died or killed himself before judgment was given (Plin. Ep. iii. 9); but the matter was still prosecuted : the property which Classicus had before he was governor was given to his daughter, and the rest was distributed among those whom he had robbed. Some of the accomplices of Classicus were also punished. The Panegyricus on Trajan, which is our authority for many of Trajan's acts up to this time, was pronounced by Plinius in A. D. 100, the year in which he received the consular honour. Some additions were made to the Panegyricus after it was pronounced (Plin. Ep. iii. 13, 18). It was perhaps about this time that Hadrian, afterwards emperor, married Sabina, the grand-niece of Trajan; and to this date or somewhere about this time we may refer a letter of Plinius (Ep. iii. 20), in which he says that all the senators on the day of electing the magistrates demanded the vote by ballot (tabellas postulaverunt).
  In his fourth cousulship, A. D. 101, Trajan left Rome for his campaign against the Daci. Decebalus, king of the Daci, had compelled Domitian to purchase peace by an annual payment of money; and Trajan, either being tired of paying this shameful tribute, or having other grounds of complaint, determined on hostilities. Decebalus was defeated, and one of his sisters was taken prisoner, and many of his strong posts were captured. Trajan advanced as far as Zermizegethusa, probably the chief town of the Dacian king, and Decebalus at last sued for peace at the feet of the Roman emperor; but Trajan required him to send ambassadors to Rome to pray for the ratification of the treaty. The conqueror assumed the name of Dacicus, and entered Rome in triumph.
  Plinius (Ep. iv. 22) records a curious decision at Rome in the emperor's consilium. Trebonius Rufinus, duumvir of Vienna, had put an end to certain games in that town, which had been established by a testamentary bequest; the ground of not allowing their celebration was, that the games were injurious to the morals of the people of Vienna. The case was carried by appeal to Rome, and the judgment of Rufinus was confirmed. When the members of the consilium were asked their opinion Junius Mauricus said that he wished such exhibitions could be stopped at Rome also. This was the same man who gave Nerva a rebuke (Plin. Ep. iv. 22).
  It was probably some time in A. D. 103, that Trajan made an artificial harbour at Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia), the form of which is recorded on a medal: the operations of constructing the port are described by Plinius (Ep. vi. 31). The port was called Trajanus Portus, but the old name of Centum Cellae afterwards prevailed. In this year or the following Plinius was sent by Trajan as governor of Pontus and Bithynia, with the title of Legatus and Propraetor, and with Consularis Potestas. It was during his residence of about eighteen months in this province that part of his correspondence with Trajan took place, which is preserved in the tenth book of the letters of Plinius. He was particularly commissioned by the emperor to examine the state of the revenue and expenditure of the towns, and to cut off all useless cost. The correspondence of Trajan with his governor shows the good sense and moderation of the Roman emperor, his attention to business, his honest straightforward purpose. As to the treatment of the Christians in Bithynia, see Plinius, C. Caecilius Secundus.
  An embassy from a Sarmatian king (A. D. 104) passed through Nicaea in Bithynia on their way to Trajan (Plin. Ep. x. 14). In this year the remains of Nero's golden palace were burnt, and Orosius adds (vii. 12) that it was a visitation upon Trajan for his persecution of the Christians; but as it is not proved to the satisfaction of all persons that Trajan was a persecutor, perhaps the historian may be mistaken in his opinion. Besides, the burning of Nero's palace, who set the first example of persecution, does not seem to have been an appropriate punishment for Trajan, even if he deserved punishment.
  In this year Trajan commenced his second Dacian war against Decebalus, who, it is said, had broken the treaty; and when Trajan required him to surrender himself, he refused, and prepared for resistance. The senate declared Decebalus an enemy, and Trajan conducted the campaign in person. The Dacian attempted to rid himself of his formidable enemy by sending two pretended deserters to assassinate him when he was in Maesia. Longinus, one of the generals of Trajan was surprised by Decebalus in an ambuscade, and the Dacian king offered to restore him, if Trajan would grant peace, restore the country as far as the Danube, and pay the expenses of the war. Trajan, who could not accept such terms as these, gave an evasive answer, and in the mean time Longinus relieved the emperor from his difficulty by poisoning himself. In order to effect a communication with the country north of the Danube, Apollodorus the architect constructed, by Trajan's command, a bridge over the river, which is described by Dion Cassius (lxviii. 13, and the valuable note of Reimarus), though his description is inaccurate, and his measurements exaggerated. "When the water is very low, some of the piles stand two or three feet above it". The bridge was built at a place called Szernecz. The piers were of enormous size, but the arches were constructed of wood. Trajan crossed the Danube on his new bridge, and entered Dacia. He found great obstacles in this country, where there were no roads, and every thing was almost in a state of nature. Hadrian commanded a legion under the emperor, and greatly distinguished himself in this Dacian campaign. Decebalus being defeated on every side, killed himself, and his head was carried to Rome. Dacia was reduced to the form of a Roman province; strong forts were built in various places, and Roman colonies were planted. It is generally supposed that the column at Rome called the Column of Trajan was erected to commemorate his Dacian victories. On his return Trajan had a triumph, and he exhibited games to the people for one hundred and twenty-three days, a time long enough to satisfy the avidity of the Romans for these spectacles. Eleven thousand animals were slaughtered during these amusements; and an army of gladiators, ten thousand men, gratified the Romans by killing one another. We must assume that there was at least another army as large to prevent the outbreak of so many desperate men. Probably many of these gladiators were prisoners. (A. D. 105.)
  About this time Arabia Petraea was subjected to the empire by A. Cornelius Palma, the governor of Syria; and an Indian embassy came to Rome.
  Trajan constructed a road across the Pomptine marshes, and built magnificent bridges across the streams. Buildings, probably mansiones, were constructed by the side of this road. He also called in all the old money, and issued a new coinage.
  In the autumn of B. C. 106 Trajan left Rome to make war on the Armenians and the Parthians. The pretext for the war was that Exedares, the king of Armenia, had received the diadem from the Parthian king, and he ought to have received it from the Roman emperor, as Tiridates had received it from Nero. When Chosroes, the Parthian king, knew that Trajan was seriously bent on war, he sent ambassadors, who found Trajan at Athens, and, in the name of Chosroes, offered him presents, and informed him that Chosroes had deposed Exedares, and begged him to confer the crown on Parthamasiris. Trajan refused his presents, and said that when he arrived in Syria he would do what was proper. He reached Seleucia in Syria in the month of December, and entered Antioch early in the following January. The evidence for the interview at Antioch between the emperor and Ignatius, which ended in the condemnation of Ignatius, is stated elsewhere. The circumstances, as told, are exceedingly improbable, and sound criticism would lead us to reject the genuineness of the narrative contained in the Martyrdom of Ignatius on the internal evidence alone.
  From Antioch Trajan marched to Armenia, by way of Samosata, on the Euphrates, which he took. He thence advanced to Satala, and Elegia, a town in Armenia, where he granted Parthamasiris an interview. Parthamasiris had already written to Trajan, and in his letter he assumed the title of king. Trajan sent no answer, and he wrote again, dropping the title of king, and prayed that M. Junius, governor of Cappadocia, might be sent to him : Trajan sent to him the son of Junius. The Armenian king took the diadem from his head. and placed it at the feet of Trajan, who sat on his tribunal within the Roman camp. He expected that Trajan would give it back to him, but he was told that Armenia was now a Roman province, and he was sent away escorted by some horsemen. The kings of the countries bordering on Armenia made a form of submission to the Roman emperor; the king of the Iberi, of the Sauromatae, of Colchis, and others.
  Trajan returned by way of Edessa, where he was well received by the cautious Abgarus, king of Osrhoene, who now made his apology for not having paid the emperor a visit at Antioch, and through the interest of his son Arbandes, whom Trajan had seen and liked, the king of Osrhoene was excused for his former want of respect. The transactions with some of the petty chieftains of Mesopotamia hardly merit a notice, but military operations in this country are dangerous enough even without a formidable enemy, and the emperor set his soldiers an example of endurance, which may have been an act of prudence as of hardihood. The town of Singar (Sinjar) is one of those which are mentioned as having been taken by the Romans. The history of this campaign of Trajan is lost, and the few scattered notices that remain of it do not enable us to construct even a probable narrative. In fact the period from A. D. 108 to A. D. 115 is nearly a blank; it is even doubful whether Trajan ever returned to Rome. The year A. D. 112 was the sixth and last consulship of Trajan, and there is some slight evidence which renders it probable that he was at Rome in this year.
  In the spring of A. D. 115 he left Syria on his Parthian expedition. He had constructed boats of the timber which the forests near Nisibis supplied, and they were conveyed on waggons to the Tigris, for the formation of a bridge of boats. He crossed the river and advanced into the country of Adiabene, an event which is recorded by an extant medal. The whole of this country, in which were situated Gaugamela and Arbela, places memorable in the history of Alexander, was subdued. From Adiabene he marched to Babylon, according to Dion Cassius (lxviii. 26), and he must therefore have recrossed the Tigris. His course was through the desert to the Euphrates, and past the site of Hit (Is), where he saw the springs of bitumen, which was used for cement at Babylon, and which Herodotus has described. Trajan meditated (Dion Cass.) the formation of a canal from the Euphrates to the Tigris, in order that he might convey his boats along it, and construct a bridge over the lower course of the Tigris. We must suppose that the bridge of boats over the upper Tigris in Adiabene was intended to remain; and that Trajan had also sent boats down the Euphrates, which Dion Cassius has not mentioned. Dion Cassius's narrative, which exists only in the epitome of Xiphilinus, is very confused. There were already canals existing, which joined the Euphrates and Tigris, and we must therefore suppose that they required clearing out, and were not in a fit condition for the transit of boats'. According to Dion Cassius, Trajan did not cut the intended canal, for fear that the Euphrates might be drained by it of its waters. Accordingly, the boats were taken across by land, the Tigris was bridged, and the Roman emperor entered the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. This event was commemorated by his assuming the name of Parthicus, though it seems that he had assumed it before.
  Tillemont supposes that Trajan returned to Antioch in the winter of A. D. 115, during which happened the great earthquake, which nearly destroyed Antioch and many other cities; but Dion Cassius places the earthquake before the capture of Ctesiphon. This terrible calamity, which was as awful in its circumstances as the great earthquake of Lisbon in the last century, destroyed a great number of buildings and many people: Pedo the consul perished, and Trajan escaped through a window, with a slight injury, being led forth by a man of supernatural size.
  In the following year Trajan descended the Tigris and entered the Erythraean Sea (the Persian Gulf). The king of the district called Mesene, between the lower course of the Tigris and the Euphrates, submitted to the emperor. Dion Cassius adds that Trajan sailed as far as the Ocean, and seeing a vessel bound for India, said that he would have gone thither, if he were younger. In the mean time he was losing his Eastern conquests as quick as he had gained them; some of his governor were slaughtered, and others expelled. He sent his generals Lusius and Maximus to restore obedience. Maximus lost his life; but Lusius was successful, for he recovered Nisibis, and took Edessa by storm and burnt it. Seleucia on the Tigris, near Ctesiphon, was taken and burnt by Erycius Clarus and Julius Alexander. It appears that the whole country east of the Tigris from north to south, had risen against the Romans. Returning to Ctesiphon. Trajan determined to give the Parthians a king. He assembled the Romans and Parthians in a great plain near the city, and ascending a lofty tribunal, he commemorated his own exploits, and concluded by declaring Parthamaspates king of the Parthians, and placing the diadem on his head. The conquest of Arabia is recorded by several medals among the exploits of Trajan, but it is impossible to say which of the several parts of Asia included under that name, was conquered by him. Dion Cassius says: "after this he went into Arabia and attacked the Atreni, who had revolted; and their city is neither large nor rich". By Arabia he here means northern Mesopotamia, for Atra is Al Hadhr. Trajan was obliged to raise the siege of this town. Tillemont supposes that Trajan entered the Indian Ocean, and penetrated "even to the extremities of Arabia Felix", but it is impossible to adopt his conclusions from the evidence that he produces.
  Trajan fell ill after the siege of Atra, and as his complaint grew worse, he set out for Italy, leaving Hadrian in Syria, and Parthia again hostile, for the Parthians had ejected the king whom Trajan gave them. The emperor seems to have had a variety of complaints, both dropsy and paralysis. He lived to reach Selinus in Cilicia, afterwards called Trajanopolis, where he died in the early part of August, A. D. 117, after a reign of nineteen years six months and fifteen days. His ashes were taken to Rome in a golden urn, carried in triumphal procession, and deposited under the column which bears his name. He left no children, and he was succeeded by Hadrian.
  Trajan constructed several great roads in the empire; he built libraries at Rome, one of which, called the Ulpia Bibliotheca, is often mentioned; and a theatre in the Campus Martius. His great work was the Forum Trajanum, the site of which was an elevation which was removed, and the ground was levelled to a plain, in the centre of which was placed the column of Trajan, the height of which marked the height of the earth which had been removed. The inscription on the column fixes the date at the year A. D. 11 2, the sixth consulship of Trajan. Apollodorus was Trajan's architect. Trajan constructed the port of Ancona, on the ancient mole of which there still stands a triumphal arch, dedicated to Trajan, his wife, and his sister. The inscription on the bridge of Alcantara over the Tagus belonged to the year A. D. 106, but though the inscription was in honour of Trajan, it states that the bridge was made at the common expense of the several towns which are there mentioned.
  Under the reign of Trajan lived Sextus Julius Frontinus, C. Cornelius Tacitus, the Younger Plinius, and various others of less note. Plutarch, Suetonius, Epictetus, survived Trajan. The jurists Juventius Celsus, and Neratius Priscus, were living under Trajan.
  The authorities for part of the reign of Trajan are very defective. Tillemont, with all his industry, has not been able to construct a narrative of the latter years of his reign, which we can fully accept, and his chronology is open to several objections. Still the life of Trajan in the Histoire des Empereurs (vol. ii.) contains all the materials that exist for the reign of this distinguished man, and, with the notes of Reimarus on the sixty-eighth book of Dion Cassius, must be the foundation of any future attempts to give a satisfactory history of this period. There is an essay by H. Francke, Zur Geschichte Trajans und seiner Zeitgenossen, &c., 1837, which is well spoken of.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hadrianus (Hadrian), P. Aelius (117-138 AD)

Hadrianus, P. Aelius, the fourteenth in the series of Roman emperors, reigned from the 11th of August, A. D. 117, till the 10th of July, A. D. 138. He was born at Rome on the 24th of January, A. D. 76; and not as Eutropius (viii. 6) and Eusebius (Chron. no. 2155) state, at Italica. This mistake arose from the fact, that Hadrian was descended, according to his own account, from a family of Hadria in Picenum, which, in the time of P. Scipio, had settled at Italica in Spain. His father, Aelius Hadrianus Afer, was married to an aunt of the emperor Trajan; he had been praetor, and lived as a senator at Rome. Hadrian lost his father at the age of ten, and received his kinsman Ulpius Trajanus (afterwards the emperor Trajan) and Caelins Attianus as his guardians. He was from his earliest age very fond of the Greek language and literature, which he appears to have studied with zeal, while he neglected his mother tongue. At the age of fifteen he left Rome and went to Spain, where he entered upon his military career; but he was soon called back, and obtained the office of decemvir stlitibus; and about A. D. 95 that of military tribune, in which capacity he served in Lower Moesia. When Trajan was adopted by Nerva, A. D. 97, Hadrian hastened from Moesia to Lower Germany, to be the first to congratulate Trajan; and in the year following he again travelled on foot from Upper to Lower Germany, to inform Trajan of the demise of Nerva ; and this he did with such rapidity, that he arrived even before the express messengers sent by Servianus, who was married to his sister Paulina. Trajan now became more and more attached to Hadrian, though the attachment did not continue undisturbed, until Trajan's wife, Plotina, who was fond of Hadrian, contrived to confirm the connexion by bringing about a marriage between her favourite and Julia Sabina, a grand-daughter of Trajan's sister Marciana. Henceforth Hadrian rose every day in the emperor's favour, for the preservation of which he did not always adopt the most honourable means. He was successively invested with various offices at Rome, such as the quaestorship in A. D. 101. In this capacity he delivered his first speech in the senate, but was laughed at on account of the rudeness and want of refinement in its delivery. This induced him to study more carefully his mother tongue and Latin oratory, which he had hitherto neglected. Soon after the expiration of his quaestorship he appears to have joined Trajan, who was then carrying on the war against the Dacians. In A. D. 105 he obtained the tribuneship of the people, and two years later the praetorship. In [p. 320] Trajan's second expedition against the Dacians, he entrusted to Hadrian the command of a legion, and took him with him. Hadrian distinguished himself so much by his bravery, that Trajan rewarded him with a diamond which he himself had received from Nerva, and which was looked upon as a token that Trajan designated him as his successor. In A. D. 108 Hadrian was sent as legatus praetorius into Lower Pannonia; and he not only distinguished himself in the administration of the province, and by the strict discipline he maintained among the troops, but he also fought with great success against the Sarmatians. The favourable opinion which the emperor entertained of Hadrian on this account was increased through the influence of Plotina and Licinius Sura, a favourite friend of Trajan; and Hadrian was made consul suffectus for the year 109; nay, a report was even spread that Trajan entertained the thought of adopting Hadrian, and of thus securing to him the succession. After the death of Licinius Sura, Hadrian became the private secretary of Trajan; and the deference paid to him by the courtiers now increased in the same proportion as the intimacy between him and the emperor. Through the influence of Plotina, he obtained in A. D. 114 the office of legate during the war against the Parthians; and in 117 he became consul designatus for the year following. It is said that at the same time he was promised to be adopted by the emperor; but Dion Cassius expressly denies it; and the further remark, that he was designated only consul suffectus, seems to show that lrajan, at least at that time, had not yet made up his mind as to his adoption.
  While Trajan was carrying on the war against the Parthians, in which he was accompanied by Hadrian, and while he was besieging the town of Hatra, he was taken severely ill. He placed Hadrian at the head of the army and the province of Syria, and returned to Rome; but on his way thither he died, at Selinus, in Cilicia. Now it is said, that on the 9th of August, 117, Hadrian received intelligence of his adoption by Trajan, and on the 11th the news of his death; but this statement is contradicted by Dion Cassius, who renders it highly probable that Plotina and Attianus fabricated the adoption after the death of the emperor, and that for this purpose Trajan's death was for a few days kept secret. It is even said that Trajan intended to make Neratius Priscus his successor. Thus much, however, seems certain, that the fact of Trajan leaving Hadrian at the head of affairs in the east, when his illness compelled him to leave, was a sufficient proof that he placed the highest confidence in him. Hadrian was at the time at Antioch, and on the 11th of August, 117, he was proclaimed emperor. He immediately sent a letter to the senate at Rome, in which he apologised for not having been able to wait for its decision, and solicited its sanction, which was readily granted.
  The Roman empire at this period was in a perilous condition: the Parthians, over whom Trajan had gained brilliant victories, had revolted, and been successful in several engagements; the provinces of Mauritania and Moesia were invaded by barbarians; and other provinces, such as Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, were in a state of insurrection. Hadrian, with a wise policy, endeavoured, above all things, to establish peace in the east. He purchased it with a great but necessary sacrifice: it was surely wise to give up what could not be maintained. He therefore renounced all the conquests which his predecessor had made east of the Euphrates; he restored Mesopotamia and Assyria to the Parthians, and recognised Cosrhoes, whom Trajan had deposed, as their king; while he indemnified Parthamaspater, whom Trajan had made king of the Parthians, by assigning to him a small neighbouring kingdom. Armenia, moreover, was raised to the rank of an independent kingdom. While engaged in making these arrangements, he is said to have been advised by Attianus to put to death Baebius Macer, praefect of the city, Laberius Maximus, and Frugi Crassus, either because they opposed his accession, or because they were otherwise hostile towards him; but it is added that Hadrian rejected this advice, though Frugi Crassus was afterwards killed, but without the emperor's command. Lusius Quietus, who at the time had the command in Mauritania, but was suspected of an attempt to place himself at the head of the Roman world, was deprived of his post, which was given to Marcius Turbo, who, under Trajan, had reduced the rebellious Jews, and was a personal friend of Hadrian.
  After having settled thus the most urgent affairs of the empire, he went from Antioch to Cilicia, to see the body of Trajan, which was to be conveyed to Rome by Plotina, Attianus, and Matidia. Soon after his return to Antioch he appointed Catilius Severus governor of Syria, and travelled to Rome in A. D. 118. A triumph was celebrated to commemorate the victories of Trajan in the east, and the late emperor's image was placed in the triumphal car. The solemnity was scarcely over when Hadrian received the news that the Sarmatae and Roxolani had invaded the province of Moesia. He forthwith sent out his armies, and immediately after he himself followed them. The king of the Roxolani complained of the tribute, which he had to receive from the Romans, not being fully paid; but Hadrian concluded a peace with him, for which he had probably to pay a heavy sum. After this was settled, it appears that Hadrian intended marching into Dacia to attack the Sarmatians, when he was informed of a conspiracy against his life; it had been formed by the consular, Nigrinus, in conjunction with others of high rank, among whom are mentioned Palma, Celsus, and Lusius Quietus. Hadrian escaped from the hands of the conspirators, and all of them were put to death, as Hadrian himself said, by the command of the senate, and against his own will, though it was believed at the time, and is also maintained by Dion Cassius, that Hadrian himself had given orders for their execution. In consequence of this act of severity, popular feeling was very strong against him, especially as it was rumoured, that the conspiracy was a mere pretence, devised for the purpose of getting rid of those men who had been opposed to him during the reign of Trajan. As Hadrian had to fear the consequences of this state of public feeling, he entrusted the provinces of Pannonia and Dacia to Marcius Turbo, who had just pacified Mauritania, and returned to Rcme. His first object was to refute the opinion that he had any share in the execution of the four consulars, and he soothed the minds of the people by games, gladiatorial exhibitions, and large donations in money. Another act, which must have won for him the favour of thousands, both in Italy and the [p. 321] provinces, was that he cancelled an enormous sum due to the state as taxes, viz. all the arrears of the last 15 years, and to remove all fears from the minds of the people, he had the documents publicly burnt in the forum of Trajan. He further endeavoured to secure his government by winning the good will of the senate; he not only denied the charge brought against him respecting the four consulars, but swore that he would never punish a senator except with the sanction of the senate; and the senate was, in fact, made to believe that it had never been in the enjoyment of such extensive and unlimited powers as now. At the same time, however, he found it necessary to remove his former friends Attianus and Similis from their office of praefects of the praetorians, and to appoint Marcius Turbo and Septicius Clarus their successors.
  The war against the Sarmatians was continued in the meantime by Hadrian's legates, and lasted for several years, if we may believe the chronicle of Eusebius, which mentions it as still going on in A. D. 120. In the year A. D. 119 Hadrian began his memorable journey through the provinces of his empire, many portions of which he traversed on foot. His desire to promote the good of the empire by convincing himself every where personally of the state of affairs, and by applying the necessary remedies wherever mismanagement was discovered, was unquestionably one of the motives that led him to this singular undertaking; but there can be little doubt that the restlessness of his mind and the extraordinary curiosity which stimulated him to go and see himself every thing of which he had heard or read, had as great a share in determining him thus to travel through his vast empire, as his desire to do good. These travels occupy the greater part of his reign; but the scanty accounts we have of them do not enable us to follow them step by step, or even to arrange them in a satisfactory chronological order. In A. D. 119 he left Rome and first went to Gaul, where he displayed great liberality in satisfying the wants of the provincials. Front Gaul he proceeded to Germany, where he devoted most of his attention to the armies on the frontier. Although he was more desirous to maintain peace than to carry on war, he trained the soldiers always as though a great war had been near at hand; and the excellent condition of his troops, combined with the justice he displayed in his foreign policy, and the sums of money he paid to barbarian chiefs, were the principal means of keeping the enemies away from the Roman provinces. The limes in Germany was fortified, and several towns and colonies were greatly benefited by him. From Germany he crossed over into Britain, where he introduced many improvements in the administration, and constructed the famous wall dividing the Roman province from and protecting it against the barbarous tribes of the north; it extended from the Solway to the month of the river Tyne, a distance of 80,000 feet, and traces of it are to be seen even at the present day. From Britain Hadrian returned to Gaul, and constructed a magnificent basilica at Nemausus (Nismes), in honour of his wife, Sabina, although during his absence in Britain, her conduct was such that he is reported to have said he would divorce her if he lived in a private station. After this he went to Spain, where he spent the winter, probably of A. D. 121 and 122, and held a convents of all the Romans residing in Spain. In the spring of 122 he crossed over to Africa, where he suppressed an insurrection in Mauritania, and then travelled through Egypt into Asia. A war with the Parthians was on the eve of breaking out, but Hadrian averted it by an interview which he had with their king. He next travelled through the provinces of Western Asia, probably during the early part of A. D. 123, visited the islands of the Aegean, and then went to Achaia, where he took up his residence at Athens. It would seem that he stayed there for three years, till A. D. 126. Athens was his favourite place, and was honoured by him above all the other cities of the empire: he gave to the people of Athens new laws, and showed his reverence for their institutions by being initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries, by acting the part of agonothetes at their public games, and by allowing himself to be made archon eponymus. From Athens he returned to Rome by way of Sicily, either in A. D. 126 or 127. He was saluted at Rome as pater patriae, and his wife distinguished by the title of Augusta. The next few years he remained at Rome, with only one interruption, during which lie visited Africa. He seems to have chiefly employed his time at Rome in endeavouring to introduce the Greek institutions and modes of worship, for which he had conceived a great admiration at Athens. It seems to have been about A. D. 129 that Hadrian set out on his second journey to the east. He travelled by way of Athens, where he stayed for some time to see the completion of the numerous buildings which he had commenced during his previous visit, especially to dedicate the temple of the Olympian Zeus, and an altar to himself. In Asia he conciliated the various princes in the most amicable and liberal manner, so that those who did not accept his invitation had afterwards themselves most reason to regret it. He sent back to Cosrhoes a daughter who had been taken prisoner by Trajan; and the governors and procuratores in the provinces were punished severely wherever they were found unjust or wanting in the discharge of their duties. From Asia Minor he proceeded through Syria and Arabia into Egypt, where he restored the tomb of Pompey with great splendour. During an excursion on the Nile he lost his favourite, Antinous, for whom he entertained an unnatural affection, and whose death was to him the cause of deep and lasting grief. From Egypt, Hadrian returned, through Syria, to Rome, where he must have spent the latter part of the year A. D. 131, and the first of 132, for in the former year he built the temple of Venus and Roma, and i the latter he promulgated the edictuen perpetuum.
  Not long after his return to Rome the Jewish war broke out, the only one that disturbed the peace of his long reign. The causes of this war were the establishment of a colony under the name of Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, and an order issued by Hadrian forbidding the Jews the rite of circumcision. The war was carried on by the Jews as a national struggle with the most desperate fury; it lasted for several years, and it was not till the general Julius Severus came over from Britain, that the Romans gradually succeeded in paralysing or annihilating the Jews; and the country was nearly reduced to a wilderness when peace was restored. The Jews were henceforth not allowed to reside at Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity; and from this time they were dispersed through the world. After the close of the Jewish war another threatened to break out with the Albanians, who had been instigated by Pharasmanes, king of the Iberians. But the rich presents which Hadrian made to the Albanians and Iberians averted the outbreak, and Pharasmanes even paid a visit to Hadrian at Rome.
  In the meantime, probably in the autumn of A. D. 132, Hadrian had again gone to Athens, where he stayed during the whole of the year following. From a letter of Hadrian, addressed to his brother-in-law, Servianus, and preserved by Vopiscus (Suturnin. 8), we must infer that in 134 the emperor again visited Alexandria in Egypt, and, on his return through Syria, where he attended the sale of the Jews who had been made prisoners in the war, superintended the building of the colony at Jerusalem, and regulated its constitution. After his return to Rome, Hadrian spent the remainiig years of his life partly in the city and partly at Tibur, where he built or completed his magnificent villa, the ruins of which occupy even now a space equal to that of a considerable town. The many fatigues and hardships to which he had been exposed during his travels had impaired his health, and he sank into a dangerous illness, which led him to think of fixing upon a successor, as he had himself no children. After some hesitation, he adopted L. Ceionius Commodus, under the name of L. Aelius Verus, and raised him to the rank of Caesar, probably for no other reason than his beauty; for Ceionius Commodus had formerly been connected with Hadrian in the same manner that Antinous was afterwards connected with him. The adoption had been made contrary to the advice of all his friends, and those who had most strongly opposed it appeared to Hadrian in no other light than that of personal enemies. Servianus, who was then in his 90th year, and his grandson Fuscas, were the principal objects of his suspicions, and both were put to death by his command. Aelius Verus, however, who was entrusted with the administration of Pannonia, did not afford Hadrian the assistance and support he had expected, for he was a person of a weakly constitution, and died on the 1st of January, A. D. 138. Hadrian now adopted Arrius Antoninus, afterwards surnamed Pius, and presented him to the senators assembled around his bed as his successor. But Hadrian, mindful of the more distant future, made it the condition with Antoninus that he should at once adopt the son of Aelius Verus and M. Annius Verus (afterwards the emperor M. Aurelius). These arrangements, however, did not restore peace to Hadrian's mind : as his illness grew worse his suspicious and bitter feelings increased, and prompted him to many an act of cruelty; many persons of distinction were put to death, and many others would have been sacrificed in the same manner had they not been saved by the precautions of Antoninus Pius. The illness of which Hadrian suffered was of a consumptive nature, which was aggravated by dropsy; and when ne found that he could not be saved, he requested a slave to run him through with a sword; but this was prevented by Antoninus. Several more attempts were made at suicide, but in vain. At last he was conveyed to Baiae, where he hoped to find at least some relief, and Antoninus remained behind at Rome as his vicegerent. But his health did not improve; and soon after the arrival of Antoninus at Baiae, whom he had sent for, he died on the 10th of July, 138, at the age of 63, and after a reign of nearly twenty years. He was buried in the villa of Cicero, near Puteoli. The senate, indignant at the many acts of cruelty of which he had been guilty during the last period of his life, wanted to annul his enactments, and refused him the title of Divus, but Antoninus prevailed upon the senate to be lenient towards the deceased, who during the latter part of his life had not been in the full possession of his mind. A temple was then erected as a monument on his tomb, and various institutions were made to commemorate his memory. Antoninus is said by some to owe his surname of Pius to these exertions of filial love towards his adoptive father.
  The above is a brief sketch of the events of the life and reign of Hadrian; and it now remains to offer a few observations on his policy, the principles of his government, his personal character, his influence upon art and literature, and his own literary productions, so far as they are known to us. The reign of Hadrian was one of peace, and may be regarded as one of the happiest periods in Roman history. His policy, in reference to foreign nations, was to preserve peace as much as possible, not to extend the boundaries of the empire, but to secure the old provinces, and promote their welfare, by a wise and just administration. For this reason he gave up the eastern conquests of Trajan, and would have given up Dacia also, had it not been for the numerous Roman citizens who had taken up their residence there. This general peace of the reign of Hadrian, however, was not the result of cowardice, or of jealousy of his predecessor, as some of the ancients asserted, but the fruit of a wise political system. Hadrian's presents and kindness to the barbarians would not have been sufficient to ward off their attacks, but the frontiers of the empire were guarded by armies which were in the most excellent condition, for the military system and discipline introduced by Hadrian were so well devised, that his regulations remained in force for a long time afterwards, and were regarded as law. With regard to the internal administration of the empire, Hadrian was the first emperor that understood his real position, and looked upon himself as the sovereign of the Roman world; for his attention was engaged no less by the provinces than by Rome and Italy, and thus it happened that the monarchical system became more consolidated under him than under any of his predecessors. He gained the favour of the people by his great liberality, and that of the senate by treating it with the utmost deference, so far as form was concerned, for, in reality, the senate was no more than the organ of the imperial will. An institution which gradually deprived the senate of its jurisdiction, and its share in the government, was that of the consilium, or consistorium principis, which had indeed existed before, but received its stability and organisation from Hadrian. The political offices and those of the court were regulated by Hadrian in a manner which, with a few exceptions, remained unaltered till the time of the great Constantine. The praefectus praetorio henceforth was the president of the state-council (consilium principis), and always a jurisconsult, so that we may henceforth regard him as a kind of minister of justice. Hadrian himself paid particular attention to the proper exercise of jurisdiction in the provinces as well as in Italy: his reign forms an epoch in the history of Roman jurisprudence. It was at Hadrian's command that the jurist Salvius Julianus drew up the edictum perpetuum, which formed a fixed code of laws. Some of the laws promulgated by Hadrian are of a truly humane character, and aimed at improving the public morality of the time. He divided Italy into four regions, placing each under a consular, who had the administration of justice. The fact of his taking the titles of the highest magistracies in several towns in Italy and the provinces may indeed have been little more than a form, but it shows, at any rate, that he took a considerable interest in the internal affairs of those towns. The proceedings of those persons who were connected with the administration of provinces were watched with the strictest care, and any violation of justice was severely punished. While he thus on the one hand benefited the provinces by punishing and preventing oppression and injustice, he won the hearts of the provincials by his liberality during his travels. There is scarcely one of the places he visited which did not receive some mark of his favour or liberality; in many places he built aquaeducts, in others harbors or other public buildings, either for use or ornament; and the people received large donations of grain or money, or were honoured with distinctions and privileges. But what has rendered his name more illustrious than any thing else are the numerous and magnificent architectural works which he planned and commenced during his travels, especially at Athens, in the southwest of which he built an entirely new city, Adrianopolis. We cannot here enter into an account of the numerous buildings he erected, or of the towns which he built or restored: suffice it to direct attention to his villa at Tibur, which has been a real mine of treasures of art, and his mausoleum at Rome, which forms the groundwork of the present castle St. Angelo. His taste in architecture, however, appears to have been very capricious, and very different from the grandeur and simplicity of earlier times; in addition to this, he was tenacious of the plans he had once formed, and unable to bear any opposition or contradiction. The great architect, Apollodorus, had to pay with his life for the presumption with which he ventured to censure one of Hadrian's works; for the emperor's ambition was to be thought a great architect, painter, and musician.
  Hadrian was not only a patron and practical lover of the arts, but poetry and learning also were nurtured and patronised by him. He was fond of the society of poets, scholars, rhetoricians, and philosophers, but, as in architecture, his taste was of an inferior kind. Thus he preferred Antimachus to Homer, and imitated the former in a poem entitled Catacriani. The philosophers and sophists who enjoyed his friendship had, on the other hand, to suffer much from his petty jealousy and vanity, which led him to overrate his own powers and depreciate those of others. He founded at Rome a scientific institution under the name of Athenaeum, which continued to flourish for a long time after him. We possess few specimens of Hadrian's literary productions, although he was the author of many works both in prose and in verse. In his earlier years he had devoted himself with much zeal to the study of eloquence, but, in accordance with the prevailing taste of the age, he preferred the earlier Roman orators and poets to Cicero and his contemporaries. Some of Hadrian's own declamations were extant down to a very late period. He further wrote the history of his own life, from which some statements are quoted by his biographer Spartianus, and which was edited by his freedman Phlegon. The Latin Anthology contains six epigrams by Hadrian, and six others in Greek are preserved in the Greek Anthology, but none of them display any real poetical genius; they are cold and far-fetched.
  Our sources of information respecting the life and reign of Hadrian are very poor and scanty, for the two main authorities, Hadrian's own work, and another by Marius Maximus, are lost, and, on the whole, we are confined to Spartianus's Life of Hadrian and the abridgement of the 69th book of Dion Cassius, by Xiphilinus.
(Comp. Eutrop. viii, 3; Aurel. Vict. de Caesar. 14; Zonar. xi. 23, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD)

Antoninus Pius. The name of this emperor in the early part of his life, at full length, was Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus--a series of appellations derived from his paternal and maternal ancestors, from whom he inherited great wealth. The family of his father was originally from Nemausus (Nismes) in Transalpine Gaul, and the most important members of the stock are exhibited in the following table:
  Antoninus himself was born near Lanuvium on the 19th of September, A. D. 86, in the reign of Domitian; was brought up at Lorium, a villa on the Aurelian way, about twelve miles from Rome; passed his boyhood under the superintendence of his two grandfathers, and from a very early age gave promise of his future worth. After having filled the offices of quaestor and praetor with great distinction, he was elevated to the consulship in 120, was afterwards selected by Hadrian as one of the four consulars to whom the administration of Italy was entrusted, was next appointed proconsul of the province of Asia, which he ruled so wisely that he surpassed in fame all former governors, not excepting his grandfather Arrius, and on his return home was admitted to share the secret counsels of the prince. In consequence, it would appear, of his merit alone, after the death of Aelius Caesar, he was adopted by Hadrian on the 25th of February 138, in the 52nd year of his age. He was immediately assumed by his new father as colleague in the tribunate and proconsular imperium, and thenceforward bore the name of T. Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Caesar. Being at this period without male issue, he was required to adopt M. Annius Verus, the son of his wife's brother, and also L. Ceionius Commodus, the son of Aelius Caesar, who had been previously adopted by Hadrian but was now dead. These two individuals were afterwards the emperors M. Aurelius Antoninus and L. Aurelius Verus.
  Hadrian died at Baiae on the 2nd of July, 138, but a few months after these arrangements had been concluded, and Antoninus without opposition ascended the throne. Several years before this event, he had married Annia Galeria Faustina, whose descent will be understood by referring to the account given of the family of her nephew, M. Aurelius. By her he had two daughters, Aurelia Fadilla and Annia Faustina, and two sons, M. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and M. Galerius Antoninus. Aurelia married Lamia Syllanus, and died at the time when her father was setting out for Asia. Faustina became the wife of her first cousin Marcus Aurelius, the future emperor. Of the male progeny we know nothing. The name of the first mentioned was discovered by Pagi in an inscription, the portrait of the second appears on a rare Greek coin, with the legend, M. GALEPIOX. ANTONEINOX. AUTOKPATOPOX. ANTONEINOT UIOX. On the reverse of the medal is the head of his mother, with the words, THEA PHAUXTEINA, which prove that it was struck subsequently to her death, which happened in the third year after her husband's accession. It will be observed, that while Galerius is styled "son of the emperor Antoninus", he is not termed KAISAP, a title which would scarcely have been omitted had he been born or been alive after his father's elevation. From this circumstance, therefore, from the absolute silence of history with regard to these youths, and from the positive assertion of Dion Cassius (lxix. 21), that Antoninus had no male issue when adopted by Hadrian, we may conclude that both his sons died before this epoch; and hence the magnanimity ascribed to him by Gibbon (c. 3) in preferring the welfare of Rome to the interests of his family, and sacrificing the claims of his own children to the talents and virtues of young Marcus, is probably altogether visionary.
  The whole period of the reign of Antoninus, which lasted for upwards of twenty-two years, is almost a blank in history--a blank caused by the suspension for a time of war, and violence, and crime. Never before and never after did the Roman world enjoy for an equal space so large a measure of prosperous tranquillity. All the thoughts and energies of a most sagacious and able prince were steadfastly dedicated to the attainment of one object: the happiness of his people. And assuredly never were noble exertions crowned with more ample success.
  
At home the affections of all classes were won by his simple habits, by the courtesy of his manners, by the ready access granted to his presence, by the patient attention with which he listened to representations upon all manner of subjects, by his impartial distribution of favours, and his prompt administration of justice. Common informers were discouraged, and almost disappeared; never had confiscations been so rare; during a long succession of years no senator was punished with death; one man only was impeached of treason, and he, when convicted, was forbidden to betray his accomplices.
  Abroad, the subject states participated largely in the blessings diffused by such an example. The best governors were permitted to retain their power for a series of years, and the collectors of the revenue were compelled to abandon their extortions. Moreover, the general condition of the provincials was improved, their fidelity secured, and the resources and stability of the whole empire increased by the communication, on a large scale, of the full rights and privileges of Roman citizens to the inhabitants of distant countries. In cases of national calamity and distress, such as the earthquakes which devastated Rhodes and Asia, and the great fires at Narbonne, Antioch, and Carthage, the sufferers were relieved, and compensation granted for their losses with the most unsparing liberality.
  In foreign policy, the judicious system of his predecessor was steadily followed out. No attempt was made to achieve new conquests, but all rebellions from within and all aggressions from without were promptly crushed. Various movements among the Germans, the Dacians, the Jews, the Moors, the Greeks, and the Egyptians, were quelled by persuasion or by a mere demonstration of force ; while a more formidable insurrection in northern Britain was speedily repressed by the imperial legate Lollius Urbicus, who advancing beyond the wall of Hadrian, connected the friths of the Clyde and the Forth by a rampart of turf, in order that the more peaceful districts might be better protected from the inroads of the Caledonians. The British war was concluded, as we learn from medals, between the years 140-145, and on this occasion Antoninus received for a second time the title of imperator -a distinction which he did not agair accept, and he never deigned to celebrate a triumph.
  Even the nations which were not subject to Rome paid the utmost respect to the power of Antoninus. The Parthians, yielding to his remonstrances, abandoned an attempt upon Armenia. The Scythians submitted disputes with their neighbours to his arbitration; the barbarians of the Upper Danube received a king from his hands; a great chief of the clans of Caucasus repaired to Rome to tender his homage in person, and embassies flocked in from Hyrcania and Bactria, from the banks of the Indus and of the Ganges, to seek the alliance of the emperor.
  In his reign various improvements were introduced in the law, by the advice of the most eminent jurists of the day; the health of the population was protected by salutary regulations with regard to the interment of the dead, and by the establishment of a certain number of licensed medical practitioners in the metropolis and all large towns. The interests of education and literature were promoted by honours and pensions bestowed on the most distinguished professors of philosophy and rhetoric throughout the world. Commercial intercourse was facilitated by the construction or repair of bridges, harbours, and lighthouses; and architecture and the fine arts were encouraged by the erection and decoration of numerous public buildings. Of these the temple of Faustina in the forum, and the mausoleum of Hadrian on the right bank of the Tiber, may still be seen, and many antiquarians are of opinion, that the magnificent amphitheatre at Nismes, and the stupendous aqueduct now termed the Pont du Gard, between that town and Avignon, are monuments of the interest felt by the descendant of the Aurelii Fulvi for the country of his fathers. It is certain that the former of these structures was completed under his immediate successors and dedicated to them.
  In all the relations of private life Antoninus was equally distinguished. Even his wife's irregularities, which must to a certain extent have been known to him, he passed over, and after her death loaded her memory with honours. Among the most remarkable of these was the establishment of an hospital, after the plan of a similar institution by Trajan, for the reception and maintenance of boys and girls, the young females who enjoyed the advantages of the charity being termed puellae alimentariae Faustinianae. By fervent piety and scrupulous observance of sacred rites, he gained the reputation of being a second Numa ; but he was a foe to intolerant fanaticism, as is proved by the protection and favour extended to the Christians. His natural taste seems to have had a strong bias towards the pleasures of a country life, and accordingly we find him spending all his leisure hours upon his estate in the country. In person he was of commanding aspect and dignified countenance, and a deep toned melodious voice rendered his native eloquence more striking and impressive.
  His death took place at Lorium on the 7th of March, 161, in his 75th year. He was succeeded by M. Aurelius.
  Some doubts existed amongst the ancients themselves with regard to the origin of the title Pius, and several different explanations, many of them very silly, are proposed by his biographer Capitolinus. The most probable account of the matter is this. Upon the death of Hadrian, the senate, incensed by his severity towards several members of their body, had resolved to withhold the honours usually conferred upon deceased emperors, but were induced to forego their purpose in consequence of the deep grief of Antoninus, and his earnest entreaties. Being, perhaps, after the first burst of indignation had passed away, somewhat alarmed by their own rashness, they determined to render the concession more gracious by paying a compliment to their new ruler which should mark their admiration of the feeling by which he had been influenced, and accordingly they hailed him by the name of Pius, or the dutifully affectionate. This view of the question receives support from medals, since the epithet appears for the first time upon those which were struck immediately after the death of Hadrian; while several belonging to the same year, but coined before that date, bear no such addition. Had it been, as is commonly supposed, conferred in consequence of the general holiness of his life, it would in all probability have been introduced either when he first became Caesar, or after he had been seated for some time on the throne, and not exactly at the moment of his accession. Be that as it may, it found such favour in the eyes of his successors, that it was almost universally adopted, and is usually found united with the appellation of Augustus.
  Our chief and almost only authority for the life of Antoninus Pius is the biography of Capitolinus, which, as may be gathered from what has been said above, is from beginning to end an uninterrupted panegyric. But the few facts which we can collect from medals, from the scanty fragments of Dion Cassius, and from incidental notices in later writers, all corroborate, as far as they go, the representations of Capitolinus; and therefore we cannot fairly refuse to receive his narrative merely because he paints a character of singular and almost unparalleled excellence.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180 AD)

M. Aurelius Antoninus, commonly distinguished by the epithet of "the philosopher", was born at Rome, on the Coelian hill, on the 20th of April, A. D. 121. From his paternal ancestors, who for three generations had held high offices of state and claimed descent from Numa, he inherited the name of M. Annius Verus, while from his great-grandfather on the mother's side he received the appellation of Catilius Severus (...)
  N.B. M. Aurelius and Faustina seem to have had several children. Three daughters were still alive after the death of Commodus (Lamprid. Commod. 18; Herodian. i. 12), and one of these was put to death by Caracalla in 212. We find in an inscription the names of his sons, T. Aurelius Antoninus, and T. Aelius Aurelius, both of whom were, it is probable, older than Commodus, and died young.
  The father of young Marcus having died while praetor, the boy was adopted by his grandfather, Annius Verus, and from a very early period enjoyed the favour of Hadrian, who bestowed on him the honours of the equestrian order when only six years old, admitted him as a member of the fraternity of the Salian priests at the age of eight, and as a tribute to the sincerity and truthfulness of his disposition, was wont in playful affection to address him not as Verus but Verissimus. At the age of fifteen he received the manly gown, and was betrothed to the daughter of Aelius Caesar, the heirapparent to the throne. But not long after (138), in consequence of the sudden death of his intended father-in-law, still more brilliant prospects were suddenly opened up to the youth. For, according to the arrangement explained under Antoninus Pius, both he and L. Ceionius Commodus, son of Aelius Caesar, were adopted by Antoninus Pius, immediately after the latter had been himself adopted by Hadrian. He was now styled M. Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar, and was immediately chosen to fill the office of quaestor for the following year. The proposed union with the daughter of Aelius Caesar was set aside, on account, it was alleged, of disparity in age, and Faustina, the daughter of Pius, who had been previously destined by Hadrian for young Ceionius Commodus, was fixed upon as the future wife of Marcus Aurelius. Their nuptials, however, were not celebrated until after a lapse of seven years (145). In 140 he was raised to the consulship, and in 147, after the birth of a daughter by Faustina, was permitted to share the tribunate, and was invested with various other honours and privileges befitting his station. From this time forward he was the constant companion and adviser of the monarch, and the most perfect confidence subsisted between the son and his adopted father until the death of the latter, which happened on the 7th of March, 161.
  The first act of the new ruler was the admission of Ceionius Commodus to a full participation in the sovereign power, and these emperors henceforward bore respectively the names of M. Aurelius Antoninus and L. Aurelius Verus. When the double adoption by Antoninus Pius took place, it was settled that the son of Aelius Caesar should be considered as the younger brother. Thus, on the coins struck before the death of Pius, M. Aurelius alone bears the appellation of Caesar, to him alone Pius committed the empire with his dying breath, and to him alone did the senate formally offer the vacant throne. Hence his conduct towards L. Verus was purely an act of grace. But the alliance promised to prove advantageous both to the parties themselves, and also to the general interests of the state. Marcus was weak in constitution, and took more delight in philosophy and literary pursuits than in politics and war, while Lucius, young, active, and skilled in all manly exercises, was likely to be better fitted for the toils of a military life. His aptitude for such a career was soon put to the proof. The war, which had been long threatening the east, at length burst forth. Verus, after being betrothed to Lucilla, the daughter of his colleague, was despatched in all haste to the Parthian frontier towards the end of 161, while M. Aurelius remained in the city to watch an irruption of the Catti into the Rhenish provinces and a threatened insurrection in Britain.
  Vologeses III., who had been induced to abandon a meditated attack upon Armenia by the remonstrances of Antoninus Pius, thinking that a fitting season had now arrived for the execution of his long-cherished schemes, had destroyed a whole Roman legion quartered at Elegeia, and advancing at the head of a great army, had spread devastation throughout Syria. Lucius having collected his troops, proceeded to Antioch, where he determined to remain, and entrusted the command of his army to Cassius and others of his generals. Cassius compelled the Parthians to retreat, invaded Mesopotamia, plundered and burnt Seleuceia, razed to the ground the royal palace at Ctesiphon, and penetrated as far as Babylon; while Statius Priscus, who was sent into Armenia, stormed Artaxata, and, rescuing the country from the usurper, reinstated the lawful but dethroned monarch Soaemus. Vologeses was thus constrained to conclude an ignominious peace, in virtue of which Mesopotamia was ceded to the Romans. These events took place in 162 and the three following years. In 166, Lucius returned home, and the two emperors celebrated jointly a magnificent triumph, assuming the titles of Armeniacus, Parthicus Maximus, and Medicus. But although this campaign had terminated so gloriously, little praise was due to the commanderin-chief. Twice he was unwillingly prevailed upon to advance as far as the Euphrates, and he made a journey to Ephesus (in 164) to meet his bride on her arrival from Italy; but with these exceptions he passed his winters at Laodiceia, and the rest of his time at Daphne or at Antioch, abandoning himself to gaming, drunkenness, and dissolute pleasures of every kind. All the achievements of the war were performed by his legates, and all the general arrangements conducted by M. Aurelius at Rome.
  A still heavier danger was now impending, which threatened to crush Italy itself. A combination had been formed among the numerous tribes, dwelling along the whole extent of the northern limits of the empire, from the sources of the Danube to the Illyrian border, including the Marcomanni, the Alani, the Jazyges, the Quadi, the Sarmatae, and many others. In addition to the danger from without, the city was hard pressed by numerous calamities from within. Inundations had destroyed many buildings and much property, among which were vast granaries with their contents, the poor were starving in consequence of the deficiency thus caused in the supplies of corn, and numbers were perishing by a fearful pestilence, said to have been brought from the east by the troops of Verus. So great was the panic, that it was resolved that both emperors should go forth to encounter the foe. Previous to their departure, in order to restore confidence to the populace, priests were summoned from all quarters, a multitude of expiatory sacrifices were performed, many of them according to strange and foreign rites, and victims were offered to the gods with the most unsparing profusion.
  The contest which had now commenced with the northern nations was continued with varying success during the whole life of M. Aurelius, whose head-quarters were generally fixed in Pannonia; but the details preserved by the historians who treat of this period are so confused and so utterly destitute of all chronological arrangement, that it becomes impossible to draw up anything like a regular and well-connected narrative of the progress of the struggle. Medals are our only sure guide, and the information afforded by these is necessarily meagre and imperfect. It would appear that the barbarians, overawed by the extensive preparations of the Romans and by the presence of the two Augusti, submitted for a time and sued for peace, and that the brothers returned to Rome in the course of 168. They set out again, however, in 169, but before they reached the army, L. Verus was seized with apoplexy, and expired at Aetinum, in the territory of Veneti. Marcus hastened back to Rome, paid the last honours to the memory of his colleague, and returned to Germany towards the close of the year. He now prosecuted the war against the Marcomanni with great vigour, although from the ravages caused by the plague among the troops, he was forced to enrol gladiators, slaves, and exiles, and, from the exhausted state of the public treasury, was compelled to raise money by selling the precious jewels and furniture of the imperial palace. In consequence of the success which attended these extraordinary efforts, the legends Germanicus and Germania Subacta now appear upon the coins, while Parthicus, Armeniacus, and Medicus are dropped, as having more especially appertained to L. Verus. Among the numerous engagements which took place at this epoch, a battle fought on the frozen Danube has been very graphically described by Dion Cassius (lxxii. 7); but by far the most celebrated and important was the victory gained over the Quadi in 174, which having been attended by certain circumstances believed to be supernatural, gave rise to the famous controversy among the historians of Christianity upon what is commonly termed the Miracle of the Thundering Legion. Those who may desire to investigate this question will find the subject fully discussed in the correspondence between King and Moyle (Moyle's Works, Lond. 1726). There is an excellent summary of the whole argument in Lardner's "Jewish and Heathen Testimonies" (chap. xv.), and many useful remarks are to be found in Milman's History of Christianity (chap. vii.), and in the Bishop of Lincoln's "Illustrations, &c. from Tertullian" . An attempt has been made recently to restore the credit of the supposed miracle, in the essay by Mr. Newman, prefixed to a portion of Fleury's "Ecclesiastical History", published at Oxford in 1842.
  Whatever opinion we may form upon the subject of debate, we may feel certain of the fact, that the Romans were rescued from a very critical situation by a sudden storm, and gained an important victory over their opponents. That they attributed their preservation to the direct interposition of heaven is proved by the testimonies of the ancient historians, and also by the sculptures of the Antonine column, where a figure supposed to represent Jupiter Pluvius is seen sending down streams of water from his arms and head, which the Roman soldiers below catch in the hollow of their shields.
  This success, and the circumstances by which it was accompanied, seem to have struck terror into the surrounding nations, who now tendered submission or claimed protection. But the fruits were in a great measure lost, for the emperor was prevented from following up the advantage gained, in consequence of the alarm caused by unexpected disturbances which had broken out in the East, and had quickly assumed a very formidable aspect. Faustina had long watched with anxiety the declining health of her husband, and anticipating his speedy death, was filled with alarm lest, from the youth and incapacity of her son Commodus, the empire might pass away into other hands. She had, therefore, opened a correspondence with Avidius Cassius, who had gained great fame in the Parthian war commemorated above, who had subsequently suppressed a serious insurrection in Egypt, and had acted as supreme governor of the Eastern provinces after the departure of Lucius Verus. Her object was to persuade him to hold himself in readiness to aid her projects, and she offered him her hand and the throne as his rewards. While Cassius was meditating upon these proposals, he suddenly received intelligence that Marcus was dead, and forthwith, without waiting for a confirmation of the news, caused himself to be proclaimed his successor. The falseness of the rumour soon became known, but deeming that his offence was beyond forgiveness, he determined to prosecute the enterprise; within a short period he made himself master of all Asia within Mount Taurus, and resolved to maintain his pretensions by force. A report of these transactions was forthwith transmitted to Rome by M.Verus, the legate commanding in Cappadocia. Aurelius, who was still in Pannonia, summoned his son to his presence in all haste, and bestowed on him the manly gown, intending to set out instantly for the seat of war. But in the midst of active preparations for a campaign Cassius was assassinated by two of his own officers, after having enjoyed a nominal sovereignty for three months and six days. His son soon after shared the same fate. The conduct of Marcus throughout the whole of this rebellion can scarcely fail to excite the warmest admiration. In the mournful address delivered to his soldiers, he bitterly deplores that he should be forced to engage in a contest so revolting to his feelings as civil strife. His chief dread was that Cassius, from shame or remorse, might put an end to his own life, or fall by the hand of some loyal subject -his fondest wish, that he might have an opportunity of granting a free pardon. Nor did this forgiving temper exhaust itself in words. When the head of the traitor was laid at his feet, he rejected with horror the bloody offering, and refused to admit the murderers to his presence. On repairing to the East, where his presence was thought necessary to restore tranquillity and order, he displayed the greatest lenity towards those provinces which had acknowledged the usurper, and towards those senators and persons of distinction who were proved to have favoured his designs. Not one individual suffered death; few were punished in any shape, except such as had been guilty of other crimes; and finally, to establish perfect confidence in all, he ordered the papers of Cassius to be destroyed without suffering them to be read. During this expedition, Faustina, who had accompanied her husband, died in a village among the defiles of Taurus. According to some, her end was caused by an attack of gout; according to others, it was hastened by her own act, in order to escape the punishment which she feared would inevitably follow the discovery of her negotiations with Cassius. Her guilt in this matter is spoken of by Dion without any expression of doubt; is mentioned by Capitolinus as a report only, and positively denied by Vulcatius; but the arguments employed by the latter are of no weight.
  After visiting Egypt, the emperor set out for Italy, touched at Athens on his homeward journey, reached Brundusium towards the end of the year 176, and celebrated a triumph along with Commodus, now consul elect, on the 23rd of December. Scarcely was this ceremony concluded, when fresh tumults arose upon the Danube, where the presence of the emperor was once more required. Accordingly, after concluding somewhat earlier than he had intended the nuptials of Commodus and Crispina, he quitted Rome along with his son, in the month of August (177), and hastened to Germany. During the two following years his operations were attended with the most prosperous results. The Marcomanni, the Hermanduri, the Sarmatae, and the Quadi, were repeatedly routed, their confederacy was broken up, and everything seemed to promise that they would at length be effectually crushed. But the shattered constitution of Marcus now sunk beneath the pressure of mental and bodily fatigue. He died in Pannonia, either at Vindobona (Vienna) or at Sirmium, on the 17th of March, 180, in the 59th year of his age and the 20th of his reign. A strong suspicion prevailed that his death had been accelerated by the machinations of his son, who was accused of having tampered with the physicians, and persuaded them to administer poison.
  The leading feature in the character of M. Aurelius was his devotion to philosophy and literature. When only twelve years old he adopted the dress and practised the austerities of the Stoics, whose doctrines were imparted to him by the most celebrated teachers of the day -Diognotus, Apollonius, and Junius Rusticus. He studied the principles of composition and oratory under Herodes Atticus and Cornelius Fronto, and by his close and unremitting application laid the foundation of the bad health by which he was so much oppressed in after life. While yet Caesar he was addressed by Justin Martyr (Apolog. i. init.) as Verissimus " the philosopher", an epithet by which he has been commonly distinguished from that period down to the present day, although no such title was ever publicly or formally conferred. Even after his elevation to the purple, he felt neither reluctance nor shame in resorting to the school of Sextus of Chaeroneia, the descendant of Plutarch, and in listening to the extemporaneous declamations of Hermogenes. From his earliest youth he lived upon terms of the most affectionate familiarity with his instructors, as we may gather from his correspondence with Fronto; the most worthy were, through his influence, promoted to the highest dignities; after their death he placed their images in the chapel of his lares, and was wont to strew flowers and offer sacrifices on their graves. Nor was his liberality confined to his own preceptors, for learned men in every quarter of the world enjoyed substantial proofs of his bounty. Philosophy was the great object of his zeal, but the other branches of a polite education were by no means neglected; music, poetry, and painting, were cultivated in turn, and the severer sciences of mathematics and law engaged no small portion of his attention. In jurisprudence especially, he laboured throughout life with great activity, and his Constitutions are believed to have filled many volumes. These are now all lost, but they are constantly quoted with great respect by later writers.
  With the exception of a few letters contained in the recently discovered remains of Fronto, the only production of Marcus which has been preserved is a volume composed in Greek, and entitled Markou Antoninou tou autukratoros ton eis eauton bibblia ib. It is a sort of common-place book, in which were registered from time to time the thoughts and feelings of the author upon moral and religious topics, together with striking maxims extracted from the works of those who had been most eminent for wisdom and virtue. There is no attempt at order or arrangement, but the contents are valuable, in so far as they illustrate the system of self-examination enjoined by the discipline of the Stoics, and present a genuine picture of the doubts and difficulties and struggles of a speculative and reflecting mind.
  The education and pursuits of M. Aurelius exercised the happiest influence upon a temper and disposition naturally calm and benevolent. He succeeded in acquiring the boasted composure and self-command of the disciples of the Porch, without imbibing the harshness which they were wont to exhibit. He was firm without being obstinate; he steadfastly maintained his own principles without manifesting any overweening contempt for the opinions of those who differed from himself; his justice was tempered with gentleness and mercy; his gravity was devoid of gloom. In public life, he sought to demonstrate practically the truth of the Platonic maxim, ever on his lips, that those states only could be truly happy which were governed by philosophers, or in which the kings and rulers were guided by the tenets of pure philosophy. In general policy, both at home and abroad, he steadily followed in the path of his predecessor, whose counsels he had shared for more than twenty years. The same praise, therefore, which belongs to the elder may fairly be imparted to the younger Antonine; and this is perhaps the most emphatic panegyric we could pronounce. No monarch was ever more widely or more deeply beloved. The people believed, that he had been sent down by the gods, for a time, to bless mankind, and had now returned to the heaven from which he descended. So universal was this conviction among persons of every age and calling, that his apotheosis was not, as in other cases, viewed in the light of a mere empty form. Every one, whose means permitted, procured a statue of the emperor. More than a century after his decease, these images were to be found in many mansions among the household gods, and persons were wont to declare, that he had appeared to them in dreams and visions, and revealed events which afterwards came to pass.
  The great, perhaps the only, indelible stain upon his memory is the severity with which he treated the Christians; and his conduct in this respect was the more remarkable, because it was not only completely at variance with his own general principles, but was also in direct opposition to the wise and liberal policy pursued by Hadrian and Pius. The numerous apologies published during his reign would alone serve to point out that the church was surrounded by difficulties and dangers; but the charge of positive persecution is fully established by the martyrdom of Justin at Rome, of the venerable Polycarp, with many others, at Smyrna (167) in the early part of his reign, and by the horrible atrocities perpetrated at Vienne and Lyons several years afterwards (177). It would be but a poor defence to allege, that these excesses were committed without the knowledge of a prince who on all other occasions watched with such care over the rights of his subjects in the most remote provinces. But, in so far as the proceedings in Gaul are concerned, we have clear evidence that they received his direct sanction; for when the Roman governor applied for instructions, an answer was returned, that all who confessed themselves to be Christians should suffer death. It is probable that his better feelings were in this instance overpowered by the violence of evil counsellors; for had he followed the dictates of his own nature, he would have been contented to moralise upon and lament over what he viewed as ignorant and obstinate adherence to a vain superstition. (See Med. xi. 3.) But this calm contempt by no means satisfied the active hate of the crowd of real and pretended Stoics, whom his patronage had attracted. Many of these were bigots of the worst class, and cherished sentiments of the most malignant animosity towards the professors of the new religion. Accustomed to regard all other sects with self-satisfied disdain, they could ill brook the freedom with which their follies and fallacies were now attacked and exposed; they regarded with jealous rage a code of morals and a spotless purity of life far superior to aught they had ever practised, or taught, or imagined; and least of all could they forgive the complete overthrow of their own exclusive pretensions to mental fortitude and calm endurance of bodily suffering.
  Although no other serious charge has been preferred against M. Aurelius, for the rumour that he poisoned L. Verus never seems to have obtained or deserved the slightest credit, we may perhaps by a close scrutiny detect a few weaknesses. The deep sorrow expressed upon the death of Faustina, and the eagerness with which he sought to heap honours on the memory of a wicked woman and a faithless wife, who rivalled Messalina in shameless and promiscuous profligacy, if sincere, betoken a degree of carelessness and blindness almost incredible; if feigned, a strange combination of apathy and dissimulation. Nor can we altogether forgive his want of discernment or of resolution in not discovering or restraining the evil propensities of his son, whose education he is said to have conducted with the most zealous care. Making every allowance for the innate depravity of the youth, we can scarcely conceive that if he had been trained with judicious firmness, and his evil passions combated and controlled before they became fully developed, he would ever have proved such a prodigy of heartless cruelty and brutal sensuality.
  Our chief authorities for this period of history are the life of M. Aurelius by Capitolinus, a mass of ill-selected and badly arranged materials, and the 71st book of Dion Cassius, a collection of awkwardly patched fragments. Some facts may be extracted from the minor Roman historians, and from Aristeides (Orat. ix.), Herodian, Joannes Antiochenus, and Zonaras.
  The editio princeps of the Meditations was published by Xylander (Tigur. 1558), and republished with improvements by the same scholar ten years afterwards (Basil. 1568). The next in order was superintended by Merick Casaubon (Lond. 1643), followed by the edition of Gataker (Cantab. 1652), reprinted at London (1697) with additional notes from the French of And. Dacier, and his life of M. Aurelius translated into Latin by Stanhope. This last edition must, upon the whole, be still considered as the most useful and ample. A new recension of the text, accompanied by a commentary, was commenced by Schulz, at the beginning of the present century (Slesvic. 1802), but the work is still imperfect, one volume only having appeared.
  There are numerous translations into most of the European languages. In English, the best, though indifferent, is that published at Glasgow in 1749 and 1764; in French, that of Madame Dacier (Paris, 1691); in German, that of Schulz. (Sleswick, 1799.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Commodus (180-192 AD)

Commodus, L. Aurelius, son of M. Aurelius and the younger Faustina, was born at Lanuvium on the last day of August, A. D. 161, a few months after the death of Antoninus Pius, and this was the first of the Roman emperors to whom the title of Porphyrogenitus could be correctly applied. Faustina at the same time gave birth to a twin son, known as Antoninus Geminus, who died when four years old. The nurture and education of Commodus were watched and superintended from infancy with anxious care; and from a very early age he was surrounded with the most distinguished preceptors in the various departments of general literature, science, and philosophy. The honours heaped upon the royal youth as he advanced towards manhood have been accurately chronicled by his biographers. He received the appellation of Caesar along with his younger brother Annius Veras on the 12th of October, A. D. 166, at the time when M. Aurelius and L. Verus celebrated their triumph over the Partians; he was styled Germanicus on the 15th of October, 172; in 175, on the 20th of January, he was admitted a member of all the sacerdotal colleges; on the 19th of May he left the city, having been summoned in all haste to Germany in consequence of the news which had arrived from Syria of the rebellion of Avidius Cassius; on the 7th of July he was invested with the manly gown, proclaimed Princeps Juxentutis, and nominated consul-elect; he then accompanied his father to the East, and, during his absence from Rome, Sarmaticus was added to his other titles; on the 27th of November, 176, he was saluted Imperator; on the 23rd of December, he shared in,the triumph celebrated over the Germans, and was assumed as colleague in the tribunician power; on the 1st of January, 177, he entered on his first consulship; in the same year he married Bruttia Crispina, daughter of Bruttius Praesens, was hailed as Augustus and Pater Patriae, and thus at the age of 16 was admitted to a full participation in all the imperial dignities except the chief pontificate, which, according to the principle maintained inviolate until the reign of Balbinus and Pupienus, could be held by one individual only. On the 5th of August he set forth to take part in the war then raging on the Upper Danube, which was prosecated with signal success until the death of M. Aurelius, on the 17th of March, 180.
  Impatient of hardship and eager to indulge without restraint in the pleasures of the capital, Commodus, disregarding alike the last injunctions of his sire and the earnest advice of the trusty counsellors to whose care he had been consigned, concluded a hasty and therefore uncertain peace with the barbarians, who in their depressed and enfeebled condition might by a vigorous effort have been crushed for ever. In autumn he reached Rome, where his authority was as fully and freely acknowledged by the senate, the praetorians, and the people, as it had been by the legions which he commanded in person and the armies of the distant provinces. No prince ever commenced a career of power under fairer auspices. The love and veneration entertained by men of every condition for the father had descended like an inheritance on the son, and although some who knew him well and had marked his boyhood might whisper distrust and fear, such murmurs were drowned by the general acclamations which greeted his first appearance as emperor. Nor were the hopes of men for a while disappointed. Grave and calculating statesmen might feel displeasure and alarm at the reckless profusion which characterised the very commencement of the new reign; but since a large portion of the sums squandered was lavished upon the soldiers and the people, the lower orders at least of the community were enthusiastic in their attachment to the new ruler. This state of things did not endure long. A formidable plot against his life was organised (A. D. 183) by his sister Lucilla, jealous, it was believed, of the superior influence and position of Crispina; but the scheme failed in consequence of the awkwardness of the assassin, who, instead of dealing the fatal blow at the proper moment, put the prince upon his guard by exclaiming as he rushed forward, "The senate sends thee this". The event seems to have awakened the slumbering ferocity of a temper which now burst forth with frightful vehemence, and raging from that time forward without controul, especially against the members of that body in which the conspiracy was said to have originated, rendered the remainder of his life an unbroken tissue of sanguinary excesses. Every pretext was seized for the exhibition of the most savage cruelty; false accusations, vague suspicions, great wealth, high birth, distinguished learning, or any conspicuous virtue, were sufficient to point out and doom his victims, long lists of whom have been preserved by Lampridius, including nearly all who had risen to fame and fortune under M. Aurelius, with the exception of Pertinax, Pompeianus, and Victorinus. All other passions were indulged with the same freedom as the thirst for blood. Resigning the reins of government into the hands of the various favourites who followed each other in rapid succession, he abandoned himself without interruption to tile most shameless and beastly debauchery. But while devouring in gluttony the resources of the empire and wallowing in every description of sensual filth, he was at the same time the slave of the most childish vanity, and sought for popular applause with indefatigable activity. He disdained not to dance, to sing, to play the charioteer and the buffoon, to disguise himself as a pedlar or a horse-dealer, and to essay his skill in the practical pursuits of the humble artizan. Frequently he would appear and officiate as a sacrificing priest, and eagerly assisted in all the orgies of foreign superstition, celebrating the rites of Isis, of Anubis, of Serapis, or of Mithra, in all their folly and all their horror. His pride and boast, however, was his skill in the use of martial weapons. This he sought not to display against the enemies of his country in the field, but he fought as a gladiator upwards of seven hundred times, and slew many thousands of wild beasts in the amphitheatre with bow and spear. Other emperors had sought or accepted the compliment of having one month named after themselves, but Commodus decreed that the whole twelve should be designated by the epithets and titles which he had at different periods assumed, and that they should be arranged and enumerated in the following order: Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius, Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, ordaining also that the happy epoch during which he had sojourned on earth should be distinguished as Seculum aureum Commodianum, the nation as Commodiana, the senate as Commodianus, the armies as Commodiani, and the eternal city itself as Colonia Commodiana. At length the miserable craving could be no longer appeased by the homage and flatteries which a more mortal might claim. Long ere this, indeed, the Greeks had been wont to compare their rulers, both domestic and foreign, to deities, and the Romans had sometimes delicately hinted at some such resemblance by the devices stamped on the reverse of the coins of their Augusti. But as yet no inscription had appeared openly ascribing divine attributes to living princes, nor had any symbol appeared on their medals which could openly and directly convey such impious meaning. It was left for Commodus to break through these decent restrictions; his exploits in the slaughter of wild beasts suggested an analogy with the Tirynathian hero; he demanded that he should be worshipped as Hercules, and hence from the year 191 we find a multitude of coins on which he is represented in the attire of the immortal son of Alcmena, with the epigraph of Hercules Commodianus or Hercules Romanus. His statues also, we are told by the historians of the day, were clad in the appropriate robes; sacrifices were publicly offered as to a present God; when he went abroad the lion's hide and other insignia were borne before him; and, to crown the whole, a number of unhappy wretches were inclosed in cases terminating in serpent-tails, and these he slaughtered with his club, as if they had been the giants warring against heaven.
  After having escaped many plots provoked by atrocious tyranny, he at length cane to a fitting [p. 819] end. He had a mistress named Marcia, to whom he was deeply attached, and whom he especially loved to behold equipped as an Amazon. Hence the epithet Amazonius was frequently assumed by himself: the name Amazonius, as we have already seen, was attached to the first month, and he displayed his own person in the amphitheatre arrayed in the Amazonian garb. The first of January, 193, was to have been signalized by a spectacle which would have thrown into the shade the insults previously heaped upon the senate and the people, for Commodus had determined to put to death the two consuls-elect, Q. Sosius Falco and C. Julius Erucius Clarus, and to come forth himself as consul at the opening of the year, not marching in robes of state from the palace to the capitol at the head of the senate, but in the uniform of a secutor, followed by a band of gladiators issuing from their training-school. This project he communicated to Marcia, who earnestly implored him to abandon a design so fraught with disgrace and danger, and her remonstrances were warmly seconded by Laetus and Eclectus, the one praefect of the praetorians, the other imperial chamberlain. These counsellors were dismissed with wrath from the presence of the prince, who retired to indulge in his wanted siesta, having previously inscribed on his tablets a long catalogue of persons who were to be put to death that night, the names of Marcia, Laetus, and Eclectus appearing at the head of the list. This document was found by a favourite child, who entered the apartment while Commodus was asleep, and was carried by him in sport to Marcia, who at once perceived its import. She immediately communicated the discovery to Laetus and Eclectus. The danger was imminent, and, unless promptly met, inevitable. Their plans were quickly matured and quickly executed. That evening poison was administered, and its operation proving so slow as to excite apprehensions of its efficacy, Narcissus, a celebrated athlete, was introduced, and by him Commodus was strangled on the night of December the 31st, A. D. 192, in the thirty-second year of his age and the thirteenth of his reign. When the news of his death, at first cautiously attributed to apoplexy, was spread abroad, tile intelligence diffused universal joy among all ranks except the guards, who had been permitted to revel in indolence and luxury and could scarcely expect again to find a master so indulgent and liberal. When his successor, Pertinax, repaired next morning before daylight to the senate, that venerable body, while greeting their new sovereign, poured forth a string of curses upon the dead tyrant in a sort of strange chaunt, the words of which have been preserved by Lampridius, declared him a public enemy, and, being unable to vent their rage upon the living man, begged that his body might be dragged, like that of a criminal, through the streets with a hook, and cast into the Tiber -a request with which Pertinax, to his credit, refused to comply, and the corpse was decently interred in the mausoleum of Hadrian.
  We seldom meet in history with a character which inspires such pure and unmixed detestation as that of Commodus. While his vices and crimes were inexpressibly revolting, they were rendered if possible more loathsome by his contemptible meanness and weakness. The most grinding oppression was combined with the most childish vanity, the most savage cruelty with the most dastardly cowardice. He hated, persecuted, and massacred the senate and the nobles, and at the same time eagerly drank in their most disgusting flatteries. He slew thousands and tens of thousands of wild beasts, but his arrows were shot and his darts were hurled from behind a screen of network which protected his person from the possibility of risk. He butchered hundreds of his fellow-men in gladiatorial combats; but while he was clad in the impenetrable armour and wielded the heavy blade of a sector, his antagonists had no defences except weapons of lead or tin; and when as, Hercules, he crushed with his club the unhappy creatures dressed up to resemble the monstrous progeny of Earth, the rocks which they hurled at their assailant were formed of sponge. After examining tile ample records preserved of his career, we shall be unable to find a trace of one generous action or one kindly feeling, to discern a single ray of human sympathy to relieve the portentous blackness of his guilt. Dion, indeed, represents him as naturally of a weak and extremely simple temper; as one who easily received impressions, and whose crimes were to be attributed rather to the artful advice of evil counsellors acting upon a timid and yieldnig disposition, than to any inherent depravity; and imagines that he erred at first from ignorance of what was rigllt, and gliding by degrees into a habit of doing evil, became gradually faniliar with deeds of shame and wickedness. But had this been the case. the lessons so carefully inculcated in early life would never have been so rapidly and for ever obliterated. We feel more inclined to give credit to the assertion of Lampridius, who declares that from his earliest boyhood he displayed evident proofs of dark passions and a corrupt heart, a propensity to indulge freely in every low and dissolute pleasure, and utter indifference to human suffering and life.
  It is almost needless to remark, that Commodus paid no attention to foreign policy nor to the government and regulation of the provinces, except in so far as they might be made to minister to his profusion and profligacy. The integrity of the empire was however maintained, and the barbarians repulsed from the Dacian frontier by the skill and valour of Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger, the same who after the death of Pertinax contested the throne with Septimius Severus. A still more serious disturbance arose in Britain; for the northern tribes having forced a passage across the wall of Antonine, defeated the Roman troops who opposed their progress, slew their leader, and laid waste the more peaceful districts far and wide. But Ulpius Marcellus having assumed the chief command, the Caledonians were speedily driven back, the war was successfully terminated about A. D. 1814, Commodus was saluted Imperator for the seventh time, and added Britannicus to his other titles.
(Dion Cass. lib. lxxii. and Excerpta Vaticana; Herodian. i. 10-55; Capitolin. M. Aurel.; Lamprid. Commod.; and the minor Roman historians.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Septimius Severus (193-211 AD)

Severus, L. Septimius, Roman emperor A. D. 193-211, was born on the 11th of April, A. D. 146, near Leptis in Africa, and it has been remarked, that he was the only Roman emperor who was a native of that continent. His family was of equestrian rank; the name of his father was Geta, of his mother Fulvia Pia, and from the correspondence of appellation and country we may fairly conjecture that he was a descendant of the Septimius Severus of Leptis to whom Statius addresses a graceful poem. He devoted himself eagerly when a boy to the study of Greek and Latin literature, and became a proficient in these languages. Having removed to Rome he entered upon a public career, and at the age of thirty-two was made praetor elect by M. Aurelius, his ambitious views having been effectually promoted by the influence of his kinsman Septimius Severus, who had been raised to the consulship. From this time forward the progress of Severus was steady and rapid. He successively commanded the fourth legion then stationed near Marseilles -governed, with high reputation for impartiality and integrity, the province of Gallia Lugdunensis- was legate of Pannonia, proconsul of Sicily, and consul suffectus in A. D. 185, along with Apuleius Rufinus, being one of the twenty-five who in that year purchased the office from Cleaner. He was subsequently commander-in-chief of the army in Pannonia and Illyria, and upon the death of Commodus tendered his allegiance to Pertinax, but after the murder of the latter, and the shameful elevation of Julianus, which excited universal indignation throughout the provinces, he was himself proclaimed emperor )by the troops at Carnutum. Although he consented with reluctance to receive this honour, yet, when his decision was once made he acted with the greatest promptitude and energy. While Pescennius Niger, who had been saluted as Augustus by the eastern legions, was loitering at Antioch, Severus marched straight upon Rome, and disregarding the threats, the assassins, and the peaceful overtures of Julianus, as well as the resolutions of the senate, in terms of which he had been declared a public enemy, he pressed onwards with great rapidity, announcing himself every where as the avenger of Pertinax, whose name he assumed, and from that time forward constantly retained among his titles. His arrival before the city on the 1st or 2d of June, A. D. 193, was the signal for the death of Julianus, and the praetorians having submitted, his first exercise of power was to take vengeance on the actual murderers of Pertinax. He then collected the rest of the guards, surrounded them with his legions, compelled them to lay down their arms, and banished them from Rome, forbidding them upon pain of death to approach within a hundred miles of the metropolis. This act of justice and of policy being performed, he proceeded to enter the city, where all orders in the state now vied with each other in welcoming him with joyful homage. He declared Clodius Albinus, whose rivalry he dreaded, Caesar, -celebrated the obsequies of Pertinax with the utmost splendor- distributed an enormous donative to his soldiers, amounting we are told to 30,000 sesterces for each man, and having arranged all matters connected with the internal government of the state, quitted Rome within thirty days after his triumphal entry, and hurried to the East in order to prosecute the war against Niger. While he marched direct towards Syria at the head of a portion of his forces, he despatched some legions into Africa, lest the enemy passing through Egypt, or along the coast, might gain possession of the great granary of the empire and starve the metropolis. So eagerly did he watch over this department of the public service in after life, that when he died the storehouses of Rome were found to contain a stock of corn sufficient for the consumption of seven years, and as much oil as would have supplied the wants of all Italy for five.
  The progress of the campaign, which was terminated by the capture of Niger after the battle of Issus, A. D. 194, need not be recapitulated. But Severus was not yet satisfied. Some of the border tribes still refusing to acknowledge his authority, he crossed the Euphrates in the following year (A. D. 195), wasted their lands, captured their cities, forced all whom he encountered to submit, and won for himself the titles of Adiabenicus, Arabicus, and Parthicus. In A. D. 196 Byzantium, after an obstinate resistance, protracted for nearly three years, was taken, to the great joy of the emperor, who treated the vanquished with little moderation. Its famous walls were levelled with the earth, its soldiers and magistrates were put to death, the property of the citizens was confiscated, and the town itself, deprived of all its political privileges, made over to the Perinthians. Meanwhile Clodius Albinus, who, although created Caesar, found that after the destruction of Niger he was treated with little consideration, had accepted the imperial dignity proffered by the troops in Gaul. Severus being thus compelled to return to Europe, endeavoured, in the first instance, to remove his antagonist by treachery, but his schemes having been baffled, he procured a decree of the Senate, pronouncing him a public enemy, and then hastened on to Gaul to prosecute the war. On the nineteenth of February, A. D. 197, the contending hosts encountered near Lyons, the rivals commanding in person, each at the head of 150,000 men. The battle was fiercely contested, and for a time fortune seemed to waver. Severus. when rallying his men, lost his horse and narrowly escaped being slain; but eventually his superior skill and experience prevailed. The loss upon both sides was terrible. The whole plain was covered with the dead and wounded, and streams of blood mingled with the waters of the Rhone. Albinus took refuge in a house near the river; but finding himself hotly pursued and his retreat cut off, perished by his own hand. The conqueror, after feasting upon the spectacle of his enemy's corpse, ordered the head to be cut off and despatched to Rome, whither he quickly followed, and put to death many senators suspected of having been in correspondence with the foe. Games were exhibited, and largesses bestowed on the people; but as soon as the first excitement of success had passed away Severus, still thirsting for military renown, resolved to return to Asia, and again assail the Parthians, who, taking advantage of the civil strife in the West, had spread over Mesopotamia. Accordingly he set forth accompanied by his sons Caracalla and Geta, crossed the Euphrates early in the year A. D. 198, and commenced a series of operations which were attended with the most brilliant results. Seleucia and Babylon were evacuated by the enemy; and Ctesiphon, at that time their royal city, was taken and plundered after a short siege. The campaign against the Arabs, who had espoused the cause of Niger, was less glorious. The emperor twice assailed their chief town Atra, and twice was compelled to retire with great loss.
  The next three years were spent in the East. Severus entered upon his third consulship in Syria (A. D. 202), Caracalla being his colleague; visited Arabia, Palestine, and Egypt; and having made all the necessary arrangements in these countries, returned to Rome in the same year, in order to offer the decennial vows, and to celebrate the marriage of his eldest son with Plautilla. The shows in honour of the return of the prince, of the completion of the tenth year of his reign, of his victories, and of the royal nuptials, were unparalleled in magnificence; that is to say, the bloodshed and butchery of men and animals were greater than ever. On one occasion, four hundred wild beasts were let loose in the amphitheatre at one moment, and seven hundred, at the rate of a hundred for each day, were slaughtered during the course of the frames. At this time, also. each citizen whose poverty entitled him to obtain corn from the public store, and each of the praetorians received ten aurei; a largess which consumed about sixteen millions and a half sterling, the greatest sum which had ever been bestowed in such a manner on any one occasion.
  For seven years Septimius remained tranquilly at Rome; but in A. D. 207, either because a rebellion in northern Britain had assumed an aspect so serious that his presence was deemed requisite, or for the purpose of giving active employment to his sons, who were leading a life of profligacy, and to the legions, whose discipline had become relaxed, he determined again to take the field. Accordingly, passing through Gaul, he reached his destination, early in A. D. 208. Marching at once to the disturbed districts, he entered Caledonia, and penetrated, we are told, to the very extremity of the island, the inhabitants offering no steady or formidable opposition, but rather luring the invaders onward, in the expectation that they might be destroyed in detail, by want and misery. Nor do these anticipations appear to have been altogether disappointed: after having endured excessive toil in transporting supplies over barren pathless mountains, in raising causeways across swampy plains, and in throwing bridges over anfordable river, the troops retraced their steps, worn out with hardships of every description, without having accomplished any great object, or secured any permanent advantage. In this expedition incalculable misery was inflicted; the prince lost fifty thousand men, and gained the title of Britannicus. That no moral impression even was made is evident from the fact that, scarcely had the legions withdrawn towards the south, and commenced the famous wall which still bears the name of their commander, when a fresh insurrection broke out among the Meatae and the Caledonians. Enraged by this audacity, Severus declared his resolution to exterminate the whole race, and instantly began to make preparations for a new campaign. But his designs were cut short by death. He was attacked by a violent disease in the joints, and expired at York, on the 4th of February, A.D. 211, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and the eighteenth of his reign. His ashes were conveyed to Rome, and deposited in the tomb of M. Aurelius. As a matter of course, his apotheosis was decreed by the senate, and Herodian has preserved a detailed account of the ceremonies performed.
  Although the character of Severus appears in a most favourable light when viewed in contrast with those rulers who immediately preceded and followed him, there is in it not much to admire, and nothing to love. He was, it must be admitted, a stranger to their brutal vices; he was free from all capricious tyranny; under ordinary circumstances he governed the state with integrity, and did all that might best promote the interests of the community at large. He devoted himself with great zeal to the administration of justice, and to the reform of public abuses : he was, moreover, an admirable general; and the strict discipline maintained by him among the troops, effectually repressed, for a season, military insolence and excess. Nor can we refuse to acknowledge that he possessed a large, keen, and vigorous intellect, such as might well befit the ruler of such an empire in such unhappy times. But he was utterly devoid of all high moral principle, totally destitute of gentleness and generosity of temper. When he had once resolved to gain an object, he entertained no scruples with regard to the means by which his purpose was to be accomplished; and although not naturally cruel, was perfectly indifferent to human suffering and life. Nor did success soften this hardness of heart, or qualify the bitter resentment which he cherished against all who in any way opposed or thwarted his designs. Not content with victory, he ever sought to glut his vengeance on his fallen foes, and was always most odious in the hour of triumph. In private life it is said that he was a warm friend, simple and domestic in his habits, and fond of literary pursuits.
  Although undoubtedly possessed of a masculine tone of mind, we find one singular trait of weakness, so much at variance with his shrewdness, sagacity, and strong sense in other matters, that we must regard it as a most remarkable example of the paralysing influence of vanity. He endeavoured to establish a connection between himself and his predecessors in the purple, and most preposterously announced that he was the adopted son of M. Aurelius, fifteen years after the death of that prince. In this manner he set up a claim to a long line of imperial ancestors, which he formally and [p. 808] pompously enunciated in many inscriptions still extant, where he is styled son of M. Aurelius, brother of Commodus, and, mounting up through Pius, Hadrian, and Trajan, greatgreat-great-grandson of Nerva.
(Dion Cass. lxxiv. lxxv. lxxvi.; Herodian; Spartian. Sever.; Eutrop. viii. 10; Aurel. Vict. Caes. xx; Oros. vii. 17)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Caracalla (211-217 AD)

Caracalla or Caracallus, son of Septimius Severus and his second wife Julia Domna, was born at Lyons on the 4th or 6th of April, A. D. 188. while his father was governor of Gallia Lugdunensis. The child was originally called Bassianus after his maternal grandfather, but when Severus thought fit to declare himself the adopted offspring of M. Aurelius, he at the same time changed the name of his boy to M. Aurelius Antoninus, a designation retained by him ever after. Caracalla or Caracallus, which never appears on medals or inscriptions, was a nickname derived from a long tunic or great coat with a hood, worn by the Gauls, which he adopted as his favourite dress after he became emperor, and introduced into the army. These vestments found great favour, especially among the lower orders, and were known as Antoninianae Caracallae.
  Young Bassianus is said to have been remarkable in early life for a gentle and pleasing address. At this period he was beloved alike by his parents and the people, and displayed no indication of that ferocious temper which subsequently rendered him the scourge of the world. At the age of eight (196) he received the title of Caesar and Princeps Juventutis, in Maesia, while his father was marching from the East to encounter Albinus, and the year following (197) he was admitted an extraordinary member of the pontifical college. After the overthrow of Albinus, we find him styled Destinatus Imperator; and in 198, when ten years old, he was invested with the tribunician power, and created Augustus. He accompanied Sevenis in the expedition against the Parthians, sharing his victories and honours, put on the manly gown at Antioch in 201, entered upon his first consulship in 202, and, returning through Egypt to Rome, was married in the course of a few months to Plautilla, daughter of Plautianus, the praetorian praefect. The political events from this date until the death of Severus, which took place at York, on the 4th of February, A. D. 211, are given in the life of that prince, whose acuteness and worldly knowledge were so conspicuous, that he could not, under any circumstances, have failed to fathom the real character of his son, who assuredly was little of a hypocrite. But, although the youth was known to have tampered with the troops, and once, it is said, was detected in an open attempt to assassinate his father, no punishment was inflicted, and parental fondness prevented the feeble old man from taking any steps which might save the empire from being cursed with such a ruler. Geta, however, was named joint heir of the throne, having been previously elevated to the rank of consul and dignified with the appellations of Caesar and Augustus.
  The great object of Caracalla was now the destruction of this colleague, towards whom he entertained the most deadly hatred. Having failed in persuading the army to set aside the claims of his rival, he, on various occasions, sought his life secretly while they were journeying from Britain to Rome with the ashes of their father; but these treacherous schemes were all frustrated by the vigilance of Geta, who was well aware of his danger, and fear of the soldiery prevented open violence. A pretended reconciliation now took place: they entered the city together, together bestowed a donative on the guards and the people, and a negotiation was commenced for a peaceful partition of the empire. But the passions of Caracalla could no longer be restrained. During an interview held in the chamber of Julia, soldiers, who had been craftily concealed, rushed forth and stabbed the younger son of the empress in his mother's arms, while the elder not only stood by and encouraged, but with his own hands assisted in completing the deed. The murderer sought to appease the irritated troops by pretending that he had only acted in self-defence; but was eventually compelled to purchase their forbearance by distributing among them the whole wealth accumulated during his father's reign. The senate he treated with wellmerited contempt, and, feeling now secure, proceeded to glut his vengeance by massacring all whom he suspected of having favoured the pretensions or pitied the fate of Geta, whose name was forthwith erased from the public monuments. The number of persons sacrificed is said to have amounted to twenty thousand of both sexes, among the number of whom was Papinianus, the celebrated jurist. But these crimes brought their own retribution. From this moment Caracalla seems never to have enjoyed tranquillity for a single hour. Never were the terrors of an evil conscience more fearfully displayed. After endeavouring in vain to banish remorse by indulgence in all the dissolute pleasures of Rome, by chariot-racing and gladiatorial shows and wild beast hunts, to each of which in turn he devoted himself with frantic eagerness; after grinding the citizens to the earth by taxes and extortions of every description; and after plundering the whole world to supply the vast sums lavished on these amusements and on his soldiers, he resolved if possible to escape from himself by change of place. Wandering with restless activity from land to land, he sought to drown the recollection of his past guilt by fresh enormities. Gaul, Germany, Dacia, Thrace, Asia, Syria, and Egypt, were visited in succession, and were in succession the scene of varied and complicated atrocities. His sojourn at Alexandria was marked by a general slaughter of the inhabitants, in order to avenge certain sarcastic pleasantries in which they had indulged against himself and his mother; and the numbers of the slain were so great, that no one ventured to make known the amount, but orders were given to cast the bodies instantly into deep trenches, that the extent of the calamity might be more effectually concealed. The Greeks now believed that the furies of his brother pursued him with their scourges. It is certain that his bodily health became seriously affected, and his intellects evidently deranged. He was tormented by fearful visions, and the spectres of his father and the murdered Geta stood by him, in the dead of night, with swords pointed to his bosom. Believing himself spell-bound by the incantations of his foes, he had recourse to strange rites in order to evoke the spirits of the dead, that from them he might seek a remedy for his tortures; but it was said that none would answer to his call except the kindred soul of Commodus. At last, he sought the aid of the gods, whom he importuned by day and night with prayers and many victims; but no deity would vouchsafe a word of comfort to the fraticide.
  While in this excited and unhappy condition, he demanded in marriage the daughter of Artabanus, the Parthian king; but the negotiation having been abruptly broken off, he suddenly passed the Euphrates in hostile array. The enemy were totally unprepared to resist an invasion so unexpected, and could offer no effectual resistance. Mesopotamia was wasted with fire and sword, Arbela was captured, and the emperor, after digging up the sepulchres of the Parthian kings and scattering their bones, returned to winter at Edessa. Having treacherously gained possession of the person of Abgarus, king of the Osroeni, he seized upon his territory, and took the field in spring with the intention of carrying his arms beyond the Tigris. His course was first directed towards Carrhae, that he might offer homage at a celebrated shrine of the Moondeity in that neighbourhood; but during the march he was assassinated, at the instigation of Macrinus, the praetorian praefect, by a veteran named Martialis, on the 8th of April, 217, in the thirtieth year of his age and the seventh of his reign.
  The chronology of the last years of Caracalla is full of difficulty, and it is almost impossible to arrange the different events recorded in their proper order with anything like certainty. We hear of an expedition against the Alemanni and another against the Getae. The former, commemorated by the epithet Germanicus, terminated in a purchased peace; the latter appears to have been partially successful. The portion of Dion Cassius which refers to this period consists of disjointed and imperfect chapters, between which we can seldom establish any connexion. They contain, however, much curious information, to which considerable additions have been made by the fragments recently discovered by Mai. Dion tells us, that after death Caracalla was usually spoken of under the insulting name of Tarantus, taken from a gladiator remarkable from his short stature, ugly features, and sanguinary disposition. The historian himself, having explained this term (lxxviii. 9), invariably employs it in the subsequent portions of his work.
  We must not omit to observe, that Gibbon, following Spanheim and Bunnann, ascribes to Caracalla the important edict which communicated to all free inhabitants of the empire the name and privileges of Roman citizens, while several ancient authors attribute this document to M. Aurelius. The truth seems to be, that M. Aurelius was the author of a very broad and liberal measure in favour of the provincials, clogged, however, by certain conditions and restrictions which were swept away by Caracalla, in order that he night introduce an uniform system of taxation and extort a larger revenue in return for a worthless privilege.
(Dion Cass. Ixxvii. lxxviii.; Herodian. iv.; Spartian. Vit. Caracall.; Aurel. Vict. Epit. xxi., Caes. xxi.; Eutrop. xxi.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Macrinus

Macrinus, Roman emperor, April, A. D. 217 - June, A. D. 218. M. Opelius (or Opilius) Macrinus, afterwards M. Opelius Severus Macrinus, at whose instigation Caracalla was assassinated, when marching to encounter the Parthians, was a native of Caesareia in Mauritania, and was born of very humble parents, in the year A. D. 164. Having been recommended to the notice of Plautianus, the all-powerful favourite of Septimius Severus, he was admitted into his employment, and narrowly escaped being involved in the destruction of his patron. Having subse. quently received several appointments of trust in the imperial household, he was at length named praefect of the praetorians, by Caracalla, and discharged the duties of that high office with the greatest prudence and integrity, whenever he was permitted to follow the dictates of his own inclinations uncontrolled. The death of Caracalla took place on the 8th of April, A. D. 217, and on the 11th Macrinus, who had hitherto abstained from coming forward openly, lest he might be suspected of having participated in the plot, having, through the secret agency of his friends, succeeded in gaining over the soldiers by the promise of a liberal donative, was proclaimed emperor, the title of Caesar being at the same time conferred upon his son Diadumenianus. He immediately repealed the additional tax imposed by his predecessor on manumissions and inheritances, and expressed a determination to abolish all unlawful exactions both in the city and in the provinces. The senate, filled with joy on receiving intelligence of the death of their hated tyrant, gladly confirmed the choice of the army.
  The emperor at once marched to meet Artabanus the Parthian, who, burning with rage on account of the dishonour and loss sustained through the treachery of Caracalla, and confident in his own strength, had haughtily rejected all offers of accommodation, except upon such terms as it was impossible to accept. The opposing hosts encountered near Nisibis, the Romans were signally defeated, and after having been compelled to purchase the forbearance of the conqueror, by a great sum of money and heavy sacrifices, retired, covered with disgrace, into Syria. At the commencement of the following year a discontented and mutinous spirit began to be openly displayed in the legions, who found the sovereign of their choice far less indulgent and open-handed than the son of Severus. Taking advantage of these feelings, Julia Maesa, who was at that time living at Emesa, persuaded the detachments quartered in the vicinity that her grandson Elagabalus was in reality the child of Caracalla, and having seduced them from their allegiance by lavish offers, induced them to receive the boy into their camp, and to acknowledge him as their prince. Macrinus advanced to Antioch to crush the impostor, but after an engagement, fought on the 8th of June, A. D. 218, in which great cowardice was displayed on both sides, the fortune of the day having been eventually decided by the energy and bold example of Maesa and Soemias, he was compelled to fly, and, casting away his royal robes, reached Chalcedon disguised in mean attire. There he was quickly betrayed, was dragged back, and slain in Cappadocia, in the fifty-fourth or fifty-fifth year of his age, after a reign of fourteen months. His head, and that of his son, who had been discovered and put to death elsewhere, were stuck upon poles, and carried about in triumph. If we can trust Capitolinus, he scarcely deserves our pity, for he is represented by the Augustan historian as haughty, blood-thirsty and inhumanly cruel in the infliction of punishments. Great complaints were made of the number of unfitting and unworthy persons invested by him with the highest dignities.
(Dion Cass, Ixxxviii. 11-41; Capitolin. Macrin.; Aurel. Vict de. Caes. 22, Epit. 22; Eutrop. viii. 12; Zonar. xii. 13)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Elagabalus (218-222 AD)

Elagabalus. The Roman emperor commonly known by this name, was the son of Julia Soemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus, and first cousin once removed to Caracalla. He was born at Emesa about A. D. 205, and was originally called Varius Avitus Bassianus, a series of appellations derived from his father (Varius), maternal grandfather (Avitus), and maternal greatgrandfather (Bassianus). While yet almost a child lie became, along with his first cousin Alexander Severus, priest of Elagabalus, the Syro-Phoenician Sun-god, to whose worship a gorgeous temple was dedicated in his native city. The history of his elevation to the purple, to which in the earlier portions of his life he was not supposed to possess any claim, was effected in a very singular manner by his grandmother, Julia Maesa. She had long enjoyed the splendors and dignities of the imperial court in the society of her sister, Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and the mother of Geta and Caracalla. But after the murder of the latter by Macrinus, Maesa was compelled to return to Syria, there to dwell in unhonoured retirement. While still smarting under a reverse peculiarly galling to her haughty temper, she received intelligence that the army was already disgusted by the parsimony and rigid discipline of their new ruler, and was sighing for the luxury enjoyed under his predecessor. Maesa, skilled in court intrigues and familiar with revolutions, quickly perceived that this feeling might be turned to her own advantage. A report was circulated with industrious rapidity that Elagabalus was not the son of his reputed father, but the offspring of a secret commerce between Soemias and Caracalla. The troops stationed in the vicinity to guard the Phoenician border had already testified their admiration of the youth, whom they had seen upon their visits to Emesa gracefully performing the imposing duties of his priesthood, and, having been further propitiated by a liberal distribution of the wealth hoarded by Maresa, were easily persuaded to receive Elagabalus with his whole family into the camp, and to salute him as their sovereign by the title of M. Aurelius Antoninus, as if he had really been the undoubted progeny and lawful heir of their late monarch. These proceedings took place on the 16th of May, A. D. 213. Macrinus having received information of what had happened, despatched Julianus with a body of troops to quell the insurrection. But these, instead of obeying the orders of their general, were prevailed upon to join the mutineers. Whereupon Macrinus advanced in person to meet his rival, was signally defeated in a battle fought on the borders of Syria and Phoenicia, and having escaped in disguise was soon afterwards discovered, brought back, and put to death. The conqueror hastened to Antioch, from whence he forwarded a letter to the senate, in which he at once assumed, without waiting for the form of their consent, all the designations of Caesar, Imperator, son of Antoninus, grandson of Severus, Pius, Felix, Augustus, and Proconsul, together with the tribunitian authority. At the same time he inveighed against the treachery of Macrinus towards his master, his low birth, and his presumption in daring to adopt the title of emperor, concluding with a promise to consult the best interests of all classes of the community, and declaring that he intended to set up Augustus, whose age when he first grasped the reins of power lie compared with his own, as a model for imitation. No resistance to these claims was testified on the part of the senate or people, for we find from a curious inscription, discovered some years ago at Rome, that the Fratres Arvales assembled in the Capitol on the 14th of July, that is scarcely more than five weeks after the decisive victory over Macrinus, in order to offer up their annual vows for the health and safety of their young prince, who is distinguished by all the appellations enumerated above.
  Elagabalus entered upon his second consulship in A. D. 219, at Nicomedeia, and from thence proceeded to Rome, where he celebrated his accession by magnificent games, by prodigal largesses, and by laying the foundation of a sumptuous shrine for his tutelary deity. Two years afterwards, when he had rendered himself alike odious and contemptible by all manner of follies and abominations, he was persuaded by the politic Maesa to adopt his first cousin, Alexander Severus, to proclaim him Caesar, and nominate him consul-elect. Soon after, having repented of these steps, he endeavoured to procure the death of his kinsman, but was frustrated, partly by the watchfulness of his grandmother and partly by the zeal of the soldiers, with whom Alexander was a great favourite A repetition of a similar attempt the year following (A. D. 222) proved his own destruction; for a mutiny having arisen among the praetorians in consequence, he was slain along with Soemias in the camp while endeavouring to appease their fury. The two bodies were dragged through the streets and cast into the Tiber, and hence the epithet or nickname of Tiberinus, one of the many applied in scorn to the tyrant after his death.
  The reign of this prince, who perished at the age of eighteen, after having occupied the throne for three years, nine months, and four days, dating from the battle of Antioch, was characterised throughout by an accumulation of the most fantastic folly, and tire most frantic superstition, together with impurity so bestial that the particulars almost trauscend tine limits of credibility. Had he confined himself to the absurd practical jokes of which so many have been recorded; had he been satisfied within shipping on the tongues of peacocks and nightingales, with feeding lions on pheasants and parrots, with assembling companies of guests who were all fat, or all lean, or all tall, or all short, oi all bald, or all gouty, and regaling them with mock repasts; had he been content to occupy his leisure hours in solemnizing the nuptials of his favourite deity with the Trojan Pallas or the African Urania, and in making matches between the gods and goddresses all over Italy, men might have laughed goodnaturedly, anticipating an increase of wisdom with increasing years. But unhappily even these trivial amusements were not unfrequently accompanied with cruelty and bloodshed. His earnest devotion to that god whose minister he had been, and to whose favour he probably ascribed his elevation, might have been regarded as excusable or even justifiable had it not been attended with persecution and tyranny. The Roman populace would with easy toleration have admitted and worshipped a new divinity, but they beheld with disgust their emperor appearing in public, arrayed in the attire of a Syrian priest, dancing wild measures and chanting barbaric hymns; they listened with horror to the tales of magic rites, and of human victims secretly slaughtered; they could scarcely submit without indignation to the ordinance that an outlandish idol should take precedence of their fathers' gods and of Jupiter himself, and still less could they consent to obey the decree subsequently promulgated, that it should not be lawful to offer homage at Rome to any other celestial power. Buut by far the blackest of his offences were his sins against the decencies of both public and private life, the details of which are too horrible and too disgusting to admit of description. (Dion Cass. lxxvii. 30-41, lxxix.; Herodian, v. 4-23 ; Lamprid. Elagab.; Capitolin. Macrin. ; Eutrop. viii. 13; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. xxiii., Epit. xxiii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Alexander Severus (222-235 AD)

Severus, M. Aurelius Alexander, usually called Alexander Severus, Roman emperor, A. D. 222-235, the son of Gessius Marcianus and Julia Mamaea, and first cousin of Elagabalus, was born at Arce, in Phoenicia, in the temple of Alexander the Great, to which his parents had repaired for the celebration of a festival. There is some doubt as to the year and day of his birth; but the 1st of October, A. D. 205, is probably the correct date, although Herodian places the event so low as A. D. 208. His original name appears to have been Alexianus Bassianus, the latter appellation having been derived from his maternal grandfather. Upon the elevation of Elagabalus, he accompanied his mother and the court to Rome, a report having been spread abroad, and having gained credit, that he also, as well as the emperor, was the son of Caracalla. This connection was afterwards recognised by himself, for he publicly spoke of the divine Antoninus as his sire; and the same fact is asserted by the genealogy recorded on ancient monuments. In A. D. 221 he was adopted by Elagabalus and created Caesar, pontiff, consul elect, and princeps juventutis, at the instigation of the acute and politic Julia Maesa, who, foreseeing the inevitable destruction of one grandson, resolved to provide beforehand for the quiet succession of tile other. The names Alexianus and Bassianus were now laid aside, and those of M. Aurelius Alexander substituted; M. Aurelius in virtue of his adoption; Alexander in consequence, as was asserted, of a direct revelation on the part of the Syrian god. Elagabalus speedily repented of his choice, and made many efforts to remove one upon whom he now looked with jealousy as a dangerous rival; but his repeated efforts, open as well as secret, being frustrated by the vigilance of Mamaea and the affection of the soldiers, eventually led to his own death, as has been related elsewhere.
  Alexander was forthwith acknowledged emperor by the praetorians, and their choice was upon the same day confirmed by the senate, who voted all till customary distinctions; and thus he ascended the throne, on the 11th of March, A. D. 222, in his seventeenth year, adding Severus to his other designations, in order to mark more explicitly the descent which he claimed from the father of Caracalla.
  For the space of nine years the sway of the new monarch was unmarked by any great event; but a gradual reformation was effected in the various abuses which had so long preyed upon the statemen of learning and virtue were promoted to the chief dignities, while the city and the empire at large began to recover a healthier tone in religion, morals, and politics. But during the period of tranquillity in Italy, a great revolution had taken place in the East, whose effects were soon felt in the Roman provinces, and gave rise to a series of convulsions which shook the world for centuries. The Persians, after having submitted to the sway of Alexander the Great, of the Seleucidae, and of the Parthians in turn, had made a desperate effort to regain their independence: after a protracted and sanguinary struggle, their chief, Artaxerxes, overcame the warlike Artabanus, and the sovereignty of Central Asia passed for ever from the hands of the Arsacidae. The conquerors, flushed with victory, now began to form more ample schemes, and fondly hoped that the time had now arrived when they might thrust forth the Western tyrants from the regions they had so long usurped, and, recovering the vast dominion once swayed by their ancestors, again rule supreme over all Asia, from the Indus to the Aegaean. Accordingly, as early as A. D. 229, Mesopotamia and Syria were threatened by the victorious hordes; and Alexander, finding that peace could no longer be maintained, set forth from Rome in A. D. 231 to assume in person the command of the Roman legions. The opposing hosts met in the level plain beyond the Euphrates, in A. D. 232. Artaxerxes was overthrown in a great battle, and driven across the Tigris; but the emperor did not prosecute his advantage, for intelligence having reached him of a great movement among the German tribes, he hurried back to the city. where he celebrated a triumph in the autumn of A. D. 233.
  Such is the account given of the result of this campaign by all ancient writers, with the exception of Herodian, who draws a frightful picture of the losses sustained by the sword and by disease, and represents Severus as having been obliged to retreat ingloriously into Syria, with the mere skeleton of an army. But the well known hostility of this historian to Severus would, in itself, throw discredit upon these statements, unless corroborated by more impartial testimony; and the character of this prince forbids us to suppose that he would have deliberately planned and executed a fraud which could have imposed upon no one, and would have commemorated by speeches to the senate and people, by medals, by inscriptions, and finally by a gorgeous triumph, that which in reality was a shameful and most disastrous defeat. Although little doubt, therefore, call be entertained with regard to the main facts of the expedition, the determination of the dates is a matter of considerable difficulty, and has given rise to much controversy among chronologers; for the evidence is both complicated and uncertain. On the whole, the opinion of Eckhel sees the most probable. He concludes that Severus left the city for the Persian war, at the end of A. D. 230, or the beginning of A. D. 23; that the battle with Artaxerxes was fought in A. D. 232; and that the triumph was celebrated towards the end of A. D. 233.
  Meanwhile, the Germans having crossed the Rhine, were now devastating Gaul. Severus quitted the metropolis with an army, in the course of A. D. 234; but before he had made any progress in the campaign, he was waylaid by a small band of mutinous soldiers, instigated, it is said, by Maximinus, and slain, along with his mother, in the early part of A. D. 235, in the 30th year of his age, and the 14th of his reign.
  All ranks were plunged in the deepest grief by the intelligence of his death, and their sorrow was rendered more poignant by the well-known coarseness and brutality of his successor. Never did a sovereign better merit the regrets of his people. His noble and graceful presence, the gentleness and courtesy of his manners, and the ready access granted to persons of every grade, produced, at an early period, an impression in his favour, which became deeply engraven on the hearts of all by the justice, wisdom, and clemency which he uniformly displayed in all public transactions, and by the simplicity and purity which distinguished his private life. The formation of his character must, in a great measure, be ascribed to the high principles instilled by his mother, who not only guarded his life with watchful care against the treachery of Elagabalus, but was not less vigilant in preserving his morals from the contamination of the double-dyed profligacy with which he was surrounded. The son deeply felt the obligations which he owed to such a parent, and repaid them by the most respectful tenderness and dutiful submission to her will. The implicit reliance which he reposed on her judgment, is said to have led to his untimely end; for Mamaea inculcated excessive and ill-timed parsimony, which conjoined with the strict discipline enforced, at length alienated the affections of the troops, who were at one time deeply attached to his person. So sensible was he of this fatal error, that he is said to have reproached his mother, with his dying breath, as the cause of the catastrophe. (Herodian. v. 5, 17-23, vi. 1-18; Dion Cass. lxxx. frag.; Lamprid. Alex. Sever., comp. Antonin. Elagab., Victor, de Caes. xxiv., Epit. xxiv.; Eurrop. viii. 14; Zosim. i. 11-13)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Maximinus I. Thrax (235-238 AD)

Maximinus I., Roman emperor, A. D. 235-238. C. Julius Verus Maximinus was born in a village on the confines of Thrace, of barbarian parentage, his father Micca being a Goth, his mother Ababa a German, from a tribe of the Alani. Brought up as a shepherd, he attracted the attention of Septimius Severus, by his gigantic stature and marvellous feats of strength, was permitted to enlist in the cavalry, was appointed one of the guards in immediate attendance on the person of the emperor, and soon gained the good-will of his officers and the respect of his fellow-soldiers. Under Caracalla he attained to the rank of centurion, and was familiarly designated, from his prowess, Milo, Antaeus, or Hercules. Being regarded with suspicious hatred by Macrinus, the assassin of his patron, he retired for a while to his native province, where he acquired some property, and maintained a cordial intercourse with his barbarian countrymen, to whom he was an object of no small pride and admiration. Returning to Rome upon the accession of Elagabalus, although disgusted by his profligate folly, he accepted the appointment of tribune, studiously absenting himself, however, from court during the whole reign. By Alexander lie was received with great distinction, was entrusted with the important task of organising the great host, collected chiefly from the East, for the invasion of Germany, was eventually, if we can trust the desultory and indistinct narrative of the Augustan historian, nominated general-in-chief of all the armies, and hopes were held out that his son would receive in marriage the sister of the emperor. But even these honours did not satisfy his ambition. Taking advantage of the bad feeling which existed among the troops, he artfully contrived to stimulate their discontent, until a regular conspiracy was matured, which ended in the assassination of Severus in Gaul, and in his own investiture (A. D. 235) with the purple by the mutinous soldiers, whose choice was not resisted by an intimidated senate.
  Maximinus immediately bestowed the title of Caesar on his son Maximus, and without seeking to display his new dignity in the metropolis, determined to prosecute with all vigour the war against the Germans, and accordingly crossed the Rhine towards the end of the year A. D. 235. The campaign, which lasted for upwards of eighteen months, was triumphantly successful. The enemy, after having in vain attempted to withstand the progress of the invaders, were compelled to take refuge in their woods and marshes, many thousand villages were destroyed, the flocks and herds were slaughtered or driven off, a vast amount of plunder, ilcluding multitudes of prisoners, was secured, and the emperor retired to Pannonia in the autumn of 237, with the resolution of re-crossing the Danube in the following spring, in order that he might subjugate the Sannatians and carry his arms even to the shores of the ocean. Meanwhile, his administration had been characterised by a degree of oppression and sanguinary excess hitherto unexampled. His maxim, we are assured, was "nisi crudelitate imperium non teneri," and unquestionably his practice seems to have been guided by some such brutal principle. This violence was first called forth by the discovery of an extensive plot, contrived originally, we are told, by a certain Magnus, a consular, in which many officers and men of rank were involved. The vengeance of the tyrant was not glutted until four thousand victims had been sacrificed, the greater number of whom were destroyed upon the most vague suspicion. From this time forward informers were encouraged to ply their trade. An accusation was instantly followed by a sentence of death or confiscation; the most opulent were persecuted with untiring rancour, and numbers of illustrious families reduced to indigence. When the sums lavished on the troops could no longer be supplied by the plunder of private individuals, the next step was to lay violent hands on public property of every description. The sums reserved in the treasury for the purchase of corn, the fund set apart for theatrical exhibitions, the wealth accumulated in the temples, and the very statues of the gods, were all ruthlessly seized,-proceedings which called forth expressions of such deep indignation, that the soldiers were ashamed to enrich themselves from these sources. Against no class did the jealous rage of Maximinus burn so fiercely as against the senate. Remembering with bitterness the insults he had endured in former days from the very slaves of the haughty nobles, he eagerly seized every pretext for pillaging, exiling, and murdering the members of a body so detested. The same ferocity broke forth even against the soldiers, who were subjected for trivial offences to the most horrid tortures, so that history and mythology were ransacked to discover some monstrous prototype for the man whom they had once loved to term Hercules, or Ajax, or Achilles, but who was now more frequently designated as Cyclops, or Busiris, or Sciron, or Phalaris, or Typhon, or Gyges. But this fury was kindled into absolute madness, when, in the beginning of A. D. 238, Maximinus received intelligence of the insurrection in Africa headed by the Gordians. of the favour displayed by the provinces and the senate towards their cause, of the resolutions by which he himself had been declared a public enemy, of the subsequent elevation of Maximus with Balbinus, and of their recognition in Italy by all orders of the state. He is said upon this occasion to have rent his garments, to have thrown himself upon the ground and dashed his head against the wall in impotent fury, to have howled like a wild beast, to have struck all whom he encountered, and to have attempted to tear out the eyes of his own son. Abandoning at once his projected expedition, orders were instantly given to march against Rome. Passing over the Julian Alp, the army descended upon Aquileia. That important city, the chief bulwark of the peninsula on the north-eastern frontier, stimulated by the patriotic zeal of Crispinus and Menophilus, the two consulars entrusted with the defence of the district, shut its gates against the tyrant, who was forced to form a regular siege. The walls were bravely defended, and the assailants suffered severely, not only from the valour of the townsmen, but likewise from the want of supplies, the whole of the surrounding district having been laid waste in anticipation of their approach. The bad passions and ungovernable temper of Maximinus were lashed into frenzy by these delays, the chief officers were put to death, and the most intemperate harshness employed towards the men. At length a body of praetorians, dreading some new outbreak of cruelty, repaired to the tent of the emperor and his son, who were reposing during the mid-day heat, and having forced an entrance, cut off their heads, which were first displayed on poles to the gaze of the citizens on the battlements of Aquileia, and then despatched to Rome. The grisly trophies were exposed for a time to public view, that all might revel in the spectacle, and then burned in the Campus Martins, amidst the insulting shouts of the crowd. These feelings were shared by all the civilised provinces in the empire, although the rude dwellers on the northern frontiers lamented the loss of a sovereign chosen from among themselves.
  We have already seen that Maximinus owed his first advancement to his physical powers, which seem to have been almost incredible. His height exceeded eight feet, but his person was not ungraceful, for the size and muscular development of his limbs were in proportion to his stature, the circumference of his thumb being equal to that of a woman's wrist, so that the bracelet of his wife served him for a ring. His fair skin gave token of his Scandinavian extraction, while the remarkable magnitude of his eyes communicated a bold and imposing expression to his features. In addition to his unequalled prowess as a wrestler, he was able single-handed to drag a loaded waggon, could with his fist knock out the grinders, and with a kick break the leg of a horse; while his appetite was such, that in a day he could eat forty pounds of meat, and drink an amphora of wine. At least such are the statements of ancient writers, though they should doubtless be received with some deductions.
  The chronology of this reign, which is extremely obscure, in consequence of the ignorance and carelessness of our ancient authorities, has been elucidated with great skill by Eckhel, whose arguments, founded chiefly upon the evidence afforded by medals, appear quite irresistible. From these it appears certain that the death of Alexander Severus happened not later than the beginning of July, A. D. 235; that Maximinus betook himself to Sirmium, after his successful campaign against the Germans, towards the close of A. D. 237; that the elevation of the Gordians in Africa took place about the commencement of March, A. D. 238, and their death about six weeks afterwards; that Maximinus set out upon his march for Rome early in April, sat down before Aquileia towards the end of the month, and was slain, in all probability about the middle of May.
  The names C. Julius Verus, together with the titles Dacicus Maximus and Sarmaticus Maximus, appear in inscriptions only; medals at first exhibit the simple Maximinus, to which Germanicus is added in those struck during A. D. 236, and the following years.
(Capitolin. Maximin. duo; Herodian. lib. vii. viii.; Zonar. xii. 16.)

Decius (249-251 AD)

Decius, Roman emperor, A. D. 249-251, whose full name was C. Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, was born about the close of the second century at Bubalia, a village in Lower Pannonia, being the first of a long series of monarchs who traced their origin to an Illyrian stock. We are altogether unacquainted with his early career, but he appears to have been entrusted with an important military command upon the Danube in A. D. 245, and four years afterwards was earnestly solicited by Philippus to undertake the task of restoring subordination in the army of Moesia, which had been dishowever, organized by the revolt of Marinus. Decius accepted this appointment with great reluctance, and many misgivings as to the result. On his appearance, the troops deeming their guilt beyond forgiveness, offered the envoy the choice of death or of the throne. With the sword pointed to his heart he accepted the latter alternative, was proclaimed Augustus, and forced by the rebels to march upon Italy, having previously, according to Zonaras, written to assure his sovereign that his faith was still unbroken, and that he would resign the purple, as soon as he could escape from the thraldom of the legions. Philippus, not trusting these professions, hastened to meet his rival in the field, encountered him in the vicinity of Verona, was defeated, and slain. This event took place towards the end of A. D. 249.
  The short reign of the new prince, extending to about thirty months, was chiefly occupied in warring against the Goths, who now, for the first time, appeared as a formidable foe on the north eastern frontier, and having crossed the Danube, under Cniva their chief, were ravaging the Thracian provinces. The details of their invasion are to found in Jornandes, Zosimus, and the fragments of Dexippus, but these accounts appear so contradictory, that it is impossible, in the absence of an impartial historian, to explain or re concile their statements. It would seem that the barbarians, in the first instance, repulsed Decius near Philippopolis, and were thus enabled to take that important city, but having lost their best troops during these operations, and finding them selves surrounded by the Romans who were now advancing from different points, they offered to purchase an unmolested retreat by the surrender of their prisoners and plunder. These overtures being rejected, the Goths turned to bay, and gave battle near Abricium late in the year A. D. 251. After a deadly struggle, their desperate valour, aided by the incautious confidence of the Romans, prevailed. The son of the emperor was slain by an arrow, while Decius himself, with his best troops, became entangled in a marsh, and were cut to pieces or engulfed.
  Some proceedings in the civil administration of this epoch, which at first sight would be considered as wholly without connexion with each other, but which were in reality intended to promote the accomplishment of the same object, deserve special attention. The increasing weakness of the state was every day becoming more painfully apparent, and the universal corruption of public morality was justly regarded as a deepseated canker which must be eradicated, before any powerful effort could be made for restoring healthful vigour to the body politic. Two remedies suggested themselves, and were immediately called into action. It was determined to revive the censorship and to persecute the Christians. It was hoped that, by the first, order and decency might be revived in the habits of social life; it was imagined that, by the second, the national religion might be restored to its ancient purity, and that Rome might regain the favour of her gods. The death of Decius prevented the new censor, Valerian, the same who afterwards became emperor, from exerting an authority which could scarcely have produced any beneficial change; but the eager hate of Pagan zealots was more prompt in taking advantage of the imperial edict, and made much havoc in the church. Rome, Antioch, and Jerusalem, lamented the martyrdom of their bishops Fabianus, Babylas, and Alexander; Origen was subjected to cruel tortures, while Alexandria was the scene of a bloody massacre. In Africa, vast numbers, falling away from the truth, disowned their belief, and after the danger was past, the readmission of these renegades, comprehended under the general appellation of Lapsi, gave rise to various bitter controversies, which distracted for a long period the ecclesiastical councils of the west.
  Of the general character of Decius it is impossible to speak with certainty, for our authorities are scanty, and the shortness of his public career afforded little opportunity for its development. Victor pronounces a warm panegyric, declaring that his disposition was most amiable, that he was highly accomplished, mild and affable in his civil relations, and a gallant warrior in the field. Zosimus and the Christian historians, writing under the influence of strong feeling, have severally represented him as a model of justice, valour, liberality, and all kingly virtues, or as a monster of iniquity and savage cruelty, while even, in modern times, the tone adopted by Tillemont on the one hand, and by Gibbon on the other, can [Figure] scarcely be pronounced fair or dispassionate, the language of the latter especially being such as to mislead the unlearned reader both as to the nature and extent of our information, and to induce him to conclude that we posses materials for pronouncing a judgment which do not in reality exist.
  (Victor, de Caes. 29; Epit. 29; Eutrop. ix. 4; Trebell. Pollio Valerian. c. 1; Euseb. Hist. Eccles. vi. 39, &c; Zosim. i. 21-23; Zonar. xii. 19, 20; Jornandes, R. G. c. 16, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Valerianus, Licinius (253-260 AD)

Valerianus, Roman emperor, A. D. 253-260. P. Licinius Valerianus, whose father's name was Valerius, traced his descent from an ancient and noble stock. After passing through various grades in the service of the state, he had risen to the highest honours at least as early as A. D. 237, for we find him styled a consular when despatched a year later by the Gordians to Rome. Decius having determined to revive the censorship, and having called upon the senate to name the individual most worthy of such an office, demanding the union of the most spotless integrity with the most sound discretion, the whole assembly with one voice fixed upon Valerian eagerly, extolling his accomplishments and worth. This singular unanimity, and the tone of hyperbolical compliment in which the choice was announced, must be received either as a proof of the surpassing merit of the personage thus distinguished, or as an indication that the emperor, although he ostensibly left the election open, had contrived beforehand to make known his own sentiments and wishes. The untimely fate of Decius saved the regulator of public morals from the embarrassment which must have attended the discharge of difficult and invidious duties, while at the same time he was admitted to the full confidence of Gallus, by whom he was employed to quell the rebellion of Aemilianus, and recall the legions of Pannonia and Moesia to their allegiance. While an army was forming in Noricum and Rhaetia, the rapid movements of the usurper and the murder of the prince completely changed the aspect of affairs, and Valerian, who had taken up arms to support the interests of another, now employed them to advance his own. The sudden death, whether caused by disease or treachery, of his rival, whom he found encamped near Spoleto, prevented a hostile encounter. Valerian was chosen (A. D. 254) to fill the vacant throne, not, says the Augustan historians, by the rude clamours of a camp, nor by the disorderly shouts of a popular assembly, but in right of his merits, and, as it were, by the unanimous voice of the whole world. The new sovereign having assumed his eldest son Gallienus as an associate in the purple, prepared to repel, as best he might, the barbarian hosts which, gathering confidence from the increasing weakness of the Roman dominion, were pressing forwards more and more fiercely on the various frontiers. But although the Franks were ravaging Gaul and Spain, although the Alemanni were making repeated descents upon the provinces of the Upper Danube, and threatening Italy itself, although the Goths were loading their boat fleets with the plunder of Asia and of Greece, yet the dismemberment of the empire seemed most imminent in Syria. Scarcely had Ardeschir Babegan, by his crowning victory in Khorasan, overthrown the dynasty of the Arsacidae, and revived the ancient supremacy of Persia, when he vowed that he would drive the Western usurpers from the regions once swayed by his ancestors. His schemes were baffled by the energy and valour of Severus, but the haughty and ambitious Sapor having at length succeeded in subjugating Armenia, the ally and great outwork of the Roman power, thought that the time had now arrived for realising the mighty projects of his sire. Having driven the garrisons from the strongholds on the left bank of the Tigris, he overran Mesopotamia, then crossing the Euphrates, rushed like a torrent upon Syria, and bearing down all resistance, stormed Antioch, the metropolis of the East. At this juncture Valerian assumed the command of the legions in person, and for a time his measures were both vigorous and successful. Antioch was recovered, the usurper Cyriades was slain, and Sapor was compelled to fall back behind the Euphrates ; but the emperor, flushed by his good fortune, while his faculties were perhaps impaired by age, followed too rashly. He found himself, like a second Crassus, surrounded, in the vicinity of Edessa, by the countless horsemen of his active foe ; he was entrapped into a conference, taken prisoner, and passed the remainder of his life in captivity subjected to every insult which Oriental cruelty could devise. After death his skin was stuffed and long preserved as a trophy in the chief temple of the nation.
  Although no doubts exist with regard to the leading facts connected with the career of Valerian and his miserable fate, yet so imperfect, confused, and contradictory are the records of this period, that it is impossible to arrange the events in regular order, or to speak with any certainty of the details. We should have imagined that little difficulty could have been found in fixing the precise date of the capture and sack of Antioch, the destruction of its edifices, and the massacre of its population, a catastrophe which must have caused a profound sensation throughout the civilised world, yet we cannot decide whether these things happened during the reign of Gallus, of Valerian, or of Gallienus. In like manner it is hard to decide in what year Valerian was made prisoner, although the weight of evidence is in favour of A. D. 260.
(Trebell. Poll. Frag. Vit. Valerian.; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. xxxii., Epit. xxxii.; Eutrop. ix. 6; Amm. Marc. xxiii. 5; Zosim. i. 27, foll. iii. 32; Zonar. xii. 23)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gallienus (260-268 AD)

Gallienus, with his full name, P. Licinius Valerianus Egnatius Gallienus, Roman emperor A. D. 260-268. When Valerian, upon the death of Aemilianus, was raised to the throne (A. D. 253), he immediately assumed his eldest son Gallienus as an associate in the purple, and employed him, under the care of the experienced Postumus, governor of Gaul, to check the incursions of the barbarian Franks and Alemanni upon the Upper Danube and the Rhine. Could we repose any faith in the testimony of medals and inscriptions, the oft-repeated title of Germanicus, the legends Victoria Germanica, Victoria Augustorum, Restitutor Galliarum, accompanied by representations of the great rivers of the West crouching as suppliants at the feet of the prince, would indicate a long series of glorious achievments. But the records of this epoch, imperfect as they are, tell a very different tale, and prove that these pompous manifestations of triumph were weak frauds, intended to minister to vanity, or to conceal for a moment defeat and dishonour. Our authorities are so imperfect, that it is impossible to describe with distinctness, even in outline, the events which occurred during the reign of Valerian, from his accession in A. D. 253 until his capture by the Persians in A. D. 260, or during the eight following years, while Gallienus alone enjoyed the title of Augustus. It is certain that towards the close of this period the Roman dominion, which for a quarter of a century had sustained a succession of shocks, which seemed to threaten its dissolution, reached its lowest point of weakness. So numerous were the foes by which it was on every side assailed from without, and so completely were its powers of resistance paralysed by the incapacity of its rulers, that it is hard to comprehend how it escaped complete dismemberment, became again united and victorious, and recovered some portion at least of its ancient glory. During this period the Franks ravaged Gaul and Spain, and even sailed over the straits to Africa; the Alemanni devastated unceasingly the provinces of the Upper Danube; the Goths pillaged the cities of Asia on the southern shores of the Euxine, gained possession of Byzantium, and diffused dismay throughout Greece by the capture of Athens; the Sarmatians swept all Dacia, and the fertile valley of Moesia, to the base of Mount Haemus; while Sapor made himself master of Armenia, recovered Mesopotamia, and, passing the Euphrates, pursued his career of victory through Syria, until Antioch yielded to his arms.
  Nor were the population and resources of the empire exhausted by the direct ravages of war alone. The ravages of the barbarians were followed by a long protracted famine, which in its turn gave energy to the frightful plague, first imported from the East by the soldiers of Verus, and which having for a time lain dormant now burst forth with terrific violence. At the period when the virulence of the epidemic attained its greatest height, five thousand sick are said to have perished daily at Rome; and, after the scourge had passed away, it was found that the inhabitants of Alexandria were diminished by nearly two thirds.
  Paradoxical as the assertion may appear, general anarchy and a complete dissolution of the political fabric were averted mainly by a series of internal rebellions. In every district able officers sprung up, who, disdaining the feeble sceptre of the emperor, asserted and strove to maintain the dignity of independent princes. The armies levied by these usurpers, who are commonly distinguished by the fanciful designation of The Thirty Tyrants (see Aureolus), in many cases arrested the progress of the invaders, until the strong arm and vigorous intellect of a Claudius, an Aurelian, and a Probus collected and bound together once more the scattered fragments into one strong and well-compacted whole.
The character of Gallienus himself is one of the most contemptible presented in history. So long as he remained subject to his parent, he maintained a fair and decent reputation, but no sooner was he released from this control than he at once gave way to his natural propensities. The accounts of his father's capture were received with evident pleasure, and not a single effort was made to procure the release of the imprisoned emperor. Sinking at once into indolence, he passed his life in a succession of puerile and profligate indulgences, totally indifferent to the public welfare. At the same time, he was not deficient in talents and accomplishments. He possessed skill and grace as a rhetorician and a poet, several of his bons mots which have been preserved possess considerable neatness and point, he displayed great skill in the art of dress, and was deeply versed in the science of good eating. But, amidst all his follies, we find traces of nobler impulses and of darker passions. When fairly roused by the approach of unavoidable danger, he showed no want of courage and military prudence, all of which were evinced in the victory gained over the Goths in Thrace, and in his campaign against Postumus, although on this last occasion he probably owed much to the experienced valour of his generals Aureolus and Claudius. On the other hand, the latent treachery and cruelty of his temper were manifested in the massacre of the mutinous soldiers at Byzantium, who had surrendered under the express stipulation of an amnesty, and in the curious letter preserved by the Augustan historian, in which Celer Verianus is earnestly enjoined to mutilate, slay, and cut to pieces (lacera, occide, concide) all whto had favoured the pretensions of the usurper Ingenuus, old and young, without distinction.
  Gallienus appears to have set out for Greece in A. D. 267, in order to oppose the Goths and Heruli, who were devastating Moesia; he returned hastily to Italy upon receiving news of the insurrection of Aureolus, whom he defeated, and shut up in Milan; but, while pressing the siege of that city, he was slain by his own soldiers, in the month of March, A. D. 268, in the fiftieth year of his age, after lie had enjoyed the title of Augustus for fifteen years, and reigned alone for upwards of seven.
(Trebell. Poll. Valerian. pater et fil., Gallieni duo; Victor, de Caes. xxxiii, Epit. xxxii. xxxiii ; Eutrop. ix. 7, 8; Zonar. xii. 23, 24; Zosim. i. 30, 37, 40, who speaks in such gentle terms of this prince, that some persons have imagined that his character was wilfully misrepresented by the historians of the age of Constantine, who sought to render the virtues of their own patrons more conspicuous by calumniating their predecessors).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Claudius II., Gothicus (268-270 AD)

Claudius II. (M. Aurelius Claudius, surnamed Gothicus), Roman emperor A. D. 268-270, was descended from an obscure family in Dardania or Illyria, and was indebted for distinction to his military talents, which recommended him to the favour and confidence of Decius, by whom he was entrusted with the defence of Thermopylae against the northern invaders of Greece. By Valerian he was nominated captain-general of the Illyrian frontier, and commander of all the provinces on the Lower Danube, with a salary and appointments on the most liberal scale; by the feeble and indolent son of the latter he was regarded with mingled respect, jealousy, and fear, but always treated with the highest consideration. Having been summoned to Italy to aid in suppressing the insurrection of Aureolus, he is believed to have taken a share in the plot organized against Gallienus by the chief officers of state, and, upon the death of that prince, was proclaimed as his successor by the conspirators, who pretended that such had been the last injunctions of their victim--a choice confirmed with some hesitation by the army, which yielded however to an ample donative, and ratified with enthusiastic applause by the senate on the 24th of March, A. D. 268, the day upon which the intelligence reached Rome. The emperor signalized his accession by routing on the shores of the Lago di Garda a large body of Alemanni, who in the late disorders had succeeded in crossing the Alps, and thus was justified in assuming the epithet of Germanicus. The destruction of Aureolus also was one of the first acts of the new reign: but whether, as some authorities assert, this usurper was defeated and slain by Claudius in the battle of the Adda, or slain by his own soldiers as others maintain who hold that the action of Pons Aureoli (Pontirolo) was fought against Gallienus before the siege of Milan was formed, the confusion in which the history of this period is involved prevents us from deciding with confidence. A more formidable foe now threatened the Roman dominion. The Goths, having collected a vast fleet at the mouth of the Dniester, manned it is said by no less than 320,000 warriors, had sailed along the southern shores of the Euxine. Proceeding onwards, they passed through the narrow seas, and, steering for mount Athos, landed in Macedonia and invested Thessalonica. But having heard that Claudius was advancing at the head of a great army, they broke up the siege and hastened to encounter him. A terrible battle was fought near Naissus in Dardania (A. D. 269); upwards of fifty thousand of the barbarians were slain; a still greater number sank beneath the ravages of famine, cold, and pestilence; and the remainder, hotly pursued, threw themselves into the defiles of Haemus. Most of these were surrounded and cut off from all escape; such as resisted were slaughtered; the most vigorous of those who surrendered were admitted to recruit the ranks of their conquerors, while those unfit for military service were compelled to labour as agricultural slaves. But soon after these glorious achievements, which gained for the emperor the title of Gothicus, by which he is usually designated, he was attacked by an epidemic which seems to have spread from the vanquished to the victors, and died at Sirmium in the course of A. D. 270, after a reign of about two years, recommending with his last breath his general Aurelian as the individual most worthy of the purple.
  Claudius was tall in stature, with a bright flashing eye, a broad full countenance, and possessed extraordinary muscular strength of arm. He was dignified in his manners, temperate in his mode of life, and historians have been loud in extolling his justice, moderation, and moral worth, placing him in the foremost rank of good emperors, equal to Trajan in valour, to Antoninus in piety, to Augustus in self-controul--commendations which must be received with a certain degree of caution, from the fact, that the object of them was considered as one of the ancestors of Constantine, his niece Claudia being the wife of Eutropius and the mother of Constantius Chlorus. The biography of Trebellius Pollio is a mere declamation, bearing all the marks of fulsome panegyric; but the testimony of Zosimus, who, although no admirer of Constantine, echoes these praises, is more to be trusted. It is certain also that he was greatly beloved by the senate, who heaped honours on his memory: a golden shield bearing his effigy was hung up in the curia Romana, a colossal statue of gold was erected in the capitol in front of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, a column was raised in the forum beside the rostra, and a greater number of coins bearing the epithet divus, indicating that they were struck after death, are extant of this emperor than of any of his predecessors.
(Trebell. Pollio, Claud.; Aurel. Vict. Epit. 34, de Caes. 34; Eutrop. ix. 11; Zosim. i. 40-43; Zonar. xii. 25, 26. Trebellius Pollio and Vopiscus give Claudius the additional appellation of Flavius, and the former that of Valerius also, names which were borne afterwards by Constantius)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Tacitus (275-276 AD)

Tacitus, M. Claudius, Roman emperor from the 25th September, A. D. 275, until April, A. D. 276. After the death of Aurelian, the army in Thrace, filled with remorse on account of their fatal mistake, and eager to testify their penitence, instead of proclaiming a new emperor with tumultuous haste, despatched a submissive letter to the senate, requesting that assembly to nominate out of their own body a successor to the vacant throne, and pledging themselves to ratify the choice. The senate at first received this most unlooked-for communication with mingled surprise and distrust, and, fearing to take advantage of what might prove a very transient ebullition of feeling, courteously declined to accede to the proposal. At the same time, expressing their frill confidence in the discretion of the soldiers, they referred the election to the voice of the legions. The troops, however, again urged the fathers to yield to their wishes ; and although again met with the same reply, still persisted in their original solicitation. This extraordinary contest continued for upwards of six months, "an amazing period", says Gibbon, "of tranquil anarchy, during which the Roman world remained without a sovereign, without an usurper, and without sedition".
  Such a state of things could not however long endure. The barbarians on the frontiers, who had been quelled and daunted by the skill and daring vaiour of Aurelian, were not slow to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this strange position of public affairs. The Germans had already crossed the Rhine: Persia, Syria, Africa, Illyria and Egypt were in commotion, when the senate, at length convinced that the soldiers were sincere, joyfully prepared to discharge a duty so unexpectedly devolved upon them. At a meeting convoked on the 25th of September, A. D. 275, by the consul Velius Cornificius Gordianus, all with one voice declared that no one could be found so worthy of the throne as M. Claudius Tacitus, an aged consular, a native of Interamna (Vopisc. Florian. 2), who claimed descent from the great historian whose name he bore, who was celebrated for his devotion to literature, for his vast wealth, for his pure and upright character, and who stood first on the roll. The real or feigned earnestness with which he declined the proffered honour, on account of his advanced age and infirmities, was encountered by the reiterated acclamations of his brethren, who overwhelmed him with arguments and precedents, until at length, yielding to their importunate zeal, he consented to proceed to the Campus Martins, and there received the greetings of the people, and the praetorians assembled to do homage to their new ruler. Quitting the city, he repaired to the great army still quartered in Thrace, by whom, on their being promised the arrears of pay and the customary donative, he was favourably received. One of his first acts was to seek out and put to death all who had been concerned in the murder of his predecessor, whose character he held in high honour, commanding statues of gold and silver to be erected to his memory in the most frequented thoroughfares of the metropolis. He likewise directed his attention to the improvement of public morals by the enactment of various sumptuary laws regulating the amusements, luxurious indulgences, and dress of the citizens, he himself setting an example to all around, by the abstemiousness, simplicity, and frugality of his own habits. His great object was to revive the authority of the senate, which now for a brief period asserted and maintained a semblance of its ancient dignity, and the private letters preserved by Vopiscus (Florian. 6) exhibit an amusing picture of the sacrifices and banquets by which the senators manifested their exultation at the prospect opening up before them of a complete restoration of their ancient privileges.
  The only military achievement of this reign was the defeat and expulsion from Asia Minor of a party of Goths, natives of the shores of the sea of Asof, who having been invited by Aurelian to cooperate in his meditated invasion of the East, and having been disappointed of their promised reward by the death of that prince, had turned their arms against the peaceful provinces on the southern coasts of the Euxine, and had carried their devastations vastations across the peninsula to the confines of Cilicia.
  But the advanced years and failing strength of Tacitus were unable any longer to support the cares and toils so suddenly imposed upon him, and his anxieties were still farther increased by the mutinous spirit of the army, which soon ceased to respect a leader whose bodily and mental energies were fast hurrying to decay. After a short struggle, he sunk tinder the attack of a fever, either at Tarsus or at Tyana, about the 9th of April, A. D. 276; according to Victor, exactly two hundred days after his accession. By one account, he fell a victim to the anger of the soldiers; but the weight, of evidence tends to prove that they were not the direct instruments, at least, of his destruction.
  Our best authority is the biography of Vopiscus, who, if not actually an eyewitness of what he recounts, had an opportunity of consulting the rich collection of state papers stored up in the Ulpian Library; and from these he gives several remarkable extracts. He refers also to a more complete life of Tacitus by a certain Suetonius Optatianus, but of this no fragment remains. See likewise Eutrop. ix. 10; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. xxxvi. Epit. xxxvi.; Zonar. xii. 28, who says that he was seventy-five years old, and in Campania, when proclaimed emperor.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Probus (276-282 AD)

Probus, M. Aurelius, Roman emperor A. D. 276-282, was a native of Sirmium in Pannonia. His mother is said to have been of more noble extraction than his father Maximus, who after having served as a centurion with good reputation was raised to the rank of tribune, and died in Egypt, bequeathing a very moderate fortune to his widow and two children, a son and a daughter. Young Probus, at an early age, attracted the attention, and gained the favour of Valerian, from whom, in violation of the ordinary rules of military service, he received while almost a boy the commission of tribune. Letters have been preserved by Vopiscus, addressed by the prince to Gallienus, and to the praetorian prefect, in which he announces the promotion of the youth, whom he praises warmly, and recommends to their notice. Nor did he prove unworthy of this patronage. He conducted himself so gallantly in the war against the Sarmatians beyond the Danube, that he was forthwith entrusted with the command of a distinguished legion, and was presented in a public assembly with various military rewards, among others with the highest and most prized of all decorations, a civic crown, which he had earned by rescuing a noble youth, Valerius Flaccus, a kinsman of the emperor, from the hands of the Quadi. His subsequent exploits in Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Scythia, Persia, Germany, and Gaul, gained for him the esteem and admiration of Gallienus, Aurelian, and the second Claudius, all of whom expressed their feelings in the most earnest language, while his gentle though firm discipline, the minute care which he evinced in providing for the wants and comforts of the soldiers, and his liberality in dividing spoils, secured the zealous attachment of the troops. By Tacitus he was named governor of the whole East, and declared to be the firmest pillar of the Roman power, and, upon the death of that sovereign, the purple was forced upon his acceptance by the armies of Syria. The downfal of Florianus speedily removed his only rival, and he was enthusiastically hailed by the united voice of the senate, the people, and the legions.
  The whole reign of Probus, which lasted for about six years, presents a series of the most brilliant achievements. His attention was first turned to Gaul, which had become disturbed upon the overthrow of Postumus, and after the death of Aurelian had been ravaged, occupied, and almost subjugated by the Germans. By a succession of victories the new ruler recovered sixty important cities, destroyed 400,000 of the invaders, and drove the rest across the Rhine. Following up his success, he penetrated into the heart of Germany, compelled the vanquished tribes to restore the whole of the plunder which they had borne away, and to furnish a contingent of 16,000 recruits, which were distributed in small numbers among the different armies of the empire; he established a line of posts stretching far into the interior, and even formed the scheme of disarming the inhabitants and of reducing the whole country to the form of a province. Passing onwards, every foe was swept away from the frontiers of Rhaetia and Noricum, which now enjoyed complete security, the Goths upon the Thracian borders, overawed by his name, tendered submission or were admitted to alliance, the robber hordes of Isauria and the savage Blemmyes of Ethiopia were crushed or dispersed, a treaty was concluded with the Persians at their own eager solicitation, while, in addition to the conquest of foreign foes, the rebellions of Saturninus at Alexandria, of Proculus and Bonosus in Gaul, were promptly suppressed. The emperor on his return to the metropolis celebrated a well-earned triumph, and determined forthwith to devote his whole energies to the regulation of the civil government. The privileges restored by his predecessor to the senate were confirmed, agriculture was promoted by the removal of various pernicious restrictions, large bodies of barbarians were transplanted from the frontiers to more tranquil regions, where they were presented with allotments of land in order that they might learn to dwell in fixed abodes, and to practise the occupations and duties of civilised life, while in every direction protection and encouragement were extended to industry. But the repose purchased by such unremitting exertion proved the cause of ruin to Probus. Fearing that the discipline of the troops might be relaxed by inactivity and ease, he employed them in laborious works of public utility, and was even rash enough to express the hope that the time was fast approaching when soldiers would be no longer necessary. Alarmed by these ill-judged expressions, and irritated by toils which they regarded as at once painful and degrading, a large body of men who were employed under his own inspection in draining the vast swamps which surrounded his native Sirmium, in a sudden transport of rage made an attack upon the emperor, who, having vainly attempted to save himself by taking refuge in a strong tower, was dragged forth and murdered by the infuriated mutineers.
  History has unhesitatingly pronounced that the character of Probus stands without a rival in the annals of imperial Rome, combining all the best features of the best princes who adorned the purple, exhibiting at once the daring valour and martial skill of Aurelian, the activity and vast conceptions of Hadrian, the justice, moderation, simple habits, amiable disposition, and cultivated intellect of Trajan, the Antonines, and Alexander. We find no trace upon record of any counterbalancing vices or defects, and we can detect no motive which could have tempted the writers who flourished soon after his decease to employ the language of falsehood or flattery in depicting the career of an obscure Illyrian soldier, unconnected by blood or alliance alike with those who went before him, and with those who succeeded him on the throne.
  Our chief authority is the biography, in the Augustan History, of Vopiscus, who complains that even when he wrote, the great achievements of this extraordinary man were rapidly sinking into oblivion, obliterated doubtless by the stirring events and radical changes in the constitution which followed with such rapidity the accession of Diocletian. By the aid, however, of the books and state papers which he had consulted in the Ulpian and Tiberian libraries, the public acts, the journals of the senate, together with the private diary of a certain Turdulus Gallicanus, he was enabled to compile a loose and ill-connected narrative. We may refer also, but with much less confidence, to Zosimus, i. 64, &c., the concluding portion of the reign being lost; to Zonaras, xii. 29; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. xxxvii, Epit. xxxvii; Eutrop. ix. 11.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Diocletianus, Valerius (284-305 AD)

Diocletianus, Valerius, was born near Salona in Dalmatia, in the year A. D. 245, of most obscure parentage; his father, according to the accounts commonly received, which are, however, evidently hostile, having been a freedman and provincial scribe, while the future emperor himself was indebted for liberty to a senator Anulinus. Were this last statement true he must have been born while his parent was a slave; but this is impossible, for, as Niebuhr has pointed out, the Roman law, even as it stood at that period, would have prevented the son from being enlisted in the legion. From his mother, Doclea, or Dioclea, who received her designation from the village where she dwelt, he inherited the appellation of Docles or Diocles, which, after his assumption of the purple, was Latinized and expanded into the more majestic and sonorous Diocletianus, and attached as a cognomen to the high patrician name of Valerius. Having entered the army he served with high reputation, passed through various subordinate grades, was appointed to most important commands under Probus and Aurelian, in process of time was elevated to the rank of consul suffectus, followed Carus to the Persian war, and, after the death of that emperor on the banks of the Tigris, remained attached to the court during the retreat in the honourable capacity of chief captain of the palace guards (domestici). When the fate of Numerianus became known, the troops who had met in solemn assembly at Chalcedon, for the purpose of nominating a successor, declared with one voice that the man most worthy of the sovereign power was Diocletian, who, having accepted the preferred dignity, signalized his accession by slaying with his own hands Arrius Aper praefect of the praetorians, who was arraigned of the murder of the deceased prince, his son-in-law. The proceedings upon this occasion were characterised by an intemperate haste, which gave plausibility to the report, that the avenger of Numerian, notwithstanding his solemn protestations of innocence and disinterested zeal, was less eager to satisfy the demands of justice than to avert suspicion from himself and to remove a formidable rival, especially since he did not scruple to confess that he had long anxiously sought to fulfil a prophecy delivered to him in early youth by a Gaulish Druidess, that he should mount a throne as soon as he had slain the wild-boar (Aper). These events took place in the course of the year 284, known in chronology as the era of Diocletian, or the era of the martyrs, an epoch long employed in the calculations of ecclesiastical writers, and still in use among Coptic Christians. After the ceremonies of installation had been completed at Nicomedeia, it became necessary to take the field forthwith against Carinus, who was hastening towards Asia at the head of a numerous and well-disciplined army. The opposing armies met near Margus in upper Moesia, and, after an obstinate struggle, victory declared for the hardy veterans of the Western legions; but while Carinus was hotly pursuing the flying foe he was slain by his own officers. His troops, left without a leader, fraternized with their late enemies, Diocletian was acknowledged by the conjoined armies, and no one appeared prepared to dispute his claims. The conqueror used his victory with praiseworthy and politic moderation. There were no proscriptions, no confiscations, no banishments. Nearly the whole of the ministers and attendants of the deceased monarch were permitted to retain their offices, and even the praetorian praefect Aristobulus was continued in his command. There was little prospect, however, of a peaceful reign. In addition to the insubordinate spirit which prevailed universally among the soldiery, who had been accustomed for a long series of years to create and dethrone their rulers according to the suggestions of interest, passion, or caprice, the empire was threatened in the West by a formidable insurrection of the Bagaudae under Aelianus and Amandus, in the East by the Persians, and in the North by the turbulent movements of the wild tribes upon the Danube. Feeling himself unable to cope single-handed with so many difficulties, Diocletian resolved to assume a colleague who should enjoy, nominally at least, equal rank and power with himself, and relieve him from the burden of undertaking in person distant wars. His choice fell upon the brave and experienced, but rough and unlettered soldier Maximianus, whom he invested with the title of Augustus, at Nicomedeia, in 286. At the same time the associated rulers adopted respectively the epithets of Jovius and Herculius, either from some superstitious motive, or, according to the explanation of one of the panegyrists, in order to declare to the world that while the elder possessed supreme wisdom to devise and direct, the younger could exert irresistible might in the execution of all projects.
  The new emperor hastened to quell, by his presence, the disturbances in Gaul, and succeeded without difficulty in chastising the rebellious boors. But this achievement was but a poor consolation for the loss of Britain, and the glory of the two Augusti was dimmed by their forced acquiescence in the insolent usurpation of Carausius.
  Meanwhile, dangers which threatened the very existence of the Roman dominion became daily more imminent. The Egyptians, ever factious, had now risen in open insurrection, and their leader, Achilleus, had made himself master of Alexandria; the savage Blemmyes were ravaging the upper valley of the Nile; Julianus had assumed imperial ornaments at Carthage; a confederacy of five rude but warlike clans of Atlas, known as the Quinquegentanae (or Quinquegentiani), was spreading terror throughout the more peaceful districts of Africa; Tiridates, again expelled from Armenia, had been compelled once more to seek refuge in the Roman court; and Narses having crossed the Tigris, had recovered Mesopotamia, and openly announced his determination to re-unite all Asia under the sway of Persia; while the Germans, Goths, and Sarmatians were ready to pour down upon any unguarded point of the long line of frontier stretching from the mouths of the Rhine to the Euxine. In this emergency, in order that a vigorous resistance might be opposed to these numerous and formidable attacks in quarters of the world so distant from each other, and that the loyalty of the generals commanding all the great armies might be firmly secured, Diocletian resolved to introduce a new system of government. It was determined that, in addition to the two Augusti, there should be two Caesars also, that the whole empire should be divided among these four potentates, a certain fixed and definite portion being assigned to each, within which, in the absence of the rest, his jurisdiction should be absolute. All, however, being considered as colleagues working together for the accomplishment of the same object, the decrees of one were to be binding upon the rest; and while each Caesar was, in a certain degree, subordinate to the Augusti, the three junior members of this mighty partnership were required distinctly to recognise Diocletian as the head and guide of the whole. Accordingly, on the 1st of March 292, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius were proclaimed Caesars at Nicomedeia, and to knit more firmly the connecting bonds, they were both called upon to repudiate their wives; upon which the former received in marriage Theodora, the step-daughter of Maximian; the latter Valeria, the daughter of Diocletian. In the partition of the provinces the two younger princes were appointed to the posts of greatest labour and hazard. To Constantius were assigned Britain, Gaul, and Spain, the chief seat of government being fixed at Treves; to Galerius were intrusted Illyricum, and the whole line of the Danube, with Sirmium for a capital; Maximian resided at Milan, as governor of Italy and Africa, together with Sicily and the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea; while Diocletian retained Thrace. Egypt, Syria, and Asia in his own hands, and established his court at Nicomedeia. The immediate results of this arrangement were most auspicious. Maximianus routed the Mauritanian hordes, and drove them back to their mountain fastnesses. while Julian being defeated perished by his own hands; Diocletian invested Alexandria, which was captured after a siege of eight months, and many thousands of the seditious citizens were slain, Busiris and Coptos were levelled with the ground, and all Egypt, struck with terror by the success and severity of the emperor, sank into abject submission. In Gaul an invading host of the Alemanni was repulsed with great slaughter after an obstinate resistance, Boulogne, the naval arsenal of Carausius, was forced to surrender, and the usurper having soon after been murdered by his chosen friend and minister, Allectus, the troops of Constantius effected a landing in Britain in two divisions, and the whole island was speedily recovered, after it had been dismembered from the empire for a space of nearly ten years. In the East the struggle was more severe; but the victory, although deferred for a while, was even more complete and more glorious. Galerius, who had quitted his own province to prosecute this war, sustained in his first campaign, a terrible defeat in the plains of Carrhae. The shattered army, however, was speedily recruited by large drafts from the veterans of Illyria, Moesiaand Dacia, and the Roman general, taught caution by experience, advanced warily through the mountains of Armenia, carefully avoiding the open country where cavalryy might act with advantage. Persevering steadily in this course, he at length, with 25,000 men, fell unexpectedly upon the careless and confident foe. They were completely routed, and the harem of Narses, who commanded in person and escaped with great difficulty, fell into the hands of the conquerors. The full fruits of this victory were secured by the wise policy of Diocletian, who resolved to seize the opportunity of offering a peace by which he might receive a moderate but certain advantage. A treaty was concluded, by which the independence of Armenia was guaranteed, and all Mesopotamia, together with five provinces beyond the Tigris and the command of the defiles of Caucasus, were ceded to the Romans. For forty years the conditions of this compact were observed with good faith, and the repose of the East remained undisturbed.
  The long series of brilliant achievements, by which the barbarians had been driven back from every frontier, were completed when Diocletian entered upon the twentieth year of his reign, and the games common at each decennial period were combined with a triumph the most gorgeous which Rome had witnessed since the days of Aurelian.
  But neither the mind nor the body of Diocletian, who was now fifty-nine years old, was able any longer to support the unceasing anxiety and toil to which he was exposed. On his journey to Nicomedeia he was attacked by an illness, from which, after protracted suffering, he scarcely escaped with life, and, even when immediate danger was past, found himself so exhausted and depressed, that he resolved to abdicate the purple. This resolution seems to have been soon formed, and it was speedily executed. On the 1st of May, A. D. 305, in a plain three miles from the city where he had first assumed the purple, in the presence of the army and the people, he solemnly divested himself of his royal robes. A similar scene was enacted on the same day at Milan by his reluctant colleague. Constantius Chlorus and Galerius being now, according to the principles of the new constitution, raised to the dignity of Augusti, Flavius Severus and Maximinus Daza were created Caesars. Diocletian returned to his native Dalmatia, and passed the remaining eight years of his life near Salona in philosophic retirement, devoted to rural pleasures and the cultivation of his garden. Aurelius Victor has preserved the well-known anecdote, that when solicited at a subsequent period, by the ambitious and discontented Maximian, to resume the honours which he had voluntarily resigned, his reply was, "Would you could see the vegetables planted by my hands at Salona, you would then never think of urging such an attempt", His death took place at the age of sixty-seven. The story in the Epitome of Victor, that he put himself to death in order to escape the violence which he apprehended from Constantine and Licinius, seems to be unsupported by external evidence or internal probability.
  Although little doubt can be entertained with regard to the general accuracy of the leading facts enumerated in the above outline, the greatest confusion and embarrassment prevail with regard to the more minute details of this reign and the chronological arrangement of the events. Medals afford little or no aid, the biographies of the Augustan historians end with Carinus, no contemporary record has been preserved, and those portions of Ammianus Marcellinus and Zosimus which must have been devoted to this epoch have disappeared from their works, purposely omitted or destroyed, as some have imagined, by Christian transcribers, who were determined if possible to prevent any flattering picture of their persecutor or any chronicle of his glories from being transmitted to posterity. Hence we are thrown entirely upon the meagre and unsatisfactory compendiums of Eutropius, the Victors, and Festus; the vague and lying hyperboles of the panegyrists, and the avowedly hostile declamations of the author of the work, De Mortibus Persecutorum, and other writers of the same stamp. Hence, from sources so scanty and so impure, it is extremely difficult to derive such knowledge as may enable us to form a just conception of the real character of this remarkable man.
  It is certain that he revolutionized the whole political system of the empire, and introduced a scheme of government, afterwards fully carried out and perfected by Constantine, as much at variance with that pursued by his predecessors as the power exercised by Octavianus and those who followed him differed from the authority of the constitutional magistrates of the republic. The object of this new and important change, and the means by which it was sought to attain that object, may be explained in a few words. The grand object was to protect the person of the sovereign from violence, and to insure a regular legitimate succession, thus putting an end to the rebellions and civil wars, by which the world had been torn to pieces ever since the extinction, in Nero, of the Julian blood. To accomplish what was sought, it was necessary to guard against insubordination among the powerful bodies of troops maintained on the more exposed frontiers, against mutiny among the praetorians at home, and against the faint spark of free and independent feeling among the senate and populace of Rome. Little was to be apprehended from the soldiery at a distance, unless led on by some favourite general; hence, by placing at the head of the four great armies four commanders all directly interested in preserving the existing order of things, it was believed that one great source of danger was removed, while two of these being marked out as heirs apparent to the throne long before their actual accession, it seemed probable that on the death of the Augusti they would advance to the higher grade as a matter of course, without question or commotion, their places being supplied by two new Caesars. Jealousies might undoubtedly arise, but these were guarded against by rendering each of the four jurisdictions as distinct and absolute as possible, while it was imagined that an attempt on the part of any one member of the confederacy to render himself supreme, would certainly be checked at once by the cordial combination of the remaining three, in self-defence. It was resolved to treat the praetorians with little ceremony; but, to prevent any outbreak, which despair might have rendered formidable, they were gradually dispersed, and then deprived of their privileges, while their former duties were discharged by the Jovian and Herculian battalions from Illyria, who were firm in their allegiance to their native princes. The degradation of Rome by the removal of the court, and the creation of four new capitals, was a death-blow to the influence of the Senate, and led quickly to the destruction of all old patriotic associations. Nor was less care and forethought bestowed on matters apparently trivial. The robe of cloth of gold, the slippers of silk dyed in purple, and embroidered with gems, the regal diadem wreathed around the brow, the titles of Lord and Master and God, the lowly prostrations, and the thousand intricacies of complicated etiquette which fenced round the imperial presence, were all attributed by short-sighted observers to the insolent pride of a Dalmatian slave intoxicated with unlooked-for prosperity, but were in reality part and parcel of a sagacious and well meditated plan, which sought to encircle the person of the sovereign with a sort of sacred and mysterious grandeur.
  Passing over the military skill of Diocletian, we can scarcely refuse to acknowledge that the man who formed the scheme of reconstructing a great empire, and executed his plan within so brief a space of time, must have combined a bold and capacious intellect with singular prudence and practical dexterity. That his plans were such as a profound statesman would approve may fairly be questioned, for it needed but little knowledge of human nature to foresee, that the ingenious but complicated machine would never work with smoothness after the regulating hand of the inventor was withdrawn; and, accordingly, his death was the signal for a succession of furious struggles among the rival Caesars and Augusti, which did not terminate until the whole empire was reunited under Constantine. Still the great social change was accomplished; a new order of things was introduced which determined the relation between the sovereign and the subject, until the final downfall of the Roman sway, upon principles not before recognized in the Western world, and which to this day exercise no small influence upon the political condition of Europe.
  One of the worst effects, in the first instance, of the revolution, was the vast increase of the public expenditure, caused by the necessity of supporting two imperial and two vice-regal courts upon a scale of oriental splendour, and by the magnificent edifices reared by the vanity or policy of the different rulers for the embellishment of their capitals or favourite residences. The amount of revenue required could be raised only by increased taxation, and we find that all classes of the community complained bitterly of the merciless exactions to which they were exposed. Yet, on the whole, Diocletian was by no means indifferent to the comfort and prosperity of his people. Various monopolies were abolished, trade was encouraged, a disposition was manifested to advance merit and to repress corruption in every department. The views entertained upon subjects connected with political economy are well illustrated by the singular edict lately discovered at Stratoniceia, by Colonel Leake, fixing the wages of labourers and artizans, together with the maximum price, throughout the world, of all the necessaries and commodities of life. It is not possible to avoid being struck by the change wrought upon the general aspect of public affairs during the years, not many in number, which elapsed between the accession and abdication of Diocletian. He found the empire weak and shattered, threatened with immediate dissolution, from intestine discord and external violence. He left it strong and compact, at peace within, and triumphant abroad, stretching from the Tigris to the Nile, from the shores of Holland to the Euxine.
  By far the worst feature of this reign was the terrible persecution of the Christians. The conduct of the prince upon this occasion is the more remarkable, because we are at first sight unable to detect any motive which could have induced him to permit such atrocities, and one of the most marked features in his character was his earnest avoidance of harsh measures. The history of the affair seems briefly this: The pagans of the old school had formed a close alliance with the sceptical philosophers, and both perceived that the time was now arrived for a desperate struggle which must finally establish or destroy their supremacy. This faction found an organ in the relentless Galerius, stimulated partly by his own passions, but especially by the fanaticism of his mother, who was notorious for her devotion to some of the wildest and most revolting rites of Eastern superstition. As the health of Diocletian declined, his mind sunk in some degree under the pressure of disease, while the influence of his associate Augustus became every day more strong. At length, after repeated and most urgent representations, Galerius succeeded in extorting from his colleague--for even the most hostile accounts admit that the consent of Diocletian was given with the greatest reluctance--the first edict which, although stern and tyrannical in its ordinances, positively forbad all personal violence. But when the proclamation was torn down by an indignant believer, and when this act of contumacy was followed by a conflagration in the palace, occurring under the most suspicious circumstances, and unhesitatingly ascribed by Galerius to the Christians, the emperor considered that the grand principle for which he had been so strenuously contending, the supreme majesty and inviolability of the royal person, was openly assailed, and thus was persuaded without further resistance to give his assent to those sanguinary decrees which for years deluged the world with innocent blood. It is not improbable that the intellects of Diocletian were seriously affected, and that his malady may have amounted to absolute insanity. (Aurel. Victor. de Cacs. 39, Epit. 39; Eutrop. ix. 13. &c.; Zonar. xii. 31)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Maximianus I. Herculius (286-305 AD)

Maximianus I., Roman emperor, A. D. 286-305-310. M. Aurelius ValeriusMaximianus born of humble parents in Pannonia, had acquired such high fame by his services in the army, that when Diocletian carried into effect (A. D. 285) his celebrated scheme for dividing without dismembering the empire, he was induced to select this rough soldier for his colleague, as one whose habits and abilities were likely to prove particularly valuable in the actual disturbed state of public affairs, and accordingly created him first Caesar (285), and then Augustus (286), conferring at the same time the honorary appellation of Herculius, while he himself assumed that of Jovius, epithets which afforded a copious theme to the panegyrists of that epoch for broad adulation and far-fetched conceits. The subsequent history of Maximian is so intimately blended with that of his patron and of Constantine, that almost every particular has been fully detailed in former articles. It will be sufficient, therefore, to direct attention to the leading facts, that after having been most reluctantly persuaded, if not compelled to abdicate, at Milan, on the first of May, A. D. 305, he eagerly obeyed the invitation of his son Maxentius the following year (306), and quitting his retirement in Lucania, was again invested with all the insignia of the imperial station; that having by his bravery and skill, averted the dangers which threatened Italy, having compassed the death of Severus (307), and having repulsed Galerius, he formed a close union with Constantine, on whom he bestowed the title of Augustus and the hand of his daughter Fausta ; that on his return to Rome he was expelled by Maxentius, who, having become impatient of his control and dictation, pretended or believed that he had formed a plot for his dethronement; that having betaken himself to the court of Galerius, and having been there detected in the prosecution of treasonable intrigues, he sought refuge with his son-in-law, and, to disarm all suspicion, once more formally threw off the purple; that having taken advantage of the temporary absence of his protector and treacherously gained possession of the treasures deposited at Aries, by profuse bribery he persuaded a body of soldiers to proclaim him Augustus for the third time; that having been shut up in Marseilles and compelled to surrender, he was stripped of all his dignities, but permitted to retain his life and liberty (308); but that, finally, two years afterwards, having vainly endeavoured to induce his daughter Fausta to destroy her husband, he was ordered to choose the manner of his death, and strangled himself in the month of February, A. D.
  The whole history of this stormy period bears testimony to the military talents of Maximianus, and proves with equal certainty that he was totally destitute of all dignity of mind, thoroughly unprincipled, not merely rough and stem, but base and cruel. All authorities agree that he was altogether devoid of cultivation or refinement, and it is said that his features and general aspect were an index of the coarseness and harshness of the mind within. So long as he was guided by the superior genius and commanding intellect of Diocletian, he performed well the work for which he was chosen, but the latter years of his life, when left to the direction of his own judgment, exhibit a melancholy spectacle of weak ambition, turbulence, perfidy, and crime.
  Maximianus married Eutropia, a widow of Syrian extraction, by whom he had two children, the emperor Maxentius, and Fausta, wife of Constantine the Great. Eutropia, by her former husband, who is unknown, had a daughter, Flavia Maximiana Theodora, who was united to Constantius Chlorus when he was elevated to the rank of Caesar.
(Zosim. ii. 7, 8, 10, 11; Zonar. xii. 31, 32, 33; Actor. de Mort. Persec. 8, 29, 30; Panegyr. Vet. ii. passim, iii. 3, 10, 14, vi. 9, vii. 14, &c.; Victor, de Caes. Epit. 39, 40; Eutrop. ix. 14, 16, x. 1. 2; Oros. vii. 25, 28; Gruter. Corp. Inscrip. cclxxxi. 4; Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. not. v. xix. in Dioclet.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Constantius I., Chlorus (305-306 AD)

Constantius I., surnamed Chlorus (o Chloros), "the Pale", Roman emperor, A. D. 305-306, the father of Constantine the Great, was the son of one Eutropius, of a noble Dardanian family, and Claudia, the daughter of Crispus, who was the (younger?) brother of the emperors Claudius II. and Quintilius. He was probably born in 250. Distinguished by ability, valour, and virtue, Constantius became governor of Dalmatia during the reign of the ermperor Carus, who, disgusted with the extravagant conduct of his son Carinus, intended to adopt and appoint as his successor the more worthy Constantius. Death prevented Carus from carrying that plan into execution, and the reward of Constantius was left to the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who had experienced that the government of the immense Roman empire, in its perpetual and hostile contact with so many barbarians, was a burden too heavy not only for one, but even for two emperors, however distinguished they were. They consequently resolved that each should appoint a co-regent Caesar, and their choice fell upon Constantius, who was adopted by Maximian, and Galerius, who was adopted by Diocletian. Both the Caesars were obliged to repudiate their wives, and Galerius was married to Valeria, the daughter of Diocletian, while Constantius received the hand of Theodora, the daughter of the wife of Maximian. Their appointment as Caesars took place at Nicomedeia on the 1st of March, 292. The government of the empire was distributed among the four princes in the following manner: Constantius was set over the provinces beyond the Alps, that is, Gaul, Britain, and Spain (?); Galerius received both the Illyriae and Moesia, an extensive tract comprising all the countries from the Inn in Germany to mount Athos and the shores of the Archipelago, and from the Adriatic Sea to the mouth of the Danube; Maximian governed Italy and Africa; and Thrace, Egypt, and all the Asiatic provinces were reserved for the authority of Diocletian. The first and most important business of Constantius was the reunion of Britain with the empire, as Carausius had succeeded in making himself independent of the authority of Diocletian and Maximian. After the murder of Carausius by Allectus in 293, this officer seized the government; but Britain was taken from him after a struggle of three years], and Constantius established his authority there. Some time afterwards, the Alemanni invaded Gaul. A pitched battle took place, in 298, between them and Constantius at Lingones, in Lugdunensis Prima, now Langres: the Romans were nearly routed, when Constantius restored the battle, defeated the enemy, and killed either 60,000 or 6000 barbarians. They suffered another defeat at Vindonissa, now Windish, in Switzerland: there are doubts with regard to this battle. After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximiian, in 305, Constantius and Galerius assumed the title and dignity of Augusti, and ruled as co-emperors. Constantius died fifteen months afterwards (25th of July, 306) at Eboracum, now York, on an expedition against the Picts, in which he was accompanied by his son Constantine, whom he had by his first wife, Helena, whom he had repudiated. The same Constantine, afterwards the Great, succeeded him in his share of the government.
  Constantius was one of the most excellent characters among the later Romans, and it is to be regretted that we know so little about him. His administration of his provinces procured him, great honour, for he took the most lively interest in the welfare of the people, and was so far from imitating the rapacity of other governors, that he was not even provided with such things as are necessary to men of his rank, though a vulgar appellation calls them luxuries. In his abstinence from luxuries he seems, however, to have shewn some affectation. The Pagans praised him for his humanity, and the Christians for his impartiality and toleration. Theophanes calls him Christianophron, or a man of Christian principles. His conduct during the persecution of the Christians by Diocletian was very humane. It is not known whence he received the surname of Chlorus, or the Pale, which is given to him only by later Byzantine writers. Gibbon observes, that any remarkable degree of paleness seems inconsistent with the rubor mentioned in the Panegyrics (v. 19). Besides his son and successor, Constantine, Constantius had by his second wife, Theodora, three sons and three daughters, who are mentioned in the genealogical table prefixed to the life of Constantinus I.

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Maximianus II., Galerius (305-311 AD)

Maximianus II., Roman emperor, A. D. 305-311. Galerius ValeriusMaximianus, born near Sardica in Dacia, was the son of a shepherd, and in early life followed the humble calling of his parent. Hence he is frequently designated in history by the epithet Armnentarius, although this must be regarded rather as a familiar than as a formal appellation, since it nowhere appears upon any public monument. Having served in the wars of Aurelian and Probus, he passed through all the inferior grades of military rank in succession, with such distinguished reputation, that when Diocletian remodelled the constitution of the empire, he was chosen along with Constantius Chlorus, in A. D. 292, to discharge the dignified but arduous duties of a Caesar, was adopted by the elder emperor, whose daughter Valeria he received in marriage, was permitted to participate in the title of Jovius, and was entrusted with the command of Illyria and Thrace. In A. D. 297 he undertook an expedition against the Persian monarch Narses, and after his failure was treated with the most insulting harshness by his father-in-law. But having fully redeemed his credit by the glorious issue of the second campaign, he from this time forward assumed a more haughty bearing, which gradually took the form of arrogant dictation, as the bodily health and mental energies of his superior gradually sunk under the pressure of complicated anxieties. Upon the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian (A. D. 305), an event which is said to have been hastened, if not caused, by his intrigues and threats, Galerius having succeeded in nominating two creatures of his own, Daza and Severus, to the posts of Caesars, now vacant in consequence of the elevation of himself and Constantius to the higher rank of Augusti, began to look forward with confidence to the period when the death of his colleague should leave him sole master of the world. But these hopes were destined to be signally frustrated. The news of the decease of Chlorus was accompanied by the intelligence that the troops had enthusiastically proffered their allegiance to his son. Galerius, filled with disappointment and rage, found himself in no condition to resist, and although he refused to concede a higher title than that of Caesar to Constantine, was obliged virtually to resign all claim to the sovereignty of Gaul and Britain. This mortification was followed by the more formidable series of disasters occasioned by the usurpation of Maxentius which led to the destruction of Severus, to the disgrace of Galerius himself, after a most calamitous campaign, and thus to the loss of Italy and Africa, A. D. 307. From this time forward, however, his life passed more tranquilly, for having supplied the place of Severus by his old friend and comrade Licinius, he seems to have abandoned those schemes of extravagant ambition once so eagerly cherished, and to have devoted his attention to great works of public utility, the draining of lakes and the clearing of forests, until cut off in A. D. 311, by the same terrible disease which is said to have terminated the existence of Sulla and of Herod Agrippa.
  Of a haughty and ungovernable temper, cruel to his enemies, ungrateful to his benefactors, a stranger to all the arts which soften the heart or refine the intellect, the character of this prince presents nothing to admire, except the valour of a fearless soldier and the skill of an accomplished general. The blackest shade upon his memory is thrown by his pitiless persecution of the Christians, whom he ever regarded with rancorous hostility, instigated, we are told, by the furious bigotry of his mother, an ardent cultivator of some of the darker rites of the ancient faith. The fatal ordinance of Diocletian, which for so many years deluged the world with innocent blood, is said to have been extorted by the pertinacious violence of Galerius, whose tardy repentance expressed in the famous edict of toleration published immediately before his death, made but poor amends for the amount of misery which he had deliberately caused.
  Galerius, by his first wife, whose name is unknown, and whom he was required to repudiate when created Caesar, had one daughter, who was married to Maxentius; by his second, Galeria Valeria, the daughter of Diocletian, he had no children.
(Zosim. ii. 8, 10, 11; Zonar. xii. 32, 33, 34; Euseb. H. E. viii. 5, 17, Vit. Constant. 18; Auctor. de Mort. Persec. 18, &c., 33, &c.; Amm. Marc. xiv. 11.10; Victor, de Caes. 39, 40, Epit. 39, 40; Eutrop. ix. 15, x. 1-3; Ores. vii. 26, 28; Jornandes, de Rebus Get. 21)

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Maximinus II., Daza or Daia (305-314 AD)

Maximinus II., Maximinus II., Roman emperor 305-314. Galerius Valerius Maximinus, who originally bore the name of Daza, was the nephew of Galerius by a sister, and in early life followed the occupation of a shepherd in his native Illyria. Having forsaken this humble calling for the life of a soldier, by force of interest rather than of any conspicuous merit, he rose to the highest rank in the service, and upon the abdication of Diocletian at Nicomedeia in A. D. 305, although altogether undistinguished, and indeed unknown, was adopted by the new emperor of the East, received the title of Jovius, was elevated to the rank of Caesar, and was nominated to the government of Syria and Egypt. Little grateful for these extraordinary and most undeserved marks of favour, he displayed violent indignation upon being passed over in the arrangements which followed the death of Constantius Chlorus in A. D. 307, when Licinius was created Augustus.Far from being satisfied by the concession of Galerius, who invented the new title of Filii Auyustorum to supersede the appellation of Caesars, he assumed without permission the highest imperial designation, and with much difficulty succeeded in wringing a reluctant acquiescence from his uncle. Upon the death of the latter, in 311, he entered into a convention with Licinius, in terms of which he received the provinces of Asia Minor in addition to his former dominion, the Hellespont and the Bosporus forming the common boundary of the two sovereignties; but having treacherously taken advantage of the absence of his neighbour, who had repaired to Milan in 313 for the purpose of receiving in marriage the sister of Constantine, he suddenly invaded Thrace, and surprised Byzantium. leaving, however, been signally defeated in a great battle fought near Heracleia, he fled first to Nicomedeia and thence to Tarsus, where lie soon after died according to some accounts of despair, according to others by poison. His wife and children were murdered, and every imaginable insult heaped upon his memory by the conqueror.
  The great military talents of Herculius, Galerius, and Licinius, served in some degree, if not to palliate, at least to divert attention from, their vices and their crimes. But not one quality, either noble or dazzling, relieves the coarse brutality of Maximin, who surpassed all his contemporaries in the profligacy of his private life, in the general cruelty of his administration, and in the furious hatred with which he persecuted the Christians. His elevation, which was the result of family influence alone, must have been as unexpected by himself as by others; but he did not prove by any means such a passive and subservient tool as was anticipated. His extravagant vanity, for we can scarcely dignify the feeling by the name of ambition, was for a while gratified, because Galerius felt unwilling to engage in a civil war with the creature of his own hands; but the arrogance engendered by this success in all probability prompted him to the unprovoked aggression which proved his ruin.
(Zosim. ii. 8; Victor, Epit. 40; Oros. vii. 25; Auctor. de Mort. Persec. 5, 32, 36, 38, 45, &c.; Euseb. H. E. viii. 14, ix. 2, &c.)

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Severus, Flavius Valerius (306-307 AD)

Severus, Flavius Valerius, Roman emperor, A. D. 306--307. After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, followed by the elevation of Galerius with Constantius Chlorus to the rank of Augusti, it became necessary, in order to maintain the scheme of the empire, to appoint new Caesars. The right of nomination was conceded to Galerius, who selected two creatures of his own, devoted, as he believed, to his interests, Maximinus Daza and Severus. The latter, an obscure Illyrian adventurer, altogether unknown, save as the dissolute, although faithful, adherent of his patron, was invested with the insignia of his new dignity at Milan, on the 1st of May, A.D. 305, by Herculius in person, and obtained Italy, and probably Africa and Upper Pannonia also, as his provinces. But as soon as intelligence was received of the death of Constantius Chlorus, which happened at York, in July, A. D. 306, Severns was forthwith proclaimed Augustus in his stead, by Galerius, and soon after was instructed to quell the disturbances excited by the usurpation of Maxentius. The details of this disastrous campaign, the advance of Severus upon the capital, the defection of his troops, his hasty retreat, and his surrender at Ravenna to Herculius, upon the most solemn assurances of ample protection, have been related in thearticle Maxentius. In spite, however, of all the promises of the conqueror, the vanquished prince was conveyed as a prisoner of war to the vicinity of Rome, and detained in captivity at Tres Tabernae, on the Appian road, where, upon receiving intimation that he might choose the manner of his death, he opened his veins, and was entombed in the sepulchre of Gallienus, A. D. 307.
(Panegr. Vet. i. v.; Auct. De Mort. Persec. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26; Victor, de Caes. 40, Epit. 40; Eutrop. x. 2; Excerpta Valeslan. 5-10; Zosim. ii, 8, 10)

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Maxentius (306-312 AD)

Maxentius, Roman emperor A. D. 306-312. M. Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, the son of Maximianus Herculius and Eutropia, received in marriage the daughter of Galerius; but in consequence, it would seem, of his indolent and dissolute habits, was altogether passed over in the division of the empire which followed the abdication of his father and Diocletian in A. D. 305. A strong feeling of disaffection towards the existing government prevailed at this time in Rome, arising from the pressure of increased taxation upon the nobles and wealthier classes, from the discontent of the praetorians who had been recently deprived of all their exclusive privileges, and from the indignation which pervaded the whole community, in consequence of the degradation of the ancient metropolis by the selection of Nicomedeia and Milan as the residences of the Augusti. It proved no difficult task for the neglected prince to turn this angry spirit to his own advantage, and to place himself at the head of the party who styled themselves patriots. A regular conspiracy was soon organised and eagerly supported by men of all ranks, the standard of open revolt was raised, the feeble resistance of the few magistrates who remained true to their allegiance was easily overcome, Maxentius was proclaimed emperor on the 28th of October, A. D. 306, amidst the most enthusiastic demonstrations of zeal by the senate, the populace, and the soldiery; all Italy followed the example of the capital; and Africa, acquiescing in the choice, struck medals in honour of the new ruler. Severus, to whom the guardianship of these provinces had been committed, straightway marched upon Rome to suppress what he vainly deemed a trifling insurrection; but a large body of his troops having deserted to their old commander, Maximianus, who, upon the invitation of his son, had quitted his retreat in Lucania, and had again assumed the purple, the Caesar was compelled to retreat in all haste to Ravenna, hotly pursued by the veteran. In an evil hour he was persuaded by treacherous representations to quit this almost impregnable stronghold, and to trust to the clemency of his foe, who, having once obtained possession of his person, granted him nothing save the liberty of choosing the manner of his death (A. D. 307). Galerius, enraged by these disasters, hastened, at the head of a numerous host, drawn from Illyria and the East, to chastise the usurper; but the military talents of Maximianus devised a system of defence which paralysed the energies of his opponent. The invader found himself in a desert, the whole population had quitted the open country, every town capable of resistance shut its gates, and thus, although he penetrated almost unmolested to within less than a hundred miles of the city, the embarrassments by which he was surrounded, from want of supplies, from enemies in his rear, and from the doubtful fidelity of his soldiers, proved so numerous, that he considered it prudent to make overtures of peace; and when they were contemptuously rejected, commenced a hasty retreat. Maxentius, relieved from these imminent dangers, proceeded to disentangle himself from the control which his father sought to exercise; and having succeeded in driving him from the court, turned his arms against Africa, where a certain Alexander had established an independent sway. The contest was quickly terminated by the destruction of the pretender, and the victory was savagely abused. The whole country was ravaged with fire and sword; Car. thage, at that epoch one of the most splendid cities in the world, was made the scene of a general conflagration and massacre, after which the conqueror returned to Rome, there to celebrate a flagitious triumph, and to indulge the worst passions of a depraved nature, at the expense of the citizens.
  Elated by these successes, Maxentius now openly aspired to dominion over all the Western provinces; and having first insulted and then declared open war against Constantine, assuming, as a pretext, the conduct of the latter towards Maximianus, he prepared to pass into Gaul with an army numbering not less than two hundred thousand men. But his schemes were frustrated by the prudent boldness of his adversary, who, encouraged by an embassy despatched from Rome imploring relief from the oppression of the despot, determined at once to cross the Alps. The events of this campaign are detailed elsewhere . The forces of the tyrant, shattered by the defeats of Turin and Verona, retired upon Rome; the decisive battle was fought at Saxa Rubra, not far from the storied stream of the Cremera; the imperial army, cut off from retreat, were driven by thousands into the Tiber; the Milvian bridge broke beneath the fugitives at the verymoment when Maxentius was forcing his way through the throng which choked up the passage, and borne down by the weight of his armour, he perished miserably in the stream on the 28th of October, 312, exactly six years from the day on which he was saluted emperor.
  All historians agree in representing this prince as a monster of rapacity, cruelty, and lust. The only favoured class was the military, upon whom he depended for safety; and in order to secure their devotion and to gratify his own evil passions, every other portion of his subjects were made the victims of the most revolting licentiousness, and ruined by the most grinding exactions. Various statements have been put forth with regard to his conduct towards the Christians, since by some he is commended for the solitary virtue of tolerance, while by others he is numbered among the most cruel persecutors. The truth seems to be, that neither of these representations is accurate. The Christians suffered in common with all who had the misfortune to own his sway; but while there is no reason to believe that they received any encouragement or patronage, so, on the other hand, there is no evidence to prove that they were at any time the objects of special hostility.
(Zosim. ii. 9-18; Zonar. xii. 33, xiii. 1; Panegyr. Vet. ix. 2, 3, 11-25, x. 6, 7, &c., 27, &c., xi. 16; Auctor. de Mort. Persecut. cc. 26, 28, 44; Euseb. H. E. viii. 14, Vit. Const. i. 26, 33, &c.; Fragments published by Valesius at the end of his edition of Ammianus Marcellinus; Victor, de Caes. 40, Epit. 40; Eutrop. x. 2.)

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Licinius (307-324 AD)

Licinius, Roman emperor (A. D. 307-324), whose full name was Publius Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus Licinius, was by birth a humble Dacian peasant, the early friend and companion in arms of the emperor Galerius, by whom, with the consent of Maximianus Herculius and Diocletian, after the death of Severus and the disastrous issue of the Italian campaign (see Maxentius), he was raised at once to the rank of Augustus without passing through the inferior grade of Caesar, and was invested with the command of the Illyrian provinces at Carmentum, on the 11th of November, A. D. 307. Upon the death of his patron, in 311, he concluded a peaceful arrangement with Daza, in terms of which he acknowledged the latter as sovereign of Asia, Syria, and Egypt, while he added Greece, Macedonia, and Thrace to his own former dominions, the Hellespont, with the Bosporus, forming the common boundary of the two empires. Feeling, however, the necessity of strengthening himself against a rival at once ambitious, unscrupulous, and powerful, he entered into a league with Constantine, and after the termination of the struggle with Maxentius, during which he had acted the part of a watchful spectator rather than of a sincere ally, received in marriage (A. D. 313) Constantia, the sister of the conqueror, to whom he had been betrothed two years before. Meanwhile, Maximinus, taking advantage of the absence of his neighbour, who was enjoying the splendours of the nuptial festivities at Milan, placed himself at the head of a for midable army, and setting forth in the dead of winter succeeded, notwithstanding the obstacles offered to his progress by the season, in passing the straits, stormed Byzantium in April, and soon after captured Heracleia also. But scarcely had he gained possession of the last-named city when Licinius, who had hurried from Italy upon receiving intelligence of this treacherous invasion, appeared at the head of a small but resolute and well-disciplined force to resist his further progress. The battle which ensued was obstinately contested, and the result was long doubtful, but the bravery of the troops from the Danube, and the great military talents of their leader, at length prevailed. Maximinus fled in headlong haste, and died a few months afterwards at Tarsus, thus leaving his enemy undisputed master of one half of the Roman empire, while the remainder was under the sway of his brother-in-law Constantine. It was little likely that two such spirits could long be firmly united by such a tie, or that either would calmly brook the existence of an equal. Accordingly, scarce a year elapsed before preparations commenced for the grand contest, whose object was to unite once mote the whole civilised world under a single ruler. The leading events are detailed elsewhere, and therefore it will suffice briefly to state here that there were two distinct wars; in the first, which broke out A. D. 315, Licinius was compelled by the decisive defeats sustained at Cibalis in Pannonia, and in the plain of Mardia in Thrace, to submit and to cede to the victor Greece, Macedonia, and the whole lower valley of the Danube, with the exception of a part of Moesia. The peace which followed lasted for about eight years, when hostilities were renewed, but the precise circumstances which led to this fresh collision are as obscure as the causes which produced the first rupture. The great battle of Hadrianople (3rd July, A. D. 323) followed by the reduction of Byzantium, and a second great victory achieved near Chalcedon (18th September), placed the eastern Augustus absolutely at the mercy of his kinsman, who, although he spared his life for the moment, and merely sentenced him to an honourable imprisonment at Thessalonica, soon found a convenient pretext for commanding the death of one who had long been the sole impediment in his path to universal dominion.
H  owever little we may respect the motives, and however deeply we may feel disgusted by the systematic hypocrisy of Constantine, we can feel no compassion for Licinius. His origin, education, and early habits might very naturally inspire him with a distaste for literature. although they could scarcely justify or excuse the rancour which he ever manifested towards all who were in any way distinguished by intellectual acquirements, and a life passed amidst a succession of scenes in which human nature was exhibited under its worst aspect, was by no means calculated to cherish any of the purer or softer feelings of the heart. But while he had all and more than all the vices which such a career might produce, he had none of the frank generosity of a bold soldier of fortune. He was not only totally indifferent to human life and suffering, and regardless of any principle of law or justice [p. 784] which might interfere with the gratification of his passions, but he was systematically treacherous and cruel, possessed of not one redeeming quality save physical courage and military skill. When he destroyed the helpless family of Maximinus he might plead that he only followed the ordinary usage of Oriental despots in extirpating the whole race of a rival; but the murders of the unoffending Severianus, of Candidianus the son of his friend and benefactor Galerius, who alone had made him what he was, of Prisca and of Valeria, the wife and daughter of Diocletian (Valeria), form a climax of ingratitude and cold-blooded ferocity to which few parallels can be found even in the revolting annals of the Roman empire.
(Zosim. ii. 7, 11, 17-28; Zonar. xiii. 1; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. 40, 41, Epit. 40, 41; Eutrop. x. 3, 4; Oros. vii. 28.)

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Constantinus II. Flavius Claudius (337-340 AD)

Constantinus II. Flavius Claudius, surnamed the Younger, Roman emperor, A. D. 337-340, the second son of Constantine the Great, and the first whom he had by his second wife, Fausta, was born at Arelatum, now Aries, in Gaul, on the 7th of August, A. D. 312. As early as A. D. 316, he was created Caesar, together with nis elder brother, Crispus, and the younger Licinius, and he held the consulship several times. In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of his Caesarship, in 321, the orator Nazarius delivered a panegyric (Panegyr. Veter. ix.), which, however, is of little importance. In 335 he was entrusted with the administration of Gaul, Britain, and Spain. After the death of his father, 337, he received in the division of the empire between the three sons of the Great Constantine and his nephews, Dalmatius and Hannibalianus, the same provinces which he had governed under his father, and a part of Africa. Being the eldest surviving son of Constantine, he received some exterior marks of respect from the other emperors, but he had no authority over them. Dissatisfied with his share of the spoil, he exacted from his younger brother Constans the rest of Africa and the co-administration of Italy. Constans refused to give up those provinces. Constantine declared war against him, and invaded Italy by sea and by land, and at Aquileia met with the army of Constans, who approached from Dacia. Having rashly pursued the enemy when they gave way in a mock flight, Constantine was suddenly surrounded by them and fell under their swords. (A. D. 340.) His body was thrown into the river Alsa, but was afterwards found and buried with royal honours. He was twice married, but the names of his wives are not known; they probably both died before him, and he left no issue. An unknown author pronounced a monody on his death, which is contained in Havercamp's edition of Eutropius. (Zosim. lib. ii. ; Zonar. lib. xiii.; Euseb. Vita Const. iv. 40-49; Prosper, Chron. Acyndino et Proculo Coss; more authorities are given in the lives of his brothers, Constantius and Constans.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Constans I., Flavius Julius (337-350 AD)

Constans I., Flavius Julius, the youngest of the three sons of Constantine the Great and Fausta, was at an early age appointed by his father governor of Western Illyricum, Italy, and Africa, countries which he subsequently received as his portion upon the division of the empire in A. D. 337. After having successfully resisted the treachery and violence of his brother Constantine, who was slain in invading his territory, A. D. 340, Constans became master of the whole West, and being naturally indolent, weak, and profligate, abandoned himself for some years without restraint to the indulgence of the most depraved passions. While hunting in Gaul, he suddenly received intelligence that Magnentius had rebelled, that the soldiers had mutinied, and that emissaries had been despatched to put him to death. Flying with all speed, he succeeded in reaching the Pyrenees, but was overtaken near the town of Helena (formerly Illiberis) by the cavalry of the usurper, and was slain, A. D. 350, in the thirtieth year of his age and the thirteenth of his reign. (Aurel. Vict. de Caes. xli., Epit. xli.; Eutrop. x. 5; Zosimus, ii. 42; Zonaras, xiii. 6.)

This is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Magnentius (350-353 AD)

Magnentius, Roman emperor in the West, A. D. 350-353. Flavius Popilius Magnentius, according to the accounts preserved by Victor and Zosimus, belonged to one of those German families who were transported across the Rhine, and established in Gaul, about the end of the third century; according to the statement of Julian, which is not irreconcilable with the former, he was a captive taken in war by Constantius Chlorus, or Constantine. Under the latter he served with reputation in many wars, rose eventually to the dignity of count, and was entrusted by Constans with the command of the famous Jovian and Herculian battalions who had replaced the ancient praetorian guards when the empire was remodelled by Diocletian. His ambition was probably first roused by perceiving the frailty of the tenure under wich the weak and indolent prince whom he served held power; and having associated himself with Marcellinus, chancellor of the imperial exchequer (comes sacrarum larqitionum), a plot was deliberately contrived and carefully matured. A great feast was given by Marcellinus at Autun on the 18th of January, A. D. 350, ostensibly to celebrate the birthday of his son, to which the chief officers of the army and the most distinguished of the court were invited. When the night was far spent, Magnentius, who had quitted the apartment under some pretext, suddenly reclad in royal robes, and was instantly saluted as Augustus by the conspirators, whose acclamations were caught up and echoed almost unconsciously by the remainder of the guests. The emissaries despatched to murder Constans succeeded in accomplishing their purpose, the troops no longer hesitated to follow their leaders, the peaceful portion of the population did not resist the example of the soldiery, and thus the authority of the usurper was almost instantly acknowledged throughout Gaul, and quickly extended over all the Western provinces, except Illyria, where Vetranio, the imperial general, had himself assumed the purple. Intelligence of these events was quickly conveyed to Constantius, who hurried from the frontier of Persia to vindicate the honour of his house, by crushing this double rebellion. The events which followed-the fruitless attempts of the two pretenders to negotiate a peace-the submission of Vetranio at Sardica-the distress of Constantius in Pannonia, which induced him in his turn, but fruitlessly, to make overtures to his opponent-the defeat of Magnentius at the sanguinary battle of Mursa on the Drave, in the autumn of A. D. 351, followed by the loss of Italy, Sicily, Africa, and Spain -his second defeat in the passes of the Cottian Alps- the defection of Gaul, and his death by his own hands about the middle of August, A. D. 353, are fully detailed in other articles (Constantious, Decentius, Desiderius, Nepotanus, Vetranio).
  Magnentius was a man of commanding stature great bodily strength, was well educated, and accomplished, fond of literature, an animated and impressive speaker, a bold soldier, and a skilful general. But, however striking his physical and intellectual advantages, however conspicuous his merits when in a subordinate station, not one spark of virtue relieved the blackness of his career as a sovereign, not one tiait of humanity gave indication that the Christianity which he professed had ever touched his heart. The power which he obtained by treachery and murder he maintained by extortion and cruelty, rendered, if possible, more odious by a hypocritical assumption of good-natured frankness.
(Julian. Orat. i. ii.; Liban. Orat. x.; Amm. Marc. xiv. 5; Aurel. Vict. de Caes. 41, 42, Epit. 41, 42; Eutrop. x. 6, 7; Zosim. ii. 41-54; Zonar. xiii. 5-9; Socrat. H. E. ii. 32; Sozomen. H. E. iv. 7)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Valentinianus I. (364-375 AD)

Valentinianus I., Roman emperor A. D. 364-375, was the son of Gratianus, and was born A. D. 321, at Cibalis in Pannonia. He bore also the name of Flavius, which was common to all the emperors after Constantine. His first wife was Valeria Severa, by whom he became the father of the emperor Gratianus. Valentinian entered the army when young, and showed military talents; but the emperor Constantinus for some reason or other deprived him of his rank A. D. 357. Under Julian he held the office of tribune of the guard, or of the Scutarii, as Orosius terms the body (vii. 32), and in this capacity he was with Julian at Antioch, A. D. 362, and accompanied him to a heathen temple. Julian, it is said, commanded him to sacrifice to the idol, or resign his office; but Valentinian, who had been baptized in the Christian faith, refused. According to most of the historians, Valentinian was exiled for his adherence to his religion.
  Jovian succeeded Julian A. D. 363, and Lucilianus, the father-in-law of Valentinian, took him with him to Gaul. Lucilianus lost his life in a disturbance at Rheims, and Valentinan only saved himself by flight. Returning to the East he was rewarded by Jovian with the office of captain of the second company of Scutarii. When Jovian died suddenly at Dadastana, on the borders of Galatia and Bithynia, on the 16th of February, A. D. 364, Valentinian was at Ancyra. For ten days the empire was without an emperor, but it was at last agreed by the officers of the army of Jovian, who were at Nicaea, that Valentinian should be the successor of Jovian. Valentinian came to Nicaea, and on the 26th of February he assumed the imperial insignia in the presence of the army in the plain of Nicaea.
  Valentinian maintained the pure Catholic faith, though his brother Valens was an Arian. He forbade, under pain of death, all pagan ceremonials, magical arts and sacrifices by night; but this was a prudent measure of police, and nothing more. He restored the figure of the cross and the name of Jesus Christ on the Labarum or chief standard of the armies, for Julian had removed these Christian symbols. He also renewed and perhaps extended a law of Constantine, which forbade any judicial proceedings, or the execution of any judicial sentence on Sunday. However, Valentinian did not meddle with religious disputes, and either from in-difference or good sense, he said it was not for him, a layman, to deal with difficulties of that description. Though a Catholic, he did not persecute either Arians or heathens: he let every man follow his own religion, for which Ammianus Marcellinus (xxx. 9) has commended him; and certainly his moderation in this respect must be considered a remarkable feature in his character. Though there were some enactments made by him against Manichaeans, Donatists and the other heretics, the general religious freedom which he allowed is undisputed (Cod. Theod. 9. tit. 16. s. 9), and the emperor set an example which even now is not completely followed in modern Europe. This is the most unequivocal evidence of the good sense and the courage of Valentinian. Ecclesiastical writers, like Baronius, as a matter of course blame that toleration which they suppose to be condemned by the religion which they profess.
  Ammianus and other writers have spoken particularly of the personal merits and defects of Valentinian. He was robust and handsome; he had a natural eloquence, though he had no literary acquirements; he was neat in his apparel, but not expensive; and his chastity is specially recorded. He possessed good abilities, prudence, and vigor of character. He had a capacity for military matters, and was a vigilant, impartial, and laborious administrator. Ammianus sums up by saying that he had so many good qualities that, if every thing had been equal in him, he would have been as great a man as Trajan or Marcus Aurelius. Among his faults was that of having a very good opinion of himself, and he punished sometimes with excessive severity. Yet he is accused of behaving with too much lenity to the officers when they misconducted themselves; and of enriching himself by arbitrary means, though the same authorities say that he endeavoured to alleviate the sufferings of the people. The truth is that the character of a man, who possesses supreme power, may be made to appear almost anything, according to a writer's temper and judgment. Many instances of the severity, and even of the cruelty of Valentinian are recorded; and Gibbon, following chiefly the authority of Ammianus, has made him a monster of cruelty. Yet Valentinian had feelings of compassion, when he was not in an angry mood, and he promulgated a constitution against the exposure of children; and he encouraged learning, though he was illiterate, by the foundation of schools. (Cod. Theod. 14. tit. 9)
  Valentinian, after being declared emperor on the 26th of February, moved to Nicomedia on the 1st of March, where he conferred on his brother Valens the dignity of Constable, that is, he made him chief of the stable; and on the 28th of March, being then at Constantinople, he declared him Augustus in the Hebdomon, or field of Mars, in the neighbourhood of that city. The two brothers confirmed to the town of Nicaea, when Valentinian was declared emperor, the title of Metropolis, and raised it to equal rank with Nicomedia. In the early part of this year the two emperors left Constantinople, and passed through Hadrianople, Philippopolis, and Sardica, to Naesus in Dacia, in the neighbourhood of which they remained some days to arrange the affairs of the empire. Valentinian kept Jovinus general of the troops in Gaul (magister armorum), to which rank he had been promoted by Julian, and Dagalaephus (militiae rector), who owed his promotion to Jovian. Victor and Arinthaeus were attached to the service of Valens. Zosimus, indeed, states (iv. 2) that the two emperors were hostile to all the friends of Julian, and that all those who had been promoted by Julian were deprived of their offices, except Arinthaeus and Victor; but Zosimus may be mistaken here, as in other cases. The provinces of the empire were also distributed between the two brothers. Valens had the East, comprising Asia, Egypt, and Thrace; Valentinian had the West, comprising Illyricum, Italy, the Gauls, Britain, Spain, and Africa. After this partition Valens set out for Constantinople to govern the East, of which he knew not even the language, and Valentinian for Italy.
  Valentinian went to Milan, where he arrived some time in November, and he stayed there till the beginning of A. D. 365.
  Volusianus, prefect of Rome, was succeeded in this year by Symmachus, the father of the orator, to whom some constitutions of Valentinian are addressed, by which the emperor endeavoured to secure the provisioning of Rome, and provided for the repair of the buildings. A constitution of this year enacted that the governors of provinces must not sit in judgment in matters civil or criminal, in private, but that judicial proceedings must be held with open doors.
  The nations on the Roman frontiers were disturbing the provinces, and the vigilance of Valentinian was required to protect his empire. Romanus, who had been made comes of Africa under Jovian (A. D. 363), instead of protecting the country, which he was sent to govern, plundered the people worse than the border tribes. On the accession of Valentinian, the people of Leptis sent their presents to the new emperor, and at the same time represented to him the wretched condition of their country. In the mean time, a barbarous tribe, called Austuriani, were threatening Leptis and plundering the country, and Valentinian sent Palladius to inquire into the state of affairs in the province of Africa. But Palladius, who was corrupted by Romanus, reported that the people of Leptis and the rest of the province had nothing to complain of. The result was, that those who had complained of Romanus were punished (Amm. Marc. xxviii. 6).
  It appears from various constitutions, that Valentinian visited several places in North Italy during the year A. D. 365. A constitution of this year appears to be the earliest in which the Defensores are spoken of, and it is addressed to " Seneca Defensor" (Cod. Just. i. tit. 55). In the month of October Valentinian left Italy for Gaul, and he was at Paris about the end of the month. His presence was required by an irruption of the Allemaimi, who had ravaged the country west of the Rhine. Valentinian sent Dagalaephus against them, and he went himself as far as Rheims; but the Allemanni had retired, and Valentinian returned to Paris, where he appears to have remained the following year A. D. 366. In the beginning of A. D. 366 the Allemanni again entered Gaul during a severe winter, defeated the Roman troops and killed Charietto, who was comes of the Two Germanies. Dagalaephus, who was sent against the Allemanni by the emperor, was tardy in his movements, and he was replaced by Jovinus the master of the horse (magister equitum), who defeated the Allemanni in several engagements. One battle was fought at Scarponna between Metz and Toul, and another in the neighbourhood of Chalons-sur-Marne with a body of Allemanni which had penetrated as far as this place. Jovinus announced his victory to the emperor at Paris, who at the same time received the head of the usurper Procopius, which had been sent to him by his brother Valens. Valentinian appears to have passed the close of the year and the winter at Rheims. At this time he built forts on the Rhine to stop the incursions of the Germans, and he recruited his armies for the defence of this frontier. His measures secured tranquillity on that side of the empire during the rest of his reign.
  The residence of Valentinian at Rheims to the month of June A. D. 367, is proved by the constitutions which he promulgated. One of the 18th of August is dated from Amiens, and addressed to Praetextatus, prefect of Rome. During this time he was suffering so much from illness that there was talk about his successor; but Valentinian recovered, and, on the 24th of August, his son Gratianus, then little more than eight years of age, was declared Augustus at Amiens in presence of the army. About this time Valentinian divorced his wife Severa or Valeria Severa, and married Justina, a Sicilian woman, by whom he became the father of Valentinian II. and of three daughters, one of whom, Galla, was afterwards the wife of Theodosius I. Justitna was an Arian, but she concealed her heresy as long as her husband lived.
  At the close of A. D. 367 the Allemanni, under Randon, surprised and pillaged Moguntiacum (Mainz) during a festival which the Christians [p. 1209] were celebrating. The Romans retaliated by gaming over an Allemann to assassinate his king Vithicabus, a man who in a feeble body possessed a great spirit, and had caused the Romans no small trouble. While the emperor was on his road from Amiens to Treves on the Mosel, he heard of the ravages which the Picts and other barbarians were committing in Britain. The conduct of this war was finally entrusted to Theodosius, the father of the first emperor Theodosius.
  To the year A. D. 368 probably belongs a constitution of Valentinian addressed to Olybrius, then praefect of Rome (Cod. Theod. 2. tit. 10. s. 2 ; Cod. Just. 2. tit. 6. s. 6), for the regulation of the conduct of advocates, who were forbidden to use abusive language, or to say anything which might injure the reputation of the party to whom they were opposed, unless it was necessary to maintain the case of their client. The constitution contains other regulations. By another constitution he ordered that there should be a physician appointed for each of the fourteen regions of Rome, to look after the health of the poor. In the autumn of this year Valentinian left Treves for an expedition against the Allemanni, whom he drove with great loss from a mountain where they had fortified themselves. This place called Solicinium has been conjectured to be Sulz, near the source of the Necker. The emperor returned with his son to Treves, which he entered in a kind of triumph.
  In A. D. 369 Valentinian was occupied with building forts on the left bank of the Rhine, from its mouth to the country of the Rhaeti; and he also constructed some forts on the other side of the river. Mannheim, at the junction of the Necker and the Rhine, is supposed to be one of these positions. His residence was chiefly at Treves during this year, but he made excursions to various places on the Rhine. A story recorded in the Alexandrine Chronicle, and also in Zonaras, of the emperor's severity seems hardly credible. An eunuch named Rhodanus, an attendant on Valentinian, had been convicted before Sallustius of defrauding a widow, and he was ordered to make restitution. Instead of doing this he appealed from the judgment, and the widow was advised to present her petition to Valentinian when he was seated in the Circus. The eunuch was near his master, when the widow presented her petition, and the emperor immediately ordered the eunuch to be seized, to be carried round the Circus while proclamation of his crime was made, land then to be burnt alive in the presence of the spectators.
  In A. D. 370 Valentinian was still at Treves, or near it, as appears from the constitutions promulgated in this year. The Saxons now broke loose on the Roman territory, where they plundered all before them; but they were alarmed by the appearance of Severus, commander of the infantry (peditum magister), who made place With them on condition of their retiring. Butt the Romans treacherously laid an ambuscade, and destroyed the Saxons on their march back, at a place called Deuso, according to Hieronymus, which may be Dentz, opposite to Cologne. Ammianus (xxviii. 5) considered this treachery justifiable under the circumstances. A constitution of this year addressed to Damasus, bishop of Rome (Cod. Theod. 16. tit 2. s. 20), was intended to check the greediness of the clergy. It is commented on by Gibbon with his usual relish for scandal against the clergy, against whom, however, we have the evidence of the imperial constitution, and that of Hieronymus. Damasus, the bishop of Rome, was himself a man of dubious character, and the virtuous Praetextatus, a pagan, told him that he would turn Christian himself if he could secure the see of Rome, "a reproach", observes Gibbon, "in the form of a jest".
  Ammianus (xxviii. 1) gives an account of the cruelties exercised at Rome by Maximinus, who held the office of the Vicaria Praefectura, against persons who were accused of magical arts. Maximinus put many persons to the torture, and even to death, upon the charge of using magic. Maximinus was punished by Gratian, the successor of Valentinian, for all his misdeeds. Magic, or whatever is meant by the term, was a great abomination in the eyes of Valentinian : he permitted all the arts of the Roman aruspices to be practised, and every other ceremonial of the ancient religion, provided no magic was practised. He even maintained the Pontifices in the provinces in all their privileges, and allowed them the same rank as Comites. This-was going even beyond toleration, and further than a wise policy can justify. He relieved from all civil duties such ecclesiastics as devoted all their time to the service of the church, and had entered the clerical body before the commencement of his reign; but as to others, they were liable to discharge all civil duties like any layman. These and other constitutions of the first half of A. D. 371 were promulgated at Treves, the favourite residence of Valentinian, which he left for a short time to conduct operations against the Germans in the neighbourhood of Mainz. He was again at Treves in December, and he appears to have passed the year A. D. 372 there or in the neighbourhood. The emperor did nothing this year that is recorded, except to promulgate a constitution against the Manichaeans, who were always treated with great severity.
  The year A. D. 373 was the fourth joint consulship of the two Augusti, Valentinian and Valens, and Valentinian spent a great part of this year in Italy. Maximinus was made Praefectus (of Gaul, as Tillemont shows), and this brought about the ruin of Remigius, once Magister Officiorum, who had been a partner of Comes Romanus in his maladministration. Remigius had resigned his office and retired to the pleasant neighbourhood of his native Mainz to cultivate the land. Maximinus, who was somewhere near, which is confirmatory of Tillemont's conjecture that he was in this year prefect of Gaul, put to the torture one Caesarius, who had served tinder Remigius, in order that he might discover what Remigius had received from Romanus. Remigius, being informed of these proceedings against him, hanged himself (Amm. Marc. xxx, 2). Palladius, who had deceived his master in the affair of Comes Romanus, was also arrested by order of Valentinian; and he too pronounced his own sentence, and executed it by hanging himself. Romanus, the chief criminal, was put in prison by Theodosius, when he was sent against Firmus, and proof was found of his knavery in the affair of Leptis. The historian, however, has not the gratification of finding any evidence of the punishment of Romanus, either under the reign of Valentinian or that of his successor.
  Valentinian passed the winter of A. D. 373 at Milan, but he was again at Treves in May and June of the following year A. D. 374. He was upon the Rhine, probably in the neighbourhood of Bale, when he received intelligence of the Quadi invading Illyricum : the cause was this. As the emperor was anxious to protect the frontiers, he ordered some forts to be built north of the Danube, in the country of the Quadi. The Quadi complained of this encroachment to Equitius, master-general of Illyricum, who consented to suspend the works till the emperor had signified his pleasure. But Marcellinus, the son of Maximinus, was made dux of Valeria, a province of Illyricum, by his father's interest, and he continued the fortifications without troubling himself about the Quadi. The king of the Quadi, Gabinius, came to remonstrate with Marcellinus, who received him civilly and asked him to eat; but as the king was retiring after the entertainment, the Roman treacherously caused him to be assassinated. The Quadi, joined by the Sarmatians, crossed the river into the Roman province, which was destitute of troops, and destroyed the grain which was ready for the harvest. Probus, Praefectus Praetorio, though much alarmed, prepared to defend Sirmium; but the barbarians did not disturb him, and preferred running after Equitius to whom they attributed the death of their king. The barbarians destroyed two legions, and the province would have been lost, but for the vigour and courage of a young man, who was afterwards the emperor Theodosius.
  Valentinian heard of this incursion of the Quadi at his royal residence of Treves, but he deferred his campaign against the Quadi to the following year, and in the mean time he employed himself in securing the friendship of Macrianus, king of the Allemanni, with whom he had an interview near Mainz. Macrianus accepted the terms which the Roman emperor came to offer, and became the ally, or at least not the enemy of Valentinian. The emperor spent this, his last winter at Treves, which he did not quit till the month of April, A. D. 375, to march towards Illyricum. He took with him his wife Justina and his second son Valentinian. Gratian was left at Treves.
  The emperor fixed his head-quarters at Carnuntum, which was probably on the Danube, and below the site of Vienna. His first care was to inquire into the conduct of Probus, the praefect, who was charged with oppressing the people; but Valentinian did not live long enough to come to any decision about Probus. After preparing for the campaign the emperor crossed the Danube, but his operations were not very decisive, and at the approach of winter he re-crossed the river, and fixed himself at Bregetio, probably near Presburg. While giving an audience to the deputies of the Quadi, and speaking with great heat, he fell down in a fit and expired suddenly on the 17th of November, after a reign of twelve years, all but a hundred days. His body was embalmed and carried to Constantinople to be interred.
  Gibbon's sketch of the reign of Valentinian and Valens (c. 25) has great merit: it is rapid, exact and instructive Tillemont (Histoire des Empereurs, v.) is painfully minute as usual; but his authorities are always valuable, and his judgment, when not biassed by his peculiar way of thinking, is generally sound. The reign of Valentinian is worth a careful study in his extant legislative enactments. His many great qualities entitle him to a place among the most distinguished of the illustrious Romans.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gratianus Augustus (Gratian)

Gratianus Aug., son of the emperor Valentinian, by his first wife Severa (or perhaps Valeria Severa), was born at Sirmium, in Pannonia, 19th April, A. D. 359, about five years before his father's accession to the empire. In A. D. 366, while yet nobilissimus puer, or heir apparent, he was made consul, and on 24th Aug. 367, he was raised by his father to the rank of Augustus, at Ambiani or Amiens, in Gaul. This elevation is ascribed by Aurelius Victor to the influence of his mother, Severa, and his maternal grandmother. In the following year he accompanied his father in the campaign against the Alamanni, in their own country, though lie was not, on account of his tender age, exposed to the full hardships and dangers of the war. Great care was bestowed on his education; and the poet Ausonius, whom, in gratitude for his instruction, he after wards (A. D. 379) raised to the consulship, was his tutor.
  On the sudden death of Valentinian, at Bregitio or Bergentio, now Bregenz, on the lake of Constance (17 Nov. A. D. 375), the troops there, at the instigation of some of their officers, elevated Valentinian II., a child of four years, half brother of Gratian, to a share in the empire. The writers of best authority tell us that the good disposition and prudence of Gratian, or his advisers, prevented that prince from taking umbrage at this intrusion upon him of a partner in his power; but Theophanes and Zonaras say that lie punished the authors of his [p. 302] brother's elevation, and Zonaras adds that he severely rebuked the troops for their share in the transaction. A division of the provinces of the West was made between the brothers, though the greater age of Gratian gave him pre-eminence. As the eastern provinces remained subject to Valens, brother and colleague of Valentinian I., the part immediatety subject to the government of Gratian comprehended Gaul, Spain, and Britain. But there is some doubt both as to the time when the provinces of the West were partitioned, and as to the authority, if any, which Gratian retained or exercised in the provinces of his brother. Treviri, now Treves, seems to have been his usual residence.
  In the early part of his reign hostilities were fiercely carried on along the Danubian provinces and in Illyricum, where Frigeridus, Gratian's general, defeated the Taifali; and Gratian himself was preparing to march into Thrace to assist his uncle Valens against the Goths, but was detained in the West by an incursion of the Lentienses, who formed part of the great confederation of the Alamanni. The invading host, to the Number of 40,000 (some accounts, probably exaggerated, make them 70,000), was encountered and cut to pieces by the army of Gratian, under his generals Nannienus and Mellobaudes the Frank, who held the office of Comes Domesticorum at Argentovaria or Argentaria (at or near Colmar, in Alsace), about May, A. D. 378 or according to some authorities in 377. Whether Gratian was present at the battle does not appear; but he conducted his army in person across the Rhine, and compelled the Lentienses to submit. He afterwards advanced towards or into the eastern empire, where the Goths, who had defeated and killed Valens near Adrianople (Aug. 378), were committing great devastation. By the death of his uncle, Valens, the eastern empire had devolved upon him; but his consciousness of his inadequacy to this increased charge led him to send for Theodosius from Spain, and after appointing him in the first instance general against the Goths, he soon after (Jan. 19, 379), at Sirmium, raised him to be his colleague in the empire, and committed the East to him.
  For some time after this the pressure of affairs compelled Gratian to exert himself. He sanctioned the settlement in Pannonia and Upper Maesia of some German nations, who were pressing upon the frontier of the empire; perhaps thinking thus to repair the waste of population in the Gothic war, or to raise up a barrier against further invasion. His generals, the Franks, Bauto and Arbogastes, with their army, were sent to assist Theodosius ; and Gratian himself, if we may trust an obscure expression of Idatius, gained a victory over some hostile army, but of what nation is not said. He also, during the illness of Theodosius, arranged or strengthened a treaty with the Goths. After these transactions, which may be referred to the year 380 at latest, we hear little of any warlike or other transactions in which Gratian was engaged.
  Historians, Pagan and Christian, are agreed as to the character of this prince. In person he was well made and good looking; in his disposition gentle and docile; submissive. as a youth, to his instructors, possessed of a cultivated understanding and of a ready and pleasing eloquence. Even in the camp he cultivated poetry; and the flattering panegyric of Ausonius declares that Achilles had found in him a Roman Homer. He was pious, chaste, and temperate; but his character was too yielding and pliant, it wanted force; and the influence of others led him to severities that were foreign to his own character. By the instigation of his mother, he had, at the commencement of his reign, put to death Maximus, praefectus praetorio in Gaul, Simplicius, and others of his father's officers. It is difficult to determine how far he is answerable for the death of Count Theodosius, father of the emperor, who was put to death at Carthage soon after Gratian's accession, unless we could ascertain whether the partition of the western provinces had then been made; and if so, whether Gratian retained any authority in the provinces allotted to his brother. His piety and reverence for ecclesiastics, especially for Ambrose of Milan, rendered him too willing a party to the persecutions which the Christians, now gaining the ascendancy, were too ready to exercise, whether against the heathens or against heretics of their own body. Valentinian I. had wisely allowed religious liberty ; but under Gratian this was no longer permitted (Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 9. s. 4, 5, with the notes of Gothofredu..) He refused to put on the insignia of Pontifex Maximus, on the plea that a Christian could not wear them; and herein he only acted consistently. Tillemont, on the authority of Ambrose, ascribes to him the removal of the Altar of Victory at Rome, and the confiscation of its revenues ; and the prohibition of legacies of real property to the Vestals, with the abolition of their other privileges, steps of which the justice is more questionable. Ambrose also ascribes to him the prohibition of heathen worship at Rome, and the purging of the church from all taint of sacrilegious heresy -vague expressions, but indicative of the persecuting spirit of his government. The Priscillianists indeed are said to have obtained readmission into the church by bribing the officers of his court; and during the short time after Valens' death that he held the Eastern empire, he contented himself with relieving the orthodox party from persecution, and tolerated the Arians, probably from the conviction that in the critical period of the Gothic war, it would not do to alienate so powerful a body. The Eunomians, Photinians, and Manichaeans were not, however, tolerated even then. (Suidas, s. v. Gratianos, and notes of Gothofredus to Cod. Theod. l. c.) Sulpicius Severus intimates that at one time he issued an edict for the banishment of all heretics; but it is difficult to believe that this could have been effected or even attempted. The religious meetings of heretics were, however, interdicted by him. (Cod. Theod. l. c.) After these indications of his zeal, we do not wonder that Ambrose addressed to him his treatise De Fide.
  While these persecuting measures were cooling the attachment of those of his subjects who were exposed to his severity, his constant engagement in field sports, to the neglect of more serious matters, incurred contempt. The indulgence and flattery of his councillors and courtiers allowed and induced him to devote himself to amusement. Night and day, says Aurelius Victor, he was thinking of nothing else than arrows, and considered that to hit the mark was the greatest of pleasures and the perfection of art. So sure was his aim. that his arrows were said to be endowed with intelligence. [p. 303] He associated with a few of the Alans, whom he made his friends and followers, and travelled habited in their garb. This deportment excited the contempt of the army. While thus unpopular, a competitor for the empire suddenly appeared in the person of Maximus, a man of energy and reputation, who was elected by the legions in Britain, and at once crossed over into Gaul, and defeated Gratian somewhere near Paris. Deserted by his troops, and, according to some, betrayed by his general, Mellobaudes, or Merobaudes, Gratian fled in the direction of Italy, but being excluded by the inhabitants of the cities in his route, was overtaken and slain apparently near Lugdunum or Lyon, by Andragathius, whom Maximus had sent in pursuit of him. (25 Aug. 383.) In his last extremity he called upon the name of Ambrose. Zosimus places his death near Singidunum, now Belgrade, on the borders of Pannonia and Maesia. Maximus refused to give up his body to his brother Valentinian for burial; but subsequently, probably on the overthrow of Maximus, it was removed and interred at Milan. Sozomen and Socrates, followed by Theophanes, describe the stratagem by which Andragathius succeeded in killing him, and though their story is improbable enough, it perhaps originated in some treachery actually employed.
  Gratian was twice married. 1. About A. D. 374 or 375, to Flavia Maxima Constantia, daughter of the emperor Constantius II., by whom he appears to have had a son, of whom nothing is known. Constantia died about six months before her husband. 2. To Laeta, of whom little is known, and who survived him.
(Amm. Marc. xxvii. 6, xxviii. 1, xxix. 6, xxx. 10, xxxi. 9, 10; Aurel. Vict. Epit. c. 45, 47, 48; Oros. vii. 32, 33, 34; Zosim. vi. 12, 19, 24, 34, 35, 36; Zonar. xiii. 17; Marcellin. Prosper Aquit., Prosper Tiro, Chronica; Idatius, Chronicon and Fasti ; Theophan. Chronograph. vol. i.; Socrat. H. E. iv. 31, v. 2, 11; Sozom. H. E. vi. 36, vii. 1, 13; Rufinus, H. E. xi. 13, 14; Sulpic. Severus, Histor. Sacra, ii. 63; Themist. Orat. xiii.; Auson. Epigr. 1, 2, Gratiarum Actio pro Consulatu ; Ambros. De Fide Prolog. Epistolae 11, 17, 21, Consolatio de Obitu Valentin. c. 79)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Valentinian II. (375-392 AD)

Valentinian II., Roman emperor A. D. 375--392, a son of Valentinianus I., was with his mother Justina, about one hundred miles from the camp of Bregetio, when his father died there, A. D. 375. His brother Gratianus was at Treves. Valentinian and his mother were summoned to Bregetio, when the army proclaimed Valentinian, Augustus, six days after his father's death. He was then only four or five years of age; and Gratian was only about seventeen. Gratian assented to the choice of the army, and a division of the West was made between the two brothers Valentinian had Italy, Illyricum and Africa. Gratian had the Gauls, Spain and Britain. This division, however, if it actually took place, was merely nominal. and Gratian as long as he lived was actually emperor of the West. One reason for supposing that Gratian really retained all the imperial power is the fact, that after the death of Valens, and in A. D. 379 Gratian ceded a part of Illyricum to Theodosius I., whom he declared emperor of the East. This seems to show at least that the division of the empire of the West between Gratian and Valentinian was not completed at the time when Theodosius received a part of Illyricum.
  In A. D. 383, Gratian was murdered at Lyon. Milan was the chief residence of Valentinian II. from the time of his father's death, and he was in this city during A. D. 384. He made Symmachus prefect of Rome, probably about the close of A. D. 383. Valentinian was still at Milan in the first half of A. D. 386, and afterwards at Aquileia. His mother Justina, who acted in his name, and was an Arian, employed herself in persecuting the Catholics during this and the following year. In A. D. 386, Valentinian addressed a letter to Sallustius, the prefect of Rome, in which he ordered him to rebuild the church of St. Paul, near Rome, on the road to Ostia. The church was rebuilt, but apparently somewhat later than the time of this order.
  Maximius, who had usurped the throne of Gratian, left Valentinian a precarious authority out of fear for Theodosius I.: but in August, A. D. 387, he suddenly crossed the Alps, and advanced towards Milan, the usual residence of Valentinian. The emperor and his mother fled to the Hadriatic, where they took shipping and arrived at Thessalonica. In A. D. 388, Theodosius defeated Maximus, and restored Valentinian to his authority as emperor of the West. In A. D. 389, Valentinian went into Gaul to conduct operations against the Franks on the Rhine. Arbogast was at that time commander of the Roman forces in Gaul. Nothing further is recorded of this campaign, except that Valentinian had a conference with Marcomir and Sunnon, the chiefs of the Franks, who gave him hostages. Valentinian spent the winter at Treves, as appears from a constitution dated the 8th of November.
  Tillemont remarks, "that Theodosius, who spent about three years in Italy, after the defeat of Maximus, had by his wise advice effaced from the mind of the youthful emperor all the bad impressions which his mother Justina had fixed in him against the faith and St. Ambrose, and forming himself after the example of Theodosius, he had a fervent devotion towards God, and loved St. Ambrose with such affection, that he cherished him as much as he had formerly persecuted him". In A. D. 391, Q. Aurelius Symmachus, who was consul with Tatianus, was the head of a deputation from the Roman senate to Valentinian, the object of which was to ask of the emperor the restoration of the privileges which Gratian had taken from the temples of the idols. The emperor however positively refused to grant the petition.
  At this time, the barbarians were in motion, on the side of the Illyrian Alps, and it was apprehended that they might disturb Italy. Valentinian set out for Italy, with the intention of going to Milan. He was at Vienna (Vienne), when he sent for Ambrosius to baptize him before he entered Italy, for he was yet only a catechumen. There were many bishops in France, but Valentinian wished to receive this Christian rite at the hands of Ambrose. "After having written to Ambrose, he passed the two following days in such inquietude and such impatience to see the saint, that having despatched a courier in the evening, he asked on the morning of the third day, which was the last of his life, if the courier had not returned, and if the saint was not coming" (Tillemont.).
  Arbogast, a Frank by origin, a man probably of violent temper, though on this point there is a difference in the testimony, but a rude soldier and a man of courage and address, was aiming at governing Valentinian, who was still a youth. Gratian employed Arbogast and sent him in A. D. 381 under Bauton to assist Theodosius who was pressed by the Goths. After the death of Bauton, Arbogast assumed the command of the troops without, it is said, waiting for the orders of Valentinian. During the usurpation of Maximus, Arbogast was faithful to his master, and contributed greatly to the overthrow of Maximus. Presuming however on his abilities, his influence with the army, and the youth of Valentinian, Arbogast kept the emperor in a kind of tutelage, of which Valentinian complained to Theodosius. At last the emperor mustered courage to give into the hands of Arbogast a written order by which he was deprived of his military rank; but the proud soldier told his to his face, that he had not given him his office and that it was not in his power to take it away. With these words he tore the writing, threw it on the ground, and quitted the emperor's presence.
There are different accounts of the death of Valentinian. The most probable is, that he was strangled by order of Arbogast. His body was taken to Milan for interment by the side of his father, and Ambrose pronounced the funeral oration. Valentinian II. died on the 15th of May, being only a few months above twenty years of age. Justa and Grata, the two sisters of Valentinian, deplored with sincere affection the untimely end of their brother. "Ambrose, who was so well instructed in the doctrine of the church, does not hesitate in his funeral oration to assure us of the salvation of a prince, who had not received the sacrament of salvation, but had asked for it, and was disposed to receive it" (Tillemont.).
  Justina, the mother of Valentinian, was dead ; she had not long survived the restoration of her son to his throne, and her influence expired before she died. Justa and Grata, the sisters of the emperor, remained unmarried; and Galla, the wife of Theodosius, who deeply lamented her brother's death, died in A. D. 394, in childbed, when Theodosius was leaving Constantinople to avenge the death of Valentinian.
The reign of Valentinian is of little importance; and what concerns the Roman legislation of this period belongs to the history of Theodosius I.
(Gibbon, Decline and Fall, &c.; Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, v., where the authorities are collected.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eudocia, daughter of Valentinian II. and of Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius II. She was carried captive to Carthage by Genseric, king of the Vandals, when lie sacked Rome (A. D. 455), together with her mother and her younger sister Placidia. Genseric married Eudocia (A. D. 456), not to one of his younger sons, Gento, as Idatius says, but to his eldest son Hunneric (who succeeded his father, A. D. 477, as king of the Vandals); and sent Eudoxia and Placidia to Constantinople. After living sixteen years with Hunneric, and bearing him a son, Hulderic, who also afterwards became king of the Vandals, Eudocia, on the ground of dislike to the Arianism of her husband, secretly left him, and went to Jerusalem, where she soon after died (A. D. 472), having bequeathed all she had to the Church of the Resurrection, and was buried in the sepulchre of her grandmother, the empress Eudocia.

Constantius III. & Placidia (421 AD)

Constantius III., emperor of the West, A. D. 421, was born in Illyria in the latter part of the 4th century of our aera. He became early known by his military deeds, and was beloved at the court of the emperor Honorius, as well as among the people and the soldiers, for his talents and amiable yet energetic character. which were enhanced by extraordinary manly beauty. When the tyrant Constantine, after his return fiom Italy, was besieged in Arles by his rebellious and successful general, Gerontius, Constanitius was despatched by Honorius to reduce Gaul and Spain to obedience; but the emperor refrained from sending troops over to Britain, since this country was then in a hopeless state of revolt against everything Roman. It is related under Constantine the tyrant how Constantius, whose first lieutenant was Ulphilas, a Goth, compelled Gerontius to raise the siege and to fly to the Pyrenees, where he perished. Constantius then continued the siege; but, although closely confined, his adversary found means to send one Edobicus or Edovinchus into Germany, for the purpose of calling the nations beyond the Rhine to his assistance. Edobicus soon returned at the head of a body of Frankish and Alemannic auxiliaries; but, instead of surprising Constantius, the latter surprised him, having suddenly left his camp. and marched to attack the barbarians, whom he and Ulphilas met with beyond the Rhene and defeated entirely. Edovicus was murdered by a friend in whose house he had taken refuge, and the murderer presented the head of Edovicus to the victor, expecting a recompense. With the virtue of an ancient Roman, Constantius refused to accept the hideous present, and ordered the murderer to be turned out of his camp straightway. Constantius hastened back to Aries, resumed the interrupted siege, and forced Constantine to surrender, whose fate is related in his life.
  Constantius was rewaruded for his victory by Honorius with the consulship (A. D. 414), and was also created comes and patricius. In A. D. 414 he marched against Ataulphus, who supported the claims of the rival emperor Attalus, but was defeated and compelled to give him up to his victor in 416. The reward of Constantius was the hand of Placidia, the sister of Honorius, who, after being a captive of the West-Gothic kings, Ataulphus (to whom she was married), Sigericus, and Wallia, since 410, was given up in 417 by Wallia, who became an ally of the Romans. Constantius afterwards induced him to cede the conquests which he had made in Spain to Honorius, and Wallia received in compensation Aquitania II. and probably also Novenmpopulania, or Aquitania III. From this time Toulouse became the capital of the West-Gothic kings. In 421 (8th of February), Honorius conferred upon Constantius the dignity of Augustus and the authority of a co-emperor of the West. Theodosius II., emperor of the East, having refused to recognize him as Augustus, Constantius prepared to make war against him; but, before actual hostilities had broken out, he died at Ravenna, on the 11th of September, 421, after a short reign of not quite seven months. After his accession he was more severe than he used to be, but it seems that he does not deserve reproaches for it, since he shewed that severity in restoring domestic peace to Italy and Rome, where ambitious men of all nations caused disturbances of the worst description. His children by Placidia were Flavius Placidius Valentinianus, afterwards Valentinian III., emperor, and Justa Grata Honoria, afterwards betrothed to Attila. (Zosim. lib. v. ult. and lib. vi., the chief authority; Sozom. ix. 13-16; Oros. vii. 42, 43; Philostorg. xii. 4, 12; Theoph.; Prosper, Chon. Theodosio Aug. IV. Cons. &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Galla Placidia, so named in coins and inscriptions; but by historians more commonly called simply Placidia, was the daughter of Theodosius the Great by his second wife Galla, The date of her birth does not appear: it must have been not earlier than 388, and not later than 393. She was at Rome in A. D. 408, and is accused of being one of the parties to the death of her cousin Serena, Stilicho's widow, who was suspected of corresponding with or favouring Alaric, who was then besieging the city. It appears from this, that Placidia was then old enough to have some influence in public affairs, which consideration would lead us to throw back the date of her birth as far as possible. Gibbon says she was about twenty in 408, which is probably correct. When Alaric took Rome, A. D. 410, Placidia fell into his hands (if indeed she had not been previously in his power), and was detained by him as a hostage, but respectfully treated. After Alaric's death she continued in the power of his brother-in-law and successor, Ataulphus. Constantius (afterwards emperor) the Patrician, on the part of the emperor Honorius, half brother of Piacidia, demanded her restoration, having already, as Tillemont thinks, the intention of asking her in marriage. Ataulphus, however, having it also in view to marry her, evaded these demands, and married her (according to Jornandes), at Forum Livii, near Ravenna, but according to the better authority of Olympiodorus and Idatius, at Narbonne, A. D. 414. Idatius states that this matter was regarded by some as the fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel (cb. xi.) respecting the King of the North and the daughterofthle king of the South. Philostorgius considers that another passage of the same prophetical book was fulfilled by the event. Ataulphus treated her with great respect, and endeavored to make an alliance with Honorius, but was not successful, through the opposition of Constantius. In A. D. 415 Ataulphus was killed at Barcelona, leaving no issue by Placidia, their only child, Theodosius, having died soon after its birth. Ataulphus, with his last breath, charged his brother to restore Placidia to Honorius, but the revolutions of the Visi-Gothie kingdom prevented this being done immediately and it was not until after Placidia had suffered from the wanton insolence of Sigeric or Singerich, the ephemeral successor of Ataulphus, that she was restored by Valia or Wallia, who succeeded Sigeric. Her restoration took place in A. D. 41; and on the first day (1st January) of the next year (417) she was married, though against her will, to Constantius, by whom she had two children, a daughter, Justa Grata Honoria, and a son, afterwards the emperor Valentinian III., born A. D. 419. Constantius was declared Augustus by Honorius, who was, however, somewhat reluctant to take him as colleague in the empire, and Placidia received the title of Augusta; and the infant Valentinian received, through Placidia's influence, the title "Nobilissimus," which was equivalent to his appointment as successor to the throne. Constantius died A. D. 421, about half a year after his elevation. After his death Honorius showed Placidia such regard and affection as gave rise to discreditable surmises respecting them; but after a time their love was exchanged for enmity, their respective friends raised tumults in Ravenna, where the Gothic soldiers supported the widow of their king, and in the end Placidia and her children fled (A. D. 423) to Theodosius II. at Constantinople to seek his aid. It was probably in this flight that she experienced the danger from the sea, and made the vow recorded in an extant inscription on the church of St. John the Evangelist at Ravenna. It is not likely that Theodosius would have believed her against Honorius, as he had never acknowledged Constantius as Augustus, or Placidia as Augusta; but the death of Honorius and the usurpation of Johannes or John, determined him to take up her cause, which had now become the cause of his family. He therefore authorized Placidia to take or resume the title of Augusta, and the little Valentinian that of Nobilissimus. They were sent back to Italy (A. D. 424), with a powerful army, under Ardaburius, Aspar, and Candidianus. John was taken and put to death; and Valentinian, who had been previously raised to the rank of Caesar, was declared Augustus, or emperor, and left to govern the West, under the tutelage of his mother. Her regency was signalised by her zeal for the church and her intolerance. She banished from the towns Manichacans and other heretics, and astrologers; and excluded Jews and heathens from the bar and from public offices; but her lax government and easy disposition in other matters than those of the church left the empire to be torn by the disputes and rivalry of Aetius and Boniface; and her over-indulgence to her son tended to make him an abandoned profligate. She died A. D. 450 or 451, at Rome, and was buried at Ravenna. (Zosim. vi. 12; Olympiod. apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 80; Socrat. H. E. vii. 23, 24; Philostorg. H. E. xii. 4, 12, 13, 14; Marcellin., Idatius, Prosper Aquit., Prosper Tiro, Chronica ; Procop. de Bell. Vand. i. 3)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Valentinian III. (425-455 AD) & Eudoxia

Valentinian III., Roman emperor A. D. 425-455. Honorius, emperor of the West, died in August, A. D. 423, and Joannes, the Primicerius, or first of the secretaries, assumed the imperial dignity at Rome. Joannes sent to the emperor Theodosius II. to ask for his consent to his usurpation; but the emperor's answer was not favourable, and Joannes sent the general Aetius to the Huns, to seek their help. Joannes, wishing to secure the support of this able commander, gave him the rank of Curopalates, as the mayor of the palace was afterwards called. Theodosius (A. D. 424) sent Ardaburius, and his son Aspar with a powerful army against the usurper. They were accompanied by Placidia, and her young son Valentinian, who, pursuant to the orders of Theodosius, was invested with the title of Caesar at Thessalonica by Helion, the Magister Officiorum, and the emperor also betrothed to him his daughter Eudocia, who was born A. D. 422. Valentinian was now between five and six years of age. Valentinian was the son of Constantius III. by Placidia, the sister of Honorius, and the daughter of Theodosius I.
I  n A. D. 425, Theodosius II. was consul for the eleventh time, with Valentinianus Caesar for his colleague. Aspar, accompanied by Valentinian and Placidia, arrived in Italy before the usurper expected them, and took possession of Aquileia. Ardaburius came with a fleet, but a storm having arisen in the Hadriatic, he was separated from his fleet, and with two galleys fell into the hands of the soldiers of Joannes, who took him to the usurper at Ravenna. Joannes treated the general kindly, in the hope of securing him as a friend, but Ardaburius made use of his opportunity to gain over the officers of Joannes, and sent his son Aspar instructions to approach Ravenna. Aspar arrived with his cavalry, and being conducted across the marshes by a shepherd, or, as Socrates says, by an angel, found the gates of Ravenna open, and took possession of the place without any difficulty. Joannes was seized and sent to Aquileia, where he was ignominiously put to death. Little is known of this usurper, but it is certain that the ecclesiastics were his enemies, for he attempted to destroy the privileges of the church; and as an instance, he compelled all ecclesiastics to submit to the jurisdiction of the civil judge.
  In the meantime Aetius entered Italy with the Huns, and there was a bloody battle between him and Aspar, which was followed by a peace. The barbarians retired at the instance of Aetius and by the stronger persuasion of money; and Aetius was pardoned and raised to the dignity of Comes. The first measure of Valentinian, or rather of Placidia, who acted in his name, was to restore to the ecclesiastics all their privileges of which the usurper had deprived them. The same edict excluded Jews and Heathens from the practice of the law, and from all military rank. Manichaeans and other heretics and schismatics and astrologers were driven out of the towns. Placidia was zealous for the church.
  On the 23rd of October, A. D. 425, Valentinian, who was then probably at Rome, received from his cousin Theodosius the imperial purple and the title of Augustus. Placidia also received the title of Augusta, and probably at the same time when her son was made Augustus. In this year Theodoric, king of the Goths, took several places within the limits of the empire, and laid siege to Arelate (Arles) in Gaul, but on the approach of Aetius the Goths retired with some loss. In January A. D. 426, Valentinian was at Rome, as appears front the date of the imperial constitutions, which contained various provisions against informers (delatores), for the maintenance of the privileges of senators and magistrates, and other matters. Some constitutions of this year, dated from Ravenna, were intended to maintain the Christian faith: Jews and Samaritans were prohibited from disinheriting their children because they had turned Christians.
  Bonifacius, comes of Africa, had assisted the cause of Placidia and her son by refusing to acknowledge the usurper Joannes, while Aetius had supported him; and Bonifacius had received from Placidia during a visit to Italy testimonials of her gratitude. But on his return to Africa, Aetius, who was jealous of Bonifacius, accused him to Placidia of having a design to make himself independent in his province, and advised her to test his fidelity by summoning him to appear before her. With double treachery, he at the same time warned Bonifacius not to come, because Placidia designed him no good, and Bonifacius, believing what he heard, disobeyed the summons of Placidia. Troops were sent against Bonifacius, and he called in to his aid (A. D. 428) the Vandals from Spain and their king Genseric. The subsequent history of Bonifacius is told elsewhere.
  Aetius, who had stirred up an enemy in Bonifacius, was employed at the same time in fighting against the Franks, whom he defeated A. D. 428, and recovered from them those parts on the Rhine, where they had settled. In the following year Aetius was made commander of the Roman armies, in place of Felix, and he defeated the Goths near Arles, and took prisoner their chief Ataulphus. he also defeated the Juthongi, a German tribe near Rhaetia, and reduced the tribes of Noricum, which had revolted. Aetius had with him in these campaigns Avitus, who was afterwards emperor. In A. D. 431 he also reduced the Vindelici, having the same enemies to contend against whom Tiberius and Drusus had subdued in the time of Augustus. In A. D. 432 Aetius was consul with Valerius; and in the same year apparently while Aetius was in Gaul, Bonifacius was recalled to Italy by Placidia, who had discovered the knavery of Aetius, and gave him the rank of master general of the forces. As early as A. D. 430 Placidia and Bonifacius knew the treachery of Aetius and were reconciled; and Bonifaicius then attempted to check the formidable enemy whom he had invited. After maintaining himself against the Vandals for some time in Hippo Regius and losing a battle, he retired from Africa and was welcomed at the court of Ravenna. On hearing of the promotion of his rival, Aetius returned to Italy, and the two generals settled their quarrel by a battle, in which Aetius was defeated, and Bonifacius received a mortal wound from the spear of Aetius, who fled to the Huns in Pannonia ; but he was soon pardoned and restored : he was too dangerous a man to make an enemy of.
  In February A. D. 435 Valentinian made peace with Genseric; but at the same time disturbances broke out in Gaul, caused by the Bagaudae. The name first occurs in the time of Diocletian, and appears to have been adopted by the peasants themselves, who rose in arms, as it appears, against the oppression of their governors. The Bagaudae were put down again, but they were not destroyed, for to destroy them it would have been necessary to remove the causes that called forth these bands of armed peasants, and the cause was the evils tinder which they groaned, heavy taxation, and all kinds of oppression. The picture of their sufferings, drawn by Salvianus, bears no small resemblance to the condition of the French peasantry before the revolution of 1789. In this year is also recorded a defeat of the Burgundians on the Rhine by the Romans, under Aetius.
  The Western empire had enemies on all sides. The Goths who had been settled in Aquitania and the bordering countries since A. D. 419, broke out in hostilities in A. D. 436, and besieged the ancient Roman colony of Narbonne thunder their king Theodoric, the son of Alaric. The siege lasted some time, but the Goths finally abandoned the undertaking, when the town had received a supply of provisions through the vigor of some hunnish auxiliaries, headed by Comes Litorius. At this time the western part of the Mediterranean and the shores of the ocean were infested by pirates, some of whom were Saxons.
  On the 21st of October A. D. 437, Valentinian, being then eighteen years of age, came to Constantiople to celebrate his marriage with Eudocia, the daughter of Theodosius, who had been betrothed to, him in A. D. 424. Valentinian surrendered to his father-in-law the western Illyricium, which had been already promised to the Eastern emperor by Placidia. He passed the winter with his wife at Thessalonica, and returned to Ravenna in the following year. By this marriage Valentinian had two daughters, Eudoxia and Placidia.
  In A. D. 439 the Gothic war still continued, and Litorius was besieging Theodoric in Toulouse, who asked for peace, which Litorius refused. A battle ensued in which Litorius was defeated, and the Goths carried him a prisoner into the city which he had hoped to take. Notwithstanding this success, Theodoric concluded a peace with Aetius, who threatened with a formidable army to dispute the further conquests of the Gothic king.
  The Western empire was gradually losing its extreme possessions. Merida in Spain was taken by Richila, king of the Suevi; and Genseric seized Carthage by surprise on the 9th of October A. D. 439. This was the more unexpected as a treaty had heen made with him in A. D. 435. The capture of Carthage, which had been in the hands of the Romans for near six hundred years, destroyed the Roman power in a large part of western Africa; but Valentinian still retailed the two, provinces of Mauritania, and some other parts.
  Valentinian was at Rome in January and in March A. D. 440. as appears from the date of several Novellae. In the month of June Genseric left Carthage with a great fleet. He landed il Sicily, ravaged the country and laid siege to Palermo. Aetius was still in Gaul, where he restored tranquillity and set out for Italy. It was about this time that Salvianus wrote his work on the Judgment of God, in which he shows that the Romans had brought upon themselves, by their sins, the calamities under which they were then suffering. The grievous burden of taxation and the oppression of the powerful made the Romans prefer the form of servitude under the Franks, Huns, and Vandals, under which they enjoyed real liberty and paid no taxes, to the semblance of liberty under the Roman government whose exactions were intolerable. The barbarians were in possession of a large part of Gaul and a still larger part of Spain; Italy had been ravaged several times, Rome had been besieged, Sicily and Sardinia devastated, and Africa was in the hands of the Vandals. Treves had been several times sacked, and yet, says Salvianus, while the place was reeking with the blood of the slain, the citizens still eagerly called for the games, which were exhibited in their amphitheatre, the ruins of which still exist on the site of the ancient city of the Treviri.
  By a constitution of the 20th of February A. D. 441, the emperor made some regulations for making the property of the great dignitaries of the church and of the city of Rome liable to equal taxation with other property, and also liable for the repair of the roads and the walls of the towns and all other imposts. In A. D. 442 Valentinian made peace with the Vandals, who were left in undisturbed possession of part of Africa.
  In A. D. 446, the Romans abandoned Britain. The Picts and Scots were ravaging the country, and the Britons in vain applied for help to Aetius who was then consul. A revolt took place in Armorica in A. D. 448 which was however soon settled.
  Ravenna was the ordinary residence of the emperor ; but he went to Rome early in A. D. 450 with his wife and mother, when by a constitution, dated the 5th of March, he remitted all the taxes that had become due up to the 1st of September A. D. 448; from which we may conclude that the people were unable to pay them. Sardinia and Africa were excepted from this indulgence. The emperor spoke of the exactions of the commissioners who were sent into the provinces to prevent the exactions of others; they enriched themselves at the expence both of the tax-payers and of the Fiscus. Oppressive taxation is the symptom of vicious government and of the approaching ruin of a state.
  Theodosius II. died on the 28th of July A. D. 450, and Marcianus succeeded hint without waiting for the approbation of Valentinian, who, however, confirmed his election. On the 27th of November in the same year, Placidia, the emperor's mother, died at Rome just when hostilities were going to break out between Valentinian and Attila, king of the Hunts. The result of this war was the defeat of Attila by Aetius, near Chalons sur Marne in the former French province of Champagne, in A. D. 451. The history of Valentinian's unfortunate sister Honoria is connected with that of Attila.
  The Western empire was in a deplorable state, overrun by barbarians who brought with then " the detestable heresy of the Arians with which they were infected." Italy however seems to have been free from barbarians, though it contained many Goths under the name of confederates; and they were Arians too. The Visigoths, whose capital was Toulouse, had a new king in consequence of the death of Theodoric who fell in the great battle at Chalons, fighting on the side of the Romans. He was succeeded by his son Thorismond.
  In A. D. 452 Attila made a descent into Italy and spread consternation. Aetius had returned to Italy, and he and Valentinian sent Pope Leo to Attila to sue for peace, and the barbarian retired after he had devastated the north of Italy. A constitution of Valentinian of this year, which a zealous Roman Catholic writer calls " a scandalous law and altogether unworthy of a Christian prince," declares that the law does not allow bishops and priests to have jurisdiction in civil affairs, and that they can only take cognizance of matters pertaining to religion; and it requires even bishops to appear before the ordinary judges in all suits to which they were parties, unless the other party consented to submit to the judgment of the church. It also forbids ecclesiastics to traffic, or if they do, they are allowed no particular privilege.
  Valentinian was relieved in A. D. 453 from a formidable enemy by the death of Attila, and in the same year Thorismond, king of the Visigoths, who was of a restless and warlike character, was murdered by his brothers, one of whom, Theodoric II., succeeded him.
  The power and influence of Aetius had long excited the jealousy and fears of Valentinian, and the suspicious temper of the unwarlike and feeble emperor was encouraged by the calumnies of the eunuch Heraclius. Aetius was too powerful to be the subject of a contemptible master; and the betrothal of his son Gaudentius to Eudoxia, the daughter of Valentinian, may have excited his ambitious designs and awakened his treacherous disposition. His pride and insolence were shown in a hostile declaration against his prince, which was followed by a reconciliation and an alliance, the terms of which were dictated by Aetius. After this insult he had the imprudence to venture into the emperor's palace at Rome, in company with Boethius, Praefectus Praetorio, and to urge the marriage of the emperor's daughter with his son. In a fit of irritation the emperor drew his sword and plunged it into the general's body. Theslaughter [p. 1214] was completed by the attendants of Valentinian, and Boethius, the friend of Aetius, also shared his fate. (A. D. 454.) The principal friends of Aetius were singly summoned to the palace, and murdered. Thus the bravest man, the ablest commander of the age, the last great Roman soldier, perished by the treacherous hand of the most unwarlike of the Roman Caesars.
  A grievous insult to Petronius Maximus is said to have been the immediate cause of Valentinian's death. Maximus had a handsome wife, who resisted the emperor's solicitations, but he got her within the palace by an artifice, and compelled her to yield to force what she had refused to persuasion. The injured husband resolved on the emperor's destruction, and he gained over some of the domestics of Valentinian who had been in the service of Aetius. While he was amusing himself in the field of Mars with some spectacle, two of these men fell upon him; and, after killing the guilty Heraclius, despatched the emperor without any resistance from those who were about him, A. D. 455. This was the end of Valentinian III., a feeble and contemptible prince, the last of the family of Theodosius. He was ill brought up, and had all the vices that in a princely station disgrace a man's character. Even his zeal for the Catholic faith and the church is not allowed to have been sincere.
(Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c. 33, &c.; Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. vi.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Avitus (455-456 AD)

Avitus, M. Maecilius, emperor of the West, was descended from a noble family in Auvergne, and spent the first thirty years of his life in the pursuits of literature, field-sports, jurisprudence, and arms. The first public office to which he was promoted was the praetorian praefecture of Gaul, and whilst in retirement in his villa near Clermont, he was appointed master of the armies of Gaul. During this period, he twice went as ambassador to the Visigothic court, first in A. D. 450 to Theodoric I., to secure his alliance on the invasion of Attila; secondly in A. D. 456, to Theodoric II., on which last occasion, having received the news of the death of Maximus, and of the sack of Rome by the Vandals, he was, by the assistance of the Visigoths, raised to the vacant throne; but, after a year's weak and insolent reign, was deposed by Ricimer, and returned to private life as bishop of Placentia. But the senate having pronounced the sentence of death upon him, he fled to the sanctuary of his patron saint lulian, at Brivas in Auvergne, and there died, or at least was buried. (A. D. 456.) His private life is chiefly known from the Panegyric of his son-in-law, Sidonius Apollinarus; his public life from Gregor. Turon. ii. 11, and Idatius, Chronicon.

Majorianus (457-461 AD)

Maiorianus, Julius Valerius, emperor of Rome (A. D. 457-461), ascended the throne under the following circumstances. After the death of the emperor Avitus, the supreme power in the western empire remained in the hands of Ricimer, who was the real master previously, and would have assumed the imperial title, but for the certainty that his elevation would create a terrible commotion. For he was a Suevian by origin, and there was a decided prejudice among the Romans to choose a barbarian for their emperor. Ricimer consequently gave the crown to Majorianus, with the consent of the Eastern emperor Leo (A. D. 457). The name of Majorian appears as early as 438, when he distinguished himself in the war against the Franks, and ever since he had continued to serve in the field, making himself known at once for his military skill and his excellent character. He was descended from a family distinguished in the army, and was indeed one of the best men that ever filled the throne of the Caesars: he had experienced both good fortune and bad fortune, and enjoyed unbounded popularity with the troops. Ricimer thought he was only a general, unfit for administrative business, who, being accustomed to obey him, would continue so. In this respect, however, Ricimer was mistaken. As soon as Majorian was possessed of the supreme title, he aimed at supreme power also. His choice of his principal officers did great credit to his discernment: among them we mention his private secretary Petrus, Egidius who commanded in Gaul, Magnus, praefectus praetorio in Gaul, and others. In 458 the coast of Campania was infested by the Vandals, who held the sea with a powerful fleet; but Majorian, informed of their designs, had posted his troops so well, that the main body of the Vandals was surprised when on shore, and totally defeated. The only means to stop the perpetual incursions of the Vandals was to attack their king Genseric in Africa, and this Majorian resolved to do. He consequently entered Gaul with a strong army, and succeeded in quelling the domestic troubles by which that province was agitated through the intrigues of the West Gothic king Theodoric. The Roman army which he was leading to Africa was, however, anything but Roman, being mostly composed of barbarians, such as Bastarnae, Suevians, Huns, Alani, Rugii, Burgundians, Goths, and Sarmatians with whom he passed the Alps in November, 458. Majorian first went to Lyon, where he was complimented by the poet Sidonius Apollinaris, who there wrote his panegyric of Majorian, after having been pardoned by him for his participation in the previous revolt. From Lyon the emperor went to Aries, where he stayed the whole year 459, having fixed upon that city as a meeting-place for those immense, but still scattered forces, with which he intended to invade Africa. At Arles he prevailed upon Theodoric to desist from further attempts at causing disturbances in Gaul. In the beginning of 460 every thing was ready for setting out for Africa, and Majorian crossed the Pyrenees, his intention being to join his fleet, which lay at anchor in the harbour of Carthagena. Meanwhile, Genseric made offers for peace, which, having been rejected by the emperor, he employed intrigues, and succeeded in bribing some of the principal officers of the Roman navy, who enabled him to surprise the fleet at Carthagena. The defeat of the Romans was complete, the whole of their ships being sunk, burnt, or taken. The traitors were personal enemies of Majorian, who looked with jealousy upon his rising fortune. The loss of the fleet obliged the emperor to return to Gaul, where he remained during the ensuing winter; and Genseric having renewed his offers, he accepted them, and peace was made between Rome and Carthage. From Gaul Majorian went to Italy, where his presence became indispensable to his own interest. Ricimer, jealous of the rising power and popularity of a man whom he looked upon as his tool, formed a scheme to deprive him of the crown. While Majorian was at Tortona in Lombardy, the conspiracy broke out: he found himself unexpectedly surrounded by the partizans of Ricimer; and the only way to save his life was to abdicate, which he did on the 2d of August, 461. He died suddenly, on the 7th of August, five days after his abdication, of dysentery, as was reported; but Idatius plainly says that he was put to death by order of Ricimer, who now placed Severus on the throne.
  We cannot finish this notice without calling the student's attention to the laws of Majorian, which ensure him an honourable rank among Roman legislators. He put an end to the awful fiscal oppression in the provinces; he re-invested the provincial magistrates with power to assess taxes ; he stopped the dilapidation of the splendid monuments in Rome and other places, which venal officers would allow any body, who wanted building materials, to take down, if money was paid for the permission; and he made several other wise and useful laws and regulations, which are contained in the Codex Theodosianus.
(Sidon. Apoll. Panegyr. Major. Epist. i. 1; Procop. Vandi. 7, 8; Greg. Turon. ii. 7; Priscus in Excerpt. Legat.; Evagr. H. E. ii. 7, sub fin.; Idatius, Chron.; Marcellin. Chronn.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Anthemius (467-472 AD)

Anthemius, emperor of the West, remarkable for his reign exhibiting the last effort of the Eastern empire to support the sinking fortunes of the Western. He was the son of Procopius, and son-in-law of the emperor Marcian, and on Ricimer applying to the eastern emperor Leo for a successor to Majorian in the west, he was in A. D. 467 named for the office, in which he was confirmed at Rome. His daughter was married to Ricimer ; but a quarrel arising between Anthemius and Ricimer, the latter acknowledged Olybrius as emperor, and laid siege to Rome, which he took by storm in 473. Anthemius perished in the assault. His private life, which seems to have been good, is given in the panegyric upon him by Sidonius Apollonius, whom he patronized; his public life in Jornandes (de Reb. Get. c. 45), Marcellinus (Chron.), and Theophanes. See Gibbon, Decline and Fall c. 36.

Olybrius, Anicius (472 AD)

Olybrius, Anicius (Olubrios), Roman emperor in A. D. 472, was a descendant of the ancient and noble family of the Anicians. Down to 455 he lived in Rome, but left it after its sack by Geneseric and the accession of Avitus, and went to Constantinople. In 464, he was made consul; and in the same year, or some time previously, married Placidia, the daughter of the emperor Valentinian III., the same princess who had been a captive of Genseric. It appears that Olybrius stood on very intimate terms with that king of the Vandals, whoi was active in helping him to the imperial crown of Italy. In 472, during the troubles occasioned by, the dissensions between the Western emperor Anthemius and the powerful patrician Ricimer, Olybrilus was sent to Italy by Zeno under the pretext of assisting Anthemlius; but his real motive wis to seize the supreme power, a scheme in which he was openly assisted by Genseric, and secretly by the emperor Zeno, who, it appears, stood in feat of Olybrius oil account of his connectionrs with the king of thle Vandals. Instead, therefore, of pronioting the interest of Anthlemius, he entered into negotiations with Ricimer, and ere long he was proclaimed emperor by a strong fic tion, with the connivance of Ricimer, to whom the imperial power vwas of more value than the imperial title. Anthemius, however, was still in Rome, and enjoyed popularity. When Ricimer came to attack him, Anthemius, supported by Gothic auxiliaries under Gelimer, made a stout resistance, till at last the besieger gained the city in consequence of his victory at the bridge of Hadrian. Rome was once more plundered, and Anthemiuns s wa murdered by order of Ricimer (11th July, 472). Olybrius was now recognised as emperor without any opposition, and could exercise his power free from any control since immediately after this catastrophe, Ricimer was attacked by a violent distemper which carried hin off a few weeks afterwards. The only act of Olybrius during his short reign, which is recorded in history, is the raising of Gundobaldus, the nephew of Ricimer, to the patrician dignity. Olybrius died a natural death, as it appears, on the 23d of October 472, after a short and peaceful reign of three months and thirteen days.' He left a daughter, Juliana Anicia, by his wife Placidia. His successor was Glycerius.
(Marcellinus Cones, Cassiodorus, Victor, Chronica; Chiron. Alexandr., Chron. Pascstle; Ennudius, Vita Epiph.; Evagrius, ii. 16 ; Procop. Fond. i. 57; Zonar. vol. i.; Malchus; Priscus in Excerpt. Legat.; Theophan.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Glycerius (473-474 AD)

Glycerius, one of the phantom emperors of the latest period of the western empire. Before his accession he held the office of Comes domesticorum, and is described by Theophanes as aner ouk adokimos ("a man of good reputation"). After the death of the emperor Olybrius and the patrician Ricimer, Glycerius was instigated to assume the empire by Gundibatus or Gundobald the Burgundian, Ricimer's nephew. His elevation took place at Ravenna in March, A. D. 473. His reign was too short, and the records of it are too obscure, for us to form any trustworthy judgment of his character. He showed great respect for Epiphanius, bishop of Ticinum or Pavia, at whose intercession he pardoned some individuals who had incurred his displeasure by some injury or insult offered to his mother. When Widemir, the Ostro-Goth, invaded Italy, Glycerius sent him several presents, and induced him to quit Italy and to march into Gaul, and incorporate his army with the Visi-Goths, who were already settled in that province. This event, which is recorded by Jornandes, is, by Tillemont, but without any apparent reason, placed before the accession of Glycerius. The eastern emperor Leo I., the Thracian, does not appear to have acknowledged Glycerius; and, by his direction, Julius Nepos was proclaimed emperor at Ravenna, either in the latter part of 473 or the beginning of 474. Nepos marched against Glycerius, and took him prisoner at Portus (the harbour of Rome at the mouth of the Tiber), and compelled him to become a priest. He was appointed then, or soon afterward, to the bishoprick of Salona in Dalmatia.
  The subsequent history of Glycerius is involved in some doubt. The Chronicon of Marcellinus comprehends the notice of his deposition, ordination to the priesthood,and death in one paragraph, as if they had all happened in the same year. But according to Malchus, he was concerned in the death of the emperor Nepos, who, after being driven from Italy by the patrician Orestes, preserved the imperial title, and apparently a fragment of the empire, at Salona, and was killed (A. D. 480) by his own followers, Viator and Ovida or Odiva, of whom the second was conquered and killed the year after by Odoacer. A Glycerius appears among the archbishops of Milan mentioned by Ennodius, and Gibbon, though with some hesitation, identities the archbishop with the ex-emperor, and suggests that his promotion to Milan was the reward of his participation in the death of Nepos; but we much doubt whether the two were identical.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Julius Nepos (474-475 AD)

Nepos, Julius, the last emperor but one of the Western Empire, A. D. 474--475. He was the son of Nepotianus, by a sister of that Marcellinus who established a temporary independent principality in Illyricum, about the middle of the fifth century. A law of the Codex of Justinian mentions a Nepotianus as general of the army in Dalmatia in A. D. 471, but it is doubtful whether this was the emperor's father or the emperor himself, as it is not clear whether the true reading of the Codex is Nepotianus or Nepos, and even the determination of the reading would not settle the point, as Theophanes (Chronographia, ad A. M. 5965) gives to the emperor himself the name of Nepotianus, and adds that he was a native of Dalmatia. It is not improbable that the family of Marcellinus preserved, after his death in A. D. 468, a portion of the power which he had possessed in Illyricum, and that this was the motive which induced the Eastern emperor Leo to give to Nepos his niece (or, more accurately, the niece of his wife the empress Verina) in marriage, and to declare him, by his officer Domitianus, at Ravenna, Augustus (Jornandes incorrectly says Caesar) of the Western empire (Jornand. de Regnor. Success.). The actual emperor, at the time when Nepos was thus exalted, was Glycerius, who was regarded at Constantinople as an usurper. Nepos marched against his competitor, took him prisoner at Portus at the mouth of the Tiber, and obliged him to become a priest. These events took place, according to the more numerous and better authorities, in A. D. 474, but Theophanes, by contracting the reign of Glycerius to five months, brings his deposition within the year 473. The elevation of Nepos is placed by the Chronicon of an anonymous author, published by Caspinianus (No. viii. in the Vetustior. Latinor. Chronica of Roncallius), on the 24th of June, which date, if correct, must refer to his victory over Glycerius, for his proclamation as emperor at Ravenna must have been antecedent to the death of Leo (which occurred in January 474), at least antecedent to the intelligence of Leo's death reaching Ravenna. If we suppose the proclamation of Nepos as emperor to have occurred in August 473, a supposition to which we see no objection, the date given by Theophanes, who, as a Byzantine, would compute the reign of Nepos from his accession de jure, may be reconciled with that of the Latin chroniclers, who date from the time of his becoming emperor de facto, and on this supposition the interval from August 473 to June 474 must have been occupied in preparing his armament or executing his march against Glycerius.
  From hints in the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris (Ep. v. 16) it may be ga thered that Nepos had, before his accession, acquired some reputation both for warlike ability and for general goodness of character, and that during his brief reign his conduct was answerable to his previous character. But the condition of the empire was past remedy. The Visigoths, settled in Aquitania, were eagerly striving, under their king Euric, to expel the Romans from the territories of the Arverni, the modern Auvergne, the last part of the province which remained to its ancient masters, and which was bravely defended by its inhabitants under the conduct of Ecdicius (Jornandes calls him Decius), brother-in-law of Sidonius Apollinaris. The Goths besieged the town of Arverni or Clermont, in the summer of 474, but Epiphanius, bishop of Ticinum (Pavia), being sent by Nepos, concluded a peace (Ennod. Vita Epiphan.), which, however, Euric soon broke, and Nepos was obliged, in a second treaty, in which the quaestor Licinianus was his negotiator, to cede the disputed territory to its assailants (Sirmond, Not. ad Sidon. Ep. iii. 1). Tillemont makes the embassy of Licinianus unavailing, and considers that of Epiphanius to have been consequent on its failure; but we think Sirmond's view of the matter more consistent with the account of Ennodius.
  These transactions with the Visigoths constitute almost the whole that is known of the reign of Nepos. He had recalled Ecdicius from Gaul, and had appointed Orestes to be magister militum of that diocese in his place. Orestes, assuming the command of the troops assembled at Rome, and, marching as if towards Gaul, came to Ravenna, where Nepos appears to have been, raised there the standard of revolt, and proclaimed his son Augustulus emperor. Nepos fled into Dalmatia. His expulsion is fixed by the anonymous Chronicon already cited for the date of his accession, on the 28th of August 475, so that his actual reign was about fourteen months.
  After his expulsion from Italy, he appears to have retained the Dalmatian territory, which he, or some of his family, had inherited from Marcellinus, and was still recognised at Constantinople and in the East as emperor of the West. Meanwhile, Orestes was defeated and killed, and Augustulus deposed, by Odoacer the Herulian, who sought the patronage of the Eastern emperor Zeno; but Zeno persisted in recognising the title of Nepos (Malchus, apud Collectan. de Legation). In A. D. 480 Nepos was killed near Salona, where he appears to have resided, by Viator and Ovida or Odiva, two of his own officers (Marcellin. Chrmoicon), probably at the instigation of his deposed predecessor Glycerius, who held the bishopric of Salona (Malchus, apud Phot. Bibl. Cod. 78). Odiva or Ovida was vanquished and killed the next year, 481, by Odoacer who had invaded Dalmatia (Cassiodor. Chron.). Tillemont thinks that the title of Nepos, till his death, was recognised by some of the cities of Gaul. The accounts of the life and reign of Nepos are brief and fragmentary. To the authorities cited in the course of the article may be added Marius Aventic. Chronicon; Chronici Prosperiani Auctarium, No. iv. apud Roncallium; Catalogus Imperatorum, No. xi. apud eundem; Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis; the Excerpta subjoined by Valesius to Amm. Marc.; Evagrius, H. E.ii. 16; Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, vol. vi.; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. xxxvi.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Romulus Augustulus (474-475 AD) last Roman Emperor

Augustulus, Romulus, the last Roman emperor of the West, was the son of Orestes, who seized the government of the empire after having driven out the emperor Julius Nepos. Orestes, probably of Gothic origin, married a daughter of the comes Romulus at Petovio or Petavio, in the south-western part of Pannonia; their son was called Romulus Augustus, but the Greeks altered Romulus into Momullos, and the Romans, despising the youth of the emperor, changed Augustus into Augustulus. Orestes, who declined assuming the purple, had his youthful son proclaimed emperor in A. D. 475, but still retained the real sovereignty in his own hands. As early as 476, the power of Orestes was overthrown by Odoacer, who defeated his rival at Pavia and put him to death; Paulus, the brother of Orestes, was slain at Ravenna. Romulus Augustulus was allowed to live on account of his youth, beauty, and innocence, but was exiled by the victor to the villa of Lucullus, on the promontory of Misenum in Campania, which was then a fortified castle. There he lived upon a yearly allowance of six thousand pieces of gold: his ultimate fate is unknown.
  The series of Roman emperors who had governed the state from the battle of Actium, B. C. 31, during a period of five hundred and seven years, closes with the deposition of the son of Orestes; and, strangely enough, the last emperor combined the names of the first king and the first emperor of Rome.
(Amm. Marc. Excerpta; Cassiod. Chronicon, ad Zenonem; Jornand. de Regnorum Successione; Procop. de Bell. Goth. i. 1, ii. 6 ; Cedrenus; Theophanes; Evagrius, ii. 16)

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Famous families

Fabricia Gens

ALATRI (Town) LAZIO
Fabricia Gens, seems to have belonged originally to the Hernican town of Aletrium, where Fabricii occur as late as the time of Cicero (pro Cluent. 16, &c.). The first Fabricius who occurs in history is the celebrated C. Fabricius Luscinus, who distinguished himself in the war against Pyrrhus, and who was probably the first of the Fabricii who quitted his native place and settled at Rome. We know that in B. C. 306, shortly before the war with Pyrrhus, most of the Hernican towns revolted against Rome, but were subdued and compelled to accept the Roman franchise without the suffrage: three towns, Aletrium, Ferentinum, and Verulae, which had remained faithful to Rome, were allowed to retain their former constitution; that is, they remained to Rome in the relation of isopolity (Liv. ix. 42, &c.). Now it is very probable that C. Fabricius Luscinus either at that time or soon after left Aletrium and settled at Rome, where, like other settlers from isopolite towns, he soon rose to high honours. Besides this Fabricius, no members of his family appear to have risen to any eminence at Rome; and we must conclude that they were either men of inferior talent, or, what is more probable, that being strangers, they laboured under great disadvantages, and that the jealousy of the illustrious Roman families, plebeian as well as patrician, kept them down, and prevented their maintaining the position which their sire had gained. Luscinus is the only cognomen of the Fabricii that we meet with under the republic: in the time of the empire we find a Fabricius with the cognomen Veiento. There are a few without a cognomen.

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Fabricius, C. & L.

Fabricius, C. & L., belonged to the municipium of Aletrium, and were twins. According to Cicero (pro Cluent. 16, &c.), they were both men of bad character; and C. Fabricius, in particular, was charged with having allowed himself to be made use of as a tool of Oppianicus, about B. C. 67, to destroy A. Cluentius.

L. Fabricius, C. F.

L. Fabricius, C. F., perhaps a son of C. Fabricius Luscinus, was eurator viarum in B. C. 62, and built a new bridge of stone, which connected the city with the island in the Tiber, and which was called, after him, pons Fabricius. The time at which the bridge was built is expressly mentioned by Dion Cassius (xxxvii. 45), and the name of its author is still seen on the remnants of the bridge, which now bears the name of ponte quattro capi. On one of the arches we read the inscription: "L. FABRICIUS, C. F. CUR. VIAR. FACIUNDUM COERAVIT IDEMQUE PROBAVIT "; and on another arch there is the following addition: "Q. LEPIDUS, M. F., M.LOLLIU, M. F., EX S. C. PROBAVERUNT", which probably refers to a restoration of the bridge by Q. Lepidus and M. Lollius. The scholiast on Horace (Sat. ii. 3, 36) calls the Fabricius who built that bridge a consul, but this is obviously a mistake. There is also a coin bearing the name of L. Fabricius.

Fidenas

FIDENAE (Ancient city) LAZIO
Fidenas, a surname of the Sergia and Servilia Gentes, derived from Fidenae, a town about five miles from Rome, and which frequently occurs in the early history of the republic. The first Sergius, who bore this surname, was L. Sergius, who is said to have obtained it because lie was elected consul in the year (B. C. 437) after the revolt of Fidenae; but as Fidenae was a Roman colony, he may have been a native of the town. This surname was used by his descendants as their family name..
  The first member of the Servilia gens who received this surname was Q. Servilius Priscus, who took Fidenae in his dictatorship, B. C. 435; and it continued to be used by his descendants as an agnomen, in addition to their regular family name of Priscus.
1. L. Sergius C. F. C. N. Fidenas, held the consulship twice, and the consular tribunate three times; but nothing of importance is recorded of him. He was consul for the first time in B. C. 437 (Liv. iv. 17; Diod. xii. 43); consular tribune for the first time in 433 (Liv. iv. 25; Diod. xii. 58); consul for the second time in 429 (Liv. iv. 30 ; Diod. xii. 73); consular tribune for the second time in 424 (Liv. iv. 35; Diod. xii. 82); and consular tribune for the third time in 418. (Liv. iv. 45; Diod. xiii. 2)
2. M'. Sergius L. F. L. N. Fidenas, consular tribune in B. C. 404 (Liv. iv. 61; Diod. xiv. 19), and again in B. C. 402 (Liv. v. 8, &c.; Diod. xiv. 38). His bad conduct in the latter year, in which he allowed himself to be defeated by the enemy, and his punishment, in consequence, by the people, are related under Esquilinus, No. 4.
3. L. Sergius M'. F. L. N. Fidenas, son of No. 2, consular tribune in B. C. 397. (Liv. v. 16 ; Diod. xiv. 85)
4. C. Sergius Fidenas, consular tribune three times, first in B. C. 387 (Liv. vi. 5), a second time in B. C. 385 (Liv. vi. 11), and a third time in B. C. 380. (Liv. vi. 27.)

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Cato Porcius

TUSCULUM (Ancient city) ITALY
Cato was the name of a family of the plebeian Porcia gens, and was first given to M. Cato, the censor. (See below)

Fulvia Gens

Fulvia Gens (of which the older term was Foulvia), plebeian, but one of the most illustrious Roman gentes. According to Cicero (pro Planc. 8, comp. Phil. iii. 6) and Pliny (H. N. vii. 44), this gens had come to Rome from Tusculum, although some members must have remained in their native place, since Fulvii occur at Tusculum as late as the time of Cicero. The gens Fulvia was believed to have received its sacra from Hercules after he had accomplished his twelve labours. The cognomens which occur in this gens in the time of the republic are:Bambalio, centumalus, Curvus, Flaccus, Gillio, Ntacca, Nobilior, Paetinus and Veratius or Neratius.

Fulvia

Fulvia, a daughter of M. Fulvius Bambalio of Tusculum, by Sempronia, a grand-daughter of Tuditanus. She was first married to P.Clodius, by whom she had a daughter, Claudia, afterwards the wife of Caesar Octavianus. When Clodius was murdered, and his body was carried to Rome, and there exposed in the atrium of his house, Fulvia, with great lamentations, showed her husband's wounds to the multitude that came to see the body; and she thus inflamed their desire of taking vengeance on the murderer. She afterwards married C. Scribonius Curio; and after his fall in Africa, in B. C. 49, she lived for some years as a widow, until about B. C. 44, she married M. Antony, by whom she became the mother of two sons. Up to the time of her marrying Antony, she had been a woman of most dissolute conduct, but henceforth she clung to Antony with the most passionate attachment, and her only ambition was to see her husband occupy the first place in the republic, at whatever cost that position might be purchased. When Antony was declared a public enemy, she addressed the most humble entreaties to the senate, praying that they might alter their resolution. Her brutal conduct during the fearful proscriptions of B. C. 43 is well known; she gazed with delight upon the heads of Cicero and Rufus, the victims of her husband. In those same days of terror a number of wealthy Roman ladies were ordered to deliver up their treasures to the triumvirs, whereupon they called upon the female relatives of the triumvirs, and petitioned them to interfere with the triumvirs, and endeavour mitigate the order. When the ladies came to the house of Fulvia, they were treated most haughtily and ignominiously. In B. C. 40, while Antony was revelling with Cleopatra in all the luxuries of the East, and Octavianus was rewarding his soldiers with lands in Italy, Fulvia, stimulated partly by jealousy and the desire of drawing Antony back to Italy, and partly by her hostility towards Octavianus, resolved upon raising a commotion in Italy. She induced L. Antonius, her husband's brother, to come forwards as the protector of those who were oppressed and reduced to poverty by the colonies of Octavianus. He was soon joined by others, who were more sincere than himself. He took his post at Praeneste whither he was followed by Fulvia, who pretended that the lives of her children were threatened by Lepidus. She afterwards followed L. Antonius to Perusia, and endeavoured to rouse the inhabitants of the north of Italy to assist him, while he was besieged at Perusia by Octavianus. When Perusia fell into the hands of Octavianus, by the treachery of L. Antonius, Fulvia was permitted to escape, and went to Brundusium, where she embarked for Greece. Her husband, who had in the meantime been informed of the war of Perusia and its result, was on his way to Italy. He met Fulvia at Athens, and censured her severely for having caused the disturbance. It is said that, from grief at his rough treatment, she was taken ill, and in this state he left her at Sicyon while he went to Brundusium. Her feelings were so deeply wounded by her husband's conduct, that she took no care of herself, and soon after died at Sicyon, B. C. 40. The news of her death came very opportunely for the triumvirs, who now formed a reconciliation, which was cemented by Antony marrying the noble-minded Octavia. (Plut. Anton. 9, &c.; Appian, B. C. iii. 51, iv. 29. 32, v. 14, 19, 21, 33, 43, 50, 52, 55, 59, 62 ; Dion. Cass. xlvi. 56, xlvii. 8, &c.; xlviii. 3-28 ; Vell. Pat. ii. 74; Cic. Phil. ii. 5, 31, iii. 6, ad Att. xiv. 12; Val. Max. ix. 1)

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L. Fulvius Curius

L. Fulvius Curius, was consul in B. C. 322, with Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus. He is the first Fulvius that we meet with in the history of Rome, and is said to have been consul at Tusculumin theyear in which that town revolted against Rome; and on going over to the Romans to have been invested there with the same office, and to have triumphed over his own countrymen. He and his colleague were further said, in some annals, to have conquered the Samnites, and to have triumphed over them. In B. C. 313 he was magister equitum to the dictator, L. Aemilius, whom he accompanied to besiege Saticula. (Plin. H. N. vii. 44; Liv. viii. 38, ix. 21)

L. Fulvius Curius Paetinus

L. Fulvius Curius Paetinus, consul in B. C. 305, in the place of T. Minucius, who had fallen in the war against the Samnites. According to some annalists, M. Fulvius took the town of Bovianum, and celebrated a triumph over the Samnites. (Liv. ix. 44.)

Furia Gens

Furia Gens, patrician. This was a very ancient gens, and in early times its name was written Fusia, according to the common interchange of the letters r and s (Liv. iii. 4), as in the name Valerius and Valesius. History leaves us in darkness as to the origin of the Furia gens; but, from sepulchral inscriptions found at Tusculum (Gronov. Thesaur. vol. xii. p. 24), we see that the name Furius was very common in that place, and hence it is generally inferred that the Furia gens, like the Fulvia, had come to Rome from Tusculum. As the first member of the gens that occurs in history, Sex. Furius Medullinus, B. C. 488, is only five years later than the treaty of isopolity which Sp. Cassius concluded with the Latins, to whom the Tusculans belonged, the supposition of the Tusculan origin of the Furia gens does not appear at all improbable. The cognomens of this gens are Aculeo, Bibaculus, Brocchus, Camillus, Crassipes, Fusus, Luscus, Medulinninus, Pacilus, Philus and Purpureo. The only cognomens that occur on coins are Brocchus, Crassipes, Philus, Purpureo. There are some persons bearing the gentile name Furius, who were plebeians, since they are mentioned as tribunes of the plebs; and those persons either had gone over from the patricians to the plebeians, or they were descended from freedmen of some family of the Furii, as is expressly stated in the case of one of them.

Mamilia Gens

Mamilia Gens, plebeian, was originally one of the most distinguished families in Tusculum, and indeed in the whole of Latium. It is first mentioned in the time of the Tarquins; and it was to a member of this family, Octavins Mamilius, that Tarquinius Superbus betrothed his daughter. The Mamilii traced their name and origin to the mythical Mamilia, the daughter of Telegonus, who was regarded as the founder of Tusculum, and was the reputed son of Ulysses and the goddess Circe. (Liv. i. 49; Dionys. iv. 45 ; Festus, p. 130, ed. Muller.) In B. C. 458 the Roman citizenship was given to L. Mamilius on account of his marching unsummoned two years before to the assistance of the city when it was at tacked by Herdonius. (Liv. iii. 18, 29.) But although the Mamilii had obtained the Roman franchise, it was some time before any of the members of the house obtained any of the higher offices of the state: the first who received the consulship was L. Mamilius Vitulus, in B. C. 265, the year before the commencement of the first Punic war. The gens was divided into three families, LISIETANUS, TURRINUS, and VITULUS, of which tile two latter were the most ancient and the most important. Limetanus, however, is the only surname which occurs on coins.
  The mythical origin of the Mamilia gens, which has been mentioned above, is evidently referred to in the annexed coin. The obverse represents the head of Mercury or Hermes, who was the ancestor of Ulysses, and the reverse Ulysses himself, clad in a mean and humble dress, that he might not be recognized by the suitors. (Eckhel, vol. v. pp. 242, 243.)

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Generals

Otilius

ROME (Ancient city) ITALY
Commands Roman army in Greece, destroys Hestiaea and Anticyra.

Flamininus

Titus (Quinctius), commands Roman army in Greece, sacks Eretria, captures Corinth, defeats Philip at Cynoscephalae, marches against Lacedaemon, invites Elateans to revolt from Macedonia, tries to capture Hannibal.

Metellus

Roman general, puts down revolt in Macedonia, treats with Achaeans, fines Thebans, defeats Achaeans and their allies.

Sulla, Syllas

Captures Athens, defeats Taxilus, general of Mithridates, sets up two trophies, punishes Thebans for siding with Mithridates, his harsh treatment of Athens, Thebes, and Orchomenus, carries off image of Athena from Alalcomenae and votive offerings from Olympia, Epidaurus, and Delphi, removes shields from colonnade of Zeus of Freedom at Athens, dedicates image of Dionysus on Mt. Helicon, dies of loathsome disease.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa

   A Roman general, who was born in B.C. 63, of an obscure family; studied with young Octavius (afterwards the emperor Augustus) at Apollonia, in Illyria, and upon the murder of Caesar, in B.C. 44, was one of the friends of Augustus who advised him to proceed immediately to Rome. In the civil wars which followed, and which terminated in giving Augustus the sovereignty of the Roman world, Agrippa took an active part; and his mlitary abilities contributed greatly to that result. He commanded the fleet of Augustus at the battle of Actium in B.C. 31. He was thrice consul, and in his third consulship, in B.C. 27, he built the Pantheon. In the year 21 he married Iulia, daughter of Augustus. He continued to be employed in various military commands till his death in B.C. 12. By his first wife, Pomponia, Agrippa had Vipsania, married to Tiberius, the successor of Augustus; and by Iulia he had two daughters, Iulia and Agrippina, and three sons, Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, and Agrippa Postumus. The last was banished by Augustus to the island of Planasia, and was put to death by Tiberius, A.D. 14.

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Germanicus Caesar

Germanicus Caesar, the elder, a son of Nero Claudius Drusus, was nephew of the emperor Tiberius, and brother of the emperor Claudius. His birth was most illustrious. From his father and paternal grandmother (the empress Livia), he inherited the honours of the Claudii and the Drusi, while his mother, the younger Antonia, was the daughter of the triumvir Antony, and the niece of the emperor Augustus. He was born in B. C. 15, probably in September, for his son Caligula named that month Germanicus, in honour of his father (Suet. Cal. 1, 15). His praenomen is unknown; nor can his original cognomen be ascertained, for the imperial family began now to be above the ordinary rules of hereditary name. By a decree of the senate, the elder Drusus, after his death, received the honourable appellation Germanicus, which was also granted to his posterity (Dion Cass. Iv. 2). It seems at first to have been exclusively assumed by the elder son, who afterwards earned an independent title to it by his own achievements. When Augustus, in A. D. 4, adopted Tiberius, and appointed him successor to the empire, the young Germanicus had already, by his promising qualities, gained the favour of the emperor, who recommended Tiberius to take him as a son (Suet. Cal. 4; Tac. Ann. i. 3; Zonar. x. 36). In subsequent inscriptions and coins he is styled Germanicus Caesar, Ti. Aug. F. Divi Aug. N.; and in history the relationships which he acquired by adoption are often spoken of in place of the natural relationships of blood and birth. Upon his adoption into the Julia gens, whatever may have been his formal legal designation, he did not lose the title Germanicus, though his brother Claudius, as having now become the sole legal representative of his father, chose also to assume that cognomen. (Suet. Claud. 2)
  In A. D. 7, five years before the legal age (Suet. Cal. 1 ), he obtained the quaestorship; and in the same year was sent to assist Tiberius in the war against the Pannonians and Dalmatians (Dion Cass. lv. 31). After a distinguished commencement of his military career, he returned to Rome in A. D. 10, to announce in person the victorious termination of the war, whereupon he was honoured with triumphal insignia (without an actual triumph), and the rank (not the actual office) of praetor, with permission to be a candidate for the consulship before the regular time (Dion Cass. vi. 17).
  The successes in Pannonia and Dalmatia were followed by the destruction of Varus and his legions. In A. D. 11, Tiberius was despatched to defend the empire against the Germans, and was accompanied by Germanicus as proconsul. The two generals crossed the Rhine, made various incursions into the neighbouring territory, and, at the beginning of autumn, re-crossed the river (Dion Cass. lvi. 25). Germanicus returned to Rome in the winter, and in the following year discharged the office of consul, though he had never been aedile nor praetor. In the highest magistracy, he did not scruple to appear as an advocate for the accused in courts of justice, and thus increased that popularity which he had formerly earned by pleading for defendants before Augustus himself. Nor was he above ministering to the more vulgar pleasures of the people, for at the games of Mars, he let loose two hundred lions in the Circus; and Pliny (H. N. ii. 26) mentions his gladiatorial shows. On the 16th of January, in A. D. 13, Tiberius, having returned to Rome, celebrated that triumph over the Pannonians and Dalmatians, which had been postponed on account of the calamity of Varus; and Germanicus appears, from the celebrated Gemma Augustea, to have taken a distinguished part in the celebration. (Suet. Tib. 20)
  Germanicus was next sent to Germany with the command of the eight legions stationed on the Rhine; and from this point of his life his history is taken up by the masterly hand of Tacitus. Upon the death of Augustus, in August, A. D. 14, an alarming mutiny broke out among the legions in Germany and Illyricum. In the former country the mutiny commenced among the four legions of the Lower Rhine (the 5th, 21st, 1st, and 20th), who were stationed in summer quarters upon the borders of the Ubii, under the charge of A. Caecina. The time was come, they thought, to raise the pay of the soldier, to shorten his period of service, to mitigate the hardship of his military tasks, and to take revenge on his old enemy, the centurion. Germanicus was in Gaul, employed in collecting the revenue, when the tidings of the disturbance reached him. He hastened to the camp, and exerted all his influence to allay discontent and establish order. He was the idol of the army. His open and affable manners contrasted remarkably with the hauteur and reserve of Tiberius ; and like his father, Drusus, he was supposed to be an admirer of the ancient republican liberty. Some of the troops interrupted his harangue, by declaring their readiness to place him at the head of the empire ; whereupon, as if contaminated by the guilty proposal, he jumped down from the tribunal whence he was speaking, declared that he would rather die than forfeit his allegiance, and was about to plunge his sword into his breast, when his attempt was forcibly stayed by the bystanders. (Tac. Ann. i. 35)
  It was known that the army of the Upper Rhine (consisting of four legione, the 2nd, 13th, 16th, and 14th, which were left in the charge of Silius), was tainted with the disaffection of the troops under Caecina, and from motives of policy it was thought necessary to comply with the demands of the soldiers. A council was held, and a feigned letter from Tiberius was concocted, in which, after 20 years of service, a full discharge was given; and, after 16 years, an immunity from military tasks, other than the duty of taking part in actions (Missio sub vexillo). The legacy left by Augustus to the troops was to be doubled and discharged. To satisfy the requisition of the 21st and 5th legions, who demanded immediate payment, Germanicus exhausted his own purse, and his friends were equally liberal. Having thus quelled the disturbances in the lower army, by almost unlimited concession, he repaired to the four legions on the Upper Rhine; and though they voluntarily took the military oath of obedience, he prudently granted them the same indulgence which had been conferred on their disorderly comrades.
  The calm was of short duration. Two legions of the Lower Rhine (the 1st and 20th) had been stationed for the winter at Ara Ubiorum (between Bonn and Cologne). Hither two deputies from the senate arrived with despatches from Germanicus; and the conscience-stricken soldiers imagined that they were come to revoke the concessions which had been extorted by fear. A formidable tumult again arose, and (according to the account of Tacitus) it was only on the departure of Agrippina, the wife of Germanicus, carrying in her bosom her young boy Caligula, the darling of the camp, and attended by the wives of her husband's friends, that the refractory legions were smitten with pity and shame. They could not bear to see so many high-born ladies seek in the foreign protection of the Treveri that security which was denied to them in the camp of their own general; and were so far worked upon by the feelings which this incident occasioned as to inflict summary punishment themselves on the leaders of the revolt. (Tac. Ann. i. 41; comp. Dion Cass. lvii. 5; Zonar. xi. 1)
  The other two legions of the Lower Rhine, the 5th and 21st, with whom the mutiny began, remained in a state of discontent and ferment in their winter quarters at Castra Vetera (Xanten). Germanicus sent word to Caecina, that he was coming with a strong force, and would slaughter them indiscriminately, unless they anticipated his purpose by themselves punishing the guilty. This object was accomplished in an effectual, but revolting manner, by a secret nocturnal massacre of the disaffected ringleaders. Germanicus entered the camp while it was still reeking with carnage, ordered the corpses to be buried, and shed many tears on witnessing the sad spectacle. His emotion at sight of the result was accompanied by disapprobation of the means, which he designated as more befitting the rudeness of the butcher than the skill of the physician. (Tac. Ann. i. 49)
  The soldiers were now anxious to be led to the field, that by the wounds they received in battle they might appease the manes of their brethren in arms; and their general was not unwilling to satisfy this desire. He crossed the Rhine, and fell upon the villages of the Marsi, whom he surprised and slaughtered by night, during a festive celebration. He then laid waste the country for fifty miles round, sparing neither age nor sex, levelled to the ground the celebrated temple of Tanfana, and, on his way back to winter quarters, pushed his troops successfully through the opposing tribes (Bructeri, Tubantes, Usipetes,) between the Marsi and the Rhine. (Tac. Ann. i. 48-51; Dion Cass. lvii. 3-6; Suet. Tib. 25; Vell. Pat. ii. 125).
  The intelligence of these proceedings affected Tiberius with mingled feelings-pleasure at the suppression of the mutiny among the German legions, anxiety on account of the indulgences by which it was bought, and the glory and popularity acquired by Germanicus. While he regarded his nephew and adopted son with suspicion and dislike, he commemorated his services in the senate in terms of elaborate, but manifestly insincere praise. The senate, in the absence of Germanicus, and during the continuance of the war, voted that he should have a triumph.
  In the beginning of spring, A. D. 15, he fell upon the Catti, burnt their chief town Mattium (Maden near Gudensberg), devastated the country, slaughtered the inhabitants, sparing neither woman nor child, and then returned to the Rhine. Soon afterwards a deputation arrived from Segestes applying for the assistance of the Roman general. Segestes had always espoused the cause of the Romans, and had quarrelled with his son-in-law, Arminius, the conqueror of Varus. He was now blockaded by his own people, who despised him for his servile truckling to foreign domination. Germanicus hastened to his rescue, overcame the besiegers, and not only liberated Segestes, but gained possession of his daughter, Thusnelda (Strab. vii.), a woman of lofty spirit, who sympathised with the patriotic feelings of her husband Arminius. Again Germanicus conducted the army victoriously back to its quarters, and, at the direction of Tiberius, took the title of Imperator.
  Arminius, enraged beyond endurance at the captivity of his wife, who was then pregnant, roused to war not only the Cherusci, but all the adjoining tribes. Germanicus made a division of his forces, in order to divide the force of the enemy. The infantry were conducted by Caecina through the Bructeri, the cavalry by Pedo through the borders of Friesland, while Germanicus himself, with four legions, embarked in a flotilla, and sailed by the Lacus Flevus (the Zuydersee) to the Ocean, and thence up the Ems. In the vicinity of this river the three divisions formed a junction. Germanicus ravaged the country between the Ems and the Lippe, and penetrated to the Saltus Teutobergiensis, which was situate between the sources of those two rivers. In this forest the unburied remains of Varus and his legions had lain for six years bleaching in the air. With feelings of sorrow and resentment, the Roman army gathered up the bones of their ill-fated comrades, and paid the last honours to their memory. Germanicus took part in the melancholy solemnity, and laid the first sod of the funeral mound (Tac. Ann. i. 57-62; Dion Cass. lvii. 18). Arminius, in the mean time, had assembled his forces, and retiring into a difficult country, turned upon the pursuing troops of the Romans, who would have sustained a complete defeat had not the legions of Germanicus checked the rout of the cavalry and subsidiary cohorts. As it was, the general thought it prudent to retreat in the same three-fold division in which he had advanced. Pedo, with the cavalry, was ordered to keep the coast, and Caecina, with all speed, to get across the Pontes Longi, a mounded causeway leading over the marshes between Coesfeld and Velen, and along the banks of the Yssel. Caecina, in whose division Agrippina travelled, was obliged to fight his way hardly. Germanicus himself returned to the station on the Rhine by water, and, in a gusty night, was well nigh losing the 2nd and 14th legions, who, under the command of P. Vitellius, marched along a dangerous shore, exposed to the wind and tide, for the sake of lightening the burden of the transport vessels. The greater part, nevertheless, after many difficulties and adventures, succeeded in making their way to the river Unsingis (Hunse), where they rejoined the flotilla, and were taken on board. When the army arrived at its destination, Germanicus visited the sick and wounded, and contributed from his own purse to the wants of the soldiers.
  In the next year (A. D. 16), warned by the losses he had recently sustained from the deficiency of his fleet, he gave orders for the building of a thousand vessels, and appointed as the place of rendezvous that part of the Batavian island where the Vahalis (Waal) diverges from the Rhine. With such aid, he hoped to facilitate the transport of men and provisions, and to avoid the dangerous necessity of marching through bogs and forests. In the meantime, hearing that Aliso, a castle on the Lippe, was besieged, he hastened to its defence; but on his arrival, found that the besiegers had dispersed. However, he was not left without employment. The mound erected to the memory of the legions of Varus had been thrown down by the Germans; and an ancient altar, built in honour of his father, was in a state of dilapidation. These he restored and repaired. The causeways between Aliso and the Rhine were in want of new moats and landmarks. These works he completed.
  The fleet being now ready, he entered the canal of his father, Drusus, whom he invoked to favour his enterprise; and after sailing through the Zuydersee to the ocean, landed at Amisia, a place near the mouth of the river Amisia (Ems), on the left bank. He then marched upward along the course of the river, leaving his fleet behind. Arminius was on the further side of the Weser, in command of the Cherusci; and, in order to get to the Weser, it was necessary to cross the Ems. The delay occasioned by the necessity of forming a bridge across the Ems, and the difficulty of the passage, made Germanicus feel his error in landing on the left bank, and leavin his galleys at Amisia. He had till greater difficulty in effecting the passage of the Weser in the face of the enemy. Seeing now that an important action was at band, he determined to ascertain for himself the temper and feelings of the troops. Accordingly, in the beginning of the night, accompanied by a single attendant, he went secretly into the camp, listened by the side of the tents, and enjoyed his own fame. He heard the praise of his graceful form, his noble birth, his patience, his courtesy, his steady consistency of conduct. He found that his men were eager to show their loyalty and gratitude to their general, and to slake their vengeance in the field of battle. His sleep that night was blessed by a dream of happy omen, and, on the next day, when the troops were all ready for action, eight eagles were seen to enter the woods. Germanicus cried out to the legions, "Come on, follow the Roman birds, your own divinities." A great victory was gained with little loss to the Romans, Arminius having barely escaped, after smearing his face with his own blood, in order to disguise his features. His uncle, Inguiomar, had an equally narrow escape. This battle was fought upon the plain of Idistavisus (between Rinteler and Hausberg), and was celebrated by a trophy of arms erected upon the spot. A second engagement touk place soon afterwards, in a position where the retreat of both parties was cut off by the nature of the ground in their rear, so that tile only hope consisted in valour -- the only safety in victory. The result was equally successful to the Romans. In the heat of action (Germanicus, that he might be the better known, uncovered his head, and cried out to the troops "to keep on killing and take no prisoners, since the only way to end the war was to exterminate the race". It was late at night before the legions ceased from their bloody task. In honour of this second victory a trophy was erected, with the inscription: "The army of Tiberius Caesar, having subdued the nations between the Rhine and the Elbe, dedicates this monument to Mars and Jupiter, and Augustus". No mention was made of the name of Germanicus.
  The summer was already far advanced, when Germanicus, with the greater part of the troops, sailed back by the Ems to the Ocean. During the voyage a terrific storm occurred: several of the ships were sunk; and Germanicus, whose vessel was stranded on the shore of the Chauci, bitterly accused himself as the author of so gross a disaster, and could scarcely be prevented by his friends from flinging himself into the sea, where so many of his followers had perished. However, he did not yield to inactive grief. Lest the Germans should be encouraged by the Roman losses, he sent Silius on an expedition against the Catti, while he himself attacked the Marsi; and, by the treacherous information of their leader, Malovendus. recovered one of the eagles which had belonged to the legion of Varus. Emboldened by success, he carried havoc and desolation into the country of the enemy, who were struck with dismay when they saw that shipwreck, and hardship, and loss, only increased the ferocity of the Romans.
Germanicus had some time previously received intimation of the wish of Tiberius to remove him from Germany, and to give him command in the East, where Parthia and Armenia were in commotion on account of the dethronement of Vonones. Knowing that his time was short, he hastened his operations; and upon his return to winter quarters, felt convinced that another campaign would suffice for the successful termination of the war. But the summons of Tiberius now grew pressing. He invited Germanicus to come home, and take the triumph which had been voted to him, offered him a second consulship, suggested that more might now be gained by address than by force of arms, reminded him of the severe losses with which his successes were purchased, and appealed to his modesty by hinting that he ought to leave an opportunity to his adoptive brother, Drusus, of acquiring laurels in the only field where they could now be gathered. This touched one of the true reasons of his recal, for the emperor, though willing to play him off against Drusus, had no desire that his popularity should throw Drusus completely into the shade. Germanicus had petitioned for another year, in order to complete what he had begun, hut he could not resist the mandate of Tiberius, though he saw that envy was the real cause of withdrawing from his grasp an honour which he had already earned. (Tac. Ann ii. 26)
  On his return to Rome he was received with warm and enthusiastic greeting, the whole population pouring forth to meet him twenty miles from the city, and on the 26th of May, A. D. 17, he celebrated his triumph over the Cherusci, Catti, Angrivarii, and other tribes, as far as the Elbe. His five children adorned his car, and many of the most illustrious Germans ministered to the pomp of their conqueror. Among others, Thusnelda, the wife of Arminius, followed in the procession of captives. (Tac. Ann. ii. 41; Suet. Cal. i.; Vel. Pat. ii. 129 ; Euseb. Chron. No. 2033; Oros. vii. 4). Medals are extant which commemorate this triumph.
  The whole of the Eastern provinces were assigned, by a decree of the senate, to Germanicus, with the highest imperium; but Tiberius placed Cn. Piso in command of Syria, and was supposed to have given him secret instructions to check and thwart Germanicus, though such instructions were scarcely wanted, for Piso was naturally of a proud and rugged temper, unused to obedience. His wife Plancina, too, was of a haughty and domineering spirit, and was encouraged by Livia, the empress-mother, to vie with and annoy Agrippina.
  In A. D. 18, Germanicus entered upon his second consulship at Nicopolis, a city of Achaia, whither he had arrived by coasting the Illyrian shore, after a visit to Drusus in Dalmatia. He then surveyed the scene of the battle of Actium, which was peculiarly interesting to him, from his family connection with Augustus and Antony. He had an anxious desire to view the renowned sites of ancient story and classic lore. At Athens he was welcomed with the most recherche honour, and, in compliment to the city, went attended with a single lictor. At Ilium, his memory reverted to Homer's poem, and to the origin of the Roman race. At Colophon he landed, to consult the oracle of the Clarian Apollo, and it is said that the priest darkly foreboded his early fate.
  At Rhodes he fell in with Piso, whom he saved from danger of shipwreck, but Piso, not appeased by his generosity, hurried on to Syria, and, by every artifice and corruption, endeavoured to acquire favour for himself, and to heap obloquy on Germanicus. Plancina, in like manner, cast insult and reproach on Agrippina. Though this conduct did not escape the knowledge of Germanicus, he hastened to fulfil the object of his mission, and proceeded to Armenia, placed the crown upon the head of Zeno, reduced Cappadocia to the form of a province, and gave Q. Servaeus the command of Commagene (Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 25). He then spent the winter in Syria, where, without any open and violent rupture, he and Piso scarcely attempted to conceal in each other's presence their mutual feelings of displeasure and hatred (Tac. Ann. ii. 57). In compliance with the request of Artabanus, king of the Parthians, Germanicus removed Vonones, the deposed monarch, to Pompeiopolis, a maritime town of Cilicia. This he did with the greater pleasure, as it was mortifying to Piso, with whom Vonones was an especial favourite, from his presents and obsequious attention to Plancina.
  In the following year, A. D. 19, Germanicus visited Egypt, induced by his love of travel and antiquity, and ignorant of the offence which he was giving to Tiberius; for it was one of the arcana of state, established by Augustus, that Egypt was not to be entered by any Roman of high rank without the special permission of the emperor. From Canopus, he sailed up the Nile, gratifying his taste for the marvellous and the old. The ruins of Thebes, the hieroglyphical inscriptions, the vocal statue of Memnon, the pyramids, the reservoirs of tile Nile, excited and rewarded his curiosity. He consulted Apis as to his own fortunes, and received the prediction of an untimely end. (Plin. H. N. viii. 46)
  On his return to Syria, lie found that every thing had gone wrong during his absence. His orders, military and civil, had been neglected or positively disobeyed. Hence arose a bitter interchange of reproaches between him and Piso, whom he ordered to depart from Egypt. Being soon after seized with an attack of illness, he attributed his distemper to the sorcery practised against him by Piso. In accordance with an ancient Roman custom, which required a denunciation of hostility between private individuals as well as between states, in order that they might be fair enemies, Germanicus sent Piso a letter renouncing his friendship (Suet. Cal. 1; Tac. Ann. ii. 70). It is remarkable that a similar customer existed in the middle ages, in the diffidatio or defiance of feudal chivalry, preparatory to private war. Whether there were real ground for the suspicion of poisoning which Germanicus himself entertained against Piso and Plancina, it is impossible now to decide with certainty. Germanicus seems to have been of a nervous and credulous temperament. He could not bear the sight of a cock, nor the sound of its crow. (Plut. de Invid. et Od. 3.) Wherever he met with the sepulchres of illustrious men, he offered sacrifices to their manes (Suet. Cal. 1). The poisoning which he now suspected was not of a natural kind: it was a veneficium, partaking of magic, if we may judge from the proofs by which it was supposed to be evidenced :--pieces of human flesh, charms, and maledictions, leaden plates inscribed with the name of Germanicus, half-burnt ashes moistened with putrid blood, and other sorceries by which lives are said to be devoted to the infernal deities, were found imbedded in the walls and foundations of his house. Feeling his end approaching, he summoned his friends, and called upon them to avenge his foul murder. Soon after, he breathed his last, on the 9th of October, A. D. 19, in the thirtyfourth year of his age, at Epidaphne near Antiocheia (Tac. Ann. ii. 72, 83; Dion Cass. lvii. 18; Seneca, Qu. Nat. i. 1; Zonar. xi. 2; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, 5; Plin. H. N. xi. 37, 71; Suet. Cal. 1). His corpse was exposed in the forum at Antiocheia, before it was burnt, and Tacitus candidly admits (ii. 73) that it bore no decisive marks of poison, though Suetonius speaks of livid marks over the whole body, and foam at the mouth, and goes on to report that, after the burning, the heart was found unconsumed among the bones -a supposed symptom of death by poison.
  Germanicus, as he studiously sought popularity by such compliances as lowering the price of corn, walking abroad without military guard, and conforming to the national costume, so he possessed in an extraordinary degree the faculty of winning human affection. The savageness of his German wars fell heavily upon the barbarians, with whom he had no community of feeling. To those who came into personal communication with him, he was a mild-mannered man. Tacitus, whose accounts of his campaigns are full of fire and sword, of wide desolation and unsparing slaughter, yet speaks of his remarkable mansuetudo in hostes. In governing his own army his discipline was gentle, and he was evidently averse to harsh measures. He had not that ambition of supreme command, which often accompanies the power of commanding well, nor was he made of that stern stuff which would have enabled him to cope with and control a refractory subordinate officer with the cleverness and activity of Piso. He was a man of sensitive feeling, chaste and temperate, and possessed all the amiable virtues which spread a charm over social and family intercourse. His dignified person, captivating eloquence, elegant and refined taste, cultivated understanding, high sense of honour, unaffected courtesy, frank muniticence, and polished manners, befitted a Roman prince of his exalted station, and seemed to justify the general hope that he might live to dispense, as emperor, the blessings of his government over the Roman world. He shines with fairer light from the dark atmosphere of crime and tyranny which shrouds the time that succeeded his death. The comparison between Germanicus and Alexander the Great, which is suggested by Tacitus (Ann. ii. 73), presents but superficial resemblances. Where can we find in the Roman general traces of that lofty daring, those wide views, and that potent intellect which marked the hero of Macedon ?
  The sorrow that was felt for the death of Germanicus was intense. Foreign potentates shared the lamentation of the Roman people, and, in token of mourning, abstained from their usual amusements. At home unexampled honours were decreed to his memory. It was ordered that his name should be inserted in the Salian hymns, that his curule chair, mounted with crowns of oak leaves, should always be set in the public shows, in the space reserved for the priests of Apollo, that his statue in ivory should be carried in procession at the opening of the games of the Circus, and that the flamines and augurs who succeeded him should be taken from the Julia gens. A public tomb was built for him at Antioch. A triumphal arch was erected in his honour, on Mount Amanus, in Syria, with an inscription recounting his achievements, and stating that he had died for his country; and other monuments to his memory were constructed at Rome, and on the banks of the Rhine. The original grief broke out afresh when Agrippina arrived in Italy with his ashes, which were deposited in the tomb of Augustus. But the Roman people were dissatisfied with the stinted obsequies with which, on this occasion, the ceremony was conducted by desire of Tiberius. (Tac. Ann. ii. 83, iii. 1-6)
  By Agrippina he had nine children, three of whom died young, while the others survived him. Of those who survived, the most notorious were the emperor Caius Caligula, and Agrippina, the mother of Nero.
  He was an author of some repute, and not only an orator but a poet (Suet. Cal. 3; Ov. Fast. i. 21, 25, Ex Pont. ii. 5, 41, 53, iv. 8, 68; Plin. H. N. viii. 42). Of the Greek comedies (mentioned by Suetonius) which he composed, we have no fragments left, but the remains of his Latin translation of the Phaenomena of Aratus evince considerable skill in versification, and are superior in merit to the similar work of Cicero. By some critics the authorship of this work has been, without sufficient cause, denied to Germanicus (Barth. Advers. x. 21). The early scholia appended to this translation have been attributed, without any certainty, now to Fulgentius, and now to Caesius or Calpulnius Bassus. They contain a citation from Prudentius. We have also fragments of his Diosemeia or Prognostica, a physical poem, compiled from Greek sources. Of the epigrams ascribed to him, that on the Thracian boy (Mattaire, Corpus Poetarum, ii. 1547) has been much admired, but it is an example of a frigid conceit (Burmann. Anthol. Lat. ii. 103, v. 41; Brunck. Analect. vol. ii.). The remains of Germanicus were first printed at Bononia, 1474, then at Venice, 1488 and 1499, in aedibus Aldi. A very good edition was published by the well-known Hugo Grotius, when he was quite a youth, with plates of the constellations, to illustrate the phaenomena of Aratus, Leyden, 1600. There are also editions in the Carmina Familiae Caesareae, by Schwarz, Coburg, 1715, and by C. F. Schmid, Luneburg, 1728. The latest edition is that of J. C. Orelli, at the end of his Phaedrus, Zurich, 1831.
  The eventful life and tragic death of Germanicus, embellished by the picturesque narrative of Tacitus, have rendered him a favourite hero of the stage. There is an English play, with the title "Germanicus, a tragedy, by a Gentleman of the University of Oxford", London, 1775. Germanicus also gives name to several French tragedies -one by Bursault, which was highly prized by Corneille, a second by the jesuit Dominique de Colonia, a third by Pradon, which was the subject of an epigram by Racine, and a fourth, published by A. V. Arnault in 1816, which occasioned some sensation on its first representation, and was translated into English by George Bernel. (Louis de Beaufort, Histoire de Caesar Germanicus, Leyden, 1741; Caesar Germanicus, ein Historisches Gemalde, Stendal, 1796; F. Hoffmann, Die vier Feldzuge des Germanicus in Deutschland, Gotting. 1816; Niebuhr, Lect. on the Hist. of Rom. vol. ii. Lect. 61)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


F. Gracchus, Sembronius

Tib. Sembronius, Tib. F. Tib. N. Gracchus, a distinguished general of the second Punic war. In B. C. 216 he was curule aedile; and shortly after the battle of Cannae, he was appointed magister equitum to the dictator, M. Junius Pera, who had to levy a fresh army against Hannibal. Both then pitched their camp near Casilinum; and the dictator being obliged to return to Rome, Gracchus was entrusted with the command of the camp; but in accordance with the dictator's command, he abstained from entering into any engagement with the enemy, although there was no want of favourable opportunities, and although the inhabitants of Casilinum, which was besieged by Hannibal, were suffering from famine. As there was no other way of relieving the besieged without fighting against the enemy, he contrived in three successive nights to send down the river Vulturnus casks filled with provisions, which were eagerly caught up by the inhabitants, the river flowing through the town. But in the fourth night the casks were thrown on shore by the wind and waves, and thus discovered by the enemy, who now, with increased watchfulness, prevented the introduction of any further supplies into Casilinum. The famine in the place increased to such a fearful degree, that the people and the garrison, which chiefly consisted of Praenestines, fed on leather, mice, and any herbs they could get, until at length they surrendered. The garrison was allowed to depart on condition of a certain sum being paid for every man. Out of 570 men, more than half had perished in the famine, and the rest, with their commander, M. Anicius, went to Praeneste, where afterwards a statue was erected to Anicius, with an inscription recording the sufferings of the besieged at Casilinum. Shortly after this affair Gracchus accompanied the dictator to Rome, to report on the state of affairs, and to take measures for the future. The dictator expressed great satisfaction with the conduct of Gracchus, and recommended him for the consulship, to which he was accordingly elected for the year B. C. 215, with L. Postumius Albinus. The time was one of great disasters for Rome; but Gracchus did not lose his courage, and inspired the senate with confidence, directing their attention to the point where it was most needed. He undertook the command of the volones and allies, marched across the river Vulturnus, and pitched his camp in the neighbourhood of Liternum. He there trained and disciplined his troops, and prepared them to meet the enemy. On hearing that the Campanians were about to hold a large meeting at Hamae, he marched towards Cumae, where he encamped, and from whence he made an unexpected attack upon the assembled Campanians. They were routed in a very short time, and 2000 of them, with their commander, Marius Alfius, fell in the engagement. After taking possession of their camp, Gracchus quickly returned to Cumae, as Hannibal was encamped at no great distance. The latter, on hearing of the affair of Hamae, hastened thither, but came too late, and found only the bodies of the slain, whereupon he too returned to his camp above Tifata; but immediately after he laid siege to Cumae, as he was anxious to obtain possession of a maritime town. Gracchus was thus besieged by Hannibal: he could not place much reliance on his troops, but was obliged to hold out for the sake of the Roman allies, who implored his protection. He made a sally, in which he was so successful, that the Carthaginians, being taken by surprise, lost a great number of men; and before they had time to turn round, he ordered his troops to withdraw within the walls of Cumae. Hannibal now expected a regular battle; but, as Gracchus remained quiet, he raised the siege, and returned to Tifata. Soon afterwards Gracchus marched his troops from Cumae to Luceria in Apulia.
  For the year 214 his imperium was prolonged, and, with his two legions of volones, he was ordered to carry on his operations in Apulia; but the dictator, Q. Fabius Maximus, commanded him to go to Beneventum. At the very time he arrived there Hanno, with a large army, came from Bruttium ; but a little too late, the place having been already occupied by Gracchus. When the latter heard that Hanno had pitched his camp on the river Cator, and was ravaging and laying waste the country, he marched out, and took up his quarters at a short distance from the enemy. His volones, who had served in the hope of being restored to freedom, now began to murmur; but as lie had full power from the senate to act as he thought proper in this matter, he assembled the soldiers, and wisely proclaimed their freedom. This generous act created such delight among the men, that it was difficult to keep them from attacking the enemy at once. But the next morning at day-break he complied with their demand. Hanno accepted the battle. The contest was extremely severe, and lasted for several hours; but the loss of the Carthaginians was so great, that Hanno, with his cavalry, was obliged to take to flight. After the battle, Gracchus treated a number of the volones who had behaved rather cowardly during the engagement, with that generous magnanimity which is so peculiar a feature in the family of the Gracchi, and by which they rise far above their nation. He then returned with his army to Beneventum, where the citizens received them with the greatest enthusiasm, and celebrated the event with joy and festivities. Gracchus afterwards had a picture made of these joyous scenes, and dedicated it in the temple of Libertas on the Aventine, which had been built by his father.
  At the end of the year he was in his absence elected consul a second time for B. C. 213, with Q. Fabius Maximus. He now carried on the war in Lucania, fought several minor engagements, and took some of the less important towns of the country; but as it was not thought advisable to draw the consuls away from their armies, Gracchus was commanded to nominate a dictator to hold the comitia. He nominated C. Claudius Centho. In B. C. 212 he was ordered by the consuls to quit Lucania, and again take up his quarters at Beneventum. But before he broke up an ill omen announced to him his sad catastrophe. He was betrayed by Flavius, a Lucanian, into the hands of the Carthaginian Mago. According to most accounts, he fell in the struggle with Mago, at Campi Veteres, in Lucania; and his body was sent to Hannibal, who honoured it with a magnificent burial. Livy records several different traditions respecting his death and burial. but adds the remark that they do not deserve credit.
(Liv. xxii. 57, xxiii. 19, 24, 25, 30, 32, 35-37, 48, xxiv. 10, 14-16, 43, xxv, 1, 3, 15-17; Appian, Annib. 35; Zonar. ix. 3, &c.; Oros. iv. 16; Eutrop. iii. 4, who confounds Tib. Sempronius Longus with our Tib. Sempronius Gracchus; Cic. Tusc. i. 37; Gellius, ii. 2.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


P.F. Gracchus, Sembronius

Tib. Sempronius, P. F. Tib. N. Gracchus, the father of the two illustrious tribunes, Tib. and C. Gracchus, was born about B. C. 210. In B. C. 190 he accompanied the consul, L. Cornelius Scipio, into Greece, and was at that time by far the most distinguished among the young Romans in the camp for his boldness and bravery. Scipio sent him from Amphissa to Pella to sound Philip's disposition towards the Romans, who had to pass through his dominions on their expedition against Antiochus; and young Gracchus was received by the king with great courtesy. In B. C. 187 he was tribune of the people; and although he was personally hostile to P. Scipio Africanus, yet he defended him against the attacks of the other tribunes, and restored peace at Rome, for which he received the thanks of the aristocratic party. It appears that soon after this occurrence Gracchus was rewarded with the hand of Cornelia, the youngest daughter of P. Scipio Africanus, though, as Plutarch states, he may not have married her till after her father's death. An anecdote about her engagement to him clearly shows the high esteem which he enjoyed at Rome among persons of all parties. One day, it is said, when the senators were feasting in the Capitol, some of Scipio's friends requested him to give his daughter Cornelia in marriage to Gracchus, which he readily promised to do. On his returning home, and telling his wife Aemilia that he had given his daughter to wife, Aemilia censured him for his rashness, saying that if he had chosen Gracchus she would not have objected; and on hearing that Gracchus was the man whom Scipio had selected, she rejoiced with her husband at the happy choice. Some writers relate the same anecdote of his son Tiberius and Claudia, the daughter of Appius Claudius and Antistia. Shortly after Gracchus also defended L. Scipio in the disputes respecting the accounts of the money he had received from Antiochus. Towards the end of the year M. Fulvius Nobilior, who claimed a triumph, was nobly supported by Gracchus against the other tribunes. In B. C. 183 he was one of the triumvirs to conduct a Roman colony to Saturnia; and shortly after this he must have been aedile, in which character he spent large sums upon the public games. In 181 he was made praetor, and received Hispania Citerior as his province, in which he succeeded Q. Fulvius Flaccus. When his army was ready he marched to Spain ; and having made an unexpected attack upon Munda, he reduced the town to submission. After receiving hostages, and establishing a garrison there, he took several strongholds of the Celtiberians, ravaged the country, and in this manner approached the town of Certima, which was strongly fortified; but as its inhabitants despaired of being able to resist him, they surrendered. They had to pay a large sum of money, and give forty of their nobles as hostages. Gracchus thence proceeded to Alce, where the Celtiberians were encamped. Here several skirmishes took place, until at last, by a feigned flight of his own men, he succeeded in drawing the Celtiberians away from their camp, of which he immediately took possession. On this occasion 9000 enemies are said to have been slain. Gracchus now proceeded to ravage the country, which, together with his victory, had such an effect upon the people, that in a short time 103 Celtiberian towns submitted to him. Laden with immense booty, Gracchus then returned to Alce, which he besieged. The place at first made a gallant resistance, but was compelled to surrender. He again gained great booty, but treated the conquered people with kindness; and one Celtiberian chief, Thurrus, even entered the Roman army, and assisted Gracchus as a faithful ally. The large and powerful city of Ergavica opened its gates to the Romans. Some historians, says Livy, stated that these conquests were not so easily made, but that the Celtiberians invariably revolted after their submission, as soon as the enemy was out of sight, until at last a fearful battle was fought, the irreparable loss of which induced the Celtiberians to conclude a permanent peace. This may indeed have been so, for the Spaniards had been treated by nearly all the previous Roman generals with cruelty and treachery; and they could not know that they had now to do with a bold, gallant, and formidable, but at the same time a kind and honest enemy. In the year following Gracchus remained in Spain ; and by his usual prudence and valour he again achieved the most brilliant exploits; he relieved the town of Carabis, which was besieged by a large army of Celtiberians, and he afterwards defeated, by a stratagem, another army near Complega, which had endeavoured to ensnare him. In this manner he gradually subdued all the Celtiberians, and he afterwards showed that he was as great in the peaceful administration of his province, as he had before been at the head of his armies. He adopted various excellent measures, which tended not only to secure his conquests, but to win the affections of the Spaniards to such a degree, that nearly fifty years afterwards they evinced their gratitude towards his son Tiberius. He assigned lands and habitations to the poorer people, and established a series of laws to regulate their relations to Rome. In commemoration of his achievements in Spain, he changed the name of the town of Illurcis into Gracchuris.
  In B. C. 178 Gracchus returned to Rome, where he celebrated a splendid triumph over the Celtiberians and their allies, and was elected consul for the year following, with C. Claudius Pulcher. He obtained Sardinia for his province, where he had to carry on a war against the revolted inhabitants. He gained a brilliant victory over the enemy, and then led his army into winter quarters. In the spring of the year following he continued his successful operations against the Sardinians, and reduced them to submission. When this was achieved, and hostages were received, he sent envoys to Rome to solicit permission to return with his army and celebrate a triumph. But public thanksgivings only were decreed, and Gracchus was ordered to remain in his province as proconsul. At the close of B. C. 175. however, he returned to Rome, and was honoured with a triumph over the Sardinians. lie is said to have brought with him so large a number of captives, that they were sold for a mere trifle, which gave rise to the proverb Sardi venales. A tablet was dedicated by him in the temple of the Mater Matuta, on which the reduction of Sardinia was recorded, and on which were represented the island itself and the battles Gracchus had fought there.
  In B. C. 169 Gracchus was appointed censor with C. Claudius Pulcher. His censorship was characterised by a strictness bordering on severity: several persons were ejected from the senate, and many equites lost their horses. In consequence of this, the tribunes brought an accusation against the censors before the people, but both were acquitted. On that occasion Gracchus acted with great magnanimity towards his colleague, who was unpopular, while he himself enjoyed the highest esteem and popularity, for he declared, that if his colleague should be condemned, he would accompany him into exile. With the money assigned to him for the public works he purchased the site of the house of P. Scipio Africanus, and of some adjoining buildings, and there erected a basilica, which was afterwards called the Basilica Sempronia. A more important act of his censorship was his throwing all the libertini together in the four tribus urbanae, whereas before they had gradually spread over all the tribes. This measure is called by Cicero one of the most salutary regulations, and one which for a time checked the ruin of the republic. In B. C. 164 Gracchus was sent by the senate as ambassador into Asia, to inspect the affairs of the Roman allies; and it appears that on that occasion he addressed the Rhodians in a Greek speech, which was still extant in the time of Cicero. In B. C. 163 he was raised to the consulship a second time. Polybius mentions several other embassies on which he was employed by the senate, and in which he acted as a kind mediator between foreign princes and Rome, and afforded protection where it was needed. The time of his death is unknown: Orelli (Onom. Tull. ii. p. 531) commits the blunder of saying that he fell in battle in Lucania, thus confounding him with the above.
  Tib. Sempronius Gracchus had twelve children by Cornelia, nine of whom appear to have died at an early age. The remaining three were Tiberius and Caius, and a daughter, Cornelia, who was married to the younger Scipio Africanus. In his private and family life Gracchus was as amiable a man as he was great in his public career: he was the worthy husband of Cornelia, and the worthy father of the Gracchi, and, like his two sons, he combined with the virtues of a Roman those of a man. Cicero mentions him in several passages in terms of high praise, and also acknowledges that he had some merits as an orator.
(Liv. xxxvii. 7, xxxviii. 52, 53, 57, 60, xxxix. 5, 55, xl. 35, 44, 47-50, xli. 3, 11, 12, 21, 26, 33, xliii. 16-18, xliv. 16, xlv. 15; Polyb. xxiii. 6, xxvi. 4, 7, xxxi. 5, 6, 9, 13, 14, 19, 23, xxxii. 3, 4, 5, xxxv. 2; Appian, Hispan. 43; Plut. Tib. Gracch. 1, &c., Marcell. 5; Cic. Brut. 20, de Re Publ. vi. 2, de Invent. i. 30, 49, de Nat. Deor. ii. 4, ad Q. Frat. ii. 2, de Divinal. i. 17, 18, ii. 35, de Amic. 27, de Orat. i. 9, 48, de Fin. iv. 24, de Off. ii. 12, de Prov. Cons. 8)

Gracchus, Tiberius Sembronius

Tiberius Sembronius Gracchus , the elder son of the precceding. If Plutarch is right, that Tib. Gracchus was not thirty years old at his death, in B. C. 133, he must have been born in B. C. 164 ; but we know that he was quaestor in B. C. 137, an office which by law he could not hold till he had completed his thirty-first year, whence it would follow that he was born about five years earlier, and that at his death he was about thirty-five years old. He lost his father at an early age, but this did not prevent his inheriting his father's excellent qualities, and his illustrious mother, Cornelia, made it the object of her life to render her sons worthy of their father and of her own ancestors. It was owing to the care she bestowed upon the education of her sons, rather than to their natural talents, that they surpassed all the Roman youths of the time. She was assisted in her exertions by eminent Greeks, who exercised great influence upon the minds of the two brothers, and among whom we have especial mention of Diophanes of Mytilene, Menelaus of Marathon, and Blossius of Cumae. As the Gracchi grew up, the relation between them and their teachers gradually became one of intimate friendship, and of the highest mutual esteem and admiration. Tiberius was nine years older than his brother Caius and although they grew up under the same influence, yet their natural talents and dispositions were developed in different ways, so that their characters, though resembling each other in their main outlines, yet presented great differences. Tiberius, who was inferior to his brother in point of talent, surpassed him in the amiable traits of his gentle nature: his noble bearing, the softness of his voice, the simplicity of his demeanour, and his calm dignity, won for him the hearts of the people. His eloquence, too, formed a strong contrast with the passionate and impetuous harangues of Caius; for it was temperate, graceful, persuasive, and, proceeding as it did from the fulness of his own heart, it found a ready entrance into the hearts of his hearers. If the two brothers had been of an equal age, and could have united their efforts, their power would have been irresistible; but as it was, each had to fight single-handed, and each fell a victim to the selfishness of the oligarchy, and the faithlessness and shortsightedness of the people, whose rights they had undertaken to defend.
  When Tib. Gracchus had arrived at the age of manhood, he was elected augur, and App. Claudius, who otherwise was not free from the haughtiness and selfishness so peculiar to his family, showed his esteem for Tiberius by offering him the hand of his daughter Claudia; and most historians, according to Plutarch, related, that as App. Claudius had made the engagement without his wife's consent, she exclaimed, on being informed of it, "Why in such a hurry, unless you have got Tib. Gracchus for our daughter's husband"?
  When P. Scipio Africanus the younger, who was married to a sister of the Gracchi, undertook the command against Carthage, Tib. Gracchus accompanied him, and was a witness of the fearful fall of that city. Tiberius thus received the first practical lessons in military affairs from the most illustrious general of the time, in whose tent he lived, and whose friendship lie enjoyed. The contemporary historian, Fannius, even related, that Tiberius, who surpassed all other soldiers in courage and attention to discipline, was the first among the Romans who scaled the walls of Carthage.
   About ten years after his return from this expedition, B. C. 137, Tiberius was appointed quaestor, and in this capacity he accompanied the consul, C. Hostilius Mancinus, to his province of Hispania Citerior, where in a short time he gained both the affection of the Roman soldiers, and the esteem and confidence of the victorious enemy. When Mancinus, after being defeated by the Numantines, sent messengers to treat with them for a truce and terms of peace, the Spaniards, who had so often been deceived by the Romans in their negotiations, declared that they would not treat with any one except Tib. Gracchus; for the confidence they placed in him personally was heightened by the recollection of the just and fair treatment they had received from his victorious father. Tiberius accordingly was sent to Numantia, and concluded a peace with the Numantines on equitable terms. Considering the defeat which Mancinus had suffered, the terms were favourable to the Romans, and Gracchus saved by it an army of upwards of 20,000 men from utter annihilation ; but the concessions made to the Numantines were nevertheless more than the pride of the Roman senate could brook. After the conclusion of the peace, an incident occurred which gave further proof of the confidence which the Numantines placed in Tiberius. The Roman camp, and all that it contained, had fallen into the hands of the enemy; and when the army had already commenced its retreat, Tiberius discovered that the tablets containing the accounts of the money he had had to dispose of as quaestor were lost; and being anxious to recover them, that he might not be exposed to annoyances after his arrival at Rome, he returned with a few companions to Numantia. On his arrival he sent to the magistrates, and begged of them to restore him the tablets. They were delighted at the opportunity of doing him a service; they invited him to enter the city, and received him in a manner with which they would have treated their sincerest friend,--they honoured him with a public banquet, restored to him the tablets, and when he left, they gave him permission to take with him, as a remembrance, any thing he might please. But Tiberius took only some incense, which he wanted for a sacrifice.
  When Mancinus and Tiberius returned to Rome, the feelings which there prevailed formed a great contrast to each other; for while the friends and relatives of the soldiers who had served in Spain were rejoiced at their safe return, and looked upon Gracchus as their saviour, the senate and the rest of the people regarded the treaty with Numantia as a disgrace to the Roman name. The odium of the treaty, however, was thrown on Mancinus alone, who of course was the only responsible person. He was tripped naked, and with his hands bound, he was delivered up to the Numantines, that the treaty might thus be annulled (B. C. 136). Tiberius, for the first time, enjoyed the admiration of the people, who rewarded his good services in the affair with affection and gratitude. P. Scipio Africanus, the brother-in-law of Gracchus, and then at the head of the aristocracy, took an active part in the proceedings against Mancinus, without attempting either to save him or to get the treaty with Numantia ratified. It would seem that even as early as this time, Scipio and the whole body of the aristocracy watched with fear and jealousy the career of Tiberius, whose popularity was gaining fresh strength every day.
  But the sympathy of Tiberius with the people was excited much more by its distress than by the demonstrations of its favour. His brother Caius related in some of his works, that Tiberius, on his march to Spain, in B. C. 137, as he was passing through Etruria, observed with grief and indignation the deserted state of that fertile country ; thousands of foreign slaves in chains were employed in cultivating the land and tending the flocks upon the immense estates of the wealthy, while the poorer classes of Roman citizens, who were thus thrown out of employment, had scarcely their daily bread or a clod of earth to call their own. He is said to have been roused through that circumstance to exert himself in endeavouring to remedy this evil. C. Laelius had, before him entertained the thought of interfering, but, for want of courage, had despaired of success. Had the Licinian law, which regulated the amount of public land which a person might occupy, and the number of cattle he might keep on the public pastures, been observed, such a state of things could never have arisen. If Tiberius had wished to enforce obedience to the letter of that law, he would have acted with perfect justice, and no one could have censured him for it, but the greedy aristocracy, who had enriched themselves by the violation of the law, would have moved heaven and earth to prevent such a measure. The suite of things, moreover, had, by a long-continued neglect of the law, become so complicated, that a renewal of the Licinian law, without any modification, would have been unfair towards a large class of the occupiers of public land, and it required the greatest care to act in the affair with prudence and moderation, and in a manner equitable and satisfactory towards all parties. Large tracts of public land had passed from father to son, and no one ever seems to have thought of the possibility of their being reclaimed by the state. Through this feeling of security many persons had erected buildings on their possessions, or had otherwise laid out large sums of money upon them; many also, who now this possessed more than the five hundred jugera allowed by the Licinian law, had acquired either the whole or part of their possession by purchase, and were accustomed to look upon it as real property, although a moment's consideration would have convinced them that they were only precarious tenants of the republic, which might at any time claim its right of ownership.
  Amid these clashing interests, Tib. Gracchus determined to remedy the evil by endeavouring to create an industrious middle class of agriculturists, and to put a check upon the unbounded avarice of the aristocracy, whose covetousness, combined with the disasters of the second Punic war, had completely destroyed the middle class of small landowners. With this view, he offered himself as a candidate for the tribuneship, and obtained it for the year B. C. 133. It should be observed, that at this period the tribunes were elected in the month of June, the harvest time in Italy, but they did not enter upon their office till the 10th of December.
  The people appear to have anticipated that Gracchus was going to undertake something on their behalf, for placards were seen in all parts of the city calling upon him to protect them; but he felt that his work was too serious and important to be undertaken without the advice and assistance of others. His Greek friends, Diophanes and Blossius, and his mother, Cornelia, urged him on; and he was supported by the counsel of the most eminent men of the time, such as App. Claudius, his father-in-law, the consul and great jurist, Mucius Scaevola, and Crassus, the pontifex maximus, all of whom were probably as much losers by the measures which Gracchus was going to bring forward as the Scipios and others who opposed him. The first bill which he brought before the people proposed, that the agrarian law of Licinius, which had in fact never been abolished, should be renewed and enforced, with this modification, that besides the 500 jugera allowed by that law, any one might possess 250 jugera of the public land for each of his sons. This clause, however, seems to have been limited to two; so that a father of two sons might occupy 1000 jugera of public land. The surplus was to be taken from them and distributed in small farms among the poor citizens. The business of measuring and distributing the land was to be entrusted to triumvirs, who were to be elected as a permanent magistracy. He further enacted, that in future the possession of public land should not be transferred by sale or purchase, in order that the wealthy might not be able gradually to acquire again more land than the law allowed. In the case of buildings erected on land which was to be thus given up, the possessors were to be indemnified by a sum of money determined by a fair valuation of the buildings. There remains only one point in this agrarian law, for which the legislator is open to censure, not indeed on the ground of injustice, but merely on that of unfairness. A considerable, though probably not a very great number of those who had to give up a portion of their possessions, had acquired either the whole or a part by purchase; and as they had to give up their surplus, like those who had not paid for their land, those men were positive losers, just as much as if Gracchus had taken from them their private property. To remove all complaints on ground, Gracchus ought to have added a clause, that such persons should receive from the public treasury the sums for which they had bonn fide purchased the land, or else that the land thus purchased should not come within the law, and should be treated as private property, with which the law had nothing to do. The state ought, at all events, to have made this sacrifice. The opposition of the aristocracy would not indeed have been silenced by such a measure, but there would certainly have been no ground for that bitter exasperation which Gracchus now called forth. It is ever to be lamented that Gracchus did not introduce into his law a clause of that description.
  The faction of the opposition, consisting of the senate and the aristocracy, was not numerous, but violent in the highest degree, and the thousands who were to be benefited by the measure were ready to support Gracchus at any risk; the issue of the struggle, therefore, could not be doubtful, and it would have been hopeless to oppose the agrarian law in the ordinary constitutional way, for as soon as the bill was passed by the tribes, it became law, the sanction of the senate not being required. The senatorial party, therefore, resorted to intrigues. A noble specimen of the deeply-felt and impressive eloquence with which [p. 292] Gracchus addressed the people in those days is preserved in Plutarch ( Tib. Gracc. 8): it bears all the marks of genuineness, and has unjustly been considered by modern critics as a spurious piece of declamation. When Tiberius brought forward his bill, and it was manifest that it would be carried, the senatorial party resorted to the only means that was left them, -they gained over to their side one of the tribunes, M. Octavius Caecina, a man of a most obstinate character, who himself occupied more of the public domain than the law allowed. His interposition would of course have thwarted all the plans of Tiberius. The disputes between the two tribunes went on day after day, and Tiberius, though he was by no means in affluent circumstances, offered to indemnify Octavius out of his own purse, for the loss which he might sustain through the agrarian law. This offer was refused with indignation. Tiberius was prevailed upon to refer the matter to the senate; but there he was only abused, and the question did not advance one step further. When the people again met, and Tiberius saw no other way of carrying his measure, he declared that, as two tribunes differed in their opinions upon the public good, and could not come to any understanding, one of them must resign his office. Tiberius suspended the entire administration of government, and under heavy penalties forbade the magistrates to exercise their official authority, until this question was settled. Fear and exasperation increased, and the people looked forward with trembling to the day when the matter was to come to a decision. When the day of the assembly arrived, Tiberius publicly implored Octavius to yield to the wishes of the people, who desired nothing but what they had a right to claim. When this request was also repudiated, Tiberius proceeded to carry his threat into execution, but offered that his own case should be put to the vote first. When all attempts failed, Tiberius proposed the deposition of Octavius, and put it to the vote at once. When seventeen out of the thirty-five tribes had already voted for his deposition, Tiberius stopped the proceedings, and again implored Octavius to desist from his opposition; but Octavius indignantly exclaimed, "Complete what thou hast begun". The eighteenth tribe voted, and the tribuneship of Octavius was gone : he was dragged from the hustings, and with difficulty escaped being murdered on the spot. The deposition of a tribune was a thing unheard of in the history of Rome, and was, accordingly, proclaimed by the opposition as an unconstitutional act. They now triumphed over Gracchus, since he had given them a handle, and by his own act seemed to justify their hostility against him. The deposition of Octavius for the lawful exercise of his rights has been looked upon by both ancient and modern writers as a violation of the laws of the Roman constitution, but its injustice was only of a formal nature, a mere irregularity; and Tiberius, as Niebuhr (Lectares on Rom. Hist.) justly remarks, might have said that a tribune who acted independent of the people was an abuse, and a still greater irregularity ; the people surely had the right to take away a commission from a man to whom they had given it; it is an absurdity if in a republic this right is not maintained.
  After the removal of Octavius, the agrarian law was carried without opposition, and permanent triumnvirs were appointed to superintend the measuring of the public land possessed by the wealthy, to deprive them of that which was beyond the amount allowed by the law, and to distribute it among the poor. The persons appointed as triumvirs were Tib. Gracchus, App. Claudius, his father-in-law, and his brother C. Gracchus, who was then little more than twenty years old, and was serving in the camp of P. Scipio at Numantia. Fortune thus seemed to favour the undertakings of Gracchus, and the people evinced a most enthusiastic attachment to him; but the treatment which he experienced in the senate, where P. Scipio Nasica was at the head of the aristocracy, was of a very different kind: lie was attacked with contumely and the most unbridled fury. At the same time, one of his intimate friends suddenly died, and his body bore marks of poison. Such things were just so many proofs to Gracchus that it required the greatest precaution not to fall into the hands of some secret assassin. Whenever, therefore, he appeared in public, he was surrounded by a body of friends, who formed a sort of body-guard.
  About this time a messenger arrived from Asia, with the will of king Attalus, who had bequeathed his kingdom and his property to the Roman people. Gracchus availed himself of this opportunity for enabling the poor, who were to receive lands, to purchase the necessary implements, cattle and the like; and he accordingly proposed that the money which Attalus had bequeathed to the Romans should be distributed among the people. It is generally stated that this law was carried, but in the Epitome of Livy (lib. 58) we read that he only promised the people to bring forward the bill. His agrarian law had evidently the object of creating an induistrious middle class of husbandmnen; and, in order to infuse some better blood into them, he is said to have entertained the idea of extending the Roman franchise, by admitting the Italian allies to the full rights of Roman citizens (Vell. Pat. ii. 2). The matter certainly appears to have been discussed at the time, but no steps seem to have been taken, though it would have been one of the wisest and most salutary measures that could have been devised. He further abridged the time that Roman citizens had to serve in the armies. Macrobius (Sat. ii. 10) mentions a lex judiciaria of Tiberius, but this seems to be only a mistake, the name of Tiberius being there written instead of Caius. Tiberius went even so far as to threaten to deprive the senate of the administration, inasmuch as he declared that the senate had no right to decide upon the towns and cities of the kingdom of Pergamus. Tiberius had thus reached the zenith of his power, but fortune began to turn against him. The opinion of his opponents that he had violated the sacred character of a tribune in the person of Octavius, had gradually spread among the people, which in its short-sightedness could not distinguish between the motives of the two parties, and merely looked for momentary advantages and gratifications. Hence they began not only to show indifference towards their sincere and disinterested protector, but even turned against him. In addition to this, his enemies spread the absurd report that Tiberius had secretly received a diadem and a purple robe from the Pergamenian messenger, and that he entertained the thought of making himself king of Rome. This report, which every one must have known to be a mere malicious calumny, was spread abroad by the contemptible Pompeius, with whom Scipio Nasica, and other persons of distinction, made common cause.
  The period at which the tribunes for the next year were to be elected was now drawing near, and Tiberius himself, as well as his friends, were fully convinced that after the expiration of his office his laws would be abolished, and that his life would be in imminent danger as soon as he should be divested of the sacred office of tribune. He therefore resolved to offer himself as a candidate for the tribuneship of the following year. This was indeed an irregularity, for up to that time no man had ever been invested with the office for two consecutive years; but Tiberius was compelled by necessity, and the duty of selfdefence, to offer himself as a candidate. It was unfortunate for him that the election of the tribunes fell in the month of June, when the country-people, on whom he could rely most, were occupied with the harvest in the fields. The people assembled thus consisted, for the most part, of the city populace, who had little or no sympathy with him. His heart was filled with dark apprehensions and misgivings. He went about, leading his little son by the hand, and imploring the people not to desert him, and not to expose him to the fury of his enemies, against whom he had protected them. The tribes began to vote, and two had already declared in favour of Tiberius, when the aristocrats, who were mingled among the people, exclaimed that the election was illegal, and that no man could be elected tribune for two successive years. The presiding tribune, Rubrius, did not know what to do; another tribune offered to take the presidency, but the rest maintained that this could be decided only by lot. Amid such disputes the day passed away, and seeing that his enemies were gaining the upper hand, Tiberius proposed to defer the election till the next day. He now went about with his child, and endeavoured to rouse the people's sympathy. They were moved by his fear and danger; a large crowd gathered around him; they conducted him home, urged him not to despair, and kept watch about his house all night, to protect him against any unforeseen attack. Cheered by this demonstration of the people's favour, he, in conjunction with his friends, devised during the night a plan on which they were to act, if his enemies should use violence.
  At daybreak the auspices were consulted, but the signs were unfavourable, and Tiberius was doubtful as to whether he should go to the assembly or not; but his friend Blossius urged him on not to give up his plans for things which perhaps were merely accidental. The people were assembled in the area of the capitol, and many of them came down to invite him and conduct him thither. When he arrived he was received with loud cheers and acclamations, and all promised well; but, when the voting began, the aristocrats did all they could to disturb the proceedings, and the noise and tumult became so great that no one could be heard. At this moment a senator, who was a friend of Gracchus, made his way through the crowd up to him, and informed him that the senators were assembled, and that, as they could not prevail upon the consuls to carry out their commands, they themselves were resolved to kill Tiberius, and had for this purpose armed many of their slaves and partisans. When Tiberius communicated this intelligence to those who stood nearest to him, they immediately prepared to repel force by force. Those who were at a greater distance wanted to know the cause of this sudden commotion, and as Tiberius could not make his voice heard, on account of the tumultuous noise, he pointed with his hand to his head, to indicate that his life was in danger. This act was maliciously interpreted by his enemies as a sign by which he demanded the diadem, and they hastened to inform the senate of it. The senators pretended to be greatly alarmed, and P. Scipio Nasica called upon the consuls to save the republic; but the consuls refused to have recourse to violence. The people, who in the mean time had learned that the life of their tribune was threatened, immediately armed themselves with sticks, the legs of the benches, and any other weapons they could lay hold of, and drove the aristocrats from the assembly. The confusion became general, and the tribunes took to flight. A report was quickly spread that Tiberius had deposed his colleagues, and was going to continue in his office without any election.
  This was the moment which the aristocratic party had been anxiously looking for Scipio Nasica sprang up, and exclaimed, "As the consul betrays the republic, do you who wish to maintain the constitution follow me". The senators rushed towards the assembly from the temple of Fides, where they had held their meeting. The people dispersed in all directions, and all who did not give way to the senators, or ventured to oppose then, were knocked down with clubs and sticks. Tiberius, in edeavouring to escape, fell over the body of a man who was killed, and as he was attempting to rise, he received a blow on his head, and was killed. He fell at the entrance of the temple of wides, in front of the statues of the kilns. The honour of being the murderer of Gracchus was disputed between P. Satureius, one of his own colleagues, and L. Rufus. Upwards of 300 persons were killed on that day by sticks and stones, but none by the sword. In the night following their bodies were thrown into the Tiber, and the surviving friends of Gracchus had to suffer imprisonment, exile, and death, at the hands of their infuriated and merciless opponents.
  These, and other calamities which afterwards resulted from the legislation of Tiberius, though it was by no means their cause, might perhaps have been avoided by a little more prudence on the part of Tiberius. We may indeed regret that he did not all he might have done, but we cannot blame him for what he did : his motives were the purest, and lie suffered the death of a martyr in the noblest cause that a statesman can embrace--the protection of the poor and oppressed. All the odium that has for many centuries been thrown upon Tiberius and his brother Caius arose partly from party prejudice, and more especially from a misunderstanding of the nature of a Roman agrarian law, which, although it had been pretty clearly explained by Sigonius, was yet never generally recognised till the time of Niebuhr. Velleius Paterculus, who is otherwise biassed against the agrarian law of Gracchus, gives a noble testimony to his character, in these words, "Viya innocentissimus, ingenio florentissimus, proposito sanctissimus, tantis denique adornatus virtutibus, quantas, perfecta et natura et industria, mortalis condition recipit".
(Plut. Vita Tib. Gracchi; Appian, B. C. i. 9-17; Liv. Epit. 58 ; Vell. Pat. ii. 2, 3 ; Dion Cass. Fragm. Peir. 86-88; Oros. v. 8, &c.; Aur. Vict. de Vir. Ilustr. 57; and the passages of Cicero which are collected in Orelli's Onomasticon)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gracchus, Caius Sembronius

Caius Sembronius Gracchus, the brother of the precceding, was, according to Plutarch, nine years younger than his brother Tiberius, but he enjoyed the same careful education. He was unquestionably a man of greater power and talent than his brother, and had also more opportunity for displaying his abilities; for, while the career of Tiberius lasted scarcely seven months, that of Caius extends over a series of years.
  At the time of his brother's murder, in B. C. 133, Caius was in Spain, where he received his first military training in the army of P. Scipio Africanus, who, although his wife was the sister of the Gracchi, exclaimed, on receiving the intelligence of the murder of Tiberius, "So perish all who do the like again"! It was probably in the year after his brother's murder, B. C. 132, that Caius returned with Scipio from Spain. The calamity which had befallen his brother had unnerved him, and an inner voice dissuaded him from taking any part in public affairs. The first time that he spoke in public was on behalf of his friend Vettius, who was under persecution, and whom he defended. On that occasion he is said to have surpassed all the other Roman orators. The people looked forward with great anticipations to his future career, but the aristocracy watched him with jealousy, seeing that he promised greater talent, energy, and passion than his brother, in whose footsteps it was presumed that he would follow. In B. C. 131, C. Papirius Carbo, a friend of the Gracchi, brought forward a bill to enable a person to hold the office of tribune for two or more consecutive years. C. Gracchus supported the bill, but it was rejected. The speech he delivered on that occasion appears again to have made a deep impression upon both parties; but after this time Caius obeyed the calling of his inner voice, and for a number of years kept altogether aloof from public affairs. During that period it was even rumoured that he disapproved of his brother's measures. Some circumstance or other, of which, however, we have no distinct record, seems again to have excited the fears of the optimates, and plans were devised for preventing Caius from obtaining the tribuneship. It is not impossible that this fear of the aristocracy may have been excited by Caius's speech against M. Pennus, which at any rate must have been delivered shortly before his quaestorship, B. C. 126 (Cic. Brut. 28; Fest. s. v. respublicas). Chance seemed to favour the schemes of the optimates, for in B. C. 126 the lot fell upon C. Gracchus to go as quaestor to Sardinia, under the consul L. Aurelius Orestes; and since he was fond of military life, for which he was as well qualified and disciplined as for speaking in public, he was pleased with the opportunity of leaving Rome.
  For a time Caius was thus removed from the jealous and envious eyes of the nobles, but in his province he soon attracted the greatest attention ; he gained the approbation of his superiors and the attachment of the soldiers. He was brave against the enemy, just towards his inferiors, punctual in the discharge of his duties, and in temperance and frugality he excelled even his elders. His popularity in the province is attested by two occurrences. As the winter in Sardinia had been very severe and unhealthy, and as the soldiers were suffering in consequence, the consul demanded clothing for his men from the allied towns of the island. The towns sent a petition against this demand to the senate at Rome, which thereupon directed the consul to get what he wanted by other means. But as he was unable to do this, Caius went round to the towns, and prevailed upon them voluntarily to supply the army with clothing and other necessaries. About the same time ambassadors of king Micipsa arrived at Rome to inform the senate, that out of regard for C. Gracchus, the king would send a supply of corn for the Roman army in Sardinia. These proofs of the great popularity and reputation of Caius were the cause of fresh fear and uneasiness to the optimates. He had now been absent in Sardinia for two years, and his return was dreaded. In order to prevent this, fresh troops were sent to Sardinia to replace the old ones; and Orestes was ordered to remain in the island, it being intended by this measure to keep Caius there also, on account of his office. But he saw through their scheme, and thwarted it. It appears that during the latter period of his stay in Sardinia he had altered his mind, and that his vocation had become clear to him. It is reported that the shade of his brother appeared to him in his dreams, and said, "Caius, why dost thou linger? There is no escape, thou must die, like myself, in defending the rights of the people". It is attested by Cicero and Plutarch that Caius was not a demagogue, and that he was drawn into his political career by a sort of fatality or necessity rather than by his own free will, and that had it not been for the exhortation of his brother's shade, he would never have sought any public office. But when he heard the call of Tiberius, and was at the same time informed of the command issued by the senate respecting Aurelius Orestes, he at once embarked, and appeared at Rome, to the surprise of all parties. The optimates were enraged at this conduct, and even his friends thought it a strange thing for a quaestor to quit the camp without a special leave of absence. He was taken to account before the censors, but he defended himself so ably, and proved so clearly that he had not violated any law or custom, that he was declared perfectly innocent. But his enemies, bent as they were upon destroying all his influence, annoyed him with various other accusations, one of which was, that he had participated in the recent revolt of Fregellae. These prosecutions, however, were nothing but foul and ill-devised schemes to deprive Gracchus of the popular favour: none of the charges was substantiated by evidence, and all of them only served to place his innocence in a more conspicuous light. C. Gracchus, who was thus irritated and provoked by acts of glaring injustice, encouraged by the desire of the people to come forward as their patron, filled with confidence in his own powers and in the justice of the people's demands, and, above all, stimulated by the manes of his murdered brother, at once determined to become a candidate for the tribuneship, and to carry out the plans of his brother. When his mother heard of this resolution, she implored him in the most moving terms to desist from his scheme. and not to deprive her of her last comfort and support in her old age. But it was too late; Caius had already gone too far; his hatred of his brother's murderers, and the enthusiasm of the people, who flocked to Rome from all parts to choose him as the defender of their rights, did not allow him to retrace his steps. The whole of the aristocracy, without exception, opposed his election, but in vain; and all they could effect was that Caius was not elected first, as he had anticipated, but only fourth. Caius, however, as Plutarch remarks, soon made himself first, for he surpassed all his contemporaries in eloquence; and his misfortunes gave him ample scope for speaking freely, when he lamented the death of his brother, to which he recurred as often as an opportunity was offered.
  He entered on his tribuneship on the 10th of December, B. C. 123. The first steps he took as a legislator may be regarded as an expiatory sacrifice which he offered to the shade of his brother, for they were directed against his enemies and murderers. The first law he proposed was aimed at the ex-tribune Octavius, and enacted that whoever had been deprived by the people of one office should never be allowed to offer himself again as a candidate for another; the second, which was directed against the murderers of his brother and friends, and more especially against Popillius Laenas, enacted that whoever had put to death or banished a Roman citizen without a trial should be liable to a public prosecution. The former of these bills, however, was withdrawn by Caius at the request of his mother; and Laenas avoided the one aimed at him by voluntary exile.
After these preliminary steps he renewed the agrarian law of his brother, which had not indeed been repealed; but the proper way of carrying it into effect had been prevented and delayed by a variety of disputes, which belong to the period between the death of Tiberius and the tribuneship of Caius. The remaining part of his legislation had two great and distinct objects: first to ameliorate the condition of the poor, and secondly to weaken the power of the senate, and with it that of the aristocracy generally. His plan was most extensive, and embraced nearly every branch of the administration; but the details are very little known, some of his laws being only slightly alluded to; but if we may judge from those of which we have any accounts, we are led to conclude that his legislation was of the wisest and most salutary kind; and that, if his plans had not been thwarted by the blind and greedy aristocracy, the Roman republic might have derived infinite blessings from it. He carried a law enacting that the soldiers should be equipped at the expense of the republic, without any deduction being made on this account front their pay, as had heretofore been done; another law ordained that no person under the age of seventeen should be drafted for the army. A third law enacted that every month corn should be sold at a low and fixed price to the poor. The republic had thus to purchase large supplies of grain; and out of the public granaries the people were to receive the bushel (modius) of corn at five-sixths of an as. To carry this law into proper effect, it was necessary to build extensive granaries, which Caius superintended and conducted with the most minute care and unwearied vigilance. The ruins of these extensive public granaries existed at Rome through-out the middle ages, but at present no trace of them is visible. This measure, which may be regarded as a kind of poor-law, has been censured by writers of all ages, because, it is said, it drained the public treasury, because it led the people to idleness and indolence, and because it paved the way for that unruly democracy in which the republic perished. But in the first place, it must be borne in mind, that C. Gracchus did not give away the grain for nothing, but only sold it at so low a price that the poor, with sone labour, might be enabled to support themselves and their children; and secondly, that Rome was a republic with immense revenues, which belonged to the sovereign, that is, to the people; and a large class of this sovereign people was suffering from want and destitution. There was no other remedy; the state was obliged to support these poor; and it is, as Niebuhr justly remarks, the duty of a free and proud nation to provide for those members of the community who are unable to provide for themselves.
  The power of Caius's oratory was irresistible, and carried victory with it in all he undertook; and on the wings of popular favour he was carried from triumph to triumph. He now resolved to direct the weapons he had hitherto wielded on behalf of the poor against the power of the senate, which had excited his indignation by systematically opposing and disturbing his proceedings with the people. witherto the judges in the case of judicia publica had been elected from and by the senators; and whese judges being generally men of the same class as those who were brought before them to be tried, they had outraged justice in every possible way; the governors of provinces extorted money not only to enrich themselves, but also to bribe their judges, who made their function a lucrative traffic. Caius now carried a law by which the judicia publica were transferred from the senate to a court consisting of 300 equites. We have three different descriptions of the enactments of this law; but Manutius (de Leg. Rom. 15) has made it highly probable that two of them refer only to two different conciliatory proposals, and that as they were rejected, the law, as stated above, was the final result. This law on the one hand inflicted a severe blow upon the power of the senate, and on the other it raised the equites, who formed a wealthy class of citizens between the nobility and the poor, as a powerful counterpoise to the senate. It may be questioned whether the rivalry which was thus created between the senate and the equites was salutary in its consequences or not; but thus much is certain, that the equites soon discovered as many motives for a bad administration of justice as the senators had had before. It is said that in the discussions upon this law, Gracchus, while addressing the people, turned his face towards the forum, whereas all orators before that time had turned their faces towards the senate and the comitium. Another constitutional measure was likewise directed against the arbitrary proceedings of the senate, though it was not felt as keenly as the former. Hitherto the senate had assigned the provinces to the consuls and praetors after their election, and thus had it in its power to gratify this or that person's wish, by assigning to him the province which he particularly desired, and from which he hoped to derive most advantage or honour. Gracchus remedied this evil by a law enacting that the provinces into which consuls or praetors were to be sent should be determined upon previous to the [p. 296] election of those magistrates. The province of Asia, which had for many years been left unsettled, and had thus given to the governors ample scope for plunder and extortion, received at length a regular organisation, for which it is indebted to C. Gracchus. In all his measures relating to the administration he took great care of the interests of the republic; and although he acted with justice towards the provincials and the people, to whom lands were assigned, yet he always tried to secure to the republic her revenues. For the purpose of facilitating the commerce and intercourse between the several parts of Italy, and at the same time giving assistance and employment to the poor, he made new roads in all directions, and repaired the old ones; milestones also were erected throughout Italy. Notwithstanding his great and numerous undertakings, he conducted and superintended everything himself, and each particular point was managed with a care and strictness as if he had nothing else to engage his attention. His skill and tact in his intercourse with persons of all classes with whom he was thus brought into connexion, and his talent for winning their affections, excited the admiration of every one. His favour with the people far and near, as well as with the equites, thus rose to the utmost height.
  While things were thus in the most prosperous progress, and shortly before the election of the consuls for the next year took place, he once told the people that he was going to ask them a favour, which he would value above every thing, if they granted it; but he added, that he would not complain if they refused it. The people gladly promised to do anything he might desire; and every one believed that he was going to ask for the consulship: but on the day of the consular election, Gracchus conducted his friend C. Fannius into the assembly, and canvassed with his friends for him. Fannius was accordingly elected consul in preference to Opimius, who had likewise offered himself as a candidate. C. Gracchus himself was elected tribune for the next year (B. C. 122) also, although he had not asked for it. M. Fulvius Flaccus, a friend of Caius, who had been consul in B. C. 125, had caused himself to be elected tribune, for the purpose of being able to give his support to one important measure which Caius had in contemplation, viz. that of extending the Roman franchise. The plan was to grant the Roman franchise to all the Latins, and to make the Italian allies step into the relation in which the Latins had stood until then. This measure, though it was the wisest and most salutary that could have been devised, was looked forward to by the senate with the greatest uneasiness and alarm. The Latins and Italian allies had for some time been aspiring to the privilege of the Roman franchise; and Fregellae, being disappointed in its expectations, had revolted, but had been destroyed by the praetor Opimius. But it is uncertain whether Gracchus did actually bring forward a bill about the extension of the franchise, or whether he merely contemplated to do so. The senate, instead of endeavouring to allay the ill feelings of those who thought that a right was withheld from them, provoked them still more by an edict forbidding any one who was not a Roman citizen to stay in the city or its vicinity so long as the discussions on the bills of C. Gracchus were going on. At the same time the senate had recourse to the meanest and most contemptible stratagem to check Cains in the progress of his excellent legislation. The course which the aristocrats now began to pursue shows most clearly that the good of the republic was not the thing for which they were struggling, and that they looked upon it merely as a contest for power and wealth; they cared little or nothing about the demoralisation of the people, or the ruin of the republic, so long as they could but preserve their power undiminished.
  Among the colleagues of C. Gracchus was M. Livius Drusus, a man of rank, wealth, and eloquence ; he was gained over by the senatorial party, and under their directions, and with their sanction, he endeavoured to outbid Caius in the proposal of popular measures. He acted the part of a real demagogue, for the purpose of supplanting the sincere friend of the people; and the people, who at all times prize momentary gain more than solid advantages, which work slowly and almost imperceptibly, allowed themselves to be duped by the treacherous agent of the aristocracy. Drusus proposed a series of measures which were of a far more democratic nature than those of Caius. Caius had proposed the establishment of two colonies at Tarentum and Capua, consisting of citizens of good and respectable character; but Drusus proposed the establishment of twelve colonies, each of which was to consist of 3000 needy Roman citizens. Caius had left the public land distributed among the poor, subject to a yearly payment to the treasury: Drusus abolished even this payment, and thus deprived the state of a large portion of its revenue. Gracchus contemplated granting the franchise to the Latins, but Drusus brought forward a measure that the Latins should be exempt from corporal punishment even while they served in the armies. The people thus imposed upon by Drusus, who assured them that the senate sanctioned his measures from no other desire than that of serving the poor citizens, gradually became reconciled to the senate; and the recollection of past sufferings was effaced by hypocritical assurances and demagogic tricks. Another means by which Drusus insinuated himself into the people's confidence was, that he asked no favour for himself, and took no part in carrying his laws into effect, which he left entirely to others; while Caius, with the most unwearied activity, superintended and conducted every thing in person. In proportion as the ill feeling between the people and the senate abated, the popularity of Caius decreased, and his position between the two became more and more perilous. Gracchus had proposed the establishment of a colony on the ruins of Carthage, and he himself was appointed one of the triumvirs to conduct the colonists. He settled every thing in Africa with the utmost rapidity; and after an absence of seventy days, he returned to Rome, shortly before the time at which the consuls for the next year were to be elected. Drusus had availed himself of the absence of Caius for making various attacks on his party and his friends, especially on Fulvius Flaccus, who began openly to stir up the Italian allies to demand the Roman franchise. It was in vain that Caius, after his return, endeavoured to restore what his enemies and his sanguine and passionate friend had destroyed. Fannius, who had obtained the consulship through the influence of Caius, had soon after treated him with indifference, and in the end even made common cause with his enemies. Opimius, who had never forgiven [p. 297] Caius for having procured the election of Fannius to the consulship, which he himself had coveted, now offered himself again as a candidate for that office; and it was generally reported that he was determined to abolish the laws of C. Gracchus. The latter had endeavoured to obtain the tribuneship for the third time, but in vain, either because he had really lost the popular favour through the intrigues of Drusus, or because his colleagues, whom he had offended by some arrangements during the public games in favour of the people, acted illegally and fraudulently in the proclamation and return of the votes. How much Caius had lost confidence in himself as well as in his supporters is clear from the following circumstance. By the command of the senate, and in pursuance of the above-mentioned edict, the consul Fannius drove out of the city all those who were not Roman citizens; and Caius, although he had promised them his assistance, if they would defy the edict and remain at Rome, yet allowed persons of his own acquaintance to be dragged off before his eyes by the lictors of the consul, without venturing to help them. The object of Gracchus undoubtedly was to avoid violence and prevent civil bloodshed, in order that his enemies might not obtain any just ground for attacking him, which was, in fact, the very thing they were looking for. But the people, who were unable to appreciate such motives, looked upon his forbearance as an act of cowardice.
  The year of his second tribuneship, B. C. 122, thus came to its close. After Opimius had entered on his consulship, the senate, which had hitherto acted rather on the defensive, and opposed Gracchus with intrigues, contrived to lead Caius into wrong steps, that he might thus prepare his own ruin. His enemies began to repeal several of his enactments. The subject of the colony of Carthage was discussed afresh merely to provoke Gracchus, who, in establishing the colony, had disregarded the curse pronounced by P. Scipio upon the site of Carthage, and had increased the number of colonists to 6000. This and various other annoyances, which still more estranged the people from him, he endured for a time with forbearance and without making any resistance, probably because he did not believe that his legislation could be really upset. But as the movements of the hostile faction became more and more threatening, he could no longer resist the entreaties of Fulvius Flaccus, and once more he resolved to rally his friends around him, and take an active part in the public assembly. A day was appointed to decide upon the colony of Carthage, or, according to Plutarch, to abolish the laws of Caius. A number of country people flocked to Rome to support Caius and his friends; and it was said that they had been sent by his mother, Cornelia. Flaccus with his friends occupied the capitol early in the morning, and was already haranguing the people, when Caius arrived with his followers. But he was irresolute and desponding, and had a presentiment that blood would be shed. He took no part in the proceedings, and in silence he walked up and down under an arcade, watching the course of events. A common man of the name of Antyllius there approached him, touched his shoulder, and bade him spare his country. Caius, who was taken by surprise, gazed at the man as if he had suddenly been charged with a crime of which he could not deny his guilt. Some one of Caius's friends took this look for a significant hint, and slew Antyllius on the spot. According to Plutarch, Antyllius was one of the attendants of the consul Opimius, and while carrying a sacrifice through the arcade, insolently provoked the anger of the bystanders by calling out, "Make way for honest men, you rascals"! But however this may be, Gracchus took no part in the proceedings on that morning, and the murder of Antyllius was committed wholly against his wish. It produced the greatest alarm and consternation, and Caius was deeply grieved, for he saw at once that it injured his party, and served to promote the hostile schemes of his enemies. He therefore immediately descended to the forum, to allay the terror and explain the unfortunate occurrence; but nobody would listen to him, and he was shunned by everybody as if he had been an accursed man. The assembly broke up, the people dispersed, and Gracchus and Fulvius Flaccus, lamenting the event, returned home, accompanied each by a number of friends. Opimius, on the other hand, who had now got the opportunity he wanted, triumphed and urged the people to avenge the murder. The next day he convoked the senate, while large crowds of the people were assembled in the forum. He garrisoned the capitol, and with his suite he himself occupied the temple of Castor and Pollux, which commanded the view of the forum. At his command the body of Antyllius was carried across the forum with loud wailings and lamentations, and was deposited in front of the senate-house. All this was only a tragic farce to excite the feelings of the people against the murderer and his party. When Opimius thought the minds of the people sufficiently excited, he himself entered the senate, and by a declamatory exposition of the fearful crime that had been committed, he prevailed upon the senate to confer on himself unlimited power to act as he thought best for the good of the republic. By virtue of this power, Opimius ordered the senate to meet again the next day in arms, and each eques was commanded to bring with him two armed slaves. Civil war was thus declared. These decrees, framed as they were with apparent calmness, for the purpose of clothing the spirit of party vengeance in the forms of legal proceedings, completely paralysed the mass of the people. That the equities, who as an order had been raised so much by Gracchus, deserted him in the hour of danger, is accountable only by the cowardice which is always displayed on such occasions by capitalists. On the second day Gracchus had been in the forum, but he had left the assembly, and as he went home he was seen stopping before the statue of his father; he did not utter a word, but at last he sighed deeply, burst into tears, and then returned home. A large multitude of people, who seemed to feel the silent reproach of their ingratitude and cowardice, followed him to his house, and kept watch there all night.
  Fulvius Flaccus, who had been filled with rage and indignation at the decree of the senate and the conduct of Opimius, called on his friends to arm themselves, and with them he spent the night in drinking and rioting. On the morning he was with difficulty roused from his drunken sleep to give the necessary orders, and organise his men for resistance. Amid shouts he and his band seized on the Aventine, where they took up a strong position, in the hope of thus compelling the senate to yield. Caius refused to arm: he left his house in the morning, dressed in his toga, and without any weapon save a dagger, which he concealed under his toga. It was in vain that his wife, Licinia, with her child in her arms, implored him to remain at home; he freed himself from her embrace, and went away with his friends without saying a word. When he arrived on the Aventine, he prevailed on Fulvius to send his younger son as a deputy to the senate, to propose a reconciliation. The appearance of the beautiful boy and his innocent request moved many of the senators; but Opimius haughtily declared, that the rebels ought not to attempt any thing through the medium of a messenger, but that they must lay down their arms, and surrender at discretion. Gracchus himself was ready to comply with this demand, but all his friends refused, and Fulvius sent his son a second time to negotiate. Opimius, who longed to bring the matter to a decision by force, ordered the boy to be thrown into prison, and forthwith he advanced with a body of armed men towards the Aventine. An amnesty was at the same time proclaimed for all those who would at once lay down their arms. This amnesty, the want of a regular plan of action on the part of Fulvius, and the missiles of the enemy, soon dispersed the party of Gracchus. Fulvius took to flight, and was murdered with his elder son. Gracchus, who took no part in the struggle, and was altogether dissatisfied with the manner in which his friends had conducted the affair, withdrew into the temple of Diana, with a view of making away with himself; but he was prevented by two faithful friends, Pomponius and Laetorius (others call him Licinius). Before leaving the temple he is said to have sunk on his knees, and to have pronounced a fearful curse upon the ungrateful people who had deserted him and joined his enemies. He then followed his friends towards the Tiber; and as they arrived at the wooden bridge leading to the Janiculus, he would have been overtaken by his pursuers and cut down, had not his friends resolutely opposed them, until they were killed. Caius, in the meantime, had reached the grove of the Furies, accompanied only by a single slave. He had called out for a horse, but no one had ventured to afford him any assistance. In the grove of the Furies the slave, Philocrates, first killed his master, Gracchus, and then himself. A proclamation had been issued at the beginning of the struggle, that those who brought the heads of Gracchus and Fulvius should receive their weight in gold. One Septimuleius cut off the head of Gracchus; and in order to increase its weight, filled it with melted lead, and thus carried it on a spear to Opimius, who paid him his bloodmoney. The bodies of the slain, whose number is said to have amounted to 3000, were thrown into the Tiber, their property was confiscated, and their houses demolished. All the other friends of Gracchus who fell into the hands of their enemies were thrown into prison, and there strangled. After the senate was satiated with blood, it committed the blasphemous mockery of dedicating a temple to Concord !
  C. Gracchus was married to Licinia, the daughter of Licinius Crassus, who had been elected triumvir in the place of Tib. Gracchus. He had by her, as far as we know, only one son, but what became of the boy after his father's death is unknown. We possess numerous specimens and fragments of the oratory of C. Gracchus, which are collected in the work of Meyer, cited below. The people of Rome who had deserted him in the hour of danger were soon seized by feelings of bitter remorse ; statues were erected to the two brothers; the spots on which they had fallen were declared sacred ground, and sacrifices were offered there as in the temples of the gods. Both brothers had staked their lives for the noblest object that a statesman can propose to himself--the rights of the people ; and so long as these rights are preferred to the privileges of a few whom birth or wealth enable to oppress and tyrannise over the many, so long will the names of the Gracchi be hallowed in history. There are, as we have already observed, one or two points in their conduct and legislation in which we might wish that they had acted with more wisdom and circumspection, but errare humanum est, and the blame falls not so much upon the Gracchi, as upon those who irritated and provoked them with a bitterness and an insolence in the face of which it would have required an angel's forbearance to remain calm and prudent.
(Plut. Vit. C. Gracchi; Appian, B. C. i. 21-26; Liv. Epit. lib. 59-61; Vel. Pat. ii. 6, &c.; Dion Cass. Fragm. Peir. 90; Oros. v. 12; Aur. Vict. de Vir. Illustr. 65; the passages of Cicero, collected in Orelli's Onomast.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Lucullus, the conqueror of Mithridates

L. Licinius L. F. L. N. Lucullus, celebrated as the conqueror of Mithridates, and by much the most illustrious of his family. We have no express mention of the period of his birth or of his age, but Plutarch tells us that he was older than Pompey (Lucull. 36, Pomp. 31); he must therefore have been born before B. C. 106, probably at least as early as 109 or 110, since his younger brother Marcus was old enough to be curule aedile in 79. His first appearance in public life was as the accuser of the augur Servilius, who had procured the banishment of his father. but had in his turn laid himself open to a criminal charge. This species of retaliation was looked upon with much favour at Rome; and although the trial, after giving rise to scenes of violence and even bloodshed, at length terminated in the acquittal of Servilius, the part which the young Lucullus had taken in the matter appears to have added greatly to his credit and reputation. (Plut. Lucull. 1; Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1.)
  While yet quite a young man, he served with distinction in the Marsic or Social War; and at this time attracted the attention of Sulla, whom he afterwards accompanied as his quaestor into Greece and Asia on the breaking out of the Mithridatic war, B. C. 88. During the prolonged siege of Athens, Sulla found himself labouring under the greatest disadvantage from the want of a fleet, and of he in consequence despatched Lucullus in the middle of winter (B. C. 87-86), with a squadron of only six ships, to endeavour to collect assistance from the allies of Rome. With considerable difficulty he raised a fleet, and expelled the forces of the king from Chios and Colophon. These operations extended far on into the summer of 85 : meanwhile, Fimbria, who had assumed the command of the army in Asia, which had been sent out by the Marian party at Rome, had expelled Mithridates from Pergamus, and was besieging him in Pitane, where he had taken refuge. Had Lucullus co-operated with him by sea, the king himself must havefallen intotheir hands, and the war would have been terminated at once: but Lucullus was faithful to the party interests of Sulla rather than to those of Rome : he refused to come with his fleet to the support of Fimbria, and Mithridates made his escape by sea to Mytilene. Shortly afterwards Lucullus defeated the hostile fleet under Neoptolemus off the island of Tenedos; and thus made himself master of the Hellespont, where he rejoined Sulla, and facilitated his passage into Asia the following spring, B. C. 84. (Plut. Lucull. 2-4 4, Sull. 11; Appian, Mithr. 33, 51, 52, 56, Oros. vi. 2.)
  Peace with Mithridates followed shortly after, and Sulla hastened to return to Rome. It was a fortunate circumstance for Lucullus that he did not accompany his leader at this time, being left behind in the charge of various public duties in Asia, by which means he escaped all participation in the of scenes of horror that ensued, at the same time that he retained the high place he already enjoyed in the favour of the all-powerful Sulla. Nor do we find that he took any part in the aggressions of Murena, and the renewed war against Mithridates. During the whole time that he continted in Asia he appears to have been occupied with civil and pacific employments, especially with the coining of money, and the exaction of the heavy sums imposed by Sulla upon the Asiatic cities as a penalty for their late revolt. In the discharge of this last duty he displayed the utmost kindness and liberality, and endeavoured to render the burthen as little onerous as possible; at the same time that the promptitude and vigour with which he punished the revolt of the Mytilenaeans showed that he was fully prepared to put down all open resistance. (Plut. Lucull. 4; Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1.)
  Lucullus remained in Asia apparently till near the close of the year 80, when he returned to Rome to discharge the office for the following year of curule aedile, to which he had been elected in his absence, together with his younger brother Marcus. According to Plutarch, he had, from affection for his brother, forborne to sue for this office until Marcus was of sufficient age to hold it with him. The games exhibited by the two brothers were distinguished for their magnificence, and were rendered remarkable by the introduction, for the first time, of elephants combating with bulls. (Plut. Lucull. 1; Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1; de Off: ii. 16 ; Plin. H. N. viii. 7.) So great was the favour at this time enjoyed by Lucullus with Sulla, that the dictator, on his death-bed, not only confided to him the charge of revising and correcting his Commentaries -- a tak for which the literary attainments of Lucullus especially qualified him; but appointed him guardian of his son Faustus, to the exclusion Pompey, a circumstance which is said to have first given rise to the enmity and jealousy that ever after subsisted between the two. (Plut. Lucull. i. 4.) By a special law of Sulla, he was enabled to hold the praetorship immediately after the office of aedile, probably in the year 77. At the expiration of this magistracy he repaired to Africa, where he distinguished himself by the justice of his administration, and returned from thence to Rome, to sue for the consulship, which he obtained, in conjunction with M. Aurelius Cotta, for the year 74. (Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1; Aur. Vict. de Vir. Illust. 74; Plut. Lucull. 5; Fast. Capit. an. 679.)
  Of the political conduct of Lucullus during his consulship almost the only circumstance recorded to us is the determined and effectual opposition offered by him to the attempts of L. Quinctius to overthrow the constitutional laws of Sulla. (Plut. Lucull. 5; Sall. Hist. iii. fragm. 22, p. 234, ed. Gerlach.)
  But the eyes of all at Rome were now turned towards the East, where it was evident that a renewal of the contest with Mithridates was become inevitable: and the command in this impending war was the darling object of the ambition of Lucullus. At first indeed fortune did not seem to befriend him: in the division of the provinces, Bithynia (which had been lately united to the Roman dominions after the death of Nicomedes III., and which was evidently destined to be the first point assailed by Mithridates), fell to the lot Cotta, while Lucullus obtained only Cisalpine Gaul for his province. But just at this juncture Octavius, the proconsul of Cilicia, died; and Lucullus, by dint of intrigues, succeeded in obtaining the appointment as his successor, to which the conduct of the war against Mithridates was then added by general consent. Cotta, however, still retained the government of Bithynia, and the command of the naval force. (Plut. Lucull. 5, 6 ; Memnon. c. 37, ed. Orell.; Cic. pro Muren. 15; Eutrop. vi. 6.)
  Both consuls now hastened to Asia, where they arrived before the close of the year 74. Lucullus took with him only one legion from Italy; but he found four others in Asia, two of which, however, had formed part of the army of Finmbria; and though brave and hardy veterans, had been accustomed to licence and rapine, and were ever prone to sedition. Hence the first business of the new general was to restore the discipline of his own army, a task which he appears to have for a time easily accomplished; and he now took the field with a force of 30,000 infantry, and 2500 horse. (Plut. Lucull. 7, 8; Appian, Mithr. 72.) But almost before he was ready to commence operations, he received the news that Mithridates had invaded Bithynia with an army of 150,000 men, had defeated Cotta both by sea and land, and compelled him to take refuge within the walls of Chalcedon. Lucullus was at this time in Galatia, but he hastened to the support of Cotta. He was met at a place called Otryae, in Phrygia, by a detachment of the army of Mithridates, commanded by the Roman exile Varius, but a meteoric apparition prevented an engagement. Meanwhile, Mithridates drew off his army from Chalcedon, and proceeded to besiege the strong city of Cyzicus. Hither Lucullus followed him; but confident in the strength of the place, and well knowing the difficulty of subsisting so vast a multitude as that which composed the army of the king, he was by no means desirous to bring on a battle, and contented himself with taking up a strongly entrenched camp in the immediate neighbourhood of that of Mithridates, from whence he could watch his proceedings, intercept his communications, and leave hunger to do the work of the sword. The result fully justified his expectations. All the efforts of Mithridates were baffled by the skill and courage of the besieged; and though he was still master of the sea, the winter storms prevented him from receiving supplies by that means, so that famine soon began to make itself felt in his camp, and at length increased to such a degree that no alternative remained but to raise the siege. A detachment of 15,000 men, which the king had previously sent off, was attacked and cut to pieces by Lucullus at the passage of the Rhyndacus; and when at length his main army broke up from the camp before Cyzicus, and commenced its march towards the West, Lucullus pressed closely upon their rear, and attacking them successively at the passage of the Aesepus and the Granicus, put thousands of them to the sword. Those that escaped took refuge in Lampsacus, under the command of Varius. (Plut. Lucull. 8-11; Appian, Mithr. 71-76; Memnon. 37-40; Liv. Epit. xcv.; Flor. iii. 6; Eutrop. vi. 6; Oros. vi. 2; Cic. pro. Leg. Manil. 8, pro Muren. 15; Orelli, Inscr. 545.)
  The great army of Mithridates, on the equipment and preparation of which he had bestowed all his care, was now annihilated; but he was still master of the sea; and placing the remains of his shattered forces on board the fleet, he gave the command of it to Varius, with orders to maintain possession of the Aegaean, while he himself returned by sea to Bithynia. Lucullus did not deem it prudent to advance further into Asia while his communications were thus threatened, and he despatched his lieutenants, Voconius and Triarius, in pursuit of Mithridates, while he occupied himself in assembling a fleet at the Hellespont. Contributions quickly poured in from all the Greek cities of Asia; and Lucullus soon found himself at the head of a considerable naval force, with which he defeated a squadron of the enemy off Ilium, and soon afterwards engaged and almost entirely destroyed their main fleet, near the island of Lemnos, taking prisoner Varius himself, together with his two colleagues in the command. (Appian, Mithr. 77; Plut. Lucull. 12; Cic. pro Leg. Manil. 8, pro Muren. 15; Eutrop. vi. 6; Memnon. 42.) He was now at liberty to direct his undivided attention towards Mithridates himself, and advanced against that monarch, who had halted at Nicomedeia, where Cotta and Triarius were preparing to besiege him; but on learning the defeat of his fleet, and the advance of Lucullus, Mithridates withdrew from that city without a contest, and escaped by sea to Pontus.
  Lucullus had thus succeeded in driving back Mithridates into his own dominions, and thither he now prepared to follow him. After joining Cotta and Triarius at Nicomedeia, he detached the former to besiege the important town of Heracleia, while Triarius, with the fleet, was posted at the Bosporus, in order to prevent the junction of the enemy's detached squadrons. Meanwhile, Lucullus himself, with his main army, advanced through Galatia into the heart of Pontus, laying waste the country on his march; and in this manner penetrated, without any serious opposition, as far as Themiscyra. But he now began to be apprehensive lest Mithridates should avoid a battle, and elude his pursuit by withdrawing into the wild and mountainous regions beyond Pontus; and he therefore, instead of pushing on at once upon Cabeira, where the king was now stationed, determined to halt and form the siege of the two important towns of Amisus and Eupatoria. His object in so doing was in great part to draw Mithridates to their relief, and thus bring on a general engagement; but the king contented hinself with sending supplies and reinforcements to the two cities, and remained quiet at Cabeira, where he had established his winter-quarters, and had assembled a force of 40,000 foot and 4000 horse. Lucullus at first pressed the siege of Amisus with the utmost vigour; but it was defended with equal energy and ability by Callimachus, the commander of the garrison; and after a time the efforts of both parties gradually relaxed, and the siege was protracted throughout the whole winter without any decisive result. With the approach of spring (B. C. 72) Lucullus broke up his camp; and leaving Murena with two legions to continue the siege of Amisus, led the rest of his forces against Mithridates, who was still at Cabeira. But the king was superior in cavalry, and Lucullus was therefore unwilling to risk a general action in the plain. Several partial engagements ensued, in which the Romans were more than once worsted; and Lucullus began to find himself in distress for provisions, which he was compelled to bring from Cappadocia. A series of movements and manoeuvres now followed, which are not very clearly related; but at length a numerous detachment from the army of the king, under his generals Menemachus and Myron, was entirely cut off by one of the lieutenants of Lucullus. In consequence of this blow Mithridates determined to remove to a greater distance from the enemy; but when the orders to retreat were given, a general panic spread through the army, which took to flight in all directions. The king himself narrowly escaped being trampled to death in the confusion, and was closely pursued by the Roman cavalry; but effected his escape to Comana, from whence he fled directly to Armenia, accompanied only by a small body of horsemen, and took refuge in the dominions of Tigranes. Lucullus, after making himself master of Cabeira, pursued the fugitive monarch as far as Talaura; but finding that he had made good his retreat into Armenia, halted at that city, and despatched App. Claudius as ambassador to Tigranes, to demand the surrender of Mithridates. Meanwhile, he himself subdued, or at least received the submission of the province of Lesser Armenia, which had been subject to Mithridates, as well as the tribes of the Chaldaeans and Tibarenians ; after which he returned to complete the subjugation of Pontus. Here the cities of Amisus and Eupatoria still held out, but they were both in succession reduced by the renewed efforts of Lucullus. He had been especially desirous to save from destruction the wealthy and important city of Amisus, but it was set on fire by Callimachus himself previous to evacuating the place; and though Lucullus did his utmost to extinguish the flames, his soldiers were too intent upon plunder to second his exertions, and the greater part of the town was consumed. He, however, endeavoured to repatr the damage as far as possible, by granting freedom to the city, and inviting new settlers by extensive privileges. Heracleia, which was still besieged by Cotta, did not fall apparently till the following year, B. C. 71; and the capture of Sinope by Luculllus himself, shortly afterwards, completed the conquest of the whole kingdom of Pontus. About the same time also Machares, the son of Mithridates, who had been appointed by his father king of Bosporus, sent to make offers of submission to the Roman general, and even assisted him with ships and supplies in effecting the reduction of Sinope. (Plut. Lucull. 19, 23, 24; Appian, Mithr. 82, 83; Memnon. 45, 47-54; Strab. xii. p. 546, 547; Sall. Hist. ii. fr. 28, iv. fr. 12, p. 240, ed. Gerlach.)
  During this interval Lucullus had devotee much of his time and attention to the settlement of the affairs of Asia, where the provincials and cities were suffering severely from the exactions and oppressions of the Roman revenue officers. To this evil lie effectually put an end, by fixing one uniform and Moderate rate of interest for all arrears, and by othre judicious regulations checked the monstrous abuses of the public farmers of the revenue. By these measures he earned the favour and gratitude of the cities of Asia, which they displayed in public by celebrating games in his honour, and by every demonstration of respect and attachment. So judicious and complete indeed was the settlement of the internal affairs of Asia now introduced by Lucullus, that it continued long after to be followed as the established system. But by thus interposing to check the exactions of the knights who were the farmers of the revenue, he brought upon himself the enmity of that powerful body, who were loud in their complaints against him at Rome, and by their continued clamours undoubtedly prepared the way for his ultimate recall. (Plut. Lucull. 20, 23; Appian. Mithr. 83; Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1.)
  Meanwhile Appius Claudius, who had been sent by Lucullus to Tigranes, to demand the sur render of Mithridates, had returned with an unfavourable answer: intelligence had been also received that the two kings, laying aside all personal differ. ences, were assembling large forces and preparing for immediate hostilities; and Lucullus now determined to anticipate them by invading the dominions of Tigranes. It was in the spring of B. C. 69, that he set out on his march towards Armenia, with a select body of 12,000 foot and 3000 horse, leaving his lieutenant Sornatius to command in Pontus (where every thing seemed now perfectly settled) during his absence. Ariobarzanes furnished him assistance on his march through Cappadocia, and the passage of the Euphrates was facilitated by an accidental drought, which was hailed as a good omen both by the general and his soldiers. From thence lie advanced through the district of Sophene, and crossing the Tigris also directed his march towards Tigranocerta, the capital of the Armenian king. Tigranes, who had at first refused to believe the advance of Lucullus, now sent Mithrobarzanes to meet him, but that officer was quickly routed and his detachment cut to pieces. Hereupon Tigranes himself abandoned his capital, the charge of which he confided to an officer named Mancaeus, while he himself withdrew farther into the interior, to wait the arrival of the troops, which were now assembling from all quarters. Lucullus, meanwhile, proceeded to form the siege of Tigranocerta, principally, it would seem, with a view to induce the Armenian monarch to undertake its relief, and thus bring on a general action. Nor were his calculations disappointed. Tigranes at first threw an additional body of troops into the place, and succeeded in carrying off in safety his wives and concubines, who had been shut up there but he was determined not to let the city itself fall into the hands of the Romans, and soon appeared before it with an army of 150,000 foot, 55,000 horse, and 20,000 slingers and archers. Yet Lucullus fearlessly advanced with his small force to meet this formidable host, and when some one reminded him that the day (the sixth of October) was an unlucky one, he boldly answered, "Then I will make it a lucky one." The result fully justified this noble confidence. The heavyarmed horsemen of Tigranes, on whom the king placed his chief reliance, and who had been regarded with the greatest apprehension by the, Romans, fled without striking a blow; and the whole army of the enemy was dispersed and put to flight with the loss of only five men on the side of the Romans. Tigranes himself had a narrow escape, and in the confusion of the flight, his royal diadem fell into the hands of the enemy, and afterwards served to grace the triumph of Lucullus. (Plut. Lucull. 23, 24-28 ; Appian, Mithr. 34, 85; Memnon. 46, 56, 57 Eutrop. vi. 9; Liv. Epit. xcviii.)
  The fill of Tigranocerta was now inevitable, and it was hastened by dissensions between the Greeks and the barbarians within the city, in consequence of which the former opened the gates to Lucullus. The city was given up to plunder, but the inhabitants were spared, and the Greeks, who had been forcibly transplanted thither from Cilicia and Cappadocia, were all suffered to return to their respective cities. (Plut. Lucull.29 Dion Cass. xxxv. 2; Strab. xi. p. 532.) Lucullus now took up his winter-quarters in Gordyene, where he received the Submission of several of the petty princes who had been subject to the yoke of Tigranes. Antiochus Asiaticus also, the last king of Syria, who had been dethroned by the Armenian king, but had taken advantage of the advance of the Romans to establish himself once more on the throne of his ancestors, now obtained from Lucullus the confirmation of his power (Appian, Syr. 49). But by far the most important of the neighbouring monarchs was Arsaces, king of Parthia, to whom Lucullus, knowing that his friendship and alliance had been earnestly courted by Mithridates and Tigranes, despatched Sextilius as ambassador. The Parthian monarch gave a friendly reception to the Roman envoy, and dismissed him with fair promises, but his real object was only to temporise, and, so doubtful was his conduct, that Lucullus is said to have designed to leave both Mithridates and Tigranes for a time, and march at once against Arsaces. But his projects were now cut short by the mutinous spirit of his own army. It was late in the season before it was possible to renew military operations in the mountainous and elevated regions where he now found himself, and meanwhile he sent orders to Sornatius to bring to his support the troops which he had left in Pontus, but the soldiers absolutely refused to follow him, and the lieutenant was unable to enforce his authority. Even those who were under the command of Lucullus himself in Gordyene, took alarm at the idea of marching against the Parthians, and not only was their general compelled to abandon this design, but it was with some difficulty that he could prevail upon them to follow him once more against Mithridates and Tigranes. These two monarchs had again assembled a considerable army, with which they occupied the high table lands of the centre of Armenia, and when Lucullus at length (in the summer of 68) moved forward to attack them, they met him on the banks of the river Arsanias. The victory of the Romans was again as decisive and as easily won as at Tigranocerta: the two kings fled ignominiously from the field, and numbers of their officers fell in the battle. But when Lucullus pushed forward with the intention of making himself master of Artaxata, the capital of Armenia, his soldiers again refused to follow him, and he was compelled to return into a less inclement region; and turning his arms southwards, he laid siege to the city of Nisibis, in Mygdonia. It was defended by the same Callimachus who had so long defied the Roman arms at Amisus, and was considered to be altogether impregnable; but Lucullus surprised it during a dark and stormy winter's night, and afterwards took up his quarters there, until the season should admit of a renewal of military operations. (Plut. Lucull. 30-32; Appian, Mithr. 87; Dion Cass. xxxv. 4-7.)
  But the discontents among his troops which had already given Lucullus so much trouble, broke out with renewed violence in the camp at Nisibis. They were fostered by P. Clodius, whose turbulent and restless spirit already showed itself in its full force, and encouraged by reports from Rome, where the demagogues, who were favourable to Pompey, or had been gained over by the equestrian party (whose bitter hostility against Lucullus had never relaxed), were loud in their clamours against that general. They accused him of protracting the war for his own personal objects either of ambition or avarice; and the soldiery, whose appetite for plunder had been often checked by Lucullus, readily joined in the outcry. It was, therefore, in vain that he endeavoured to prevail upon his mutinous army to resume operations in the spring of the year 67; and while he remained motionless at Nisibis, Mithridates, who had already taken advantage of his absence to invade Pontus and attempt the recovery of his own dominions, was able to overthrow the Roman lieutenants Fabius and Triarius in several successive actions. The news of these disasters compelled Lucullus to return in all haste to Pontus, a movement doubtless in accordance with the wishes of his army, who appear to have followed him on this occasion without reluctance. On his approach Mithridates withdrew into the Lesser Armenia, and thither Lucullus prepared to pursue and attack him, when his movements were again paralysed by the open mutiny of his soldiers. All that he could obtain from them by the most abject entreaties, was the promise that they would not abandon his standard during the remainder of that summer, and he was compelled to establish himself in a camp, where he spent all the rest of the season in inactivity, while Mithridates and Tigranes were able to overrun without opposition the greater part both of Pontus and Cappadocia. Such was the state of things, when ten legates (among whom was Marcus, the brother of Lucullus) arrived in Asia, to settle the affairs of Pontus, and reduce it to the form of a Roman province; and they had, in consequence, to report to the senate that the country supposed to have been completely conquered was again in the hands of the enemy. The adversaries of Lucullus naturally availed themselves of so favourable an occasion, and a decree was passed to transfer to Acilius Glabrio, one of the consuls for the year, the province of Bithynia and the command against Mithridates. But Glabrio was wholly incompetent for the task assigned him: on arriving in Bithynia, and learning the posture of affairs, he made no attempt to assume the command or take the field against Mithridates, but remained quiet within the confines of the Roman province, while he still farther embarrassed the position of Lucullus, by issuing proclamations to his soldiers, announcing to them that their general was superseded, and releasing them from their obedience. Mithridates meanwhile ably availed himself of this position of affairs, and Lucullus had the mortification of seeing Pontus and Cappadocia occupied by the enemy before his eyes, and the results of all his previous campaigns apparently annihilated, without being able to stir a step in their defence. But it was still more galling to his feelings when, in the spring of B. C. 66, he was called upon to resign the command to his old rival Pompey, who had been appointed by the Manilian law to supersede both him and Glabrio. (Plut. Lucull. 33-35; Appian, Mithr. 88-91; Dion Cass. xxxv. 8-10, 12-17; Cic. p. Leg. Manil. 2, 5, 9, Ep. ad Att. xiii. 6; Eutrop. vi. 11.) The friends of the two generals succeeded in bringing about an interview between them before Lucullus quitted his government; but though the meeting was at first friendly, it ended in bickerings and disputes, which only aggravated the enmity already existing between them. Pompey still further increased the irritation of his rival by proceeding to rescind many of the regulations which the latter had introduced, even before he had quitted the province. (Plut. Lucull. 36, Pomp. 31; Dion Cass. xxxvi. 29.)
  Deeply mortified at this termination to his glorious career, Lucullus returned to Rome to claim the well-merited honour of a triumph. But even this was opposed by the machinations of his adversaries. C. Memmius, one of the tribunes, brought against him various charges for maladministration, and it was not till an interval of nearly three years had elapsed, that this opposition was overcome, and Lucullus at length celebrated his triumph with the greatest magnificence, at the commencement of the year 63. (Plut. Lucull. 37, Cat. Min. 29; Cic. Acad. pr. ii. 1; Vell. Pat. ii. 34.) In these disputes the cause of Lucullus was warmly supported by Cato, whose sister Servilia he had married, as well as by the whole aristocratical party at Rome, who were alarmed at the increasing power of Pompey, and sought in Lucullus a rival and antagonist to the object of their fears. But his character was ill adapted for the turbulent times in which he lived; and, instead of putting himself prominently forward as the leader of a party he soon began to withdraw gradually from public affairs, and devote himself more and more to a life of indolence and luxury. After the return of Pompey, however, in B. C. 62, he took a leading part, together with Metellus Creticus, Cato, and others of the aristocratic party, in opposing the indiscriminate ratification of the acts of Pompey in Asia. By their combined efforts they succeeded in delaying the proposed measure for more than two years, but at the same time produced the effect, which they had doubtless not anticipated, of forcing Pompey into the arms of the opposite faction, and thus bringing about the coalition known as the First Triumvirate. (Plut. Lucull. 138, 42, Pomp. 46; Vell. Pat. ii. 40; Dion Cass. xxxvii. 49; Suet. Caes. 19.) After that event Lucullus took little part in political affairs. He had previously come forward at the trial of P. Clodius (B. C. 61), to give his testimony to the profligate and vicious character of the accused (Cic. pro Milon. 27), and by this means, as well as by the general course of his policy, had incurred the enmity both of Crassus and Caesar, so that he found himself on hostile terms with all the three individuals who had now the chief direction of affairs at Rome. Caesar even threatened him with a prosecution for his proceedings in Asia; a danger which so much alarmed him that he had recourse to the most humiliating entreaties in order to avert it (Suet. Caes. 20). In the following year (B. C. 59) he was among the leaders of the aristocratic party, charged by L. Vettius, at the instigation of Vatinius, with an imaginary plot against the life of Pompey (Cic. in Vatin. 10, Ep. ad Att. ii. 24); and in the same year he is mentioned among the judges at the trial of L. Flaccus (Cic. pro Flacc. 34). But these two are the last occasions on which his name appears in history. The precise period of his death is not mentioned, but he cannot long have survived the return of Cicero from exile, as the great orator refers to him as no longer living, in his oration concerning the consular provinces, delivered the following year, B. C. 56 (Cic. de Prov. Cons. 9). We are told that for some time previous to his death he had fallen into a state of complete dotage, so that the management of his affairs was confided to his brother Marcus (Plut. Lucull. 43; Aur Vict. de Vir. Illustr. 74). But his death, as often happens, revived in its full force the memory of his great exploits; and when the funeral oration was pronounced in the forum over his remains, the populace insisted that he should be buried, as Sulla had been, in the Campus Martius, and it was with difficulty that his brother prevailed on them to allow his ashes to be deposited, as previously arranged, in his Tusculan villa (Plut. Ibid.).
  The name of Lucullus is almost as celebrated for the luxury of his latter years as for his victories over Mithridates. He appears to have inherited the love of money inherent in his family, while the circumstances in which he was placed gave him the opportunity of gratifying it without having recourse to the illegal means which had disgraced his father and grandfather. As quaestor under Sulla, and afterwards during his residence in Asia, it is probable that he had already accumulated much wealth: and during the long period of his government as proconsul, and his wars against Mithridates and Tigranes, he appears to have amassed vast treasures. These supplied him the means, after his return to Rome, of gratifying his natural taste for luxury, and enabled him to combine an ostentatious magnificence of display with all the resources of the most refined sensual indulgence. His gardens in the immediate suburbs of the city were laid out in a style of splendour exceeding all that had been previously known, and continued to be an object of admiration even under the emperors: but still more remarkable were his villas at Tusculum, and in the neighbourhood of Neapolls. In the construction of the latter, with its various appurtenances, its parks, fish-ponds, &c., he had laid out vast sums in cutting through hills and rocks, and throwing out advanced works into the sea. So gigantic indeed was the scale of these labours for objects apparently so insignificant, that Pompey called him, in derision, the Roman Xerxes. His feasts at Rome itself were celebrated on a scale of inordinate magnificence: a single supper in the hall, called that of Apollo, was said to cost the sum of 50,000 denarii. Even during his campaigns it appears that the pleasures of the table had not been forgotten; and it is well known that he was the first to introduce cherries into Italy, which he had brought with him from Cerasus in Pontus. (Plut. Lucull. 39-41; Cic. de Leg. iii. 13, de Off. i. 39; Plin. H. N. viii. 52, ix. 54, xiv. 14, xv. 25; Varr. de R. R. iii. 4, 17; Vell. Pat. ii. 33; Athen. ii. p. 50, vi. p. 274, xii. p. 543, For further details see Drnmann's Geschichte Roms, vol. iv. pp. 169, 170, where all the ancient authorities are referred to.) In the midst of these sensual indulgences, however, there were not wanting pleasures of a more refined and elevated character. Lucullus had from his earliest years devoted much attention to literary pursuits, and had displayed an enlightened patronage towards men of letters: he had also applied part of his wealth to the acquisition of a valuable library, which was now opened to the free use of the literary public; and here he himself used to associate with the Greek philosophers and literati who at this time swarmed at Rome, and would enter warmly into their metaphysical and philosophical discussions Hence the picture drawn by Cicero at the commencement of the Academics was probably to a certain extent taken from the reality. His constant companion from the time of his quaestorship had been Antiochus of Ascalon, from whom he imblibed the precepts of the Academic school of philosophy, to which he continued through life to be attached (Cic Acadl. pr. ii. 2, de Fin.iii. 2; Plut. Lucull. 42.) His patronage of the poet Archias is too well known to require farther mention (Cic. pr. Arch. 3-5); and the sculptor Arcesilaus is also said to have been one of his constant associates. (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 12. Β§ 45.)
  The character of Luctllus is one not difficult to comprehend. He had no pretension to the name of a great man, and was evidently unable to cope with the circumstances in which he found himself placed, and the sterner but more energetic spirits by whom he was surrounded. Yet he was certainly a man of no common ability, and gifted in particular with a natural genius for war. We cannot indeed receive in its full extent the assertion of Cicero (Acad. pr. ii. 1), that he had received no previous military training, and came out at once a consummate general on his arrival in Pontus, merely from the study of historical and military writings; for we know that he had served in his youth with distinction in the Marsic war; and as quaestor under Sulla he must have had many opportunities of acquiring a practical knowledge of military affairs. But the talent that he displayed as a commander is not the less remarkable. Plutarch has justly called attention to the skill with which he secured the victory at one time by the celerity of his movements, at another time by caution and delay: and though the far greater fame of his successor has tended to cast the military exploits of Lucullus into the shade, there can be no doubt that the real merit of the Mithridatic war is principally due to the latter. In one quality, however, of a great commander he was altogether wanting--in the power of attaching to him his soldiers; and to this deficiency, as we have seen, may be ascribed in great measure the ill fortune which clouded the latter part of his career. We are told indeed that some of the legions placed under his command were of a very turbulent and factious character; but these very troops afterwards followed Pompey without a murmur, even after the legal period of their service was expired. This unpopularity of Lucullus is attributed to a severity and harshness in the exaction of duties and punishment of offences, which seems strangely at variance with all else that we know of his character: it is more probable that it was owing to a selfish indifference, which prevented him from sympathising or associating with the men and officers under his command. (Comp. Plut. Lucull. 33; Dion Cass. xxxv. 61.) In his treatment of his vanquished enemies, on the contrary, as well as of the cities and provinces subjected to his permanent rule, the conduct of Lucullus stands out in bright contrast to that of almost all his contemporaries; and it must be remembered, in justice to his character, that the ill will of his own troops, as well as that of the unprincipled farmers of the revenue, was incurred in great part by acts of benevolence or of equity towards these classes. In his natural love of justice and kindness of disposition, his character more resembles that of Cicero than any other of his contemporaries. (See particularly Plut. Lucull. 19.)
  Though early withdrawn from the occupations and pursuits of the forum, which prevented his becoming a finished orator, Lucullus was far from a contemptible speaker (Cic. Acad. ii. 1; Brut. 62); the same causes probably operated against his attaining to that literary distinction which his earliest years appeared to promise. Plutarch, however, tells us (Lucull. 1) that he composed a history of the Marsic war in Greek; and the same work is alluded to by Cicero. (Ep. ad Att. i. 19.) It has been already mentioned that Sulla left him his literary executor, a sufficient evidence of the reputation he then enjoyed in this respect. He was noted for the excellence of his memory, which, Cicero tells us, was nearly, if not quite, equal to that of Hortensius. (Acad. pr. ii. 1, 2.)
  Lucullus was twice married: first to Clodia daughter of App. Claudius Pulcher, whom he divorced on his return from the Mithridatic war, on account of her licentious and profligate conduct (Plut. Lucull. 38): and secondly, to Servilia, daughter of Q. Servilius Caepio, and half-sister of M. Cato. By the latter he had one son. (The fullest account of the life of Lucullus, and a very just estimate of his character, will be found in Drumann's Geschichte Roms, vol. iv.)

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Historians

Fenestella

Fenestella, a Roman historian, of considerable celebrity, who flourished during the reign of Augustus, and died, according to the Eusebian Chronicle, A. D. 21, in the 70th year of his age. His great work, entitled Annales, frequently quoted by Asconius, Pliny, A. Gellius, and others, extended to at least twenty-two books, as appears front a reference in Nonius, and seems to have contained very minute, but not always perfectly accurate, information with regard to the internal affairs of the city. The few fragments preserved relate almost exclusively to events subsequent to the Carthaginian wars; but whether the narrative reached from the foundation of Rome to the down-fall of the republic, or comprehended only a portion of that space, we have no means of determining. We are certain, however, that it embraced the greater part of Cicero's career. In addition to the Annales, we find a citation in Diomedes from " Fenestellam in libro Epitomarum secundo," of which no other record remains and St. Jerome speaks of Carmina as well as histories; but the Archaica, ascribed in some editions of Fulgentius to Fenestella, must belong, if such a work ever existed, to some writer of a much later epoch.
  A treatise, De Sacerdotiis et Maagistratibus Romanorumn Libri II., published at Vienna in 1510, under the name of Fenestella, and often reprinted, is, in reality, the production of a certain Andrea Domenico Fiocchi, a Florentine jurist of the fourteenth century. (Plin. H. N. viii. 7, ix. 17, 35, xv. 1, xxx. 11; Senec. Epist. 108; Suet. Vit, Terent.; Gell. xv. 28; Lactant. de Falsa Rel, i. 6; Hieron. in Euseb. Chron. Ol. excix; Diomedes, p. 361. ed. Putsch; Non. Marcell. ii. s. v. Praesente, iii. s. v. Reticulum, iv. s. v. Rumor; Madvig. de Ascon. Ped. &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Cn. Gellius

Cn. Gellius, not Agellius as Lipsius and others have imagined, a Latin grammarian, with regard to whose history we possess no source of information except his own book. From this we gather that he was of good family and connections, a native probably of Rome; that he had travelled much, especially in Greece, and had resided for a considerable period at Athens; that he had studied rhetoric under T. Castricius and Sulpicius Apollinaris, philosophy under Calvisius Taurus and Peregrinus Proteus, enjoying also the friendship and instructions of Favorinus, Herodes Atticus, and Cornelius Fronto; that while yet a youth he had been appointed by the praetor to act as an umpire in civil causes; and that subsequently much of the time which he would gladly have devoted to literary pursuits had been occupied by judicial duties of a similar description. The precise date of his birth, as of his death, is unknown; but from the names of his preceptors and companions we conclude that he must have lived under Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and M. Aurelius, A. D. 117-180.
  His well-known work entitled Noctes Alticae, because it was composed in a country-house near Athens during the long nights of winter, is a sort of miscellany, containing numerous extracts from Greek and Roman writers, on a great variety of topics connected with history, antiquities, philosophy, and philology, interspersed with original remarks, dissertations, and discussions, the whole thrown together into twenty books, without any attempt at order or arrangement. We here find preserved a multitude of curious and interesting passages from authors whose works have perished, and a vast fund of information elucidating questions which must otherwise have remained obscure; but the style is deformed by that species of affectation which was pushed to extravagant excess by Apuleius--the frequent introduction of obsolete words and phrases derived for the most part from the ancient comic dramatists. The eighth book is en tirely lost with the exception of the index, and a few lines at the beginning of the sixth were long wanting, until the deficiency was supplied from the Epitome of the Divine Institutions of Lactantius (c. 28), first published in a complete form in 1712, by Pfaff, from a MS. in the loyal Library at Turin. It is not probable that any portion of the Noctes Atticae was moulded into shape before A. D. 143, since, in the second chapter of the first book, Herodes Atticus is spoken of as "consulari honore praeditus", and the seventeenth chapter of the thirteenth book contains an allusion to the second consulship of Erucius Clarus, which belongs to A. D. 146.
  The Editio Princeps of A. Gellius was printed at Rome, fol. 1469, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, with a prefatory epistle by Andrew, afterwards bishop of Aleria, to Pope Paul II.; was reprinted at the same place by the same typographers in 1472, followed or preceded by the beautiful impression of Jenson, fol. Ven. 1472; and at least seven other editions of less note came forth in Italy, chiefly at Venice, before the close of the fifteenth century. The first which can advance any claim to a critical revision of the text founded on thle collation of MSS. is that published at Paris, 8vo. 1585, under the superintendence of Henry Stephens and Louis Carrio, which served as the standard until superseded by the accurate labours of J. F. Gronovius, 12mo. Amst., L. Elzev., 1651, and D. Elzev., 1665, of which the latter is the superior. The Octavo Variorums (Lug. Bat. 1666, 1687) exhibit the text of J. F. Gronovius, with some additional latter by Thysius and Oiselius; but these are not equal in value to the Quarto Variorum of Jac. Gronovius, Lug. Bat. 1706 (reprinted, with some dissertations, by Conradi, 8vo. Leips. 1762), which must be regarded as the best edition, for the most recent, that of Lion, 2 vols. 8vo. Gotting. 1824, 1825, is a slovenly and incorrect performance.
  We have translations into English by Beloe, Lond. 1795; into French by the Abbe de Verteuil, Par. 1776, 1789, and by Victor Verger, Par. 1820, 1830; into German (of those portions only which illustrate ancient history and philosophy) by A. H. W. von Walterstern, Lemgo, 1785.

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Herodianus

Herodianus, (Herodianos), a writer on Roman history. He was a Greek, though he appears to have lived for a considerable period in Rome, but without holding any public office. From his work, which is still extant, we gather that he was still living at an advanced age in the reign of Gordianus III., who ascended the throne A. D. 238. Beyond this we know nothing respecting his life. His history extends over the period from the death of M. Aurelius (A. D. 180) to the commencement of the reign of Gordianus III. (A. D. 238), and bears the title, Herodianou tes meta Markon Basileias historion Biblia okto. He himself informs us (i. 1.3, ii. 15.7) that the events of this period had occurred in his own lifetime. Photius (Cod. 99) gives an outline of the contents of the work, and passes a flattering encomium on the style of Herodian, which he describes as clear, vigorous and agreeable, preserving a happy medium between an utter disregard of art and elegance and a profuse employment of the artifices and prettinesses which were known under the name of Atticism, as well as between boldness and bombast ; adding that not many historical writers are his superiors. He appears to have had Thucydides before him to some extent as a model, both for style and for the general composition of his work, like him. introducing here and there speeches wholly or in part imaginary. In spite of occasional inaccuracies in chronology and geography, his narrative is in the main truthful and impartial; though Julius Capitolinus (Maxim. duo, c. 13) says of him, Maximino in odium Alexandri plurimum favit. Others also charge him with showing too great a partiality for Pertinax. The best editions of Herodian are those by Irmisch, Leipzig, 1789-1805, 5 vols. 8vo.; by F. A. Wolf, Halle, 1792, 8vo.; and by Bekker, Berlin, 1826. Notices of other editions will be found in Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. vol. vi.) and Hoffmann (Lex. Bibl. vol. ii.). (Wolf's Narratio de Herodiano et Libro ejus, prefixed to his edition of Herodian; Vossius, de Hist. Gracc., ed. Westermann.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Lucceius

L. Lucceius, Q. F. the historian, was an old friend and neighbour of Cicero. His name frequently occurs at the commencement of Cicero's correspondence with Atticus, with whom Lucceius had quarrelled for some reason or another. Cicero attempted to reunite his two friends, but Lucceius was so angry with Atticus that he would not listen to any overtures. It appears that M. Sallustius was in some way or other involved in the quarrel. (Cic. ad Aft. i. 3.3, 5. 5, 10. 2, 11 1, 14. 7)
  In B. C. 63 Lucceius accused Catiline, after the latter had failed in his application for the consulship. The speeches which he delivered against Catiline, were extant in the time of Asconius, who characterises Lucceius as an orator, paractus eruditusque (Ascon. in Tog. Cand. pp. 92, 93, ed. Orelli). In B. C. 60 he became a candidate for the consulship, along with Julius Caesar, who agreed to support him in his canvass, on the understanding that Lucceius, who was very wealthy, should promise money to the electors in their mutual names; but he lost his election in consequence of the aristocracy using every effort to bring in Bibulus, as a counterpoise to Caesar's influence (Suet. Caes. 19; Cic. ad Att. i. 17. 11, ii. 1. 9). Lucceius seems now to have withdra wn from public life and to have devoted himself to literature. He was chiefly engaged in the composition of a contemporaneous history of Rome, commencing with the Social or Marsic war. In B. C. 55 he hold nearly finished the history of the Social and of the first Civil war, when Cicero, whose impatience to have his own deeds celebrated would not allow him to wait till Lucceius arrived at the history of his consulship, wrote a most urgent and elaborate letter to his friend, pressing him to suspend the thread of his history, and to devote a separate work to the period from Catiline's conspiracy to Cicero's recall from banishment. In this letter (ad Fam. v. 12), which Cicero himself calls valde bella (ad Att. iv. 6. Β§ 4), and which is one of the most extraordinary in the whole of his correspondence, he does not hesitate to ask Lucceius, on account of his friendship and love for him, to say more in his favour than truth would warrant (plusculum etiam, quam conceded veritas, larfiare), and to speak in higher terms of the events than he might perhaps think they deserved (ut ornes vehementius etiam quam fortasse sentis); and he concludes by remarking that if Lucceius refuses him his request, he shall be obliged to write the history himself. Lucceius promised compliance with his request, and the book which Cicero sent to Lucceius by means of Atticus, shortly afterwards, probably contained materials for the work (Cic. ad Att. iv. 11. 2). It was about this time that Cicero, anxious to conciliate Lucceius in every possible way, spoke of him in public in his oration for Caelius as sanctissimus homo atque integerrinmus, as ille vir, illa humanitate praeditus, illis studiies, illis artibus atque doctrina (cc. 21, 22); but it would seem that Lucceius never produced the much-wished-for work.
  In B. C. 55 Lucceius went to Sardinia (Cic. ad Qu. Fr. ii. 6. 2); and on the breaking out of the civil war in B. C. 49, he espoused the side of Pompey, with whom he had long lived on terms of intimacy: Pompey was in the habit of consulting him during the course of the war on all important matters (Caes. B. C. iii. 18; Cic. ad Att. ix. 1. 3, 11. 3). Lucceius was subsequently pardoned by Caesar and returned to Rome, where he continued to live on friendly terms with Cicero; and when the latter lost his beloved daughter Tullia in B. C. 45, Lucceius sent him a letter of condolence (Cic. ad Fam. v. 13). He probably died soon afterwards, as his name does not appear again in Cicero's correspondence.

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Historic figures

Ceasar, Julius (47-44 BC)

C. JULIUS C. F. C. N. CAESAR, the dictator, son of C. Julius Ceasar and Aurelia, was born on the 12th of July, B. C. 100, in the consulship of C. Marius (VI.) and L. Valerius Flaccus, and was consequently six years younger than Pompey and Cicero. He had nearly completed his fifty-sixth year at the time of his murder on the 15th of March, B. C. 44. Caesar was closely connected with the popular party by the marriage of his aunt Julia with the great Marius. who obtained the election of his nephew to the dignity of flamen dialis, when he was only thirteen years of age. (B. C. 87.) Marius died in the following year; and, notwithstanding the murder of his own relations by the Marian party, and the formidable forces with which Sulla was preparing to invade Italy, Caesar attached himself to the popular side, and even married, in B. C. 83, Cornelia, the daughter of L. Cinna, one of the chief opponents of Sulla. He was then only seventeen years old, but had been already married to Cossutia, a wealthy heiress belonging to the equestrian order, to whom he had probably been betrothed by the wish of his father, who died in the preceding year. Caesar divorced Cossutia in order to marry Cinna's daughter; but such an open declaration in favour of the popular party provoked the anger of Sulla, who had returned to Rome in B. C. 82, and who now commanded him to put away Cornelia, in the same way as he ordered Pompey to divorce Antistia, and M. Piso his wife Annia, the widow of Cinna. Pompey and.Piso obeyed, but the young Caesar refused to part with his wife, and was consequently proscribed, and deprived of his priesthood, his wife's dower, and his own fortune. His life was now in great danger, and he was obliged to conceal himself for some time in the country of the Sabines, till the Vestal virgins and his friends obtained his pardon from the dictator, who granted it with difficulty, and is said to have observed, when they pleaded his youth and insignificance, "that that boy would some day or another be the ruin of the aristocracy, for that there were many Mariuses in him."
  This was the first proof which Caesar gave of the resolution and decision of character which distinguished him throughout life. He now withdrew from Rome and went to Asia in B. C. 81, where he served his first campaign under M. Minucius Thermus, who was engaged in the siege of Mytilene, which was the only town in Asia that held out against the Romans after the conclusion of the first Mithridatic war. Thermus sent him to Nicomedes III. in Bithynia to fetch his fleet, and, on his return to the camp, he took part in the capture of Mytilene (B. C. 80), and was rewarded by the Roman general with a civic crown for saving the life of a fellow-soldier. He next served under P. Sulpicius, in Cilicia, in B. C. 78, but had scarcely entered upon the campaign before news reached him of the death of Sulla, whereupon he immediately returned to Rome.
  M. Aemilius Lepidus, the consul, had already attempted to rescind the acts of Sulla. He was opposed by his colleague Q. Catulus, and the state was once more in arms. This was a tempting opportunity for the leaders of the popular party to make an effort to recover their former power, and many, who were less sagacious and long-sighted than the youthful Caesar, eagerly availed themselves of it. But he saw that the time had not yet come; he had not much confidence in Lepidus, and therefore remained neutral.
  Caesar was now twenty-two years of age, and, according to the common practice of the times, he accused, in the following year (B. C. 77), Cn. Dolabella of extortion in his province of Macedonia. Cn. Dolabella, who had been consul in 81, belonged to Sulla's party, which was an additional reason for his being singled out by Caesar ; but, for the same reason, he was defended by Cotta and Hortensius, and acquitted by the judges, who were now, in accordance with one of Sulla's laws, chosen from the senate. Caesar, however, gained great fame by this prosecution, and shewed that he possessed powers of oratory which bid fair to place him among the first speakers at Rome. The popularity he had gained induced him, in the following year (B. C. 76), at the request of the Greeks, to accuse C. Antonius (afterwards consul in B. C. 63) of extortion in Greece; but he too escaped conviction. To render himself still more perfect in oratory, he went to Rhodes in the winter of the same year, to study under Apollonius Molo, who was also one of Cicero's teachers ; but in his voyage thither he was captured off Miletus, near the island of Pharmacusa, by pirates, with whom the seas of the Mediterranean then swarmed. In this island he was detained by them till he could obtain fifty talents from the neighbouring cities for his ransom. Immediately he had obtained his liberty, he manned some Milesian vessels, overpowered the pirates, and conducted them as prisoners to Pergamus, where he shortly afterwards crucified them--a punishment he had frequently threatened them with in sport when he was their prisoner. He then repaired to Rhodes, where he studied under Apollonius for a short time, but soon afterwards crossed over into Asia, on the outbreak of the Mithridatic war again in B. C. 74. Here, although he held no public office, he collected troops on his own authority, and repulsed the commander of the king, and then returned to Rome in the same year, in consequence of having been elected pontiff, in his absence, in the place of his uncle C. Aurelius Cotta.
  On his return to Rome, Caesar used every means to increase his popularity. His affable manners, and still more his unbounded liberality, won the hearts of the people. As his private fortune was not large, he soon had recourse to the usurers, who looked for repayment to the offices which he was sure to obtain from the people. It was about this time that the people elected him to the office of military tribune instead of his competitor, C. Popilius; but he probably served for only a short time, as he is not mentioned during the next three years (B. C. 78-71) as serving in any of the wars which were carried on at that time against Mithridates, Spartacus, and Sertorius.
  The year B. C. 70 was a memorable one, as some of Sulla's most important alterations in the constitution were then repealed. This was chiefly owing to Pompey, who was then consul with M. Crassus. Pompey had been one of Sulla's steady supporters, and was now at the height of his glory; but his great power had raised him many enemies among the aristocracy, and he was thus led to join to some extent the popular party. It was Pompey's doing that the tribunicial power was restored in this year; and it was also through his support that the law of L. Aurelius Cotta, Caesar's uncle, was carried, by which the judicia were taken away from the senate, who had possessed them exclusively for ten years, and were shared between the senate, equites, and tribuni aerarii. These measures were also strongly supported by Caesar, who thus came into close connexion with Pompey. He also spoke in favour of the Plotia lex for recalling from exile those who had joined M. Lepidus in B. C. 78, and had fled to Sertorius after the death of the latter.
  Caesar obtained the quaestorship in B. C. 68. In this year he lost his aunt Julia, the widow of Marius, and his own wife Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. He pronounced orations over both of them in the forum, in which he took the opportunity of passing a panegyric upon the former leaders of the popular party. The funeral of his aunt produced a great sensation at Rome, as he caused the images of Marius, who had been declared an enemy of the state, to be carried in the procession : they were welcomed with loud acclamations by the people, who were delighted to see their former favourite brought, as it were, into public again. After the funeral of his wife, he went, as quaestor to Antistius Vetus, into the province of further Spain.
  On his return to Rome, in B. C. 67, Caesar married Pompeia, the daughter of Q. Pompeius Rufus and Cornelia, the daughter of the dictator Sulla. This marriage with one of the Pompeian house was doubtless intended to cement his union still more closely with Pompey, who was now more favourably inclined than ever to the popular party. Caesar eagerly promoted all his views, and rendered him most efficient assistance ; for he saw, that if the strength of the aristocracy could be broken by means of Pompey, he himself would soon rise to power, secure as he was of the favour of the people. He accordingly supported the proposal of the tribune Gabinius for conferring upon Pompey the command of the war against the pirates with unlimited powers: this measure was viewed with the utmost jealousy by the aristocracy, and widened still further the breach between them and Pompey. In the same year, Caesar was elected one of the superintendents of the Appian Way, and acquired fresh popularity by expending upon its repairs a large sum of money from his private purse.
  In the following year, B. C. 66, Caesar again assisted Pompey by supporting, along with Cicero, the Manilian law, by which the Mithridatic war was committed to Pompey. At the end of this year, the first Catilinarian conspiracy, as it is called, was formed, in which Caesar is said by some writers to have taken an active part. But this is probably a sheer invention of his enemies in later times, as Caesar had already, through his favour with the people and his connexion with Pompey, every prospect of obtaining the highest offices in the state. He had been already elected to the curule aedileship, and entered upon the office in the following year (B. C. 65), with M. Bibulus as his colleague. It was usual for those magistrates who wished to win the affections of the people, to spend large sums of money in their aedileship upon the public games and buildings; but the aedileship of Caesar and Bibulus surpassed in magnificence all that had preceded it. Caesar was obliged to borrow large sums of money again; he had long since spent his private fortune, and, according to Plutarch, was 1300 talents in debt before he held any public office. Bibulus contributed to the expenses, but Caesar got almost all the credit, and his popularity became unbounded. Anxious to revive the recollection of the people in favour of the Marian party, he caused the statues of Marius and the representations of his victories in the Jugurthine and Cimbrian wars, which had been all destroyed by Sulla, to be privately restored, and placed at night in the Capitol. In the morning the city was in the highest state of excitement : the veterans and other friends of Marius cried with joy at the sight of his countenance again, and greeted Caesar with shouts of applause : the senate assembled, and Q. Catulus accused Caesar of a breach of a positive law; but the popular excitement was so great, that the senate dared not take any measures against him. He now attempted to obtain by a plebiscitum an extraordinary mission to Aegypt, with the view probably of obtaining money to pay off his debts, but was defeated in his object by the aristocracy, who got some of the tribunes to put their veto upon the measure.
  In B. C. 64 he was appointed to preside, in place of the praetor, as judex quaestionis, in trials for murder, and in that capacity held persons guilty of murder who had put any one to death in the proscriptions of Sulla, although they had been specially exempted from punishment by one of Sulla's laws. This he probably did in order to pave the way for the trial of C. Rabirius in the following year. He also took an active part in supporting the agrarian law of the tribune P. Servilius Rullus, which was brought forward at the close of B. C. 64, immediately after the tribunes entered upon their office. The provisions of this law were of such an extensive kind, and conferred such large and extraordinary powers upon the commissioners for distributing the lands, that Caesar could hardly have expected it to be carried ; and he probably did not wish another person to obtain the popularity which would result from such a measure, although his position compelled him to support it. It was of course resisted by the aristocracy; and Cicero, who had now attached himself to the aristocratical party, spoke against it on the first day that he entered upon his consulship, the 1st of January, B. C. 63. The law was shortly afterwards dropped by Rullus himself.
  The next measure of the popular party was adopted at the instigation of Caesar. Thirty-six years before, in B. C. 100, L. Appuleius Saturninus, the tribune of the plebs, had been declared an enemy by the senate, besieged in the Capitol, and put to death when he was obliged to surrender through want of water. Caesar now induced the tribune T. Atius Labienus to accuse C. Rabirius, an aged senator, of this crime. It was doubtless through no desire of taking away the old man's life that Caesar set this accusation afoot, but he wanted to frighten the senate from resorting to arms in future against the popular party, and to strengthen still further the power of the tribunes. Rabirius was accused of the crime of perduellio or treason against the state, a species of accusation which had almost gone out of use, and been supplanted by that of majestas. He was brought to trial before the duumviri perduellionis, who were usually appointed for this purpose by the comitia centuriata, but on the present occasion were nominated by the praetor. Caesar himself and his relative L. Caesar were the two judges; they forthwith condemned Rabirius, who according to the old law would have been hanged or hurled down from the Tarpeian rock. Rabirius, however, availed himself of his right of appealing to the people; Cicero spoke on his behalf ; the people seemed inclined to ratify the decision of the duumvirs, when the meeting was broken up by the praetor Q. Metellus Celer removing the military flag which floated on the Janiculum. This was in accordance with an old law, which was intended to protect the comitia centuriata in the Campus Martius from being surprised by the enemy, when the territory of Rome scarcely extended beyond the boundaries of the city, and which was still maintained as a useful engine in the hands of the magistrates. Rabirius therefore escaped, and Caesar did not think it necessary to renew the prosecution, as the object for which it had been instituted had been already in great measure attained.
  Caesar next set on foot in the same year (B. C. 63) an accusation against C. Piso, who had been consul in B. C. 67, and afterwards had the government of the province of Gallia Narbonensis. Piso was acquitted, and became from this time one of Caesar's deadliest enemies. About the same time the office of pontifex maximus became vacant by the death of Q. Metellus Pius. The candidates for it were Q. Lutatius Catulus, Q. Servilius Isauricus, and Caesar. Catulus and Servilius had both been consuls, and were two of the most illustrious men in Rome, and of the greatest influence in the senate: but so great was Caesar's popularity, that Catulus became apprehensive as to his success, and fearing to be defeated by one so much his inferior in rank, station, and age, privately offered him large sums to liquidate his debts, if he would withdraw from the contest. Caesar, however, replied, that he would borrow still more to carry his election. He was elected on the sixth of March, and obtained more votes even in the tribes of his competitors than they had themselves. Shortly after this he was elected praetor for the following year. Then came the detection of Catiline's conspiracy. The aristocracy thought this a favourable opportunity to get rid of their restless opponent; and C. Piso and Q. Catulus used every means of persuasion, and even bribery, to induce Cicero to include him among the conspirators. That Caesar should both at the time and afterwards have been charged by the aristocracy with participation in this conspiracy, as he was in the former one of Catiline in B. C. 66, is nothing surprising; but there is no satisfactory evidence of his guilt, and we think it unlikely that he would have embarked in such a rash scheme. For though he would probably have had little scruple as to the means he employed to obtain his ends, he was still no rash, reckless adventurer, who could only hope to rise in a general scramble for power : he now possessed unbounded influence with the people, and was sure of obtaining the consulship; and if his ambition had already formed loftier plans, he would have had greater reason to fear a loss than an increase of his power in universal anarchy. In the debate in the senate on the 5th of December respecting the punishment of the conspirators, Caesar, though he admitted their guilt, opposed their execution, and contended, in a very able speech, that it was contrary to the principles of the Roman constitution for the senate to put Roman citizens to death, and recommended that they should be kept in custody in the free towns of Italy. This speech made a great impression upon the senate, and many who had already given their opinion in favour of death began to hesitate; but the speech of M. Cato confirmed the wavering, and carried the question in favour of death. Cato openly charged Caesar as a party to the conspiracy, and as he left the senate-house his life was in danger from the Roman knights who guarded Cicero's person.
  The next year, B. C. 62, Caesar was praetor. On the very day that he entered upon his office, he brought a proposition before the people for depriving Q. Catulus of the honour of completing the restoration of the Capitol, which had been burnt down in B. C. 83, and for assigning this office to Pompey. This proposal was probably made more for the sake of gratifying Pompey's vanity, and humbling the aristocracy, than from any desire of taking vengeance upon his private enemy. As however it was most violently opposed by the aristocracy, Caesar did not think it advisable to press the motion. This, however, was a trifling matter; the state was soon almost torn asunder by the proceedings of the tribune Q. Metellus Nepos, the friend of Pompey. Metellus openly accused Cicero of having put Roman citizens to death without trial, and at length gave notice of a rogation for recalling Pompey to Rome with his army, that Roman citizens might be protected from being illegally put to death. Metellus was supported by the eloquence and influence of Caesar, but met with a most determined opposition from one of his colleagues, M. Cato, who was tribune this year. Cato put his veto upon the rogation; and when Metellus attempted to read it to the people, Cato tore it out of his hands; the whole forum was in an uproar; the two parties came to blows, but Cato eventually remained master of the field. The senate took upon themselves to suspend both Metellus and Caesar from their offices. Metellus fled to Pompey's camp; Caesar continued to administer justice, till the senate sent armed troops to drag him from his tribunal. Then he dismissed his lictors, threw away his praetexta, and hurried home. The senate, however, soon saw that they had gone too far. Two days after the people thronged in crowds to the house of Caesar, and offered to restore him to his dignity. He assuaged the tumult; the senate was summoned in haste, and felt it necessary to make concessions to its hated enemy. Some of the chief senators were sent to Caesar to thank him for his conduct on the occasion; he was invited to take his seat in the senate, loaded with praises, and restored to his office. It was a complete defeat of the aristocracy. Butnot disheartened by this failure, they resolved to aim another blow at Caesar. Proceedings against the accomplices in Catiline's conspiracy were still going on, and the aristocracy got L. Vettius and Q. Curius, who had been two of the chief informers against the conspirators, to accuse Caesar of having been privy to it. But this attempt equally failed. Caesar called upon Cicero to testify that he had of his own accord given him evidence respecting the conspiracy, and so complete was his triumph, that Curius was deprived of the rewards which had been voted him for having been the first to reveal the conspiracy, and Vettius was cast into prison.
  Towards the end of Caesar's praetorship, a circumstance occurred which created a great stir at the time. Clodius had an intrigue with Pompeia, Caesar's wife, and had entered Caesar's house in disguise at the festival of the Bona Dea, at which men were not allowed to be present, and which was always celebrated at the house of one of the higher magistrates. He was detected and brought to trial; but though Caesar divorced his wife, he would not appear against Clodius, for the latter was a favourite with the people, and was closely connected with Caesar's party. In this year Pompey returned to Rome from the Mithridatic war, and quietly disbanded his army.
  At the expiration of his praetorship Caesar obtained the province of Further Spain, B. C. 61. But his debts had now become so great, and his creditors so clamorous for payment, that he was obliged to apply to Crassus for assistance before leaving Rome. This he readily obtained; Crassus became surety for him, as did also others of his friends ; but these and other circumstances detained him so long that he did not reach his province till the summer. Hitherto Caesar's public career had been confined almost exclusively to political life; and he had had scarcely any opportunity of displaying that genius for war which has enrolled his name among the greatest generals of the world. He was now for the first time at the head of a regular army, and soon shewed that he knew how to make use of it. He commenced his campaign by subduing the mountainous tribes of Lusitania, which had plundered the country, took the town of Brigantium in the country of the Gallaeci, and gained many other advantages over the enemy. His troops saluted him as imperator, and the senate honoured him by a public thanksgiving. His civil reputation procured him equal renown, and he left the province with great reputation, after enriching both himself and his army.
  Caesar returned to Rome in the summer of the following year, B. C. 60, a little before the consular elections, without waiting for his successor. He laid claim to a triumph, and at the same time wished to become a candidate for the consulship. For the latter purpose, his presence in the city was necessary; but as he could not enter the city without relinquishing his triumph, he applied to the senate to be exempted from the usual law, and to become a candidate in his absence. As this, however, was strongly opposed by the opposite party, Caesar at once relinquished his triumph, entered the city, and became a candidate for the consulship. The other competitors were L. Lucceius and M. Calpurnius Bibilus : the former belonged to the popular party, but the letter, who had been Caesar's colleague in the aedileship and praetorship, was a warm supporter of the aristocracy. Caesar's great popularity combined with Pompey's interest rendered his election certain; but that he might have a colleague of the opposite party, the aristocracy used immense exertions, and contributed large sums of money in order to carry the election of Bibulus. And they succeeded. Caesar and Bibulus were elected consuls. But to prevent Caesar from obtaining a province in which he might distinguish himself, the senate assigned as the provinces of the consuls-elect the care of the woods and of the public pastures. It was apparently after his election, and not previously as some writers state, that he entered into that coalition with Pompey and M. Crassus, usually known by the name of the first triumvirate. Caesar on his return to Rome had found Pompey more estranged than ever from the aristocracy. The senate had most unwisely opposed the ratification of Pompey's acts in Asia and an assignment of lands which he had promised to his veterans. For the conqueror of the east and the greatest man in Rome to be thus thwarted in his purpose, and not to have the power of fulfilling the promises which he had made to his Asiatic clients and his veteran troops, were insults which he would not brook; and all the less, because he might have entered Rome, as many of his enemies feared he intended, at the head of his army, and have carried all his measures by the sword. He was therefore quite ready to desert the aristocracy altogether, and to join Caesar, who promised to obtain the confirmation of his acts. Caesar, however, represented that they should have great difficulty in carrying their point unless they detached M. Crassus from the aristocracy, who by his position, connexions, and still more by his immense wealth, had great influence at Rome. Pompey and Crassus had for a long time past been deadly enemies; but they were reconciled by means of Caesar, and the three entered into an agreement to support one another, and to divide the power between themselves. This first triumvirate, as it is called, was therefore merely a private agreement between the three most powerful men at Rome; it was not a magistracy like the second; and the agreement itself remained a secret, till the proceedings of Caesar in his consulship shewed, that he was supported by a power against which it was in vain for his enemies to struggle.
  In B. C. 59, Caesar entered upon the consulship with M. Bibulus. His first proceeding was to render the senate more amenable to public opinion, by causing all its proceedings to be taken down and published daily. His next was to bring forward an agrarian law, which had been long demanded by the people, but which the senate had hitherto prevented from being carried. We have seen that the agrarian law of Rullus, introduced in B. C. 63, was dropped by its proposer; and the agrarian law of Flavius, which had been proposed in the preceding year (B. C. 60), had been successfully opposed by the aristocracy, although it was supported by the whole power of Pompey. The provisions of Caesar's agrarian law are not explicitly stated by the ancient writers, but its main object was to divide the rich Campanian land which was the property of the state among the poorest citizens, especially among those who had three or more children; and if the domain land was not sufficient for the object, more was to be purchased. The execution of the law was to be entrusted to a board of twenty commissioners. The opposition of the aristocratical party was in vain. Bibulus, indeed, declared before the people, that the law should never pass while he was consul; but Pompey and Crassus spoke in its favour, and the former declared, that he would bring both sword and buckler against those who used the sword. On the day on which the law was put to the vote, Bibulus, the three tribunes who opposed it, and all the other members of the aristocracy were driven out of the forum by force of arms : the law was carried, the commissioners appointed, and about 20,000 citizens, comprising of course a great number of Pompey's veterans, received allotments subsequently. On the day after Bibulus had been driven out of the forum, he summoned the senate, narrated to them the violence which had been employed against him, and called upon them to support him, and declare the law invalid; but the aristocracy was thoroughly frightened; not a word was said in reply; and Bibulus, despairing of being able to offer any further resistance to Caesar, shut himself up in his own house, and did not appear again in public till the expiration of his consulship. In his retirement he published "Edicts" against Caesar, in which he protested against the legality of his measures, and bitterly attacked his private and political character.
  It was about this time, and before the agrarian law had been passed, that Caesar united himself still more closely to Pompey by giving him his daughter Julia in marriage, although she had been already betrothed to Servilius Caepio. Caesar himself, at the same time, married Calpurnia, the daughter of L. Piso, who was consul in the following year.
  By his agrarian law Caesar had secured to himself more strongly than ever the favour of the people ; his next step was to gain over the equites, who had rendered efficient service to Cicero in his consulship, and had hitherto supported the aristocratical party. An excellent opportunity now occurred for accomplishing this object. In their eagerness to obtain the fanning of the public taxes in Asia, the equites, who had obtained the contract, had agreed to pay too large a sum, and had accordingly petitioned the senate in B. C. 61 for more favourable terms. This, however, had been opposed by Metellus Celer, Cato, and others of the aristocracy; and Caesar therefore now brought forward a bill in the comitia to relieve the equities from one-third of the sum which they had agreed to pay. This measure, which was also supported by Pompey, was carried. Caesar next obtained the confirmation of Pompey's acts; and having thus gratified the people, the equites, and Pompey, he was easily able to obtain for himself the provinces which he wished. The senate, as we have seen, had previously assigned him the care of the woods and the public pastures as his province, and he therefore got the tribune Vatinius to propose a bill to the people, granting to him the provinces of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum with three legions for five years. This was of course passed; and the senate added to his government the province of Transalpine Gaul, with another legion, for five years also, as they plainly saw that a bill would be proposed to the people for that purpose, if they did not grant the province themselves.
  It is not attributing any great foresight to Caesar to suppose, that he already saw that the struggle between the different parties at Rome must eventually be terminated by the sword. The same causes were still in operation which had led to the civil wars between Marius and Sulla, which Caesar had himself witnessed in his youth; and he must have been well aware that the aristocracy would not hesitate to call in the assistance of the sword if they should ever succeed in detaching Pompey from his interests. It was therefore of the first importance for him to obtain an army, which he might attach to himself by victories and rewards. But he was not dazzled by the wealth of Asia to obtain a command in the East, for he would then have been at too great a distance from Rome, and would gradually have lost much of his influence in the city. He therefore wisely chose the Gallic provinces, as he would thus be able to pass the winter in the north of Italy, and keep up his communication with the city, while the disturbed state of Further Gaul promised him sufficient materials for engaging in a series of wars, in which he might employ an army that would afterwards be devoted to his purposes. In addition to these considerations, Caesar was doubtless actuated by the desire of finding a field for the display of those military talents which his campaign in Spain shewed that he possessed, and also by the ambition of subduing for ever that nation which had once sacked Rome, and which had been, from the earliest times, more or less an object of dread to the Roman state.
  The consuls of the following year (B. C. 58), L. Calpurnius Piso and A. Gabinius, were devoted to Caesar's interests; but among the praetors, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus and C. Memmius attempted to invalidate the acts of Caesar's consulship, but without success. Caesar remained a short time in the city, to see the result of this attempt, and then left Rome, but was immediately accused in his absence by the tribune Antistius. This accusation, however, was dropped; and all these attempts against Caesar were as ill-advised as they were fruitless, since they only shewed more strongly than ever the weakness of his adversaries. But although Caesar had left Rome, he did not go straight to his province; he remained with his army three months before Rome, to support Clodius, who had passed over from the patricians to the plebs in the previous year, was now tribune, and had resolved upon the ruin of Cicero. Towards the latter end of April, Cicero went into exile without waiting for his trial, and Caesar then proceeded forthwith into his province.
  During the next nine years Caesar was occupied with the subjugation of Gaul. In this time he conquered the whole of Transalpine Gaul, which had hitherto been independent of the Romans, with the exception of the part called Provincia ; he twice crossed the Rhine, and carried the terror of the Roman arms across that river, and he twice landed in Britain, which had been hitherto unknown to the Romans. To give a detailed account of these campaigns would be impossible in the limits of this work; we can only offer a very brief sketch of the principal events of each year.
  Caesar left Rome, as has been already remarked, towards the latter end of April, and arrived at Geneva in eight days. His first campaign was against the Helvetii, a powerful Gallic people situated to the north of the lake of Geneva, and between the Rhine and mount Jura. He had heard before leaving Rome that this people had intended to migrate from their country into Western or Southern Gaul, and he had accordingly made all the more haste to leave the city. There were only two roads by which the Helvetii could leave their country--one across mount Jura into the country of the Sequani (Franche Comte), and the other across the Rhone by the bridge of Geneva, and then through the northern part of the Roman province. Since the latter was by far the easier of the two, they marched towards Geneva, and requested permission to pass through the Roman province; but, as this was refused by Caesar, and they were unable to force a passage. they proceeded northwards, and, through the mediation of Dumnorix, an Aeduan, obtained permission from the Sequani to march through their country. Caesar, apprehending great danger to the Roman province in Gaul, from the settlement of the Helvetii in its immediate neighbourhood, resolved to use every effort to prevent it. But having only one legion with him, he hastened back into Cisalpine Gaul, summoned from their winter quarters the three legions at Aquileia, levied two new ones, and with these five crossed the Alps, and came into the country of the Segusiani, the first independent people north of the province, near the modern town of Lyons. When he arrived there, he found that the Helvetii had passed through the country of the Sequani, and were now plundering the territories of the Aedui. Three out of their four clans had already crossed the Arar (Saone), but the fourth was still on the eastern side of the river. This clan, called Tigurinus, was unexpectedly surprised by Caesar, and cut to pieces. He then threw a bridge across the Arar, and went in pursuit of the enemy. His progress, however, was somewhat checked by the defeat, a day or two afterwards, of the whole body of his cavalry, 4000 in number, levied in the province and among the Aedui, by 500 Helvetian horsemen. He therefore followed them more cautiously for some days, and at length fought a pitched battle with them near the town of Bibracte (Autun). The battle lasted from about mid-day to sunset, but the Helvetii, after a desperate conflict, were at length defeated with great slaughter. After resting his troops for three days, Caesar went in pursuit of the enemy. Unable to offer anyfurther resistance, they surrendered unconditionally to his mercy, and were by him commanded to return to their former homes. When they left their native country, their number was 368,000, of whom 92,000 were fighting-men; but upon returning to Helvetia, their number was found to have been reduced to 110,000 persons.
  This great victory soon raised Caesar's fame among the various tribes of the Gauls, who now sent embassies to congratulate him on his success, and to solicit his aid. Among others, Divitiacus, one of the most powerful of the Aeduan chiefs, informed Caesar that Ariovistus, a German king, had been invited by the Arverni and Sequani to come to their assistance against the Aedui, between whom and the Arverni there had long been a struggle for the supremacy in Gaul. He further stated, that not only had the Aedui been again and again defeated by Ariovistus, but that the German king had seized upon a great part of the land of the Sequani, and was still bringing over fresh swarms of Germans to settle in the Gallic country. In consequence of these representations, Caesar commanded Ariovistus, who had received the title of king and friend of the Roman people in Caesar's own consulship, to abstain from introducing any more Germans into Gaul, to restore the hostages to the Aedui, and not to attack the latter or their allies. But as a haughty answer was returned to these commands, both parties prepared for war. Caesar advanced northwards through the country of the Sequani, and took possession of Vesontio (Besancon), an important town on the Dubis (Donbs), and some days afterwards fought a decisive battle with Ariovistus, who suffered a total defeat, and fled with the remains of his army to the Rhine, a distance of fifty miles. Only a very few, and among the rest Ariovistus himself, crossed the river; the rest were cut to pieces by the Roman cavalry.
  Having thus completed two very important wars in one summer, Caesar led his troops into their quarters for the winter early in the autumn, where he left them under the command of Labienus, while he himself went into Cisalpine Gaul to attend to his civil duties in the province.
  The following year, B. C. 57, was occupied with the Belgic war. Alarmed at Caesar's success, the various Belgic tribes, which dwelt between the Sequana (Seine) and the Rhine, and were the most warlike of all the Gauls, had entered into a confederacy to oppose Caesar, and had raised an army of 300,000 men. Caesar meantime levied two new legions in Cisalpine Gaul, which increased his army to eight legions; but even this was but a small force compared with the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. Caesar was the first to open the campaign by marching into the country of the Remi, who submitted at his approach, and entered into alliance with him. He then crossed the Axona (Aisne), and pitched his camp on a strong position on the right bank. But, in order to make a diversion, and to separate the vast forces of the enemy, he sent Divitiacus with the Aedui to attack the country of the Bellovaci from the west. The enemy had meantime laid siege to Bibrax (Bievre), a town of the Remi, but retired when Caesar sent troops to its assistance. They soon, however, began to suffer from want of provisions, and hearing that Divitiacus was approaching the territories of the Bellovaci, they came to the resolution of breaking up their vast army, and retiring to their own territories, where each people could obtain provisions and maintain themselves. This determination was fatal to them: together they might possibly have conquered; but once separated, they had no chance of contending against the powerful Roman army. Hitherto Caesar had remained in his entrenchments, but he now broke up from his quarters, and resumed the offensive. The Suessiones, the Bellovaci, and Ambiani were subdued in succession, or surrendered of their own accord; but a more formidable task awaited him when he came to the Nervii, the most warlike of all the Belgic tribes. In their country, near the river Sabis (Samnbre), the Roman army was surprised by the enemy while engaged in marking out and fortifying the camp. This part of the country was surrounded by woods, in which the Nervii had concealed themselves; and it seems, as Napoleon has remarked, that Caesar was on this occasion guilty of great imprudence in not having explored the country properly, as he was well provided with light armed troops. The attack of the Nervii was so unexpected, and the surprise so complete, that before the Romans could form in rank, the enemy was in their midst : the Roman soldiers began to give way, and the battle seemed entirely lost. Caesar used every effort to amend his first error; he hastened from post to post, freely exposed his own person in the first line of the battle, and discharged alike the duties of a brave soldier and an able general. His exertions and the discipline of the Roman troops at length triumphed; and the Nervii were defeated with such immense slaughter, that out of 60,000 fighting-men only 500 remained in the state. The Aduatici, who were on their march to join the Nervii, returned to their own country when they heard of Caesar's victory, and shut themselves up in one of their towns, which was of great natural strength, perhaps on the hill called at present Falais. Caesar marched to the place, and laid siege to it; but when the barbarians saw the military engines approaching the walls, they surrendered to Caesar. In the night, however, they attempted to surprise the Roman camp, but, being repulsed, paid dearly for their treachery; for on the following day Caesar took possession of the town, and sold all the inhabitants as slaves, to the number of 53,000. At the same time he received intelligence that the Veneti, Unelli, and various other states in the north-west of Gaul, had submitted to M. Crassus, whom he had sent against them with one legion. Having thus subjugated the whole of the north of Gaul, Caesar led his troops into winter-quarters in the country of the Carnutes, Andes, and Turones, people near the Ligeris (Loire), in the central parts of Gaul, and then proceeded himself to Cisalpine Gaul. When the senate received the despatches of Caesar announcing this victory, they decreed a public thanksgiving of fifteen days--a distinction which had never yet been granted to any one : the thanksgiving in Pompey's honour, after the Mithridatic war, had lasted for ten days, and that was the longest that had hitherto been decreed.
  At the beginning of the following year, B. C. 56, which was Caesar's third campaign in Gaul, he was detained some months in Italy by the state of affairs at Rome. There had been a misunderstanding between Pompey and Crassus; and L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who had become a candidate for the consulship, threatened to deprive Caesar of his army and provinces. Caesar accordingly invited Pompey and Crassus to come to him at Lncca (Lucca), where he reconciled them to one another, and arranged that they should be the consuls for the following year, and that Crassus should have the province of Syria, and Pompey the two Spains. They on their part agreed to obtain the prolongation of Caesar's government for five years more, and pay for his troops out of the public treasury. It was not through any want of money that Caesar made the latter stipulation, for he had obtained immense booty in his two campaigns in Gaul; but so corrupt was the state of society at Rome, that he knew it would be difficult for him to retain his present position unless he was able to bribe the people and the leading men in the city. The money which he had acquired in his Gallic wars was therefore freely expended in carrying the elections of those candidates for public offices who would support his interests, and also in presents to the senators and other influential men who flocked to him at Luca to pay him their respects and share in his liberality. He held almost a sort of court at Luca : 200 senators waited upon him, and so many also that were invested with public offices, that 120 lictors were seen in the streets of the town.
  After settling the affairs of Italy, Caesar proceeded to his army at the latter end of the spring of B. C. 56. During his absence, a powerful confederacy had been formed against him by the maritime states in the north-west of Gaul. Many of these had submitted to P. Crassus in the preceding year, alarmed at Caesar's victories over the Belgians ; but, following the example of the Veneti in Bretagne, they had now all risen in arms against the Romans. Fearing a general insurrection of all Gaul, Caesar thought it advisable to divide his army and distribute it in four different parts of the country. He himself, with the main body and the fleet which he had caused to be built on the Ligeris, undertook the conduct of the war against the Veneti ; while he sent T. Titurius Sabinus with three legions into the country of the Unelli, Curiosolitae, and Lexovii (Normandy). Labienus was despatched eastwards with a cavalry force into the country of the Treviri, near the Rhine, to keep down the Belgians and to prevent the Germans from crossing that river. Crassus was sent with twelve legionary cohorts and a great number of cavalry into Aquitania, to prevent the Basque tribes in the south of Gaul from joining the Veneti. The plan of the campaign was laid with great skill, and was crowned with complete success. The Veneti, after suffering a great naval defeat, were obliged to surrender to Caesar, who treated them with merciless severity in order to strike terror into the surrounding tribes : he put all the senators to death, and sold the rest of the people as slaves. About the same time, Titurius Sabinus conquered the Veneti and the surrounding people; and Crassus, though with more difficulty, the greater part of Aquitania. The presence of Labienus, and the severe defeats they had experienced in the preceding year, seem to have deterred the Belgians from any attempt at revolt. Although the season was far advanced, Caesar marched against the Morini and Menapii (in the neighbourhood of Calais and Boulogne), as they were the only people in Gaul that still remained in arms. On his approach, they retired into the woods, and the rainy season coming on, Caesar was obliged to lead his troops into winter-quarters. He accordingly recrossed the Sequana (Seine), and stationed his soldiers for the winter in Normandy in the country of the Aulerci and Lexovii. Thus, in three campaigns, Caesar may be said to have conquered the whole of Gaul; but the spirit of the people was not yet broken. They therefore made several attempts to recover their independence ; and it was not till their revolts had been again and again put down by Caesar, and the flower of the nation had perished in battle, that they learnt to submit to the Roman yoke.
  In the next year, B. C. 55, Pompey and Crassus were consuls, and proceeded to carry into execution the arrangement which had been entered into at Luca. They experienced, however, more opposition than they had anticipated: the aristocracy, headed by Cato, threw every obstacle in their way, but was unable to prevent the two bills proposed by the tribune Trebonius from being carried, one of which assigned the provinces of the Spains and Syria to the consuls Pompey and Crassus, and the other prolonged Caesar's provincial government for five additional years. By the law of Vatinius, passed in B. C. 59, Gaul and Illyricum were assigned to Caesar for five years, namely, from the 1st of January, B. C. 58 to the end of December, B. C. 54 ; and now, by the law of Trebonius, the provinces were continued to him for five years more, namely, from the 1st of January, B. C. 53 to the end of the year 49.
  In B. C. 55, Caesar left Italy earlier than usual, in order to make preparations for a war with the Germans. This was his fourth campaign in Gaul. The Gauls had suffered too much in the last three campaigns to make any further attempt against the Romans at present; but Caesar's ambition would not allow him to be idle. Fresh wars must be undertaken and fresh victories gained to keep him in the recollection of the people, and to employ his troops in active service. Two German tribes, the Usipetes and the Tenchtheri, had been driven out of their own country by the Suevi, and had crossed the Rhine, at no great distance from its mouth, with the intention of settling in Gaul. This, however, Caesar was resolved to prevent, and accordingly prepared to attack them. The Germans opened negotiations with him, but while these were going on, a body of their cavalry attacked and defeated Caesar's Gallic cavalry, which was vastly superior in numbers. On the next day, all the German chiefs came into Caesar's camp to apologize for what they had done; but, instead of accepting their excuse, Caesar detained them, and straightway led out his troops to attack the enemy. Deprived of their leaders, and taken by surprise, the Germans after a feeble resistance took to flight, and were almost all destroyed by the Roman cavalry. The remainder fled to the confluence of the Mosa (Meuse) and the Rhine, but few crossed the river in safety. To strike terror into the Germans, Caesar resolved to cross the Rhine. In ten days he built a bridge of boats across the river, probably in the neighbourhood of Cologne, and, after spending eighteen days on the eastern side of the river, and ravaging the country of the Sigambri, he returned to Gaul and broke down the bridge.
  Although the greater part of the summer was now gone, Caesar resolved to invade Britain. His object in undertaking this expedition at such a late period of the year was more to obtain some knowledge of the island from personal observation, than with any view to permanent conquest at present. He accordingly took with him only two legions, with which he sailed from the port Itius (probably Witsand, between Calais and Boulogne), and effected a landing somewhere near the South Foreland, after a severe struggle with the natives. Several of the British tribes hereupon sent offers of submission to Caesar; but, in consequence of the loss of a great part of the Roman fleet a few days afterwards, they took up arms again. Being however defeated, they again sent offers of submission to Caesar, who simply demanded double the number of hostages he had originally required, as he was anxious to return to Gaul before the season should be further advanced. He did not, therefore, wait for the hostages, but commanded them to be brought to him in Gaul. On his return, he punished the Morini, who had revolted in his absence; and, after leading his troops into winter-quarters among the Belgians, repaired, as usual, to the north of Italy. Caesar had not gained ally victories in this campaign equal to those of the three former years; but his victories over the Germans and far-distant Britons were probably regarded by the Romans with greater admiration than his conquests of the Gauls. The senate accordingly voted him a public thanksgiving of twenty days, notwithstanding the opposition of Cato, who declared, that Caesar ought to be delivered up to the Usipetes and Tenchtheri, to prevent the gods from visiting upon Rome his violation of the law of nations in seizing the sacred persons of ambassadors.
  The greater part of Caesar's fifth campaign, B. C. 54, was occupied with his second invasion of Britain. After making an expedition into Illyricum, and afterwards into the country of the Treviri, who had shewn a disposition to revolt, he set sail from the port Itius with an army of five legions, and landed without opposition at the same place as in the former year. The British states had entrusted the supreme command to Cassivellaunus, a chief whose territories were divided from the maritime states by the river Tamesis (Thames). The Britons bravely opposed the progress of the invaders, but were defeated in a series of engagements. Caesar crossed the Thames at the only place where it was fordable, took the town of Cassivellaunus, and conquered great part of the counties of Essex and Middlesex. In consequence of these disasters, Cassivellaunus sued for peace; and, after demanding hostages, and settling the tribute which Britain should pay yearly to the Roman people, Caesar returned to Gaul towards the latter part of the summer. Caesar gained no more by his second invasion of Britain than by his first. He had penetrated, it is true, further into the country, but he had left no garrisons or military establishments behind him; and the people obeyed the Romans just as little afterwards as they had done before.
  In consequence of the great scarcity of corn in Gaul, arising from a drought this year, Caesar was obliged, contrary to his practice in former years, to divide his forces, and station his legions for the winter in different parts of Gaul. This seemed to the Gauls a favourable opportunity for recovering their lost independence, and destroying their conquerors. The Eburones, a Gallic people between the Meuse and the Rhine, near the modern Tongres, led on by their chiefs, Ambiorix and Cativolcus, were the first to begin the revolt, and attacked the camp of the legion and five cohorts under the command of T. Titurius Sabinus and L. Aurunculeius Cotta, only fifteen days after they had been stationed in their country. Alarmed at the vast hosts which surrounded them, and fearing that they should soon be attacked by the Germans also, the Romans quitted their camp, with the intention of marching to the winter-quarters of the legions nearest them under promise of a safe-conduct from Ambiorix. This step was taken by Sabinus against the wish of Cotta, who mistrusted the good faith of Ambiorix. The result verified his fears: the Romans were attacked on their march by Ambiorix, and were destroyed almost to a man. This was the first serious disaster that Caesar had experienced in Gaul. Flushed with victory, Ambiorix and the Eburones now proceeded to attack the camp of Q. Cicero, the brother of the orator, who was stationed with one legion among the Nervii. The latter people and the Aduatici readily joined the Eburones, and Cicero's camp was soon surrounded by an overwhelming host. Seconded by the bravery of his soldiers, Cicero, though in a weak state of health, repulsed the enemy in all their attempts to storm the camp, till he was at length relieved by Caesar in person, who came to his assistance with two legions, as soon as he heard of the dangerous position of his legate. The forces of the enemy, which amounted to 60,000, were defeated by Caesar, who then joined Cicero, and praised him and his men for the bravery they had shewn. In consequence of the unsettled state of Gaul, Caesar resolved to remain with his army all the winter, and accordingly took up his quarters at Samarobriva (Amiens). About the same time, Indutiomarus, a chief of the Treviri, attempted to form a confederacy against the Romans, but was attacked and killed by Labienus, who was stationed in the country of the Treviri.

  In September of this year, B. C. 54, Julia, Caesar's daughter and Pompey's wife, died in childbirth ; but her death did not at the time affect the relations between Caesar and Pompey. In order, however, to keep up a family connexion between them, Caesar proposed that his niece Octavia, the wife of C. Marcellus and the sister of the future emperor Augustus, should marry Pompey, and that he himself should marry Pompey's daughter, who was now the wife of Faustus Sulla. This proposal, however, was declined, but for what reason we are not told.
  In the next year, B. C. 53, which was Caesar's sixth campaign in Gaul, the Gauls again took up arms, and entered into a most formidable conspiracy to recover their independence. The destruction of the Roman troops under Sabinus and Cotta, and the unsettled state of Gaul during the winter, had led Caesar to apprehend a general rising of the natives; and he had accordingly levied two new legions in Cisalpine Gaul, and obtained one from Pompey, who was remaining in the neighbourhood of Rome as proconsul with the imperium. Being thus at the head of a powerful army, he was able to subdue the nations that revolted,and soon compelled the Nervii, Senones, Carnutes, Menapii, and Treviri to return to obedience. But as the Treviri had been supported by the Germans, he crossed the Rhine again a little above the spot where he had passed over two years before, and having received the submission of the Ubii, proceeded to march into the country of the Suevi. The latter people, however, retired to their woods and fastnesses as he advanced; and, finding it impossible to come up with the enemy, he again recrossed the Rhine, having effected as little as in his previous invasion of the country. On his return, he made a vigorous effort to put down Ambiorix, who still continued in arms. The country of the Eburones was laid waste with fire and sword; the troops of Ambiorix were again and again defeated, but he himself always escaped falling into the hands of the Romans. In the midst of this war, when the enemy were almost subdued, Cicero's camp was surprised by a body of the Sigambri, who had crossed the Rhine, and was almost taken. At the conclusion of the campaign, Caesar prosecuted a strict inquiry into the revolt of the Senones and Carnutes, and caused Acco, who had been the chief ringleader in the conspiracy, to be put to death. He then stationed his troops for the winter among the Treviri, Lingones, and Senones, and departed to Cisalpine Gaul.
  Upon Caesar's arrival in Cisalpine Gaul, he heard of the death of Clodius, who was killed by Milo at the latter end of January, B. C. 52. This event was followed by tumults, which rent both Rome and Italy asunder; and it was currently reported in Gaul that Caesar could not possibly leave Italy under these circumstances. The unsuccessful issue of last year's revolt had not yet damped the spirits of the Gauls; the execution of Acco had frightened all the chiefs, as every one feared that his turn might come next; the hatred of the Roman yoke was intense; and thus all the materials were ready for a general conflagration. It was first set alight by the Carnutes, and in an incredibly short time it spread from country to country, till almost the whole of Gaul was in flames. Even the Aedui, who had been hitherto the faithful allies of the Romans, and had assisted them in all their wars, subsequently joined the general revolt. At the head of the insurrection was Vercingetorix, a young man of noble family belonging to the Arverni, and by far the ablest general that Caesar had yet encountered. Never before had the Gauls been so united: Caesar's conquests of the last six years seemed to be now entirely lost. The war, therefore, of this year, B. C. 52, was by far the most arduous that Caesar had yet carried on; but his genius triumphed over every obstacle, and rendered it the most brilliant of all.
  It was in the depth of winter when the news of this revolt reached Caesar, for the Roman calendar was now nearly three months in advance of the real time of the year. Caesar would gladly have remained in Italy to watch the progress of events at Rome; but not merely were his hard-won conquests at stake, but also his army, the loss of which would have ruined all his prospects for the future. He was therefore compelled to leave Rome in Pompey's power, and set out to join his army. It was, however, no easy matter to reach his troops, as the intermediate country was in the hands of the enemy, and he could not order them to come to him without exposing them to be attacked on their march. Having provided for the safety of the province in Transalpine Gaul, he resolved to surprise the enemy by crossing the Cebenna and descending into the country of the Arverni (Auvergne). With the forces already in the province, and with those which he had himself brought from Italy, he effected a passage over these mountains, though it was the depth of winter, and the snow lay six feet on the ground. The Arverni, who looked upon these mountains as an impregnable fortress, had made no preparations to resist Caesar, and accordingly sent to Vercingetorix to pray him to come to their assistance. This was what Caesar had anticipated: his only object was to direct the attention of the enemy to this point, while he himself stole away to his legions. He accordingly remained only two days among the Arverni, and leaving his troops there in command of D. Brutus, he arrived by rapid journeys in the country of the Lingones, where two of his legions were stationed, ordered the rest to join him, and had assembled his whole army before Vercingetorix heard of his arrival in that part of the country. He lost no time in attacking the chief towns in the hands of the enemy. Vellaunodunum (in the country of Chateau-Landon), Genabum (Orleans), and Noviodunum (Nouan, between Orleans and Bourges), fell into his hands without difficulty. Alarmed at Caesar's rapid progress, Vercingetorix persuaded his countrymen to lay waste their country and destroy their towns, that Caesar might be deprived of all sustenance and quarters for his troops. This plan was accordingly carried into effect; but Avaricum (Bourges), the chief town of the Bituriges, and a strongly fortified place, was spared from the general destruction, contrary to the wishes of Vercingetorix. This town Caesar accordingly laid siege to, and, notwithstanding the heroic resistance of the Gauls, it was at length taken, and all the inhabitants, men, women, and children, were indiscriminately butchered by the Roman soldiery.
  Caesar now divided his army into two parts : one division, consisting of four legions, he sent under the command of T. Labienus against the Senones and Parisii; the other, comprising six legions, he led himself into the country of the Arverni, and with them laid siege to Gergovia (near Clermont). The revolt of the Aedui shortly afterwards compelled him to raise the siege, but not until he had received a severe repulse in attempting to storm the town. Meantime, the Aedui had taken Noviodunum, in which Caesar had placed all his stores; and, as his position had now become very critical, he hastened northwards to join Labienus in the country of the Senones. By rapid marches he eluded the pursuit of the enemy, crossed the Ligeris (Loire), and joined Labienus in safety.
  The revolt of the Aedui inspired fresh courage in the Gauls, and Vercingetorix soon found himself at the head of a much larger army than he had hitherto commanded. Fearing now for the safety of the province, Caesar began to march southwards through the country of the Lingones into that of the Sequani. The Gauls followed him in vast numbers, and attacked him on his march. After an obstinate engagement, in which Caesar is said to have lost his sword, the Gallic cavalry were repulsed by the German horse whom Caesar had procured from beyond the Rhine. Thereupon, Vercingetorix led off his infantry, and retreated towards Alesia (Alise in Burgundy, between Semur and Dijon), whither he was pursued by Caesar. After dismissing his cavalry, Vercingetorix shut himself up in the town, which was considered impregnable, and resolved to wait for succours from his countrymen. Caesar immediately laid siege to the place, and drew lines of circumvallation around it. The Romans, however, were in their turn soon surrounded by a vast Gallic army, which had assembled to raise the siege. The Roman army was thus placed in imminent peril, and in no instance in Caesar's whole life was his military genius so conspicuous. He was between two great armies: Vercingetorix had 70,000 men in Alesia, and the Gallic army without consisted of between 250,000 and 300,000 men. Still, he would not raise the siege. He prevented Vercingetorix from breaking through the lines, entirely routed the Gallic army without, and finally compelled Alesia to surrender. Vercingetorix himself thus fell into his hands. The fall of Alesia was followed by the submission of the Aedui and Arverni. Caesar then led his troops into winter-quarters, and resolved to pass the winter himself at Bibracte, in the country of the Aedui. After receiving, Caesar's despatches, the senate voted him a public thanksgiving of twenty days, as in the year 55.
  The victories of the preceding year had determined the fate of Gaul; but many states still remained in arms, and entered into fresh conspiracies during the winter. The next year, B. C. 51, Caesar's eighth campaign in Gaul, was occupied in the reduction of these states, into the particulars of which we need not enter. It is sufficient to say, that he conquered in succession the Carnutes, the Bellovaci, and the Armoric states in western Gaul, took Uxellodunum, a town of the Cadurci (Cahors), and closed the campaign by the reduction of Aquitania. He then led his troops into winterquarters, and passed the winter at Nemetocenna in Belgium. He here employed himself in the pacification of Gaul; and, as he already saw that his presence would soon be necessary in Italy, he was anxious to remove all causes for future wars. He accordingly imposed no new taxes, treated the states with honour and respect, and bestowed great presents upon the chiefs. The experience of the last two years had taught the Gauls that they had no hope of contending successfully against Caesar ; and as he now treated them with mildness, they were the more readily induced to submit patiently to the Roman yoke. Having thus completed the pacification of Gaul, Caesar found that he could leave his army in the spring of B. C. 50, and therefore, contrary to his usual practice, repaired at the end of the winter to Cisalpine Gaul.
  While Caesar had thus been actively engaged in Gaul during the last two years, affairs at Rome had taken a turn, which threatened a speedy rupture between him and Pompey. The death of Crassus in the Parthian war in B. C. 53 had left Caesar and Pompey alone at the head of the state. Pompey had been the chief instrument in raising Caesar to power in order to serve his own ends, and never seems to have supposed it possible that the conqueror of Mithridates could be thrown into the shade by any man in the world. This, however, now began to be the case; Caesar's brilliant victories in Gaul were in every body's mouth; and Pompey saw with ill-disguised mortification that he was becoming the second person in the state. Though this did not lead him to break with Caesar at once, it made him anxious to increase his power and influence, and he had therefore resolved as early as B. C. 53 to obtain, if possible, the dictatorship. He accordingly used no effort to put an end to the disturbances at Rome between Milo and Clodius in that year, in hopes that all parties would be willing to accede to his wishes in order to restore peace to the city. These disturbances broke out into perfect anarchy on the death of Clodius at the beginning of the following year, B. C. 52, and led to the appointment of Pompey as sole consul with the concurrence of the senate. This, it is true, did not entirely meet Pompey's wishes, yet it was the first step which the aristocracy had taken to gratify Pompey, and it paved the way for a reconciliation with them. The acts of Pompey's consulship, which were all directed to the increase of his power, belong to Pompey's life; it is sufficient to mention here, that among other things he obtained the prolongation of his government in Spain for five years more; and as he was not yet prepared to break entirely with Caesar, he allowed some of the tribunes to carry a law exempting Caesar from the necessity of coming to Rome to become a candidate for the consulship. The ten years of Caesar's government would expire at the end of B. C. 49, and he was therefore resolved to obtain the consulship for B. C. 48, for otherwise he would become a private man.
  In the following year, B. C. 51, Pompey entered into still closer connexions with the aristocracy, but at the same time was not willing to support all the violent measures of the consul M. Claudius Marcellus, who proposed to send a successor to Caesar, on the plea that the war in Gaul was finished, and to deprive him of the privilege of becoming a candidate for the consulship in his absence. At length a decree of the senate was passed, that the consuls of the succeeding year, B. C. 50, should on the first of March consult the senate respecting the disposal of the consular provinces, by which time it was hoped that Pompey would be prepared to take decisive measures against Caesar. The consuls for the next year, B. C. 50, L. Aemilius Paullus and C. Claudius Marcellus, and the powerful tribune C. Curio, were all reckoned devoted partizans of Pompey and the senate. Caesar, however, gained over Paullus and Curio by large bribes,and with an unsparing hand distributed immense sums of money among the leading men of Rome. Thus this year passed by. without the senate coming to any decision. The great fear which Pompey and the senate entertained was, that Caesar should be elected consul while he was still at the head of his army, and it was therefore proposed in the senate by the consul C. Marcellus, that Caesar should lay down his command by the 13th of November. This it could not be expected that Caesar would do ; his proconsulate had upwards of another year to run; and if he had come to Rome as a private man to sue for the consulship, there can be little doubt that his life would have been sacrificed. Cato had declared that he would bring Caesar to trial as soon as he laid down his command; but the trial would have been only a mockery, for Pompey was in the neighbourhood of the city at the head of an army, and would have overawed the judges by his soldiery as at Milo's trial. The tribune Curio consequently interposed his veto upon the proposition of Marcellus. Meantime Caesar had come into Cisalpine Gaul in the spring of B. C. 50, as already mentioned. Here he was received by the municipal towns and colonies with the greatest marks of respect and affection; and after remaining there a short time, he returned to Transalpine Gaul and held a review of his whole army, which he had so long led to victory. Anxious to diminish the number of his troops, the senate had, under pretext of a war with the Parthians, ordered that Pompey and Caesar should each furnish a legion to be sent into the East. The legion which Pompey intended to devote to this service was the one he had lent to Caesar in B. C. 53, and which he now accordingly demanded back; and although Caesar saw that he should thus be deprived of two legions, which would probably be employed against himself, he did not think it advisable break with the senate on this point, and felt that he was sufficiently strong to spare even two legions. He accordingly sent them to the senate, after bestowing liberal presents upon each soldier. Upon their arrival in Italy, they were not, as Caesar had anticipated, sent to the East, but were ordered to pass the winter at Capua. After this Caesar stationed his remaining eight legions in winter-quarters, four in Belgium and four among the Aedui, and then repaired to Cisalpine Gaul. He took up his quarters at Ravenna, the last town in his province bordering upon Italy, and there met C. Curio, who informed him more particularly of the state of affairs at Rome.
  Though war seemed inevitable, Caesar still shewed himself willing to enter into negotiations with the aristocracy, and accordingly sent Curio with a letter addressed to the senate, in which he expressed his readiness to resign his command if Pompey would do the same, but intimated that he would continue to hold it if Pompey did not accede to his offer. Curio arrived at Rome on the first of January, B. C. 49, the day on which the new consuls L. Cornelius Lentulus and C. Claudius Marcellus entered upon their office. It was with great difficulty that the tribunes M. Antonius and Q. Cassius Longinus forced the senate to allow the letter to be read, but they could not prevail upon the house to take the subject of it into deliberation and come to a vote upon it. The consuls, however, brought before the house the state of the republic in general; and after a violent debate the motion of Scipio, Pompey's father-in-law, was carried, "that Caesar should disband his army by a certain day, and that if he did not do it he should be regarded as an enemy of the state." Upon this motion the tribunes M. Antonius and Q. Cassius put their veto; but their opposition was set at naught. Pompey had now made up his mind to crush Caesar, if possible, and accordingly the more violent counsels prevailed. Antonius and Cassius were ejected from the senate-house, and on the sixth of January the senate passed the decree, which was tantamount to a declaration of martial law, that the consuls and other magistrates "should provide for the safety of the state." Antonius and Cassius considering their lives no longer safe, fled from the city in disguise to Caesar's army, and called upon him to protect the inviolable persons of the tribunes. War was now declared. The senate entrusted the whole management of it to Pompey, made a fresh distribution of the provinces, divided the whole of Italy into certain districts, the defence of each of which was to be entrusted to some distinguished senator, determined that fresh levies of troops should be held, and voted a sum of money from the public treasury to Pompey. Pompey had had all along no apprehensions as to the result of a war; he seems to have regarded it as scarcely possible that Caesar should ever seriously think of marching against him; his great fame, he thought, would cause a multitude of troops to flock around him whenever he wished them; and thus in his confidence of success, he had neglected all means for raising an army. In addition to this he had been deceived as to the disposition of Caesar's troops, and had been led to believe that they were ready to desert their general at the first opportunity. Consequently, when the war broke out, Pompey had scarcely any troops except the two legions which he had obtained from Caesar, and on the fidelity of which he could by no means rely. So unpopular too was the senatorial party in Italy, that it was with great difficulty they could levy troops, and when levied, they took the first opportunity of passing over to Caesar.
  As soon as Caesar learnt the last resolution of the senate, he assembled his soldiers, informed them of the wrongs he had sustained, and called upon them to support him. Finding them quite willing to follow him, he crossed the Rubicon which separated his province from Italy, and occupied Ariminum, where he met with the tribunes. He commenced his enterprise with only one legion, consisting of 5000 foot soldiers and 300 horse, but others had orders to follow him from Transalpine Gaul, and he was well aware of the importance of expedition, that the enemy might have no time to complete their preparations. Therefore, though it was the middle of winter, he pushed on with the utmost rapidity, and such was the popularity of his cause in Italy, that city after city opened its gates to him, and his march was like a triumphal progress. Arretium, Pisaurum, Fanum, Ancona, Iguvium, and Auximum, fell into his hands. These successes caused the utmost consternation at Rome; it was reported that Caesar's cavalry was already near the gates of the city; a general panic seized the senate, and they fled from the city even without taking with them the money from the public treasury, and did not recover their courage till they had got as far south as Capua. Caesar continued his victorious march through Picenum till he came to Corfinium, which was the first town that offered him any vigorous resistance. L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who had been appointed Caesar's successor in Gaul, had thrown himself into Corfinium with a strong force; but as Pompey did not come to his assistance, he was unable to maintain the place, and fell himself into Caesar's hands, together with several other senators and distinguished men. Caesar, with the same clemency which he displayed throughout the whole of the civil war, dismissed them all uninjured, and hastened in pursuit of Pompey, who had now resolved to abandon Italy and was accordingly hastening on to Brundisium, intending from thence to sail to Greece. Pompey reached Brundisium before Caesar, but had not sailed when the latter arrived before the town. Caesar straightway laid siege to the place, but Pompey abandoned it on the 17th of March and embarked for Greece. Caesar was unable to follow Pompey for want of ships, and therefore determined to march against Afranius and Petreius, Pompey's legates in Spain, who possessed a powerful army in that country. He accordingly marched back from Brundisium and repaired to Rome, having thus in three months become the supreme master of the whole of Italy.
  After remaining in the neighbourhood of Rome for a short time, he set out for Spain, having left M. Lepidus in charge of the city and M. Antonius in command of the troops in Italy. He sent Curio to drive Cato out of Sicily, Q. Valerius to take possession of Sardinia, and C. Antonius to occupy Illyricum. Curio and Valerius obtained possession of Sicily and Sardinia without opposition ; and Curio then passed over into Africa, which was in possession of the Pompeian party. Here, however, he met with strong opposition, and at length was defeated and lost his life in a battle with Juba, king of Mauritania, who supported P. Atius Varus, the Pompeian commander. C. Antonius also met with bad success in Illyricum, for his army was defeated and he himself taken prisoner. These events, however, happened at a later period in this year; and these disasters were more than counterbalanced by Caesar's victories in the meantime in Spain. Caesar left Rome about the middle of April, and on his arrival in Gaul found, that Massilia refused to submit to him. He forthwith laid siege to the place, but unable to take it immediately, he left C. Trebonius and D. Brutus with part of his troops to prosecute the siege, and continued his march to Spain. In this country Pompey had seven legions, three under the command of L. Afranius in the nearer province, two under M. Petreius in the further, and two under M. Terentius Varro also in the latter province west of the Anas (Guadiana). Varro remained in the west; but Afranius and Petreius on the approach of Caesar united their forces, and took up a strong position near the town of Ilerda (Lerida in Catalonia) on the right bank of the Sicoris (Segre). Into the details of this campaign we cannot enter. It is sufficient to state, that, after experiencing great difficulties at first and some reverses, Caesar at length reduced Afranius and Petreius to such difficulties that they were obliged to surrender. They themselves were dismissed uninjured, part of their troops disbanded, and the remainder incorporated among Caesar's troops. Caesar then proceeded to march against Varro; but after the victory over Afranius and Petreius, there was no army in Spain capable of resisting the conqueror, and Varro accordingly surrendered to Caesar when the latter arrived at Corduba (Cordova). Having thus subdued all Spain, which had engaged him only forty days, he returned to Gaul. Massilia had not yet yielded, but the siege had been prosecuted with so much vigour, that the inhabitants were compelled to surrender the town soon after his arrival before the walls.
  While Caesar was before Massilia, he received intelligence that he had been appointed dictator by the praetor M. Lepidus, who had been empowered to do so by a law passed for the purpose. This appointment, which was of course made in accordance with Caesar's wishes, was contrary to all precedent; for a praetor had not the power of nominating a dictator, and the senate was entirely passed over : but it is idle to talk of established forms under such circumstances; it was necessary that there should be a higher magistrate than praetor to hold the comitia for the election of the consuls; and Caesar wished to enter Rome invested with some high official power, which he could not do so long as he was merely proconsul. Accordingly, as soon as Massilia surrendered, Caesar hastened to Rome and entered upon his dictatorship, but laid it down again at the end of eleven days after holding the consular comitia, in which he himself and P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus were elected consuls for the next year. But during these eleven days he caused some very important laws to be passed. The first, which was intended to relieve debtors, but at the same time protect to a great extent the rights of creditors, was in the present state of affairs a most salutary measure. (For the provisions of this lex, see Dict. of Ant. s. v. Julia Lex de Foenore.) He next obtained the reversal of the sentences which had been pronounced against various persons in accordance with the laws passed in Pompey's last consulship; he also obtained the recall of several other exiles; he further restored the descendants of those who had been proscribed by Sulla to the enjoyment of their rights, and rewarded the Transpadani by the citizenship for their faithful support of his cause.
  After laying down the dictatorship, Caesar went in December to Brundisium, where he had previously ordered his troops to assemble. He had lost many men in the long march from Spain, and also from sickness arising from their passing the autumn in the south of Italy. Pompey had not been idle during the summer, and had employed his time in raising a large army in Greece, Egypt, and the East, the scene of his former glory. He thus collected an army consisting of nine legions of Roman citizens, and an auxiliary force of cavalry and infantry; and, though it is impossible to estimate its exact strength, as we do not know the number of men which each legion contained, it was decidedly greater than the army which Caesar had assembled at Brundisium. His fleet entirely commanded the sea, and so small was the number of Caesar's ships, that it seemed impossible that he should venture to cross the sea in face of Pompey's superior fleet. This circumstance, and also the time of the year caused M.Bibulus, the commander of Pompey's fleet, to relax in his guard; and thus when Caesar set sail from Brundisium, on the 4th of January, he arrived the next day in safety on the coast of Epeirus. In consequence, however, of the small number of his ships, Caesar was able to carry over only seven legions, which, for the causes previously mentioned, had been so thinned as to amount only to 15,000 foot and 500 horse. After landing this force, he sent back his ships to bring over the remainder; but part of the fleet was intercepted in its return by M. Bibulus, who cruelly put all the crews to death; and the Pompeian fleet kept up such a strict watch along the coast, that the remainder of Caesar's army was obliged for the present to remain at Brundisium. Caesar was thus in a critical position, in the midst of the enemy's country, cut off from the rest of his army; but he knew that he could thoroughly rely on his men, and therefore immediately commenced acting on the offensive. After gaining possession of Oricum and Apollonia, he hastened northwards, in hopes of surprising Dyrrhachium, where all Pompey's stores were deposited; but Pompey, by rapid marches, reached this town before him, and both armies then encamped opposite to each other, Pompey on the right and Caesar on the left bank of the river Apsus. Caesar was at length joined by the remainder of his troops, which were brought over from Brundisium with great difficulty by M. Antonius and Q. Fufius Calenns. Pompey meantime had retired to some high ground near Dyrrhachium, and as he would not venture a battle with Caesar's veterans, Caesar began to blockade him in his position, and to erect lines of circumvallation of an extraordinary extent; but when these were nearly completed, Pompey forced a passage through Caesar's lines, and drove back his legions with considerable loss. Caesar thus found himself compelled to retreat from his present position, and accordingly commenced his march for Thessaly, pursued by Pompey's army, which was not however able to come up with him. Pompey's plan of avoiding a general engagement with Caesar's veterans till he could place more reliance upon his own troops, was undoubtedly a wise one, and had been hitherto crowned with success; but his victory at Dyrrhachium and the retreat of the enemy inspired him with more confidence, and induced him to give heed to those of his officers who recommended him to bring the contest to an issue by an immediate battle. Accordingly, [p. 552] when Pompey came up with Caesar, who was encamped on the plains of Pharsalus or Pharsalia, in Thessaly, he offered him battle, which was readily accepted by Caesar. Their numbers were very unequal : Pompey had 45,000 footsoldiers and 7000 horse, Caesar 22,000 foot-soldiers and 1000 horse. The battle, which was fought on the 9th of August, B. C. 48, according to the old calendar, ended in the total defeat of Pompey's army. Pompeyfled to the court of Egypt, pursued by Caesar, but was murdered there before the latter arrived in the country. [POMPEIUS.]
  The battle of Pharsalia decided the fate of the republic. When news of it reached Rome, various laws were passed, which conferred in fact supreme power upon Caesar. Though absent, he was nominated dictator a second time, and that not for six months or a shorter time, but for a whole year. He appointed M. Antonius his master of the horse, and entered upon the office in September of this year (B. C. 48), so that the commencement and termination of his dictatorship and consulship did not coincide, as some modern writers have represented. He was also nominated to the consulship for the next five years, but this privilege he did not avail himself of; he was invested, moreover, with the tribunicial power for life, and with the right of holding all the comitia for the election of the magistrates, with the exception of those for the choice of the plebeian tribunes; and it was for this reason that no magistrates except the tribunes of the plebs were elected for the next year, as Caesar did not return to Rome till September in B. C. 47
  Caesar went to Egypt, as we have already said, in pursuit of Pompey, and upon his arrival there, he became involved in a war, which detained him several months, and gave the remains of the Pompeian party time to rally and to make fresh preparations for continuing the war. The war in Egypt, usually called the Alexandrine war, arose from Caesar's resolving to settle the disputes respecting the succession to the kingdom. Caesar determined that Cleopatra, whose fascinations completely won his heart, and her elder brother Ptolemy should reign in common; but as this decision was opposed by the guardians of the young king, a war broke out between them and Caesar, in which he was for some time exposed to great danger on account of the small number of his forces. But, having received reinforcements, he finally prevailed, and placed Cleopatra and her younger brother on the throne, as the elder had perished in the course of the contest. It was soon after this, that Cleopatra had a son by Caesar.
  After bringing the Alexandrine war to a close, in the latter end of March, B. C. 47, Caesar marched through Syria into Pontus in order to attack Pharnaces, the son of the celebrated Mithridates, who had defeated Cn. Domitius Calvinus, one of Caesar's legates. This war, however, did not detain him long; for Pharnaces, venturing to come to an open battle with the dictator, was utterly defeated, on the 2nd of August, near Zela. He thence proceeded to Rome, settling the affairs of the provinces in the way, and arrived in the capital in September. As the year of his dictatorship was nearly expiring, he caused himself to be appointed to the dignity again for a year, and he nominated M. Aemilius Lepidus his master of the horse. His third dictatorship consequently begins before, the termination of the year 47. The property of Pompey and of several others of the aristocracy was now confiscated and sold by public auction. That he might the more easily reward his own friends, the dictator increased the number of praetors and of the members of the priestly colleges, and also introduced a great number of his partizans into the senate. For the remainder of this year he elevated Q. Fufius Calenus and P. Vatinius to the consulship, but he caused himself and his master of the horse, M. Aemilius Lepidus to be elected consuls for the next year. It was during this time that he quelled a formidable mutiny of his troops which had broken out in Campania.
  Caesar did not remain in Rome more than two or three months. With his usual activity and energy, he set out to Africa before the end of the year (B. C. 47), in order to carry on the war against Scipio and Cato, who had collected a large army in that country. Their forces were far greater than Caesar could bring against them at present ; but he was well aware of the advantage which a general has in acting on the offensive, and had too much reliance on his own genius to be alarmed by mere disparity of numbers. At the commencement of the campaign, however, Caesar was in considerable difficulties; but, having been joined by some of his other legions, he was able to prosecute the campaign with more vigour, and finally brought it to a close by the battle of Thapsus, on the 6th of April, B. C. 46, in which the Pompeian army was completely defeated. Cato, finding himself unable to defend Utica, put an end to his own life. The other towns in Africa submitted to the conqueror, and Caesar was thus able to be in Rome again by the latter end of July, according to the old calendar.
  Caesar was now the undisputed master of the Roman world. As he drew near to Rome, great apprehensions were entertained by his enemies lest, notwithstanding his former clemency, he should imitate Marius and Sulla, and proscribe all his opponents. But these fears were perfectly groundless. A love of cruelty was no part of Caesar's nature; and, with a magnanimity which victors rarely shew, and least of all those in civil wars, he freely forgave all who had borne arms against him, and declared that he should make no difference between Pompeians and Caesarians. His object was now to allay animosities, and to secure the lives and property of all the citizens of his new kingdom. As soon as the news of his African victory reached Rome, and before he himself arrived there, a public thanksgiving of forty days was decreed in his honour, and the dictatorship was bestowed upon him for ten years, and the censorship, under the new title of " Praefectus Morum," for three years. Caesar had never yet enjoyed a triumph ; and, as he had now no further enemies to meet, he availed himself of the opportunity of celebrating his victories in Gaul, Egypt, Pontus, and Africa by four magnificent triumphs. None of these, however, were in honour of his successes in the civil war; and consequently his African triumph was to commemorate his victory over Juba, and not over Scipio and Cato. These triumphs were followed by largesses of corn and money to the people and the soldiers, by public banquets, and all sorts of entertainments. Never before had the games of the circus and the amphitheatre been celebrated with such splendour; for Caesar well knew the temper of the Roman populace, and that they would be willing enough to surrender their so-called liberties if they were well fed and amused.
  Caesar next appears in the character of a legislator. He now proceeded to correct the various evils which had crept into the state, and to obtain the enactment of several laws suitable to the altered condition of the commonwealth. He attempted by severe sumptuary laws to restrain the extravagance which pervaded all classes of society. In order to prevent any other general from following his own career, he obtained a law by which no one was to be allowed to hold a praetorian province for longer than one year, or a consular for more than two years. But the most important of his changes this year (B. C. 46) was the reformation of the calendar, which was a real benefit to his country and the civilized world, and which he accomplished in his character as pontifex maximus, with the assistance of Sosigenes, the Alexandrine mathematician, and the scribe M. Flavius, though he himself also was well acquainted with astronomy. The regulation of the Roman calendar had always been entrusted to the college of pontiffs, who had been accustomed to lengthen or shorten the year at their pleasure for political purposes; and the confusion had at length become so great, that the Roman year was three months in advance of the real time. To remedy this serious evil, Caesar added 90 days to this year, and thus made the whole year consist of 445 days; and he guarded against a repetition of similar errors for the future by adapting the year to the sun's course. (Dict. of Ant. s.v. Calendarium.)
  In the midst of these labours, Caesar was interrupted by intelligence of a formidable insurrection which had broken out in Spain, where the remains of the Pompeian party had again collected a large army under the command of Pompey's sons, Cneius and Sextus. Having been previously designated consul and dictator for the following year, Caesar set out for Spain at the latter end of B. C. 46. With his usual activity, he arrived at Obulco near Corduba in twenty-seven days from the time of his leaving Rome. He found the enemy able to offer stronger opposition than he had anticipated ; but he brought the war to a close by the battle of Munda, on the 17th of March, B. C. 45, in which he entirely defeated the enemy. It was, however, a hard-fought battle : Caesar's troops were at first driven back, and were only rallied again by their general's exposing his own person, like a common soldier, in the front line of the battle. Cn. Pompeius was killed shortly afterwards, but Sextus made good his escape. The settlement of the affairs in Spain detained Caesar in the province some months longer, and he consequently did not reach Rome till September. He entered the city at the beginning of October in triumph on account of his victories in Spain, although the victory had been gained over Roman citizens, and he also allowed triumphs to his legates Fabius Maximus and Q. Pedius. The senate received him with the most servile flattery. They had in his absence voted a public thanksgiving of fifty days on account of his victory in Spain, and various other honorary decrees, and they now vied with each other in paying him every species of adulation and homage. He was to wear, on all public occasions, the triumphal robe; he was to receive the title of " Father of his country ;" statues of him were to be placed in all the temples; his portrait was to be struck on coins; the month of Quintilis was to receive the name of Julius in his honour, and he was to be raised to a rank among the gods. But there were still more important decrees than these, which were intended to legalise his power and confer upon him the whole government of the Roman world. He received the title of imperator for life; he was nominated consul for the next ten years, and both dictator and praefectus morum for life; his person was declared sacred; a guard of senators and knights was appointed to protect him, and the whole senate took an oath to watch over his safety.
  If we now look at the way in which Caesar exerted his sovereign power, it cannot be denied that he used it in the main for the good of his country. He still pursued his former merciful course : no proscriptions or executions took place; and he began to revolve vast schemes for the benefit of the Roman world. He was at the same time obliged to reward his followers, and for that reason he greatly increased the number of senators, augmented the number of public magistrates, so that there were to be sixteen praetors, forty quaestors, and six aediles, and he added new members to the priestly colleges. Among his other plans of internal improvement, he proposed to frame a digest of all the Roman laws, to establish public libraries, to drain the Pomptine marshes, to enlarge the harbour of Ostia, and to dig a canal through the isthmus of Corinth. To protect the boundaries of the Roman empire, he meditated expeditions against the Parthians and the barbarous tribes on the Danube, and had already begun to make preparations for his departure to the East. In the midst of these vast projects he entered upon the last year of his life, B. C. 44, and his fifth consulship and dictatorship. He had made M. Antony his colleague in the consulship, and M. Lepidus the master of the horse. Caesar had for some time past resolved to preserve the supreme power in his family; and, as he had no legitimate children, had fixed upon his greatnephew Octavius (afterwards the emperor Augustus) as his successor. Possessing royal power, he now wished to obtain the title of king, which he might hand down to his successor on the throne, and accordingly got his colleague Antony to offer him the diadem in public on the festival of the Lupercalia (the 15th of February); but, seeing that the proposition was not favourably received by the people, he resolved to decline it for the present. Caesar's wish for the title of king must not be regarded as merely a desire to obtain an empty honour, the reality of which he already possessed. Had he obtained it, and been able to bequeath it to his successor, he would have saved the state from many of the evils which subsequently arose from the anomalous constitution of the Roman empire as it was finally established by Augustus. The state would then have become an hereditary and not an elective monarchy, and would not have fallen into the hands of an insolent and rapacious soldiery.
  Meantime, the conspiracy against Caesar's life had been already formed as early as the beginning of the year. It had been set afoot by Cassius, a personal enemy of Caesar's, and there were more than sixty persons privy to it. Personal hatred alone seems to have been the motive of Cassius, and probably of several others. Many [p. 554] of them had taken an active part in the war against Caesar, and had not only been forgiven by him, but raised to offices of rank and honour; but forgiveness by an enemy, instead of exciting gratitude, only renders the benefactor still more hateful to men of low and base minds. They pretended that their object was to restore liberty to the state, and some, perhaps M. Brutus among the rest, believed that they should be doing good service to their country by the assassination of its ruler. But the majority were undoubtedly actuated by the mere motive of restoring their own party to power : every open attempt to crush their enemy had failed, and they had now recourse to assassination as the only means of accomplishing their object. Their project was nearly discovered; but Caesar disregarded the warnings that had been given him, and fell by the daggers of his assassins in the senatehouse, on the ides, or fifteenth, of March, B. C. 44. Caesar's death was undoubtedly a loss not only for the Roman people, but the whole civilized world. The republic was utterly lost; it could not have been restored; and if there had been any possibility of establishing it again, it would have fallen into the hands of a profligate aristocracy, which would only have sought its own aggrandizement upon the ruins of its country. Now the Roman world was called to go through many years of disorder and bloodshed, till it rested again under the supremacy of Augustus, who had neither the talents, the power, nor the inclination to carry into effect the vast and salutary plans of his uncle. When we recollect the latter years of the Roman republic, the depravity and corruption of the ruling class, the scenes of anarchy and bloodshed which constantly occurred in the streets of the capital, it is evident that the last days of the republic had come, and that its only hope of peace and security was under the strong hand of military power. And fortunate was it in obtaining a ruler so mild and so beneficent as Caesar. Pompey was not naturally cruel, but he was weak and irresolute, and was surrounded by men who would have forced him into the most violent and sanguinary acts, if his party had prevailed.
  Caesar was in his fifty-sixth year at the time of his death. His personal appearance was noble and commanding; he was tall in stature, of a fair complexion, and with black eyes full of expression. He never wore a beard, and in the latter part of his life his head was bald. His constitution was originally delicate, and he was twice attacked by epilepsy while transacting public business; but, by constant exercise and abstemious living, he had acquired strong and vigorous health, and could endure almost any amount of exertion. He took great pains with his person, and was considered to be effeminate in his dress. His moral character, as far as the connexion of the sexes goes, was as low as that of the rest of the Romans of his age. His intrigues with the most distinguished Roman ladies were notorious, and he was equally lavish of his favours in the provinces.
  If we now turn to the intellectual character of Caesar, we see that he was gifted by nature with the most various talents, and was distinguished by the most extraordinary genius and attainments in the most diversified pursuits. He was at one and the same time a general, a statesman, a lawgiver, a jurist, an orator, a poet, an historian, a philologer, a mathematician and an architect. He was equally fitted to excel in all, and has given proofs that he would have surpassed almost all other men in any subject to which he devoted the energies of his extraordinary mind. Julius Caesar was the greatest man of antiquity; and this fact must be our apology for the length to which this notice has extended. His greatness as a general has been sufficiently shewn by the above sketch; but one circumstance, which has been generally overlooked, places his genius for war in a most striking light. Till his fortieth year, when he went as propraetor into Spain, Caesar had been almost entirely engaged in civil life. He had served, it is true, in his youth, but it was only for a short time, and in campaigns of secondary importance; he had never been at the head of an army, and his whole military experience must have been of the most limited kind. Most of the greatest generals in the history of the world have been distinguished at an early age : Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Frederick of Prussia, and Napoleon Bonaparte, gained some of their most brilliant victories under the age of thirty; but Caesar from the age of twenty-three to forty had seen nothing of war, and, notwithstanding, appears all at once as one of the greatest generals that the world has ever seen.
  During the whole of his busy life Caesar found time for literary pursuits, and always took pleasure in the society and conversation of men of learning. He himself was the author of many works, the majority of which has been lost. The purity of his Latin and the clearness of his style were celebrated by the ancients themselves, and are conspicuous in his " Commentarii," which are his only works that have come down to us. They relate the history of the first seven years of the Gallic war in seven books, and the history of the Civil war down to the commencement of the Alexandrine in three books. In them Caesar has carefully avoided all rhetorical embellishments; he narrates the events in a clear unassuming style, and with such apparent truthfulness that he carries conviction to the mind of the reader. They seem to have been composed in the course of his campaigns, and were probably worked up into their present form during his winter-quarters. The Commentaries on the Gallic War were published after the completion of the war in Gaul, and those on the Civil War probably after his return from Alexandria. The " Ephemerides" of Caesar must not be regarded as a separate work, but only as the Greek name of the " Commentarii." Neither of these works, however, completed the history of the Gallic and Civil wars. The history of the former was completed in an eighth book, which is usually ascribed to Hirtius, and the history of the Alexandrine, African, and Spanish wars were written in three separate books, which are also ascribed to Hirtius. The question of their authorship is discussed under HIRTIUS.
  Besides the Commentaries, Caesar also wrote the following works, which have been lost, but the mere titles of which are a proof of his literary activity and diversified knowledge: 1. " Orationes," some of which have been mentioned in the preceding account, and a complete list of which is given in Meyer's Oratorum Romanorum Fragmenta, p. 404, &c., 2nd ed. The ancient writers speak of Caesar as one of the first orators of his age, and describe him as only second to Cicero. (Quintil. x. 1. 114; Vell. Pat. ii. 36; Cic. Brut. 72,74; Tac. Ann. xiii. 3, Dial. de Orat. 21 ; Plut. Caes. 3; Suet. Caes. 55.) 2. "Epistolae," of which several are preserved in the collection of Cicero's letters, but there were still more in the time of Suetonius (Caes. 56) and Appian (B. C. ii. 79). 3. " Anticato," in two books, hence sometimes called " Anticatones," a work in reply to Cicero's " Cato," which the Roman orator wrote in praise of Cato after the death of the latter in B. C. 46. (Suet. l. c.; Gell. iv. 16; Cic. ad Att. xii. 40, 41, xiii. 50, &c.) 4. " De Analogia," or as Cicero explains it, " De Ratione Latine loquendi," in two books, which contained investigations on the Latin language, and were written by Caesar while he was crossing the Alps in his return from his winter-quarters in the north of Italy to join his army in further Gaul. It was dedicated to Cicero, and is frequently quoted by the Latin grammarians. (Suet. l. c.; Cic. Brut. 72; Plin. H. N. vii. 30. s. 31; Gell. xix. 8; Quintil. i. 7. 34.) 5. " Libri Auspiciorum," or " Auguralia." As pontifex maximus Caesar had a general superintendence over the Roman religion, and seems to have paid particular attention to the subject of this work, which must have been of considerable extent as the sixteenth book is quoted by Macrobius. (Sat. i. 16; comp. Priscian, vi. p. 719, ed. Putsch.) 6. " De Astris," in which he treated of the movements of the heavenly bodies. (Macrob. l. c.; Plin. H. N. xviii. 25. s. 57, &c.) 7. "Apophthegmata," or " Dicta collectanea," a collection of good sayings and witty remarks of his own and other persons. It seems from Suetonius that Caesar had commenced this work in his youth, but he kept making additions to it even in his dictatorship, so that it at length comprised several volumes. This was one of Caesar's works which Augustus suppressed. (Suet. l. c.; Cic. ad Fam. ix. 16.) 8. " Poemata." Two of these written in his youth, " Laudes Herculis" and a tragedy " Oedipus," were suppressed by Augustus. He also wrote several epigrams, of which three are preserved in the Latin Anthology. (Nos. 68-70, ed. Meyer.) There was, too, an astronomical poem of Caesar's, probably in imitation of Aratus's, and lastly one entitled " Iter," descriptive of his journey from the city to Spain, which he wrote at the latter end of the year B. C. 46, while he was on this journey.
  The editio princeps of Caesar's Commentaries was printed at Rome in 1449, fol. Among the subsequent editions, the most important are by Jungermann, containing a Greek translation of the seven books of the Gallic war made by Planudes (Francf. 1606, 4to., and 1669,4to.); by Graevius, with the life of Caesar, ascribed to Julius Celsus (Amst. 1697, 8vo., and Lug. Bat. 1713, 8vo.); by Cellarius (Lips. 1705); by Davis, with the Greek translation of Planudes (Cant. 1706, 1727, 4to.) ; by Oudendorp (Lugd. Bat. 1737, 4to., Stuttgard, 1822, 8vo.); by Morus (Lips. 1780, 8vo.), reedited by Oberlin (Lips. 1805, 1819, 8vo.).
  (The principal ancient sources for the life of Caesar are the biographies of him by Suetonius and Plutarch, the histories of Dion Cassius, Appian, and Velleius Paterculus, and the letters and orations of Cicero. The life of Caesar ascribed to Julius Celsus, of Constantinople, who lived in the seventh century after Christ, is a work of Petrarch's, as has been shewn by C. E. Ch. Schneider in his work entitled " Petrarchae, Historia Julii Caesaris," Lips. 1827. Among modern works the best account of Caesar's life is in Drumann's Geschichte Roms. Caesar's campaigns have been criticised by Napoleon in the work entitled " Precis des Guerres de Cesar par Napoleon, ecrit par M. Marchand, a I'ile Sainte-Helene, sous la dictee de I'Empereur," Paris, 1836.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Law-givers

Justus, Papirius

Justus, Papirius, a Roman jurist, who lived in the time of the Antonines, and collected imperial constitutions. Of his Constititionum Libri XX. there are 16 fragments in the Digest, not extending beyond the 8th book. The constitutions cited are all rescripts of the Antonines,either Marcus alone (Dig. 2. tit. 14. s. 60) or Marcus and Verus jointly. Of the collector nothing more is known, but his date is inferred from the circumstance that the Antonines are named in the extracts taken from his work without the epithet Divus. (Aug. C. Stockmann [Car. Aug. Hennike], Papirii Justi, Icti Romani, fragmenta observatiunculis illustrata, 4to, Lips. 1792; Petr. Elisa Piepers, de Papirio Justo, Icto, 4to. Lug. Bat. 1824.)

Orators

Hortensius Quintus

PALANTION (Ancient city) ROME
Q. Hortensius, L.F., the orator, born in B. C. 114, eight years before Cicero, the same year that L. Crassus made his famous speech for the Vestal Licinia (Cic. Brut. 64, 94). At the early age of nineteen he appeared in the forum, and his first speech gained the applause of tile consuls, L. Crassus and Q. Scaevola, the former the greatest orator, the latter the first jurist of the day. Crassus also heard his second speech for Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, who had been expelled by his brother Chrestus. His client was restored (Cic. de Orat. iii. 61). By these speeches Hortensius at once rose to eminence as an advocate. Q. Hortensius, says Cicero, admodum adolescentis ingenium simul spectatum et probatum est (Brut. 64). But his forensic pursuits were soon interrupted by the Social War, in which he was obliged to serve two campaigns (B. C. 91, 90), in the first as a legionary, in the second as tribunus militum (Brut. 89). In the year 86 B. C. he defended young Cn. Pompeius, who was accused of having embezzled some of the public booty taken at Asculum in the course of the war (Brut. 64). But, for the most part, the courts were silent during the anarchy which followed the Marian massacres, up to the return of Sulla, B. C. 83. But these troubles, though they checked the young orator in his career, left him complete master of the courts--rex judiciorum,-- as Cicero calls him (Divin. in Q. Caecil. 7). For Crassus had died before the landing of Marius ; Antonius, Catulus, and others fell victims in the massacres; and Cotta, who survived, yielded the first place to his younger rival. Hortensius, therefore, began his brilliant professional cancer anew, and was carried along on the top of tile wave till he met a more powerful than himself in Cicero. Henceforth he confined himself to civil life, and was wont to boast in his old age that he had never borne arms in any domestic strife (Cic. ad Fam. ii. 16). He attached himself closely to the dominant Sullane or aristocratic party, and his chief professional labours were in defending men of this party, when accused of mal-adminstration and extortion in their provinees, or of bribery and the like in canvaissilng for public honlours. His constant success, partly due to his own eloquence, readiness, and skill (of which we shall say somewhat hereafter, was yet in great measure due to circumstances. The judices at that time were all taken form the senatorial order, i. e. from the same party with those who were arraigned before them, and the presiding praetor was of the same party. Moreover, the accusers were for the most part young men, of ability indeed and ambition, but [p. 526] quite unequal to cope with the experience and eloquence of Hortensius. Nor did lie neglect baser methods to ensure success. Part of the plundered money, which he was engaged to secure to his clients, was unscrupulously expended in corrupting the judices; those who accepted the bribes receiving marked ballots to prevent their playing false (Cic. Divin. in Q. Caecil. 7). It is true this statement rests chiefly on the authority of a rival advocate. But Cicero would hardly have dared to make it so broadly in open court, with his opponent before him, unless he had good warrant for its truth. Turius, or Furins, mentioned by Horace (Scrm. ii. 1. 49), is said to have been one of the judices corrupted by Hortensius.
  This domination over the courts continued up to about the year B. C. 70, when Hortensius was retained by Verres against Cicero. Cicero had come to Rome from Athens in B. C. 81, and first met Hortensius as the advocate of P. Quinctius. Cicero's speech is extant, and not the least interesting part is that in which he describes and admits the extraordinary gifts of his future rival (pro Quinct. 1, 2, 22, 24, 26). But Cicero again left Rome, and did not finally settle there till B. C. 74, about three years before the Verrine affair came on.
  Meantime, Hortensius had begun his course of civil honours. He was quaestor in B. C. 81, and Cicero himself bears witness to the integrity with which his accounts were kept (in Verr. i. 14, 39). Soon after he defended M. Canuleius (Brut. 92); Cn. Dolabella, when accused of extortion in Cilicia by M. Scaurus; another Cn. Dolabella, arraigned by Caesar for like offences in Macedonia. In B. C. 75 he was aediie, Cotta the orator being consul, and Cicero quaestor in Sicily (Brut. 92). The games and shows he exhibited as aedile were long remembered for their extaordinary splendour (Cic. de )Off. ii. 16); but great part of this splendour was the loan of those noble clients, whose robberies he had so successfully excused (Cic. in Verr. i. 19, 22; Ascon. ad. l.). In B. C. 72 he was praetor urbanus, and had the task of trying those delinquents whom he had hitherto defended. In B. C. 69 he reached the summit of civic ambition, being consul for that year with Q. Caecilius Metellus. After his consulship the province of Crete feii to him by lot, but he resigned it in favour of his colleague.
  It was in the year before his consulship, after he was designated, that the prosecution of Verres commenced. Cicero was then aedile-elect, though Hortensius and his party had endeavoured to prevent his election, and another Metellus praetorelect ; so that, had the cause been put off till the next year, Cicero would have had the weight of consular and praetorian authority against him. The skill and activity by which he baffled the schemes of his opponents will be found under his life. Suffice it to say here, that the issue of this contest was to dethrone Hortensius from the seat which had been already tottering, and to establish his rival, the despised provincial of Arpinum, as the first orator and advocate of the Roman forum. No doubt the victory was complete, though here, as in all the contests between the two orators, the remark of Quintilian is worth noticing, viz. that we have only Cicero's own speeches, and have small means of judging what the case on the other side was (Instit. x. 1). It is true also that Verres was backed by all the power of the Sullane aristocracy. But this party had been much weakened by the measures passed by Pompey in his consulship with Crassus in the year before (B. C. 70). Especially, the Aemilian law, which transferred the judicial power from the senators to the senators, equites, and tribune aerarii conjointly, must have very much weakened the influence of Hortensius and his party. (Ascon. and Cic. in Pison.).
  After his consulship, Hortensius took a leading part in supporting the optimates against the rising power of Pompey. He opposed the Gabinian law, which invested that great commander with absolute power on the Mediterranean, in order to put down the pirates of Cilicia (B. C. 67); and the Manilian, by which the conduct of the war against Mithridates was transferred from Lucullus (of the Sullane party) to Pompeius (B. C. 66). In favour of the latter, Cicero made his first political speech.
  In the memorable year B. C. 63 Cicero was unanimously elected consul. He had already become estranged from the popular party, with whom he had hitherto acted. The intrigues of Caesar and Crassus, who supported his opponents C. Antonius and the notorious Catiline, touched him personally; and he found it his duty as consul to oppose the turbulent measures of the popular leaders, such as the agrarian law of Rullus. Above all, the conspiracy of Catiline, to which Crassus was suspected of being privy, forced him to combine with the senate for the safety of the state. He thus came to act with the Sullane nobility, and Hortensius no longer appears as his rival. We first find them pleading together for C. Rabirins, an old senator, who was indicted for the murder of C. Saturninus, tribune of the plebs in the times of Sulla. They both appeared as counsel for L. Muraena, when accused of bribery in canvassing for the consulship by Sulpicius and Cato; and again for P. Sulla, accused as an accomplice of Catiline. On all these occasions Hortensius allowed Cicero to speak last--a manifest admission of his former rival's superiority. And that this was the general opinion appears from the fact, that M. Piso (consul in 61), in calling over the senate, named Cicero second, and Hortensius only fourth. About the same time we find Cicero, in a letter to their mutual friend Atticus, calling him "noster Hortensius" (ad Att. i. 14).
  The last active part which Hortensius took in public life was in the debates of the senate in the prosecution of the infamous Clodius for his offence against the Bona Dea. Fearing delay, he supported the amendment of Fufius, that Clodius should be tried before the ordinary judices, instead of before a court selected by the praetor. Cicero condemns his conduct in strong terms (ad Att. i. 16; cf. 14), and seems to have considered the success of this amendment as the chief cause of Clodius's acquittal.In the subsequent quarrels between Milo and Clodius, Hortensius showed such zeal for the former, that he was nearly being murdered by the hired ruffians of Clodius (Cic. pro Milon. 14).
  In B. C. 61 Pompey returned victorious from the Mithridatic war. He found he could no longer command a party of his own. He must side with one of the two factions which had been fully formed during his absence in the East--the old party of the optimates and the new popular party, led by Caesar and Crassus, who used Clodius [p. 527] as their instrument. Hence followed (ill B. C. 60) the coalition of Pompey with Caesar and Crassus (erroneously called the first triumvirate). Hortensius now drew back from public life, seeing probably that his own party must yield to the arts and power of the coalition, and yet not choosing to forsake it. From this time to his death (in B. C. 50) he confined himself to his advocate's duties. He defended Flaccus, accused of extortion in Asia, jointly with Cicero, and took occasion to extol the acts of the latter in his consulship (ad Att. ii. 25). He also pleaded the cause of P. Lentulus Spinther, against whom Pompey had promoted an accusation for his conduct respecting Ptolemy Auletes, though Cicero, fearing a second banishment, declined the office (ad Fam. i. 1, ii. 1). He joined Cicero again iN the defence of Sextius, and again allowed him to speak last (pro Sext. ii. 6). When the latter was in his province (B. C. 51), Hortensius defended his own nephew, M. Valerius Messalla, who was accused of bribery in canvassing for the consulship. He was, as usual, successful; but the case was so flagrant, that, next day, when Hortensius entered the theatre of Curio, he was received with a round of hisses -a thing mainly remarkable, because it was the first time lie had suffered any thing of the kind (ad Fam. viii. 2). In the beginning of April, B. C. 50, he appeared for the last time, with his wonted success, for App. Claudius, accused de majestate et ambitu by Dolabella, the future sonin-law of Cicero. He died not long after. Cicero received the news of his death at Rhodes, as he was returning home from his province, and was deeply affected by it (ad Att. vi. 6; comp. Brut. 1.)
  In the above sketch of Hortensius's life, we have kept Cicero constantly in view, for it is from him -his speeches and letters, and other works- that we owe almost all our knowledge of his great rival. It may be well to recur to the relation in which they stood to each other at different times. We have seen that up to Cicero's consulship, in 63 B. C., they were continually opposed. professionally and politically. After this period they usually acted together professionally -for Hortensius retired (as we have seen) from political life in the year 60. Hortensius, in his easy way, seems to have yielded without much struggle to Cicero; yet the latter seems never quite to have got over jealousy for his former rival. When he was driven into exile by Clodius (in 58), Hortensius appears to have used his influence to procure his return; yet Cicero could not be persuaded but that he was playing a part, and was secretly doing his utmost to keep him from Rome. Atticus in vain endeavoured to undeceive him (Ad Q. Frat. i. 3, 4, ad Att. iii. 9). On his return, indeed, he made public acknowledgment of his error, and spoke very handsomely of Hortensius (pro Sext. 16-19, post Redit. 13, 14), and soon after he was named by Hortensius and Pompey to fill the place in the college of augurs, made vacant by the death of Q. Metellus Celer (Brut. 1, Philipp. ii. 2, 13); yet, when Atticus begged him to dedicate some work to Hortensius, he evaded the request (ad Att. iv. 6); -for the little treatise De Gloria, inscribed "Hortensius", was not written till 45 B. C., after the death of the orator. The same feelings recur in Cicelo's letters from his province. In his extreme anxiety to return at the expiration of his year, he continually expresses his fears that Hortensius is playing hint false, and working under-handle to have him detained yet longer (ad Att. v. 17 ; comp. ib. 2. &c.). There seems to have been really no ground for these suspicions, and we must set them down to the naturally susceptible and irritable temper of Cicero. It must be confessed, moreover, that the conduct of some of his great friends, Pompey in particular, had been such as to justify suspicions of others.
  The character of Hortensius was rather fitted to conciliate than to command -to call forth regard rather than esteem. He was not, as we have seen, at all scrupulous about the means he took to gain verdicts; but in considering this, we must not forget the low state of Roman manners (not to speak of morals) at this period. Personally he seems to stand above suspicion of corruption. Yet his enormous wealth was not all well gotten; for Cicero quotes a case in which Hortensius did not scruple to join Crassus in taking possession of the inheritance of Minuc. Basilius, though, from the circumstances, he must have known that the will under which he claimed was a forgery (De Offic. iii. 18; cf. Parad. vi. 1; Val. Max. ix. 4,1). And though he was honest as quaestor, though he would not accept a province to drain it of its riches, yet no doubt he shared the plunder of provinces, not immediately indeed, but in the shape of large fees and presents from the Dolabellas and other persons like Verres, whom he so often and so successfully defended. He liked to live at Rome and his villas; he loved an easy life and a fair fame, had little ambition, and therefore avoided all acts that might have made him amenable to prosecution. The same easy temper, joined as it often is with a kind heart and generous disposition, won him many friends; and perhaps we may say that he had no enemies. He lived to a good age, little disturbed by ill health, surrounded by all that wealth can give, alive to all his enjoyments, with as much of active occupation as he desired, without being disturbed by the political turbulence of his times. He died just at the time when civil war broke out, a complete specimen of an amiable Epicurean.
  His eloquence was of the florid or (as it was termed) "Asiatic" style (Cic. Brut. 95), fitter for hearing than for reading. Yet he did write his speeches--on occasions at least (Cic. Brut. 96 ; Val. Max. v. 9.2). His voice was soft and musical (Brut. 88); his memory so ready and retentive, that he is said to have been able to come out of a sale-room and repeat the auction-list backwards (Senec. Praef. in Controv. 1). We need not refer to Cicero (Brut. 88, in Caecil. 14) to perceive what use this must have been to him as an advocate. His action was very elaborate, so that sneerers called him Dionysia--the name of a well-known dancer of the day (Gell. i. 5); and the pains he bestowed in arranging the folds of his toga have been recorded by Macrobius (Saturn. ii. 9). But in all this there must have been a real grace and dignity, for we read that Aesopus and Roscius, the tragedians, used to follow him into the forum to take a lesson in their own art.
  Of his luxurious habits many stories are told. His house on the Palatine was that afterwards occupied by Augustus (Suet. Aug. 72); but this was comparatively simple and modest. In his villas no expense was spared. One he had near Bauli, described by Cicero (Acad. Prior. ii. 3) ; a second in the Ager Tusculanus; but the most splendid was that near Laurentum. Here he laid up such a stock of wine, that he left 10,000 casks of Chian to his heir (Plin. H. N xiv. 6, 17). Here he had a park fill of all sorts of animals; and it was customary, during his sumptuous dinners, for a slave, dressed like Orpheus, to issue from the woods with these creatures following the sound of his cithara (Varr. R. R. iii. 13). At Bauli he had immense fish-ponds, into which the sea came : the fish were so tame that they would feed from his land; none of them were molested, for he used to buy for his table at Puteoli; and he was so fond of them, that lie is said to have wept for the death of a favourite muraena (Varr. R. R. iii. 17; Plin. H. N. ix. 55). He was also very curious in trees: he is said to have fed them with wine, and we read that he once begged Cicero to change places in speaking, that he might perform this office for a favourite plane-tree at the proper time (Macrob. Satrn. ii. 9). In pictures also lie must have spent large sums, at least he gave 144,001) sesterces for a single work from the hand of Cydias (Plin. HN. xxxv. 40, Β§ 26). It is a characteristic trait. that he came forward from his retirement (B. C. 55) to oppose the sumptuary law of Pompey and Crassus, and spoke so eloquently and wittily as to procure its rejection (Dion Cass. xxxix. 37). He was the first person at Rome who brought peacocks to table. (Plin. H. N. x. 23).
  He was not happy in his family. By his first wife, the daughter of Catulus, he had one son. It was after the death of Lutatia that the curious transaction took place by which he bought or borrowed Marcia, the wife of Cato. He is acquitted of sensual profligacy by Plutarch (Cut. Mi. 25); though he wrote love-songs not of the most decent description (Ov. Trist. ii. 441; Gell. xix. 9).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hortensius, son of the great orator

Q. Hortensius Hortalus, Q. F. L. N., son of the great orator, by Lutatia. His education was probably little cared for, for Cicero attributes his profligacy to the corrupting influence of one Salvius, a freedman (ad Att. x. 18). On his return from his province, in B. C. 50, Cicero found him at Laodicea, living with gladiators and other low company (ad Att. vi. 3). From the expressions in the same place, it appears that his father had cast him off; and we learn from other authority that he purposed to make his nephew, Messalla, his heir, to the exclusion of this son (Val. Malx. v. 9.2). However, he came in for part, at least, of his father's property; for we find Cicero inquiring what he was likely to offer for sale to satisfy his creditors (ad Att. vii. 3). However, in 49, the civil war broke out, and Hortensius seized on the opportunity to repair his ruined fortunes. He joined Caesar in Cisalpine Gaul, and was sent on by him to occupy Ariminum; he therefore was the man who first actually crossed the Rubicon (Plut. Caes. 32; Suet. Jul. 31). Soon after he commanded a cruising squadron on the coast of Italy,and received a letter from Curio, Caesar's lieutenant in Sicily, desiring him to favour the escape of Cicero. He visited Terentia, Cicero's wife, at their Cuman villa, and Cicero himself at his Pompeian, to assure them of his good offices (Cic. ad Att. x. 12, 16, 17); but he did not, or perhaps could not, keep his word. (Ib. 18). His squadron joined the fleet of Dolabella a little before the battle of Pharsalia.
  In B. C. 44 he held the province of Macedonia, and Brutus was to succeed him. After Caesar's assassination, M. Antony gave the province to his brother Caius. Brutus, however, had already taken possession, with the assistance of Hortensius (Cic. Phillipp. x. 6, 11). When the proscription took place, Hortensius was in the list; and in revenge he ordered C. Antonius, who had been taken prisoner, to be put to death. After the battle of Philippi, he was executed on the grave of his victim.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hortensius, L., father of the orator,

L. Hortensius, father of the orator, praetor of Sicily in B. C. 97, and remembered there for his just and upright conduct. (Cic. Verr. iii. 16.) He married Sempronia, daughter of C. Semnpr. Tuditanus (Cic. ad Att. xiii. 6, 30, 32).

Hortensia, sister of the orator

Hortensia, a sister of the orator, wife of M. Valerius Messala. Their son nearly became heir to the orator.

Hortensia, daughter of the orator

Hortensia, daughter of the orator Hortensia, Q. Hortensius. She partook of his eloquence, and spoke before the triumvirs in behalf of the wealthy matrons, when these were threatened with a special tax to defray the expenses of the war against Brutus and Cassius. (Val. Max. viii. 3.3; Quintil. i. 1.6; Appian, B. C. iv. 32)

Hortensius Hortalus, M.

M. Hortensius Hortalus, Q. F. Q. N., grandson of the orator. In the time of Augustus he was in great poverty. The emperor gave him enough to support a senator's rank, and promoted his marriage. Under Tiberius we find him, with four children, again reduced to poverty. (Tacit. Ann. ii. 37, 38; Suet. Aug. 41; Dion Cass. liv. 17.)

Crassus

ROME (Ancient city) ITALY
   Lucius Licinius, a Roman orator and man of consular rank. In B.C. 119, being only twenty-one years of age, he made his debut in the Forum, in a prosecution against C. Carbo. Cicero says that he was remarkable, even at this early period, for his candour and his great love of justice. Crassus was but twenty-seven years old when his eloquence obtained the acquittal of his relation, the Vestal Licinia. Being elevated to the consulship in 95, he was the author of a law by which numbers of the allies, who passed for Roman citizens, were sent back to their respective cities. This law alienated from him the affections of the principal Italians, so that he was regarded by some as the primary cause of the Social War, which broke out three years after. Having Hither Gaul for his province, Crassus freed the country from the robbers that infested it, and for this service had the weakness to claim a triumph. The Senate were favourable to his application; but Scaevola, the other consul, opposed it, on the ground that he had not conquered foes worthy of the Roman people. Crassus conducted himself, in other respects, with great wisdom in his government, and not only did not remove from around him the son of Carbo, who had come as a spy on his conduct, but even placed him by his side on the tribunal, and did nothing of which the other was not a witness.
    Being appointed censor in 92, he caused the school of the Latin rhetoricians to be closed, regarding them as dangerous innovators for the young. Crassus left hardly any orations behind him, and he died while Cicero was yet in his boyhood; but still that author, having collected the opinions of those who had heard him, speaks with a minute and apparently perfect intelligence of his style of oratory. He was what may be called the most ornamental speaker that had hitherto appeared in the Forum. Though not without force, gravity, and dignity, these were happily blended with the most insinuating politeness, urbanity, ease, and gayety. He was master of the most pure and accurate language and of perfect elegance of expression, without any affectation or unpleasant appearance of previous study. Great clearness of language distinguished all his harangues; and, while descanting on topics of law or equity, he possessed an inexhaustible fund of argument and illustration. Some persons considered Crassus as only equal to Antonius, his great contemporary; others preferred him as the more perfect and accomplished orator. The most splendid of all the efforts of Crassus was the immediate cause of his death, which happened in B.C. 91, a short while before the commencement of the civil wars of Marius and Sulla, and a few days after the time in which he is supposed to have borne his part in the dialogue De Oratore. The consul Philippus had declared, in one of the assemblies of the people, that some other advice must be resorted to, since, with such a Senate as then existed, he could no longer direct the affairs of the government. A full Senate being immediately summoned, Crassus arraigued, in terms of the most glowing eloquence, the conduct of the consul, who, instead of acting as the political parent and guardian of the Senate, sought to deprive its members of their ancient inheritance of respect and dignity. Being further irritated by an attempt on the part of Philippus to force him into compliance with his designs, he exerted, on this occasion, the utmost effort of his genius and strength; but he returned home with a pleuritic fever, of which he died seven days after. This oration of Crassus, followed, as it was, by his almost immediate death, made a deep impression on his countrymen; who, long afterwards, were wont to repair to the Senate-house for the purpose of viewing the spot where he had last stood, and where he fell, as it may be said, in defence of the privileges of his order.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Fabianus Papirius

Fabianus, Papirius, a Roman rhetorician and philosopher in the time of Tiberius and Caligula. He was the pupil of Arellius Fuscus and of Blandus in rhetoric, and of Sextius in philosophy: and although much the younger of the two, he instructed Albutius Silas in eloquence. (Senec. Coutror. ii. prooem., iii., ed. Bipont.) The rhetorical style of Fabianus is described by the elder Seneca (Controv. iii. proem.), and he is frequently cited in the third book of controversiac, and in the Suasoriae. His early model in rhetoric was his instructor Arellius Fuscus; but he afterwards adopted a less ornate form of eloquence, though he never attained to perspicuity and simplicity. Fabiamus soon, however, quitted rhetoric for philosophy; and the younger Seneca places his philosophical works next to those of Cicero, Asinius Pollio, and Livy the historian. (Senec. Epist. 100.) The philosophical style of Fabianus is described in this letter of Seneca's, and in some points his description corresponds with that of the elder Seneca. (Controv. ii. prooem.) Both the Senecas seem to have known, and certainly greatly esteemed Fabianus. (Cf. Controv. iii. prooem. with Epist. 11.) Fabianus was the author of a work entitled [Rerum ?] Civilium; and his philosophical writings exceeded Cicero's in number. (Senec. Epist. 100.) He had also paid great attention to physical science, and is called by Pliny (H. A. xxxvi. 15, s. 24) rerum nature peritissimus. From Seneca (Natur. Quaest. iii. 27), he appears to have written on Phlysics; and his works entitled De Animalibus and Causarumn Aturalium Libri are frequently referred toby Pliny (H. N. generally in his Elenchos or summary of materials, i. ii. vii. ix. xi. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. xvii. xxiii. xxviii. xxxvi., and specially, but without mention of the particular work of Fabianus, ii. 47.121, ii. 102.223, ix. 8.25, xii. 4.20, xv. 1.4, xxiii. 11.62, xxviii. 5.54).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Flavius, Alfius

Flavius, Alfius, a rhetorician who flourished in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. His reputation attracted to his school the elder Seneca, then recently come to Rome from Corduba. Flavus himself was a pupil of Cestius Pius, whom he eclipsed both in practice and fame as a teacher of rhetoric. He was regarded at Rome as a youthful prodigy, and lectured before he had assumed the dress of manhood. His master, Cestius, said that his talents were too precocious to be permanent; and Seneca (Controv. i. p. 79. Bip.) remarks that Flavus always owed his renown in part to something beside his eloquence. At first his youth attracted wonder; afterwards his ease and carelessness. Yet he long retained a numerous school of hearers, although his talents were latterly spoiled by self-indulgence. Flavus united poetry and history or natural philosophy (Plin. N. H. ix. 8.25, and Elench. ix. xii. xiv. xv.) to rhetoric. (Senec. Controv. i. vii. x. xiv; Schott, de Clar. ap. Senec. Rhet. i.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Fuscus Arellius

Fuscus, Arellius, a rhetorician who flourished at Rome in the latter years of Augustus. He was of equestrian rank, but was degraded from it on account of some remarkable scandal attached to his life. (Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 12.152.) He instructed in rhetoric the poet Ovid (Senec. Controv. x. p. 157 Bip.), the philosopher Fabianus (Id. Controv. proem. ii.), and others. He declaimed more frequently in Greek than in Latin (Suasor. iv.), and his style of declamation is described by Seneca (Controv. proem. ii.), as more brilliant than solid, antithetical rather than eloquent. Seneca, however, highly commends his statement (explicatio) of an argument. (Suasor. iv.) His eulogy of Cicero (Suasor. vii.) is the most interesting specimen of his manner. The Suasoriae and Controversiae both abound in citations from the rhetorical exercises of Fuscus. His rival in teaching and declaiming was Porcius Latro, and their styles seem to have been exact opposites. (Comp. Controv. ii. proem. and x.) Pliny (H. N. xxxiii. 12.152) reproaches Fuscus with wearing silver rings. There were two rhetoricians of this name, a father and son, since Seneca generally affixes "pater" to his mention of Arellius Fuscus. The praenomen of one of them was Quintus.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gallus, L. Plotius

Gallus, L. Plotius, a native of Cisalpine Gaul, was the first person that ever set up a school at Rome for the purpose of teaching Latin and rhetoric, about B. C. 88. Cicero in his boyhood knew him. and would have liked to receive instruction from him in Latin, but his friends prevented it, thinking that the study of Greek was a better training for the intellect. L. Plotius lived to a very advanced age, and was regarded by later writers as the father of Roman rhetoric. (Sueton, De clar. Rhet. 2; Hieron. in Euseb. Chron. Ol. 173, 1 ; Quintil. ii. 4.44; Senec. Controv. ii. prooem.) Besides a work de Gestu (Quintil. xi. 3.143), he wrote judicial orations for other persons, as for Atratinus, who in B. C. 56 accused M. Coelius Rufus. (Comp. Cic. Fragm. p. 461; Schol. Bob. ad Cic. p. Arch. p. 357, ed. Orelli; Varro, de L. L. viii. 36.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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