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Prefaces  to  books  are  usually  of  two  sorts:  eoopldnatory 
and  apologetic.  For  this  reason,  perhaps^  they  are  tolerated 
08  in  some  degree  useful  to  the  comparatvvely  few  who  read 
them.  If  of  the  first-mentioned  kind,  it  is  possible  to  form 
some  estim^e  as  to  whether  the  teoct  has  a  message  for  the 
reader;  while  if  the  introduction  is  of  the  other  variety^ 
to  the  eaperienced  gleaner,  at  least,  it  is  ordinarily  safe  to 
conclude  that  the  book  ought  not  to  have  been  written. 

While  perhaps  not  entirely  justifiable,  I  have  felt  that 
there  is  at  least  excuse  for  the  publication  of  this  little 
compilation — than  which  it  professes  to  be  nothing  mxyre. 
Wkde  reading  with  my  boys  one  of  John  Bonner  s  delight- 
ful  books  for  children,  I  was  impressed  a^  I  had  never 
been  by  nwre  pretentious  Roman  histories,  with  the  almost 
certain  incident  to  the  imperial  office  of  a  death  by  violent 
means.  Curiously  tracing  this  so-called  ^'Imperial  Disease'' 
to  its  origin,  I  finally  discovered  it,  as  it  seemed  to  me,  in 
the  introduction  among  the  Romans  by  the  Empress  Livia 
Augusta  of  the  dreadfid  crime  of  domestic  murder.  And 
after  descending  again  from  JLivia  to  Nero,  and  eocplor- 
ing  the  fate  of  all  who  bore  the  cognomen  of  Caesar  by  the 



Old  of  the  clue  thtis  discovered^  the  conclusion  became  irre- 
sistible that  the  violent  death  which  awaited  so  large  a  pro- 
portion of  the  Roman  Emperors  is  to  be  accounted  for  not 
alone  by  the  license  of  the  times^  but  in  no  small  degree  by 
the  eocistence  of  a  veritable  disease  having  its  origin  in  the 
house  of  Coesar  itself 

Although  eortremely  anomms  not  to  be  classed  among 
those  who  deliberately  cater  to  the  taste  for  all  monstrous 
infractions  of  both  divine  and  natural  lawSy  I  have  as- 
sumed the  risk  which  at  first  sight  might  not  unnaturally 
attach  to  the  narration  of  a  series  of  almost  uninterrupted 
crimpy  confident  that  in  the  end  the  motive  of  this  sketch 
will  not  be  misjudged.  And  while  distinctly  disavowing  the 
intent  of  pointing  a  morale  at  once  so  inexcusable  and  dan- 
gerous in  a  mere  gathering  of  f axis ^  I  have  nevertheless 
felt  that  what  De  Quincey  calls  the  **  striking  and  truly 
scenical  catastroplie  of  retribution  which  overtook  the  long 
evolution  of  insane  atrocities  perpetrated  by  the  Ccesars,'' 
furnishes  a  lesson  so  impressive  as  to  justify  in  som^  mea- 
sure at  least  even  what  may  be  considered  a  monotonous 
relation  of  wickedness  and  outrage. 

I  have  m^eant  this  to  be  an  eocplanation.  If  between  the 
lines  an  apology  is  founds  whosoever  discovers  it  would 
wisely  apply  the  rule  suggested  in  the  introductory  para- 

[  viii  ] 


As  these  pages  have  not  been  written  for  the  learned^  I 
have  not  cited  authorities.  But  my  facts  have  been  gathered 
from  the  visual  sources^ —  Tacitus^  Dion  Cassiv^y  SuetomuSy 
P&ny,  and  Plutarch  among  the  fathers;  besides  making 
use  of  CrAner,  Merivale,  Duruy^  Cribbon,  and  the  many 
writers  quoted  by  them  respectively.  Everything  stated  a^ 
fact  has  been  founded  upon  the  best  obtainable  authority  y 
which  cfter  careful  comparison  has  seemed  to  me  under  all 
the  circumstances  student;  and  where  a  particular  inci- 
dent appears  to  be  in  doubts  I  have  frankly  so  stated. 

The  vahiable  and  interesting  **  Tragedy  of  the  Ccesars'' 
by  S.  Baring-Gould  wa^  not  brought  to  my  attention  until 
the  first  eleven  chapters  of  this  volume  were  completed.  The 
author's  conclusions  are  in  many  respects  so  diametrically 
opposed  to  my  own  and  to  what  has  hitherto  been  so  almost 
universally  accepted  as  unquestionable  fact,  that  both  in  a 
spirit  of  fairness  and  with  an  ananous  regard  for  historic 
truths  whatever  idols  must  be  destroyed,  or  new  altars 
erected^  before  completing  my  work  the  entire  subject  was 
carefvUy  reconsidered  in  the  light  of  Mr.  Baring-Gould's 
argument.  It  need  only  be  said  that  I  have  found  no  rea- 
son to  recast  any  of  my  conclusions — many  qfwhicK  cm  the 
contrary t  have  been  actu^dly  strengthened  cfter  remaining 
unconvinced  by  what  must  be  considered  the  strongest  pos- 
sible presentation  of  the  other  side.  My  twelfth  chapter  was 



accordingly  framed  upon  the  lines  originally  drawn;  in 
the  final  note  to  which  chapter  will  be  found  a  brief  refer- 
ence  to  Mr.  Baring-Gould's  estimate  of  Livia,  Tiberius^ 
Octavia  Minor,  and  the  two  Agrippinas. 

I  am  sure  that  every  one — even  including  the  publishers 
— will  grant  me  a  few  lines  in  closing,  gratefully  to  ac- 
knowledge my  dear  mother's  kindness  in  procuring  many 
of  the  photographs  from  which  the  accompanying  illustra- 
tions have  been  made.  Without  the  assistance  which  her  fa- 
miliarity with  the  subject  and  close  acquaintance  with  the 
museums  consequent  upon  a  long  residence  in  Italy  enabled 
her  to  render  in  the  selection  of  those  busts  and  statues  of 
which  photographs  would  be  desirable,  the  most  interesting 
and  attractive  features  of  this  book  would  have  been  want- 
ing. And  among  the  imperishable  memories  which  lighten 
the  soberer  xnstas  of  the  past,  are  those  of  the  happy  days 
when,  in  supplementing  her  earlier  work,  together  we  sal- 
lied forth  in  the  Eternal  City:  and  by  pleading,  cajolery, 
and  insistence — with  here  and  there,  it  must  be  confessed, 
a  somewhat  laxnsh  use  of  lire — secured  the  necessary  *'per- 
messo''  for  our  lively  little  photographic  "  Tito''  to  make  a 
negative  of  some  rare  bust  which  presumably  had  never 
before  faced  the  camera.  ''Instant  dismissal  would  be  mine, 
Signore  Americano,  if  it  came  to  his  Holiness' s  ears  that 
this  had  been  permitted,"  said  the  smiling  official  as  he  slyly 



pocketed  the  gold  piece  (a  rara  avis  indeed  in  that  land 
of  dirty  paper)  which  was  the  price  of  the  coveted  photo- 
graph afAgrippina  Major  secured  from  the  Chiaramonti 
in  Holy  Lent  itse^/ 

s.  r.  S. 

Naoember^  1901 




I.  Julius  C^sae  S 

IL  C^SAR  Augustus,  the  Fibst  Emperoe  ao 

III.  The  Family  of  Augustus  80 

IV.  Tiberius  Cjesar,  the  Second  Emperor  46 
V.  The  Family  of  Tiberius  66 

VI.   Caligula,  the  Third  Emperor  74 

VII.   The  Family  of  Caligula  82 

VIIL  Claudius  C^sar,  the  Fourth  Emperor  96 

IX.   The  Family  of  Claudius  104 

X.   Nero,  the  Fifth  Emperor  125 

XI.   The  Family  of  Nero  187 

XII.   Results  and  Causes  168 

Appendix  :  Tables  of  the  Victims,  and  of 

Imperial  Deaths  and  Marriages  196 




I.  Completion  of  Splendor  ao7 


II.  Decline  of  Splendor  285 


III.  Revival  of  Splendor  298 


IV.  The  Final  Decline  844 

Index  to  Part  I  881 

Index  to  Part  II  898 



PaLACBS  of  the  CiESARS  moNTisPiscB 

Restored  hf  Betwemdi 

Temples  in  the  Forum  Romanum  facino  page  vii 

Restored  fry  BecchetH 

The  Rostra  and  Arch  of  Sephmius  Severus  8 

Restored  by  BecchetH 

JuunS  C^SAR  6 

Bust  m  British  Museum 


Bust  tit  CapUolknt 


Bust  in  Uffisd  Palace 

Augustus  16 

Bust  in  Vffisi  Palace 

Augustus  20 

Bust  in  Vatican 

Augustus  24 

Staiue  m  Vffisi  Palace 

LlYIA  28 

BuH  in  Vffisi  Palace 

Julia,  daughter  of  Augustus  80 

Bust  in  Vffisi  Palace 

Julia,  daughter  of  Augustus  84 

Bust  in  Vatican 

Agrifpa  88 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 



Bud  m  Uffisi  Palace 

Caius  C^sab,  son  of  Julia  46 

Buil  in  Vatican 

Lucius  C^sab,  son  of  Julia  50 

Btut  in  Vatican 


Bust  in  Vatican 

Tiberius  68 

BuH  in  Uffisi  PtUace 

Tiberius  62 

Statue  in  Vatican 

DrUSUS,  son  OF  TiBEBIUS  66 

Bud  in  Vffisi  Palace 

TiBEBIUS  Gemellus  70 

Bust  in  Lateran 


Bud  in  Uffisi  Palace 

Antonia,  motheb  of  Gebmanicus  76 

Bud  in  Uffisi  Palace 

Antonia,  motheb  of  Gebmanicus  80 

Bud  in  Vatican 

Gebmanicus  82 

Statue  in  Lateran 

Agbippina,  wife  of  Gebmanicus  86 

Bud  in  Vatican 

Agbippina,  wife  of  Gebmanicus  90 

Pnifile  of  Bud  in  Vatican 


In  the  QjqntoHne 



Nero,  son  of  Germanicus  facing  page    96 

Head  of  Statue  in  Lateran 

Drusus,  son  of  Germanicus  100 

Butt  m  CapUoUne 

Caliouia  104 

Bust  m  Uffisi  Palace 

Caligula  108 

Af  some  claimed  to  be  a  statue  of  Augustus,  Statue  m  Fatican 

Caligula  112 

Bust  m  CapUoUne 

Claudius  114 

Bustim  Uffisi  Palace 

Claudius  118 

Statue  in  Vatican 

Messalina,  wife  of  Claudius  122 

Bust  in  QqntoUne 

Messalina,  wife  of  Claudius  126 

BuH  in  Uffisi  Palace 


Bust  in  Lomrre 

Antony  184 

Bust  in  Fatican 

Cleopatra  188 

Bust  in  CapitoSne 

Agrippina  Minor  142 

Bust  in  QqntoSne 

Agrippina  Minor  146 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 

Agrippina  Minor  150 

Bust  in  Nicies  Museum 


Agrippina  Minor  facing  page  164 

Statue  at  Naplet 

Nero  160 

Bud  in  Vffin  Palace 

Nero  16* 

Bud  in  Vatican 

Nero  166 

Bud  in  UffiziPaiace 

Nero  170 

Bud  in  Vffisd  Palace 

POPP^A  174 

Bud  in  CapiioUne 

POPP^A  178 

Bud  in  Vffigi  Palace 

Britannicus  182 

Bud  in  Uffin  Palace 

Britannicus  186 

Statue  in  Lateran 

Tower  190 

FfxmwUch  Nero  is  said  to  have  watched  the  burning  of  the  ci^ 

IN  PART  n 

Ruins  of  the  Forum  Romanum  807 

From  a  Photograph 

Galea  210 

Bud  in  CapitoUne 

OthO  814^ 

Bud  m  CapiioUne 


Bud  in  CapHoUne 

[  xviii  ] 


Vespasian  facdiopaob  S18 

BuH  in  CapUolme 

Titus  222 

Buii  m  CapkoUne 


Butt  in  CapiioUne 

Nerya  280 

Butt  in  Capiiolitie 

TeaJAN  282 

Buit  hi  CapiioUne 

Hadrian  286 

Baut  in  CapitoUne 

JuuA  Sabina,  wife  of  Hadrian  240 

Bust  in  CapiioUne 

Antoninus  Pius  242 

Bud  in  Vatican 

Faustina,  wife  of  Antoninus  Pius  246 

Buil  in  CapiioUne 

Marcus  Aureuus  260 

Butt  in  CapiioUne 

Faustina,  wife  of  Marcus  Aurelius  262 

Butt  in  CapiioUne 

Marcus  Aurelius  264 

Equestrian  Statue  in  Square  of  the  Capitol 

Commodus  266 

Buit  in  Vatican 

Crispina,  wife  of  Commodus  260 

Buit  in  CapiioUne 

Pertinax  ^    264 

Buit  in  Vatican 

[  »x  ] 



Buit  in  Vatican 

Septimius  Sevebus  270 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 


Bust  m  Vatican 

Clodius  Albinus  276 

Bud  in  Vatican 

Pescennius  Niger  278 

BuH  in  Vatican 

GeTA  282 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 

Caracalla  286 

BuH  m  Vatican 

Macrinus  290 

BuH  in  CapitoUne 

Elagabalus  294 

BuH  in  CapitoUne 

Julia  M^sa,  sister  of  Julia  Domna  298 

Statue  in  Q^ntoUne 

Alexander  Severus  802 

BuH  in  Vatican 

Sarcophagus  of  Alexander  Severus  and  Mamjba  806 

In  the  Vatican 

Maximin  810 

BuH  in  QqntoUne 

GORDIAN  I  814 

BuH  in  QgntoUne 


BuH  in 



BaLBINUS  pacing  page   820 

BuH  in  Capiiolme 

Decius  S24 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 

Callus  8S8 

Butt  in  CapitoUne 

Gallienus  8SS 

BuH  in  CapitoUne 

Cosnella  Salonika,  wife  of  Gallienus  886 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 


Bud  in  FaUcan 

Ruins  of  the  Forum  Romanum  844 

From  a  Photograph 

Probus  846 

Bugt  in  Muteo  Nasionale,  Naples 

Zenobia  848 

Bust  in  Vatican 

CaSINUS  852 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 

Diocletian  866 

Bust  in  CapitoUne 


Bust  in  CapitoUne 


Bust  inLateran 

Sabcophagus  of  Saint  Helena  868 

In  the  Vatican 

Julian  872 

Bust  in  CapiioUne 

Ruins  of  the  Palaces  of  the  Cjesabs  876 

From  a  Photograph 


Phocuhmei>  m 



THB  Year  (b.  c.)        Proclaiiisd  in  thb  Ybab  (a.  d.) 

24       Septimius  Severus      198 

Proclaimed  in  thk  Year  (a.  a)        CloDIUS  AlbINUS 





Pkscknnius  Nioeb 








Caracalla                   I 












Alexander  Severus 




Maximin  I                  / 




GORDIAN  I                         / 




Gordian  II                ^ 












Gordian  III 






Trrus  Antoninus 




Marcus  Aureuus 
















[  xxiii  ] 


PROCLAimD    IN    THE    YbAR 


PsocLAimo  m  rm  Year 


































Maximin  II 






Calpurnius  Piso 



















Reoalian  us 







Claudius  II 










Valentinian  I 







[  xxiv  ] 


PiBOCLAIlIED    IN    THE    YbAR   (a.  D.) 
G&ATIAK  878 




















Julius  Nepos 

Proclaiikd  in  thb  Yba«  (a.  d.) 

Ayitus  455 


Petronius  Maximus    455      Romulus  Auoustulus  476 



ir  ' 


■-  3 




ON  the  fifteenth  of  March  in  the  year  44  b.  c,  Caius 
I  Julius  Cassar,  the  greatest  man  in  ancient  Rome, 
the  grandest  figure  of  sovereignty  in  all  the  an- 
cient world,  was  stabbed  to  death  in  the  Roman  Senate. 
It  was  a  premeditated  assassination.  Dissuaded  from  at- 
tending the  session  by  the  tender  entreaties  of  his  wife 
Calpumia,  he  had  sent  word  that  he  would  not  come.  But 
the  conspirators  despatched  a  trusted  fiiend  to  urge  his 
attendance,  and  overcoming  his  presentiments  he  yielded 
and  went  to  his  fate.  On  the  way  to  the  senate-house  some 
one  thrust  into  his  hand  a  scroll  containing  the  names  of 
the  conspirators  and  an  account  of  their  wicked  designs. 
The  &te  of  the  Republic  hung  upon  his  opening  it.  He 
did  not  open  it. 

Before  the  charge  of  the  cavalry  at  Waterloo,  Napoleon 
is  sfud  to  have  asked  a  question  of  the  guide  Lacoste — 
presumably  whether  there  was  any  obstacle.  The  fate  of 
the  nineteenth  century  hung  upon  the  shake  of  a  peasant's 
head.  But,  says  Hugo,  '^  Was  it  possible  for  Napoleon  to 
win  the  battle?  We  answer  in  the  negative.  Why?  On 
account  of  Wellington  or  Bliicher?  No;  on  account  of 
God."  Napoleon  had  begun  to  disturb  the  equilibrium 
of  the  universe ;  nature  and  Gk)d  decreed  that  he  must  be 
displaced.  And  so  when  Caesar,  on  his  way  to  death,  re- 
ceived from  the  unknown  a  written  disclosure  of  the  con- 
spiracy against  his  life,  but  which  he  carelessly  assumed  to 



be  an  ordinary  petition,  the  fate  of  many  centuries  hung 
upon  a  thread — and  the  thread  was  not  broken.  But  could 
the  Empire  have  been  forestalled?  We  answer  no;  God's 
law  of  evolution  decreed  otherwise.  Says  Froude,  **As 
Caesar  had  lived  to  reconstruct  the  Roman  world,  so  his 
death  was  necessary  to  finish  the  work."  For  in  any  event, 
the  Republic  was  doomed.  Caesar,  as  king  in  name,  would 
have  put  an  end  to  that  And  as  the  writer  last  quoted 
explains  so  convindngly,  the  Empire  of  the  Caesars  was 
exactly  the  kingdom  demanded  by  the  new  life  which 
was  dawning  for  mankind ;  *^a  kingdom  where  peaceful 
men  could  work,  think,  and  speak  as  they  pleased,"  and 
travel  freely  where  life  and  property  were  for  the  most 
part  protected  and  fanatics  prevented  from  tearing  each 
other  to  pieces  on  account  of  reli^ous  opinions. 

ShaU  we  say,  then,  that  the  slayers  of  Caesar  were  indeed 
world  patriots?  And  that  what  Goethe  has  declared  to 
have  been  the  most  senseless  deed  that  was  ever  done,  was 
really  founded  in  the  necessities  of  civilization's  progress  ? 

The  &mily  of  Caesar  claimed  to  be  of  immortal  descent, 
tracing  its  pedigree  back  to  a  son  of  ^neas,  who  after  the 
fall  of  Troy  had  found  a  resting-place  along  the  sunny 
shores  of  western  Italy.  During  a  funeral  oration  which 
he  pronounced  from  the  rostra,  in  praise  of  his  aunt  Julia 
(the  wife  of  Marius),  Caius  Julius,  who  was  then  quaestor, 
said:  **My  aunt  Julia  derived  her  descent  by  her  mother 
from  a  race  of  Kings,  and  by  her  father  from  the  Inunor- 
tal  GU)ds.  For  the  Mardi  R^es,  her  mother's  family,  de- 
duce their  pedigree  from  Ancus  Mardus,  and  the  Julii, 
her  Other's,  from  Venus;  of  which  stock  we  are  a  branch. 
We  therefore  unite  in  our  descent  the  sacred  majesty  of 
Kings,  the  chiefest  among  men,  and  the  divine  majesty 
of  GU)ds,  to  whom  Kings  themselves  are  subject" 



iEneas  was  the  son  of  Anchises  and  Venus,  and  it  was 
from  his  son  Ascanius,  otherwise  called  lulus,  or  Jvlus^ 
that  the  Gens  Julia,  of  which  the  Cassars  were  a  branch, 
was  descended.  Ancus  Marcius  was  the  fourth  King  of 
Rome,  and  according  to  the  old  legends  he  befriended  the 
people  against  the  nobles,  for  which  reason  his  name  was 
held  in  especial  reverence. 

The  etymology  of  the  name  Caesar  is  unsettled.  It  has 
been  variously  derived  from  the  color  of  the  eyes  prevail- 
ing in  the  family  (dark  gray  and  piercing,  like  an  eagle's) ; 
from  an  exploit  during  an  African  hunt,  there  being  a 
Moorish  word  Coesar  meaning  elephant,  and  from  the  fact 
that  the  first  celebrated  member  of  the  family  came  into 
the  world  by  the  aid  of  the  surgeon's  knife.  But  whatever 
the  original  meaning  of  the  word,  from  the  hour  when 
Cassius  s  dagger  put  an  end  to  the  life  work  of  the  great 
Caesar,  the  name  has  remained  among  mankind  as  the 
title  of  sovereignty — august,  indeed,  as  the  first  Emperor 
so  pompously  elected  to  be  called. 

Froude  says  that  the  pedigree  of  the  great  Cassar  goes 
no  further  than  his  grandfather  Caius  Julius,  who  about  the 
middle  of  the  second  century  before  Christ  married  Marcia, 
descended  from  one  of  the  early  kings  as  above  stated. 
Their  three  chUdren  were  Caius  Julius,  Sextus  Julius,  and 
Julia.  The  daughter  married  Caius  Marius,  afterwards  the 
boast  of  democracy,  and  whose  name  remains  a  syno- 
nym for  hardy,  incorruptible  Roman  virtue.  Their  son,  the 
younger  Marius,  who  after  the  death  of  his  father  shared 
with  Cinna  the  chief  power  of  Rome,  was  in  his  youth  one 
of  the  most  intimate  firiends  of  his  cousin,  Caius  Julius, 
the  future  dictator. 

The  elder  son  of  Caius  Julius  and  Marcia  married  Au- 
relia,  allied  to  the  great  consular  family  of  Cotta.  Of  this 



union  was  bom,  in  the  year  100  b.  c.  (or  102  b.c.,  as 
fixed  by  Mommsen  and  perhaps  more  generally  accepted 
by  scholars),  on  the  twelfth  day  of  the  month  which  there- 
after took  its  name  from  him,  Julius  Ccpsar^  afterwards 
known  to  all  the  world  as  Caesar  the  Great.  From  the  Ro- 
man people  he  ultimately  received  the  appellation  Julius 
CcBsar  IHons — the  Divine.  It  was  from  the  same  motive 
that  an  apotheosis  had  been  conferred  upon  Romulus, 
namely,  to  obviate  the  people's  suspicion  that  he  was 
murdered  by  a  conspiracy  of  the  patrician  order. 

According  to  Pliny,  his  father,  who  had  been  prsetor, 
died  suddenly  at  Pisa,  in  the  year  670  a.  u.c.  (about 
84  B.  c).  Caesar  was  then  a  youth  of  sixteen  or  eighteen. 
Although  little  is  known  of  his  mother  Aurdia,  she  was 
plainly  a  woman  of  character.  Plutarch  says  that  she  had 
great  discretion,  and  it  is  certain  that  between  mother  and 
son  a  passionate  attachment  always  existed.  On  the  mom- 
ing  of  the  election  when  Caesar  was  candidate  for  the  office 
of  Pontifex  Maximus,  which  was  really  the  beginning  of 
his  great  career,  his  mother  attended  him  to  the  door  with 
tears  in  her  eyes,  while  he  said  as  she  embraced  him,  ^'My 
dear  mother,  you  will  see  me  this  day  chief  pontiff,  or  I 
shall  never  return."  It  seems  to  have  been  her  life  task  to 
watch  over  his  best  interests,  and  she  lived  to  share  in  the 
triumph  of  his  great  exploits  in  GauL  She  died  in  the  year 
54  B.  c. 

WhUe  a  mere  boy  Caesar  had  been  betrothed  to  Cossutia, 
a  member  of  a  very  wealthy  family,  but  only  of  the  eques- 
trian order.  His  views,  however,  were  more  ambitious  and 
after  his  father  s  death  he  repudiated  the  engagement  and 
married  Cornelia,  daughter  of  Cinna,  who  had  been  four 
times  consul.  At  the  time  of  this  marriage  he  seems  to 
have  been  nineteen  years  old.  There  is  no  more  striking 








evidence  of  his  character  than  his  spirited  refusal  to  di- 
vorce Cornelia,  at  the  command  of  the  terrible  Sylla*  His 
friend,  the  great  Pompey,  had  yielded  to  a  similar  com- 
mand and  given  up  his  wife  to  marry  the  tyrant's  step- 
daughter iBmilia,  who  was  compelled  to  put  away  her 
own  husband  for  that  purpose.  But  with  Caesar,  coaxing, 
blandishments,  and  threats  were  alike  useless.  The  love  of 
his  wife  and  child  and  the  maintenance  of  his  indepen- 
dence and  self-respect  were  more  to  him  than  life.  Sylla 
stripped  him  of  his  sacerdotal  office,  confiscated  his  patri- 
monial estates  and  his  wife's  dowry,  and  actually  set  a 
price  upon  his  head.  Suetonius  says  that  his  life  was  finally 
spared  through  the  intercession  of  powerful  friends  and 
that  in  granting  their  request  Sylla  declared:  "This  man 
for  whose  safety  you  are  so  extremely  anxious  will  some 
day  or  other  be  the  ruin  of  the  party  of  nobles  in  defence 
of  which  you  are  leagued  with  rh^vfw  jfn.this  one  Csesar 
you  will  find  many  a  Marius.'^  K^Mfes  a  j^pphetic  utter- 

One  daughter,  Julia,  was  bom  qf  .t|iis  marriage.  JuUa  is 
said  to  have  been  gifted  with  every  ch&ia^^kiid  at  the  age 
of  twenty-two  she  cemented  the  friendship  of  her  father 
and  the  great  Pompey  by  manying  the  latter.  She  won 
her  husband's  passionate  affection,  and  her  early  death  in 
the  year  54  B.  c.  was  bitterly  and  universally  lamented.  A 
child  which  she  had  borne  to  Pompey  had  previously 

After  the  death  of  Comeha,  Cassar  married  Pompeia, 
daughter  of  Quintus  Pompeius  and  granddaughter  of  Lu- 
cius Sylla.  He  afterwards  divorced  her  upon  suspicion  of 
her  unfaithftilness ;  although  there  was  no  evidence  other 
than  the  attempt  of  a  young  quaestor  named  Clodius  to 
enter  Caesar's  house  in  disguise  during  the  celebration  of 



a  religious  festivaL  But  **  Caesar's  wife  ought  not  to  be 
even  so  much  as  suspected,"  he  is  reported  to  have  said, 
although  the  saying  is  perhaps,  like  so  many  others, 

Caesar's  third  wife  was  Calpumia,  the  daughter  of  Lucius 
Piso,  who  succeeded  Caesar  as  consul.  Calpumia  survived 
him.  No  children  were  bom  of  this  or  of  Caesar  s  second 
marriage.  Caesario,  his  reputed  child  by  Cleopatra,  was  put 
to  death  by  Augustus,  after  the  final  defeat  of  Antony.^ 

Caesar  was  assassinated  in  the  year  44  b.  c.  At  the  time 
of  his  death  he  had  held  every  office  of  importance  in  the 
Roman  State  and  was  an  absolute  monarch  in  everything 
but  the  title.  In  the  name  of  Democracy  and  under  cover 
of  the  Marian  principles  he  had  overthrown  the  Republic 
and  reduced  the  Senate  to  a  mere  machine  for  register- 
ing his  decrees.  Whether  he  really  expected  or  even  de- 
sired to  become  king  eo  nomine  may  be  questioned.  But  he 
prepared  the  way  for  Empire,  and  he  alone.  He  was  the 
founder  of  the  house  of  Caesar;  and  without  the  house  of 
Caesar  there  would  have  been  no  Roman  Empire.  By  the 
fiction  of  adoption,  the  glory  of  the  great  Caesar  passed  on 
to  the  young  Augustus  and  in  itself  played  no  unimpor- 
tant part  in  building  up  the  imperialistic  idea. 

Twenty  years  after  the  daggers  of  Cassius  and  Brutus 
had  left  the  world  without  a  master,  Augustus  succeeded  in 
erecting  the  framework  of  an  Empire  upon  the  foundation 
which  his  great  kinsman  had  built  so  enduringly.  In  ex- 

^  Cleopatra^  in  anticipation  of  Antony's  defeat^  had  sent  Caesario  with  a 
large  sum  of  money  through  Ethiopia  into  India.  Plutarch  says  that  the 
young  man's  tutor  urged  him  to  turn  back,  falsely  persuading  him  that 
Augustus  would  make  him  King  of  Egypt  While  the  Emperor  was  de- 
liberating how  to  dispose  of  him  some  one  observed  that  there  ought 
not  by  any  means  to  be  too  many  Caesars;  whereupon  Cesario  was  put  to 



tent,  in  wealth,  in  variety,  and  in  everything  that  makes 
up  earthly  power  and  dignity  it  became  the  most  magnifi- 
cent governmental  creation  that  ever  had  existed.  Perhaps 
no  man  but  Alexander,  and  possibly  Napoleon,  has  ever 
dreamed  of  a  greater.  During  the  first  two  centuries  it 
waxed  and  maintained  its  supremacy;  during  the  three 
following  it  waned,  and  finally  in  the  year  476  a.  d.,  five 
hundred  and  twenty  years  after  its  great  founder  perished, 
it  melted  away  into  barbarous  oblivion. 

During  the  five  hundred  years  which  elapsed  between 
what  may  be  called  the  actual  establishment  of  the  Em- 
pire by  Augustus  (about  24  b.  c.)  and  the  termination 
of  the  Empire  by  the  deposition  of  Romulus  Augustus, 
476  A.  D.,  we  may  count  exactly  one  hundred  emperors. 
Not  all  of  them  indeed  are  classed  as  such  by  the  his- 
torians. For  some,  while  claiming  the  office  and  title  for 
themselves,  or  having  the  claim  made  for  them  by  certain 
provinces,  or  factions  of  the  State  or  army,  did  not  main- 
tsdn  themselves  sufficiently  long  to  acquire  a  permanent 
place  in  the  imperial  roll.  3o  that  of  the  one  hundred  so- 
called  emperors,  perhaps  twenty  or  twenty-five  may  be  con- 
sidered as  spurious.  But  for  the^ractical  purposes  of  life 
and  death  it  made  no  difference  whether  the  claim  to  the 
title  were  genuine  or  false.  The  most  shadowy  as  well  as 
the  best-established  claim  was  aUke  sufficient  to  expose 
its  possessor  to  the  "Imperial  disease";  and  of  these  one 
hundred  so-called  emperors  of  the  mightiest  and  most 
wonderful  of  human  governments,  only  nineteen  are  known 
to  have  died  a  natural  death.  Of  the  remaining  eighty-one, 
seven  were  killed  in  battle,  three  committed  suicide,  sixty- 
four  were  murdered,  whUe  the  cause  of  death  of  seven  is 
unknown.  That  is  to  say,  during  the  five  centuries  of  the 
Roman  Empire's  existence,  the  average  reign  of  its  rulers 


vrvisfive  years ;  while  four  out  of  five  of  those  rulers  came 
to  a  violent  end. 

The  sickening  story  began  with  the  death  of  the  great 
Julius.  Scarcely  one  of  the  murderers,  and  as  well  those 
who  participated  in  it,  died  from  natiural  causes.  All  were 
condemned  by  the  Senate ;  some  were  drowned  and  others 
killed  in  battle,  while  Brutus  and  Cassius  destroyed  them- 
selves with  the  same  poniards  with  which  they  had  killed 
Caesar.  It  might  be  said  that  Caesar's  blood  was  well 
avenged ;  but  this  proved  to  be  only  the  baptismal  sprin- 
klmg  of  a  long  r^me  of  the  most  horrible  famUy  and 
State  murders  contained  in  the  annals  of  a  civilized  society. 
While  it  is  not  a  pleasant  page  to  scan,  there  is  many  a 
lesson  to  be  read  between  the  lines,  not  the  least  impor- 
tant of  which  is  the  undoubted  fact  that  from  the  horrible 
practice  of  domestic  murder  which  was  introduced  among 
the  Romans  by  the  Caesars,  sprang  no  inconsiderable  por- 
tion of  that  spirit  of  lawlessness,  soon  acquired  by  the 
people  after  example  set  by  the  nobles,  which  was  one  of 
the  chief  causes  of  the  ruin  of  Rome.  So  that  it  may  not 
be  unprofitable  to  briefly  trace  the  rise  of  what  may  well 
be  termed  the  "Imperial  disease"  and  then  notice  still 
more  briefly  its  fatal  efiects  upon  the  long  list  of  Roman 

Apart  from  numerous  coins,  a  few  gems,  and  the  various 
busts  of  which  the  greater  number  are  of  doubtful  value, 
the  author  of  the  "Lives"  remains  our  only  source  of  in- 
formation as  to  the  personal  appearance  of  the  early 
Caesars.  But  however  untrustworthy  Suetonius  may  be  in 
other  respects,  it  is  probable  that  his  personal  descriptions 
are  in  the  main  reliable;  founded,  as  they  undoubtedly 
were,  upon  both  popular  tradition  and  the  unquestionably 
genuine  busts  and  statues  which  must  have  been  extant 





at  the  lime  he  wrote.  And  while  evidence  of  this  sort 
must  necessarily  be  open  to  question,  it  is  convincing 
enough  to  at  least  gratify  that  invariable  curiosity  as  to 
the  personal  appearance  and  characteristics  of  the  great 
figures  in  history.  Too  often  the  result  is  disappointing; 
but  in  the  case  of  Caesar  the  commonly  accepted  picture 
is  that  of  a  man  whose  bodily  presence  and  personal  attri- 
butes are  entirely  proportioned  to  the  greatness  of  his  in- 
tellect, the  intensity  of  his  moral  force,  and  the  splendor 
of  his  fame. 

Measured  by  the  Italian  standard  of  height,  which  is 
supposed  to  have  been  then,  as  it  still  is,  lower  than  that  of 
the  more  hardy  and  vigorous  northern  races,  the  founder 
of  the  house  of  Caesar  was  tall  and  of  athletic  propor- 
tions. With  well-made  limbs,  strongly  knit  frame,  and  an 
iron  constitution,  he  was  capable  of  unremitting  activity 
and  of  enduring  the  greatest  fatigue  and  hardships.  His 
complexion  is  said  to  have  becfh  %ur,  his  eyes  dark  and 
piercing,  his  Ups  thin  and  fimdy  ^e^'^  together,  his  face 
rather  full  and  strongly  niarked  D^;ttie.<  prominent  nose 
which  is  so  rarely  absent  in  the  portxaftt^^W  ^really  great 
men.  His  large  and  well^formed  head,  its  dbofe  accentu- 
ated by  the  prominent  templ^  and«^the  absence  of  hair 
from  the  sharply  rising  forehead,  wak-  set  djpon  a  firm  and 
sinewy  neck,  the  latter  in  itself  so  significant  of  constitu- 
tional vigor.  The  contour  of  the  well-known  bust  in  the 
British  Museum  is  almost  flawless;  and  combined  with 
the  keen  look,  not  wanting,  however,  in  its  expression  of 
massive  gravity,  and  the  strong  lines  which  mark  so  plainly 
a  powerful  self-poise  and  an  unconquerable  will,  satisfies 
our  conception  of  one  of  the  greatest  of  men,  whether  or 
not  the  marble  be  genuine. 

His  personal  habits — with  one  exception — are  univer- 

[11  ] 


sally  ocmoeded  to  have  been  of  that  sort  which  indicates 
a  hi^  measure  of  lefinement,  self-respect,  and  apprecia- 
tion of  the  dignity  of  hiunan  nature.  Scrupulously  dean 
and  neat,  and  all  through  life  particularly  attoitive  to  his 
personal  appearance,  abstemious  at  table — rarely  or  never 
touching  wine — with  tonper  always  under  abscdute  con- 
trol and  exhibiting  an  unfailing  pati^ice  and  courtesy,  he 
OHmdered  sobriety,  both  bodily  and  moital,  not  only 
among  the  highest  qualities,  but  as  a  veritaUe  duty  of 
citizenship.  He  excdled  in  all  manly  exercises,  being  noted 
especially,  however,  for  his  horsemanship  and  his  skill 
with  the  sword. 

The  charge  of  immorality  under  which  the  first  Caesar 
suffers  equally  with  his  five  successors,  although  fiercely 
disputed,  has  never  be^i  disproved.  Even  Froude,  who 
contends  most  strenuously  against  the  severe  accusations 
of  certain  early  writers,  concedes  it  to  be  in  the  highest  de- 
gree improbable  that  Csesar  s  morality  was  superior  to  that 
of  the  average  of  his  contemporaries.  Beyond  this  point, 
however,  a  sober  weighing  of  the  fiicts  does  not  compel  us 
to  go.  Froude's  arguments  are  entirely  convincing  that  the 
accusations  of  Cicero,  Catullus,  and  Lidnius,  grossly  re- 
peated by  Suetonius  (who  is  said  by  some  one  to  have  dis- 
played in  his  writings  all  the  delight  in  a  coarse  sensuality 
which  those  of  whom  he  wrote  manifested  in  their  lives), 
must  have  been  slanders.  And  unless  forced  to  do  so,  by 
unquestioned  historic  truth,  we  are  not  inclined  to  enlarge, 
beyond  its  well-defined  limits,  this  one  notable  weakness 
of  "the  foremost  man  of  all  this  world.**  ^ 

While  not  entirely  free  from  the  superstition  of  his  times, 
Cassar  was  too  genuinely  great  to  be  in  any  degree  moved 
by  it.  The  omens  were  never  so  unpromising  as  to  deter 

CCBMOT,  Act  !▼.  Sc.  S. 


JL'f.lUS   C^SAK 



him  from  a  projected  enterprise.  Happening  to  stumble 
while  stepping  ashore  in  the  Afirican  expedition,  it  is  said 
that  instead  of  yielding  t«  what  was  considered  a  dark 
omen  he  gave  a  lucky  turn  to  it  by  exclaiming,  ''I  hold 
thee  fast,  Africa!"  Whether  founded  upon  fact,  or  only 
traditional,  the  story  is  finely  illustrative  both  of  his  tena- 
city of  purpose  and  that  abiding  confidence  in  himself  and 
his  high  destiny,  which  is  one  of  the  first  attributes  of  an 
elevated  souL  These  characteristics,  united  with  the  most 
conspicuous  courage  and  daring,  and  a  talent  for  war  which 
has  never  been  equalled  and  will  probably  never  be  sur- 
passed, rendered  him  well-nigh  invulnerable  in  those  mem- 
orable campaigns  which  advanced  the  glory  of  the  Roman 
arms  to  a  position  undreamed  of  by  t|)pe  in<>st  ardent  lover 
of  the  Republic  >  <  J  '^.,\  ;-•' .. 

His  career  furnishes  perhaps  the  only  e)auift||)e  of^a  great 
military  leader  who  never  failed. to  achieve  sucdcjlis  when 
himself  in  command.  And  even 'in  the  three  o^four  in- 
stances  where  his  lieutenants  met  4?fedt,*lus'  ^nius  was 
sufficient  to  retrieve  the  disaster,  whrchr^in  tl^e  end  was 
converted  into  an  overwhelming  victory. 

Caesar  possessed  all  the  innate  kindliness,  courtesy,  lack 
of  resentment,  and  magnanimity  which  under  the  circum- 
stances of  his  position  none  but  a  supremely  great  man 
could  have  displayed  in  the  Roman  world  of  that  day.  The 
story  of  his  clemency  and  generosity  after  the  civil  war  is 
like  a  refreshing  breeze  out  of  the  tropics,  after  reading 
similar  pages  of  contemporaneous  history.  With  less  dig- 
nity of  character  and  a  smaller  measure  of  that  calm  con- 
fidence in  the  genius  of  his  fortunes  and  the  stabiUty  of 
his  relation  to  events,  his  remarkable  display  of  modera- 
tion towards  the  vanquished  party  would  never  have  oc- 
curred, and  his  senseless  murder  would  not  have  awakened 



him  firom  a  projected  enterprise.  Happening  to  stumble 
while  stepping  ashore  in  the  African  expedition,  it  is  siud 
that  instead  of  yielding  to  what  was  considered  a  dark 
omen  he  gave  a  lucky  turn  to  it  by  exclaiming,  ''I  hold 
thee  fast,  Africa  1"  Whether  founded  upon  fact,  or  only 
traditional,  the  story  is  finely  illustrative  both  of  his  tena- 
city of  purpose  and  that  abiding  confidence  in  himself  and 
his  high  destiny,  which  is  one  of  the  first  attributes  of  an 
elevated  soul.  These  characteristics,  united  with  the  most 
conspicuous  courage  and  daring,  and  a  talent  for  war  which 
has  never  been  equalled  and  will  probably  never  be  sur- 
passed, rendered  him  well-nigh  invulnerable  in  those  mem- 
orable campaigns  which  advanced  the  glory  of  the  Roman 
arms  to  a  position  undreamed  of  by  ();ie  most  ardent  lover 
of  the  Republic.  /    >  4  J  ^^^.v'  >; .. 

His  career  furnishes  perhaps  the  only  e)casi&|}e  of^a  great 
military  leader  who  never  failed. to  achieve  sucdQj^s  when 
himself  in  command.  And  even 'in  Uie  three  o^four  in- 
stances  where  his  lieutenants  mei  .4efeit,*lus'  ^nius  was 
sufficient  to  retrieve  the  disaster,  whichr^in  the  end  was 
converted  into  an  overwhelming  victory. 

Caesar  possessed  all  the  innate  kindliness,  courtesy,  lack 
of  resentment,  and  magnanimity  which  under  the  circum- 
stances of  his  position  none  but  a  supremely  great  man 
could  have  displayed  in  the  Roman  world  of  that  day.  The 
story  of  his  clemency  and  generosity  after  the  civil  war  is 
like  a  refreshing  breeze  out  of  the  tropics,  after  reading 
similar  pages  of  contemporaneous  history.  With  less  dig- 
nity of  character  and  a  smaller  measure  of  that  calm  con- 
fidence in  the  genius  of  his  fortunes  and  the  stability  of 
his  relation  to  events,  his  remarkable  display  of  modera- 
tion towards  the  vanquished  party  would  never  have  oc- 
eorred,  and  his  senseless  murder  would  not  have  awakened 



increased  to  about  one  million  sterling.  It  is  also  true  that 
this  immense  indebtedness  was  discharged  by  moneys  col- 
lected by  the  conqueror  during  the  Spanish  war.  And  his- 
torians have  not  scrupled  to  affirm  that  his  campaigns 
were  prosecuted  and  even  the  civil  war  begun  with  the 
sole  view  of  meeting  his  vast  pecuniary  embarrassments. 
But  as  De  Quincey  has  pointed  out,  rather  than  being 
the  original  ground  of  his  quest  for  power  and  revolution- 
ary projects,  Caesar's  debts  were  the  product  of  his  ambi- 
tion and  contracted  merely  in  the  service  of  his  political 
intrigues  to  establish  a  powerful  support  in  the  State  for 
his  party  and  himself.  He  paid  them  to  the  last  denarius — 
that  important  fact  is  rarely  mentioned  by  the  critics ;  and 
that  the  spoils  of  war  supplied  the  means  of  so  doing  is 
simply  one  of  the  invariably  bitter  incidents  of  conquest 
either  in  barbaric  or  so-called  Christian  warfare. 

As  regards  his  moral  character,  a  more  serious  question 
is  presented  from  the  standpoint  of  Christianity  and  mod- 
em ethics  in  the  fact  of  the  great  human  misery  entailed  by 
his  campaigns  and  the  civil  wars-  which  finally  established 
his  supremacy.  The  destruction  of  over  a  million  souls, 
and  the  enforced  slavery  of  additional  thousands,  will  al- 
ways be  considered  by  many  minds  an  unanswerable  accu- 
sation. And  whatever  arguments  in  the  line  of  necessity, 
human  progress,  and  survival — laws  superior  to  Caesar, 
and  of  which  he  was  but  the  instrument — may  be  urged 
against  this  enormous  destruction  of  human  life,  the  sale 
into  slavery  of  prisoners  taken  in  battle  constitutes  an  un- 
doubted stain  upon  Caesar's  moral  character,  and  one  which 
modem  ideas  can  never  tolerate.  Froude  declares  that  the 
blot  was  not  personally  upon  Caesar,  but  upon  the  age  in 
which  he  lived,  urging  that  "the  great  Pomponius  Atticus 
was  himself  a  dealer  in  human  chattels."  But  it  is  Caesar, 




not  Atticus»  who  is  at  the  bar;  and  while  victors  and  van- 
quished alike  accepted  it  as  a  law  of  the  times  that  pris- 
oners of  war  should  be  sold  into  slavery,  the  great  Dic- 
tator was  in  most  ways  so  preeminently  superior  to  the 
character  of  the  age  in  which  he  lived,  his  hatred  of  injus- 
tice was  so  frequently  and  passionately  manifested,  and  the 
generosity  and  mercy  which  he  ordinarily  displayed  were 
of  a  degree  which,  in  the  eyes  of  the  Roman  world  at 
least,  implied  such  unusual  magnanimity,^  that  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  understand  why  he  himself  should  not  have  appre- 
ciated the  gravity  of  the  offence,  for  which,  therefore,  it 
must  be  admitted  there  was  the  less  excuse. 

As  a  final  answer  to  Caesar's  claim  for  our  regard  and 
admiration,  his  enemies  and  detractgrs  have  urged  his  love 
of  power.  Even  those  who  admit  his  .vast  Superiority  and 
general  moral  excellence  are  fHj^htene^Nd^  tliis  b^gaboo 
of  "lust  for  power."  "If  he  had  .but  refus^>tlie  ^dicta- 
torship," says  one,  "he  would  jtiaVfe  ))een  worthy  tcJ  stand 
by  the  side  of  Washington,  abc>>«  the  rspl^ndid  ,army  of 
heroes  who  have  ennobled  the  world,  ^^tjf  he  had  not  in- 
dulged so  unseasonably  and  greedily  in  the  honors  which 
were  heaped  upon  him,"  says  another,  "he  would  be  en- 
titled to  more  of  our  sympathy  in  his  untimely  end."  The 
refusal  of  Washington  to  accept  that  which  he  had  led 
the  fight  to  escape,  entitles  and  will  preserve  to  him  the 
undying  respect  and  admiration  of  all  fiiends  of  liberty 
who  love  a  high  demeanor  as  well  as  courage  and  success. 

^  The  popular  estimate  of  Ceesar  was  strikingly  displayed  in  the  immense 
and  unquestionably  spontaneous  demonstration  of  sorrow  at  his  funeral, 
^ever  before,  we  are  told,  had  such  a  multitude  assembled  for  a  similar 
pvpose,  including  a  great  number  of  foreigners,  especially  Jews^  who  for 
several  nights  frequented  the  spot  where  the  body  was  burnt.  The  pages 
of  Josephus  contain  repeated  testimony  of  the  benefits  conferred  on  his 
coQotiymen  by  the  first  Csesar.  Antiq.  xiv.  14,  15,  l6. 




Fbom  24  B.  C.  to  14  a.  D. 

A  FTER  the  death  of  Caesar  s  daughter  JuUa,  whose 
Xil  only  child  had  previously  died,  he  adopted  as  his  son 
and  afterwards  by  will  named  as  his  chief  heir  his  grand- 
nephew  Caius  Octavius,  who  thereupon  assumed  the  name 
of  Caius  Caesar.  Octavius  received  three-fourths  of  his 
great-uncle's  estate,  while  his  cousins  Lucius  Pinarius  and 
Quintus  Pedius  had  the  remaining  one-fourth.  Although 
but  seventeen  years  of  age  at  the  time  of  Caesar's  death, 
he  had  already  given  evidence  of  so  much  shrewdness, 
energy,  and  ability  as  to  endear  himself  to  his  great  rela- 
tive, who  never  failed  to  appreciate  such  indications  of 

Caius  Octavius,  or  Caius  Caesar;  Caesar  Augustus,  or 
Augustus,  as  he  was  finally  called,  was  bom  in  the  year 
61  B.  c,  upon  the  ninth  of  the  Calends  of  October  (Sep- 
tember twenty-third).  His  father,  Caius  Octavius,  was  of 
an  old  patrician  family  of  the  first  distinction.  The  Octavii, 
however,  had  divided  into  two  branches,  of  which  one  re- 
mained patrician,  its  members  holding  uninterruptedly  the 
highest  o£Sces  in  the  State,  while  the  other,  from  which 
Augustus  was  descended,  was  of  the  equestrian  order  and 
so  remained  until  the  father  of  Augustus  became  prsetor. 
He  died  as  he  was  on  the  point  of  declaring  his  candidacy 
for  the  consulship. 

Caius  Octavius  was  twice  married;  his  first  wife  being 
Ancharia,  by  whom  he  had  a  daughter,  the  elder  Octavia, 
who,  according  to  Plutarch,  afterwards  became  the  wife 




of  Mark  Antony.  But  it  seems  evident  that  this  was  an 
eiror  on  the  part  of  the  great  biographer  and  that  the  wife 
of  Antony  was  the  younger  Octavia,  the  own  sister  of 
Augustus,  and  daughter  of  Caius  Octavius  by  his  second 
wife  Atia,  who  was  the  daughter  of  Marcus  Atius  Balbus 
and  Julia,  sister  of  the  great  Cassar.  Balbus  on  his  mother's 
side  was  nearly  related  to  Pompey  the  Great,  while  his 
&ther  was  of  a  distinguished  family,  many  of  whom  had 
been  senators.  Augustus's  claims  of  a  lofty  descent,  how- 
ever, were  treated  with  contempt  by  many  of  his  high- 
bora  contemporaries,  including  his  sister's  husband,  Mark 

However  this  may  be,  he  was  a  Ccesar^  and  the  qualities 
which  had  attracted  his  uncle's  attention  enabled  him  to 
make  good  his  inheritance  from  the  outset  and  finally 
to  grasp  securely  the  highest  measure  of  power  which  had 
ever  been  maintained  in  the  Roman  world.     . . 

M^^lM  Iff 

The  foundation  was  laid  in  wickedneiss  almost:  beyond 
conception.  Although  Augustus,  thKJu^'^is  undjb's'.adop- 
tion,  became  his  natural  successor,  ther^^^ere  twp_  rival 
claimants  in  the  persons  of  Mark  Antonjr.  and  Leffidus,' 
Caesar's  master  of  the  horse,  each  of  whdm  l>ftd  a  power- 
ful anny  behind  him.  The  crafty  Augustus,  for^eeipg'  that 
time  alone  was  all  that  he  needed  to  secure  the  .prize,  pro- 
posed that  the  three  should  make  a  league  and  rule  Rome 
together.  In  so  doing  he  may  have  urged  as  a  precedent 
the  compact  between  his  great-uncle,  Cneius  Pompey,  and 
Crassus,  which  was  the  outcome  of  the  celebrated  confer- 
ence at  Lucca,  whereby  Cicero's  attack  upon  the  trium- 
virate was  foiled,  and  Cassar,  Crassus,  and  Pompey  were 
granted  a  new  term  of  five  years'  government  in  Gaul, 
Spain,  and  Syria,  respectively.  But  in  that  case  the  power 
was  secured  constitutionally, — that  is,  by  bills  brought  be- 

[  21  ] 


by  adoption,  became  Caesar  in  fact  and  Roman  republican- 
ism and  Roman  democracy  had  passed  away  forever.  The 
last  of  the  triumvirs  became  consul,  tribune,  censor,  praetor, 
and  high  priest  (Lepidus  having  died)  all  at  once,  and  hav- 
ing safeguarded  his  now  absolute  power  by  establishing  a 
praetorian  guard,  which  was  the  final  ruin  of  free  Rome, 
received  from  the  people  a  propoiution  that  he  be  made 
dictator  for  life.  Declining  this,  he  was  offered  the  name 
of  Romulus,  which  he  also  refrised,  selecting  instead  that 
of  AugtistuSj  an  epithet  which  was  ordinarily  applied  to 
places  set  apart  for  reli^ous  purposes  and  containing  any- 
thing consecrated  by  augury,  and  which  was  assumed  by 
the  new  sovereign  as  signifying  that  a  more  than  human 
sacredness  and  majesty  existed  in  his  person. 

And  thus,  in  about  the  year  24  b.  a,  the  spirit  of  free- 
dom in  Rome  was  finally  quenched  and  the  Empire  es- 
tablished, with  Augustus  its  first  Emperor.  The  Roman 
people  were  worn  out  with  the  murder,  rapine,  and  wars 
of  the  past  few  generations.  They  yielded  to  their  fate. 
The  imperialistic  idea  became  firmly  rooted.  The  house  of 
Caesar  was  apparently  founded  on  a  rock.  But,  as  we  have 
seen,  not  only  its  opportunity  came  in  through  a  shame- 
less act  of  murder,  but  its  subsequent  establishment  was 
also  based  upon  an  appalling  homicide.  It  remained  for  a 
woman  to  introduce  a  more  hideous  phase  of  the  same 
crime,  as  the  direct  consequence  of  which  the  great  house 
of  Caesar  was  absolutely  blotted  out  and  a  long  line  of 
succeeding  emperors  likewise  disappeared  through  a  series 
of  crimes  so  awful  and  abominations  so  dreadful  as  almost 
to  justify  the  thought  that  Rome  had  been  abandoned  by 

The  first  Emperor  is  commonly  supposed  to  have  been 
handsome  and  gracefril  in  person,  although  it  is  some* 

[  24] 


times  stated  that  he  was  lame ;  the  assertion  perhaps  being 
founded  on  a  remark  of  Suetonius  that  Augustus  had  a 
weakness  in  his  left  hip  and  thigh.  His  eyes  were  bright 
and  piercing,  and  it  is  said  that  few  persons  could  long 
sustain  his  steady  gaze;  which  the  gratified  Emperor  was 
pleased  to  consider  an  attribute  of  divinity.  He  had  a  finely 
shaped,  well-poised  head,  covered  with  fair,  curling  hair; 
his  features  were  regular,  with  aquiline  nose  and  small 
ears,  while  the  prevailing  expression  of  his  countenance 
was  calm  and  serene.  But  he  was  of  a  weak  constitution, 
and  subject  to  frequent  attacks  of  severe  illness ;  so  that  it 
was  only  by  excessive  precautions  that  he  maintained  a 
state  of  health  sufficient  to  enable  the  constant  attention 
which  he  ambitiously  devoted  to  his  imperial  office. 

He  conducted  in  person  only  two  foreign  wars ;  and  al- 
though for  the  energy  displayed  in  one  of  the  campaigns 
of  his  great  relative  he  gained  the  latter's  approbation,  in 
the  main  he  was  utterly  destitute  of  military  talents,  and 
wisely  left  to  his  lieutenants  the  conduct  oi  his  wars.  At 
the  close  of  the  civil  strife,  in  which,  ais  his  personal  for- 
tunes were  at  stake,  he  necessarily  participated,  he  finally 
abandoned  riding  and  exercises  at  iarms,  and  fiptn  that 
time,  in  deference  to  his  delicate  health,  walkii^  aend  rid- 
ing in  his  litter  constituted  his  only  exi^ise.    v  :: 

Notwithstanding  the  glamour  which  has  en:t(^lo{>ed  his 
personal  history  and  character,  by  reason  botii  of  the  bril- 
liancy of  his  era  and  the  undoubted  moderation,  temper- 
ance, and  wisdom  which  he  displayed  during  the  last  forty 
years  of  his  life,  it  is  undeniable  that  Augustus  was  by 
nature  selfish,  cowardly,  and  cruel,  if  not  actually  vicious. 
The  period  from  the  signing  of  the  infamous  Bologna  com- 
pact to  the  destruction  of  the  unfortunate  Antony  and  his 
beautifiil  Egyptian  consort,  abounds  in  instances  of  the 












times  stated  that  he  was  lame ;  the  assertion  perhaps  being 
founded  on  a  remark  of  Suetonius  that  Augustus  had  a 
weakness  in  his  left  hip  and  thigh.  His  eyes  were  bright 
and  piercing,  and  it  is  said  that  few  persons  could  long 
sustain  his  steady  gaze;  which  the  gratified  Emperor  was 
pleased  to  consider  an  attribute  of  divinity.  He  had  a  finely 
shaped,  well-poised  head,  covered  with  fair,  curling  hair; 
his  features  were  regular,  with  aquiline  nose  and  small 
ears,  while  the  prevailing  expression  of  his  countenance 
was  calm  and  serene.  But  he  was  of  a  weak  constitution, 
and  subject  to  frequent  attacks  of  severe  illness ;  so  that  it 
was  only  by  excessive  precautions  that  he  maintained  a 
state  of  health  sufficient  to  enable  the  constant  attention 
which  he  ambitiously  devoted  to  his  imperial  office. 

He  conducted  in  person  only  two  foreign  wars ;  and  al- 
though for  the  energy  displayed  in  one  of  the  campaigns 
of  his  great  relative  he  gained  the  latter 's  approbation,  in 
the  main  he  was  utterly  destitute  of  military  talents,  and 
wisely  left  to  his  lieutenants  the  conduct  oi  his  wars.  At 
the  close  of  the  civil  strife,  in  which.  Bis  his  personal  for- 
tunes were  at  stake,  he  necessarily  participated,  he  finally 
abandoned  riding  and  exercises  at  ^nns,  and  fi;otn  that 
time,  in  deference  to  his  delicate  health,  walkix^  and  rid- 
ing in  his  litter  constituted  his  only  isxi^ise.    v  ':'• 

Notwithstanding  the  glamour  which  has  en:t(^Ioped  his 
personal  history  and  character,  by  reai^n  botii  of  the  bril- 
liancy of  his  era  and  the  undoubted  moderation,  temper- 
ance, and  wisdom  which  he  displayed  during  the  last  forty 
years  of  his  life,  it  is  undeniable  that  Augustus  was  by 
nature  selfish,  cowardly,  and  cruel,  if  not  actually  vicious. 
The  period  from  the  signing  of  the  infamous  Bologna  com- 
pact to  the  destruction  of  the  unfortunate  Antony  and  his 
beautiful  Egyptian  consort,  abounds  in  instances  of  the 



eluding  Italy  and  Rome  itself:  the  power  of  the  procon- 
suls being  entirely  absolute  under  the  old  constitutions. 
And  when  finally,  upon  the  death  of  his  old  associate,  the 
triumvir  Lepidus,^  Augustus  was  made  Pontifex  Maxi- 
mus,  an  office  of  high  importance  from  the  sanctity  at- 
taching to  it  and  the  influence  it  gave  him  over  the  entire 
religious  system,  by  the  mere  union  of  the  ordinary  execu- 
tive powers,  he  arrived  at  the  full  measure  of  imperial 

While  posterity  has  been  divided  in  its  judgment  of 
Augustus,  the  weight  of  opinion  seems  to  be  that  the 
Emperor  passed  judgment  upon  himself  in  the  &mous 
death- bed  remark  to  his  friends:  "Have  I  acted  well  my 
part?  Then  applaud  me."  He  certainly  either  proved  him- 
self an  accomplished  actor,  or  else  his  life  presents  a 
remarkable  instance  of  the  obliteration  of  native  evil  in- 
stincts, by  the  sheer  force  of  the  responsibility  and  duty 
attaching  to  an  elevated  public  office.  The  evil  deeds 
which  blackened  the  first  thirty-five  years  of  his  life  can 
never  be  erased,  nor  can  they  be  reconciled  with  De 
Quincey's  reasoning  that  "during  the  forty-two  years  of 
his  prosperity  and  his  triumph,  being  above  fear,  he 
showed  the  natural  lenity  of  Ms  temper.^'  It  is  next  to 
impossible  for  a  man  to  attain  the  age  of  thirty-five  and 
not  make  a  display  of  his  real  character.  In  the  early  life 
of  Augustus  leniency  figures  only  reflexively  in  connec- 
tion with  the  crimes  of  himself  and  his  associates,  while 
his  cruelties  were  by  the  brilliant  English  essayist  him- 
self confessed  to  be  "equal  in  atrocity  to  any  which  are 
recorded."  The  true  explanation  of  the  striking  change  of 
character  which  marked  the  final  accession  to  power  of 
the  Emperor  Augustus  is  that  advanced  by  Dr.  Schmitz : 

^  This  occurred  in  the  year  12  &  c.  For  Lepidus^  see  ante,  page  21. 



"That  his  own  fears  compelled  him  to  strive  after  the 
affection  of  the  people;  and  supported  by  his  fiiends  he 
learned  to  appear  good  even  when  he  was  differently  in- 
clined/' But  as  the  same  writer  has  suggested,  even  assum- 
ing that  none  of  his  actions  proceeded  from  a  noble  soul, 
and  if  all  were  merely  a  series  of  hypocrisies,  it  cannot  be 
denied  that  what  he  actually  did,  under  whatsoever  guise 
accomplished,  was  the  source  of  incalculable  blessing  and 
advantage  to  Home  and  the  world.  All  civilization  owes  a 
benediction  to  the  man  who  established  a  form  of  govern- 
ment which  has  played  so  mighty  a  part  in  the  world  s 
progress;  and  for  tlie  moment  forgetting  the  possible 
motives  which  prompted  him,  and  remembering  only  his 
connection  with  one  of  the  most  remarkable  periods  in 
the  history  of  man,  we  impulsively  comply  with  his  last 
imperial  conunand  and  applaud  him. 



4        \ 


'.■  -;.S 




|X>LL0WIN6  an  established  custom,  Caius  Octavius 
4^  bad  contracted  the  young  Octavius  at  a  tender  age 
Ui  a  daughter  of  Publius  Servilius  Isauricus.  But  when 
the  Bologna  compact  was  made,  the  army  desired  that 
the  confederacy  should  be  confirmed  by  a  matrimonial  alli- 
ance of  some  sort  and  the  most  convenient  and  promising 
ttcamed  to  be  a  marriage  between  Augustus  and  Claudia, 
the  daughter  of  Antony's  wife  Fulvia  by  her  former  hus- 
band, Publius  Claudius.  Claudia  was  at  the  time  scarcely 
at  the  threshold  of  girlhood,  and  soon  afterwards,  as  the 
result  of  a  quarrel  with  his  mother-in-law,  Augustus  di- 
vorced her.  He  next  married  Scribonia,  the  daughter  of 
L,  Scribonius  Libo,  and  whose  sister  was  the  wife  of  Sex- 
tus  Pompeius.  Scribonia  had  been  already  twice  married  to 
men  of  consular  rank,  one  of  whom  was  Scipio,  the  father 
of  Cornelia,  whose  death  is  lamented  by  Propertius.  By 
Scribonia  he  had  a  dau^ter  Julia,  his  oidy  child. 

After  the  birth  of  Julia,  being  as  he  declared  tired  to 
death  by  the  ill-nature  and  perversity  of  Scribonia,  Au- 
gustus divorced  her  and  inuuediately  thereafter  married 
Livia  Drusilla,  who  was  at  the  time  the  wife  of  Tiberius 
Nero.  Each  of  his  previous  marriages  had  been  made 
purely  from  motives  of  personal  interest:  the  first  to  seal 
the  confederacy  of  the  triumvirs ;  the  second  with  a  view 
of  preventing  a  union  against  him  of  Sextus  Pompey  and 
Antony  after  the  siege  of  Perusia.  Into  his  third  marriage, 
however,  he  was  hurried  by  his  passion  for  another  man's 
wife,  and  judging  from  its  results  and  the  long  train  of 




Clime  and  infamy  which  it  entailed  upon  the  house  of 
Caesar  and  the  race  of  emperors,  never  was  there  a  wicked 
passion  which  ought  so  surely  to  have  been  strangled  in 
its  inception. 

Livia  Drusilla  was  the  daughter  of  Livius  Drusus  Clau- 
dianus»  a  member  of  the  Claudian  family,  who  took  his 
name  from  the  house  of  Livius,  into  which  he  had  been 
adopted.  He  had  fought  at  the  battle  of  Philippi  on  the 
side  of  liberty;  and  seeing  the  day  lost,  there  had  died 
by  his  own  hand.  Livia  married  Tiberius  Claudius  Nero, 
also  of  the  Claudian  house,  who  espoused  the  cause  of 
Antony,  and  Augustus  perhaps  saw  her  first  when  she 
was  fleeing  from  the  danger  which  threatened  her  hus- 
band during  the  Perusian  war,  or  possibly  a  little  later,  at 
the  wedding  of  Antony  and  Octavia.  Augustus  was  only 
twenty-five  or  twenty-six  years  *of  qjje  at  the  time.  The 
personal  and  political  considerati6nii''^*fi>|p  his  alliance  with 
the  family  of  Pompey  were  no  longeH  of  4(>^^»  and  unable 
to  control  his  passion  for  JImVW.  he  divorced  Scribonia  on 
tte  very  d.y  of  hb  d^gh^S-W  birth.  «.d  with  the 
approbation  of  the  augurs,  i^hich  Ite  ^^ad  np  difiiculty  in 
obtaining,  celebrated  his  third  ihiirrii^;  While  it  is  not 
certain  that  this  was  done  with  LYri^'s/own  inclination 
— the  actual  wishes  of  her  husband,  of  course,  were  not 
consulted,  although  his  formal  consent  seems  to  have 
been  obtained —  subsequent  events  would  indicate  that  she 
was  easily  reconciled  to  her  lot  At  the  time  of  her  mar- 
riage to  Augustus  she  was  the  mother  of  one  son,  Tibe- 
rius, and  three  months  afterwards  was  bom  her  second 
son,  Drusus,  of  whom  Tiberius  Nero  was  also  the  father. 
Although  ardently  desired  by  both  parties,  no  children 
resulted  firom  her  marriage  with  Augustus,  and  when  it 
became  apparent  that  her  predominant  ambition  of  giving 



crime  and  infamy  which  it  entailed  upon  the  house  of 
Caesar  and  the  race  of  emperors,  never  was  there  a  wicked 
passion  which  ought  so  surely  to  have  been  strangled  in 
its  inception. 

Livia  Drusilla  was  the  daughter  of  Livius  Drusus  Clau- 
dianus,  a  member  of  the  Claudian  family,  who  took  his 
name  from  the  house  of  Livius,  into  which  he  had  been 
adopted.  He  had  fought  at  the  battle  of  Philippi  on  the 
side  of  liberty;  and  seeing  the  day  lost,  there  had  died 
by  his  own  hand.  Livia  married  Tiberius  Claudius  Nero, 
also  of  the  Claudian  house,  who  espoused  the  cause  of 
Antony,  and  Augustus  perhaps  saw  her  first  when  she 
was  fleeing  from  the  danger  which  threatened  her  hus- 
band during  the  Perusian  war,  or  possibly  a  little  later,  at 
the  wedding  of  Antony  and  Octavia.  Augustus  was  only 
twenty-five  or  twenty-six  years 'of  qge  at  the  time.  The 
personal  and  political  considerati6n^''-fi>jp  his  alliance  with 
the  family  of  Pompey  were  no  longeHpf  4^X*ce,  and  unable 
to  control  his  passion  for  l^nw^  he  divorced  Scribonia  on 
the  very  day  of  his  daughjter  ^J^dia's  birth,  and  with  the 
jq)probation  of  the  augurs,  ^hich  Ite  ^^ad  np  difficulty  in 
obtaining,  celebrated  his  third  ihiirrii^;  While  it  is  not 
certain  that  this  was  done  with  Liyi^'s/own  inclination 
—the  actual  wishes  of  her  husband,  of  course,  were  not 
consulted,  although  his  formal  consent  seems  to  have 
been  obtained — subsequent  events  would  indicate  that  she 
was  easily  reconciled  to  her  lot.  At  the  time  of  her  mar- 
riage to  Augustus  she  was  the  mother  of  one  son,  Tibe- 
rius, and  three  months  afterwards  was  bom  her  second 
son,  Drusus,  of  whom  Tiberius  Nero  was  also  the  father. 
Although  ardently  desired  by  both  parties,  no  children 
resulted  from  her  marriage  with  Augustus,  and  when  it 
became  apparent  that  her  predominant  ambition  of  giving 



porting  his  domination  and  providing  a  fitting  consort  for 
his  daughter,  Augustus  raised  to  the  dignity  of  pontiff  and 
curule  eedile  Claudius  Marcellus,  the  son  of  his  sister,  the 
younger  Octavia.  Marcellus  was  a  mere  youth  at  the  time, 
but  upon  the  completion  of  his  minority  his  marriage  with 
Julia  was  celebrated.  This  Marcellus  was  the  one  cele- 
brated  in  the  beautiful  lines  of  the  sixth  iEneid,  where 
he  is  introduced  into  the  vision  of  Roman  grandeurs  yet 
unborn  which  were  revealed  to  iEneas  in  the  shades ;  for 
which  Virgil  received  an  immense  reward  firom  Octavia. 

Marcellus  died  soon  after  his  marriage,  and  it  seems 
probable  that  the  wicked  arts  of  Livia  were  first  exercised 
in  connection  with  his  death.  For  while  history  is  not 
positive  on  this  point,  the  manifest  determination  of  the 
Empress  to  secure  the  succession  for  her  own  son,  her 
subsequent  acts  in  this  connection  and  the  ''secret  appre- 
hensions" of  the  people  referred  to  by  Tacitus  in  speaking 
of  ''Marcellus,  who  was  snatched  in  his  youth  from  the 
ardent  affections  of  the  populace,"  coupled  with  the  pre- 
mature death  of  a  youth  theretofore  in  perfect  health,  have 
been  sufficient  to  convince  more  than  one  modem  histo- 
rian that  he  was  poisoned  by  his  mother-in-law. 

Upon  the  death  of  Marcellus,  Augustus  selected  for  the 
second  husband  of  his  daughter  his  oldest  friend  and  most 
useful  adherent,  Marcus  Vipsanius  Agrippa.  At  the  time 
of  this  marriage  there  existed  what  in  these  days  would  be 
considered  a  serious  obstacle  to  its  consummation,  in  the 
fact  that  Agrippa  was  already  married — his  wife  being 
one  of  the  two  sisters  of  the  deceased  Marcellus.  But  a 
Caesar  did  not  mind  such  a  little  thing.  Plutarch  says  that 
Octavia  herself,  who  was  undoubtedly  a  woman  of  extraor- 
dinary merit,  and  for  whom  Augustus  had  great  affection, 
proposed  the  match  to  her  brother.  However  this  may  be, 










after  languishing  there  three  years  perished  by  starvation 
at  the  hands  of  the  Emperor,  who  refused  even  to  grant 
the  privilege  of  burial.  Many  of  his  descendants  are  said  to 
have  attained  the  consular  rank. 

Augustus  displayed  the  greatest  interest  in  the  welfare 
and  fortunes  of  his  grandchildren, — the  offspring  of  Julia 
and  Agrippa.  The  two  eldest  sons,  Caius  and  Lucius,  he 
adopted  by  the  ceremony  of  purchase — a  sort  of  fictitious 
sale — from  their  father,  and  took  them  into  his  own  home, 
where  they  became  his  constant  companions,  their  educa- 
tion being  conducted  in  a  great  measure  by  their  grand- 
father himself.  They  assumed  the  name  of  Caesar,  were 
marked  out  as  consuls-elect,  to  take  office  at  the  proper 
age»  and  were  introduced  to  the  armies  as  the  heirs  of  the 

But  Livia,  whose  purpose  to  secure  the  throne  for  Tibe- 
rius had  now  become  the  engrossing  passion  of  her  life, 
was  only  biding  her  time,  and  the  occasion  soon  arrived. 
Julia,  the  mother  of  the  two  young  men,  had  already 
entered  upon  her  career  of  infamy.  After  the  death  of 
Agrippa  at  the  instance  of  Livia,  she  had  been  given  in 
marriage  to  the  latter's  eldest  son,  Tiberius,  and  the  way 
thus  paved,  as  Livia  thought,  for  the  adoption  of  Tiberius 
as  the  Emperor's  son  and  heir,  if  Julia's  children  could  be 
removed.  Julia  had  become  so  notorious,  through  her  rela- 
tions with  Sempronius  Gracchus,  even  during  the  lifetime 
of  Agrippa,  that  Tiberius  was  inspired — or  pretended  to 
be — with  disgust  for  her  from  the  start.  It  seems  unques- 
tionable that  this  was  part  of  a  deep-laid  plan  on  the  part 
of  Livia  to  alienate  her  husband's  affections  from  his 
daughter^  as  an  important  step  in  her  plan.  It  is  even  said 
that  Livia  herself  had  deliberately  tempted  Julia  to  set 
out  upon  her  evil  ways,  although  of  this  there  is  no  suf- 



ficient  proof.  Gracchus,  who  might  have  been  a  witness  of 
the  fact,  was  afterwards  murdered  by  order  of  Tiberius. 

However  this  may  be,  Tiberius  soon  separated  from  his 
wife  and  withdrew  to  the  island  of  Rhodes,  where  he  lived 
in  the  greatest  retirement  During  his  absence  Julia  was 
guilty  of  such  open  shamelessness  that  Augustus  himself 
divorced  her  in  the  name  of  his  son-in-law,  presenting  the 
facts  to  the  Senate  in  a  message  read  by  the  quaestor.  The 
fate  of  Julia  was  as  wretched  as  her  mature  life  had  been 
abominable.  She  was  first  banished  by  her  father  to  the 
island  of  Pandataria,  off  the  coast  of  Campania,  where  she 
was  treated  with  the  greatest  harshness.  Five  years  later 
she  was  removed  to  Reggio  (in  Calabria)  and  treated  with 
less  severity ;  but  her  father  always  refused  to  forgive  her, 
replying  to  the  Roman  people,  who  several  times  inter- 
posed in  her  behalf,  **I  wish  you  all  had  such  daughters 
and  wives  as  she  is."  FinaDy,  in  continued  disgrace  and 
exile,  after  the  flight  of  all  hope  by  the  murder  of  her 
last  son,  she  died  of  starvation  at  the  hands  of  her  hus- 
band and  stepbrother,  Tiberius,  who  had  succeeded  her 
father  as  Emperor.  Truly  the  ways  of  the  transgressor  are 

With  the  disgrace  and  banishment  of  Julia,  Livia  felt 
that  the  moment  had  arrived,  and  the  hopes  which  Au- 
gustus cherished  in  his  favorite  grandsons  were  speedily 
brought  to  an  end.  Lucius  Caesar,  the  youngest,  was  sud- 
denly taken  ill,  while  on  his  way  to  assume  command  of 
the  army  in  Spain,  and  died  at  Massilia  in  the  year  1.  A 
few  months  later  his  elder  brother,  Caius  Caesar,  who  was 
in  command  on  the  Parthian  firontier,  received  a  slight 
wound  in  Armenia.  It  seemed  a  mere  scratch  at  the  time, 
but  on  his  way  home  he  was  taken  ill  in  Lycia  and  died 
there.  Each  of  them,  as  Tacitus  discreetly  says,  "cut  off 



either  by  a  death  premature  but  natural,  or  by  the  arts 
of  their  stepmother  Li  via/'  From  all  the  surrounding  cir- 
cumstances»  in  connection  with  what  had  gone  before  and 
what  followed,  we  must  believe  that  it  was  a  case  of  art, 
rather  than  nature. 

Lucius  Caesar  was  not  married,  but  his  brother  Caius 
had  for  a  wife  Livia,  the  daughter  of  his  stepfather's  (Ti- 
berius) brother  Drusus,  who  had  married  the  Emperor  s 
niece,  Antonia.  Caius  and  Livia  had  no  children,  but  after 
the  death  of  the  former  his  widow  married  her  own  cousin, 
Drusus,  only  son  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius.  The  wretched 
fate  of  Livia,  her  second  husband,  and  their  children  will 
appear  in  a  following  chapter. 

Of  the  remaining  children  of  Julia  and  Agrippa,  Julia, 
who  seems  to  have  been  the  eldest  daughter,  was  mar- 
ried to  Lucius  iEmilius  Paulus,  a  grandnephew  of  the  tri- 
umvir Lepidus.^  Including  his  own  holding  of  the  office 
of  chief  magistrate,  he  was  of  consular  lank  in  the  fourth 
generation,  and  at  the  time  of  his  marriage^  was;  ^t  j;he 
head  of  what  was  considered  the  noblest  house  in  Rome. 
So  that  the  marriage  was  in  every  respect  'gratifying  to  the 
pride  and  ambition  of  the  first  EmperQr,  wbo  for^w;-  in 
this  new  alfiance  the  promise  of  another  line  t>f  4esceiid- 
ants  who  would  strengthen  the  pretensions  of  his  house. 
As  matter  of  fact,  the  blood  of  Augustus  was  through  this 
marriage  transmitted  to  the  fifth  generation.  But  instead 
of  adding  strength  to  the  imperial  structure,  the  very  ex- 
istence of  these  descendants,  with  their  powerful  claims  to 
the  throne,  provoked  the  successors  of  Augustus  to  addi- 
tional acts  of  violence  against  their  kindred,  and  thus  con- 
tributed to  the  obliteration  of  the  family  and  the  final 
ruin  of  the  edifice.  Every  one  of  the  links  in  this  chain 

^  Anie,  page  21. 



either  by  a  death  premature  but  natural,  or  by  the  arts 
of  their  stepmother  Li  via/'  From  all  the  surrounding  cir- 
cumstances, in  connection  with  what  had  gone  before  and 
what  followed,  we  must  believe  that  it  was  a  case  of  art, 
rather  than  nature. 
Lucius  Csesar  was  not  married,  but  his  brother  Caius 


had  for  a  wife  Livia,  the  daughter  of  his  stepfather's  (Ti- 
berius) brother  Drusus,  who  had  married  the  Emperor  s 
niece,  Antonia.  Caius  and  Livia  had  no  children,  but  ajfter 
the  death  of  the  former  his  widow  married  her  own  cousin, 
Drusus,  only  son  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius.  The  wretched 
fate  of  Livia,  her  second  husband,  and  their  children  will 
appear  in  a  foUowing  chapter. 

Of  the  remaining  children  of  Julia  and  Agrippa,  Julia, 
who  seems  to  have  been  the  eldest  daughter,  was  mar- 
ried to  Lucius  iEmilius  Paulus,  a  grandnephew  of  the  tri- 
umvir Lepidus.^  Including  his  own  holding  of  the  office 
of  chief  magistrate,  he  was  of  consular  rank  in  the  fourth 
generation,  and  at  the  time  of  his  marriage^  wa^.  4t  fhe 
head  of  what  was  considered  the  noblest  house  in  Rome. 
So  that  the  marriage  was  in  every  respect  gmtifyin^  to  the 
pride  and  ambition  of  the  first  Emperpr,  who  for^w'  in 
this  new  alliance  the  promise  of  another  fine^x^f  4escetid- 
ants  who  would  strengthen  the  pretensions  of  his  house. 
As  matter  of  fact,  the  blood  of  Augustus  was  through  this 
maniage  transmitted  to  the  fifth  generation.  But  instead 
of  adding  strength  to  the  imperial  structure,  the  very  ex- 
istence of  these  descendants,  with  their  powerful  claims  to 
the  throne,  provoked  the  successors  of  Augustus  to  addi- 
tional acts  of  violence  against  their  kindred,  and  thus  con- 
tributed to  the  obliteration  of  the  family  and  the  final 
nun  of  the  edifice.  Every  one  of  the  links  in  this  chain 

^ijiie,  page  21. 



Tiberius  by  the  Emperor.  Never  was  her  crafty  nature 
more  cunningly  displayed  than  now.  The  opportunity 
was  not  ripe  to  destroy  the  remaining  heir,  Postumus 
Agrippa.  Although  she  had  become  an  object  of  suspicion 
to  the  public  through  the  premature  deaths  of  the  two 
Caesars,  thus  far  she  had  played  the  game  without  in  the 
slightest  arousing  her  husband's  suspicion.  Another  death 
at  this  juncture  might  awaken  his  distrust  and  destroy  his 
confidence  forever.  The  risk  would  be  too  great.  She  would 
make  one  more  flight  of  the  long  ascent  upon  which  she 
had  toiled  so  patiently  and  remorselessly.  The  result  could 
be  made  equally  sure.  And  so  Augustus  was  importuned 
by  his  wife,  whose  influence  over  him  was  still  unbounded, 
to  adopt  both  Tiberius  and  the  surviving  son  of  Agrippa 
as  his  children  and  heirs  to  the  throne.  It  was  a  master 
stroke.  Postumus  Agrippa  had  never  been  a  favorite.  He 
was  of  a  coarse  nature,  given  to  folly,  and  intractable.  His 
future  was  at  the  best  uncertain ;  Rome  must  not  be  left; 
without  a  master;  and  besides,  was  not  Tiberius  already 
his  son,  by  marriage  with  Julia?  The  Emperor  was  easily 
persuaded,  and  Agrippa  and  Tiberius  were  adopted  in  the 
Forum,  by  a  law  passed  for  the  purpose  by  the  Senate 
about  the  year  8  a.  d.  The  remainder  of  Livia's  task  was 
easy.  By  frequent  playing  upon  the  brutal  temperament 
and  unruly  disposition  of  Postumus  Agrippa  and  exagger- 
ating his  faults  upon  every  occasion,  she  readily  enlarged 
the  Emperor  s  prejudices  against  his  grandson,  until  finally 
the  unfortunate  young  man  was  banished  to  the  island  of 
Planasia,  where  a  guard  of  soldiers  was  placed  about  him 
under  an  act  that  he  be  confined  for  life,  which  Augustus 
procured  from  his  servile  Senate.  Nothing  now  remained 
for  him  but  death  at  the  hands  of  his  grandfather's  wife 
and  his  mother's  husband,  who  was  his  brother  by  adoption. 

[42  ] 




And  now  Livia  was  triumphant;  her  son  Tiberius  re- 
mained the  sole  heir  to  the  sovereignty  of  Rome.  Augustus 
never  spoke  of  the  two  Julias — his  daughter  and  grand- 
daughter— and  of  his  grandson  Agrippa  except  as  *^the 
three  cancers."  He  left  a  memorandum  with  his  will  that 
the  two  Julias  should  not  be  buried  in  his  tomb.  True, 
there  remained  his  other  granddaughter,  Agrippma,  a 
woman  of  noble  nature  and  high  spirit,  who  had  become 
the  wife  of  a  man  of  elevated  character,  Livia's  grandson, 
Germanicus.  And  in  order  to  ensure  the  succession  for  a 
longer  period,  Tiberius  was  shortly  compelled  by  Augustus 
to  adopt  Germanicus  as  his  son — notwithstanding  the  fact 
that  he  already  had  a  son  Drusus,  by  his  first  wife,  Vipsania 
Agrippina.  But  these  things  in  effect  only  contributed  to 
Livia's  delight  and  increased  her  pride  and  vanity  from 
the  additional  assurance  which  they  conveyed  that  sover- 
eign power  and  authority  would  be  continued  in  her  fam- 
ily. Nothing  remained  for  the  lMxipi(gte  fulfilment  of  her 
dream  but  the  death  of  AugQAyii&ljliiA'iiSb^^^  not  to  be 
long  delayed.  *'^ •'">;,.•  ■ 

It  has  been  commonly  adc^epted  that  Augu^us  came  to 
his  end  in  the  course  of  nafbusi^  4]fkd^^  peacefully  in  the 

arms  of  his  wife.  The  historiao.^ue¥6]!liu^';],i|  relating  the 
occurrence  declares  that  when  tlie^'end^  .lyas  visibly  ap- 
proaching Livia  sent  hasty  messengers  for  Tiberius,  with 
whom  the  dying  Emperor  had  a  long  and  affectionate  in- 
terview, and  pretends  that  his  last  words  were  "Farewell, 
Livia,  and  ever  be  mindful  of  our  long  union."  Tacitus,  on 
the  other  hand,  insists  that  it  was  never  clearly  established 
whether  these  stories  were  not  fabrications,  and  whether 
the  Emperor  was  not  dead  when  Tiberius  arrived  at  Nola. 
He  declares  that  there  were  many  conflicting  rumors  about 
the  event;  among  others,  that  Augustus  had  secretly 

C  48] 



Feom  14  A.  D.  TO  37  A.  D. 

TIBERIUS  NERO,  Caesar  by  adoption,  was  descended 
from  the  Claudian  £imily.  He  was  the  son  of  Tibe- 
rius Nero  and  Livia  Drusilla.  His  father  attained  distinc- 
tion under  Julius  Caesar,  in  the  Alexandrine  war.  After 
the  death  of  Caesar,  Tiberius  espoused  the  cause  of  Antony 
and  for  a  time  made  some  headway  in  fomenting  opposi- 
tion to  Augustus.  But  he  was  soon  overcome  and  com- 
pelled to  flee  with  his  wife  to  Sicily,  and  thence  to  Achaia. 
It  is  said  that  Augustus  first  saw  the  beautiful  wife  of 
Tiberius  at  the  time  of  this  flight,  but  it  seems  probable 
that  the  meeting  did  not  occur  until  after  the  Bologna 
compact  made  it  safe  for  Tiberius  to  return  to  Rome,  his 
name  not  appearing  upon  the  proscribed  list,  which  pre- 
sumably would  not  have  been  the  case  if  Augustus  was 
already  enamoured  of  his  wife.  And  all  the  traditions  agree 
that  with  Augustus  it  was  "love  at  first  sight."  The  fatal 
meeting  perhaps  occurred  at  the  wedding  of  Mark  Antony 
and  Octavia,  after  the  peace  of  Brundusium,  at  which  the 
bride  was  attended  by  Livia,  at  that  time  a  beautiful 
young  woman  of  eighteen.  Augustus  was  about  twenty- 
six  years  old,  and  his  second  wife,  Scribonia,  was  living 
and  about  to  present  him  with  an  heir.  But  he  was  fasci- 
nated by  the  charms  of  Livia  and  immediately  requested 
Tiberius  Nero  to  resign  his  wife.  The  latter  obeyed  the 
command — for  such  in  effect  it  was — notwithstanding  the 
fact  that  his  wife  was  young,  beautiful,  and  accomplished, 
the  mother  of  one  son,  and  about  to  present  him  with  an- 

[46  ] 



other.  As  Caesar  was  master  of  Rome,  with  a  dozen  l^ons 
at  his  back,  and  Tiberius  had  barely  crossed  the  threshold 
of  forgiveness  after  his  rebellion,  it  was  doubtless  a  case  of 
coercive  persuasion.  We  may  to  a  certain  extent  appre- 
ciate the  reasons  for  his  compliance  in  those  times  of  law- 
less proscription,  but  it  is  difficult  to  understand  his  final 
degradation  in  the  matter;  he  is  said  to  have  actually  offi- 
ciated at  the  marriage  and  in  the  character  of  father  be- 
stowed his  beautiful  young  wife  upon  the  future  Emperor. 
His  friends  afterwards  declared  that  he  yielded  to  this 
public  humiliation  to  save  his  life.  It  would  seem  that  the 
life  of  a  man  who  would  submit  to  such  demands  was  not 
worth  saving;  and  so  the  gods  evidently  considered,  even 
in  degenerate  Rome,  for  Tiberius  Nero  died  very  soon 
afterwards.  His  second  son,  Drusus,  was  bom  about  three 
months  after  the  marriage  of  Livia  and  Augustus. 

Tiberius  Nero,  afterwards  Tiberius  Caesar,  was  bom  in 
the  Palatine  quarter  at  Rome  upon'li^e  sixteenth  of  the 
Calends  of  December,  712  a.  u.  jp:  (NoveBlbet'lp,  89  B.  c). 
He  and  his  brother  Drusus  se^^io'^to  have  e^fiQri^nced  the 
love  and  affection  of  AugusttMS,  an4  at  the  early  age  of 
nineteen  years  Tiberius  received  'liis  fitet  'public  appoint- 
ment, that  of  quaestor,  thereafter  holdiqg  ftii^.c^^sively  the 
offices  of  praetor  and  consul.  He  achieved  a  decided  mili- 
tary success  in  the  East,  where  he  was  sent  aft;er  the  failure 
and  death  of  Crassus  in  the  Parthian  war,  and  seems  also 
to  have  displayed  no  less  ability  in  the  administration  of 
his  civil  offices  under  the  State. 

In  view  of  his  military  and  other  successes  and  his  rela- 
tions with  the  Emperor,  it  would  not  be  unnatural  if  he 
had  shared  in  the  ambitious  schemes  which  were  cherished 
in  his  behalf  by  the  bold  and  unscrupulous  Empress.  But 
all  of  their  hopes  were,  for  the  time  being  at  least»  dispelled 



other.  As  Caesar  was  master  of  Rome,  with  a  dozen  l^ons 
at  his  back,  and  Tiberius  had  barely  crossed  the  threshold 
of  foigiveness  after  his  rebellion,  it  was  doubtless  a  case  of 
coercive  persuasion.  We  may  to  a  certain  extent  appre- 
ciate the  reasons  for  his  compliance  in  those  times  of  law- 
less proscription,  but  it  is  difficult  to  understand  his  final 
degradation  in  the  matter;  he  is  said  to  have  actually  offi- 
ciated at  the  marriage  and  in  the  character  of  father  be- 
stowed his  beautiful  young  wife  upon  the  future  Emperor. 
His  fiiends  afterwards  declared  that  he  yielded  to  this 
public  humiliation  to  save  his  life.  It  would  seem  that  the 
life  of  a  man  who  would  submit  to  such  demands  was  not 
worth  saving;  and  so  the  gods  evidently  considered,  even 
in  degenerate  Rome,  for  Tiberius  Nero  died  very  soon 
afterwards.  His  second  son,  Drusus,  was  bom  about  three 
months  after  the  marriage  of  Livia  and  Augustus. 

Tiberius  Nero,  afterwards  Tiberius  Caesar,  was  bom  in 
the  Palatine  quarter  at  Rome  upon'' |^e  sixteenth  of  the 
Calends  of  December,  712  a.  u.  c;'  (Novenlbet  Ip,  89  b.  c). 
He  and  his  brother  Dmsus  seyK^i:9*to  have  e^^^enced  the 
love  and  affection  of  AugusttMS,  ah4  at  the  early  age  of 
nmeteen  years  Tiberius  received  "his  fil^t 'public  appoint- 
ment, that  of  quasstor,  thereafter  holdiag  'ftiijiceSsively  the 
offices  of  praetor  and  consul.  He  achieved  a  decided  mili- 
tary success  in  the  East,  where  he  was  sent  after  the  failure 
and  death  of  Crassus  in  the  Parthian  war,  and  seems  also 
to  have  displayed  no  less  ability  in  the  administration  of 
his  civU  offices  under  the  State. 

In  view  of  his  military  and  other  successes  and  his  rela- 
tions with  the  Emperor,  it  would  not  be  unnatural  if  he 
had  shared  in  the  ambitious  schemes  which  were  cherished 
in  his  behalf  by  the  bold  and  unscrupulous  Empress.  But 
aQ  of  their  hopes  were,  for  the  time  being  at  leasts  dispelled 



represented  to  the  Emperor  as  proceeding  from  unendur- 
able shame  at  the  conduct  of  Julia,  now  apparently  for  the 
first  time  brought  to  the  Emperor's  knowledge.  Tiberius 
refused  to  listen  to  the  entreaties  of  Augustus — in  which 
his  mother  h3rpocritically  joined — and  finally  sailed  away 
for  Rhodes,  where  the  news  was  soon  received  that  Julia 
had  been  divorced  from  him  by  Augustus  himsel£ 

After  living  in  retirement  eight  years  (his  request  to  re- 
turn after  Julia  s  banishment  having  been  denied),  he  was 
recalled  by  his  mother's  influence  and  passed  the  two  suc- 
ceeding years  in  privacy  at  Rome.  Then  came  the  deaths 
of  Caius  and  Lucius,  the  Emperor  s  adoptive  sons,  the  joint 
adoption  of  Tiberius  and  Postumus  Agrippa,  the  Em- 
peror's grandson,  and  finally  the  banishment  of  Postumus, 
which  left  Tiberius  the  heir-apparent  of  the  imperial  power, 
now  crystallized  in  the  person  and  title  of  Ccesar. 

From  this  time  until  the  death  of  Augustus — a  period 
of  perhaps  ten  years — Tiberius  was  actively  engaged  with 
afiairs  of  State,  either  in  the  conduct  of  his  various  public 
offices  at  Rome,  or  in  successfully  conducting  military  en- 
terprises abroad.  He  acquired  great  glory  by  his  military 
successes,  was  repeatedly  honored  with  the  highest  offices, 
and  finally  celebrated  a  pompous  triumph,  his  imperial 
father  superintending  the  solemnity.  It  was  the  most  hon- 
orable period  of  his  life,  and  it  would  have  been  fortunate 
for  his  memory  if  he  had  never  lived  to  taste  the  pleasures 
of  unlimited  power,  which  in  those  days  was  synonymous 
with  unbridled  license.  For,  as  Tacitus  declares,  the  latter 
part  of  his  reign  exhibited  only  a  dreadful  uniformity  of 
guilt ;  *^of  savage  mandates  and  incessant  accusations,  when 
friendship  was  without  confidence  and  innocence  was  no 

As  we  have  seen,  the  death  of  the  Emperor  was  care- 




fully  concealed  by  Livia  until  the  accession  of  her  son 
was  an  accomplished  fact.  This  was  done  through  the  im- 
me^ate  assumption  by  Tiberius  of  the  military  functions 
of  the  Emperor.  The  praetorian  guard  submitted  to  his 
control  and  received  from  him  the  watchword.  This  was 
half  the  battle;  it  foreshadowed  the  final  degradation  of  the 
State,  when  the  army  chose  the  Emperor  without  even 
consulting  the  Senate,  selecting  on  occasion  that  candidate 
who  bid  the  largest  cash  sum  for  the  office.  But  now  the 
form  of  securing  the  Senate's  approval  was  still  to  be  ob- 
served, and  here  Tiberius  displayed  the  greatest  hypocrisy 
— pretending  that  he  had  convened  the  Senate  merely  in 
right  of  his  tribunitian  power,  to  read  the  late  Emperor's 
will  and  honor  him  with  an  apotheosis.  Upon  being  urged 
to  ascend  the  throne,  he  assumed  great  diffidence,  depre- 
cating his  abilities  to  sustain  the  burdens  of  government, 
and  suggesting  that  the  duties  of  the  State.^would  better 
be  apportioned  among  several  citizens. '^|it^filiaU]^,  in  the 
midst  of  the  confusion,  some  one  bluntly  t^ted" but;;  "Let 
him  either  accept  or  decline  at  o^oe»'^  while  ar^q  same 
moment  one  of  his  friends  declared*  to*  his  face,  *^  Others 
are  slow  to  perform  what  they  proniis®,.  while- yjpu  are  slow 
to  promise  what  you  actually  perform!''  Setitat  filially  his 
pretended  reluctance  gave  way  and,  as  Suetonius  puts  it, 
'^eompl^ing  of  the  miserable  and  burdensome  service  im- 
posed upon  him,  he  accepted  the  government";  and  the 
wretched  relic  of  Roman  pride  and  virtue,  represented  by 
a  subservient  Senate  and  a  degraded  aristocracy,  volun- 
tarily accepted  the  yoke  of  an  infamous  servitude  which, 
with  an  occasional  interruption,  was  to  endure  for  many 

Tiberius  was  somewhat  above  the  usual  stature,  broad 
shouldered,  well  formed,  and  robust.  He  is  said  to  have 



been  very  handsome,  with  regular  features,  large  dark  eyes, 
long  curling  hair,  and  a  very  fair  complexion.  He  bore 
himself  with  the  springy  step,  erect  carriage,  and  frown- 
ing  countenance  of  a  successful  military  leader  and  spoke 
with  the  deUberation  of  a  man  who,  having  weighed  his 
words  carefully,  expected  that  after  he  had  spoken  every 
one  would  consider  the  subject  closed*  Until  the  latter 
part  of  his  reign,  when  protracted  excesses  began  to  tell 
upon  even  his  iron  constitution,  his  health  was  uninter- 
ruptedly good;  and  it  is  said  that  from  his  thirtieth  year 
he  lived  without  medical  assistance  whatsoever. 

He  never  entirely  abandoned  the  active  habits  of  army 
life,  at  the  close  of  his  military  career  indulging  freely  in 
his  favorite  exercises  of  riding  and  fencing.  During  the 
ordinary  fatigues  of  a  campaign  he  seemed  to  take  plea- 
sure in  unnecessary  hardships,  frequently  passing  the  night 
without  a  tent,  and  taking  his  meals  while  sitting  on  the 
bare  ground.  He  was  a  strict  disciplinarian  and  in  the  con- 
duct of  his  campaigns  displayed  the  attributes  not  only  of 
a  good  soldier,  but  of  an  able  leader  as  welL  In  addition 
to  the  convincing  fact  of  his  successes,  his  ability  in  war 
is  well  attested  by  the  Emperor  Augustus,  a  shrewd  ob- 
server of  men  and  events,  who  in  various  letters  extolled 
Tiberius  as  a  wnsummate  general. 

Unlike  his  inmiediate  successors,  he  was  ni^ardly  (if 
not  actually  miserly)  in  the  extreme;  dispensing  nothing 
in  charity,  ^ving  no  public  entertainments,  and  undertak- 
ing no  pubUc  works  except  the  building  of  the  temple  of 
Augustus  and  the  restoration  of  Pompey's  theatre,  both 
of  which  he  even  left  unfinished.  His  covetousness  and  the 
passion  for  accumulation  soon  led  him  into  acts  of  high- 
handed oppresaon,  not  infrequentiy  amounting  to  sheer 
robbery,  without  even  the  form  of  confiscation,  vrhich 



latter,  however,  was  his  favorite  method  of  adding  to  his 

He  professed  an  extreme  aversion  to  flattery  of  every 
sort,  refusing  frequently  to  allow  persons  of  rank  to  ap- 
preach  for  the  purpose  of  extending  him  a  civility ;  while 
if  any  one  ventured,  either  in  conversation  or  a  set  speech, 
to  pay  him  a  compliment,  he  immediately  interrupted  the 
speaker  with  a  reprimand. 

The  cruel  and  sullen  temper  displayed  by  him  in  child- 
hood became  more  pronounced  in  mature  life,  and  during 
the  last  part  of  his  reign  his  disposition  in  this  respect  be- 
came so  manifest  that  even  Caligula  was  not  more  feared 
and  hated  by  the  Romans  than  Tiberius  had  been.  While 
many  of  his  barbarous  actions  were  performed  under  the 
pretence  of  what  was  termed  *^  strictness  and  reformation 
of  manners,"  it  must  be  considered  as  proven  that  in  the 
krge  majority  of  cases  they  were  done  merely  to  gratify 
his  own  savage  disposition.  His  unbounded  tyranny  and 
cold  brutality  provoked  bitter  reproaches  from  his  vic- 
tims; many  of  those  condemned  to  die  addressing  the 
most  opprobrious  remarks  to  him,  while  the  accusations 
of  others  were  scattered  among  the  senators  in  the  form 
of  written  hand-bills.  To  all  this — at  least  until  towards 
the  close  of  his  life — Tiberius  was  insensible;  declaring 
that  ''in  a  free  state,  both  the  tongue  and  the  mind  ought 
to  be  free." 

In  regard  to  other  and  more  shameful  vices,  the  Em- 
peror Tiberius  seems  to  have  set  the  pace  for  Caligula  and 
Nero,  and  while  the  latter  in  some  parts  of  the  circuit 
outstripped  his  vile  prototype,  Tiberius  must  be  accorded 
the  badge  of  general  infamy  for  his  life  in  the  island  of 

And  yet  in  exercising  the  supreme  power,  which  he  as- 



sumed  by  slow  degrees,  he  seems  to  have  been  occasion- 
ally moved  by  a  regard  for  the  public  good.  He  frequently 
interposed  to  prevent  ill  management  and  injustice,  en- 
couraged economy  in  the  administration  of  public  affairs, 
expelled  the  astrologers,  and — as  we  are  told — "took 
upon  himself  the  correction  of  public  morals,  where  they 
tended  to  decay  either  through  neglect  or  evil  custom " ; 
this  latter,  of  course,  with  the  usual  result  where  the  blind 
ventiires  to  lead  the  blind. 

The  history  of  Tiberius  is  the  direct  counterpart  of  that 
of  his  predecessor.  The  duplicity,  low  cunning,  and  wicked 
selfishness  which  characterized  the  earUer  part  of  the  first 
Emperor's  life  had  in  later  years  given  way  to  a  decided 
show  of  moderation,  decent  living,  and  wise  concern  for 
the  prosperity,  welfare,  and  glory  of  the  State.  The  adopted 
son  of  Augustus,  who  had  been  distinguished  for  the  really 
great  qualities  displayed  during  the  earlier  part  of  his  life, 
immediately  following  his  accession  commenced  yielding 
to  the  very  lowest  promptings  of  his  nature,  and  in  the  end 
fulfilled  to  the  unhappy  people  over  whom  he  ruled  the 
prophetic  death-bed  saying  of  Augustus:  "Alas  I  Unhappy 
Roman  people,  to  be  ground  by  the  jaws  of  such  a  slow 
devourer  1 " 






OF  all  the  emperors  of  the  house  of  Ccesar,  Tiberius 
was  the  least  married ;  for  while  Augustus  had  three 
wives,  Caligula,  the  third  Emperor,  five,  Claudius,  the 
fourth  Emperor,  six,  and  Nero,  the  fifth  Emperor,  three, 
Tiberius  had  but  two,  one  of  these  even  being  forced  upon 
him  against  his  inclination. 

By  his  first  wife,  Vipsania  Agrippina,  the  daughter  of 
Agrippa  by  his  first  wife,  Pomponia  (and  thus  the  step- 
daughter of  Tiberius  s  second  wife),  and  the  granddaughter 
on  her  mother's  side  of  Caecilius  Atticus  (a  Roman  knight 
to  whom  many  of  the  epistles  of  Cicero  are  addressed),  he 
had  one  son,  Drusus.  The  son  afterwards  bom  to  him  by 
Julia  died  in  infancy,  so  that  his  posterity  was  from  Drusus 
alone.  It  is  to  be  remembered,  however,  that  after  the 
banishment  of  Postumus  Agrippa,  foUowineg  the  adoption 
of  Tiberius  and  himself  by  Augustus,  the  latter  compelled 
Tiberius  to  himself  adopt  his  brot^ner'-s  son,  Germ^nipu^. 
After  the  fiction  of  an  adoption  b^  pui:;^ha;se,  all  of  the 
rights  and  duties  of  both  the  adopted  cfhild  and.  the  parent 
surrendering  him  attached  to  the  new  relationship ;  and  the 
adoptive  child  was  universally  considered,  and  by  writers 
of  contemporaneous  history  commonly  spoken  of,  as  the 
"son"  of  the  adoptive  parent.  In  the  family  of  Tiberius  is 
tiierefore  to  be  included  his  adopted  son,  Grermanicus,  as 
well  as  his  own  son,  Drusus. 

The  first  mention  of  Drusus  is  his  introduction  into  the 
Forum  by  his  &ther  upon  fhe  latter's  return  from  his  self- 
imposed  exile  at  Rhodes.  Later  he  was  sent  to  quell  an 

'    [  55  ] 


insurrection  among  the  l^ons  in  Pannonia  and  seems  to 
have  acquitted  himself  with  tact  and  ability.  Upon  his  re- 
turn he  was  accorded  a  triumph  and  had  the  further  honor 
of  two  consulships,  the  second  in  conjunction  with  his  &- 
ther,  who  during  a  part  of  it  retired  to  Campania,  leaving 
Drusus  at  the  head  of  the  State.  Germanicus  was  dead  at 
this  time,  and  everything  indicated  an  assured  succession  in 
Drusus  and  his  posterity.  But  another  Livia  had  come  upon 
the  scene,  equally  ambitious  for  power  with  the  Augusta, 
and  &r  surpassing  her  in  wickedness  and  depravity,  through 
which  Drusus,  her  husband,  was  destroyed,  the  hopes  of 
his  house  swept  away,  and  she  herself  came  to  an  unpitied 
death  at  the  hands  of  the  frenzied  Tiberius. 

Livia  was  the  sister  of  Germanicus — that  is,  of  her  hus- 
band's adoptive  brother.  She  was  first  married  to  the  young 
Caius  Caesar,  the  son  of  Julia  and  Agrippa,  and  after  his 
death  she  became  the  wife  of  Drusus,  who  was  her  own 
cousin.  Granddaughter  of  Augustus  by  her  first  marriage, 
and  his  grandniece  by  the  blood,  through  her  mother  An- 
tonia,  who  was  the  daughter  of  Augustus's  sister  Octavia 
by  Mark  Antony,  she  seemed  a  most  illustrious  consort 
for  the  reigning  Emperor's  only  son.  The  pride  and  satis- 
&ction  of  Tiberius  in  this  union  were  heightened  with  the 
birth  of  twin  boys  to  Livia ;  a  matter  of  so  much  joy  to 
the  Emperor  that  he  could  not  refrain  from  boasting  "that 
to  no  Roman  of  the  same  eminence  before  him  were  ever 
two  children  bom  at  a  birth."  Upon  which  the  historian 
Tacitus  dryly  remarks:  **Thus  to  his  own  glory  he  turned 
all  things,  even  mere  accidents." 

The  birth  of  the  twins,  who  were  called  Caius  and  Tibe- 
rius Nero  (afterwards  commonly  referred  to  as  Tiberius 
Gemellus),  was  followed  by  that  of  a  daughter,  named 
Julia.  Caius  died  in  infancy. 




At  the  time  of  the  birth  of  these  children  Germanicus 
was  still  hving,  and  in  order  to  a  just  understanding  of 
the  tragedy  that  was  impending,  his  character  and  the 
relationship  which  he  bore  to  public  events  must  be  first 

The  ancestry  of  Germanicus  was  illustrious.  His  father, 
Drusus,  was  the  only  brother  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius, 
while  his  mother,  the  younger  Antonia,  greatiy  celebrated, 
as  Plutarch  tells  us,  for  her  beauty  and  virtue,  was  the 
daughter  of  one  of  the  noblest  Roman  matrons,  the  beau- 
tiful Octavia,  the  sister  of  Augustus.  Octavia's  husband  was 
Mark  Antony,  who  was  thus  the  grandfather  of  Germani- 
cus. Germanicus  was  also  the  adoptive  son  of  Tiberius,  to 
whose  son  also  his  sister  Livia  was  married.  Germanicus 
himself  had  married  Agrippina,  one  of  the  chUdren  of 
Agrippa  and  JuUa;  so  that  his  offspring  were  the  great- 
grandchildren of  Augustus.  Moreover,  his  adoption  into 
the  family  of  the  reigning  Casar  was  known  to  have  pro- 
ceeded  from  the  will  of  the  divine  Augustus  himself.  His 
relationship  to  the  throne,  therefore,  alike  by  blood,  af- 
finity, and  imperial  favor,  was  of  the  highest  and  closest. 
And  finally,  Germanicus  was  a  man  of  the  most  elevated 
character,  of  a  handsome  person,  high  courage,  eloquent 
and  gifted  in  various  branches  of  learning,  while  at  the 
same  time  blessed  with  an  unassuming  disposition  and  a 
remarkable  sweetness  of  manners;  in  short,  as  one  historian 
declares,  it  seems  to  have  been  generally  agreed  that  he 
"possessed  all  the  noblest  endowments  of  body  and  mind 
in  a  higher  degree  than  had  ever  before  fallen  to  the  lot 
of  any  man."  In  the  midst  of  all  the  abandoned  wicked- 
ness and  horrible  nightmares  to  which  Roman  life  was 
given  up  in  the  times  of  the  CaBsars,  when  virtue  had  been 
trampled  in  the  mud,  when  sensuality  had  been  deified, 



when  honor  and  truth  and  love  and  all  the  finer  emotions 
of  the  soul  had  given  way  to  a  consuming  lust  for  power 
and  the  gratification  of  brutal  instincts;  after  wading 
through  page  after  page  of  the  most  sickening  and  hor- 
rible recitals,  what  a  reUef  to  come  upon  this  simple  little 
tribute  to  virtue,  in  the  words  of  the  historian,  that "  Ger- 
mamctis  reaped  the  fruit  of  his  noble  qualities  in  abundancey 
being  much  esteemed  and  beloved  by  his  friends.''  And  so 
virtue  was  not  yet  entirely  dead — not  even  in  besotted 
Rome.  The  great  poet,  to  whom  the  house  of  Cassar  fur- 
nished the  theme  for  one  of  the  most  wonderful  of  his  im- 
mortal  creations,  in  this  pictui^  of  Germanicus  might  weU 
have  found  his  inspiration  for  the  line. 


So  shines  a  good  deed  in  a  naughty  world.'^ 

But  however  high  the  claims  of  Germanicus,  and  how- 
ever great  his  popularity  with  the  people,  there  was  not 
wanting  a  support  to  the  pretensions  of  Drusus,  who  of 
course  had  the  countenance  of  the  Emperor  himself  and 
of  his  grandmother,  the  indomitable  Livia.  So  that  Rome 
was  divided  in  its  affections :  a  large  part  of  the  Court,  in- 
cluding the  most  sordid  and  venal  patricians,  declared  for 
Drusus,  the  Emperor's  own  son ;  while  others  of  the  nobles 
and  practically  all  of  the  people  (the  influence  of  the  lat- 
ter, however,  counting  for  comparatively  nothing)  were  for 
Germanicus.  Of  course  there  were  not  wanting  those  who 
sought  to  enlist  Drusus  in  his  own  interest  and  against 
Germanicus ;  but  to  the  lasting  honor  of  the  former  be  it 
said  that  he  would  not  listen  to  the  suggestion.  The  har- 
monious relations  of  the  brothers  were  unbroken,  and  after 
the  death  of  Germanicus  his  children  continued  to  receive 
especial  kindness  from  Drusus. 

But  if  Drusus  was  too  high  minded  to  act  against  Grer- 


THE  Wt*'  ^^11^ 

PUBLIC  Ulf^^^^ 


manicus,  there  were  others  not  so  scrupulous,  and  indeed 
how  would  it  have  been  possible  for  a  man  of  his  un- 
doubted virtue  to  have  escaped?  Disturbances  having 
arisen  in  the  East,  Germanicus  was  sent  to  Syria,  to 
regulate  its  affairs.  Tiberius  at  the  same  time  appointed 
a  new  governor  of  the  province  in  the  person  of  Cneius 
Piso,  whose  wife,  Plancina,  secretly  instigated  by'Livia  Au- 
gusta, had  been  for  some  time  engaged  in  a  mean  perse- 
cution of  Germanicus's  wife,  Agrippina.  That  Piso  actually 
had  authority  from  the  Emperor  to  destroy  Germani- 
cus must  be  considered  not  proven.  But  his  subsequent 
conduct  demonstrates  beyond  a  doubt  that  he  at  least 
supposed  that  Tiberius  had  appointed  him  to  the  com- 
mand in  Syria  expressly  to  defeat  the  views  of  Germani- 
cus. Urged  on  as  well  by  his  wife  as  by  his  own  unscru- 
pulous ambition,  he  opposed.  Germanicus  at  every  turn, 
and  finally  succeeded  in  administering  to  him  a  slow 
poison  from  which  the  nephdw  pf  ^^be  Jlmperor  finaUy 
died — before  his  death  expIicitTy^acty^^ng  ^Pa^  of  being 
his  murderer.  '  ; 

The  grief  and  consternation  of ^  both  Rome  and  jthe  prov- 
inces passes  description — Piso  *liAi4?JWflijC§i^:^l(^^^  of  all 
the  world,  openly  exhibiting  ati  indecent  joy ;  although,  of 
course,  there  were  others  who  exulted  in  secret.  At  Rome, 
when  the  news  arrived,  stones  were  hurled  at  the  tem- 
ples, the  altars  of  some  of  the  gods  demolished  and  the 
Lares  and  Penates  thrown  into  the  streets.  Germanicus 
had  been  the  hero  and  the  hope  of  the  great  body  of  the 
Roman  people,  whose  mourning  was  so  genuine  that  even 
the  special  edicts  passed  for  that  purpose  could  not  re- 
strain it.  And  while  all  history  unites  in  according  to 
Germanicus  a  virtue  which  shone  with  a  brilliant  and  soli- 
tary lustre  in  those  times  of  public  oppression  and  private 



Early  in  his  accession  to  power,  Tiberius  had  chosen  for 
commander  of  the  prsetorian  guards  an  artful  and  adroit 
and  at  the  same  time  bold  and  daring  knight  named  M]ius 
Sejanus.  This  man  had  skilfully  enlarged  the  power  of  his 
office,  until  then  quite  moderate,  by  gathering  into  one 
camp  the  cohorts  of  the  guard,  which  hitherto  had  been 
scattered  throughout  the  city.  From  this  time  the  military 
power  may  be  said  to  have  controlled  in  determining  the 
succession.  Sejanus  was  as  unscrupulous  as  he  was  shrewd 
and  ambitious,  and  with  the  first  taste  of  power  and  influ- 
ence, he  began  to  entertain  the  most  daring  projects,  which 
aimed  at  nothing  less  than  to  secure  the  throne.  With 
the  army  behind  him — the  good  will  of  the  soldiers  having 
been  gained  through  his  undoubted  courage  coupled  with 
both  tact  and  dissimulation  and  supplemented  by  bribery 
and  corruption,  where  the  rest  &iled — the  members  of  the 
imperial  family  were  the  only  obstacles  to  his  ambition. 
To  be  sure,  their  number  was  large;  besides  the  son  and 
grandson  of  Tiberius  there  were  the  descendants  of  the 
Emperor's  brother  Drusus,  including  the  three  sons  of 
Germanicus.  But  to  Sejanus  this  meant  simply  the  neces- 
sity of  protracted  killing,  instead  of  the  wholesale  murder 
which  would  have  attracted  attention,  although  simpler 
and  more  to  his  mind. 

He  began  in  a  way  which  can  be  characterized  only  as 
devilish.  The  first  person  to  be  removed  was  the  Emperor's 
son  Drusus,  against  whom  Sejanus  cherished  a  bitter  per- 
sonal resentment  on  account  of  a  blow  which  he  had  re- 
ceived from  the  haughty  prince  during  a  dispute  between 
them.  Livia,  the  wife  of  Drusus,  is  said  to  have  been  very 
beautiful,  and  Sejanus,  pretending  to  be  overcome  by  her 
attractions,  seduced  her,  and  when  thus  in  his  power,  in- 
duced her  to  share  in  his  scheme  by  promising  to  make 



her  his  Empress  when  he  should  have  gdned  the  throne. 
And  thus,  musingly  remarks  the  annalist,  **the  niece  of 
Augustus,  the  daughter-in-law  of  Tiberius,  the  mother  of 
the  children  of  Drusus,  disgraced  herself,  her  ancestors, 
and  her  posterity  by  a  connection  with  an  adulterer  from 
a  municipal  town;  exchanging  an  honorable  certainty  for 
guilty  prospects  which  might  never  be  realized."  ^ 

The  wife  of  Drusus  was  now  fully  launched  upon  her 
wicked  career.  Her  physician  was  admitted  into  the  plot, 
^  Sej«.us  h.ving'fct  divorced  his  wife,  who  w  Jthe 
mother  of  three  little  children,  and  thus  assured  Livia  that 
her  lover  would  be  at  once  available  as  a  second  husband, 
the  latter  was  ready  to  despatch  her  first,  and  Drusus  was 
poisoned..  Suspicion  was  at  the  time  entirely  diverted  from 
the  murderers,  who  were  discovered  only  after  an  interval 
of  eight  years  by  confession  of  Eudemus,  the  physician, 
and  a  slave  of  Sejanus.  v^;     ... 

The  death  of  Drusus  awakened  fUpes'sbttic^  friends 
of  Germanicus,  whose  three  sons,  notwiil»94A|vdtn^  the  fact 
that  the  two  sons  of  Drusus  vi^^  still  living,  Avere  now 
commonly  regarded  as  in  ,the''lkie.':!rf.sjjccess!ion.  Their 
mother,  Agrippina,  proud  and  7t&Hg^ty,l/b]t^Wvere  in  her 
Roman  virtue,  had  surrounded  them  withsievoted  friends 
and  wise  counseUors,  and  the  conspirators  found  it  impos- 
sible to  dispose  of  them  by  the  same  means  with  which 
the  death  of  Drusus  had  been  accomplished.  It  was  evi- 
dent that  Agrippina  must  first  be  removed,  and  Sejanus 
having  succeeded — easily,  as  we  are  quite  ready  to  be- 
lieve— in  rousing  the  hatred  of  the  old  Augusta,  the  two 
Livias  engaged  to  persuade  the  Emperor  that  "proud  of 
her  numerous  offspring  and  relying  upon  the  affections  of 
the  people,  Agrippina  had  designs  upon  the  sovereignty.'' 

^  Tacitos,  Annab,  iv.  S. 



and  various  things  which  he  had  said — or  which  she  pre- 
tended he  had  said — in  his  sleep.  These  were  repeated  to 
the  Emperor  by  Sejanus,  with  dark  insinuations  of  the 
crimes  which  Nero  had  in  contemplation.  The  unscrupu- 
lous favorite  also  succeeded  in  drawing  into  the  combi- 
nation Nero's  brother  Drusus,  by  tempting  him  with  the 
prospect  of  empire  if  his  elder  brother  could  be  first  re- 
moved. Everything  thus  progressing  well  and  Caesar's  favor 
having  been  especially  manifested  by  his  consent  to  the 
betrothal  of  the  daughter  of  Sejanus  with  a  son  of  the 
Emperor's  nephew  Claudius,  the  brother  of  Germanicus 
and  Livia,  the  latter  now  importuned  Sejanus  to  request 
the  Emperor's  consent  to  their  marriage. 

Sejanus  was  intoxicated  with  excess  of  fortune.  His 
power  had  increased  to  such  an  extent  that  there  remained 
scarcely  any  access  to  honors  except  through  his  favor. 
Only  this  last  coup  remained  to  ensure  him  the  succession, 
when  his  meditated  removal  of  the  children  of  Gemanicus 
should  be  accomplished.  He  had  received  the  most  con- 
vincing proof  of  the  Emperor's  favor  and  now  confidently 
presented  to  him  a  memorial,  begging  for  himself  the 
honor  of  an  alliance  with  the  widowed  Livia. 

But  he  had  presumed  too  far  upon  the  complacency  of 
Caesar.  While  the  refusal  of  Tiberius  was  cautiously  ex- 
pressed, he  nevertheless  made  it  plain  to  Sejanus  that  the 
time  had  gone  by  when  the  hand  of  a  daughter  of  the 
Caesars  might  be  aspired  to  by  a  mere  Roman  knight. 
Moreover,  the  Emperor  used  certiun  expressions  which 
filled  Sejanus  with  actual  alarm  for  the  ultimate  success 
of  his  projects  upon  the  lines  which  he  was  then  follow- 
ing, and  it  became  necessary  to  immediately  rearrange  his 
plans.  The  marriage  with  Livia  was  abandoned  as  at  once 
impossible  and  unnecessary,  and  after  strengthening  his 

[  66  ] 




influence  with  the  army,  Sejanus  used  all  of  his  persuasion 
to  induce  the  Emperor  to  withdraw  from  Rome  to  Capri, 
in  the  Bay  of  Naples,  access  to  which  could  be  readily 
guarded  by  a  military  force.  Tiberius,  who,  at  this  period 
of  his  career  at  least,  knew  no  enjoyment  except  that  of 
sensual  pleasure,  was  easily  persuaded  to  a  course  which 
promised  unlicensed  abandonment  to  the  cruelties  and  dis- 
solute pleasures  which  might  have  been  attended  with  per- 
sonal danger  in  Rome,  corrupt  and  slavish  as  the  capital 
had  become;  and  Sejanus  now  began  openly  to  exercise 
the  actual  powers  of  sovereignty.  But  his  increasing  ar- 
rogance at  last  roused  the  fear  and  suspicion  of  his  be- 
sotted master,  whose  eyes  seem  to  have  been  opened  to 
the  conduct  of  his  favorite  by  Antonia,  the  aged  mother 
of  G^rmanicus.  And  so,  in  the  mercy  of  Froyidence,  this 
monster  of  iniquity,  at  the  very  moment  of  lj[i^.  ^ticipated 
triumph,  was  charged  by  Tiberius  with  coA8lfelf*jr,,and 
me  Senate,  ever  ready  to  obey,  condenined  him  *tQr.^dath 
with  alacrity.  He  was  strangled  in  pjiaQn^  and  his  body 
dragged  to  the  Tiber,  his  friends  put  to  death;  under  cri^l 
tortures,  and  finally  his  innocent  little  children-  likeirime 
murdered  under  circumstances  of  the  most  horrible  and 
unnamable  atrocity.  Their  mother — the  divorced  Apicata 
-committed  suicide  upon  hearing  of  the  murder  of  her 
children.  It  was  a  rare  position — that  of  imperial  favorite 
in  tiie  days  of  the  Caesars. 

For  Livia,  his  wretched  accomplice,  there  remained 
nothing  but  to  drink  to  its  dregs  the  cup  of  bitterness 
which  she  herself  had  filled.  Ten  short  years  before,  ex- 
cepting only  the  Augusta  herself,  she  had  been  the  first 
lady  in  the  greatest  city  of  the  world.  The  great-grand- 
daughter of  the  divine  Augustus,  sister  of  the  idolized 
Germanicus,  wife  of  the  Emperor's  only  son,  Drusus,  the 



sole  heir  to  the  throne,  and  mother  of  two  sons  in  the  direct 
line  of  succession,  beautiful,  accomplished,  and  powerful 
— she  had  scattered  everything  to  the  winds  in  yielding  to 
the  basest  impulses.  And  now  her  husband  and  one  son 
dead  and  her  noble  brother  and  his  family  destroyed  in- 
directly through  her  means,  she  herself  was  cast  off  upon 
a  sea  of  wretchedness  which  had  no  bounds.  The  missing 
chapters  of  the  "Annals"  leave  us  in  darkness  as  to  the  de- 
tails of  these  last  years  of  her  life.  But  after  the  death  of 
Sejanus,  in  the  year  81  a.  d.,  his  former  wife,  Apicata,  re- 
vealed his  murder  of  the  Emperor  s  son  Drusus;  and  upon 
the  disclosure  of  Livia's  complicity  in  the  crime,  she  was 
put  to  death  by  her  father-in-law,  who  caused  the  most 
rigorous  decrees  to  be  passed  against  even  her  statues 
and  memory. 

With  the  death  of  his  son,  the  last  link  which  bound 
the  Emperor  to  the  semblance  of  family  affection  appears 
to  have  been  broken.  He  seemed  little  concerned  during 
the  illness  of  Drusus  and  not  much  affected  at  his  death. 
One  of  his  grandsons,  Caius,  had  died ;  the  other,  Tibe- 
rius.  was  hated  as  having  been  conceived  in  adultery-so 
the  Emperor  maliciously  declared,  but  without  apparent 
foundation.  The  two  eldest  sons  of  Germanicus,  Nero  and 
Drusus,  he  had  commended  to  the  Senate  with  the  remark 
that  the  good  and  evil  which  should  befall  them — the 
great-grandsons  of  Augustus — must  extend  to  the  com- 
monwealth. And  forthwith  he  himself  proceeded  to  bring 
down  upon  the  hapless  young  men  evil  without  measure. 
After  the  banishment  of  their  mother,  Agrippina,  Nero 
and  Drusus  were  themselves  condemned,  fettered  with 
chains,  and  cast  into  prison.  In  his  youth  Nero,  who  seems 
to  have  inherited  some  of  the  gracefulness  and  modesty  of 
his  father,  had  been  especially  favored  by  the  Emperor.  He 



was  now  charged  by  Tiberius  with  the  most  abominable 
crimes,  banished  to  the  island  of  Ponza,  and  there  vanished 
into  darkness.  His  brother  Drusus  was  thrown  into  one  of 
the  horrible  dmigeons  of  the  Palatine,  that  crime-saturated 
palace  of  the  Caesars,  where,  at  the  expiration  of  three 
years,  he  was  starved  to  death.  In  the  agonies  of  hunger 
he  even  ate  the  chaff  with  which  his  mattress  was  stuffed, 
and  Tacitus  affirms  that  in  this  way  he  protracted  his 
existence  until  the  ninth  day.  The  centurion  in  charge 
afterwards  related  that  when  his  last  hopes  had  fled,  the 
wretched  young  prince  poured  forth  the  most  frenzied 
imprecation  upon  his  great-uncle;  declaring  that  '*as  he 
had  slaughtered  his  son's  wife,  the  son  of  his  brother,  and 
his  son  s  sons,  and  filled  his  whole  house  with  carnage,  so 
might  he  pay  to  the  uttermost  the  penalty  of  his  crimes, 
m  justice  of  his  name,  the  generations  of  his  forefathers, 
and  posterity."  It  is  almost  beyond  belief  that  the  Em- 
peror caused  this  report  of  Actius  to  be  read  publicly  to 
the  senators,  who  interrupted  the  reading  with  exclama- 
tions of  assumed  horror  at  these  imprecations. 

Drusus  married  ^Emilia  Lepida,  an  own  cousin  of  the 
Emilia  Lepida  who  was  the  first  wife  of  Drusus's  uncle 
Claudius.^  After  the  destruction  of  her  husband,  she  too 
seems  to  have  been  put  to  death,^  with  the  approval,  if 
not  under  the  direct  orders,  of  Tiberius.  Neither  Drusus 
nor  his  brother  Nero  left  any  children. 

The  death  of  the  Emperor's  mother,  Livia  Augusta 

^  Pott,  page  104.  This  Emilia  Lepida  was  the  daughter  of  M.  iEmilius 
Lepidus,  a  younger  brother  of  Lucius  £milius  Paulus^  who  married  Julia, 
the  granddaughter  of  Augustus.  Ante,  page  89. 

'  This  is  upon  the  authority  of  Tacitus  (Annals,  vi.  40).  But  the  reference 
is  a  trifle  obscure^  and  a  modem  writer  states  that  this  Lepida  died  during 
the  reign  of  Qaudius.  See  post,  page  107,  as  to  the  difficulty  of  tracing 
through  the  female  line,  owing  to  the  absence  of  pnmomtna  among  women. 



(29  A.  D.)>  had  preceded  that  of  her  great-grandson  Nero, 
and  the  death  of  Drusus  was  ahnost  unmediately  followed 
by  the  coerced  suicide  of  Agrippina,  the  mother  of  the 
young  princes-  Tiberius  did  not  even  attend  the  funeral 
of  his  mother — excusing  himself  therefor  to  the  Senate 
upon  the  ground  of  pressure  of  business.  In  the  case  of 
Agrippina,  whose  death  he  had  accomplished,  the  Em- 
peror still  further  demeaned  himself  by  uttering  the  most 
shameful  slanders  against  her,  and  reminded  the  Senate 
that  she  had  died  on  the  second  anniversary  of  the  death 
of  the  traitor  Sejanus,  which  fact  he  declared  ought  to  be 
recorded;  whereupon  the  servile  Senate  decreed  that  on 
that  day  a  yearly  offering  should  be  presented  to  Jupiter 

From  now  on  the  Emperor  abandoned  himself  to  every 
species  of  cruelty.  The  astrologer  Thrasyllus,  who  had  great 
influence  over  him,  restrained  him  for  a  time  by  the  argu- 
ment that  his  life  would  be  prolonged  by  deferring  some 
of  his  meditated  acts  of  vengeance  against  members  of  his 
£Eimily  especially.  In  this  way  the  remaining  children  of 
Germanicus,  his  own  son  Tiberius,  and  his  daughter  Julia 
and  her  descendants  (she  had  married  again)  escaped  for 
the  time.  It  would  probably  not  have  been  for  long,  how- 
ever, had  not  tardy  death  at  last  overtaken  him,  this  father 
who  used  to  exclaim,  "Happy  Priam,  who  survived  all  his 
children  1" 

But  the  ParcfiB  had  decreed  that  by  the  hand  of  Cassar 
Caesar  should  die,  and  the  death  of  Tiberius  opened  no 
escape  to  the  descendants  who  survived  him.  His  only 
surviving  grandson,  Tiberius  Gemellus,  received  a  tardy 
show  of  justice  fipom  the  Emperor,  who  named  him  with 
Caius  Caesar  (Caligula)  as  the  imperial  heirs.  After  his 
grandfather's  death  Gemellus  was  arrested  and  accused 



^  <y 


of  having  expressed  the  hope  that  the  Emperor  would  not 
recover  from  his  illness.  There  was  no  meeting  this  accusa- 
tion and  Caligula  sent  word  to  his  cousin  to  kill  himself. 
Tiberius,  who  is  said  to  have  been  a  mild  and  gentle  youth, 
who  had  never  seen  a  man  killed,  begged  the  soldiers  to 
themselves  put  him  to  death,  and  upon  their  refusal  asked 
them  at  least  to  show  him  where  and  how  to  strike.  With 
this  request  the  centurion  graciously  complied,  giving 
him  a  sword  and  indicating  where  his  heart  was.  Thank- 
ing the  rough  soldier,  the  poor  boy  stabbed  himself  and 
perished  instantly. 

Julia,  the  remaining  grandchild  of  Tiberius,  after  the 
murder  of  her  husband  Nero,  married  Rubellius  Blandus, 
the  grandson  of  a  Roman  knight  from  Tibur.  Julia  sur- 
vived until  the  next  reign  but  one,  when  she  and  her 
cousin  of  the  same  name  (a  daughter  of  Germanicus)  were 
put  to  death  by  their  uncle,  the  Emperor  Claudius,^  who 
was  instigated  to  the  murder  by  the  bor^le  Messalina. 
By  her  marriage  with  Blandus,  Julia  had  'iic^oft^/RubeUius 
Plautus.  This  young  nobleman  s^ems  to  fcdye.been  of 
blameless  character  and  of  a  sober,  ^d  ^tiring  Si^osition. 
Such  characteristics  in  the  person  \oi  'at/Gaesar  were  sure 
guaranties  of  a  violent  death.  Instigdt^d  -h}^  the. -monster 
Tigellinus,  and  alarmed  as  well  by  the  *{K>pul^r  praise  of 
Plautus,  whose  fame  only  resounded  the  inbre  with  his 
attempts  to  withdraw  himself  from  popular  notice  and  the 
dangers  of  public  life,  Nero,  who  was  then  Emperor,  noti- 
fied Plautus  that  he  would  best  "retire  from  Rome,  and 
in  Asia,  where  he  had  possessions,  end  his  days  in  peace 
and  quiet."  This  was  merely  one  of  the  forms  of  family 
death-warrant,  but  Plautus  gladly  left  Rome  in  company 
with  his  wife  and  a  few  devoted  fnends.  One  day  he  re- 

^  Pod,  jpagp  111. 

[71  ] 


ceived  a  message  from  his  father-in-law  that  a  centurion 
was  on  the  way  to  kill  him  and  that  ''if  he  would  im- 
mediately escape,  out  of  the  compassion  that  would  be 
felt  for  a  name  so  great  he  would  find  good  men  ready 
to  espouse  his  cause."  But  Flautus  was  unmoved.  The 
assassins  found  him  in  the  middle  of  the  day  naked  and 
engaged  in  corporeal  work  upon  his  estate.  He  was  im- 
mediately butchered  and  his  head  carried  to  the  tyrant 
at  Rome. 

Plautus  had  married  Antistia,  daughter  of  Lucius  An- 
tistius  Vetus,  by  whom  he  is  said  to  have  had  several 
children,  whose  lives,  however,  are  untraced.  It  would  be 
strange  if  anything  but  death  in  infancy  saved  them  from 
the  fate  of  Nero*s  mad  determination  to  extirpate  the 
house  of  Cassar,  root  and  branch.  In  his  frantic  search  for 
victims  even  relations  by  marriage  only  did  not  escape, 
and  both  Antistia  and  her  father  Vetus  were  put  to  death 
under  circumstances  of  great  cruelty.^ 

But  long  before  this  final  extinction  of  his  race  the  last 
page  of  the  life  of  Tiberius  had  been  turned.  It  presents 
a  fitting  conclusion  of  a  series  of  horrible  chapters.  Worn 
out  by  his  own  atrocious  crimes  and  revolting  depravity, 
his  body  wasted  and  his  strength  exhausted,  he  retired 
to  a  villa  which  had  once  been  occupied  by  LucuUus,  at 
the  promontory  of  Misenum,  having  previously  in  his  ex- 
treme misery  addressed  to  the  Senate  a  letter  which  be- 
gan, "What  to  write  to  you.  Conscript  Fathers,  or  how  to 
write,  or  what  not  to  write  at  this  time,  may  all  the  gods 
and  goddesses  pour  upon  my  head  a  more  terrible  ven- 
geance than  that  under  which  I  feel  myself  d^ly  sinkings 
if  I  can  tell."  The  pages  of  history  may  be  searched  in  vain 
for  a  more  agonizing  confession  that  Nemesis  had  clutched 

1  Post,  page  159. 



her  victim  at  last  The  end  came  speedily.  In  the  midst  of 
one  of  the  entertainments  with  which  the  dying  tyrant  yet 
sought  by  sensual  enjoyment  to  distract  his  sufferings,  his 
physician  Charicles,  touching  the  Emperor's  hand  under 
pretence  of  taking  his  leave,  felt  his  pulse  and  immedi- 
ately reported  to  Macro,  captain  of  the  guards,  that  life 
was  ebbing  fast  and  could  not  last  two  days.  Caius  Caesar 
was  at  once  informed  and  expresses  also  sent  to  the  army. 
The  former,  siurounded  by  a  great  congratulatory  throng, 
was  already  setting  out  to  enter  upon  the  sovereignty 
when  another  message  came  to  the  effect  that  the  Em- 
peror had  revived  and  called  for  food.  But  Macro,  the 
Emperor's  best  friend  and,  since  the  death  of  Sejanus, 
the  choicest  instrument  of  his  villainous  cruelties,  who 
aspired  to  a  similar  position  under  the  new  reign  which 
was  already  inaugurated  through  the  reports  of  his  mas- 
ter's death — was  he  called  upon  to  submit  to  such  an 
unwarranted  interference  on  the  part  of  nature  with  the 
wiU  of  the  Fates  ?  Calmly  he  gave  commands  to  pile  the 
pillows  and  bed-clothes  upon  the  d)dng  Caesar's  face,  until 
life  should  be  extinguished.  Thus  died  the  Emperor  Tibe- 
rius, in  the  seventy-eighth  year  of  his  age  and  the  twenty- 
third  of  his  reign,  on  the  seventeenth  before  the  Calends 
of  April,  87  a.  d.  The  news  of  his  undoubted  death  was 
received  at  Rome  with  demonstrations  of  the  wildest  joy, 
and  the  city  rang  with  shouts  of  "Down  with  his  body  to 
the  Tiber  1" 



Fkom  S7  A.D.  Tx>  41  A.D. 

WHILE  succession  to  the  imperial  power  was  not 
r^ulated  by  law,  on  the  part  of  the  Caesars  them- 
selves, at  least,  it  was  plainly  intended  that  it  should  be 
determined  by  lineal  descent.  To  be  sure,  the  Emperor 
was  said  to  be  elected  by  *'the  authority  of  the  Senate 
and  the  consent  of  the  soldiers** ;  which  seems  to  have  been 
the  constitutional  language  at  least  down  to  the  time  of 
the  fifth  Emperor.^  And  firom  the  very  b^inning,  as  al- 
ready observed,  the  support  of  the  army  was  almost  a  sine 
qtia  non  to  the  assumption  of  the  purple  by  any  candi- 
date. In  the  selection  of  its  chief  ruler  the  destinies  of  the 
Empire  may  be  said  to  have  been  ruled  by  the  preetorian 
guard.  But  with  this  qualification :  until  after  the  death  of 
Nero  the  voice  of  the  reigning  Caesar  was  felt  to  be  all- 
powerM  upon  the  question  of  his  successor ;  either  when 
spoken  in  life,  through  the  instrumentality  of  a  formal 
adoption,  or  declared  and  published  in  a  last  will  and 
testament.  For  example,  it  will  be  remembered  that  the 
Emperor  Augustus,  having  in  his  lifetime  adopted  both 
Tiberius  and  Postumus  Agrippa,  in  his  will  named  the 
former  as  his  chief  heir  and  thus  enabled  him,  although  a 
stranger  to  the  blood,  to  secure  the  throne  to  the  exclu- 
sion of  the  Emperor's  own  grandson,  who  under  the  wiU 
was  an  heir  in  remainder  only. 

Tiberius,  it  is  said,  had  been  greatiy  puzzled  in  the  se- 
lection of  his  successor.  The  son  of  Drusus  was  still  only  a 

^  TadtoSj  Anmdt,  ziii.  4. 





child,  and  besides  was  an  object  of  hatred  to  his  grand- 
father.^ Claudius,  the  brother  of  Germanicus,  was  thought 
to  be  mentally  deficient;  while  Caius  Caesar  (or  Caligula 
as  he  was  called),  the  son  of  Germanicus,  was  disliked  by 
the  Emperor  simply  because  he  had  gained  the  favor  of 
the  people.  On  the  other  hand,  he  was  unwilling  to  select 
a  successor  from  outside  of  his  family  lest  the  name  of 
Caesar  should  fall  from  its  eminence.  He  finally  resolved 
that  fortune  should  decide  the  question,  and  made  a  will 
constituting  Tiberius  Gemellus  and  Caligula  his  joint  heirs 
and  successors.  But  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  he  knew 
fiill  well  what  the  result  would  be.  Once  when  both  were 
present  he  ssud  to  Caligula,  ''Thou  shalt  slay  him  and  an- 
other shall  slay  thee."  On  another  occasion,  while  com- 
menting upon  the  natural  cruelty  and  depravity  which 
even  as  a  youth  Caligula  was  unable  to  conceal,  the  Em- 
peror declared  that  Caius  was  "destined  to  be  the  ruin 
of  himself  and  all  mankind";  andjthat  he  (Tiberius)  was 
"rearing  a  hydra  for  the  people  of  -  B^me^  and  a  Phaeton 
for  all  the  world."  Some  historiaiis '^liftllife  .i^qt  jscrupled  to 
declare  that  it  was  on  account  of  the  vicib^i$^l9ii^position 
of  Caius  that  he  was  chosen  by -thf  Emperor  tb  succeed 
hnn,  so  that  after  his  own  dgath  A^  coirip«iispn;  might  be 
made  in  favor  of  his  memory  whe»-tfce  ^otnans  should 
he  governed  by  a  ruler  yet  more  cruel  and  tyrannical  than 

Upon  the  death  of  Tiberius,  Caligula  set  out  for  Rome, 
and  between  the  universal  hatred  of  the  deceased  Em- 
peror and  the  universal  joy  that  a  son  of  Germanicus  was 
actually  to  sit  upon  the  throne,  his  journey  from  Misenum 
was  one  long  passage  between  altars,  victims,  lighted 
torches,  and  prodigious  crowds  of  people,  the  latter  trans- 

^AvU,  page  68. 




dations  of  many  important  cities  now  existing  along  the 
Rhine  were  the  Roman  fortresses  established  in  this  war 
by  Drusus,  who  seems  to  have  possessed  unusual  military 
genius.  He  met  an  untimely  death  in  Germany,  where  he 
had  been  joined  by  Tiberius,  the  latter  travelling  on  foot 
ahead  of  his  brother's  body  all  the  way  to  Rome,  where 
the  dead  prince  was  accorded  a  magnificent  funeral,  re- 
ceiving the  most  extravagant  honors  at  the  hands  of 
Augustus.  The  Senate,  amongst  various  other  honors,  had 
in  his  lifetime  conferred  the  cognomen  of  Germanicus 
upon  him  and  his  posterity.  The  memory  of  Drusus  had 
always  been  revered  by  the  Roman  people,  who  cherished 
a  strong  persuasion  that  if  his  life  had  been  spared,  he 
would  have  restored  liberty.  How  much  of  this  was  justi- 
fied by  his  character,  and  how  much  is  to  be  accounted 
for  by  hero-worship,  is  uncertain ;  but  the  fact  undoubtedly 
accounts  in  no  small  measure  for  the  extravagant  hopes 
which  were  founded  on  the  accession ^.te  Wtv^er  of  his 
grandson  Caligula.  ^'    \ ,  v 

But  the  character  of  Drusus  and  his  beautiful  Wilb  An- 
tonia,  the  grandparents  of  Caligula, ^tli^  inmost  ..godlike 
virtues  attributed  to  his  father  Gerbia^icuffi^^ah^^  the  un- 
selfish devotion  and  signal  chastity  (rare  Vii^u€;|f,  in  those 
days,  among  the  women  of  Rome)  of  his  lion-hearted 
mother  Agrippina,  seem  to  have  made  no  impress  upon 
the  nature  of  the  third  Emperor,  who,  starting  as  a  sly, 
crael,  and  vicious  boy,  developed  into  a  perfect  devil  in- 
carnate and  ended  as  a  veritable  madman. 

After  his  father's  death  in  Syria^  he  returned  to  Rome 
with  the  widowed  Agrippina,  with  whom  he  resided  until 
her  exile.  Upon  the  imprisonment  of  his  brothers  Nero 
and  Drusus  he  was  removed  to  the  house  of  his  great- 

^Afde,  page  59- 

[  77  ] 


grandmother,  Livia  Augusta,  with  whom  he  lived  until 
her  death,  and  whose  funeral  oration  he  delivered  in  pub- 
lic before  he  had  donned  the  toga  xmilis.  After  the  death 
of  the  Augusta  he  lived  with  his  grandmother  Antonia, 
until,  when  about  twenty  years  of  age,  he  was  sunmioned 
by  the  old  Emperor  to  join  him  at  Capri  and  there  re- 
mained until  the  death  of  Tiberius — to  which  he  was 
undoubtedly  an  accessory. 

From  the  time  of  his  mother's  exile  and  the  imprison- 
ment of  his  brothers,  he  seems  to  have  borne  himself 
with  the  greatest  circumspection,  manifesting  no  concern 
for  their  sufTerings  and  displaying  no  feeling  whatever 
upon  their  death.  In  this  way  he  escaped  the  fate  of  his 
brothers,  and  with  the  death  of  Sejanus  he  began  to  cherish 
hopes  of  succeeding  Tiberius  in  the  Empire.  He  at  once 
commenced  to  insinuate  himself  into  the  graces  of  Macro, 
the  praetorian  prefect,  by  making  a  mistress  of  the  latter  s 
wife,  whom  he  engaged  by  an  oath  m  writing  to  marry 
when  he  should  become  Emperor.  Nothing  now  remained 
to  be  accomplished  but  the  death  of  Tiberius,  and  that  in 
the  course  of  nature  must  be  close  at  hand.  But  the  gods 
were  a  bit  tardy  towards  the  end,  and  in  order  not  to  dis- 
appoint too  long  an  expectant  world,  it  became  necessary 
to  expedite  matters  in  the  way  which  Tiberius  himself 
had  taught.  To  this  Caligula  had  no  more  objection  than 
he  had  manifested  when  the  lives  of  his  mother  and  bro- 
thers were  in  the  balance.  Tiberius  was  murdered;  and 
then,  the  Senate  having  been  convened  for  the  purpose  of 
setting  aside  the  late  Emperor's  will,  Caius  Csesar  was 
immediately  declared  ImperatoTy  and  the  Roman  world 
went  mad  over  the  priceless  blessings  vouchsafed  by  the 
immortal  gods. 

The  Emperor  Caligula  was  tall  and  ill  shaped.  He  had 


.      CALIGULA 

a  large  head  scantily  covered  with  hair,  a  broad  forehead 
hoUowed  at  the  temples,  with  strongly  knit  brows  and 
deep-set  eyes.  He  was  incapable  of  enduring  fatigue,  fre- 
quently yielding  to  a  species  of  faintness  which  rendered 
him  practically  helpless  for  hours  at  a  time.  Both  his  con- 
stitutional weakness  of  body  and  the  mental  disorder  from 
which  he  plainly  suffered  (of  which  latter  he  himself  seems 
not  to  have  been  unconscious^)  were  greatly  aggravated 
by  his  continued  inability  to  sleep  more  than  three  or  four 
hours  at  a  time.  Even  such  sleep  as  he  had  was  broken 
and  frequently  disturbed  by  distressing  dreams;  so  that  in 
sheer  despair  he  sometimes  passed  almost  the  entire  night 
walking  about  the  palace  and  lon^g  for  the  approach 
of  day. 

Notwithstanding  his  bodily  weakness,  he  was  fond  of 
certain  kinds  of  athletics,  especially  fencing  and  charioteer- 
ing. He  was  constant  in  practising  the  former,  and  fre- 
quently drove  his  chariot  in  the  various  circuses.  Like  Nero, 
he  was  also  extremely  fond  of  sin^g  and  acting,  and 
by  occasionally  joining  in  the  sin^ng  of  the  tragedians 
and  imitating  the  gestures  of  the  actors  during  a  per- 
formance at  the  theatre,  set  an  example  which  the  "divine 
artist'*  who  followed  him  carried  to  an  extreme  by  himself 
actually  performing  on  the  public  stage.^ 

While  it  may  perhaps  be  a  question  whether  Caligula  or 
Nero  dishonored  humanity  the  most,  it  is  difficult  in  the 
annals  of  Roman  history — or,  for  that  matter,  in  the  his- 
tory of  any  so-called  civilized  people — to  discover  a  ruler 
who  displayed  such  a  savage  barbarity  of  temper  as  was 
manifested  by  Caligula.  Of  all  forms  of  wickedness,  delib- 
erate and  cold-blooded  cruelty  is  the  most  unerring  sign 

^  He  frequently  thought  of  retiring  from  Rome  to  ''dear  his  mind." 
*  Pod,  page  154. 



of  an  indwelling  devil;  and  judging  from  this  indication, 
if  ever  there  were  an  instance  where  temporary  reincarna- 
tion has  been  permitted  a  disembodied  evil  spirit,  the  fact 
exists  in  the  case  of  Caius  Csesar.  It  is  absolutely  impos- 
sible to  account  for  his  ferocious  deeds  upon  any  other 
theory  than  that  he  had  ultimately  degenerated  into  a 
raging  madman.  The  cold  cruelty  of  Tiberius,  the  imbe- 
cile murderings  of  Claudius,  and  the  revengeful  wicked- 
ness of  Nero  pale  into  insignificance  when  compared 
with  the  malignant  ferocity  which  marked  the  crimes  of 
Caligula.  Nero  imitated,  Commodus  emulated,  but  neither 
equalled  the  son  of  the  heroic  Germanicus  and  the  proudly 
virtuous  Agrippina,  who  occupies  a  class  by  himself  in  the 
domain  of  monstrous  cruelty. 

In  the  devices  of  profuse  expenditure,  we  are  told  that 
Caligula  surpassed  all  the  prodigals  who  ever  lived.  The 
dishes  in  the  preparation  of  which  rare  and  costly  pearls 
were  dissolved,  the  decks  of  vessels  blazing  with  jewels, 
the  squandering  of  enormous  sums  in  defying  all  reason 
by  attempting,  in  his  architecture,  to  accomplish  the  con- 
cededly  impossible,  the  broadcast  scattering  of  gold  from 
the  top  of  the  Basilica  during  successive  days — in  these 
and  a  thousand  ways  equally  wild  and  extravagant  he 
sought  to  illustrate  his  favorite  remark  that  a  **man  ought 
to  be  a  good  economist — or  an  emperor."  Suetonius  de- 
clares that  in  less  than  a  year  Caligula  dissipated  the  entire 
treasure  which  had  been  amassed  by  Tiberius,  amount- 
ing to  two  thousand  seven  hundred  millions  of  sesterces 
(£27»000,000) ;  and  that  after  exhausting  this  immense 
sum  he  replenished  his  coffers  by  a  course  of  the  most 
unheard-of  taxation  and  the  most  flagrant  robbery  and 
confiscation  which  the  Roman  world  had  ever  known. 

In  the  broad  display  of  the  Emperor  Caligula's  evil  do- 







^'  ^V> 





ing,  there  yet  crops  out  an  occasional  vein  of  absurdity, 
which,  however,  is  doubtless  more  discernible  to  an  amazed 
posterity  than  it  was  appreciated  by  the  Romans  of  that 
day.  Not  content  with  the  exalted  titles  of  his  imperial 
predecessors,  he  assumed  the  additional  ones  of  ^^The 
Pious,''  "  T/ie  Dutiful;'  and  "  The  Greatest  and  Best  Cos- 
sar";  and  being  finally  convinced  that  he  far  exceeded  all 
other  reigning  sovereigns  in  grandeur  and  moral  attributes 
as  well,  he  seriously  assumed  divine  functions,  and  stand- 
ing between  the  statues  of  Castor  and  Pollux,  which  flanked 
the  Forum  entrance  to  the  palace,  he  presented  himself 
to  be  worshipped  by  the  people,  who  gravely  saluted  him 
as  Jupiter  Latialis!  Then  followed  the  erection  of  a  temple 
in  honor  of  his  divinity,  containing  a  statue  of  gold,  the 
exact  image  of  himself,  which  was  daily  clothed  to  corre- 
spond with  the  garments  which  he  wore. 

In  the  days  which  immediately  followed  his  theft  of  the 
imperial  power,  this  grotesque  and  horrible  masquerader, 
in  the  garb  of  Tete  (TEtat,  actually  seems  to  have  accom- 
plished, or  rather  permitted  the  accompUshment  of,  some 
random  acts  of  government;  notably  i^n  attempt  to  re- 
store to  the  people  their  ancient  right  •  erf  ^participating  in 
the  choice  of  magistrates,  of  which  they  fi^  .fieead^prived 
by  Tiberius.  But  after  the  most'  careful  and'- imbiassed 
study  of  his  four  years'  reign,  the  Diie  thought  in  regard 
to  the  history  of  Caligula  which  *n^ore  than  anjr  other  im- 
presses itself  upon  us  will  always  be,  hbw  utterly. debased, 
disgraced,  and  degraded  the  people  of  Rome  must  have 
been  to  permit  this  frantic  madman  to  live  and  rule  over 
them  for  more  than  a  single  day. 

[81  ] 



THE  marriages  of  Caligula  constituted  the  most  fla- 
gitious of  the  imperial*  offences  against  the  purity 
and  virtue,  and  the  decency,  even,  of  the  family  relation. 
Within  a  period  of  not  more  than  six  years  he  was  mar- 
ried five  times,  and  in  each  case  except  the  first  under  cir- 
cumstances of  extreme  depravity.  "Whether  in  the  mar- 
riage of  his  wives,  in  repudiating  them  or  retaining  them, 
he  acted  with  greater  infamy,"  says  an  ancient  writer,  "it 
is  difficult  to  say.**  The  effect  of  such  an  example  upon 
Roman  society  was  woful  in  the  extreme.  It  was  not  an 
extravagant  use  of  language  on  the  part  of  a  late  English 
historian  who  remarked  that  during  the  reign  of  Calig- 
ula the  licentiousness  of  the  palace  spread  itself  rapidly 
through  his  dominions,  "contaminating  whatever  remained 
of  the  chastity  of  Roman  women,  or  the  honor  of  Romaa 

Shortly  after  taking  up  his  residence  with  Tiberius  at 
Capri,  Caligula,  then  about  twenty-two  years  of  age,  was 
married  by  the  Emperor  to  Junia  Claudia,  the  daughter 
of  Marcus  Silanus.  Silanus  was  a  man  of  illustrious  de- 
scent, although  for  some  time  the  family  had  been  under 
a  cloud  on  account  of  Decius  Silanus,  who  had  been  one 
of  the  corrupters  of  the  misguided  Julia,  granddaughter  of 
Augustus,  for  which  offence  he  had  been  banished  by  the 
first  Emperor.  Through  the  influence  of  his  brother  Mar- 
cus, who  was  preeminently  distinguished  for  his  eloquence, 
Decius  had  been  allowed  to  return  to  Rome  during  the 
reign  of  Tiberius;  the  Emperor  in  granting  consent,  how- 





ever,  declaiing  that  he  cherished  all  the  resentment  of 
Augustus  against  the  offending  young  patrician,  who  was 
never  afterwards  allowed  to  attain  honors  or  preference  of 
any  sort  in  the  State.  The  incident  is  worthy  of  notice  as 
illustrating  the  severe  workings  of  the  Lex  JvJia^  when 
once  invoked,  even  among  a  race  the  most  abandoned  in 
its  attitude  *  towards  the  sanctity  of  the  marital  relation, 
and  at  the  instance  of  a  ruler  who  was  himself  the  most 
brazen  offender  against  the  same. 

The  married  life  of  Caligula  and  his  first  wife  continued 
for  nearly  three  years.  Shortly  before  her  husband  became 
Emperor,  Claudia  died  and  thus  happily  escaped  from  un- 
known, although  none  the  less  certain,  misery.  Her  sister, 
Junia  Silana,  who  was  the  unfortunate  wife  of  Caius  Silius, 
the  wretched  consort  of  Messalina,  after  a  life  of  misery 
and  disgrace,  for  which  the  sins  of  others  were  largely  re- 
sponsible, managed  to  die  a  natural  death  at  Tarentum.^ 

The  father  of  Claudia  and  Silana,^  a  virtuous  old  man, 
was  the  second  victim  to  the  En^gtaoE^^  .Qruelty  after  his 
seizure  of  the  throne,  the  deatti  of  Sfliil|v^*ibi{^4ng  closely 
after  that  of  Tiberius  Geme^us.^  He  watf^i^a^od  with  a 
treasonable  design  against  ^tbeVi^mperor,  based  upon  his 
refusal  to  accompany  the  Court  pif  a-^ilinig  excursion ;  the 
pretence  being  that  he  had  remait^  al'iiopje  to  perfect 
his  conspiracy.  The  fact  was  that  the  old  mg.^  had  declined 
to  go  merely  from  fear  of  sea-sickness  and  excused  himself 
on  this  ground.  But  his  death  had  been  decreed.  Julius 

'  Under  the  hex  Jtdia  (so  called  because  Augustus^  the  author  of  it^  had 
been  adopted  by  Julius  Caesar)  the  guilty  parties^  after  the  payment  of 
heavy  forfeitures  and  fines^  were  condemned  to  long  or  perpetual  im- 
prisonment in  different  islands.  It  was  for  a  long  time  mistakenly  be- 
Heved  that  the  Julian  laws  punished  adultery  vrith  death. 
'  Pody  page  144.     '  Ante,  page  71. 



Grsecinas  (who  was  the  father  of  Agricola),  a  man  of  in- 
flexible integrity,  and  famous  for  his  eloquence  and  philo- 
sophical learning, — for  all  of  which  he  was  accordingly 
hated  by  Caligula, — was  ordered  to  accuse  Silanus.  Upon 
his  refusal  he  was  put  to  death;  while  Marcus,  without 
further  ado  about  forms,  was  driven  to  commit  suicide 
with  a  razor. 

Of  course  Caligula  had  never  cherished  the  slightest  in- 
tention of  fulfilling  his  promise  to  marry  Macro's  wife, 
Ennia  Naevia,  when  he  should  become  Emperor.  In  order 
that  there  might  remain  no  lingering  doubt  in  her  mind, 
and  to  demonstrate  to  his  subjects  a  bit  theatrically  that 
a  bad  promise  was  better  broken  than  kept,  Ennia  was 
speedily  put  to  death,  her  husband,  the  brutal  Macro, 
Ukewise  meeting  his  just  reward  at  the  hands  of  the  Em- 
peror he  had  created.  About  the  same  time  Caligula  got 
hold  of  his  cousin  Ptolemy,  the  son  of  King  Juba,  who 
had  married  Selene  (or  Cleopatra),  the  daughter  of  Mark 
Antony  and  Cleopatra,  and  Ptolemy's  relationship  with 
the  Emperor  was  speedily  paid  for  with  his  life. 

The  second  marriage  of  Caligula  occurred  after  his  suc- 
cession, under  the  following  circumstances.  He  was  in  at- 
tendance at  the  wedding  of  his  friend  Caius  Piso  with  a 
beautiful  woman  named  Livia  Orestilla.  After  the  cere- 
mony and  while  the  wedding  feast  was  in  progress,  the  Em- 
peror, more  and  more  impressed  with  the  charms  of  Livia, 
sent  a  message  to  her  husband  commanding  him  on  pain  of 
death  "not  to  touch  the  bride  of  Caesar";  who  was  there- 
upon at  once  conveyed  to  the  Palatine.  On  the  day  follow- 
ing the  Emperor  published  a  proclamation  "that  he  had 
secured  a  wife  as  Romulus  and  Augustus  had  done" ;  refer- 
ring in  the  one  case  to  the  rape  of  the  Sabines,  and  in  that 
of  Augustus  to  his  having  taken  Livia  from  Tiberius  Nero. 



Caligula  soon  tired  of  his  second  wife,  and  after  enjoy- 
ing her  imperial  honors  only  a  few  days,  Livia  was  dis- 
missed A'om  the  palace.  The  rwnor  soon  came  to  Caligula 
that  she  had  rejoined  her  rightful  husband ;  whereupon  in 
a  fit  of  mercy  the  Emperor  banished  them  from  Rome. 

If  the  circumstances  of  his  second  marriage  are  thought 
to  be  shameful,  the  next  matrimonial  venture  of  this 
abomination  in  the  imperial  robes  must  be  characterized 
as  revolting.  Shortly  after  his  divorce  of  Livia,  the  Em- 
peror annulled  the  marriage  of  his  own  sister  Drusilla 
with  Lucius  Cassius,^  and  himself  deliberately  married 
her;  conferring  upon  her  all  the  titles  and  honors  ac^ 
corded  to  the  office  of  Empress.  With  all  its  vices  and 
all  its  crimes,  Rome  had  never  seen  a  spectacle  like  this; 
and  in  this  horrible  deed  of  the  Emperor  Caligula  is 
found  the  crowning  abomination  in  the  mighty  structure 
of  wickedness  reared  by  the  house  of  Ccesar  as  an  ever- 
lasting monument  to  its  disgrace.  The  elder  Livia  had 
murdered  her  stepchildren;  Tiberius  had  murdered  his 
nephew  and  adopted  son;  the  younger  Livia  had  mur- 
dered her  husband;  while  the  younger  Drusus  had  con- 
nived at  the  murder  of  his  own  brother.  All  these  crimes 
agunst  the  sanctity  of  human  life  were  the  more  terrible 
because  perpetrated  within  the  lines  of  the  domestic  cir- 
cle. But  the  crowning  infamy  of  Caligula  was  a  crime 
committed  against  the  sacredness  of  domestic  purity, 
without  the  inviolate  preservation  of  which  civilization 
would  crumble  into  dust,  evolution  would  become  invo- 
lution^  humanity  would  degenerate  into  beasthood.  And 
within  the  memory  or  tradition  even  of  Rome,  that  city 
where  the  criminal  passions  of  the  universe  had  exhausted 

^  This  marriage  had  been  arranged  by  Tiberius.  Cassius  was  of  a  Roman 
plebeian  tBusaly,  but  ancient  and  honorable.  His  history  is  untraced. 



themselves  in  the  furious  vortex  of  unbridled  public  indul- 
gencesy  none  but  the  immortal  gods — and  the  Egyptians 
— were  said  to  have  done  a  thing  like  this. 

But  little  recked  Caligula  for  the  opinion  of  Rome,  or 
for  that  matter  of  the  inmiortal  gods  either.  Was  he  not 
Caesar,  and  was  not  Caesar  '^Divine"?  He  would  make  his 
sister  Drusilla  a  goddess ;  the  whole  world  should  acknowl- 
edge her  divinity  also.  This  he  actually  pretended  to  ac- 
complish ;  following  which  he  declared  that  by  will  he  had 
appointed  her  heiress  both  of  his  estate  and  the  Empire. 

Caligula  had  a  friend  Lepidus,  who  had  become  the  as- 
sociate of  his  most  abandoned  and  nameless  vices.  Lepi- 
dus  was  a  son  of  Julia,  the  granddaughter  of  Augustus, 
and  a  brother  of  iEmilia  Lepida,  who  was  first  betrothed 
to  the  Emperor  Claudius  and  afterwards,  by  her  marriage 
with  Appius  Junius,  brought  the  Caesarean  curse  upon 
the  unhappy  family  of  Silanus.^  He  was  thus  cousin  ger- 
man  to  the  Emperor  and  the  Empress  Drusilla,  whose 
mother,  Agrippina,  and  Julia  were  sisters.  Besides  receiv- 
ing extravagant  favors  from  Caligula,  Lepidus  was  actu- 
ally encouraged  to  expect  the  succession.  It  was  none  the 
less  an  unbounded  surprise  to  Rome  and  to  Lepidus  as 
well,  when  the  Emperor  bestowed  upon  the  latter  his 
deified  Empress-sister  Drusilla  in  marriage.  Men  said 
that  Caligula  was  mad.  As  for  Drusilla,  history  is  silent 
in  regard  to  her  attitude  towards  this  series  of  matri- 
monial ventures,  without  parallel  in  the  history  of  any 
other  civilized  nation.  The  writers  all  agree,  however, 
that  she  survived  this  last  marriage  only  a  short  time 
and  that  under  the  infliction  of  her  death  the  Emperor 
was  inconsolable.  Public  mourning  was  ordered  for  her^ 
during  the  continuance  of  which  it  was  a  capital  offence 

1  Post,  page  1 59. 




truthfully  allege  a  precedent  in  the  marriage  of  the  first 
Emperor  with  the  wife  of  Tiberius  Nero. 

LoUia  maintained  her  imperial  honors  scarcely  longer 
than  the  wife  of  Piso  had,  and  her  speedy  dismissal  by  her 
august  spouse  was  accompanied  by  an  order  neither  to 
return  to  Regulus  nor  to  remarry  upon  pain  of  death. 
The  unhappy  woman  met  the  usual  fate  attending  impe- 
rial alliances,  in  the  succeeding  reign.^  Her  husband,  the 
consul,  must  have  led  a  charmed  life,  having  been  a  promi- 
nent figure  in  the  reigns  of  four  successive  emperors,  all 
of  whom  were  given  to  shedding  the  blood  of  men  high  in 
authority.  As  consul,  Regulus  had  executed  the  orders 
of  the  Emperor  Tiberius  for  the  arrest  of  the  powerful 
Sejanus,  who  was  at  the  time  exercising  all  the  powers 
of  sovereignty  and  in  command  of  all  its  defences.  Joined 
with  the  exceptional  courage  which  such  an  act  evidenced, 
his  commanding  talents  and  fine  tact  enabled  him  to 
mdntain  his  position  throughout  the  sovereignty  of  both 
Caligula  and  Claudius  (finally  escaping  death  under  Ca- 
ligula, however,  only  by  the  sudden  death  of  the  Emperor 
himself)  and  well  along  into  the  reign  of  Nero,  when  he 
came  to  a  peaceful  end.  Nero  paid  a  remarkable  tribute 
to  his  talents,  honor,  and  probity.  When  the  Augustians 
around  his  bed  during  a  severe  illness  were  indulging  in 
the  usual  flatteries  by  lamenting  that  the  Republic  (?) 
would  be  undone  if  he  died,  Caesar  answered  that  ''there 
was  still  one  resource.''  Pressed  for  an  explanation  he 
said,  ''Memmius  Regulus."  But  the  death  of  Regulus 
was  timely;  a  little  later  he  too  would  undoubtedly  have 
succumbed,  as  did  the  unspotted  Thrasea,  to  the  mad- 
dened Emperor's  determination  to  destroy  virtue  itself. 

History  mentions  no  children  bom  to  Caligula  until 

1  Poit,  page  120. 




his  last  marriage,  which  followed  closely  his  divorce  of 
LoUia  Paulina,  whose  beauty  and  attractions  had  not 
equalled  his  expectations.  As  a  compensation  for  this 
disappointment,  to  the  surprise  of  his  friends,  or  rather 
his  slaves, — for  by  this  time  he  had  not  a  friend  in  the 
world,  unless  it  was  his  horse, — the  Emperor  next  mar- 
ried Milonia  Caesonia,  a  woman  who  possessed  neither 
youth  nor  beauty,  who  was  of  the  most  disreputable 
character,  and  who  was  already  the  mother  of  three 
children,  by  a  husband  still  living.  For  this  abandoned 
creature  Caligula  now  displayed  the  most  unbounded  af- 
fection, his  extravagant  treatment  of  Incitatus  even  suf- 
fering m  comparison.  Csesonia  is  reported  to  have  excelled 
all  women  of  her  time  in  an  exquisite  perception  of  sen- 
suality, which  largely  accounts  for  her  remarkable  influ- 
ence over  the  imperial  madman,  who  once  declared  "that 
he  was  of  a  mind  to  put  her  to  >(»•  tbrbure  ,to  make  her 
disclose  her  art"  But  as  well  io' pUfi^^yfjfifi  td  his  con- 
temporaries, his  innate  dep^vity  of  mind, '  ifii^reased  by 
all  the  defects  of  education  ian4»  the  license  o^  unlimited 
power,  were  together  insufi^ieht'tX^ftOQ^)!^  for  the  mon- 
strous enormities  which  the  ElmpW€w.4ispIayed  from  this 
time  on.  The  Court  unhesitatingly  accounted  for  them  by 
declaring  that  Ccesonia  had  given  him  a  philter,  or  so- 
called  love  potion,  which  had  both  enfeebled  his  con- 
stitution and,  by  occasioning  a  violent  nervous  disorder, 
induced  a  permanent  affection  of  the  brain.  The  ancient 
writers  all  testify  to  the  frequent  use  of  such  philters, 
which  were  believed  to  operate  upon  the  mind  by  a  mys- 
terious and  sympathetic  power;  and  it  is  perhaps  only 
common  charity  to  account  in  this  way  for  some  of  the 
moral  turpitude  and  frantic  wickedness  which  Caligula 

[91  ] 


le^ons.^  Incensed  by  the  suffering  of  Quintilia,  whose 
fortitude  and  constancy  alone  preserved  him  and  his  as- 
sociates in  the  plot  from  death,  Chcerea  declared  that  he 
would  postpone  the  deed  no  longer;  for  if  further  de- 
layed some  one  else  would  kill  Caligula,  and  he  would 
thus  lose  the  privilege  of  ridding  the  world  of  such  a 

It  was  resolved  to  despatch  him  during  the  Palatine  (or 
Circensian)  games,  which  were  about  commencing.  For 
three  days  Chaerea  watched  for  an  opportunity.  But 
warned  by  his  previous  suspicions  and  as  well  by  various 
omens  and  portents  of  his  approaching  end,  the  Emperor 
was  so  constantly  surrounded  by  the  guards  that  it  was 
impossible  to  approach  him.  On  the  fourth  day  of  the 
games,  however,  the  occasion  presented  itself.  The  Em- 
peror, who  was  slightly  indisposed  while  at  the  theatre, 
was  prevailed  upon  by  the  conspirators  to  try  the  bath ; 
and  while  passing  through  a  low  vaulted  passage,  in  com- 
pany with  his  uncle  Clau^ips,  Marcus  Vinicius,  his  sisters 
husband,  and  a  few/otjiifirs,  Cba^ea  struck  him  down,  and 
he  was  despatched  by  the  others  as  he  lay  screaming,  "I 
am  not  dead."  Hjs  death  occurred  an  the  twenty-fourth  of 
January,  41  a.  d.,' after  he  Bad  lived  *wenty-nine  years  and 
reigned  three  years,  ten  months,  and  eight  days.  His  body 
was  carried  privately  into  the  Lamian  Gardens,  where  after 
being  half  burned,  it  was  carelessly  covered  with  earth.  It 
was  disinterred  by  his  sisters  Julia  and  Agrippina,  after 
their  recall  from  banishment  by  the  Emperor  Claudius, 
and  reduced  to  ashes. 

After  the  death  of  Caligula,  Chaerea,  according  to  Jo- 
sephus,  "was  very  uneasy  that  Caius  s  daughter  and  wife 
were  still  alive,  and  that  all  his  family  did  not  perish  with 

^Annals,  L  ^9. 


hluu  iiince  whosoever  was  left  of  them  must  be  left  for  the 
r\»iu  of  the  city  and  of  the  laws."  After  discusMon  by  the 
CikitNpirators  it  was  finally  decided,  although  not  unani- 
utotutly,  that  Caligula's  wife  must  die,  and  Julius  Lupus, 
one  of  the  tribunes,  was  sent  to  despatch  her.  Ciesonia 
wHii  found  lying  by  her  husband's  dead  body,  and  met  her 
fUte  bravely,  stretching  out  her  neck  and  bidding  Lupus 
Htrike  without  fear.  The  young  Drusilla  was  dashed  agunst 
a  wall,  and  the  race  of  the  "divine"  Caius  Cssar  was  at 
*n  end. 




From  41  A.  D.  to  54  A.  D. 

THE  accession  to  the  throne  of  Claudius  Caesar,  the 
fourth  Roman  Emperor,  was  signalized  by  the  last 
memorable  effort  of  the  Senate  to  reassume  its  ancient 
rights,  of  which  it  had  been  finally  deprived  nearly  three- 
quarters  of  a  century  before. 

Caligula  had  left  neither  descendant,  son  by  adoption, 
nor  even  heir  created  by  will.  His  immediate  &mily  had 
been  completely  annihilated — with  the  exception  of  Inci- 
tatus,  who  had  been  proposed  by  his  master  for  no  higher 
office  than  that  of  consul,  and  was  therefore,  of  course, 
ineligible  to  the  purple.  Of  his  brothers  and  sisters  all 
were  dead  except  two  of  the  latter,  who  had  been  ban- 
ished for  their  crimes.  The  only  surviving  male  descen- 
dant of  Germanicus  was  Agrippina*s  son  Nero,  then  only 
two  years  of  age.  Rubellius  Flautus,  a  great-grandson  of 
the  Emperor  Tiberius,  was  also  a  child  of  tender  years, 
and  no  one  had  suggested  the  claims  of  the  surviving 
male  descendants  of  the  Emperor  Augustus  in  the  fourth 
generation — the  sons  of  ^Emilia  Lepida  and  Appius  Ju- 
nius Silanus.  To  be  sure,  there  was  Claudius — brother  of 
Germanicus  and  uncle  of  the  late  Emperor.  But  Claudius 
had  always  been  and  still  was  a  mere  laughing-stock  at 
the  palace.  He  was  considered  by  the  Court  as  half- 
witted, and  tradition  has  it  that  his  own  mother,  the 
beautiful  and  sensible  Antonia,  used  to  say  in  speaking 
of  any  exceptionally  stupid  person,  *'He  is  nearly  as  great 
a  fool  as  my  Claudius."  The  mere  fact  that  his  having 



been  passed  over  by  his  uncle,  the  Emperor  Tiberius, 
when  the  latter  selected  Caligula  for  adoption,  excited  no 
comment  whatever,  is  an  indication  that  he  occupied  a 
small  place  in  the  attention  of  the  Roman  world.  Present 
at  the  murder  of  his  nephew,  he  fled  and  concealed  him- 
self immediately  thereafter;  and,  under  the  prevailing  ex- 
citement, to  the  patricians,  at  least,  as  to  such  as  Claudius 
it  was  out  of  sight,  out  of  mind. 

So  that  the  time  seemed  opportune  and  everything  pro- 
pitious for  a  last  strike  for  liberty;  and  the  Senate,  arous- 
ing itself  from  its  seven  decades  of  slavish  imbecility,  pre- 
pared once  more  to  assume  the  direction  of  affairs.  The 
consuls  immediately  convoked  an  assembly  in  the  Capitol, 
resolutions  were  adopted  condemning  the  memory  of  the 
Caesars,  "Liberty"  was  selected  as  the  new  watchword, 
which  was  to  be  ^ven  to  the  cohorts,  and  during  forty- 
eight  hours  the  Senate,  for  almost  the  last  time  in  its 
history,  dared  to  act  as  "the  independent  chiefs  of  a  free 
commonwealth. " 

"But  while  they  deliberated,"  says  Gibbon,  "the  prae- 
torians had  resolved.  The  stupid  Claudius  was  already  in 
their  camp,  invested  with  the  imperial  purple  and  prepared 
to  support  his  election  by  arms.  The  dream  of  liberty  was 
at  an  end ;  and  the  Senate  awoke  to  all  the  horrors  of  in- 
evitable servitude." 

After  the  "virtuous  slaughter"  of  Caligula,  as  Josephus 
happily  terms  it,  all  of  his  attendants  fled  in  the  greatest 
dismay.  Among  them  was  Claudius,  who,  beside  himself 
with  fright,  ran  into  the  palace  adjoining  the  theatre 
where  the  assassination  occurred,  and  concealed  himself  in 
an  alcove  behind  some  curtains.  The  news  of  the  Em- 
peror's death  spread  like  wildfire,  and  the  German  guards, 
who  were  especially  devoted  to  Caligula  because  of  the 



THE  ^Ev:  Vo*K 

1    x^^ott.  ■Li.'*^*- It^^s] 


immense  sums  he  had  distributed  among  them,  rushed 
with  drawn  swords  into  the  theatre  and  thence  overran 
the  palace.  Claudius  was  ignominiously  pulled  from  his 
hiding-place,  beg^ng  piteously  for  his  life.  But  his  char- 
acter was  too  well  known  for  him  to  be  an  object  of 
suspicion  in  connection  with  the  crime,  and  the  guards 
foreseeing  a  possible  struggle  with  the  Senate,  and  appre- 
ciating the  advantage  of  having  on  their  side  the  last 
prince  of  the  blood,  disregarding  his  protestations,  hur- 
ried him  out  of  the  palace  and  into  the  large  open  court, 
where  they  speedily  assembled  their  companions  by  set- 
ting up  a  great  shout:  **This  is  a  Germanicus;^  let  us 
make  him  our  Emperor."  And  the  trembling,  half-witted 
old  man,  who  was  so  weak  from  6ight  that  the  guards 
had  been  compelled  to  carry  him  out  of  doors,  discovered 
to  his  great  amazement  that  it  was  not  his  life,  but  to  se- 
cure for  him  the  thi^i^  of  ^ufr  ance3tprs,  which  the  soldiers 
were  seeking.  He  tlief^Q^nd^  ll^llingly  accompanied  the 
guards  to  their  can^p,  where,  assi&ed  ,that  he  should  have 
the  united  support  of  the  Celtic  legi4n  and  the  praetorian 

cohorts,  he  quietly  ii^34t{$'i'-1^^^^^^^s^^^  outcome  which 
the  leaders  promised,. Jutting  agreed  f  hat  when  he  became 
Emperor  every  legionary  should  Kave  a  sum  of  money 
equivalent  to  seven  hundred  and  fifty  dollars. 

The  populace  of  Rome  were  with  the  soldiers ;  indeed 
even  among  the  senators  themselves  the  sentiment  was 
largely  the  same  way.  The  conspirators  had  been  animated 
by  the  motive  of  self-preservation,  not  by  a  principle  of 
liberty.  It  was  the  person  of  the  tyrant,  not  the  imperial 
idea,  against  which  the  sword  of  Chaerea  had  been  raised. 
Nevertheless,  from  the  fact  that  the  debate  in  the  as- 
sembly was  prolonged  during  two  entire  days,  it  is  appar- 

*  See  Note  2,  page  107. 



ent  that  there  was  still  a  considerable  party  in  favor  of 
reestablishing  the  ancient  form  of  government.  But  it 
was  too  late.  The  cruelty,  licentiousness,  and  tyranny  of 
the  last  two  reigns,  to  which  the  people  had  slavishly  sub- 
mitted, had  brought  the  inevitable  result.  Roman  virtue 
was  dead.  The  authority  and  influence  which  the  Senate 
had  formerly  enjoyed  were  gone  forever.  The  imperial  idea, 
backed  up  by  the  sword  of  the  legionary,  had  taken  its 
place.  Without  the  aid  of  the  common  people,  it  was  ab- 
solutely impossible  for  a  discredited  assembly  of  the  patri- 
cians, totally  unprovided  with  resources,  to  reestablish  its 
independence  and  successfully  proclaim  public  freedom. 
And  when  the  clamor  of  the  multitude  was  added  to  the 
open  menaces  which  the  praetorians  began  to  utter,  the 
debate  weakened.  Chsrea  and  his  companions  were  over- 
borne, and  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  guard  Claudius  was 
at  length  carried  triumphantly  to  the  Capitol,  where  an 
obsequious  Senate  hailed  him  as  Emperor,  and  Roman 
liberty  had  uttered  its  last  sigh.  This  transaction,  says  one 
of  the  commentators  of  Suetonius,  "laid  the  foundation  of 
that  military  despotism  which  through  many  succeeding 
ages  convulsed  the  Roman  Empire  *";  and  which,  might 
as  truthfully  have  been  added,  contributed  largely  to  its 
final  disintegration. 

Tiberius  Claudius  Drusus  was  bom  at  Lyons  on  the 
first  day  of  August,  10  b.  c,  so  that  he  was  in  his  fifty- 
first  year  when  he  became  Emperor.  He  was  the  second 
of  the  three  children  of  Drusus,  the  younger  brother  of 
the  Emperor  Tiberius,  and  Antonia,  the  younger  daughter 
of  Mark  Antony  and  the  Emperor  Augustus's  sister  Oc- 
tavia.  Germanicus  was  his  elder  brother  and  Livia,  the 
wife  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius's  son  Drusus,  was  his  sister. 
After  the  adoption  of  his  elder  brother  into  the  Julian 



family »^  he  assumed  the  cognomen  of  6ermanicus»  which 
by  a  decree  of  the  Senate  in  the  lifetime  of  his  father 
Drusus  had  been  bestowed  upon  him  and  his  posterity. 
His  ancestry  has  been  considered  in  a  former  chapter.^ 

Claudius — for  thus  he  has  been  invariably  called — was 
an  infant  at  the  time  of  his  father's  death ;  and  as  in  early 
youth  he  was  apparently  both  of  a  weak  constitution  and 
deficient  in  intellect,  in  the  glory  of  his  elder  brother's 
promise  and  popularity  he  was  pushed  to  one  side,  and 
thereafter  treated  by  the  entire  Court — including,  as  we 
are  told,  even  his  own  mother — with  a  contempt  which 
would  have  amounted  to  scorn  if  it  had  not  been  so  care- 
less. It  is  undoubtedly  to  this  fact  alone  that  Claudius  so 
long  escaped  the  fate  which  overwhelmed  every  other 
member  of  his  immediate  family  and  so  many  of  his  kin- 
dred as  well.  Nobody  thought  of  killing  him  for  the 
simple  reason  that  nobody  thought  of  him  at  all,  and  but 
for  his  unexpected  exposure  to  the  imperial  disease  he 
would  doubtless  have  come  to  a  peaceful  end,  and  thus 
attained  a  unique  place  in  history  as  the  only  male  Caesar 
following  Augustus  who  escaped  a  violent  death. 

For  a  long  time  his  education  was  neglected  entirely, 
and  but  for  the  Emperor  Augustus  he  might  never  have 
received  any  other  teaching  than  that  of  the  mule  driver 
who  had  been  selected  for  his  tutor  "on  purpose  to  cor- 
rect him  severely  on  every  trifling  occasion."  His  pene- 
trating grandfather  discerned  in  the  unhappy  boy  some- 
thing more  than  the  fool  and  even  idiot  which  his  family 
considered  him;  although  in  the  end  Augustus  himself 
apparently  came  to  the  conclusion  that  (to  use  his  own 
expression  in  a  letter  to  the  Empress  Livia)  Claudius  was 
"below  par  and  deficient  in  body  and  mind";  for  he  in- 

^  AnU,  page  43.       '  Chapter  v.  page  57. 




vested  him  with  no  other  honor  than  the  augural  priest- 
hood. The  Emperor  Tiherius  plainly  cherished  the  same 
opinion;  for  he  refused  his  nephew's  request  for  prefer- 
ment in  the  State,  permitting  him  to  have  merely  the 
honorary  appendages  of  the  consulship.  In  the  end,  how- 
ever, Claudius  to  a  considerable  extent  outgrew  his  com- 
plaints, and  actually  seems  to  have  attained  distinction  as 
a  scholar  and  writer.  But  his  spirits  never  fully  recovered 
from  the  effects  of  both  disease  and  punishment,  while  to 
the  extreme  timidity  incident  to  his  sickly  constitution 
were  afterwards  added  those  vices  which  were  the  natural 
consequence  of  the  indolence  to  which  he  resigned  himself 
when  convinced  that  he  was  destined  to  no  advancement 
Tiberius  made  some  tardy  show  of  justice  towards 
Claudius  by  leaving  him  a  legacy  of  two  milUons  of  ses- 
terces, and  also  in  his  will  expressly  recommending  "  the 
brother  of  Grcrmanicus  to  the  armies,  the  Senate,  and  peo- 
ple of  Rome.**  The  people  now  began  to  treat  him  more 
kindly,  so  that  finally  Caligula  at  the  outset  of  his  reign 
desiring  to  win  popularity  and  support  in  the  easiest  pos- 
sible way,  made  his  uncle  consul ;  although,  as  it  proved, 
by  accepting  the  oUve  branch  at  so  late  a  day  from  a 
member  of  his  family,  Claudius  was  only  opening  the 
door  to  additional  insults,  considerable  personal  danger, 
and  the  loss  of  almost  his  entire  estate,  of  which  he  was 
shortly  robbed  by  the  Emperor.  Once  again  he  became  the 
butt  and  laughing-stock  of  the  imperial  parasites,  and  was 
speedily  lapsing  into  his  old  condition  of  degradation  and 
almost  imbecility,  when  by  a  surprising  turn  of  circum- 
stances, he  who  by  the  first  Emperor  was  thought  to  be 
unworthy  of  any  public  trust,  himself  attained  the  purple 
and  assumed  the  cognomen  of  Caesar.  And  while  for  some 
time  after  his  succession,  owing,  perhaps,  to  the  novelty  of 

[  100] 



THE  Mf  YO«K 

A.^iUh.  ut.NuX    AND 


his  position,  joined  to  the  good  fortune  of  having  wise 
counsellors,  he  displayed  such  prudence  and  sagacity  as  to 
amaze  all  who  had  known  him,  it  has  been  remarked  as 
nevertheless  difficult  to  assign  any  other  motive  for  the 
choice  of  Claudius  as  Emperor  than  that  which  the  army 
professed — "His  relationship  to  the  whole  family  of  Cae- 
sars/' The  commencement  of  his  reign  of  course  demanded 
a  libation  of  blood.  And  while  Lupus,  the  slayer  of  Cae- 
sonia,  is  entitied  to  no  tears,  it  is  sad  to  read  that  the  brave 
Chaerea  was  punished  for  his  righteous  crime.  But  such 
sacrifices  were  in  those  days  considered  only  the  ordinary 
and  indispensable  precautions  for  the  new  Emperor's  own 
safety;  and  Claudius  destroyed  their  harshness  with  the 
vast  majority  of  his  subjects  by  inunediately  thereafter 
passing  an  act  of  perpetual  oblivion  and  pardon  for  every- 
thing which  had  been  said  and  done.  Even  Valerius  Asiati- 
cus,  who,  when  asked  after  XlaligulSLwas  stricken  down  who 
it  was  had  done  it^  ^j^'^ebli^i'Mii^uld  to  God  I  had 
been  the  manl" — ejren'Ke  wfifenlftbSl^ted.  And  posterity 
must  affirm  that  *^|he  half-witted  Cliudius"  commenced 
his  reign  more  Uke^iaf  fa€L]iiasii.ib«i9g,  fvith  an  accountable 
soul,  than  any  other  Emperor  of  ftis^T^use. 

The  Emperor  Claudius  was  lall'Md  not  ill  formed;  but 
from  his  rickety  constitution  his  knees  were  weak,  and 
his  gait  was  consequently  awkward  and  shambling.  Al- 
though there  may  be  a  question  whether  his  mental  infirm- 
ity proceeded  from  inheritance  or  a  severe  illness  which 
occurred  in  his  childhood,  from  the  developments  of  his 
history  it  seems  highly  probable  that  but  for  the  con- 
temptuous and  abusive  treatment  received  in  early  life 
he  might  have  largely  outgrown  his  weaknesses,  which, 
yielding  readily  to  the  evil  persuasions  of  Messalina,  ulti- 
mately led  him  into  dissolute  and  sanguinary  courses,  end- 

[  101  ] 



AT  the  time  of  his  accession  the  Emperor  Claudius  had 
jLjL  been  married  five  times  and  four  children  had  been 
bom  to  him ;  while  a  fifth  child,  the  ill-fated  Britannicus, 
was  bom  twenty  days  after  his  father  ascended  the  throne 
(February  18,  41  a.  d.)  and  came  to  his  death  at  the  hands 
of  his  cousin,  the  Emperor's  successor,  some  fifteen  years 

Claudius  first  married — or  perhaps  only  became  be- 
trothed to — iEmilia  Lepida,  the  only  daughter  of  his 
cousin  JuUa,^  the  granddaughter  of  Augustus,  and  Lucius 
iBmilius  Paulus,  grandnephew  of  the  triumvir  Lepidus. 
At  the  time  of  his  betrothal  to  j^milia,  Claudius  was  en- 
tirely dependent  upon  his  uncle  for  the  most  ordinary 
consideration; 2  and  when  shortly  afterwards  Augustus  be- 
came incensed  by  the  conduct  of  Julia  (or  possibly  that 
of  Paulus,  who  had  engaged  in  a  conspiracy  against  the 
Emperor),  the  betrothal  or  marriage,  whichever  it  was, 
with  iEmilia  was  abruptly  broken  off.  Not  long  after  this 
disappointment  he  married  Livia  MeduUina,  a  beautiful 
young  lady  of  high  extraction,  but  only  to  have  the  cup 
dashed  from  his  lips  a  second  time,  as  Livia  expired  sud- 
denly on  her  wedding  day. 

His  next  venture,  although  more  successful  at  the  out- 
set, in  the  end  brought  him  more  bitterness  than  either 
of  the  others,  Plautia  Urgulanilla,  who  became  his  third 
wife,  was  the  daughter  of  a  brave  soldier,  who  had  at- 

^  Julia  was  the  daughter  of  Augustus's  daughter  Julia  and  Agrippa.  Ante, 
page  39.     '  Ante,  page  99- 

[  104  ] 







tained  the  honor  of  a  triumph;  and  to  the  unbounded 
delight  of  Claudius  she  bore  him  a  son,  who  was  called 
Drusus.  But  the  happiness  of  Claudius  was  short-lived. 
Drusus,  while  still  very  young,  was  playing  one  day  at 
Pompeii,  and,  it  is  said,  while  tossing  something  into  the 
air,  caught  it  in  his  mouth  and  was  choked  to  death.  Only 
a  few  days  before  he  had  been  betrothed  by  Tiberius  to 
one  of  Sejanus's  daughters;^  which  seems  a  just  occasion 
of  surprise  to  one  of  the  ancient  writers  that  this  Drusus 
also  should  have  been  considered  by  certain  other  authors 
as  one  of  the  victims  of  Sejanus.  However  this  may  be,  for 
any  scion  of  the  house  of  Caesar,  to  lose  his  life  was  the 
only  way  of  saving  it,  and  the  death  of  Drusus  at  a  tender 
age  ought  not  to  have  been  deplored.  Not  long  afterwards 
his  mother,  Plautia,  was  suspected  by  her  lord  of  unfaith- 
fulness and  of  having  been  concerned  in  a  murder  (which 
latter  was  of  course  entirely  too  shocking  for  the  delicate 
sensibility  of  a  Caesar),  and  she  ^^nu^  tjuereuppn/' repudiated 
with  infamy'* — whatever  may^]fe#|iji^p!|i^d'in/the  phrase. 
Plautia  had  another  child,  n  daughter  named  Claudia.  She 
was  five  months  old  when  Jjej  mother  was /driven  from 
the  palace,  and  Claudius,  (fislel&iiisagjl^i^^tehuty,  ordered 
that  she  be  cast  naked  at  Ker'Tn^thex.'sjdoor.i 

One  might  think  that  by  this  time  Claudius  would  have 
been  somewhat  sobered  by  his  matrimonial  experiences; 
but  encouraging  himself  perhaps  with  the  assertion  of 
Socrates  that  whether  a  man  married  or  not  he  was  bound 
to  regret  it,  he  speedily  selected  a  fourth  wife  in  the  per- 
son of  -^lia  Pa^na,  a  daughter  of  the  Tuberonian  family 
and  whose  father  was  a  man  of  consular  rank.  Pastina  re- 
mained his  wife  long  enough  to  bear  him  a  daughter,  who 
was  called  Antonia,  after  the  mother  of  Claudius,  and 

^Ante,  page  66. 



whose  end  was  quite  as  wretched  as  might  be  expected, 
in  view  of  the  events  which  ensued.  After  being  twice 
married,  and  witnessing  the  murder  of  both  husbands,  one 
at  the  hands  of  her  father^  and  the  other  a  victim  to 
Nero's  cruelty ,2  she  herself  succumbed  to  the  rage  of  the 
latter,  upon  her  refusal  to  marry  him,  after  the  death  of 

Paetina  having  been  divorced  upon  grounds  so  slight 
that  in  explaining  her  repudiation  the  ancient  writers 
speak  only  of  the  Emperor's  "disgust"  for  his  wife,  Clau- 
dius now  took  a  step  which  ultimately  stained  his  hands 
with  blood  and  his  character  with  infamy,  bringing  to  him 
finally  shame  beyond  measure,  and  to  the  Roman  people 
such  oppression  and  injustice  as  made  them  speedily  for- 
get the  mildness  and  almost  excellence — comparatively 
speaking — which  characterized  the  earlier  part  of  his 

Antonia,  the  mother  of  Claudius,  had  an  elder  sister  of 
the  same  name,^  who  had  married  Lucius  Domitius  Ahe- 
nobarbus  and  become  the  mother  of  three  children.  One  of 
them,  a  son,  married  Agrippina,  the  niece  of  Claudius  and 
sister  of  Caligula,  who  with  her  sister  Julia,  upon  the  ac- 
cession of  Claudius,  was  recalled  by  him  from  the  exile 
imposed  upon  them  by  their  brother,,  the  former  Em- 
peror.*^ The  only  child  of  this  marriage  was  Nero,  after- 
wards Emperor;  and  it  would  not  be  strange  if  nature  had 
exhausted  itself  in  the  production  of  such  a  monster  as 
this  child  afterwards  showed  himself. 

The  other  two  children  of  L.  Domitius  and  the  elder 
Antonia  were  daughters,  each  bearing  the  name  of  Do- 
mitia  Lepida.  It  has  been  a  common  mistake  with  modem 

1  Post,  page  113.     *  Pogt,  page  148.     •  Post,  page  154.      *  See  page  108. 
*  Ante,  page  88. 


historians  and  others  who  have  written  about  this  period 
of  Roman  history  to  consider  that  Nero's  father  had  only 
one  sister.^  The  frequent  carelessness  and  occasional  ob- 
scurity of  the  ancient  writers  are  to  some  extent  respon- 
sible for  the  mistakes  and  confusion  which  have  existed  in 
regard  to  the  two  Lepidas.  But  the  mam  difficulty,  as  well 
in  tracing  descent  through  the  female  line  as  in  occasion- 
ally distinguishing  between  sisters,  lies  in  the  fact  that 
the  Ex>man  women  bore  no  distinctive  praBnomen;^  which, 
by  the  way,  is  terribly  significant  of  another  fact,  perhaps 
not  fully  proven,  although  highly  probable, — that  the 
horrible  practice  of  exposure  and  infanticide,  enjoined  by 
the  wise  Solon  and  approved  by  the  gentle  Plutarch,  had 
previously  been,  if  it  was  not  stiU,  prevalent  among  the 

^  In  Darknen  and  Dawn  Canon  Farrar  speaks  of  ''Domitia  Lepida,  the 
mother  of  the  Empress  Messalina,  and  the  former  wife  of  Ciispus  Pasd- 
enus" ;  whereas  the  mother  of  Messalina  and  the  wife  of  Passienus,  the 
orator,  were  distinct  persons.  See  next  page. 

'  To  mark  the  different  gentet  and  famiUas,  and  to  distinguish  the  indi- 
viduals of  the  same  £unilj^  the  Romans  had  commonly  three  names,  the 
pnEnomen,  the  nomen,  and  the  cognomen. 

The  prasnomen  was  put  first  and  marked  the  individual,  and  was  usually 
written  with  one  letter:  A.  for  Aldus;  C.  for  Cauu;  M.  for  Marcui. 
The  nomen  followed  the  prsenomen  and  indicated  the  gens.  It  usually 
ended  in  ius;  as  Julius,  Cornelius,  Domitius  (changing  to  Julia,  Cornelia, 
and  DonuUa  in  case  of  females). 

The  cognomen  came  last  and  marked  the  Jitmilia;  as  Cassar,  Nero,  Scipio. 
Some  gentes,  however,  appear  to  have  had  no  cognomen,  or  surname;  for 
example,  Caius  Marius,  Marcus  Agrippa, 

Occasionally  there  was  a  fourth  name,  called  the  agnomen  (but  some- 
times also  spoken  of  as  cognomen)^  which  was  added  to  conmiemorate 
an  illustrious  action  or  remarkable  event  Thus  on  account  of  his  memo- 
rable victories  in  Germany,  Germanicus  was  added  to  the  nomen  of  the 
brother  of  Tiberius,  so  that  he  was  finally  called  Drusus  Germanicus;  in 
the  same  way,  Publius  Cornelius  Scipio  Africamus,  from  his  exploit  at 

[  107] 


Romans.^  But  whatever  the  reason  therefor,  the  fact  ex- 
isted that  an  individual  name  was  not  usually  bestowed 
upon  the  female  child,  who  was  distinguished  merely  by 
an  adaptation  to  her  sex  of  the  nomen  of  her  father  or 
mother,  or  of  that  which  marked  the  gens  of  some  other 
ancestor,  or  collateral  relative.  Thus  the  frequency  of  the 
name  Julia  in  the  family  of  Caesar,  which  belonged  to  the 
Gens  Julius;  the  name  of  Agrippina^  in  the  posterity  of 
Agrippa;  the  two  Octaxms,  sisters  of  the  Emperor  Au- 
gustus (Octavius);^  Mark  Antony's  two  daughters,  the 
elder  and  younger  Antonia,  who  were  the  first  Emperor's 
nieces,^  and  the  sisters  whose  names  introduced  this  di- 
gression, the  two  Lepidas,  who  were  grandnieces  of  Au- 

The  eldest  of  these  daughters  of  Antonia  and  L.  Domi- 
tius  was  usually  called  by  the  second  name,  Lepida,  and 
hereafter  will  be  referred  to  under  this  name  only.  The 
younger  daughter,  who  married  Crispus  Passienus,  is  inva- 
riably mentioned  by  her  full  name,  Domitia  Lepida,  and 
may  thus  readily  be  distinguished  frt)m  her  more  brilliant 
and  notorious  sister. 

Lepida  married  M.  Valerius  Messala  Barbatus,  and  be- 
came the  mother  •  of  Messalina,  who  lived  to  become  one 

^  Positive  as  well  as  indirect  testimon j  on  this  point  is  found  in  Dion 

Cassius^  Tertullian,  and  Tacitus.  The  destruction  of  Claudia,  the  infimt 

daughter  of  Claudius  and  Plautia,  seems  to  have  been  practically  a  case 

of  exposure.  Ante,  page  105. 

'  Even  Plutarch  &lls  into  an  error  in  connection  with  the  two  Octavias. 

He  says  Mark  Antony  married  Octavia  Major,  who  was  only  half-sister 

to  Augustus,  and  not  of  the  blood  of  Ceesar;  whereas  it  was  the  younger 

Octavia^  daughter  of  Atia  and  own  sister  to  Augustus,  whose  marriage 

with  the  triumvir  sealed  the  confederacy.  Afiie,  page  21. 

'  Tacitus  says  that  the  younger  Antonia  was  the  grandmother  of  Nero; 

whereas  all  the  other  writers  agree  that  it  was  Antonia  Major. 

[  108] 



time  she  did  not  take  the  trouble  to  go  to  Claudius,  but 
herself  poisoned  Vinicius. 

Claudius  had  betrothed  his  daughter  Octavia  to  Lucius 
Silanus,  the  second  son  of  his  first  wife,  Mmi\i&  Lepida 
(the  great-granddaughter  of  Augustus),  by  Appius  Junius 
Silanus,  whom  she  had  married  after  Claudius  divorced 
hen  In  order  to  further  strengthen  her  position  the  Em- 
press, whose  father  had  died,  induced  her  husband  to  re- 
call Appius  Junius  (whose  wife  ^Emilia  also  was  dead), 
who  was  Governor  of  Spain  at  the  time,  and  compel  him 
to  marry  her  mother  Lepida.^  But  it  was  not  long  be- 
fore Silanus  likewise  incurred  her  displeasure  and  she  re- 
solved to  get  rid  of  him.  With  the  aid  of  her  secretary,  it 
was  readily  accomplished.  Before  daybreak  one  morning 
Narcissus  burst  into  the  Emperor's  bedchamber,  and  with 
a  great  assumption  of  fright,  told  Claudius  that  he  had 
dreamed  that  Appius  Silanus  had  murdered  him.  Upon 
this,  Messalina,  affecting  great  surprise,  declared  that  she 
too  had  dreamed  that  her  husband  had  been  slain  by  Ap- 
pius. At  this  juncture  word  came  that  Appius  had  come 
to  see  the  Emperor — orders  having  been  given  him  at 
the  instance  of  the  conspirators  to  be  at  the  palace  at  that 
time.  The  truth  of  the  dream  was  thus  confirmed  and  Ap- 
pius was  at  once  put  to  death,  Claudius  on  the  follow- 
ing day  acknowledging  to  the  Senate  his  great  obligation 
to  Narcissus  and  the  Empress  for  watching  over  him  even 
while  he  slept. 

Appius  left  five  children  by  iEmilia  Lepida.  Of  these 
great-great-grandchildren  of  Augustus,  one  son  was  poi- 
soned and  another  driven  to  suicide  by  Agrippina,  the 
sixth  wife  of  Claudius;*  one  daughter  was  exiled   by 

^  Silanus  thus  had  the  distinctioii  of  twice  marrying  into  the  Julian  fiunilj. 
'  Posi,  pages  137  and  138. 



Claudius,^  and  the  remaining  son  and  daughter  were  re* 
spectively  driven  to  suicide  and  exiled  by  the  Emperor 
Nero.2  The  younger  Silanus,  only  grandson  of  Appius  Ju- 
nius and  the  last  surviving  male  descendant  of  the  divine 
Augustus,  was  also  put  to  death  by  Nero,^ 

The  Emperor  had  given  in  marriage^  his  daughter  An- 
tonia,  the  child  of  his  fourth  wife,  Peetina,  to  Cneius 
Pompey,  a  descendant  of  the  triumvir.  Besides  permit- 
ting his  son-in-law  to  reassume  the  cognomen  of  Magnus, 
or  Great,  which  had  been  taken  from  him  by  Caligula, 
Pompey  had  been  loaded  with  honors  by  the  Emperor, 
who  treated  him — and  as  well  Cornelius  Sylla,  who  be- 
came Antonia's  second  husband — as  Augustus  did  the 
young  princes ;  among  other  things  allowing  them  to  stand 
for  high  offices  five  years  before  the  age  prescribed  by  law. 
But  all  this  favor  and  magnificence  did  not  save  Pompey. 
Guilty  of  the  crime  of  d^spleR^iiig  .Messalina,  without  any 
form  of  proceeding  to  Establish  %n  actual  .offence,  he  was 
stabbed  in  bed  by  the'grders  of  Cldudi^s. ^Crassus  Frugi, 
his  father,  and  ScriboriiaV  nls  Tipother,  perished  with  him. 
Their  nobility  is  said  tb^iave^li^n  tlveiir  crime.  Crassus 
was  certainly  not  feared  for'hi^.  gemu£.  As  Cr^vier  says, 
"He  resembled  Claudius  perfedtlj^. Jn  his  stupidity  and 
was  in  that  respect  as  worthy  to  succeed  him  as  he  was 
incapable  of  coveting  his  post." 

Antonia  left  no  children  either  by  Pompey  or  Sylla. 
Both  she  and  her  second  husband  were  murdered  by 

The  mutilated  text  of  the  eleventh  book  of  the  "An- 
nals," which  begins  abruptly  in  the  seventh  year  of  the 
reign  of  Claudius  (the  history  of  the  six  preceding  years 

»  Fody  page  II9.  *  FoUy  page  138.  »  Fost,  page  158. 

^  Posty  pages  148  and  154. 



being  lost),  informs  us  that  Messalina  was  bent  upon  the 
ruin  of  Valerius  Asiaticus,  and  that  '*as  she  coveted  his  fine 
gardens,  commenced  by  Lucullus,  but  carried  out  on  an 
extended  scale  and  adorned  in  a  style  of  unexampled  mag- 
nificence by  himself,  she  suborned  Suilius  to  accuse  him/' 

Valerius  was  the  brave  consul  who  pubhcly  proclaimed 
r^ret  that  he  had  not  had  the  honor  of  slaying  Caligula. 
He  was  now  dragged  in  chains  to  Rome,  denied  a  hearing 
before  the  Senate,  and  tried  privately  in  the  presence  of 
Messalina.  He  defended  himself  so  eloquently  that  the 
Emperor  was  greatly  moved  and  even  Messalina  is  said  to 
have  shed  tears.  Asiaticus  was  finally  granted  the  favor  of 
choosing  the  mode  of  his  death.  After  declaring  that  it 
would  have  been  less  ignominious  to  die  by  the  dark  arti- 
fices of  Tiberius  or  the  fury  of  Caligula  than  thus  to  fall 
by  the  base  devices  of  a  woman,  he  opened  his  veins,  the 
usual  method  of  an  enforced  suicide  among  the  elegant, 
agreeable,  and  civilized  Roman  citizens.  The  coveted  gar- 
dens belonged  to  the  Empress  at  last;  and  it  was  there 
that  Nemesis  overtook  her. 

Common  decency  forbids  our  coming  within  sight  or 
sound  of  the  personal  life  of  Messalina,  whose  murders 
were  merely  the  occasional  staccato  notes  in  a  continued 
theme  of  vice,  which  was  now  approaching  the  last  tragic 
flourish.  Soon  after  the  death  of  Asiaticus  she  formed  a 
passionate  attachment  for  Caius  Silius,  then  consul-elect, 
who  is  said  to  have  been  the  handsomest  man  in  Rome. 
Silius  was  married  to  Junia  Silana,  the  sister  of  Caligula's 
first  wife  and  daughter  of  the  murdered  Silanus.^  Messa- 
lina compelled  Silius  to  divorce  the  unhappy  Junia,  and 
after  loading  the  former  with  presents  and  honors  and 
otherwise  deporting  herself  so  as  to  scandalize  even  her 

^  Anie,  page  83. 




most  scandalous  associates,  she  finally  broke  down  the  last 
barriers,  and  during  the  absence  of  Claudius  at  Ostia, 
where  he  was  assisting  at  a  sacrifice,  the  unaccountable 
Empress  publicly  celebrated  her  nuptials  with  Silius,  with 
all  the  usual  solemnities.  **I  am  aware,"  says  Tacitus  with 
great  ingenuousness,  ''that  it  will  appear  fabulous  that 
any  human  beings  should  have  exhibited  such  recklessness 
of  consequences.  But  I  would  not  dress  up  my  narrative 
with  fictions  to  give  it  an  air  of  marvel  rather  than  relate 
what  has  been  stated  to  me,  or  written  by  my  seniors."^ 

In  the  midst  of  the  orgies  which  attended 'the  nwriage 
ceremonies,  a  sort  of  court  buffoon  who  had  cUmbed  a 
tree,  upon  being  asked  what  he  saw,  replied,  "a  terrible 
storm  coming  up  from  Ostia."  The  guilty  parties  had 
scarcely  recovered  from  the  shock  occasioned  by  this  pro- 
phetic remark  when  couriers  arrived  to  say  that  the  Em- 
peror was  actually  coming.  For  the  first  time  Messalina 
seemed  to  realize  the  enormity  of  her  offence.  In  the  gen- 
eral panic  which  ant^ibd  the  wretched  woman  fled  to  her 
beautiful  gardens  of  Lucullus,  where  the  murder  of  their 
last  owner  was  now  to  be  expiated,  and  there,  abandoned 
by  every  one  exc^ptVhcflr*  mother,,  she  lay  grovelling  on  the 
earth,  awaiting  tk&  expected  message  from  her  wrathful 
husband.  Curious  to  relate,  the  Emperor  seemed  inclined 
to  overcome  his  resentment,  and  instead  of  ordering  Mes- 
salina's  immediate  execution,  directed  that  on  the  next 
day  she  should  attend  and  plead  her  cause.  Whereupon 
Narcissus,  fearing  that  the  whole  thing  might  recoil  upon 
himself,  rushed  out  and  directed  the  tribune  on  duty  to 
** despatch  the  execution  by  the  Emperor's  command." 

It  is  said  that  Lepida  had  not  lived  in  harmony  with 
Messalina  during  the  latter  s  prosperity,  but  now,  over- 

[  115  ] 


enormous  fortune  which  thus  came  into  her  possession, 
reinforced  by  her  striking  beauty,  her  great  ability,  un- 
bending will,  and  utter  unscrupulousness  in  the  employ- 
ment of  means  to  accomplish  ends  the  most  trivial,  she 
easily  became  one  of  the  most  power&l,  most  dreaded, 
and  most  terrible  characters  in  Rome.  Posterity  may  fairly 
accord  to  her  a  position  at  the  very  apex  of  wickedness, 
for  in  cruelty  and  deliberate  evil-doing,  if  not  in  aban- 
doned profligacy,  she  certainly  surpassed  MessaUna,  whose 
name  has  become  proverbial  for  similar  vices.  It  would  be 
impossible  to  overestunate  the  curse  which  this  woman 
must  have  brought  upon  Roman  society  but  for  the  fact 
that  its  degeneration  was  already  so  extreme.  And  yet 
her  ending  was  so  tragic — the  crime  of  her  death  was 
so  terrible,  so  monstrous — that  pity  tempers  judgment 
even  in  her  case,  and  in  thinking  of  her  we  are  fain  again 
to  repeat  the  wonderful  and  divinely  beautiM  words  of 
Him  who  had  preached  even  while  she  was  in  the  full 
flush  of  her  wicked  life:  "He  that  is  without  sin  among 
you  let  him  first  cast  a  stone.*' 

Aided  by  the  arts  and  blandishments  of  Agrippina, 
the  arguments  of  the  Emperor  s  treasurer  won  the  day, 
the  weak  resistance  urged  by  the  poor  old  dotard  on  the 
ground  of  near  relationship  being  readily  overcome  by  pro- 
curing from  the  Senate  a  decree  legalizing  marriages  of 
this  character.^  Within  twenty-four  hours  thereafter  the 
marriage  was  consummated  and  the  last  dark  chapter  in 
the  Emperor's  life  commenced. 

By  her  first  husband  Agrippina  had  a  son  named  Domi- 
tius,  who  was  a  youth  of  about  thirteen  at  the  time  of  his 

*  Until  quite  recently  the  statute  law  of  the  State  of  New  York  permitted 
— or  at  least  did  not  prohibit — marriages  between  nephews  and  auntSi 
uncles  and  nieces. 




come  with  compassion  for  the  extreme  necessity  of  her 
daughter,  the  mother  "persuaded  her  not  to  await  the 
execution;  the  course  of  her  life  was  run,  and  her  only 
object  now  should  be  to  die  becomingly.'*  In  the  midst  of 
her  mother's  entreaties,  her  own  tears  and  lamentations, 
and  the  upbraidings  of  a  slave  for  her  cowardice,  the  cen- 
turions arrived.  She  at  last  sunmioned  courage  to  inflict 
upon  herself  a  few  feeble  strokes  of  the  dagger,  when  the 
sword  of  the  tribune  pierced  her  heart.  In  the  entire  range 
of  ancient  literature  there  can  be  found  no  more  graphic 
description  of  the  degraded  condition  of  society  under  the 
Cassars  than  in  the  concluding  words  of  the  most  pictu- 
resque writer  of  ancient  history  in  relating  the  death  of 
Messalina:  '*  Tidings  were  then  carried  to  Claudius  that 
'Messalina  was  no  more,'  without  distinguishing  whether 
by  her  own  or  another's  hand ;  neither  did  he  inquire,  but 
called  for  a  cup  of  wine,  and  proceeded  in  the  usual  cere- 
monies of  the  feast;  nor  did  he  indeed  during  the  follow- 
ing days  manifest  any  symptom  of  disgust  or  joy,  of  re- 
sentment or  sorrow,  nor  in  short  of  any  human  affection; 
not  when  he  beheld  the  accusers  of  his  wife  exulting  at 
her  death ;  not  when  he  looked  upon  her  mourning  chil- 
dren. The  Senate  aided  in  effacing  her  from  his  memory 
by  decreeing  *that  from  all  public  and  private  places  her 
name  should  be  rased  and  her  images  removed.'"  ^ 

In  his  first  sober  moments  following  the  death  of  Mes- 
salina, when  the  full  sense  of  his  ignominy  and  shame 
swept  over  him,  the  Emperor  summoned  his  praetorians 
and  declared  that  having  been  so  unhappy  in  his  union, 
he  was  resolved  never  to  marry  again;  **and  if  I  should," 
he  concluded,  "I  give  you  leave  to  stab  me."  And  then, 
with  his  usual  vacillation  and  acting  still  from  the  pur- 

^  AfmaU,  xL  38. 



posdess  motive  which  prompted  him  to  yield  to  the  latest 
emotion  as  the  invariable  rule  of  conduct,  he  immediately 
turned  his  attention  to  securing  another  wife.  The  fact 
precipitated  an  ardent  contest  between  the  ladies  of  the 
Court,  each  of  whom  was  ambitious  for  the  exalted  posi- 
tion, although  none  could  have  been  unaware  that  a  vio- 
lent death  was  the  almost  inevitable  consequence  of  an 
alliance  with  the  imperial  family.  Unable  himself  to  decide 
between  the  rival  claimants,  the  Emperor  requested  his 
ministers  to  deliberate  upon  the  matter  and  advise  him. 
Each  of  the  favorites  was  naturally  eager  to  advance  his 
own  interests  by  recommending  the  successful  lady,  who 
would  thereupon  become  more  or  less  indebted  to  him  for 
her  elevation.  Narcissus  proposed  that  Claudius  should  es- 
pouse his  former  wife  Paetina,  by  whom  he  had  a  daughter 
still  living;  Callistus  urged  that  the  wealthy  Lollia  Pau- 
lina, one  of  the  Emperor  Caligula's  divorced  wives,  should 
be  chosen;  while  PaUas  startled  the  whole  Court,  includ- 
ing even  the  aimless  and  dull-witted  Claudius  himself,  by 
proposing  a  marriage  with  Agrippina,  the  only  surviving 
daughter  of  G^ermanicus,  and  consequently  the  Emperor's 
own  niece. 

This  Agrippina,  it  wUl  be  remembered,  had  been  exiled 
with  her  sister  Julia,  in  the  reign  of  Caligula,  they  having 
incurred  the  displeasure  of  their  imperial  brother.  During 
the  period  of  her  exile,  her  first  husband,  the  brother  of 
the  two  Lepidas,  had  died,  and  soon  after  her  recall  by 
Claudius  she  had  married  a  celebrated  orator  named  Cris- 
pus  Passienus,  who  had  been  twice  consul.  Passienus,  who 
was  very  rich,  had  the  imprudence  to  inform  his  wife  that 
he  had  made  a  will  constituting  her  his  heiress.  Having 
thus,  as  his  wife  concluded,  fulfilled  his  destiny,  she  im- 
mediately disposed  of  him  by  poison,  and  through  the 



the  State,  more  nearly  the  equal  of  Britannicus,  the  heir 
apparent.  In  this  she  found  ready  assistance  from  all  who, 
having  contributed  to  the  death  of  Messalina,  dreaded  the 
ultimate  vengeance  of  her  son.  The  Senate  approved, 
the  weak-minded  Emperor  also  consented,  and  Nero  and 
the  gentle  Octavia,  whose  wishes  were  of  course  not  con- 
sulted, were  betrothed.  Slowly  but  surely  the  unconscious 
Emperor  was  preparing  for  the  extermination  of  his  family. 

Thus  far  in  the  accomplishment  of  her  ends  the  Em- 
press had  proceeded  with  great  caution,  feeling  her  way 
carefuUy  and  refraining  entirely  from  the  use  of  violence. 
But  she  was  now  so  firmly  established  that  it  seemed  per- 
fectly safe  to  indulge  a  little  in  the  open  gratification  of 
her  cruel  nature,  and  a  victim  had  already  been  selected. 
She  had  never  forgiven  Lollia  Paulina  for  jeopardizing 
her  own  ambitions  by  aspiring  to  many  Claudius,  and  her 
hatred,  always  implacable,  was  in  this  instance  intensified 
by  both  jealousy  and  covetousness,  her  defeated  rival  be- 
ing immensely  rich.  Lollia's  fortune  was  enormous,  Pliny 
declaring  that  he  had  seen  her  on  an  ordinary  occa- 
sion wearing  jewels  valued  at  forty  millions  of  sesterces 
(£400,000).  As  the  sentence  of  banishment  implied  for- 
feiture, this  immense  fortune  was  ultimately  enjoyed  by 
Agrippina.  Witnesses  were  suborned  charging  LolUa  with 
consulting  magicians  and  oracles  concerning  her  ambitious 
views.  As  usual,  no  hearing  was  granted  the  accused,  the 
Emperor  recommending  to  the  Senate  that  she  should  be 
banished.  This  sentence  was  immediately  carried  into  ef- 
fect; but  Agrippina  was  not  satisfied  until  her  hated  rival 
was  killed  and  her  head  produced  for  inspection  by  the 
first  lady  in  the  State,  who  wished  to  establish  its  iden- 
tity by  an  examination  of  the  teeth. 

Having  thus  refireshed  herself,  Agrippina  returned  to  her 

[120  ] 


original  purposes  with  renewed  energy,  her  next  aim  bemg 
to  secure  the  formal  adoption  of  her  son  by  the  Emperor. 
Through  the  influence  of  her  corrupt  associate,  the  detes- 
table Pallas,  this  important  step  was  also  accomplished. 
The  fooUsh  Emperor  yielded  to  the  hollow  arguments 
advanced  by  his  minister:  that  the  adoption  was  desir- 
able to  provide  for  the  exigency  of  the  commonwealth 
and  support  the  infancy  of  Britannicus  with  a  collateral 
stay;  that  Tiberius  notwithstanding  he  had  a  son  of  his 
own  adopted  Germanicus,  the  deified  Augustus  likewise, 
though  possessed  of  grandsons  upon  whom  to  rely,  having 
raised  to  power  the  sons  of  his  wife.  With  the  consent 
of  Claudius  a  law  was  enacted  decreeing  the  adoption  of 
Domitius  into  the  Claudian  family  under  the  name  of 
Nero — the  title  of  Augusta  being  at  the  same  time  con- 
ferred upon  his  mother.  The  adoption  of  Nero  was  said  to 
have  been  the  first  in  the  Claudian  family  in  over  two 
hundred  years.  It  proved  to  be  the  last  also,  for  by  it  the 
Emperor  Claudius  sealed  the  doom  of  his  race.  His  own 
deatii  had  already  been  decided  upon,  while  the  ill-fated 
Britannicus,  who  was  two  years  younger  than  his  adoptive 
brother^  was  not  long  to  survive  his  murdered  father. 

The  accession  of  Nero  was  now  assured,  the  death  of 
Claudius  alone  interposing  as  the  last  obstacle  to  the  tri- 
umphant policy  of  the  Empress.  How  feeble  the  barrier 
was  none  knew  better  than  Agrippina  herself;  and  per- 
haps with  a  view  of  acquiring  a  proper  state  of  mind  in 
which  to  accomplish  its  removal,  she  determined  upon  a 
little  preliminary  exercise  of  her  powers.  This  time  the 
victim  was  of  the  blood  of  Caesar,  in  the  person  of  Lepida, 
mother  of  the  late  Empress,  cousin  german  to  Claudius, 
and  aunt  of  Nero,  being  one  of  the  two  sisters  of  the 
latter's  fitther.  For  Lepida  the  Empress  had  long  cher- 

[  121  ] 


ished  a  bitter  jealousy  and  hatred.  During  the  exile  of  the 
latter,  in  the  reign  of  Caligula,  her  son  Nero  had  found  a 
home  with  his  aunt,  and  ever  since  the  dawn  of  his  new 
fortunes  there  had  been  a  silent  but  none  the  less  power- 
ful contention  between  the  two  women  to  acquire  the 
first  position  in  his  confidence  and  regard.  An  attempt  to 
secure  the  ascendency  over  a  son  for  whom  her  own  con- 
sununate  art  alone  had  ensured  the  prize,  would  in  itself 
have  been  sufficient  to  arouse  all  the  tiger-like  instincts  of 
Agrippina.  But  her  hatred  was  intensified — and  for  the 
same  reason  reciprocated  by  the  other — because  of  the 
striking  similarity  in  both  the  position  and  character  of 
the  two  women.  Of  the  same  degree  of  nobility,  equally 
beautiful,  almost  equally  rich,  of  about  the  same  age,  each 
of  them  hot  and  violent  in  temper,  their  reputations  alike 
ruined  and  lost,  and  competitors  in  vice,  as  in  everything 
else,  Agrippina  exceeded  her  rival  alone  in  the  added 
power  of  her  position  in  the  imperial  household.  With  re- 
gard to  Nero,  on  the  other  hand,  the  advantage  seems  to 
have  been  with  Lepida,  who  had  gained  his  confidence  in 
early  youth,  while  his  mother  was  in  exile,  by  liberal 
if  not  actually  caressing  and  flattering  treatment;  while 
from  Agrippina  he  had  until  recently  received  only  stern- 
ness and  threats.  But  the  crafty  Agrippina  had  been  to 
the  oracle.  She  knew  herself.  In  the  consciousness  of  her 
power  she  did  not  lose  sight  of  her  weakness,  and,  like 
every  successfiil  leader,  realized  the  wisdom  of  averting  a 
threatened  danger  before  it  should  become  uncontrollable. 
She  was  at  this  moment  the  stronger;  the  ascendency  of 
her  rival  over  Nero  profited  Lepida  nothing  as  long  as 
the  young  prince  was  himself  dependent.  But  as  it  might 
easily  be  different  when  he  should  actually  become  Caesar, 
the  conclusion  was  obvious  that  in  order  to  destroy  the 

[  122] 



one  existing  menace  to  her  dream  of  absolute  power,  a 
dominion  which  was  to  be  exercised  through  control  of 
the  future  Emperor,  her  rival  must  be  crushed  before 
Nero  came  to  the  throne.  As  in  the  case  of  the  last  vic- 
tim, the  destruction  of  Lepida  was  accomplished  through 
an  accusation  of  magic — against  which  to  the  mind  of 
the  shivering  Claudius  there  never  could  be  any  answer; 
which  is  doubtless  the  reason  why  sentence  was  in  such 
cases  pronounced  by  him  without  opportunity  for  defence 
on  the  part  of  the  accused.  Lepida  was  condemned  to 
death,  her  great  estate,  like  that  of  Lollia,  going  to  swell 
the  already  immense  fortune  which  the  murder  of  her  sec- 
ond husband  had  brought  to  the  Empress,  whose  wealth 
was  now  not  far  short  of  the  imperial  treasure  itself.  Do- 
mitia  Lepida,  her  remaining  sister-in-law,  and  who  had 
also  been  the  first  wife  of  Passienus,  although  an  object 
of  jealousy  to  the  Empress,  escaped  for  the  present,  and 
ultimately  managed  to  keep  out  of  Agrippina's  reach,  but 
only  to  perish  miserably  at  the  hahd  erf  Nero.^ 

Her  rivals  overthrown,  her  yengtf^ee  satisfied,  at  least 
temporarily,  the  continuance ^of  her  i^i) wet  .assured,  and 
every  detail  of  her  plan  4iavii!^jg  been  aecdl^p^ished  pre- 
cisely as  arranged,  Agrippifia^  ^^^N>X  apprdaqhed  the  last 
of  her  labors — this  time  one  6f  ^pflreripve ;  for  was  not  a 
place  among  the  immortal  gods  fot^^hi^t  i^horlshed  husband 
the  immediate  object  and  her  only^spn/to  be  the  direct 
beneficiary  ? 

She  had  long  accustomed  herself  to  the  thought  of  poi- 
soning her  husband,  and  after  careful  deliberation  had 
decided  to  employ  an  agent  which  should  be  instanta- 
neous in  its  operation,  in  order  that  there  might  be  at  once 
neither  miscarriage  nor  the  opportunity  for  discovery  or 

^Poff,  page  148. 

[  128] 


Cneius  Domitius  Ahenobarbus,  was  a  masterful  overbear- 
ing soldier,  of  whom  the  orator  Crassus  said,  ^^No  wonder 
he  has  a  brazen  beard  whose  face  is  of  iron  and  whose 
heart  is  lead."  The  next  Cneius,  son  of  the  last-mentioned, 
was  a  man  of  sullen  temper  and  inconstant  character,  who 
fell  at  Fharsalia  after  fighting  on  both  sides  in  the  great 
contest  for  the  empire  of  the  world.  His  son,  also  called 
Cneius,  after  narrowly  escaping  the  general  condemnation 
which  followed  the  death  of  the  great  Cassar,  lived  to  fill 
the  highest  offices  under  the  Emperor  Augustus.  His  son 
Domitius,  the  grandfather  of  Nero,  was  a  man  of  great 
arrogance.  prodigaUty,  and  cruelty,  and  it  is  said  that  he 
displayed  such  barbarity  in  his  gladiatorial  and  wild  beast 
shows,  which  occurred  both  in  the  circus  and  the  various 
wards  of  the  city,  that  Augustus  was  compelled  to  restrain 
him  by  public  edict. 

The  cruel  disposition  of  his  grandfather  manifested 
itself  in  the  Emperors  father,  Cneius  Domitius,  who  is 
described  as  **a  man  of  execrable  character  in  every  part 
of  his  life."  He  once  killed  one  of  his  freedmen  for  refus- 
ing to  drink  as  much  as  he  ordered  him,  and  at  another 
time,  while  driving  in  the  Appian  Way,  purposely  whipped 
up  his  horses  and  crushed  a  poor  boy  under  his  chariot. 
Shortly  before  the  death  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius,  Cneius 
was  accused  of  treason,  adulteries,  and  incest  with  his  sis- 
ter Lepida  (the  mother  of  Messalina),  but  escaped  in  the 
distraction  of  the  next  Emperor's  succession,  and  soon 
after  died.  The  character  of  his  wife,  Agrippina,  has  been 
sufficiently  indicated  in  the  preceding  chapter.^ 

Every  element  of  character  was  thus  apparently  present 
in  the  ancestry  of  Nero,  destined  to  become  for  all  ages 
the  personification  of  monstrous  vice  and  crime.  Among 

^Anie,  page  117. 

[  126] 



his  ancestors  were  those  who  had  controlled  the  destinies 
of  the  civilized  world ;  whose  mighty  deeds  had  carried  the 
power  of  the  Roman  arms  among  distant  barbarous  na- 
tionsy  impressing  upon  them  a  character  which  after  the 
lapse  of  so  many  centuries  is  still  discernible;  whose  vices 
had  dug  the  graves  of  entire  dynasties ;  whose  virtues  had 
been  embalmed  in  the  memories  which  even  yet  survive 
to  persuade  us  that  all  Roman  women  were  not  vile  and 
all  Roman  men  utterly  corrupt.  Augustus,  the  deified  Em- 
peror; Mark  Antony,  the  splendid  sacrifice  of  manhood 
upon  the  altar  of  a  sensual  attraction ;  Agrippa,  the  great 
minister  of  the  wonderftil  Augustan  era ;  Drusus  Germani- 
cus,  and  his  son,  the  great  popular  hero;  the  long  lines  of 
the  Claudii  and  the  Domitii,  soldiers  and  statesmen  of  re- 
pute both  good  and  ill ;  Julia,  the  stately^&ister  of  the  Great 
Caesar;  the  noble  Octavia;  the  prpad'-^fUM} .  haughty  but 
virtuous  Agrippina;  the  dissolute  daugliier>of  the  first 
Emperor;  the  beautiful  Antonta^  the  awmt'figiire  of  the 
Augusta;  and  his  own  mother,  n^Hosjp.  calculatiqg.-^ipked- 
ness  and  deliberate  crime  had  fiiilkUy  brought  him  «to  the 
steps  of  the  throne  I  Cast  into  the  re^i^ng'})ot  of  t^e  most 
terribly  corrupt  and  demoralizing  Court  wJiich  ever  con- 
trolled a  so-called  civilized  State,  these  jarring  and  dis- 
cordant elements  had  in  some  way  fused  and  fi'om  the 
crucible  at  last  appears  the  result  of  five  generations  of 
intermarrying  among  the  most  exclusive  aristocracy  the 
world  ever  saw — and  behold  I  a  Nero;  who  murdered  his 
mother,  his  brother,  his  sister,  his  wives,  and  his  unborn 
cMd;  who  burned  Rome;  who  destroyed  the  very  ashes  of 
purity;  and  who  finally  tried  even  to  exterminate  virtue 

Nero  was  bom  at  Antium  on  the  fifteenth  day  of  De- 
cember in  the  year  87  a.  d.  At  the  time  of  his  birth  the 



first  year  of  the  reign  of  his  iinde,  the  Emperor  Caligula, 
was  drawing  to  a  close,  and  it  is  astonishing  to  learn  that 
notwithstanding  the  complete  demoralization  of  society 
induced  by  the  third  Emperor,  and  which  must  neces- 
sarily have  deformed  the  education  of  the  young  prince, 
he  seems  to  have  at  first  manifested  no  mean  degree  of 
character  and  promise.  But  the  saying  attributed  to  his 
father  Domitius,  that  ^^nothing  but  what  was  detestable 
and  pernicious  to  the  public  could  ever  be  produced  of  him 
and  Agrippina."  proved  in  the  end  a  more  correct  prog- 
nostic  than  the  promise  which  he  displayed  as  a  mere  boy, 
while  performing  his  part  in  the  Circensian  games,  and  the 
merciAil  disposition  which  he  indicated  a  little  later  when, 
being  caUed  upon  for  his  first  hnperial  subscription  to  the 
sentence  of  a  condemned  criminal,  he  uttered  the  pious 
wish  that  "he  had  never  learned  to  read  and  write." 

His  father  died  when  he  was  three  years  old,  leaving 
Nero  (or  Domitius,  as  he  was  called  until  his  adoption  by 
Claudius)  heir  to  one-third  of  his  possessions ;  the  remain- 
ing two-thirds  bemg  left  to  the  reigning  Emperor,  from 
the  customary  prudential  motives  of  wealthy  Roman  tes- 
tators, who  sought  in  this  way  to  ensure  at  least  a  por- 
tion of  their  estate  to  their  posterity.  In  the  present  case 
Caligula  seized  the  whole,  and  supplemented  this  act  of  in- 
justice to  his  young  kinsman  by  shortly  afterwards  banish- 
ing his  mother  and  confiscating  all  of  her  property.^  The 
penniless  and  abandoned  child  thereupon  found  a  home 
with  his  Other's  sister,  the  elder  Lepida,  whose  daughter 
Messalina  about  this  time  became  the  wife  of  Claudius,  a 
great-uncle  of  the  young  Domitius.  There  is  a  tradition 
that  Messalina  afterwards  employed  assassins  to  strangle 
Nero,  in  whom  she  foresaw  a  probable  rival  of  her  son 

^  Ante,  page  88. 

[  128] 


Britannicus;  and  the. story  goes  that  the  would-be  mur- 
derers were  frightened  away  by  a  snake  which  crept  from 
under  the  cushion  upon  which  the  sleeping  child  lay. 
Whether  true  or  false, — and  it  contains  the  elements  of 
probability, — the  story  undoubtedly  contributed  to  the 
hatred  which  in  after  years  Nero  cherished  against  his 
cousin,  and  which  was  accentuated  by  the  latter's  refrisal 
to  address  his  adoptive  brother  by  any  other  name  than 
that  of  the  despised  "Ahenobarbus/'  The  proud  young 
Claudian  had  undoubtedly  been  prompted  to  this  irritat- 
ing conduct  by  his  preceptors,  either  already  secretly  in 
the  pay  of  Agrippina,  or  unwisely  seeking  to  provoke  a 
difference  between  the  two  young  men  which  might  ulti- 
mately advance  their  own  interests;  and  upon  Nero's  com- 
plaining of  the  alleged  insult  to  Claudius,  the  latter,  with 
his  usual  display  of  imbecility,  punished  all  the  most  vir- 
tuous of  his  son's  tutors  with  exile  or  death  and  replaced 
them  with  the  minions  of  Agrippina.  And  yet  the  pitiable 
old  man  seemed  not  unaware  of  the  nefarious  designs  of 
his  wife;  for  he  frequently  prayed  that  "Britannicus  might 
speedily  attiun  to  maturity  and  vigor  and  put  to  flight  the 
enemies  of  his  father !  Ay,  and  be  revenged  even  on  the 
murderers  of  his  mother." 

But  the  arts  of  Agrippina  invariably  calmed  her  hus- 
band's suspicions,  and  the  betrothal  and  marriage  of  Nero 
with  the  Emperor's  daughter  Octavia  effectually  prevented 
any  diversion  which  the  friends  of  Britannicus  might  other- 
wise have  made  in  his  fevor.  The  marriage  ceremony  hav- 
ing been  performed,  as  in  the  case  of  the  accession  of  the 
second  Emperor,  it  then  remained  only  to  secure  the  sup- 
port of  the  army;  and  this  Agrippina  easily  accomplished 
by  inducing  the  Emperor  to  remove  Rufius  Crispinus, 
who  was  known  to  be  devoted  to  the  children  of  Mes- 



saiina,  and  intrust  the  command  of  the  praetorian  cohorts 
to  Burrhus  Afranius»  an  incorruptible  officer  of  high  re- 
pute, but  who  naturally  inclined  towards  the  interests  of 
those  who  procured  his  advancement. 

Everything  now  being  in  readiness,  the  arts  of  Locusto 
were  invoked  and  Claudius  was  destroyed.^  The  instant 
his  death  was  assured,  Agrippina  gave  her  instructions  to 
Burrhus,  who  at  once  made  ready  to  conduct  Nero  to  the 
cohort,  which,  according  to  custom,  was  on  guard  at  the 
palace  where  the  Emperor  was  supposed  to  be  dying.  But 
an  unexpected  obstacle  arose;  the  omens  were  unpropi- 
tious,  and  it  became  necessary  to  postpone  the  event  until 
they  should  become  more  favorable.  The  situation  was 
now  extremely  critical,  not  to  say  dangerous.  Lict  it  once 
be  known  that  Claudius  was  dead,  and  the  adherents  of 
Britannicus  might  still  aroiise  the  people  and  prejudice 
the  cohorts  in  favor  of  the  rightful  successor.^  But  the 
indomitable  Agrippina  was  equal  to  the  emergency.  No 
one  but  Xenophon,  Nero,  Burrhus,  and  herself  knew  that 
the  Emperor  was  actually  dead.  The  Senate,  which  had 
been  assembled,  was  still  in  session,  while  vows  for  the 
Emperor*s  recovery  were  even  then  being  offered  by  the 
pontiffs  and  consuls.  Emulating  the  example  of  her  great- 
grandmother  upon  a  similar  occasion,^  the  Empress  set  a 
strict  guard  at  every  approach  to  the  palace,  and  then 

^Anie,  page  124. 

'  It  is  of  ocmrse  well  understood  that  hereditaiy  succession  iras  not  ad- 
mitted by  the  Romans  and  that  the  head  of  the  State  was  supposed  to 
be  elective,  the  Senate  pretending  to  be  the  depositary  of  the  public 
mind,  although  from  an  early  period  in  the  Empire  this  function  was 
practically  usurped  by  the  army,  which,  however,  respected  the  Csesarean 
line  as  long  as  it  lasted.  And  it  has  already  been  pointed  out  that  the 
rule  of  hereditary  succession  substantially  obtained.  Ante,  page  74. 
*  Ante,  page  44. 




from  time  to  time  gave  out  bulletins  of  the  Emperor's  im- 
proving condition.  His  three  children,  Antonia,  Octavia, 
and  Britannicus,  were  detained  by  their  stepmother  in  her 
own  apartment — Britannicus,  who  was  wild  to  go  to  his 
father's  chamber,  being  actually  clasped  in  the  arms  of  the 
Empress  to  prevent  his  leaving  the  room. 

But  at  last  the  omens  were  propitious.  The  death  of  the 
Emperor  was  announced  by  Xenophon ;  the  palace  gates 
were  thrown  open,  and,  preceded  by  Burrhus,  Nero,  mag- 
nificently clothed,  and  beaming  with  youth,  health,  and 
gratified  pride  and  vanity,  was  borne  to  the  cohorts,  who 
received  him  with  shouts  and  conducted  him  to  the  prae- 
torian camp,  where  amid  the  wildest  excitement  he  was 
saluted  as  Emperor.  In  the  palace  the  poor  young  prince, 
released  at  last  from  the  false  embraces  of  his  sinister 
stepmother,  and  accompanied  by  Octavia,  ran  to  the  place 
where  lay  the  unwatched  remains  of  imperial  Caesar,  and 
there.  Jih  a  prophetic  vision  of  their  own  hnpending 
doom,  the  two  young  orphans  in  a  passion  t^' grief  and 
misery  cast  themselves  down  by  the  side  of  him 'who  with 
all  his  weakness  and  miserable  wrong-doing  had  loved  his 
children,  and  in  his  own  blind  way  would^have  protected 
them  until  the  end. 

It  was  on  the  thirteenth  of  October  in  the  year  54  a.  d. 
that  Nero  was  proclaimed  by  the  soldiers,  the  Senate 
speedily  ratifying  the  praetorians'  decree.  The  circum- 
stances  of  his  accession  bear  a  remarkable  similarity  to 
those  which  attended  that  o^  the  second  Emperor.  Clau- 
dius was  known  to  have  been  poisoned  by  his  wife ;  Augus- 
tus was  supposed  to  have  been  by  his.  The  death  of  each 
was  kept  secret  until  matters  were  arranged  for  securing 
the  Empire  to  an  adopted  son,  whose  interests  had  been 
insidiously  advanced  by  a  shrewdly  wicked  mother  to  the 

[  181  ] 


exclusion  of  the  descendant  who  was  rightfully  entitled  to 
the  throne.  Into  the  future  also  were  the  pohits  of  simi- 
larity projected;  for  as  Fostumus  Agrippa  had  fallen  an 
early  victim  to  the  jealousy  and  hatred  of  a  usurping 
adoptive  brother,  Britannicus  met  a  similar  fate  at  the 
hands  of  Nero;  who  himself  likewise  finally  succumbed 
to  the  violence  of  a  slave  even  as  Tiberius  eventually  per- 
ished by  the  hand  of  Macro.  One  point  of  divergence  in- 
deed there  was,  in  that  Livia,  the  central  figure  in  the 
crime  of  Tiberius*s  succession,  lived  to  enjoy  the  fi*uits  of 
her  wickedness  and  to  meet  a  peaceful  end,  after  receiv- 
ing the  plaudits  of  the  people  and  the  titie  of  Augusta,  in 
recognition  of  her  exalted  services  to  the  State;  whereas 
her  terrible  descendant,  although  receiving  the  applause, 
securing  the  title,  and  emulating  the  magnificence  of  her 
great-grandmother,  in  the  end  tasted  the  full  bitterness  of 
the  prophet's  saying  in  the  discovery  that  her  chUd  was 
thankless,  and  that  the  horrible  crime  of  matricide  was  his 
final  recognition  of  all  the  iniquities  with  which  she  had 
burdened  her  soul  for  him. 

But  now  it  was  otherwise.  She  was  at  the  summit  of 
her  accomplishments  and  the  height  of  her  power.  She 
had  come  within  a  single  step  of  rounding  out  the  full 
possibility  of  relationship  in  the  nearest  degree  to  the 
imperial  person ;  she  had  been  the  sister,  the  wife,  the 
mother  of  an  Emperor,  and  if  G^rmanicus  had  received 
his  dues  the  measure  of  possibility  would  have  been  full.^ 
Everything  was  at  last  triumphant  for  this  "  Best  of  Mo- 

^  In  his  tragedy  of  Briianmcus,  Racine  accords  her  the  full  measure,  in  the 


**Maif  fille^^^mfM,  MBur  et  mire,  de  V09  maUres'* 

Poetical  license  may  justify  the  line,  as  Agrippina  was  the  great-grand- 
daughter of  Augustus. 



thers,"  which  was  the  new  word  given  to  the  tribune  of 
the  guard  on  the  first  day  of  the  reign  of  Nero. 

And  thus  came  to  the  throne,  in  the  seventeenth  year 
of  his  age,  and  scarce  a  generation  after  the  death  of  the 
despised  Kmg  of  the  Jews,  the  last  Emperor  of  the  house 
of  Caesar,  fast  tottering  now  to  the  ruins  from  which  that 
other  kingdom  was  to  rise  enduringly.  In  the  ruins  of  that 
house,  the  ^'grandeur  of  human  nature"  may  readily  be 

Nero  was  of  short  stature  and  rather  thick  set,  with  slen- 
der  legs,  and  although  constitutionally  sound,  was  neither 
athletic  nor  active.  His  head  was  large  and  covered  with 
a  mass  of  yellowish  hair,  which  he  wore  in  rings,  cut  one 
above  the  other.  In  early  life  his  features,  although  effemi- 
nate, were  agreeable,  if  not  actually  handsome.  But  in  later 
years  the  dull  gray  eyes,  the  thick  bull  neck  and  double 
chin,  a  sallow  and  unhealthy  complexion,  and  that  inde- 
scribable stamp  of  coarseness  with  which  unchecked  dis- 
sipation and  openly  indulged  vice  unfailingly  brand  the 
countenance,  served  to  render  him  anything  but  attrac- 
tive. In  attire  he  seems  to  have  been  extremely  careless, 
frequently  appearing  in  public  in  the  loose  garb  which  he 
wore  at  table,  without  girdle  or  shoes,  although  with  custo- 
mary extravagance  he  never  wore  the  same  garment  twice. 

At  an  early  age  he  was  inculcated  by  Seneca  with  a 
taste  for  the  fine  arts,  music  and  poetry  ultimately  shar- 
ing the  remnants  of  affections  which  were  in  the  main  de- 
voted to  sensual  enjojnnents  and  the  gratification  of  the 
most  cruel  instincts  and  vicious  desires.  The  vainest  school- 
boy could  not  covet  popular  applause  more  than  Nero 
craved  it  for  his  musical  and  poetical  efforts,  failure  to 
appreciate  which  inevitably  resulted  in  rousing  the  Em- 
peror's anger  and  not  infrequently  was  punished  by  death. 

[  188] 


Extravagantly  vain  of  his  mediocre  talents  and  possessed 
of  an  insatiable  desire  to  immortalize  his  name,  he  even 
descended  to  compete  upon  the  public  stage  with  ordi- 
nary minstrels  and  actors;  and  as  the  honors  were  of 
course  invariably  accorded  the  royal  buffoon,  he  soon  be- 
came actually  convinced  that  his  gifts  were  of  the  divine 
order.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  misery  of  his  death 
was  enhanced  by  the  thought  to  which  in  the  last  hours 
he  so  frequently  gave  expression :  that  a  great  artist  was 
perishing  untimely. 

Passionately  fond  of  horses  and  chariot,  he  was  a  con- 
stant attendant  at  the  exhibitions  of  the  smaller  circus, 
although  frequently  wearing  a  disguise  from  a  sense  of 
shame,  to  which  on  occasions  of  the  most  flagrant  vtrrong- 
doing  he  was  an  entire  stranger;  and  finaUy,  in  view  of  all 
the  people  and  amidst  the  most  tumultuous  applause,  he 
drove  his  chariot  in  the  Circus  Maximus.  It  was  his  one 
solitary  display  of  manly  attributes  whatsoever. 

In  the  use  of  riches  Nero  emulated  the  example  of  the 
Emperor  Caligula,  who  was  openly  praised  by  his  nephew 
for  squandering  so  quickly  the  immense  treasure  which  the 
successor  of  Augustus  had  accumulated.  Nero's  extrava- 
gance was  almost  incredible;  it  is  said  that  the  expenses 
of  entertaining  Tiridates,  who  was  nine  months  in  Rome 
as  guest  of  the  State,  was  eight  hundred  thousand  ses- 
terces a  day;  equivalent  in  the  aggregate  to  £2,160,000. 
Suetonius  (whose  statements  must,  however,  be  taken 
cumgrano)  informs  us  that  the  Emperor  had  been  known 
to  stake  four  hundred  thousand  sesterces  (£4000)  on  a 
throw  of  the  dice,  and  that  he  never  travelled  with  less 
than  a  thousand  baggage  carts.  His  extravagance  reached 
its  limits  in  the  construction  of  his  "Golden  House."  The 
palace  of  the  Caesars,  as  enlarged  by  Augustus  from  the 

[  184] 




dimensions  of  a  private  house,  and  extended  by  both  Ti- 
berius and  Caligula,  was  still  confined  to  the  Palatine 
HilL  Nero  continued  it  to  the  Esquiline  Hill,  and  as 
finally  rebuilt,  after  its  destruction  by  the  fire,  its  gran- 
deur and  magnificence  are  beyond  modem  conception. 
The  author  of  the  "Caesars"  says:  "Of  its  dimensions  and 
furniture  it  may  be  sufficient  to  say  this  much :  The  porch 
was  so  high  that  there  stood  in  it  a  colossal  statue  of  him- 
self a  hundred  and  twenty  feet  in  height ;  and  the  space 
included  in  it  was  so  ample,  that  it  had  triple  porticos  a 
mile  in  length,  and  a  lake  like  a  sea,  surrounded  with 
buildings  which  had  the  appearance  of  a  city.  Within  its 
area  were  com  fields,  vineyards,  pastures,  and  woods,  con- 
taining a  vast  number  of  animals  of  various  kinds,  both 
wild  and  tame.  In  other  parts  ijisl'was  entirely  overlaid 
with  gold,  and  adorned  with  jeWUj^  'sAd:  inother-of-pearL 
The  supper  rooms  were  vaulted,  and  iconnbartments  of 
the  ceUings,  inlaid  with  iv^,.were  ma^H^r^olve,  and 
scatter  flowers;  while  tfiiey  cbni^med  pipes/Which  shed 
unguents  upon  the  guests.  Thfechie^bgrnquejnng  room  was 
circular,  and  revolved  perpetually,'^»i^iit  B^d  day,  in  imi- 
tation of  the  motion  of  the  celestial  bodies.  The  baths 
were  supplied  with  water  from  the  sea  and  the  Albula. 
Upon  the  dedication  of  this  magnificent  house  after  it 
was  finished,  all  he  said  in  approval  of  it  was,  ^that  he  had 
now  a  dwelling  fit  for  a  man.'"^ 

During  the  first  four  years  of  his  reign,  with  the  excep- 
tion of  the  heartless  murder  of  Britannicus,  the  Emperor 
Nero  seems  to  have  ruled  not  only  with  mildness,  but 
with  a  show  of  justice,  wisdom,  and  even  temperance. 
Trajan  does  not  hesitate  to  declare  that  these  years  were 
proverbial  in  succeeding  ages  for  the  wisdom,  clemency, 

^  Suetonius^  Nero,  xxxL 

[  185  ] 


and  happiness  by  which  they  were  distinguished.  But  at 
the  expiration  of  that  interval  the  naturally  evil  instincts 
of  the  Emperor  were  gradually  brought  into  play — largely, 
as  it  appears,  through  the  malign  influence  of  Poppsa. 
Relieved  from  all  restraint  by  the  death  of  his  mother,  the 
baser  inclinations  of  his  nature  speedily  triumphed  over 
the  weak  opposition  of  a  false  manhood,  which  may  have 
been  aroused  by  the  early  precepts  of  Seneca  and  the 
rough  but  virile  example  of  Burrhus ;  and  during  the  re- 
mainder of  his  reign  the  Emperor's  conduct  was  a  mix- 
ture of  puerilities,  senseless  extravagance,  cruelty,  lust,  and 
murder.  Although  there  have  not  been  wanting  attempts 
to  show  that  the  last  of  the  Ccesars  was  not  the  depraved 
and  ferocious  monster  painted  by  the  fathers  of  Roman 
history,  the  effort  has  failed.  The  character  of  Nero  can 
be  whitewashed  no  more  than  the  character  of  Washing- 
ton can  be  blackened;  in  these  two  respects  at  least  the 
conclusions  of  posterity  must  remain  unchanged.  Augus- 
tine was  right  in  speaking  of  Nero  as  the  most  finished 
pattern  of  wicked  rulers;  and  there  is  small  reason  to 
wonder  that  for  years  the  ignorant  and  credulous  cher- 
ished a  belief  that  the  son  of  Agrippina  yet  lived  as  Anti- 
christ and  would  return  to  reign  over  the  kingdom  of 
error  when  the  full  measure  of  human  iniquity  should  be 
fulfilled.  Certain  it  is  that  no  one  possessing  the  most 
shadowy  instincts  of  humanity  can  read  even  that  portion 
of  the  history  of  Nero  which  is  absolutely  undisputed, 
without  being  moved  to  the  anger,  disgust,  and  abhor- 
rence for  which  there  is  but  a  single  apt  expression — 
**  Anathema.^ 




THE  first  wife  of  the  Emperor  Nero  was  Octavia, 
the  only  daughter  of  the  Emperor  Claudius  and  his 
fifth  wife,  Messalina.  Octavia  was  thus  related  to  her  hus- 
band both  through  her  father  and  her  mother,  Claudius 
being  uncle  to  Nero*s  mother,  Agrippina,  while  Messa- 
lina s  mother,  Lepida,  was  the  sister  of  Cneius  Domitius, 
Nero's  father. 

Octavia  was  bom  in  the  year  42  a.  d.,  two  years  before 
her  father  became  Emperor,  and  while  yet  a  mere  child 
she  was  betrothed  to  Lucius  Silanus,  one  of  the  three 
great-great-grandsons  of  Augustus,  in  the  direct  line  of  the 
two  Julias.  The  suicide  of  Silanus,  after  his  disgrace  by 
Claudius,  the  murder  of  his  father  by  Messalina,  and  the 
subsequent  betrothal  and  marriage  of  Octavia  and  Nero 
have  already  been  related.^  Upon  the  accession  of  Nero, 
the  invariable  murder  which  signalized  the  commencement 
of  a  new  reign  found  its  victim  in  the  family  of  Silanus. 

Lucius  Silanus,  the  betrothed  of  Octavia,  had  two  bro- 
thers, one  named  Torquatus,  the  other  Marcus  Junius.  The 
latter  is  said  to  have  lived  in  such  a  state  of  indolence  that 
the  Emperor  Caligula  sneeringly  nicknamed  him  ^'the 
Golden  Sheep.''  But  as  posterity  may  well  be  suspicious 
of  the  virtue  applauded  by  Caligula,  so  in  the  object  of 
his  contempt  we  may  expect  to  find  evidence  of  decided 
worth.  It  is  therefore  cause  for  no  surprise  to  learn  that 
Silanus  was  a  man  of  unblemished  character;  which  fact, 
together  with  his  relationship  to  the  Ccesars,  in  the  direct 

^Anie,  pages  112  and  119. 

[  187] 


line  of  the  divine  Augustus,  rendered  him  an  object  both 
of  suspicion  and  fear  to  Agrippina,  who  had  murdered  his 
brother  Lucius.  The  deatii  of  Silanus  occurred  so  soon 
after  the  accession  of  Nero  that  it  was  doubtless  planned 
by  the  Empress  in  advance  of  that  event.  Marcus  Junius 
was  proconsul  of  Asia  at  the  time,  and  poison  was  openly 
administered  to  him  at  a  banquet  by  two  revenue  farmers 
of  the  Emperor.  Nero,  however,  must  be  acquitted  of 
complicity  in  this  crime,  responsibility  for  which  rests 
solely  upon  Agrippina  and  her  heartless  instruments,  one 
of  whom  was  a  freedman  and  the  other  a  Roman  knight 
But  the  evil  passions  of  this  apparently  mUd  and  gentle 
Emperor,  who  at  first  grieved  to  sign  the  death-warrant 
of  a  hardened  criminal,  were  only  sleeping.  Ten  years 
later,  when  the  product  of  Agrippina  and  Cneius  Domitius 
had,  in  the  prophetic  language  of  the  latter,  indeed  mani- 
fested himself  "detestable  and  pernicious,"  Torquatus,  the 
last  male  of  this  generation  of  the  Silani,  was  driven  to  an 
ignominious  death  by  his  imperial  kinsman.  The  persecu- 
tion of  Torquatus,  who  was  of  the  noble  Junian  family,  in 
addition  to  being  descended  from  Augustus,  was  accounted 
for  merely  because  of  the  splendor  of  his  lineage.  He  was 
accused  of  being  '* prodigal  in  his  bounties";  and  it  was 
charged  that  he  had  "no  other  resource  than  in  revolu- 
tion ;  and  that  already  he  kept  men  of  no  mean  rank,  with 
the  style  of  secretaries,  accountants,  treasurers ;  names  be- 
longing to  the  imperial  function  and  indicating  prepara- 
tions for  assuming  it."  Torquatus  saw  that  his  doom  was 
sealed  and  calmly  opened  the  veins  of  both  arms.  His 
death  was  speedily  followed  by  that  of  his  nephew  Lucius, 
only  son  of  Marcus  Junius,  and  the  last  of  his  race,  the 
circumstances  of  whose  destruction  will  be  related  in  an- 
other connection. 

[  188  ] 






The  marriage  of  Nero  and  Octavia  occurred  about  a 
year  before  the  death  of  Claudius,  Nero  being  at  the  time 
in  his  sixteenth  year,  while  Octavia  was  scarcely  more  than 
eleven  years  old.  In  all  the  dread  history  of  the  family 
of  Cassar  there  is  perhaps  no  sadder  story  than  that  of 
Octavia.  Her  noble  birth,  her  sweet  and  gentle  disposi- 
tion, the  tenderness  of  the  relation  existing  between  the 
ill-fated  Britannicus  and  herself,  the  ignominious  ending  of 
her  mother,  the  tragic  death  of  her  father,  her  compulsory 
marriage  to  Nero, — the  son  of  the  murderer  of  her  first 
betrothed,  whose  noble  and  engaging  quaUties  had  gained 
her  childish  afiection,  and  whose  self-imposed  death,  under 
a  shameful  accusation,  must  have  deeply  shocked  her  pure 
and  sensitive  spirit, — the  terrible  death  of  her  brother, 
followed  by  years  of  indescribable  anguish  culminating  in 
a  pitiable  death  at  the  hands  of  her  husband,  the  destroyer 
of  her  race ;  in  fact,  all  tb4/rp^tsKist»nces  of  her  short  life 
were  at  once  so  full  of  frdfwPip^aUdi^  tonchingly  pathetic 
that  it  only  needed  tpie  assurance  (for  if  hich  there  seems 
to  be  a  foundation  of  ^ct)  that  Octavia  was  a  Christian, 
to  arouse  our  deepest 'Syw]|mtljy^  and  our  endless 

abhorrence  of  the  monster  who  dragged  her  through  the 
mire.  In  the  deaths  of  Thrasea  and  Octavia,  Nero  might 
well  have  thought,  from  the  standpoint  of  paganism,  that 
he  had  accompUshed  his  wish  to  destroy  virtue  itself. 

All  the  sweet  and  lovely  traits  of  Octavia,  which,  as 
she  came  to  maturity  and  surrounded  as  she  was  by  the 
temptations  of  an  innately  depraved  and  vicious  Court, 
had  deepened  into  a  genuinely  beautiful  character,  failed 
to  attract  Nero,  although  not  yet  fully  launched  upon  his 
career  of  unchecked  wickedness.  His  afiections  were  soon 
engaged  by  a  beautiful  freedwoman  named  Acte,  whose 
influence  over  the  young  Emperor,  combined  with  that 

[  189] 


of  Seneca,  Burrhus,  and  a  young  man  who  was  afterwards 
the  Emperor  Otho,  speedily  gave  indication  of  undermin- 
ing the  power  of  Agrippina,  which  had  theretofore  been 
supreme.  The  rage  and  Airy  of  the  latter  upon  discovering 
what  was  going  on  were  such  as  might  be  expected  from 
her  passionate  nature  and  imperious  spirit.  If  she  )md  con- 
fined herself  to  her  usual  system  of  menace  and  terrorism, 
the  breach  might  have  been  repaired ;  but  in  an  unguarded 
moment  she  awoke  the  dormant  hyena  in  her  son  by  de- 
claring in  the  Emperor's  hearing  that  ^'Britannicus  was 
now  grown  up^  and  was  .worthy  to  succeed  to  that  Empire 
of  his  father  which  an  adopted  son  swayed  by  trampUng 
upon  his  mother."  And  then  after  accounting  the  many 
atrocities  she  had  perpetrated  for  his  sake,  she  turned  di- 
rectly to  her  son  and,  heaping  reproaches  upon  him,  with 
violent  gesticulations  declared  that  "by  the  providence  of 
the  gods  and  her  own  forethought  one  resource  remained 
to  her — her  stepson  was  still  aUve;  with  him  she  would 
repair  to  the  camp  where  on  the  one  side  would  be  heard 
the  daughter  of  Germanicus  and  on  the  other  the  impo- 
tent Burrhus  and  the  exiled  Seneca,^  one  with  a  maimed 
hand  and  the  other  with  the  tongue  of  a  pedagogue  press- 
ing their  claim  to  govern  the  world.  "^ 

Nero  was  alarmed  at  this  outbreak  on  the  part  of  a 
woman  whose  impetuosity  and  determination  were  so  well 
known,  and  who  had  approved  herself  capable  of  conceiv- 
ing and  executing  whatsoever  crime  to  accomplish  her 
ends.  All  the  latent  deviltry  in  his  essentially  evil  nature 

^  Britannicus  was  nearlj  fourteen  years  old  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
'  Seneca,  who  was  accused  of  an  intrigue  with  Julia,  the  daughter  of 
Germanicus,  was  banished  by  the  Emperor  Claudius  to  the  isle  of  Corsica. 
He  had  been  recalled  by  the  influence  of  Agrippina. 
'  Annals,  xiiL  14. 

[  140  ] 


was  awakened  by  his  fear,  and  he  determined  to  forestall 
his  mother  in  the  use  of  her  own  weapons.  He  was  the 
more  ready  to  destroy  Britannicus  because  at  the  festival 
of  the  Saturnalia  the  latter  in  singing  had  acquitted  him- 
self in  so  creditable  a  manner  as  to  deeply  arouse  the 
anger  of  the  Emperor,  who,  priding  himself  upon  his  own 
voice,  had  all  the  mean  jealousy  of  others'  success  so  com- 
monly displayed  by  ambitious  mediocrity.  He  at  once  in- 
voked the  aid  of  the  terrible  Locusta,^  who  prepared  a 
poison  which  was  administered  to  Britannicus  by  his  tu- 
tors. It  £uled  of  effect,  and  the  Emperor  in  a  rage  threat- 
ened the  sorceress  with  immediate  execution  if  she  did 
not  furnish  a  poison  which  would  cause  instant  death ;  and 
a  more  deadly  compound  was  thereupon  concocted  in  a 
chamber  adjoining  that  of  the  Emperor. 

That  evening  at  dinner  the  deed  was  done.  Britannicus 
was  reclining  at  the  special  table  accorded  him  in  right 
of  his  princely  extraction,  in  full  sight  of  the  numerous 
assemblage  which  nightiy  surrounded  the  table  of  Cassar 
in  the  Golden  House.  A  cup  of  drink,  after  first  being 
tasted  by  an  official  in  attendance  for  that  purpose,  was 
handed  to  the  young  prince,  who,  finding  the  liquor  scald- 
ing hot,  directed  that  some  cold  water  be  added.  The 
poison  was  contained  in  the  latter  and  its  action  was  so 
powerful  that  at  the  first  draught  Britannicus  was  bereft 
of  speech  and  expired  almost  immediately.  Even  the  hard- 
ened associates  of  the  dissolute  tyrant  and  his  imperial 
Court  were  stricken  with  consternation  at  so  terrible  and 
unexpected  an  exhibition  of  his  heartiess  savagery,  and 
many  fled  hastily  from  the  apartment,  forgetful  that  such 
a  breach  of  decorum  was  punishable  with  death  by  Caesar, 
thus  outraged.  The  more  experienced  courtiers,  however, 

^  LocDsta  prepared  the  poiflon  which  destroyed  Claudius.  Anie,  page  124. 

[  141  ] 


kept  their  places,  anxiously  awaiting  their  cue  from  the 
Emperor,  who,  maintaining  his  careless  reclining  posture, 
calmly  declared  that  *'he  himself  used  to  be  so  affected 
by  reason  of  the  falling  sickness,  with  which  Britannicus 
had  been  from  early  childhood  afflicted;  and  that  by  de- 
grees his  sight  and  senses  would  return."  So  that  after 
a  short  silence,  in  the  midst  of  which  the  dead  boy  was 
carried  from  the  room,  the  delights  of  the  banquet  were 
resumed,  the  orphaned  Octavia,  who  had  long  ago  mas- 
tered  the  "peace  of  suspense,"  by  learning  to  conceal 
every  natural  affection,  proudly  hiding  her  grief  and  tor- 
ture, while  regarding  with  an  eye  apparently  cold  and 
unmoved  the  removal  of  all  that  was  mortal  of  the  only 
surviving  relative  she  had  loved  and  for  whose  love  she 
cared,  the  last  male  of  the  proud  Claudian  race,  which 
for  centuries  had  contributed  to  the  Roman  grandeur  in 
which  its  own  greatness  blazed  so  brightly. 

It  was  different  with  Agrippina.  The  dismay  with  which 
she  had  witnessed  the  death  of  Britannicus  amounted  to 
positive  terror,  and  vainly  she  strove  to  suppress  her  con- 
sternation and  alarm.  For  to  her  penetrating  mind  the 
conviction  came  with  all  the  suddenness  of  her  stepson's 
death  that  her  domination  of  the  boy  Emperor  was  gone 
forever;  and  close  upon  this  reflection  foDowed  the  dark- 
some thought  that  from  the  poisoning  of  Britannicus  to  the 
crime  of  matricide  was  but  a  step  for  one  who  could  strike 
so  quickly,  so  openly,  with  such  terrible  effectiveness  and 
such  freedom  from  compunction  as  the  "detestable  and 
pernicious"  son,  whose  heartless  laughter  rang  in  her  ter- 
rified ears  while  the  door  had  scarce  closed  upon  the  body 
of  his  victim. 

It  was  her  first  manifestation  of  weakness  during  a  long 
life  of  danger  and  vicissitudes,  and  was  an  indication  that 

[  1*2  ] 



fortune  was  making  ready  to  leave  her,  who  was  at  last 
driven  to  admit  distrust  as  to  her  own  powers*  But  al- 
though the  talisman  was  thus  lost,  the  old  courage  and 
inflexibility  were  by  no  means  gone;  and  attaching  herself 
to  Octavia,  as  closely  as  the  coldly  impassive  but  gentle 
sister  of  Britannicus  would  permit,  she  practised  all  of 
her  arts  to  build  up  among  the  few  remaining  nobles  a 
party  which  in  an  emergency  might  be  rallied  to  the  sup- 
port of  herself  under  a  new  leader. 

The  throw  was  a  desperate  one,  and  it  lost  By  her  pre- 
vious conduct  the  daughter  of  Germanicus  had  made  bit- 
ter enemies,  and  in  the  hour  of  her  misfortune  these  did 
not  scruple  to  seek  their  revenge.  It  was  not  necessary  for 
the  Emperor  to  employ  spies  to  learn  of  his  mother's  new 
schemes,  and  before  long  the  guards  which  had  attended 
her  as  the  widow  of  Claudius  and^piother  of  the  reigning 
Emperor  were  withdrawn.  Tnys^JlSte^  was 

speedily  followed  by  Agrippixia's  ^^^ji^JtpwpfBl^  from  the 
palace  to  a  house  at  a  considerable  disraii^f  which  had 
once  been  occupied  by  i\iiti^atf^  the  Empe^r's  grand- 
mother. ^  H.      ^"'^  >v  ^;v; , 

One  night  while  Nero  was  carctafiijig^'^/tual,  an  actor 
named  Paris,  who  was  one  of  the  freedmfen  bf  Agrippina's 
bitter  rival,  Domitia  Lepida,  by  whom  he  was  undoubt- 
edly instigated,  entered  hastily  and  with  feigned  terror 
informed  his  imperial  master  that  Agrippina  was  conspir- 
ing to  overturn  the  State  in  favor  of  Rubellius  Plautus, 
son  of  Rubellius  Blandus  and  Julia,  the  granddaughter  of 
Tiberius.  The  enraged  and  terrified  Emperor  determined 
to  put  to  death  both  Agrippina  and  Plautus  without 
wwting  for  morning  even ;  but  was  finally  prevailed  upon 
by  Burrhus  to  first  grant  his  mother  the  liberty  of  a  de- 
fence. The  accusation  against  Agrippina  was  brought  by 

[  148  ] 

IILEH'^N  P00N-.r>A;i'iONS 


proud  and  conscienceless  ambition,  was  to  be  the  advan- 
tage of  her  son.  But  we  are  too  human,  our  horror  and 
detestation  of  the  abominations  which  she  performed  are 
too  overwhehning,  for  us  to  bring  an  adequate  mercy  into 
our  judgment  of  Agrippina;  that  may  come  only  from 
the  God  of  the  Christians  whom  her  son  persecuted  so 

From  the  terrors  of  remorse  with  which  even  Nero 
was  tortured  after  this  impious  deed,  the  Emperor  sought 
foTgetfulness  by  plunging  into  new  excesses;  first,  how- 
ever, endeavoring  to  heighten  the  popular  hatred  towards 
Agrippina  by  addressing  letters  to  the  Senate,  in  which, 
after  rehearsing  the  long  list  of  his  mother  s  crimes  and 
charging  upon  her  all  the  atrocities  of  the  reign  of  Clau- 
dius, he  falsely  declared  that  she  had  at  the  last  attempted 
his  assassination,  and  closed  by  saying  that  ^^ through  the 
good  fortune  of  the  State  she  had  fallen."  He  was  assured 
in  reply  that  "the  very  ^iii|iie,: of  Agrippina  was  detested 
and  that  by  her  death:  f^^al£^ctidm:^  the  people  toward 
him  had  been  kindled  into  a  flame."  Abandoning  himself 
now  to  the  most  inordinate  p^sions,  he  speedily  came 
under  the  tyranny  of  hew  ihastiei^,  notably  the  infamous 
Tigellinus;  and  befoi*ef  long  Seneca  and  Burrhus  succumbed 
to  the  bloodthirsty  demands  of  the  later  favorites — Bur- 
rhus, as  it  is  alleged,  by  poison,  while  Seneca  opened  his 
veins  by  command  of  his  pupil  and  master.  There  is  that 
in  the  rough  old  soldier  which  moves  our  sympathy,  but 
nothing  except  contempt  remains  for  the  moral  philoso- 
pher who  had  been  an  accomplice  in  his  pupil's  crime  of 

Tigellinus  was  now  the  power  behind  the  throne,  and 
under  his  deadly  influence  the  imperial  beast  was  hur- 
ried into  new  crimes  which  finally  resulted  in  an  entire 



obliteration  of  the  race  of  Cassar  as  well  as  a  practical  an- 
nihilation of  the  scanty  nobility  which  remained.  The  first 
victim  was  the  noble  young  Plautus,^  who  in  Junia's  ac- 
cusation had  been  named  as  the  central  figure  in  Agrip- 
pina's  alleged  conspiracy.  At  the  time  of  the  latter's  ac- 
quittal, Plautus  was  passed  over  in  silence;  but  a  little 
later  he  had  been  compelled  by  Nero's  jealousy  and  dis- 
trust to  expatriate  himself,  retiring  with  his  wife,  Antistia, 
and  a  few  fiiends  to  Asia,  where  he  had  large  possessions. 
His  cold-blooded  butchery  by  the  Emperor's  centurion 
has  already  been  related;  and  after  despatching  the  great- 
great-grandson  of  Tiberius,  the  assassins  crossed  to  Mar- 
seilles, where  Sylla,  the  second  husband  of  Antonia,  the 
Emperor's  sister-in-law,  was  living  in  exile,  and  there  mur- 
dered the  young  noble  as  he  sat  at  meat,  without  previous 
warning  or  apprehension. 

The  next  to  pay  the  penalty  of  a  near  relationship  to 
Csesar  was  Domitia  Lepida,  the  sister  of  Nero's  father. 
She  had  narrowly  escaped  the  fate  of  her  sister  Lepida, 
murdered  by  Agrippina,  and  had  lived  to  gloat  over  the 
downfall  of  her  old  enemy,  whom  she  was,  however,  not 
destined  long  to  survive.  One  day,  while  confined  to  her 
bed  by  illness,  she  received  a  visit  from  the  Emperor,  and 
being  advanced  in  years,  she  drew  the  young  man  towards 
her  and,  stroking  his  chin  in  the  tenderness  of  affection, 
said  that  if  only  her  life  might  be  spared  ''until  this  is 
shaved  the  first  time,  she  would  die  contented."  Her  afiTec- 
tionate  nephew,  turning  to  those  about  him,  said  that  he 

^  Suetonius  mentions  ''the  young  Aulus  Plautinus"  as  among  the  Em- 
peror's relatives^  by  blood  or  marriage^  who  were  put  to  death  by  Nera 
From  the  context,  in  connection  with  Tadtus's  account  of  the  death  of 
Rubellius  Plautus,  it  is  apparent  that  Plautus  was  refeired  to  by  the  former 

[  148  ] 


would  have  his  beard  immediately  taken  off;  but»  with- 
out waiting  for  the  ceremony/  directed  the  physicians  to 
mingle  a  poison  with  his  aunt's  medicine,  and  immediately 
thereafter  confiscated  her  estate. 

Through  all  of  these  scenes  of  violence  and  bloodshed 
the  gentle  Octavia  had  serenely  awaited  the  fate  which 
since  the  death  of  Britannicus  she  had  known  to  be  im- 
pending, and  which  now  at  kst  overtook  her.  Assured  by 
the  complacent  manner  in  which  the  Senate  received  in- 
formation of  the  deaths  of  Plautus  and  Sylla  ''that  all  his 
villainies  passed  for  acts  of  exemplary  merit,"  as  Tacitus 
quaintly  expresses  it,  the  Emperor  rudely  divorced  Octavia 
and  immediately  thereafter  celebrated  his  marriage  with 
Poppaea.  This  woman,  noted  alike  for  her  beauty  and  de- 
pravity, was  said  to  have  "possessed  every  ornament  but 
that  of  an  unpolluted  mind.''  Beautiful,  wealthy,  accom- 
plished, of  splendid  birth,  engaging  in  conversation,  en- 
dowed with  intellectual  gifts,  and  in  exterior  deportment 
correct  to  a  fault,  she  was  especially  adapted  to  satisfy 
the  undoubted  artistic  sensibilities  of  the  young  Emperor, 
now  in  the  twenty-fifth  year  of  his  age,  while  appealing 
in  the  most  dangerously  seductive  way  to  all  the  lower 
instincts  of  his  depraved  nature.  While  yet  the  wife  of 
Rufius  Crispus,  who  had  been  captain  of  the  praetorian 
guards  under  the  Emperor  Claudius,  she  was  allured  by 
Otho,  one  of  Nero's  companions,  who  aft:erwards  himself 
became  Emperor.  In  a  boastful  moment  Otho  carelessly 
extolled  the  charms  of  his  wife  to  the  Emperor,  who,  im- 
mediately seeking  an  interview,  speedily  became  infiiamed 
by  the  arts  of  Foppaea  and  proposed  to  her  the  higher  al- 

^  The  first  shaving  of  the  beard  was  marked  bj  a  particular  ceremony 
among  the  Romans.  While  the  period  varied  somewhat^  it  was  usually  in 
the  twenty-first  year. 

[  149  ] 


liance  for  which,  conscious  of  her  beauty  and  other  power- 
ful attractions,  she  had  ahready  been  scheming. 

Empress  at  last,  with  three  husbands  living  and  undi- 
vorced,  Poppaea  could  not  feel  entirely  iree  from  danger 
until  Octavia  was  actually  dead.  She  suborned  one  of 
the  latter's  domestics  to  accuse  her  mistress  of  an  offence 
which  Poppaea  herself  had  never  reckoned  as  other  than  a 
venial  sin.  Although  the  charge  was  plainly  disproven,  the 
craven  Nero  exiled  the  object  of  his  new  wife's  hatred  and 
placed  a  guard  of  soldiers  over  her  in  Campania,  which 
was  the  place  of  her  banishment.  But  the  cowardly  hus- 
band was  easily  terrified  by  the  clamors  of  the  populace, 
by  whom  Octavia  had  always  been  loved,  and  the  prin- 
cess was  at  once  recalled.  Upon  her  return  Rome  went 
wild.  The  statues  of  Poppsea  were  overthrown,  while  those 
of  Octavia,  wreathed  in  garlands,  were  carried  on  the 
shoulders  of  the  people,  who  marched  first  to  the  temples 
to  offer  thanks  to  the  gods,  and  thence  to  the  palace  to 
express  their  grateful  adoration  for  the  Emperor. 

The  incident  was  artfully  turned  by  Poppsea  to  her 
own  advantage.  She  appealed  to  Nero  as  his  lawful  wife, 
who  was  about  to  give  an  offspring  to  the  fast-thinning 
family  of  the  Caesars,  but  whose  very  life  was  in  danger 
by  the  slaves  of  the  barren  Octavia,  who,  calling  them- 
selves the  people  of  Rome,  had  insulted  the  imperial  dig- 
nity by  their  attack  upon  the  object  of  their  Emperor's 
affection,  through  insults  heaped  upon  her  statue;  and  she 
closed  by  hinting  that  neither  Nero  nor  herself  would 
have  peace  until  Octavia  was  dead.  The  rage  of  Nero 
was  effectually  aroused  by  this  shrewd  address,  and  as  the 
evidence  of  a  slave  had  proved  insufficient,  another  in- 
strument was  selected  with  which  to  accomplish  the  ruin 
of  Octavia.  This  time  Nero  himself  made  the  arrange- 

[  150  ] 






ments.  He  sent  for  Anicetus,  the  same  who  had  murdered 
Agrippina,  and  said  to  him  that  ^'as  he  alone  had  saved 
the  life  of  the  prince  from  the  dark  devices  of  his  mother, 
an  opportunity  for  a  service  of  no  less  magnitude  now 
presented  itself  by  relieving  him  from  a  wife  who  was  his 
mortal  enemy;  nor  was  there  need  of  force  of  arms;  he 
had  only  to  admit  adultery  with  Octavia." 

The  brutal  murderer  of  Agrippina  of  course  would  not 
balk  at  so  slight  a  service  as  tiiis,  and  the  Emperor  there- 
upon published  an  edict  that  '^Octavia  in  hopes  of  engag- 
ing the  fleet  in  a  conspiracy  had  corrupted  Anicetus,  the 
admiral."  To  carry  out  the  delusion  the  latter  was  forth- 
with banished  to  Sardinia,  where  he  lived  in  pretended 
exile,  and  after  enjoying  the  abundant  reward  bestowed 
by  Nero  for  his  shameful  service,  came  to  a  natural,  if  not 
peaceful,  end.  Octavia  was  again  sent  away — this  time  to 
&tal  Fandataria,  where  so  many  of  her  kindred  after  liv- 
ing in  exile  and  wretchec[ties8  .Jbustd  suffered  death  by  vio- 
lence or  starvation  at  t|^^  .^^Mis  pffth^  imperial  jailer. 
And  now,  deprived  even  of 'the -friendly  offices  of  her 
slaves  and  attendants,  surrounded  by  /coarse  centurions 
and  common  soldier)^^w4tii*'|^very.  Jhope/crushed  and  sink- 
ing beneath  the  sha^ne  o^^a  false  'stnd  i^amous  accusation 
which  she  had  not  been  perniitted^^ien  to  answer,  this 
fair  young  girl  of  nineteen  years  saw  that  the  fate  wMch 
so  long  had  threatened  her  had  come  at  last.  After  an  in- 
terval of  only  a  few  days  the  centurion  informed  her  that 
she  must  die.  The  delicate  daughter  of  the  Cassars  was 
bound  with  cords  and  her  veins  opened  in  every  joint; 
and  as  the  flow  of  blood  was  retarded  by  the  bodily  fear 
and  shrinking  which  in  the  extreme  moment  even  her 
resigned  and  lofty  spirit  was  unable  to  control,  death  was 
accelerated  by  submerging  her  in  a  bath  of  vapor  heated 



to  the  highest  possible  temperature.  Nor  did  she  escape 
the  final  indignity:  the  beautiful  head  upon  which  tra- 
dition said  that  the  Apostle  Peter's  hand  had  rested  in 
baptism,  was  cut  off  by  the  centurion  and  conveyed  to 
Poppsea  as  proof  unanswerable  that  her  cruel  orders  had 
been  fulfilled. 

Although  the  popularity  of  Nero  received  a  great  shock 
by  the  murder  of  Octavia,  the  approval  of  the  gods  was 
clearly  manifested  in  the  safe  delivery  of  Poppasa's  daugh- 
ter, the  offspring  which  Nero  had  so  anxiously  awaited, 
and  whose  coming  was  heralded  by  Emperor  and  people 
with  unbounded  joy.  The  child  was  named  Augusta,  a 
temple  was  decreed  in  honor  of  her  birth,  and  the  event 
signalized  by  many  other  extravagant  demonstrations  on 
the  part  of  the  Senate.  But  the  joy  of  the  Emperor  was 
short-lived,  Augusta  dying  within  four  months  after  her 
birth.  Her  death  provoked  a  new  kind  of  flattery,  which 
was  nothing  short  of  an  apotheosis,  the  child  of  Nero  and 
Poppaea  being  decreed  a  goddess  and  accorded  the  honor 
of  a  permanent  place  among  the  immortals. 

After  the  death  of  his  child  Nero  abandoned  himself  to 
a  series  of  crimes  so  dark  and  atrocious  that  for  the  time 
being  it  must  have  seemed  to  Rome  that  the  spirit  of 
Caligula  had  found  a  resting-place  in  his  imperial  nephew. 
Among  the  victims  of  his  ferocity  during  this  period  of 
the  Emperor*s  life  were  the  devoted  believers  in  that  faith 
which  had  sustained  the  gentle  Octavia  in  all  the  bitter- 
ness of  her  later  years.  Under  the  false  accusation  of  hav- 
ing started  the  fire  which  he  himself  kindled,  the  disciples 
of  Paul  and  Peter  were  destroyed  by  thousands  and  under 
circumstances  of  such  atrocity  that  human  nature  recoils 
in  horror  from  the  mere  narration  of  events  which  to  the 
eyes  of  the  degraded  and  bloodthirsty  populace  were  only 

[  152  ] 


an  exceptional  holiday  entertainment  provided  for  their 
delight  by  the  "Father  of  his  Country."  Besides  the  per- 
secution of  the  Christians  and  the  wanton  destruction  of 
Rome,  the  pages  of  Tacitus  and  Suetonius  groan  beneath 
a  relation  of  the  most  horrible  and  unnamable  crimes  which 
were  perpetrated  by  this  "divine  artist,"  as  he  was  fond 
of  terming  himself;  so  that  it  is  positively  a  relief  to  turn 
away  from  a  recital  so  sickening  and  recur  once  more  to 
the  ordinary  and  every-day  murders  with  which  the  most 
infamous  of  the  Caesars  was  now  speedily  removing  the 
few  remaining  persons  who  were  allied  to  him  by  blood  or 
by  affinity. 

Poppaea  was  the  first  to  succumb  in  the  Emperor's  last 
mad  onslaught  upon  his  family.  Reproaching  him  for  his 
long  absence  and  late  return  one  night  when  she  was  in 
ill  health,  the  Empress  was  rewarded  by  her  brutal  hus- 
band with  a  kick,  from  the  effects  of  which  she  soon  died. 
Grieving  as  much  perhaps  for  the  loss  of  his  unborn  child 
as  for  the  death  of  Poppaea  (whom  it  is  said  he  had  fruit- 
lessly endeavored  to  poison),  Nero  was  at  first  apparently 
overwhelmed  by  remorse,  but  soon  roused  himself  to  the 
performance  of  a  manifest  duty :  the  discovery  of  a  victim 
for  the  crime  which  had  been  committed.  Poppasa's  father 
and  mother  were  dead;  the  former,  Titus  Ollius,  having 
been  destroyed  by  Sejanus,  the  latter,  Poppaea  Sabina, 
murdered  by  MessaUna  in  connection  with  the  conspir- 
acy which  resulted  in  the  death  of  Asiaticus.^  Poppasa's 
son,  Rufinus  Crispinus,  by  her  first  husband  was  also  dead ; 
having  been  thrown  into  the  sea  by  order  of  Nero  because 
he  was  reported  to  have  played  the  part  of  an  Emperor 
among  his  playfellows.  But  her  first  husband,  Rufius 
Crispinus,  was  still  alive ;  he  would  be  a  fitting  sacrifice 

^Ante,  page  114. 



to  the  manes  of  the  murdered  Poppasa,  and  the  virtuous 
Emperor  breathed  more  freely  when  the  centurion  re- 
ported that  his  errand  had  been  performed  and  Crispinus 
was  no  more.  Otho,  the  second  husband  of  Poppaea,  was 
suffered  to  live,  as  the  Emperor  had  need  of  his  vices  for 
the  time. 

Following  the  rule  of  his  imperial  predecessors,  whose 
invariable  custom  it  was  to  as  speedily  as  possible  fill  the 
place  of  each  deceased  wife  with  a  new  Empress,  Nero 
sought  a  marriage  with  the  twice-widowed  Antonia,  his 
adoptive  sister,  the  half-sister  of  the  murdered  Octavia, 
and,  with  the  exception  of  Nero  himself,  the  only  living 
descendant  of  the  Empress  Livia  Augusta.  To  her  lasting 
honor  be  it  said,  the  proud  daughter  of  Claudius  disdain- 
frdly  refused  the  proffered  alliance,  and  was  immediately 
put  to  death  by  the  enraged  Nero,  under  pretence  that 
she  was  engaged  in  a  plot  against  him.  It  is  fair  to  say 
that  there  are  conflicting  opinions  as  to  Antonia's  com- 
plicity in  the  conspiracy,  which  was  that  of  Piso.  Pliny 
asserts  that  Antonia  had  married  Piso  and  consented  to 
use  her  influence  with  the  army  in  securing  for  her  hus- 
band the  favor  of  the  people,  after  Nero's  death  should 
have  cleared  the  way  to  the  throne.  The  author  of  the 
"Annals,"  however,  plainly  discredits  this  report;  while 
expressly  declaring  his  purpose  to  state  only  historic  truth 
in  regard  to  Antonia,  he  says  that  it  is  not  only  quite  im- 
probable that  Antonia  would  have  lent  her  name  to  a  pro- 
ject frt>m  which  she  would  have  nothing  to  hope,  but  as 
well  that  Piso,  who  was  tenderly  devoted  to  his  wife,  al- 
though she  was  a  woman  of  extreme  depravity  and  devoid 
of  every  recommendation  but  personal  beauty,  would  have 
entered  into  a  matrimonial  contract  with  another;  "unless 
it  be,**  as  the  historian  philosophically  muses,  ^'that  the 

[  154  ] 



,      A*K)«.  LENOX  AND 


lust  of  domination  bums  with  a  flame  so  fierce  as  to  over- 
power all  other  affections  of  the  human  breast." 

Upon  the  discovery  of  his  conspiracy  Piso  was  put  to 
death  by  the  usual  method  of  opening  his  veins — a  death 
commonly  supposed  to  be  comparatively  free  from  suf- 
fering, but  which  in  the  majority  of  cases  is  attended 
by  excruciating  pain.  The  plot  was  widespread,  involving 
families  and  individuals  of  every  rank,  age,  and  sex,  and 
the  furious  Emperor  took  such  a  bloody  and  wholesale 
revenge  that,  as  we  are  darkly  informed,  "at  one  and  the 
same  time  the  City  was  thronged  with  funerals  and  the 
Capitol  with  victims." 

But  this  carnival  of  blood  had  not  diverted  the  Em- 
peror from  his  intention  of  taking  another  wife,  and  a 
selection  was  finally  made  in  the  person  of  StatUia  Messa- 
lina,^  mentioned  as  the  great-granddaughter  of  Statilius 
Taurus,  who  lived  in  thct  time  of  Augustus,  and  who  built 
the  great  a])[iphHdieiCt^4  ckl}ed  after  his  name,  which  stood 
in  the  Campii^^WlSrausl^  Statilia  was  married  at  the  time; 
and  it  is  thiis  worthy  of  notej  that  this  last  marriage  of 
the  last  impe^i^  Q^^sar  tocouired  under  similar  circum- 
stances to  tlid'Iftit'ffiafriage  b^  the  first  Emperor.  In  the 
ease  of  AugusttiSj'h'dwever,  Tiberius  Nero  was  allowed  to 
die  a  natural  death — from  shame  at  the  disgrace  which 
had  been  inflicted  upon  him.  Of  course,  from  the  high- 
spirited  Nero  action  so  mild  could  not  be  expected  in  deal- 
ing with  one  who  had  displayed  the  temerity  of  marrying 
a  woman  to  whom  the  Emperor  of  Rome  afterwards  con- 
descended to  pay  his  addresses.  Statilia's  husband  was 
Atticus  Vestinus,  the  consul,  a  man  of  independent  spirit, 

^  It  is  uncertain  whether  Statilia  was  related  to  the  wife  of  Claudius. 
*  The  elevation  called  the  Monte  Citorio  is  supposed  to  have  been  formed 
by  its  ruins. 

[  155  ] 


and  who  had  apparently  given  some  expression  to  his 
scorn  at  the  cowardly  bearing  of  the  Emperor.  Nero  at 
first  endeavored  to  connect  Vestinus  with  Piso's  conspir- 
acy ;  but  it  became  so  plain  that  the  consul  had  been  en- 
tirely ignorant  of  the  plot,  that  the  Emperor  abandoned 
all  forms  and  despatched  a  tribune  with  orders  to  put 
Vestinus  to  death.  In  the  graphic  description  of  Tacitus, 
*'he  had  that  day  discharged  all  the  functions  of  consul, 
and  was  celebrating  a  banquet  totally  devoid  of  fear,  or 
perhaps  in  order  to  hide  his  fears,  when  the  soldiers  enter- 
ing told  him  the  tribune  wanted  him.  Without  a  moment  s 
delay  he  rose  from  the  table  and  every  particular  of  the 
business  was  at  once  carried  into  instant  execution;  he 
was  shut  up  in  a  chamber ;  a  physician  was  at  hand ;  his 
veins  were  opened ;  and  while  yet  full  of  life  he  was  con- 
veyed into  a  bath  and  immersed  in  hot  water,  not  a  word 
betokening  regret  escaping  him.  Meanwhile  those  who 
supped  with  him  were  enclosed  with  a  guard,  nor  released 
till  the  night  was  far  spent  and  till  Nero  having  pictured 
to  himself  and  passed  his  jokes  upon  the  terror  of  men, 
expecting  when  they  rose  from  the  table  to  be  put  to 
death,  signified  that  they  had  paid  dear  enough  for  thdr 
consular  supper." 

It  might  be  thought  that  Messalina  was  blotted  out  of 
existence  with  her  first  husband,  as  other  than  the  fact  of 
her  marriage,  which  is  well  attested,  we  find  no  further 
mention  of  her  during  the  reign  of  Nero.  But  in  some  in- 
scrutable manner  she  must  have  survived  during  both  the 
remainder  of  his  life  and — for  the  widow  of  a  murdered 
Emperor — the  more  critical  period  of  his  death.  For  in 
the  history  of  Otho  it  is  stated  that  in  a  letter  written  by 
that  Emperor  in  anticipation  of  death,  he  ''committed  the 
care  of  his  relics  (ashes)  and  memory  to  Messalina,  Nero's 

[  156] 


widow,  whom  he  had  intended  to  marry/'  Otho's  inten- 
tion was  perhaps  in  the  nature  of  a  post-mortem  reprisal 
upon  his  predecessor,  who  had  a  few  years  since  robbed 
him  of  Poppasa  Sabina. 

To  this  period  belongs  the  death  of  the  younger  Silanus, 
with  the  exception  of  the  Emperor  himself  the  last  male 
Cassar.  Silanus,  who  was  the  only  son  of  Marcus  Junius 
Silanus^  and  thus  the  great-great-great-grandson  of  the 
Emperor  Augustus,  was  a  young  man  of  the  highest  qual- 
ity. He  had  been  educated  under  the  tuition  of  Cassius 
Longinus,  an  eminent  lawyer,  by  whom  it  is  said  the 
young  Lucius  "was  formed  to  every  noble  aspiration." 
Cassius  was  preeminent  for  elevated  character,  great  abili- 
ties, and  hereditary  opulence,  and  the  tie  of  mutual  esteem 
and  affection  which  existed  between  pupil  and  master  had 
been  strengthened  by  the  marriage  of  the  latter  to  Junia 
Lepida,  the  aunt  of  Silanus.  In  the  time  of  Caligula,  while 
holding  the  office  of  proconsul  of  Asia,  Cassius  had  been 
unjustly  suspected  of  the  conspiracy  to  discover  which 
Quintiha  had  been  so  shockingly  tortured;^  and  his  death 
having  been  decreed  by  Caligula,  he  was  summoned  to 
Rome;  but  the  tyrant  fortunately  died  before  his  arrival 
He  was  now  far  advanced  in  years  and  blind;  utterly  un- 
conscious of  plots  and  conspiracies  and  devoted  to  form- 
ing the  graceiul  mind  and  opening  character  of  his  young 

The  virtuous  picture  did  not  escape  the  evil  eye  of  the 
besotted  Nero,  and  he  formally  accused  Cassius  of  cherish- 
ing among  the  images  of  his  ancestors  the  bust  of  Caius 
Cassius,^  inscribed  "the  leader  of  the  party";  and  that  in 
addition  to  thus  venerating  the  memory  of  a  name  implac- 
ably hostile  to  the  family  of  the  Caesars,  he  had  attached 

'  Ante,  page  137.  '  Ante,  page  ;9S.  '  One  of  Ceesar's  muixlerera 

[  157  ] 


to  his  person  the  descendant  of  Augustus,  with  a  view  of 
making  him  the  centre  of  his  revolutionary  schemes.  Sila- 
nus  was  himself  chaiged  with  the  same  accusations  which 
had  formerly  been  brought  against  his  uncle  Torquatus, 
and  finally  the  Emperor  procured  informers  to  accuse  the 
wife  of  Cassius  of  ''practising  horrible  magic  rites"  and  of 
incest  with  her  nephew. 

After  gravely  hearing  the  "charges,"  the  Senate  pro- 
nounced sentence  of  banishment  against  Cassius,  who  was 
sent  to  Saidinia,  where  Nero  planned  to  kill  him,  but  him- 
self died  too  soon,  and  the  virtuous  old  man  was  recaUed 
by  Galba  and  died  peacefully  at  Rome.  The  case  of  Lepida 
was  "referred  to  Caesar,"  and  we  are  uninformed  as  to  her 
punishment;  but  can  we  doubt  what  befell  a  descendant 
of  Augustus  who  vanished  into  the  darkness  of  Nero  s 
mercy?  Not,  at  least,  if  we  may  judge  from  the  fate  of 
her  nephew.  No  sentence  was  pronounced  upon  Silanus, 
who  was  at  first  merely  confined  in  the  city  of  Barium,  in 
Apulia.  But  while  living  there  in  the  greatest  extremity, 
he  was  confronted  one  day  by  a  centurion  who  roughly 
ordered  him  to  open  his  veins.  The  son  of  Marcus  Junius, 
however,  was  no  Cicero  nor  Seneca.  Descended  from  a 
long  line  of  ancestors,  in  no  generation  of  whom  was  death 
by  violence  unknown,  the  spirited  young  Julian,  in  whose 
character  seemed  blended  all  the  better  elements  of  his 
race,  determined  that  if  the  final  destruction  of  that  race 
were  now  at  hand,  he  at  least  would  not  allow  an  assassin 
the  glory  of  accomplishing  it.  Athletic  in  form  and  inured 
to  manly  exercises,  he  fought  his  assailants  with  naked 
hands  imtil,  overpowered  by  the  soldiers,  **  he  fell  as  though 
in  battle  from  wounds  received  from  the  centurion  in  front 
of  his  body." 

Thus  perished  the  last  male  of  the  line  of  Augustus, 

[  158] 


with  the  exception  of  Nero;  and  with  the  possible  ex- 
ception also  of  one  or  two  females,  whose  fate  is  shrouded 
in  darkness,  the  last  of  the  house  of  Caesar.  His  great- 
great-grandmother,  Julia,  the  daughter  of  Augustus,  had 
been  starved  to  death  by  Tiberius.  His  great-grandmother, 
the  younger  Julia,  had  pierished  in  the  same  way,  and  his 
great-g)-andfather,  Lucius  Paulus,  had  also  fallen  by  the 
wayside.  His  grandfather,  Appius  Junius,  was  murdered  by 
Claudius  and  Messalina,  while  his  father,  Marcus  Junius, 
had  been  poisoned  by  Agrippina,  who  also  forced  one  of 
his  uncles  to  commit  suicide,  while  Nero  destroyed  the 
other.  For  six  generations  death  at  the  hands  of  Caesar 
had  been  the  heritage  of  his  house;  and  with  his  own 
brave  life  went  out  forever  the  last  spark  of  virtue  in 
the  family  which  the  great  Julius  had  founded  a  century 

Close  upon  the  destruction  of  his  last  blood  relation 
came  the  final  murder  among  the  Emperor's  connections 
by  marriage.  The  victims  were  Lucius  Vetus,  who  had 
formerly  been  a  colleague  of  Nero  in  the  consulship,  and 
Antistia,  his  daughter,  widow  of  the  murdered  Flautus.^ 
We  are  told  that  they  had  been  long  hated  by  the  Em- 
peror, their  existence,  whenever  called  to  his  attention, 
seeming  to  reproach  him  with  the  murder  of  Antistia's 
husband,  the  son-in-law  of  his  old  friend.  The  young 
widow  had  abandoned  herself  to  grief  ever  since  she  be- 
held the  assassins  who  had  butchered  her  brave  husband, 
and  had  been  with  difficulty  prevailed  upon  to  take  nutri- 
ment sufficient  to  maintain  life.  But  when  a  guard  of  sol- 
diers secretly  beset  the  country  seat  of  her  father,  the 
broken-hearted  daughter,  by  a  supreme  effort  controlling 

^  The  death  of  Silanus  occurred  in  the  year  65  a.  n. 

[  159  ] 


her  own  sufferings,  hastened  to  Nero,  to  entreat  in  person 
for  her  parent's  life.  She  might  as  well  have  pleaded  to 
a  starving  hyena,  of  which  she  herself  was  speedily  con- 
vinced; whereupon  returning  to  Vetus,  father,  daughter, 
and  the  latter's  grandmother  Sextia,  after  distributing  all 
their  portable  property  among  the  domestics,  in  order  that 
the  imperial  liiief  might  not  profit  too  much  by  their 
death,  quietly  opened  their  veins  and  expired  in  the  order 
of  their  respective  ages. 

Although  the  victims  were  not  related  to  him,  either  by 
blood  or  affinity,  one  other  crime  of  Nero's  requires  men- 
tion as  being  in  some  respects  the  most  flagrant  among  all 
the  brutal  deeds  of  wickedness  which  soon  were  to  people 
the  madman's  last  terrible  hours  with  pale  and  weeping 
ghosts  and  blood-stained,  menacing  spectres.  *' After  shed- 
ding the  blood  of  so  many  men  of  eminence,"  says  the 
historian,  ''Nero  at  last  conceived  a  burning  intention  to 
extirpate  virtue  itself,  by  putting  to  death  Thrasea  Pcetus 
and  Bareas  Soranus."  Degraded  as  Roman  society  had  be- 
come under  the  low  and  evil  standard,  which,  radiating  un- 
interruptedly from  the  Palatine  during  half  a  century,  had 
now  fairly  undermined  the  primitive  purity  and  integrity 
of  the  entire  State,  it  is  supremely  encouraging  to  know 
that  among  all  the  Roman  senators  Thrasea  and  Soranus, 
**becatise  of  their  elevated  character  and  undoubted  virtue^ 
were  greatly  beloved  by  the  people.  The  fact  was  of  course 
in  itself  sufficient  to  rouse  the  jealous  hatred  of  Nero. 
But  in  the  case  of  Thrasea,  there  were  special  reasons  for 
the  Emperor's  animosity.  Twice  had  the  noble  and  lofty- 
minded  senator  refused  to  sacrifice  his  self-respect  by  unit- 
ing in  the  servile  flatteries  which  his  cowardly  and  fawning 
associates  invariably  bestowed  upon  their  vile  master  after 
some  crime  of  peculiar  atrocity;  once  when  it  was  pro- 

[  160] 




posed  by  the  Senate  to  publicly  congratulate  Nero  for 
the  murder  of  his  mother,  and  again  when  divine  honors 
were  being  decreed  to  Poppaea — on  each  of  which  occa- 
sions Thrasea  walked  out  of  the  Senate.  He  had  been  re- 
proached by  his  friends  for  thus  laying  the  foundation  of 
danger  for  himself  without  opening  a  source  of  liberty  to 
others.  But  this  was  the  pagan  view.  In  the  wider  horizon 
of  the  Christian's  hope,  the  silent  protest  of  truth  against 
&lsehood,  of  virtue  against  vice,  of  good  against  evil,  when 
manifested  by  the  refusal  of  a  noble  soul  to  acquiesce 
in  an  act  of  dishonor,  however  futile  and  useless  at  the 
moment,  is  seen  to  be  the  sowing  of  a  spirit  which  in 
later  times  shall  spring  into  the  life  of  a  magnificent  ac- 
complishment in  the  unending  war  for  the  liberation  of 

For  a  long  time  Nero  cherished  his  rage  in  secret,  fear- 
ing too  much  the  wrath  of  the  p^ppl^  to  openly  destroy 
their  idol.  But  taking  advantage^  ^p£3t9>,^0^i^^  when  the 
attention  of  the  populace  was  absorbed  in  the«  reception 
of  Tiridates,  the  Parthian  (who  had  come  to  receive  his 
crown  from  Cassar),  the  ceremimia^  .^tteA^iQg  which  were 
the  most  magnificent  Rome  iiad. ever  seen,  the  Emperor 
ventured  to  accomplish  his  vengeance.  Soranus  was  charged 
with  the  time-honored  accusation  of  having  supported  the 
pretensions  of  Rubellius  Plautus ;  with  his  devoted  young 
daughter  Servilia  he  was  condemned  to  death.  Thrasea 
was  condenmed  upon  what  in  modem  times  would  be 
called  '^general  principles";  the  charge  against  him  being 
'*that  he  had  trampled  upon  all  the  civil  and  sacred  insti- 
tutions of  our  ancestors."  The  soldiers  found  him  at  even- 
mg  in  his  beautiful  gardens,  surrounded  by  his  friends  and 
conversing  with  tiie  cynic  philosopher  Demetrius.  His 
noble  wife,  Arria,  daughter  of  that  other  Arria  of  heroic 

[161  ] 


memory,^  essayed  to  share  his  fate,  but  he  restrained  her 
by  saying  that  she  must  not  deprive  their  daughter  of  her 
remaining  refuge.  His  veins  were  opened,  and  when  the 
blood  began  to  flow  he  sprinkled  it  upon  the  floor,  crying, 
**Let  us  make  a  libation  to  Jove,  the  deliverer";  and  call- 
ing his  son-in-law,  the  noble  young  Helvidius,  he  said  to 
him,  '*  Behold,  young  man,  and  may  the  gods  avert  the 
omen,  but  you  are  fallen  upon  such  times  that  it  may  be 
useful  to  fortify  your  mind  by  examples  of  unflinching 

Virtue  was  dead ;  it  remained  for  vice  also  to  be  exter- 
minated, and  the  last  act  in  the  dark  tragedy  of  the  family 
of  Caesar  was  fast  approaching,  when  the  curtain  was  to  fall 
upon  a  race  of  rulers  who,  pretending  to  a  place  among 
the  gods,  had,  with  one  marked  exception,  by  their  lives 
relegated  themselves  to  the  lowest  depths  of  infamy  and 
brute  degradation,  which  all  the  splendor  and  magnificence 
of  their  wonderful  Empire  cannot  conceaL 

Thrasea  had  been  slain  in  the  thirteenth  year  of  the 
Emperor's  reign,  and  for  perhaps  eighteen  months  longer 
the  ruthless  murderer  of  virtue  was  tolerated  by  a  groan- 
ing world.  Then  came  the  end,  slow  muttering  at  first,  but 
at  the  last  swiftly,  tragically,  terribly  as  the  sternest  exac- 
tion of  justice,  untinged  with  mercy,  could  demand.  The 
Gauls,  under  Julius  Vindex,  a  Roman  general  in  command 
of  the  province,  first  raised  the  standard  of  rebellion ;  so  that 
it  was  from  the  indomitable  people  upon  whose  conquest 
by  the  great  Julius  the  house  of  Caesar  founded  its  power, 
that  there  came  the  first  ominous  mutterings  of  a  gather- 

^  The  wife  of  Thrasea  was  the  daughter  of  the  celebrated  Arria,  who  in 
the  reign  of  Qaudius,  to  encourage  her  husband,  who  had  been  ordered 
to  commit  suicide,  plunged  a  dagger  in  her  own  breast,  saying,  '^Strike, 
my  Pastus,  it  does  not  hurt!" 

[  162] 

THE  NE)(i'  YORK 






ing  storm,  by  which  the  last  stone  of  the  princely  struc- 
ture which  had  towered  so  loftily  was  now  to  be  wrathfully 
overthrown.  The  news  of  the  insurrection  reached  Nero  on 
the  anniversary  of  his  mother's  murder,  but  neither  fact 
gave  the  slightest  concern  to  the  Emperor,  who,  inter- 
rupted at  supper  by  the  news,  did  not  even  leave  his  feast, 
and  thereafter  remained  at  Naples  for  an  entire  week,  with- 
out taking  any  steps  to  meet  the  danger  which  threatened. 
But  at  the  end  of  that  period  he  was  roused  by  a  proclama- 
tion of  Vindex,  in  which  the  Emperor  was  mentioned  as 
"Ahenobarbus,"  and  was  railed  at  as  "a  pitiful  harper"; 
at  which  Nero  was  so  mortified  and  enraged  that  he  hastily 
returned  to  Rome — not  indeed  to  defend  his  Empire,  but 
merely  to  refute  the  accusations  against  his  want  of  skill 
in  an  art  upon  his  proficiency  in  which  he  had  so  prided 
himself  WTien  the  news  became  more  ominous  he  did  call 

with  the  examination  of  some  ne\^  musical  instruments, 
which  seem  to  have  been  the  protG|type  of  the  pneumatic 
organ.  But  ' 
Galba  and  the 

upon  hearing  which,  in  a  paroxysm*  of  fear  and  rage,  he 
tore  his  clothes  and  ran  screaming  about  the  palace,  beat- 
ing his  head  and  crying  that  it  was  all  over  with  him  and 
that  his  Empire  was  lost.  Encouraged,  however,  by  his 
old  nurse  and  by  the  presence  of  his  associates  in  vice,  he 
once  more  rallied  and  deliberately  attempted  to  bury  the 
whole  afiair  in  oblivion,  by  an  abandonment  to  the  luxu- 
rious wickedness  for  which  the  Golden  House  had  become 
a  synonym.  But  it  was  too'  late.  Horrible  dreams  disturbed 
his  sleeping  hours ;  his  mother  beaten  to  death  by  his  or- 
ders, the  murdered  Octavia  and  the  other  victims  of  his 

[  168] 


he  ordered  a  grave  to  be  dug,  of  the  proper  size  and  lined 
by  pieces  of  white  marble,  if  such  could  be  found.  Then 
he  took  up  the  two  daggers  which  the  eager  slaves  had 
furnished  him,  but  after  feeling  their  points,  whimpered 
**the  fatal  hour  is  not  yet  come,**  and  laid  them  down. 
Then  beseeching  one  of  the  slaves  to  weep  and  lament, 
he  entreated  another  to  set  him  the  example  by  killing 
himself,  crying  every  now  and  then,  "Oh,  what  an  artist 
is  about  to  perish!"  But  the  prsetorians  were  on  his  track; 
during  his  flight  he  had  been  recognized  by  an  old  soldier, 
who  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  Emperor  s  face  when,  his 
horse  having  shied  at  a  dead  body  in  the  road,  the  hand- 
kerchief about  his  head  had  become  disarranged.  The 
horsemen,  who  had  orders  to  take  him  alive,  were  heard 
approaching.  Quoting  a  line  from  the  **  Iliad," — 

^  The  noise  qf  ^mft-heded  steeds  assails  my  eaars^ — 

he  tremblingly  carried  a  dagger  to  his  throat;  it  was 
driven  in  by  Epaphroditus,  his  secretary,  and  Nero  fell 
to  the  ground  just  as  the  soldiers  burst  into  the  room. 
Applying  his  cloak  to  stanch  the  flow  of  blood,  the  cen- 
turion pretended  that  he  had  come  to  the  assistance  of 
the  Emperor,  whereupon  the  latter  replied,  **It  is  too 
late;  is  this  your  loyalty?"  And  immediately  after  pro- 
nouncing these  words  he  expired,  with  his  eyes  fixed  and 
starting  out  of  his  head,  to  the  terror  of  all  who  beheld 

Thus  on  the  ninth  (or  eleventh)  of  June,  69  a.  d.,  in  the 
thirty-second  year  of  his  life,  miserably  perished  the  last 
of  the  Caesars — one  hundred  and  twelve  years  after  that 
other  death  at  the  foot  of  Pompey  s  statue  had  at  once 
made  possible  the  imperial  system  and  marked  the  eleva- 
tion of  its  one  great  ruling  family,  of  which  Nero  was  the 



1  fc.  NOX   A^^  ^\ 



last  distorted  product  During  that  interval  we  have  seen 
sixty-five  Caesars  by  birth  and  marriage  put  to  death  by 
the  sovereign  power;  while  of  all  those  bom  in  the  Julian 
line,  excepting  such  as  perished  in  infancy,  history  tells  us 
of  only  five  (and  there  cannot  have  been  more  than  thir- 
teen) who  died  from  natural  causes.  Truly  a  bountiful  heri- 
tage fi*om  the  unnatural  creation  of  Livia  and  the  vices 
to  which  it  naturally  paved  the  way,  and  one  which  if 
it  could  have  been  foreseen  would  doubtless  have  brought 
new  honors  to  the  '^Augusta"  from  the  Senate  and  the 
people  whose  conception  of  virtue  had  been  swallowed  up 
in  the  vices  of  an  unholy  imperialism. 

No  relative  remained  to  perform  the  last  mournful  of- 
fices for  Nero,  whose  name  was  declared  accursed  by  the 
Senate,  and  whose  statues  were  overthrown  in  the  verita- 
ble saturnalia  of  joy  to  which  the  city  gave  itself  up  when 
the  tidings  came  from  Phaon's  villa.  But  the  once  beau- 
tiful Acte,  who  tr^j^n  tells  us  had  become  a  believer 
with  the  gentle  Optajnii^  ^d  the  sparing  of  whose  life  by 
Nero  seems  to  have  beenlihe  6n'e  i^bite  spot  in  his  history 
— she  it  was  who  gathered  up  aU  tfeat  was  mortal  of  the 
^'divine  artist"  aM.^i^osited  the  remains  in  the  family 
tomb  on  the  Pikeian .  Hill.  As  a  family  distinction  the 
name  of  Caesar  had  passed  away  forever,  remaining  in  use 
thereafter  only  as  a  badge  of  sovereignty.  And  for  a  mo- 
ment, at  least,  before  taking  another  mad  plunge,  Rome 
and  the  Roman  dependencies  must  have  breathed  more 
fi-eely  when  the  last  tyrant  of  the  great  Julian  line  disap- 
peared from  mortal  view. 





last  distorted  product.  During  that  interval  we  have  seen 
sixty-five  Caesars  by  birth  and  marriage  put  to  death  by 
the  sovereign  power ;  while  of  all  those  bom  in  the  Julian 
line,  excepting  such  as  perished  in  infancy,  history  tells  us 
of  only  five  (and  there  cannot  have  been  more  than  thir- 
teen) who  died  from  natural  causes.  Truly  a  bountiful  heri- 
tage from  the  unnatural  creation  of  Livia  and  the  vices 
to  which  it  naturally  paved  the  way,  and  one  which  if 
it  could  have  been  foreseen  would  doubtless  have  brought 
new  honors  to  the  "Augusta"  from  the  Senate  and  the 
people  whose  conception  of  virtue  had  been  swallowed  up 
in  the  vices  of  an  unholy  imperialism. 

No  relative  remained  to  perform  the  last  mournful  of- 
fices for  Nero,  whose  name  was  declared  accursed  by  the 
Senate,  and  whose  statues  were  overthrown  in  the  verita- 
ble saturnalia  of  joy  to  which  the  city  gave  itself  up  when 
the  tidings  came  from  Phaon's  villa.  But  the  once  beau- 
tiful Acte,  who  tr^t^n  tells  us  had  become  a  believer 
with  the  gentle  Optajiij^  ^d'  the  sparing  of  whose  life  by 
Nero  seems  to  have  beenT;he  6ne  white  spot  in  his  history 
—she  it  was  wha  gathered  up  all  ttat  was  mortal  of  the 
"divine  artist"  and'^^dl^oisited  .the  ifemains  in  the  family 
tomb  on  the  Pikeian ,  Hill.  As  a  family  distinction  the 
name  of  Caesar  had  passed  away  forever,  remaining  in  use 
thereafter  only  as  a  badge  of  sovereignty.  And  for  a  mo- 
ment, at  least,  before  taking  another  mad  plunge,  Rome 
and  the  Roman  dependencies  must  have  breathed  more 
freely  when  the  last  tyrant  of  the  great  Julian  line  disap- 
peared from  mortal  view. 



teen  died  from  natural  causes,  and  eight  died  from  causes 

Assuming  that  all  of  those  as  to  whose  death  history  is 
silent  died  from  natural  causes,  and  excluding  eight  who 
died  in  infancy,  it  appears  that  more  than  two  out  of  three 
of  the  imperial  race  came  to  a  violent  end.  The  proportion 
is  far  more  significant  when  confined  to  the  mcde  represen- 
tatives of  the  family;  of  the  twenty-eight  Julian  princes 
not  more  than  seven  died  from  natural  causes.  Of  these 
seven,  four  (the  infant  son  of  Tiberius  and  Julia,  the  in- 
fant son  of  G^rmanicus  and  Agrippina,  Caius,  grandson  of 
Tiberius,  and  Drusus,  son  of  Claudius)  died  in  infancy;  a 
fifth,  Nero's  father,  only  escaped  execution  by  an  oppor- 
tune attack  of  dropsy;  while  a  sixth,  Barbatus  Messala, 
father  of  Messalina,  is  included  among  those  whose  death  is 
unmentioned.  So  that  of  all  the  males  of  that  great  family 
which  swayed  the  Roman  world  for  nearly  a  century  and 
a  half,  Augustus,  the  first  Emperor,  may  be  considered  the 
only  one  who  was  permitted  to  die  quietly  in  bed.^ 

As  to  the  remaining  fifty-two  individuals  whose  names 
have  appeared  in  the  foregoing  pages  by  reason  of  their  af- 
finity to  the  imperial  family,  two  Caesars  by  adoption  were 
murdered,  and  the  third  fell  in  war;  five  wives  of  Julian 
princes,  not  of  the  blood,  were  put  to  death,  a  like  num- 
ber died  from  natural  causes,  and  the  death  of  eight  is  un- 
mentioned ;  nine  of  the  seventeen  husbands  who  were  not 
of  the  blood  of  their  Caesarean  spouses  were  murdered,  six 
came  to  a  natural  end,  and  the  death  of  two  is  untraced; 
while  fourteen  fathers,  mothers,  previous  husbands  or  wives, 
or  children  of  previous  marriages  of  those  who  braved  an 
imperial  marriage  met  death  by  reason  of  such  alliance. 

^  Even  his  death  was  not  entirely  free  from  suspicion  of  poisoning.  See 
antCy  page  44. 


THE  I^t^^•  YOSK 





Next  to  the  bare  fact  of  this  great  domestic  slaughter, 
which  of  course  first  impresses  us  in  a  study  of  the  Caesars, 
we  are  struck  by  the  progressiveness  of  imperial  criminal- 
ity  as  indicated  by  the  family  murders. 

During  the  rule  of  the  first  Csesar,  only  one  violent  death 
occurred  in  the  family — that  of  its  illustrious  founder; 
whose  assassination,  moreover,  was  not  a  family  affair.^  In 
this  period,  also,  Pompey  the  Great  was  the  only  relative 
by  marriage  who  came  to  a  violent  end ;  and  although  he 
feU  in  war  with  his  father-in-law,  C»sar  was  not  respon- 
sible  for  his  assassination,  which  was  accomplished  by  one 
of  Pompey's  own  centurions,  assisted  by  Egyptian  slaves. 
While  the  undisputed  tenure  of  power  of  the  Dictator 
continued  scarcely  two  years,  even  by  his  severest  critics 
it  will  be  conceded  that  the  brevity  of  that  tenure  had  not 
the  slightest  efiect  upon  the  stilne^  now, under  considera- 
tion. If  he  had  ruled  a  lifdtifi^  the  i^$u}VV^ld  have  been 
unchanged;  for  there  existed  aii  impfUisabi^  gulf  between 
domestic  murder  and  th^  devoted  son  of  Alirelia,  the  ten- 
der father  of  Julia,  the  nf^j^^'iqsjf^^^yi^  to  divorce 
Cornelia  at  the  beck  of  lAielemble  Sytfa.'*  } 

The  supremacy  of  Augustus  may  be  said  to  have  cov- 
ered a  period  of  about  forty  years;  during  which  interval 
four  Caesars  by  birth  and  five  relatives  by  marriage  suc- 
cumbed to  the  passions  bom  of  a  consuming  thirst  for 
power.  Of  these,  three  were  destroyed  by  Livia,  to  clear 
the  way  for  her  own  son's  succession ;  while  six  were  put 
to  death  by  Augustus,^  from  motives  of  fear,  preservation 
of  his  power,  and  revenge. 

During  the  twenty-three  years  of  the  second  Emperor  s 

^  The  charge  that  Brutus  was  Caesar's  illegitimate  son  seems  to  be  un- 
2  htdodiiig  Antony  and  Cleopatra,  who  were  suicides. 



From  the  subjoined  tables,^  which  are  based  upon  the 
preceding  chapters,  it  appears  that  of  fifteen  male  C«sars 
by  birth  who  married,  ten  married  near  relatives  of  the 
blood ;  while  of  twenty-three  female  Caesars  who  married, 
nine  married  Caesars  by  birth.^  The  phjrsical,  mental,  and 
moral  effect  upon  the  race  can  best  be  considered  by  a 
comparison  between  the  children — both  as  to  their  num- 
ber and  character — of  these  marriages  and  those  of  the 
Caesars,  both  male  and  female,  whose  wives  and  husbands 
were  not  of  the  Julian  blood. 

Of  the  ten  Julian  intermarriages,  six  were  unproductive 
of  children,  of  whom  thirteen  resulted  from  the  remaining 
four,  including  that  of  G^rmanicus  and  Agrippina,  the 
number  of  whose  offspring  was  nine. 

Of  the  eight  Caesars  ^  whose  wives  were  not  of  the  Ju- 
lian blood,  history  mentions  eight  children,  while  Tacitus 
speaks  indirectly  of  at  least  two  others.^  Only  one  of  these 
eight  marriages  resulted  unproductively. 

Of  the  eighteen  Julian  females  by  birth  who  married 
outside  the  family,^  not  more  than  six  failed  to  produce 
children,  of  whom  at  least  thirty  in  the  aggregate  were 
bom  of  {he  marriages  in  question. 

It  thus  appears  that  while  sia;  of  the  ten  Julian  inter- 
marriages were  unproductive  of  offspring,  a  like  result  oc- 
curred in  but  seven  of  the  twenty-six  instances  where  only 
one  of  the  contracting  parties  was  a  Caesar  by  birth.  Again, 

1  See  Tables  V,  VI,  VII. 

'  The  apparent  discrepancy  is  accounted  for  by  the  fact  that  Drasilla, 

daughter  of  Gennanicus,  was  twice  married  to  cousins:  Caligula  and 


*  Three  of  these  eight  married  both  relatives  and  strangers  to  the  blood. 

^  The  children  of  Rubellius  Plautus.  Ante,  page  71.  They  have  not  been 

included  here. 

^  Four  of  these  married  Caesars  by  birth,  as  well  as  strangers  to  the  blood. 




not  counting  the  marriage  of  Germanieus  and  Agrippina, 
the  number  of  whose  children  was  so  very  exceptional  as 
to  warrant  its  exclusion  in  drawing  a  comparison  of  this 
kind,  — especially  where  no  similar  abnormal  factor  exists 
on  the  other  side,  — it  appears  that  while  nine  Julian  inter- 
marriages produced  only  four  children,  twenty-six  outside 
alliances  added  thirty-eight  children  to  the  imperial  race. 
And  if  the  five  children  of  Julia  and  Agrippa  be  excluded 
fit>m  the  one  class  as  a  sort  of  counterbalance  to  the  ex- 
clusion of  the  Germanici  from  the  other,  the  results  as  to 
the  number  of  offspring  would  still  be  significantly  dispro- 

But  it  may  be  said — and  with  a  large  degree  of  truth — 
that  even  if  fewer  Cassars  by  birth  had  intermarried,  with 
a  consequent  increase  in  the  number  of  their  descendants, 
the  fact  would  in  no  wise  have  prevented  or  even  retarded 
the  inevitable  destruction  of  the  family.  Indeed,  as  already 
observed,  at  certain  periods  in  the  Julian  history  more 
Caesars  would  have  merely  implied  more  fuel  for  the 
flames,  so  that  domestic  murder  would  have  raged  more 
fiercely,  and  the  destruction  of  the  imperial  house  would, 
if  anything,  have  been  accelerated.  And  yet  who  can  say 
what  possibilities  and  advantages  might  not  have  resulted 
to  the  Julian  Une  from  a  more  frequent  infusion  of  new 
and  vigorous  Roman  blood,  like  that  of  Agrippa  and  Sila- 
nus  ?  Such,  for  example,  as  the  birth  of  another  Silanus, 
who  with  all  the  courage  and  character  of  Lucius  Junius, 
and  a  little  better  fortune  than  befell  that  unfortunate 
youth,  might  have  destroyed  Nero,  revolutionized  the  Em- 
pire, and  reestablished  the  supremacy  of  his  house  upon 
the  solid  foundations  of  humanity,  purity,  and  truth. 

But  speculation  of  this  sort  is  not  essential  to  the  con- 
elusion  that  the  too  frequent  intermarriages  of  the  Caesars 

[  175] 


contributed  largely  to  the  extinction  of  their  race.  For 
whether  or  not  affected  by  the  disproportionate  number 
of  offspring,  the  character  of  the  children  bom  of  the  two 
classes  of  marriages  proved  to  be  a  matter  of  vital  impor- 
tance to  the  duration  of  the  house  of  Cassar. 

The  difference  in  moral  and  mental  traits  of  these  two 
classes  of  offspring  is  well  recognized  both  generally  by 
physiologists  and  in  the  particular  case  by  every  one  hav- 
ing the  most  casual  acquaintance  with  the  history  of  the 
imperial  family  of  Caesar.  Outside  of  those  descendants  of 
Augustus  and  Octavia  whose  parents  were  not  nearly  re- 
lated, there  existed  an  undoubted  line  of  mental  aberra- 
tion in  the  Julian  house,  which  in  the  case  of  Caligula  and 
Nero  developed  into  undoubted  insanity.  Now  the  appar- 
ently invariable  tendency  of  a  totally  unrestrained  mental 
unsoundness  seems  to  be  in  the  direction  of  some  sort  of 
vice.  And  in  the  absence  of  either  moral  or  religious  an- 
chorage— the  old  religion  having  lost  its  primitive  grasp 
and  Christianity  not  yet  arrived,  while  morality  and  sanc- 
tity had  become  scarcely  more  than  terms — it  was  per- 
haps to  be  expected  that  even  where  insanity  might  not 
be  positively  predicated,  as  this  mental  weakness  was  pres- 
ent in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  its  possessors,  open  to  all 
the  unbridled  license  of  imperial  power,  would  exhibit  a 
corresponding  tendency  both  to  the  depravity  of  their  an- 
cestors and  the  vices  peculiar  to  their  own  surroundings 
and  intimate  associations,  public  and  private. 

With  a  few  noteworthy  exceptions  this  conclusion  is 
borne  out  by  the  facts,  and  in  part  accounts  for  some 
of  those  monstrous  and  shocking  deeds  which  otherwise 
would  remain  incomprehensible.  On  the  one  side,  among 
the  offspring  of  C^sars  whose  blood  was  crossed  in  mar- 
riage, we  find  the  first  Julia,  the  two  Antonias,  the  Mar- 

[  176] 


celli,  Germanicus  and  Agrippina,  the  two  eldest  sons  of 
Julia  and  Agrippa,  Rubellius  Plautus  and  the  two  genera- 
tions of  Silani;  the  lives  of  whom  were,  for  that  period,  re- 
markably free  from  vice  and  evil  tendencies,  and  of  whom 
several  on  occasion  displayed  what  would  at  any  stage  of 
social  and  moral  attainment  be  considered  a  notable  ele- 
vation of  character.  On  the  other  hand,  among  the  chil- 
dren of  the  family  intermarriages  were  Caligula  and  Nero, 
Messalina,  Julia  and  Drusilla,  the  sisters  of  Caligula,  and 
Aigrippina  the  younger.  The  first  was  an  undoubted  mad- 
man, the  second  presumably  so ;  while  Messalina  certiunly, 
and  Julia  and  DrusiUa,  if  guilty  of  the  offences  gravely 
recorded  by  Suetonius,  must  at  least  have  suffered  from 
what  has  been  not  inaptly  termed  ^^moral  paralysis,''  the 
existence  of  which  it  is  difficult  to  conceive  without  pre- 
supposing some  sort  of  mental  unsoundness.  As  for  the 
mother  of  Nero,  she  was,  it  is  true,  almost  a  genius.  But 
her  genius  was  of  the  Machiavellian  order,  between  which 
and  insanity  the  line  must  be  very  fine — a  "nice  barrier," 

Exceptions  to  the  proposition,  however,  readily  occur  to 
the  mind  in  the  case  of  Julia,  the  daughter  of  Augustus, 
her  son  Agrippa  and  her  daughter  Julia,  and  the  second 
Livia,  who,  although  the  offspring  of  cross-marriages,  ex- 
hibited something  of  that  same  moral  lesion  displayed  by 
the  daughter  of  Germanicus ;  the  third  Emperor,  who,  al- 
though the  result  of  an  admixture  of  Julian  and  Claudian 
blood,  was  by  some  thought  to  have  been  as  mentally  de- 
ficient as  any  descendant  of  imperial  intermarriage;  and 
finally  Octavia  and  Britannicus,  classed  among  the  best  and 
purest  of  their  race — and  yet  the  children  of  this  same 
imbecile  Claudius  and  his  abominable  Empress  cousin! 
But  upon  reflection  these  apparent  exceptions  are  seen  to 

[  177  ] 

be  of  slight  consequence.  In  addition  to  the  doctrine  of 
exceptio,  it  is  to  be  remembered  that  the  fact  of  white 
fowls  occasionally  having  daric  chickens  does  not  affect 
the  rule  that  black  fowls  ordinarily  produce  black  chick- 
ens. In  the  case  of  ClauiUus,  also,  it  is  uncertun  whether 
fab  mental  infirmity  was  constituticHial  or  the  result  of 
alHmve  treatment  following  a  severe  illness  in  childhood. 
As  for  Britannicus,  it  has  already  heea  observed  that  he 
died  too  young  to  confidently  predicate  upon  his  actual 
character;  his  terrible  cousin  in  early  life  scans  to  have 
been  quite  as  promising  as  the  virtuous  and  lamented 
young  Claudian.  Octavia  alone  remuns  to  contradict  our 
general  conclusion;  and  while  science  may,  by  some  mys- 
terious prindple  of  atavism,  expl^n  to  its  own  satisfiu:- 
tion,  mankind  will  yet  wondo-  how  the  union  of  Claudius 
and  Messalina  could  produce  that  pure  and  virtuous  daugh- 
ter of  the  Oesars,  in  whom  had  united  three  streams  of 
the  Julian  blood,  than  which  none  more  tainted  with  vice 
and  impurity  ever  coursed  in  Roman  veins. 

It  remains  only  to  inquire  how  far  the  children  of  in- 
t^marriages  and  the  offspring  of  out^de  imperial  alliances 
were  respectively  responsible  for  the  domestic  murders  by 
which  the  race  of  Oesar  was  destroyed.  Although  it  is  not 
pretended  that  the  answer  will  furnish  a  true  comparison 
between  the  criminal  tendencies  of  the  two  kinds  of  off- 
spring, it  will  at  least  be  a  sort  of  test  of  the  general  propo- 
rtion that  too  frequent  intermarriage  contributed  in  no 
small  decree  to  the  downfall  of  the  &mily. 

is  <^  the  tables  already  referred  to,  it 
:  thirty<five  Cssars  by  Inrth  who  came 
four  were  killed  by  strangers,  two  by 
}f  whose  ancestors  was  of  the  Julian 
by  peisons  who  had  married  into  tiie 
[  178  ] 


family.  As  against  this  total  number  of  seventeen  deaths, 
eighteen  Ccesars  by  birth  were  put  to  death  by  the  de- 
scendants of  imperial  intermarriages,  who  in  the  same 
way  murdered  seventeen  relatives  by  marriage  as  against 
thirteen  destroyed  by  all  the  others.  To  put  it  more  di- 
rectly, Augustus  and  Claudius,  each  of  whom  had  only 
one  parent  of  the  Julian  blood,  together  destroyed  two 
blood  relatives  and  six  relatives  by  marriage — in  all,  eight  ;^ 
while  Messalina,  Agrippina,  Caligula,  and  Nero,  the  chil- 
dren of  intermarriages  among  the  Cassars,  put  to  death 
thirty-five  in  the  aggregate,  of  whom  eighteen  were  Caesars 
by  birth  and  seventeen  relatives  by  marriage. 

And  thus  we  have  finally  arrived  at  the  inevitable  con- 
clusion that,  as  in  the  case  of  so  many  humbler  and  less 
pretentious  families,  the  house  of  Cassar  was  destroyed 
from  within  and  by  its  own  vices  alone.  From  the  highest 
pitch  of  nobility  and  grandeur  it  fell-^  the  lowest  depths 
of  shame  and  infamy ;  imiil^^CiiOiiiit^^^  imperial  city  it 

had  created,  and  in  the  s^pl^^f^A'^^f'the  magnificent  Golden 
House  which  was  to  haVe  been  its  home  for  generations, 
its  last  drop  of  blood  wai^  yielde4  io  :ex|^1idn  of  the  family 
crimes.  In  the  mad  and  dttferly  selfish  struggle  for  individ- 
ual supremacy,  its  sons  and  daughters  had  deliberately  se- 
lected domestic  murder  as  their  most  available  handmaid ; 
and  in  the  unlicensed  enjoyment  and  unrestrained  abuse 
of  the  power  and  privileges  thus  fearfully  acquired,  they 
had  broken  down  the  bars  of  domestic  purity,  they  had 
violated  the  sanctity  of  marriage,  they  had  trampled  upon 
every  law,  divine  and  human,  and  finally,  through  an  in- 
sane pride  in  the  pretended  "divinity"  of  the  Julian  line, 

^  In  this  computation  Claudius  is  charged  with  the  death  of  only  one 
Cssar,  as  it  is  conceded  that  of  all  the  others  put  to  death  during  his 
reign  Messalina  was  the  true  murderer. 

[  179  ] 


they  had  endeavored  to  perpetuate  their  worn-out  race 
through  repeated  intermarriages.  God  and  Nature  again 
intervened;  and  as  the  death  of  the  first  Cassar  was  the 
inexorable  demand  of  social  evolution,  in  whose  trium- 
phant progress  the  individual  who  has  performed  his  part, 
whether  relatively  great  or  small,  and  by  whose  continued 
presence  events  are  retarded,  is  ruthlessly  brushed  aside ; 
so  the  final  extinction  of  the  JuUan  race  was  the  ultimate 
penalty  exacted  by  Nature  and  its  Creator  of  those  who, 
by  presuming  to  extirpate  virtue  and  deify  themselves, 
displayed  the  mad  ambition  of  subjecting  all  mankind  to 
their  own  lawless  desires.  Another  and  a  mightier  force 
was  gathering,  another  and  an  infinitely  grander  sover- 
eignty was  preparing,  and  it  became  necessary  that  the  last 
vestiges  of  what  had  almost  become  an  accepted  family 
apotheosis  under  the  shelter  of  a  dangerous  imperialism, 
should  be  dislodged  from  men's  minds  and  swept  away 
into  the  abyss,  before  Christianity  could  assume  its  eter- 
nal place  as  the  moral  and  religious  balance  of  the  uni- 
verse. The  first  Cassar  had  lived  and  was  gone.  Christ  had 
died — and  was  come  again.  Both  had  been  misunderstood 
— as  Emerson  says,  every  great  spirit  always  has  been 
misunderstood ;  both  were  to  regain  their  rightful  places 
in  the  history  of  the  world  and  in  the  story  of  the  Spirit. 
But  those  other  Caesars,  upon  the  crumbled  ruins  of  whose 
house  the  sovereignty  of  Peter  was  to  rise — what  shall 
be  said  of  them  ?  We  believe  that  as  long  as  virtue  is  seen 
to  be  fair  and  vice  remains  hideous,  the  very  names  of 
Tiberius,  CaUgula,  Claudius,  and  Nero  will  be  esteemed 
abominable  by  mankind;  while  the  good  which  appears 
not  unabundantly  during  the  last  years  of  Augustus  can- 
not avail  to  entirely  overcome  our  horror  and  detestation 
of  the  cruelty  and  wickedness  which  disfigured  the  early 

[  180  ] 


part  of  his  reign.  In  the  dramatic 'words  of  a  great  modem 
artist,  for  the  most  part  they  passed  ''as  a  whirlwind,  as  a 
storm,  as  a  fire,  as  war  or  death  passes ;  but  the  basilica  of 
Peter  rules  till  now  from  the  Vatican  heights  the  city  and 
the  world." 

[181  ] 


IN  his  delightful  "Tragedy  of  the  Caesars,"  although 
modestly  termed  by  the  author  a  mere  "iconographic 
essay,"  Mr.  S.  Baring-Gould  has  made  a  serious  attempt 
to  vindicate  the  character  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius,  and 
incidentally  of  the  Empress  Livia  Augusta  and  of  Agrip- 
pina,  the  mother  of  Nero.  In  the  introductory  chapter  the 
author  states  that  his  study  was  inspired  by  the  portrait- 
busts  of  the  early  Caesars  in  the  Italian  museums,  and  in 
the  body  of  the  text  appears  the  following: 

"In  the  galleries  of  Rome,  of  Naples  and  Florence 
one  sees  the  beautiful  face  of  Tiberius,  with  that  intel- 
lectual brow  and  sensitive  mouth,  looking  pleadingly  at 
the  passer-by,  as  though  seeking  for  some  who  would  un- 
lock the  secret  of  his  story  and  vindicate  his  much-aspersed 

Gallantly  indeed  has  the  author  responded  to  that  mute 
appeal  of  the  dead  Caesar,  and  it  must  be  admitted  that  if 
Tiberius  can  be  successfiiUy  defended,  and  the  character 
of  Agrippina  the  younger  can  be  rehabilitated,  the  defence 
and  the  right  to  rehabilitation  have  been  established  in  the 
pages  of  his  work. 

To  secure  a  verdict,  however,  it  is  necessary  not  only  to 
refute  the  unanimous  testimony  of  the  ancient  writers, — 
Tacitus,  Dion  Cassius,  Suetonius,  and  the  others, — but  as 
well  to  overcome  almost  the  entire  consensus  of  modem 
historical  opinion.  The  author  accomplishes  it  to  his  own 
entire  satisfaction  by  first  disposing  of  all  the  early  histo- 
rians and  biographers  except  the  son-in-law  of  Agricola, 
with  the  omnium  blow  that  they  are  unworthy  of  credence, 

[  182  ] 





their  stories  being  founded  on  no  better  evidence  than 
"Roman  gossip  and  lampoons";  whereupon  it  only  re- 
mains to  perfect  a  most  beautiful  case  of  physiognomy 
vs.  Tacitus,  in  which  to  the  honor  of  the  advocate  be  it 
said,  the  argument  as  a  whole  is  more  ingenuous  than 
ingenious.  Although  a  basis  of  fact  is  attempted,  the 
strongest  part  of  the  author's  contention  seems  to  be  that 
all  those  beautifiil  busts  of  Tiberius  with  the  intellectual 
brow,  the  sensitive  mouth,  and  above  all  the  "pleading, 
sorrowful  look,"  cannot  indicate  such  a  character  as  Taci- 
tus describes.  "There  is  in  it  [the  face  of  Tiberius]  not 
a  trace  of  coarseness,  of  sensuality,  of  cruelty;"  while 
he  does  not  share  "the  opinion  of  Bernoulli  that  hard 
thoughts  slumber  under  the  brows."  In  the  same  way, 
referring  to  Nero's  mother,  who  is  characterized  as  "one 
of  the  grandest  women  of  history,"  he  says:  "When  I 
showed  photographs  of  this  statue  of  Agrippina  to  Mr. 
Conrad  Dressier,  the  sculptor,  the  exclamation  that  es- 
caped  him  was,  '  What  riT  .^yji^;^';v4iaft>'^ .  true  and  royal 
lady!'  And  that  is  the  limpci^esyfa^n  "tile ' p  proud,  and 
refined  face  makes  on  all  attentive  students." 

The  *' Tragedy  of  the  daesars"  dji^plj^-^plidnly  the  edu- 
cated and  enthusiastic  ph^isiiQgnbmiisrt.  'A^^  a  ^scholarly  and 
charming  essay  on  the  Csesarean  busts,  it  is  both  a  valuable 
contribution  to  the  student  and  a  deUghtfiil  morceau  for 
those  who  are  compelled  to  read  as  they  run.  But  to  the 
ordinary  reader,  familiar  with  the  "Annals,"  and  at  all 
appreciative  of  its  author's  character,  dignity,  and  fine 
sense  of  loyalty  to  historic  truth,  to  overcome  one's  con- 
ceptions of  Tiberius,  Agrippina,  and  the  others,  which  are 
based  largely  upon  the  express  statements  of  this  incom- 
parable history,  will  require  far  weightier  evidence  than 
the  deductions  of  the  physiognomist  and  the  phrenologist 

[  188] 


—especially  when  the  first  proposition  rests  upon  a  more 
or  less  unattested  marble  bust  some  two  thousand  years 
old.  And,  for  that  matter,  however  pure  and  refined  the 
features  and  expression  of  the  second  Emperor,  accepting 
the  picture  of  Tacitus  as  fact,  his  would  not  be  the  only 
case  where  the  countenance  of  an  angel  has  been  linked 
with  the  deeds  of  a  devil.^ 

Any  attempt  to  vindicate  Tiberius  inevitably  compels  a 
defence  of  Livia  and  Agrippina  Minor,  and  at  the  same 
time  necessitates  bearing  down  upon  Octavia,  Agrippina 
the  elder,  and  Germanicus.  We  are  therefore  not  sur- 
prised to  find  that  in  Mr.  Baring-Gould's  essay  Livia  is 
freed  from  the  charge  of  domestic  murder  whatsoever, 
and  the  mother  of  Nero  acquitted  of  all  similar  indict- 
ments, including  the  charge  of  poisoning  Claudius.  More- 
over, in  order  to  clear  the  character  of  Agrippina,  it  has 
been  necessary  to  relieve  Nero  from  the  charge  of  destroy- 
ing Britannicus.  For  it  will  be  remembered  that  the  mo- 
tive of  Nero's  alleged  crime  (as  related  by  Tacitus  ^)  was 
Agrippma's  angry  threat  to  overturn  her  son  by  enlisting 
the  soldiers  in  the  interest  of  Britannicus.  The  surest,  if 
not  the  only  way  to  dispose  of  such  a  reflection  upon  one 
of  the  "grandest  women  in  history"  was  to  prove  that  Nero 
did  not  murder  his  cousin.  The  entire  contest  between 
physiognomist  and  historian  might  well  rest  upon  the  case 
of  Britannicus,  as  presented  in  the  essay  under  considera- 
tion^ and  in  the  pages  of  Tacitus.  Earlier  in  the  argu- 
ment the  latter  is  charged  with  lack  of  information ;  again, 
with  having  derived  his  facts  from  the  partisan  memoirs 

^  Milady  Garik^  in  hu  Trotf  Mousquetaires,  is  a  striking  example  of  this 
suggestion.  Fiction,  it  is  true;  but  the  fiction  of  the  great  Dumas  is  the 
indisputable  history  of  human  nature. 
^Annali,  xiiL  13  ei  seq.    '  Tragedy  of  the  QesarSy  page  554. 

[  184] 


of  Agrippina.  But  this  is  the  "last  ditch.'*  The  murder  of 
Britannicus  must  be  disproved  or  the  beautiful  tenement 
which  has  been  erected  for  Agrippina  will  disappear ;  and 
in  his  desperate  plight  our  author  does  not  scruple  to  in- 
sinuate deliberate  misrepresentation  on  the  part  of  the 
great  historian.  "It  is  more  probable,"  he  sajrs,  "that  Taci- 
tus feiffned  the  threat  of  Agrippina  in  order  to  give  plau- 
sibility to  his  tragic  story  of  a  crime  which  he  felt  was  with- 
out  motive''^  And  then,  after  asserting  that  we  must  receive 
the  stories  of  poison  with  the  greatest  mistrust,  and  ridi- 
culing the  other  motives  attributed  to  Nero,  he  declares 
it  incredible  both  that  all  the  details  of  the  alleged  poison- 
ing could  be  given  with  such  minuteness  and  that  the 
hitherto  amiable  and  harmless  Emperor  could  have  con- 
trived and  carried  out  so  hideous  a  fratricide;  and  con- 
cludes by  sajring  that  "  Seneca,  moreover,  must  have  been 
the  most  despicable  of  men  had  he  written  his  treatise  on 
Clemency  with  the  knowledge  that  he  whom  he  praised 
therein  was  stained  with  his  brother's  blood," 

The  author's  attempt  to  strengthen  his  argument  by  a 
conclusion  drawn  from  the  conduct  of  Seneca  is  imfortu- 
nate.  The  mind  naturally  reverts  to  the  part  played  by 
this  moral  preceptor  in  the  murder  of  Agrippina— in  re- 
gard to  which,  by  the  way,  our  author's  usual  ingenuous- 
ness is  not  manifested.  When  the  first  failure  of  Anicetus 
was  reported  and  Nero  summoned  his  friends  for  counsel, 
Seneca,  according  to  the  "Tragedy,"  "knew  not  what  to 
say,  what  to  advise,  and  when  Burrhus  was  bidden  to  send 
soldiers  to  kill  the  Empress,  he  bluntly  replied  that  the 
praetorians  would  never  draw  the  sword  against  the  daugh- 
ter of  Gennanicus."  But  from  whom  came  the  suggestion 

^  Compare  with  a  statement  of  Tacitus  as  to  the  sources  of  his  informa- 
tion^ Annaliy  xL  27,  quoted  ante,  page  115. 

[  186] 


that  Burrhus  should  be  called  upon  to  perform  the  evil 
deed?  According  to  Tacitus,  it  came  firom  the  virttioTis 
Seneca  himself/  ^  The  charge  is  directly  made  in  the  same 
paragraph  which  contains  the  reply  of  Burrhus,  quoted 
as  sufficiently  proven  by  our  author,  who  however  appar- 
ently considers  the  great  historian  untrustworthy  when  it 
comes  to  a  reflection  upon  Seneca,  who  was  too  aston- 
ishingly virtuous  to  have  praised  in  his  treatise  a  possible 
fratricide.  As  for  the  suggestion  of  incredibility  that  Nero 
could  have  committed  the  crime  and  that  its  details  could 
have  been  so  minutely  known,  what  is  there  in  it  more 
incredible  than  that  this  abominable  young  egoist  could 
have  murdered  his  own  mother,  and  that  posterity  could 
have  information  of  the  veriest  details  of  that  terrible 
crime,  as  related  by  our  author  himself? 

The  murder  of  Postumus  Agrippa  at  the  threshold  of 
the  reign  of  Tiberius  is  another  stubborn  fact  to  be  ex- 
plained in  any  vindication  of  his  adoptive  brother.  It  is 
admitted  that  Tiberius  was  the  only  one  to  profit  by 
Agrippa's  death,  that  the  hapless  grandson  of  Augustus 
was  slain  by  a  centurion  acting,  as  he  afterwards  declared 
in  his  official  report,  by  command  of  Livia's  son,  and  that 
the  proposed  investigation  before  the  Senate  was  checked 
by  the  Augusta.  Now  let  the  unbiassed  reader  turn  to  the 
first  book  of  the  "Annals,"  where  the  circumstances  are 
dispassionately  related,  and  then  consider  the  proposition 
gravely  advanced  by  our  author,  who,  unable  to  get  away 
from  the  facts,  adopts  the  theory  that  Agrippa  was  put  to 
death  by  the  orders  of  Atigtistus^  to  save  Rome  from  civil 

If  ever  a  cruel  and  crafty  nature  betrayed  itself  be- 
yond the  possibility  of  subsequent  contradiction  or  expla- 

1  Annals,  xiv.  7. 

[  186  ] 



nation,  it  was  manifested  in  the  destruction  of  Sejanus  by 
the  second  Emperor.  Decoyed  into  the  Senate  by  false  as- 
surances on  the  part  of  the  Emperor's  personal  Ueutenant, 
that  he  was  to  be  invested  with  the  tribunitian  author- 
ity, the  unfortunate  though  guilty  minister  unsuspiciously 
listened  to  a  long  and  purposely  involved  communication, 
which,  after  first  referring  to  Sejanus  in  not  unkind  terms, 
branched  off  upon  other  subjects,  and  to  the  unbounded 
astonishment  of  all,  abruptly  closed  by  ordering  the  arrest 
of  the  favorite,  who  was  at  once  savagely  butchered  under 
the  directions  of  his  imperial  master's  personal  envoy. 

The  facts  are  not  denied  by  our  author,  whose  explana- 
tion is  that  this  maliciously  cruel  letter  was  written  by 
the  Emperor  in  a  tumult  of  nervous  terrors  and  with  his 
mind  unhinged  by  loss  of  confidence  in  the  man  he  had 
so  blindly  loved.  But  what  can  be  thought  of  the  char- 
acter of  one  whose  love  would  seek  revenge  so  diabolically 
planned?  And  indeed  what  can  bficth^itigl$;9^  "love" 
which  this  refined  and  sensitl^^  Tfcapejffi:^— he  of  the 
"intellectual  brow,"  of  the  tender,  womanly  countenance, 
w^hich  betrayed  so  plainly  a^  aceat,.".lpndliness  restrained 
by  timidity" — had  cherished  fof  tMs  notovipQs  ministerial 
bandit  during  all  the  years  of  his^savage.  cm^eer?  It  was 
rather  the  love  of  a  tiger  for  his  marauding  associate — a 
love  from  which  might  be  expected  just  such  fruits  as 
appeared,  when  following  the  shameful  indignities  which 
during  three  days  were  publicly  bestowed  upon  the  corpse 
of  Sejanus,  his  innocent  little  children  were  destroyed  un- 
der circumstances  of  such  unutterable  horror  that  the  mind 
shrinks  from  the  very  thought  of  the  story  as  told  by  the 

Our  author's  views  as  to  the  character  and  death  of  the 
elder  Agrippina,  whose  "ambition  and  blind  hate"  he  de- 

[  187  ] 


in  his  old  age,  then  we  must  suppose  he  was  insane,"  says 
the  author  of  the  **  Tragedy.**  This  he  refuses  to  do.  But 
in  the  case  of  Agrippina  and  Drusus  he  can  account  for 
the  difficulties  and  reconcile  the  apparent  contradictions 
only  by  predicating  insanity;  and  to  this  he  sees  no  ob- 

The  noble  Octavia,  beloved  by  Augustus,  lauded  by 
Plutarch,  and  as  the  writer  had  supposed  universally  con- 
ceded to  have  been  a  woman  of  extraordinary  merit  and 
generosity  of  temperament — she  also  suffers  from  the 
demonstrations  of  physiognomy.  Her  son  Marcellus,  it 
will  be  remembered,  met  an  untimely  death,  soon  after 
his  marriage  to  Julia,  the  daughter  of  Augustus ;  and  his 
supposed  poisoning  was  among  the  crimes  laid  at  the  door 
of  the  Augusta.  Says  the  author  of  the  **Tragedy"^:  "The 
intensity  of  the  grief  and  disappointment  of  Octavia  at 
the  loss  of  her  son  on  whom  she  had  not  only  set  her 
heart,  but  also  her  ambition,  was,  if  not  greater  than  that 
of  Augustus,  at  least  more  demonstrative  and  less  mea- 
sured. ...  It  was  a  short  step  from  frantic  grief  and  dis- 
appointed rage,  to  make  accusation  against  the  guiltless 
Livia  of  having  contrived  the  death  of  Marcellus.  If  tlie 
reader  xvill  look  back  at  the  face  of  OctaxAa  he  xvill  see  that 
under  all  the  heaviness  of  expression^  there  lurks  an  ugly 
unrea^soning  temper.^* 

Whatever  may  be  the  expression  of  the  Louvre  bust, 
^^an  ugly  unreasoning  temper*'  had  no  place  in  the  char- 
acter of  the  considerate,  unselfish,  and  generous-minded 
Octavia,  as  sketched  by  Plutarch,  and  once  more  we  must 
decline  to  conform  a  long-cherished  mental  image,  origi- 
nally outlined  by  the  fathers  of  biography  and  history,  to 
the  unsupported  deductions  of  an  inexact  science. 

»  Page  174. 

[  190  ] 


T-F  M'W  y^'^K     \ 


But  however  tempting  the  subject,  the  limits  of  this 
sketch  forbid  a  further  discussion  of  Mr.  Baring-Gould's 
fascinating  study.  Enough  has  been  stated  to  suggest  the 
line  of  his  argument,  which  must  be  read  in  its  entirety  to 
be  appreciated — and  to  which,  as  the  writer  is  convinced, 
there  must  then  be  returned  the  verdict  of  "Unproven." 

•  /  l     it   t  .-t 

[  191  1 






























-  -I  I 
















—  -< 






Julius  CiESAR.  The  founder  of  the  Family. 
Assassinated  by  Cassitis^  Brutus^  and  others. 

Cneius  Pompey  Magnus.  CiESAu's  son-in-law. 

Assassinated  by  one  of  his  centurions  and  Egyptian 

Marcellus.  Son-in-law  of  Augustus. 
Destroyed  by  Lima  Augusta. 

Caius  CiESAR.  Son  of  Julia  and  Agrippa. 
Destroyed  by  Lima  Augusta. 

Lucius  Caesar.  Son  of  Julia  and  Agrippa. 
Destroyed  by  Livia  Augusta. 

Cjesario.  Reputed  son  of  Julius  CiESAR  and  Cleopatra. 
Put  to  death  by  Augustus. 

Lucius  Paulus.  Husband  of  Julia,  granddaughter  of 
Put  to  death  by  Augustus. 

Mark  Antony.  Brother-in-law  of  Augustus. 
Committed  suicide. 

Cleopatra.  Wife  of  Antony. 
Committed  suicide. 

Julius  Antonius.  Son  of  Antony. 
Put  to  death  by  Augustus. 

Antyllus.  Son  of  Antony. 
Put  to  death  by  Augustus. 

[  195] 


Julia,  Daughter  of  Augustus. 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

Julia.  Granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Pvt  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

PosTUMUS  Agrippa.  Brother  of  the  last-mentioned. 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

Geemanicus.  Nephew  of  Tiberius. 
Put  to  death  by  Lixna. 

Nero.  Son  of  Germanicus. 

Put  to  death  by  Tiberius  and  S^anus. 

Drusus.  Son  of  Germanicus. 

Put  to  death  by  Tiberius  and  Syarms. 

Tiberius  the  Emperor. 

Put  to  death  by  Macro  and  Caligula. 

Drusus  Minor.  Son  of  Tiberius. 
Put  to  death  by  Lima  the  younger. 

LiviA.  Wife  of  the  last-mentioned  and  daughter  of  Ger- 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

Agrippin A.  Granddaughter  of  Augustus  and  wife  of  Ger- 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

AsiNius  Gallus.  Second  husband  of  Vipsania  Agrip- 
piNA,  the  wife  of  Tiberius. 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

iEMiLiA  Lepida.  Wife  of  Drusus,  the  son  of  Germanicus. 
Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

Claudia  Pulchra  (?). 

Put  to  death  by  Tiberius. 

Titus  Ollius.  Father  of  Popp^a. 
Put  to  death  by  Sganus. 

[  196  ] 


Tiberius  Gemellus.  Grandson  of  Tiberius. 
Put  to  death  by  Caligula. 

Lepidus.  Great-grandson  of  Augustus. 
Put  to  death  by  Caligula. 

Caligula  the  Emperor. 
Put  to  death  by  Chcerea. 

Antonia.  Mother  of  Germanicus.  % 

Put  to  death  by  Caligula.  u 

Claudia.  Daughter  of  the  Emperor  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Claudius. 

Julia  Drusilla.  Daughter  of  Caligula. 
Put  to  death  by  Lupus. 

C^soNiA.  Wife  of  Caligula. 
Put  to  death  by  Luyus. 

Ptolemy.  Grandson  of  Cleopatra. 
Put  to  death  by  Caligula. 

Julia.  Daughter  of  Germanicus. 

Put  to  death  by  Claudius  and  Messaliruu 

Julia.  Granddaughter  of  Tiberius. 

Put  to  death  by  Claudius  and  Messalina. 

Messalina.  Wife  of  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Narcissus. 

Lepida.  Aunt  of  Nero. 

Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

Claudius  the  Emperor. 
Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

Lucius  Silanus.  Great-great-grandson  of  Augustus. 
Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

Lollia  Paulina.  Wife  of  Caligula. 
Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

[  197] 


Cneius  Pompey.  Son-in-law  of  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Claudius  and  MessaUna. 

Marcus  Vinicius.  Husband  of  Julia,  the  daughter  of 
Germanic  us. 
Put  to  death  by  MessaUna. 

Appius  Junius  Silanus.  Husband  of  iEMiLiA  Lepida, 
great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Put  to  death  by  Claudius  and  MessaUna. 

Passienus.  Husband  of  Domitia  Lepida  (and  of  Agrip- 
piNA  Minor). 
Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

Crassus  Frugi.  Father  of  Cneius  Pompey. 
Put  to  death  by  Claudius  and  MessaUna. 

ScRiBONiA.  Mother  of  Cneius  Pompey. 
Put  to  death  by  Ckmdius  and  MessaUna. 

Popp-ffiA  Sabina.  Mother  of  the  Empress  Popp^a. 
Put  to  death  by  Claudms  and  MessaUna. 

Marcus  Junius  Silanus.  Great-great-grandson  of  Augus- 
Put  to  death  by  Agrippina. 

ToRQUATUs  Silanus.  Brother  of  Marcus  Junius  Silanus. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Lucius  Junius  Silanus.  Great-great-great-grandson  of 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Britannicus.  Son  of  the  Emperor  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

RuBELLius  Plautus.  Great-grandson  of  Tiberius. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Agrippina  Minor.  Mother  of  Nero. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 



OcTAViA.  Daughter  of  Claudius  and  wife  of  Nero. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Antonia,  Daughter  of  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

DoMiTiA  Lepida.  Aunt  of  Nero. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

PoppjEA.  Wife  of  Nero, 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Antistia.  Wife  of  Rubellius  Plautus. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Caius  Faustus  Sylla.  Son-in-law  of  Claudius. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

RuFius  Crispinus.  First  husband  of  Popp-sa. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

RuFiNus  Crispinus.  Son  of  Popp-^a. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Antistius  Vetus.  Father  of  the  wife  of  Plautus. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Sextia.  Grandmother  of  the  wife  of  Plautus. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 

Atticus  Vestinus.  First  husband  of  the  second  Messa 
LiNA,  wife  of  Nero. 
Put  to  death  by  Nero. 


Committed  suicide. 



Lucius  Antony.  Son  of  Julia. 

Sanished  by  Augustus  and  died  in  eooUe. 

[  199  ] 



Julia.  Daughter  of  Julius  Cjesab. 


DoMiTius  Ahenobabbus.  Father  of  Nero. 

Drusus.  Infant  son  of  the  Emperor  Claudius. 

Caius.  Infant  son  of  Drusus  Minor. 

OcTAViA  Minor.  Sister  of  Augustus. 

Drusilla.  Wife  of  Caligula. 

Augusta.  Infant  child  of  Nero. 

Infant  Child  of  Julia  and  Pompey  the  Great. 

Infant  Son  of  Julia  and  Tiberius. 

Infant  Son  of  Germanicus. 

Infant  Daughter  of  Germanicus. 

Infant  Daughter  of  Germanicus. 

LiviA  Augusta. 

LiviA  Medullina.  Wife  of  Caligula. 

ViPSANiA  Agrippina.  Wife  of  Tiberius. 

Junia  Claudia.  Wife  of  Caligula. 

Messalina.  Wife  of  Nero. 

Drusus.  Brother  of  Tiberius. 

Drusus  was  killed  by  a  fall  from  his  horse  while  prose- 
cuting the  war  in  Germany. 

[  200  ] 




Valerius  Messala  Barbatus.  Father  of  Messalina. 

OcTAViA  Major.  Half-sister  of  Augustus, 

Emilia  Lepida.  Great-granddaughter  of  Augustus, 

JVIarcella  Major.  Daughter  of  Octavia. 

Marcella  Minor,  Daughter  of  Octavia. 

JuNiA  Lepida.  Great-great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 

JuNiA  Calvina.  Great-great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 

Antonia.   Daughter  of  Octavia  and  grandmother  of 

Barbatus  Messala.  Husband  of  Marcella  Minor, 

RuBELLius  Blandus.  Husband  of  Julia,  the  granddaugh- 
ter of  Tiberius. 

LiviA  Orestilla.  Wife  of  Caligula. 

CossuTiA.  Wife  of  Julius  C^sar, 

Cornelia.  Wife  of  Julius  C^sar, 

Calpurnia.  Wife  of  Julius  C^saju 

Claudia,  Wife  of  Augustus. 

ScRiBONiA.  Wife  of  Augustus. 

^LiA  P-ffiTiNA.  Wife  of  Claudius. 

Plautia  Urgulanilla.  Wife  of  Claudius. 

[201  ] 



Mabcellus.  Son  of  Octavia. 

Married  JuUa^  daughter  of  Augustus. 

Caius  C^sail  Grandson  of  Augustus. 

Married  Livia^  granddaughter  of  Octavia. 

Germanicus.  Grandson  of  Octavia. 

Married  Agrippina^  granddaughter  of  Augustus. 

Nero.  Son  of  Germanicus. 

Married  JuKa,  niece  of  Germanicus. 

Marcus  Lepidus.  Great-grandson  of  Augustus. 

Married  DrusiUa^  the  great-granddaughter  of  Octavia. 

Caligula.  Great-grandson  of  both  Augustus  and  Octavia. 
Married  DrusiUaj  the  great-granddaughter  of  Octavia 
and  of  Augustus. 

Claudius.  Grandson  of  Octavia. 

Married  MessaUna,  also  Agrippirui,  each  a  great-grand- 
daughter  of  Octavia. 

Valerius  Messala  Barbatus.  Grandson  of  Octavia. 
Married  Lepida^  the  great-granddaughter  of  Octaxna. 

DoMiTius  Ahengbarbus.  Grandson  of  Octavia. 

Married  Agrippina^  great-granddaughter  of  Octaxna. 

Nero.  Great-grandson  of  Octavia. 

Married  OctaxAa,  great-great-granddaughter  of  Oc- 

[  202  ] 



Julius  C^sail 


Marcus  Junius  Silanus.  Great-great-grandson  of  Au- 

Drusus.  Son  of  Germanicus. 



RuBELLius  Plautus.  Grandson  of  Tiberius. 





Julia.  Daughter  of  Julius  C^sar. 
Married  Pompey  the  Great. 

Julia.  Daughter  of  Augustus. 

Married  Agrippa;  also  Tiberius. 

Julia.  Granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Married  Ltccius  Paulus. 

iEMiLiA  Lepida.  Great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Married  Appitis  Junitcs  Silanus. 

Antonia  Minor.  Daughter  of  Octavia. 
Married  Drusus  Major. 

Antonia.  Daughter  of  Octavia. 

Married  Cneius  Domitius  Ahenobarlms. 

[  208  ] 


Antonia.  Daughter  of  Claudius. 
Married  Pompey;  also  $yUa. 

DoMiTiA  Lepida.  Nero's  aunt. 
Married  Passienus. 

Julia.  Granddaughter  of  Tiberius. 
Married  RubeUms  Plauttis. 

LiviA  Minor. 

Married  Drustis  Minor} 

JuNiA  Lepida.  Great-great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Married  a  son  of  Vitellms. 

JuNiA  Calvina.  Great-great-granddaughter  of  Augustus. 
Married  Cassitis  Longintcs. 

OcTAviA  Major.  Half-sister  of  Augustus. 

OcTAViA  Minor.  Sister  of  Augustus. 
Married  Antony  and  Marcellus. 

Marcella  Major.  Daughter  of  Octavia. 
Married  Agrippa;  also  JuKtis  Antonius. 

Marcella  Minor.  Daughter  of  Octavia. 
Married  Barbatus  Messala. 

Julia.  Daughter  of  Germanicus. 
Married  Ltudus  Cassius. 

^  Livia  and  Dnuus  were  cousins  genJui  through  their  fathers,  Drusos  and 

[  204  ] 




•       \ 



From  Galba  to  Marcus  Aureuus:  69-180  A.  D. 

GALEA:  69  a. d.  The  death  of* Nero,  as  observed 
by  Tacitus,  disclosed  a  secret  of  the  Empire; 
namely,  that  an  Emperor  might  be  created  else- 
where than  at  Rome.  The  disclosure  was  fatal  in  its  con- 
sequences :  again  and  again  was  the  Empire  torn  by  the 
bloody  contention  of  rival  claimants  to  the  purple,  whose 
standards  had  been  raised  in  different  parts  of  the  state, 
and  whose  ambitions  would,  as  a  rule,  have  been  stifled 
at  birth  if  to  Rome  alone  the  choice  of  Csesar  had  been 

Servius  Sulpicius  Galba,  the  sixth  Emperor,  was  bom 
near  Naples  in  the  year  8  b.  c.  He  was  of  noble  extraction 
and  is  said  to  have  been  distantly  related  to  the  Empress 
Livia,  although  unconnected  by  birth  or  adoption  with 
the  family  of  the  Caesars. 

The  genealogical  table  which  Galba  erected  for  himself 
in  the  atrium  of  the  palace  proclaimed  that  on  the  side 
of  his  father  the  Emperor  was  descended  from  Jupiter, 
and  on  that  of  his  mother  from  Pasiphae,  daughter  of  the 

The  first  Emperor  is  alleged  to  have  prophesied  that 
Galba  would  taste  the  imperial  dignity;  while  Tiberius, 
being  told  that  the  young  man  would  come  to  be  Em- 
peror, although  at  an  advanced  age,  exclaimed,  '^Let  him 
live  then,  since  that  does  not  concern  me." 

[  207  ] 


ilising  through  the  various  grades  of  public  office  to 
the  consulship,  the  province  of  Spain  was  at  length  be- 
stowed upon  him  by  Nero.  The  news  of  the  insurrection 
in  Gaul  and  the  appeal  of  Vindex  that  he  should  head 
the  revolt  against  the  oppressor  at  Rome  came  to  Galba 
in  the  spring  of  the  year  68.  Fear  of  his  imperial  master, 
however,  restrained  him  fix)m  taking  active  steps  until 
proclaimed  by  the  army,  whereupon  he  marched  straight 
to  Rome.  His  progress  is  said  to  have  been  marked  with 
blood,  while  his  entry  into  the  city,  accompanied  by  a 
Spanish  legion,  appears  to  have  been  signalized  by  the 
massacre  of  several  thousands  of  unarmed  men.  However 
this  may  be,  the  old  soldier,  who  seems  not  to  have  been 
wanting  in  stem  virtues,  speedUy  became  unpopular  with 
both  praetorians  and  the  people,  and  finally  lost  the  sup- 
port of  even  his  few  intimate  friends.  By  the  former  (to 
whom  he  bluntly  declared  that  he  chose  his  soldiers  and 
would  not  buy  them)  he  was  charged  with  a  breach  of 
faith  in  refusing  the  customary  largess;  and  when  the  peo- 
ple learned  that  the  Emperor  was  governed  by  incapable 
and  pr6fligate  favorites,  and  that  all  the  worst  abuses  of 
the  last  reign  might  be  expected,  with  none  of  its  liberal- 
ity and  extravagant  spectacles,  Galba's  fate  was  sealed. 
The  storm  broke  among  the  German  legions;  Otho,  the 
profligate  companion  of  the  last  Csesar,  was  proclaimed 
by  the  prsetorians,  and  the  rebels  marched  on  Rome.  Ac- 
companied by  a  single  cohort  which  was  faithful  to  him, 
the  Emperor  had  left  the  palace  and  proceeded  to  the 
Forum.  At  the  Curtian  Lake,^  near  the  rostra,  he  was  met 
by  the  prsetorians,  who  no  sooner  appeared  than  Galba's 
standard-bearer  tore  off  the  Emperor's  image  and  dashed 

^  An  inclosure  in  the  Forum^  which  marked  the  spot  where  Curtius  leaped 
into  the  Like  once  situated  there. 

[  208  ] 



it  to  the  ground;  whereupon  the  soldiers  with  one  voice 
declared  for  Otho.  The  men  who  carried  Galba's  litter  let 
him  fall  to  the  ground  and  fled.  Abandoned  by  all,  the 
aged  Emperor  bravely  presented  his  head,  saying  with  a 
firm  voice,  "  Strike  if  the  good  of  the  commonwealth  de- 
mands it."  He  was  speedily  hacked  to  pieces,  and  his  head 
borne  in  triumph  to  Otho,  by  whose  orders  it  was  fixed 
upon  a  spear  and  carried  in  derision  around  the  camp. 
After  being  subjected  to  various  indignities,  his  remains 
were  buried  in  his  own  gardens  near  the  Aurelian  Way. 
He  had  reigned  seven  months.  His  character  is  perhaps 
fittingly  described  in  the  caustic  remark  of  Tacitus:  "The 
suf&ages  of  mankind  would  have  pronounced  him  worthy 
of  empire,  had  he  never  made  the  experiment." 

Otho:  69  a. d.  The  atrocities  attending  the  elevation 
of  Otho  to  the  imperial  ofiKce  formed  a  disastrous  omen  of 
things  to  come.  Piso  Licinianus,  a  man  of  noble  character, 
who  had  been  chosen  and  publicly  proclaimed  by  Galba 
as  his  successor,  was  dragged  from  the  temple  of  Vesta, 
where  his  person  should  have  been  sacred,  and  ruthlessly 
butchered  by  Otho's  order.  The  favorite  and  justly  detested 
Vinius  was  the  next  victim,  following  whose  death  came 
that  of  the  few  remaining  friends  of  Galba;  and  '^ after  a 
day  of  guilt  and  carnage,"  says  the  historian,  "the  joys 
that  succeeded  completed  the  climax  of  abominations." 
The  fathers  decreed  to  Otho  the  name  of  Augustus  and 
all  imperial  honors  which  had  been  enjoyed  by  former 
Caesars,  and  the  murderer  of  Galba  was  conveyed  trium- 
phantly through  the  bloody  Forum,  past  heaps  of  headless 
Roman  citizens,  to  the  imperial  palace,  where,  as  he  flat- 
tered himself,  he  was  now  to  be  the  master  of  revels  in 
which  thus  far  he  had  merely  assisted. 

[  209  ] 


His  joy  was  short-lived.  During  the  very  first  night  of 
his  imperial  grandeur  he  was  tortured  by  horrible  dreams, 
in  which  the  ghost  of  the  murdered  Galba  threatened  him 
with  a  drawn  sword ;  and  the  Emperor,  in  a  fi-enzy  of  fear, 
ro  ed  out  of  bed  shrie  ing  for  his  guards.  Almost  imme- 
diately also  came  the  mutiny  of  the  German  l^ons,  who 
took  an  oath  to  Vitellius,  as  Emperor,  and  advanced  upon 
Italy.  Otho  first  endeavored  to  concihate  Vitellius  by  of- 
fering him  a  share  in  the  Empire.  But  the  commander 
of  the  Rhine  legions  refused  to  divide  the  gift  of  his  sol- 
diers. Otho,  in  the  meantime,  by  again  setting  up  the 
statues  of  Nero,  by  restoring  his  friends  to  place  and  of- 
fice and  promising  the  speedy  completion  of  the  Gk>lden 
House,  and  above  all  by  announcing  his  intention  to  obey 
the  laws  and  govern  equitably,  had  acquired  a  very  con- 
siderable support  in  Rome.  Upon  the  failure  of  his  n^o- 
tiations  with  Vitellius,  he  prepared  vigorously  for  war,  and, 
after  assembling  the  neighboring  legions  and  the  prsetorian 
cohorts,  marched  to  intercept  the  Germans.  The  first  pas- 
sage was  favorable  to  the  Emperor,  but  at  a  great  battle 
near  Cremona,  where  forty  thousand  were  slain,  the  troops 
of  Vitellius  were  successful.  Although  the  Emperor's  re- 
sources were  still  far  from  contemptible, — it  would  have 
been  mere  child's  play  for  the  first  Caesar  to  have  turned 
the  defeat  into  a  glorious  victory, — he  preferred  to  accept 
the  verdict  as  final.  He  gave  a  great  dinner  to  his  ofiS- 
cers  and  friends,  to  whom  he  finally  addressed  a  farewell 
speech,  declaring  that  he  was  unwilling  to  cause  further 
bloodshed.  When  the  feast  ended,  he  retired  to  his  room, 
wrote  a  letter  of  consolation  to  the  widow  of  Nero,  whom 
he  had  intended  to  marry ,^  committing  his  ashes  to  her 
care,  and  then  slept  calmly  until  daybreak,  when  he  drew 

^  Messalina,  Nero's  third  wife.  Ante,  page  156. 

[  210  ] 

iv  o 




a  dagger  from  under  his  pillow  and  stabbed  himself  to 
death.  He  had  reigned  barely  three  months  and  had  just 
completed  his  thirty-seventh  year.  The  reckless  and  vicious 
associate  and  abetter  in  Nero's  abominable  depravity,  it 
has  been  well  said  that  in  all  his  life  nothing  became  Otho 
so  well  as  his  manner  of  leaving  it.  His  funeral  was  cele- 
brated at  BrixeUum,  where  he  died,  and  in  commendation 
of  his  fortitude  many  of  his  soldiers  killed  themselves  at 
his  pyre.  One  can  but  wonder  which  was  the  most  dis- 
torted, the  character  of  the  suicides  or  their  conception  of 
the  character  of  the  Emperor  slain  by  his  own  hand. 

ViTELLius :  69  A.  D.  Early  in  the  reign  of  Galba,  For- 
tenis  Capito,  who  had  assumed  imperial  rights  in  Lower 
Germany,  of  which  he  was  governor,  had  been  slain  by 
Valens,  legate  of  one  of  the  legions — not  improbably  to 
remove  a  witness  of  the  murderer's  o^m^bortive  intrigues. 
Galba  sent  to  Grermany  as  general  ijiplaceof  Capito,  Aulus 
ViteUius,  a  man  without  militaiy^ocjnSeed  ^y  special  dis- 
tinction, except  that  of  havix>g  befen'^what  Su^etQnius  terms 
"scandalously  vicious.'' VitellUiS  is  considert%ta have  been 

of  mean  birth,  although  Ms  grandfat^£^r^3^  ^  Roman 
knight  and  procurator  under  the  firsj^  C«&sar,  and  his  father 
was  a  censor  and  under  the  Emperors-Claudius  second  in 
rank  in  the  Empire.  After  attaining  the  purple,  when  it 
became  necessary  to  proclaim  a  more  extended  genealogy, 
no  difficulty  was  found  in  tracing  his  descent  from  an  early 
King  of  Latium  and  Vitellia,  a  Sabine  divinity.  As  the 
companion  and  favorite  of  Tiberius,  Caligula,  Claudius, 
and  Nero,  ViteUius  had  become  an  adept  in  all  the  vices 
and  depravity  of  the  age.  While  superintendent  of  the 
pubUc  works  he  practised  the  most  shameless  robbery,  and 
after  squandering  everything  that  he  could  steal,  is  said  to 

[211  ] 


a  dagger  from  under  his  pillow  and  stabbed  himself  to 
death.  He  had  reigned  barely  three  months  and  had  just 
completed  his  thirty-seventh  year.  The  reckless  and  vicious 
associate  and  abetter  in  Nero's  abominable  depravity,  it 
has  been  well  said  that  in  all  his  life  nothing  became  Otho 
so  well  as  his  manner  of  leaving  it.  His  funeral  was  cele- 
brated at  BrixeUum,  where  he  died,  and  in  commendation 
of  his  fortitude  many  of  his  soldiers  killed  themselves  at 
his  pyre.  One  can  but  wonder  which  was  the  most  dis- 
torted, the  character  of  the  suicides  or  their  conception  of 
the  character  of  the  Emperor  slain  by  his  own  hand. 

ViTEixius :  69  A.  D.  Early  in  the  reign  of  Galba,  For- 
tenis  Capito,  who  had  assumed  imperial  rights  in  Lower 
Germany,  of  which  he  was  governor,  had  been  slain  by 
Valens,  legate  of  one  of  the  legions — not  improbably  to 
remove  a  witness  of  the  murderer's  o^m%  abortive  intrigues. 
Galba  sent  to  Germany  as  general  iji'place^f  Capito,  Aulus 
Vitellius,  a  man  without  militarj^or^)n3eed  ^y  special  dis- 
tinction, except  that  of  havi^g  bebn'^what  Su^tQnius  terms 
'^scandalously  vicious."  Vitelliiis Js  considert<|^tp.have  been 
of  mean  birth,  although  his  j^ndfat|^r^3^  ^  Roman 
knight  and  procurator  under  the  firs^  C«&fiaif,  and  his  father 
was  a  censor  and  under  the  Emperor\^Claudius  second  in 
rank  in  the  Empire.  After  attaining  the  purple,  when  it 
became  necessary  to  proclaim  a  more  extended  genealogy, 
no  difficulty  was  found  in  tracing  his  descent  from  an  early 
King  of  Latium  and  Vitellia,  a  Sabine  divinity.  As  the 
companion  and  favorite  of  Tiberius,  CaUgula,  Claudius, 
and  Nero,  Vitellius  had  become  an  adept  in  all  the  vices 
and  depravity  of  the  age.  While  superintendent  of  the 
public  works  he  practised  the  most  shameless  robbery,  and 
after  squandering  ever3rthing  that  he  could  steal,  is  said  to 

[211  ] 


"  Hidden  in  the  shady  groves  of  the  gardens  of  Arieia, 
like  those  slothful  brutes  which  if  you  give  them  food  lie 
down  and  sleep/'  it  was  not  until  Rome  itself  became  in- 
volved that  Vitellius  awoke  from  his  torpor.  As  a  modem 
writer  has  observed,  ''he  had  regarded  the  Empire  as  a 
banquet,  and  desired  to  finish  the  feast  in  tranquillity."^ 
The  fair  city  of  Cremona  had  been  utterly  annihilated  by 
the  advancing  Flavians;  Rome  was  threatened  with  a 
similar  fate,  and  the  imperial  hog,  after  watching  for  a 
time  from  his  table  in  the  palace  of  Tiberius  the  sangui- 
nary attack  upon  the  Capitol,^  finally  escaped  in  a  litter, 
accompanied  by  his  cook  and  baker,  to  a  house  on  the 
Aventine  occupied  by  his  wife.  He  was  finally  taken  by 
the  praetorians,  and  amidst  outrageous  insults,  half  naked, 
a  rope  about  his  neck  and  his  hands  tied  behind  his  back, 
was  dragged  down  the  Via  Sacra  and  across  the  Forum, 
where  his  predecessor  had  been  slain,  a  sword  being  thrust 
beneath  his  chin  to  compel  him  to  look  up  at  his  tormen- 
tors ;  to  be  at  last  hacked  to  pieces  on  the  Gemonian  stairs, 
from  whence  his  remains  were  thrown  into  the  Tiber. 

Vespasian  :  69  a.  d.  With  the  Emperor  Vespasian  it 
may  be  said  the  Augustan  age  recommenced,  continuing 
for  rather  more  than  a  century,  when  the  death  of  Marcus 
Aurelius  marked  the  culmination  of  imperial  splendor. 

ViteUius  was  the  last  of  the  patrician  Emperors.  His 
successor  was  the  son  of  a  Sabine  peasant,  whose  father 
had  been  a  centurion  in  Pompey's  legions  at  Pharsaiia. 
The  Emperor's  father,  after  serving  in  the  army,  was  made 

1  Duruy,  Hist.  Rome. 

^  The  Capitoline  and  Palatine,  at  the  northwest  elevation  of  which  latter 
stood  the  imperial  palace,  are  separated  only  by  the  depression  which 
constituted  the  Roman  Forum. 

[  214  ] 


collector  of  taxes  in  Asia ;  and  he  displayed  such  notable 
lonesty  in  office  that  statues  were  raised  to  him  bearing 
he  inscription  "To  the  honest  collector  of  taxes."  At  a 
ime  when  those  of  his  contemporaries  who  had  greatness 
hrust  upon  them  were  tracing  their  descent  from  the  di- 
inities,  it  is  refreshing  to  read  that  Vespasian  repudiated 
he  lofty  pedigree  prepared  for  him  by  his  flatterers  and 
howed  a  manifest  pride  in  his  humble  but  honest  ancestry. 
Titus  Flavins  Vespasianus  was  bom  in  the  country  of 
he  Sabines  in  the  year  10  a.  d. — five  years  before  the 
leath  of  the  Emperor  Augustus.  He  had  therefore  seen 
he  rise  and  fall  of  seven  Emperors  before  his  own  hopes 
if  obtaining  the  purple  were  realized.  He  was  sixty  years 
lid  when  he  came  to  power,  and  during  the  remaining 
en  years  of  a  life  that  had  been  one  of  ceaseless  activity, 
le  labored  earnestly,  intelligently^  and  successfully  for  the 
relfare  of  the  State.  Historian^  have  spoken  of  him  as 
t  time-serving  flatterer  of  Caligula; 'tind  -Stietonius  heaps 
ipon  him  the  reproach  of  a  sordid  and  culpable  avarice, 
tlis  cowardly  flatteries  of  the  (third  EnapecDr^can  be  neither 
lenied  nor  condoned;  but  tpe  other  dhatge  of  Suetonius 
las  been  seriously  questioned.  However  i^is-  rnay  be,  by 
1  long  life  of  faithful  and  brilliant  services  to  the  State, 
rem  the  time  of  Claudius  to  his  death  thirty  years  later, 
l^'espasian  redeemed  his  early  reputation,  and  if  by  only 
letting  a  good  example,  accomplished  more  for  the  Roman 
State  than  ever  could  have  been  gwned  by  reformatory 
aws  alone.  Under  his  awakening  touch  and  firm  guidance 
he  innate  vitality  of  the  mighty  creation  of  Augustus  and 
lis  great  predecessor  soon  put  an  end  to  the  rapid  disor- 
pnization  which  had  set  in — a  disorganization  inevitable 
inder  a  constitution  where  everything  depended  upon  the 
naster,  and  where  the  latter  was  a  Caligula  or  a  Nero. 
[  215] 


The  Emperor  profited  by  the  very  excesses  of  those  who 
had  brought  the  State  to  such  an  evil  pass ;  and  it  is  with- 
out doubt  largely  from  contrast  with  these  others,  that 
the  early  century  writers  declared  Vespasian  worthy  to  be 
compared  with  the  best  pnnces  who  ever  reigned.  From 
what  can  be  learned  of  his  work  and  methods,  he  seems 
to  have  apprehended  the  fundamental  principle  of  all  true 
reform, — the  supplanting  of  the  old  idea  with  a  new  and 
better  one«  Suetonius  himself  is  compelled  to  render  him 
this  high  testimony, — that  it  would  be  difficult  to  name 
a  single  person  unjustly  punished  in  his  reign,  unless  it 
were  done  in  his  absence  or  without  his  knowledge.  St. 
Augustine  says  of  him  that  he  was  a  good  prince  and 
very  worthy  of  being  beloved,  while  the  historian  Pliny- 
declares,  '*  Greatness  and  majesty  produced  in  him  no 
other  effect  than  to  render  his  power  of  doing  good  equal 
to  his  desire." 

It  was  fitting  that  for  this  man,  who  had  proved  him- 
self truly  the  Emperor  required  by  the  times,  the  recur- 
rence of  that  grim  imperial  disease  which  had  stricken 
every  Csesar  since  Augustus  should  be  stayed.  In  the  little 
house  in  Reate  where  his  childhood  had  been  passed,  and 
which  he  had  sacredly  preserved  unchanged,  death  came 
to  him,  in  his  seventieth  year.  Up  to  the  last  moment  he 
calmly  and  courageously  occupied  himself  with  the  affairs 
of  the  State.  When  the  final  moment  approached  he  jok- 
ingly remarked, — referring  to  his  coming  apotheosis, — "I 
shall  soon  be  a  godl"  A  little  later  he  cried  out,  "An 
Emperor  ought  to  die  standing,**  and,  attempting  to  rise, 
expired  in  the  effort  He  had  reigned  ten  years. 

TiTUs:  79  A.  D.  The  elder  Vespasian  had  married  in 
early  life  Flavia  Domitilla,  who  had  formerly  been  the 

[  216  ] 



mistress  of  Statilius  Capella,  a  Roman  knight  of  Sobrata 
in  Africa.  This  wife  and  their  only  daughter  died  before  he 
became  Emperor,  and  Vespasian  had  thereupon  renewed 
his  former  relations  with  Csenis,  a  freedwoman  of  Antonia ; 
which  may  account  for  the  fact  that  his  two  sons,  Titus 
and  Domitian,  were  educated  in  the  palace  with  the 
young  Britannicus«  The  elder  boy  is  alleged  to  have  been 
remarkable  for  his  bodily  and  mental  endowments.  Cer- 
tain it  is  that  he  soon  showed  himself  to  be  a  man  of  ac- 
tion and  served  the  State  with  distinction  under  Nero  and 
his  three  immediate  successors.  Early  in  the  reign  of  his 
father,  Titus  had  achieved  great  glory  by  the  final  over- 
throw of  Jerusalem,  which  succumbed  after  a  two  years* 
siege;  and  following  the  triumph  which  in  commemora- 
tion of  this  affair  was  celebrated  jointly  by  father  and 
son,^  the  latter  was  openly  associated  with  Vespasian  in 
the  conduct  of  the  Empire.  It  ^^as  a  lyise  act  on  the  part 
of  the  old  Emperor,  upon  whose  atdih  not  a  voice  was 
raised  against  the  transmission  of  the  purple  to  Titus, 
who  thus  enjoyed  the  uniquetdistiBCtion  of  being  the  first 
prince  who  succeeded  to  the  Empire  by  .hereditary  right. 

Such  an  accession  must  have  been  a  surprise  to  the  Ro- 
man world,  accustomed  to  the  wildest  upheaval  upon  the 
death  of  a  Caesar — especially  in  view  of  the  fact  that  the 
new  Emperor's  brother  had  made  no  secret  of  his  expec- 
tation to  be  a  partner  in  the  Empire.  But  it  was  a  strong 
hand  which  now  held  the  reins,  and  fortified  by  rather 
more  than  connnon  shrewdness,  and  the  experience  born 
of  his  long  participation  in  power,  Titus  also  displayed  a 
moral  character  which  could  hardly  have  been  expected  in 
view  of  his  somewhat  wild  and  dissolute  youth.  Strange 

^  This  triumph  was  marked  by  the  beautiful  ^'Areh  of  Titus"  which  spans 
the  road  from  the  Forum  to  the  Colosseum. 

[  217] 

mistress  of  Statilius  Capella,  a  Roman  knight  of  Sobrata 
in  Afiica.  This  wife  and  their  only  daughter  died  before  he 
became  Emperor,  and  Vespasian  had  thereupon  renewed 
his  former  relations  with  Csenis,  a  freedwoman  of  Antonia; 
'w^hich  may  account  for  the  fact  that  his  two  sons,  Titus 
a.nd  Domitian,  were  educated  in  the  palace  with  the 
young  Britannicus.  The  elder  boy  is  alleged  to  have  been 
remarkable  for  his  bodily  and  mental  endowments.  Cer- 
tain it  is  that  he  soon  showed  himself  to  be  a  man  of  ac- 
tion and  served  the  State  with  distinction  under  Nero  and 
his  three  immediate  successors.  Early  in  the  reign  of  bis 
father,  Titus  had  achieved  great  glory  by  the  final  over- 
throw  of  Jerusalem,  which  succumbed  aiter  a  two  years' 
siege;  and  following  the  triumph  which  in  commemora- 
tion of  this  aff^r  was  celebrated  jointly  by  father  and 
son,'  the  latter  was  openly  associated  with  Vespasian  in 
the  conduct  of  the  Empire.  It  ^^  a  vise  act  on  the  part 
of  the  old  Emperor,  upon  whose  ateih  not  a  voice  was 
raised  against  the  transmission  of  the  purple  to  Titus, 
who  thus  enjoyed  the  unique.distiBction  of  being  the  first 
prince  who  succeeded  to  the  Empire  by  .hereditary  right. 

Such  an  accession  must  have  been  a  surprise  to  the  Ro- 
man world,  accustomed  to  the  wildest  upheaval  upon  the 
death  of  a  Ciesar — especially  in  view  of  the  fact  that  the 
new  Emperor's  brother  had  made  no  secret  of  his  expec- 
tation to  be  a  partner  in  the  Empire.  But  it  was  a  strong 
hand  which  now  held  the  reins,  and  fortified  by  rather 
more  than  common  shrewdness,  and  the  experience  bom 
of  his  long  participation  in  power,  Titus  also  displayed  a 
moral  character  which  could  hardly  have  been  expected  in 
view  of  his  somewhat  wild  and  dissolute  youth.  Strange 

*  This  triumph  was  marked  by  the  beautiful  "Arch  of  Titus"  which  i^miis 
the  rokd  from  the  Forum  to  the  Colossemn. 

[  2I7  ] 

him."  Titus  had  indeed  always  treated  his  brother  with 
unmerited  respect,  and  had  invariably  declared  Domitian 
to  be  his  successor;  which  was  perhaps  one  reason  why 
Rome  accepted  its  new  master  apparently  as  matter  of 
course.  But  it  is  only  upon  the  theory  that  the  new  Em- 
peror  had  arranged  the  matter  in  advance  with  the  ever 
corruptible  pnetorians  that  we  can  satisfactorily  account 
for  the  failure  of  the  Senate  and  people  to  repudiate  the 
degenerate  Flavian. 

The  comfort  and  assistance  which  Vespasian  derived 
irom  his  elder  son  were  largely  counterbalanced  by  the 
cares  and  mortification  imposed  upon  him  by  the  younger. 
The  Emperor  did  not  feil  to  realize  the  wide  difference 
between  the  two  young  men.  Once  at  table,  when  Do- 
mitian declined  to  partake'^,  nflushrooms,*  the  father 
dryly  remarked  that  he  "vf'diiidji^t^if^r  the  da^er." 
The  son  grew  up  to  be  cruel,  lazy,  vindictive,  sensual,  and 
superstitious ;  and  the  e^of  t  .of  this  combination  of  vices 
in  the  sovereign  head  of  "k  r^ffnM'-iip,;^ii^e  despotism  may 
readily  be  imagined.  UpoiS"ftrs*'^succ£?.dingf  to  power,  Do- 
mitian made  professions  of  justice  and  clemency — even 
of  morality.  But  his  evil  instincts  could  not  long  be  re- 
pressed, and  during  nearly  fifteen  years  his  treatment  of 
the  Roman  people  was  exactly  what  might  have  been  ex- 
pected from  a  ruler  whose  favorite  occupation  in  private 
was  that  of  transfixing  flies  with  a  pin.  His  uninterrupted 
career  of  selfish  wickedness  was  redeemed  only  by  ati  oc- 
casional public-spirited  act,  such  as  the  erection  of  build- 
ings and  other  monuments,  and  the  enactment  of  some 
naoderately  good  laws — the  latter  intended,  of  course,  for 
every  one  except  the  Emperor  and  his  favorites. 

'  The  miuhrooin  sterns  to  have  been  &  favorite  medium  for  the  adminte- 
tratioD  of  poison.  Claudius  was  disposed  of  in  this  my. 

.  -'•ir'-T.r  i^ii  pizr^.n — even  compeUing 

.    ^.        -i^zr^  x=  a^-^  wrich  was  so  abhor- 

^     -  •    _N.    I  ^  iJrc^i  zzsz  the  shame  and  dis- 

-     ..'  '^T  ilrsir^  rfc.>r  of  tbe  Emperors 

^     .  .■r'.u^\v   t  :r-ij  jkko  have  brought  him 

.1  -2^  •  r  :2t**£  .-c  a  srrong  and  martial  hand 

c    ^  •  ^'^  r?c:i-ts:  O'  vhich  had  so  easily  coun- 

^     ^     •."    »"r--:i.t:^aL:LLT;x:  efforts  in  £avor  of  reform. 

.      -c  ^-^Ov.-^  of  a  successor  he  sdected  the 

>  ^-  -c  ■:i->  T^c  tbe  purpose  of  restoring  disci- 

.     i^  :'^'  ::z^  State  a  ruler  whom  no  force  would 

,  _      V"^  Jt::  was  then  waging  war  upcm  the 

^   •  v:  'ic'fcs  Of  a  great  victory  came  from  Pan- 

^  >.>^  w^rr  rvV^.^-'j:  solemn  ofierings  in  tbe  Capi- 

..  •    ^v^^:'t>i  Trsrisn  as  his  son,  at  tbe  same  time 

;5^   o  i.u  the  sur:.airie  of  Germanicus,  which  the 

\»u  '^.:ii-<^f  a^umed  in  honor  of  bis  generals 

V  \i'  bividi::^  Trajan,  in  a  letter,  avaoge  the  in- 

V  .    ,..>  :  isf  Kir.jvix^r  had  sustained  from  tbe  leading 
.     V    i*    *  V  gtiard,  Xerva  passed  quietly  away  after 

^  .*a^»^  Cecil  months. 

V  v\.  9*  A.  IX  In  the  selection  of  Tngan  as  bis  sue- 
_  \si\A  supplied  the  State  witb  its  first  provincial 

.v^.  M.  Vlpius  Trajanus  was  bom  at  Italica  on 
KsC^x^  a  iH^lony  in  Spain  which  had  been  founded 
x.  .J  MO  AtVicanus  during  the  Second  Punic  War.  His 
u^  vv4^  A  soldier  who  had  attained  tbe  highest  ci\il 
.  Ai:UturY  honors — consul,  govanor,  triumphaUa  orna- 
..iM  p»v-wnsul  in  Asia.  Under  his  father  the  future 
^v^uu*  umde  his  first  military  campaigns,  and  himself 
v»lil>  became  noted  as  a  brave  and  skilful  general 
uU.^  uciueving  the  prsetorship  and  consulship,  with  the 

[  222  ] 


of  his  uncle's  death  was  received.  His  procedure,  says  a 
modem  writer,  was  very  simple:  to  the  soldiers  he  prom- 
ised a  double  donativum,  to  the  senators  he  addressed  an 
exceedingly  modest  letter.  "The  former  were  no  more 
capable  of  resisting  the  money  than  the  latter  were  the 
fair  words,  backed  by  seven  l^ons;  each  received  his 
share  and  felt  satisfied  1"  But  the  old  murderous  spirit 
which  had  dominated  the  Roman  world  under  the  Julian 
dynasty  must  needs  bubble  up  with  the  death  of  Trajan, 
who  had  inspired  a  respect  and  fear  which  the  compara- 
tively unknown  Hadrian  could  not  at  first  command.  A 
plot  was  formed  to  kill  the  Emperor,  and  as  the  ring- 
leaders were  men  of  consequence, — all  four  of  them  ex- 
consuls, — it  would  undoubtedly  have  borne  fruit  but  for 
a  chance  discovery  during  the  absence  of  Hadriian,  whose 
first  information  in  r^ard  to  the  matter  was  that  the 
Senate  had  promptly  executed  the  conspirators.  Upon  his 
accession  to  power  Hadrian  immediately  gave  up  the  pro- 
fession of  arms  and  devoted  himself  entirely  to  admin- 
istrative work.  Emulating  the  simple  and  prtuseworthy 
mjmner  of  living  which  had  endeared  his  great  predecessor 
to  the  Roman  world,  and  ruling  for  the  most  part  justly 
and  well,  he  speedily  gained  the  confidence  and  esteem  of 
both  Senate  and  people  and  is  fairly  entitled  to  be  called 
a  great  monarch.  One  writer  terms  him  "the  best  in  the 
imperial  series";  while  another  declares  that  "when  the 
glory  of  rulers  is  measured  by  the  happiness  which  they 
have  given  to  their  subjects,  Hadrian  wiU  stand  forth  the 
first  of  the  Roman  Emperors." 

In  his  domestic  relations  the  Emperor  was  unfortunate. 

There  seems  to  have  been  no  sympathy  between  husband 

""         '  "e  Emperor  knew  no  peace  until  Sabina 

was  perhaps  the  reason  for  a  report  that 

[  226  ] 


1  ••,v 


is-lO»t    LtNOX  AND 
4U  D»  s  FOVN  OPTION 



her  death  was  caused  by  ill  treatment.  Having  no  chil- 
dren, Hadrian  chose  for  companion  a  beautiful  boy  named 
Antinous.  But  a  crazy  seer  having  declared  that  the  Em- 
peror's hfe  would  be  prolonged  if  some  one  would  die  for 
him,  Antinous  committed  suicide.  Shortly  after  this  loss, 
realizing  that  he  was  growing  old,  the  Emperor  secured 
the  consent  of  the  Senate  to  his  adoption  of  a  successor, 
and  his  choice  fell  upon  Lucius  Commodus  Verus,  who, 
strangely  enough,  was  son-in-law  to  Caius  Nigrinus,  who 
was  one  of  those  put  to  death  by  the  Senate  for  conspir- 
ing against  the  Emperor.  Verus  seems  to  have  been  chosen 
on  account  of  his  pleasing  personality,  for  although  appar- 
ently gifted  with  eloquence  and  talents,  he  was  without 
fixed  character  and  led  the  elegant  life  of  the  rich  patri- 
dans.  The  assent  of  the  people  and  of  the  soldiers  was  se- 
cured by  a  large  gift  of  money;'  but  the  choice  of  Verus 
never  was  popular  and  brD^gI]t^o■'oontfo^t  to  the  old  Em- 
peror. Fortunately  for  hi^  reputation,  Verus  did  not  long 
outlive  his  honor,  and  oi)ce  more  Hadrian!  found  himself 
alone  in  the  world.  Thesei.f*^fiyr^;ti;6^  'wjw  began  to  af- 
fect both  his  health  and  tjb  s_om^exteii.t.liis.i!haracter.  Dur- 
ing the  later  years  of  his  reign  there  seem  to  have  been 
numerous  executions  for  alleged  conspiracy,  although  it 
is  by  no  means  certmn  that  for  these  the  Emperor  was 
direcUy  responsible.  And  certain  it  is  that  he  retmned 
enough  character  and  wisdom  to  make  another  public 
adoption  which  gave  to  Rome  two  of  her  best  and  wisest 
rulers.  Assembling  the  most  important  of  the  senators  at 
the  palace,  he  declared  that  he  had  chosen  as  his  successor 
Aurelius  Antoninus;  and  as  the  latter  had  no  son  Uving 
and  was  himself  advanced  in  years,  Hadrian  stretched  his 
authority  to  include  in  the  adoption,  as  successors  to  An- 
toninus, Lucius  Aurelius  Verus  (son  of  that  Verus  who 
[  227  ] 


had  first  been  designated  as  Hadrian's  successor)  and  Mar- 
cus Annius  Verus,  a  youth  whose  great  capacities  had  al- 
ready impressed  the  Emperor  and  who  afterwards  became 
the  celebrated  Marcus  Aurelius. 

This  adoption  occurred  the  twenty-fifth  of  February, 
and  on  the  tenth  of  March  following  Hadrian  died.  His 
last  days  were  clouded  with  pain  and  sufiering,  so  that 
towards  the  end  he  prayed  for  death  and  actually  b^ged 
a  freedman  to  strike  him  with  a  sword — having;  marked 
the  pkceoverhis  heart  withapiece  of  chalklrhe  man's 
courage  failed,  however,  and  he  ran  away,  leaving  the 
wretched  old  Emperor  to  fight  it  out  alone;  which  he 
finaUy  did  with  some  degree  of  calmness  and  even  of  mel- 
ancholy wit,  if  we  may  accept  as  authentic  some  lines  of 
poetry  "to  his  fluttering  soul"  which  he  left  behind.^  He 
was  sixty-two  at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  had  reigned 
over  twenty  years.  His  ashes  were  entombed  in  the  mighty 
mausoleum  which  bears  his  name — now,  however,  com- 
monly spoken  of  as  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo. 

Titus  Antoninus:  188  a. d.  The  new  Emperor  had 
been  neither  a  relative  nor  an  intimate  fi*iend  of  Hadrian, 
whose  second  choice  of  a  successor  seems  to  have  been 
based  alone  upon  the  latter's  manifest  qualifications  for 
the  ofiice,  at  least  as  fiir  as  character  and  virtues  were 
concerned.  Titus  Aurelius  Fulvus  Boionius  Arrius  An- 
toninus, as  he  had  been  named  before  his  adoption,^  was 

1  The  lines  are  as  follows:  which  Dean  Merivale  has  translated: 

^^Animula,  vaguki,  blandula,  *^8oui  qfmine,  pretty  one,  flitting  one, 
Hospee,  comesque,  corporis,  Queet  and  partner  qfmy  day. 

Quae  nunc  abibie  in  loca, —  Whither  vriU  thou  hie  away, 

FaUidula,  rigida,  nudula,  PaUid  one,  rigid  one,  naked  one, — 

Nee,  ut  eolee  dabie  jocoe"  ;  Never  to  play  again,  never  to  playf" — 

'  After  his  accession  he  was  called  Titus  iBtius  Hadrianus  Antonius  Pins 
Augustus^  commonly  shortened  to  Antonius  Pius,  or  ''the  Dutiful." 

[  228  ] 


bom  near  Lanuvium  on  the  nineteenth  of  September,  86. 
His  ancestors  came  originally  from  Nimes»  upon  which 
city  the  Emperor  Tiberius  had  conferred  the  jus  Latiiy 
whereby  any  inhabitant  who  had  held  mimicipal  office  be- 
came clothed  with  Roman  citizenship.  Both  there  and  at 
Rome  the  Antonines  had  enjoyed  the  highest  civil  offices, 
including  at  least  five  consulships.  The  family  possessed  an 
enviable  record  for  character,  and  the  virtues  of  the  new 
Emperor  had  come  to  him  by  direct  inheritance  from  both 
his  father  and  grand&ther,  who  were  men  of  purest  lives. 
He  had  himself  filled  the  offices  of  consul,  pro-consul  (in 
Asia),  jvdex  of  one  of  the  Italian  provinces,  and  member 
of  the  imperial  consistory ;  all  of  which  indicates  plainly 
that  before  adoption  he  had  enjoyed  the  imperial  favor. 

It  is  a  mooted  question  whether  or  not  the  Emperor's 
domestic  relations  were  happy.  His  wife,  the  beautifrd 
Faustina,  has  been  accorded  an  extremely  bad  reputation ; 
but  it  is  not  improbable  that  the  attacks  upon  her  char- 
acter were  in  the  main  slanderous.  Certain  it  is  that  the 
Emperor  professed  for  her  both  love  and  esteem,  and  re- 
fused to  marry  again  after  her  death,  which  occurred  shortly 
after  his  accession.  Three  of  their  four  children  had  pre- 
viously died;  and  of  Faustina  the  younger,  who  became 
the  wife  of  Marcus  Aurelius,  little  that  is  not  disparaging 
has  come  down  to  us. 

Antoninus  was  fifty  years  of  age  when  he  came  to  the 
throne,  and  the  twenty  odd  years  of  his  reign  were  a  time 
of  peace,  plenty,  and  protection  for  the  Romans.  Some 
wars,  it  is  true,  were  necessarily  waged  in  defence  of  his 
Empire;  but  personally  he  undertook  no  expedition  and 
diiring  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  he  did  not  leave 
Rome  or  its  environs,  except  for  a  rapid  tour  in  Asia. 
It  is  a  grave  question  whether  the  very  mildness  of  his 

[  229  ] 

government  was  not  the  primal  cause  of  his  successors 
greatest  misfortunes.  Unduly  fond  of  his  ease  and  inclined 
towards  too  much  complacency  with  the  Senate,  the  ad- 
ministration of  Antoninus  was  lacking  in  the  discipline  and 
rigidity  with  which  Trajan  and  Hadrian  had  made  possible 
their  successor's  own  peaceful  reign.  But  for  all,  Rome — 
that  is  to  say,  mankind — owed  him  a  genuine  debt  of 
gratitude,  and  posterity  has  accorded  him  so  unique  a 
place  among  the  best  rulers  of  his  time  that  his  name  has 
become  a  veritable  proverb  for  goodness 

In  his  seventy-fourth  year,  after  a  life  theretofore  singu- 
larly free  from  any  sort  of  infirmity,  his  physical  strength 
began  to  decrease,  although  without  attendant  bodily  dis- 
order ;  and  in  March,  161,  after  the  barest  shadow  of  an  ill- 
ness, he  calmly  passed  away.  His  last  words — in  reply  to 
the  tribune  of  the  guards,  who  inquired  for  the  password — 
were  "Patience  and  Resignation  " ;  which  may  be  accepted  as 
an  unaffected  declaration  of  the  principle  which  had  guided 
him  in  every  dai^  hour.  He  had  reigned  twenty-three  years. 

Mabcus  Aoreuus:  161  a.  d.  The  successor  of  Anto- 
ninus was  of  a  family  which  came  originally  from  Spain, 
although  he  himself  was  bom  at  Rome,  on  April  26,  121. 
His  ancestry  was  patrician,  his  grandfather  having  been 
twice  consul,  and  prefect  of  the  city.  His  mother,  Lucilla, 
was  a  direct  descendant  from  Domitius  Afer,  the  favorite 
historian  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius.  His  name  was  Marcus 
Annius  Venis;  after  his  adoption  be  was  called  ^lius 
Aurelius  Verus  Cesar,  and  after  his  succession  Marcus 
Aurelius  Antoninus  Augustus.  From  early  boyhood  his 
life  had  been  austere,  the  philosopher's  cloak  having  been 
assumed  at  the  age  of  twelve,  from  which  time  he  never 
failed  to  practise  the  severest  stoical  simplicity;  sleeping 
[  280  ] 


on  the  bare  ground,  eating  little,  exercising  and  working 
without  intermission,  and  indulging  in  no  pleasures — or 
rather  invariably  finding  his  pleasure  in  an  unceasing  de- 
votion to  duty,  the  pursuit  of  knowledge,  and  the  attain- 
ment of  a  perfect  self-mastery. 

Although  Antoninus  had  named  Marcus  Aurelius  alone 
as  his  successor,  the  latter  felt  called  upon  to  associate 
ivith  himself  in  the  imperial  power  Lucius  Aurelius  Verus, 
who,  it  will  be  remembered,  had  been  adopted  with  Aure- 
lius as  one  of  the  heirs-apparent  of  Antoninus  at  the  time 
the  latter  was  formally  chosen  to  succeed  Hadrian.  Verus, 
however,  although  still  further  dignified  by  his  marriage 
with  Lucilla,  the  Emperor's  daughter,  seems  to  have  had 
the  good  sense  to  content  himself  with  the  position  of  a 
lieutenant.  This  was  fortunate  both  for  the  reputation  of 
Aurelius  and  the  welfare  of  the^^people ;  for  nothing  but 
the  Emperor's  own  gravity  of  }if<^lWuy*^§p|)are|itly  have 
made  amends  for  the  wild  and  Hotdy^tiaisi^i!^^^  o^*the  son- 
in-law,  who  would  soon  have  destroyed  the  Tibntor  of  the 
imperial  house  if  he  had  openly  <oeQi4pied  the  position  ac- 
corded by  his  too  generous  bj^therT^xi^plCtbd  Jby  a  select 
coterie  of  wild  spirits,  Verus  displSiyed^ll  ilie  personal 
misconduct  with  which  Rome  had  been  disgraced  by  Nero, 
with  the  important  exception  that  his  extravagance  and 
debauchery  were  fi^ee  fix)m  cruelty.  Fortunately,  however, 
the  Emperor  had  an  early  opportimity  and  the  good  sense 
to  despatch  his  associate  to  the  East,  where  the  fortunes  of 
the  Empire  were  seriously  threatened  by  a  Parthian  inva- 
sion; and  in  his  conduct  of  the  campaign  Verus  certainly 
bore  himself  both  modestly  and  with  credit  He  performed 
a  distinct  service  to  the  State  in  discovering  the  conspiracy 
of  Crassus,  who  was  plotting  to  overthrow  Aurelius  and 
seize  the  Empire.  Four  years  later,  after  the  inglorious 

[281  ] 


•  r 




i  =1 





i      i.  t 


1  M=. 

IS  \ 

« . 

,1    .f 



1  i: 





i:^' -i  ■■■• 




>   ''■'< 




campaign  in  Illyria,  Verus  died  of  apoplexy  at  Altinum 
and  relieved  Aurelius  from  further  sorrow  and  shame.  Un- 
happy in  his  adoptive  brother,  the  Emperor  was  even 
more  unfortunate  in  his  direct  family  relations.  His  wife, 
Faustina  (daughter  of  the  preceding  Emperor),  must  have 
been  indeed  an  infamous  woman,  as  the  Senate  begged  the 
Emperor  to  punish  or  at  least  divorce  her.*  Seven  children 
had  been  bom  to  the  imperial  pwr,  of  whom  two  boys  died 
in  infancy,  the  eldest  daughter  disgraced  herself  as  the  un- 
fiuthful  wife  of  Pompeianus,^  while  Commodus,  the  only 
other  son,  at  an  early  age  disclosed  the  peculiarly  evil  in- 
stincts which  in  later  years,  and  under  the  robust  stimulus 
of  arbitrary  power,  devdoped  into  a  character  more  de- 
graded even  than  that  of  Nero,  if  such  a  thing  were  possible. 
Aurelius  certmnly  needed  all  of  his  stoicism  to  sustain 
the  burdens  wid  calamities  which  finally  pressed  upon 
him.  The  splendor  and  magnificence  of  the  Empire  had 
reached  its  apogee.  Already  the  signs  of  decay  and  disin- 
tegration were  manifest  The  reign  of  the  "Philosopher," 
b^un  in  tranquiUity,  had  gradually  developed  into  a 
period  of  recurring  storms.  Inundations,  pestilence,  fam- 
ine, war,  grim  persecution* — in  its  final  effect  more  blast- 
ing even  than  war, — all  of  these  calamities  in  turn  bore 

'  Among  the  scandaloua  stories  about  Faustina  were  the  reports  that 
Commodus  was  really  the  son  of  a  gladiator,  and  that  Verus,  who  had 
married  her  daughter,  Lucilla,  was  one  of  her  lovers,  Lucilla  being  her- 
self charged  with  a  similar  offence  in  after  years. 

*  Pompeianus  was  her  second  husband. 

*  The  persecutions  of  the  Christians  which  occurred  during  the  reign  of 
Marcus  Aurelius  have  left  the  one  dark  stain  upon  an  otherwise  singu- 

ame.  In  refusing  "to  swear  by  the  gods," — that  is,  in  refus- 
'  certain  laws  of  the  State, — the  victims  were  deserving  of 
bment,  according  to  the  Emperor,  who  when  appealed  to 
declared  that  the  law  must  take  its  course. 

[  282  ] 



down  upon  the  just  and  gentle-minded  Emperor,  who, 
unsupported  even  by  the  love  and  consideration  of  a  vir- 
tuous wife  or  son,  became  sad  and  mournful  and  rarely 
was  seen  to  smile.  It  is  impossible  to  withhold  profound- 
est  pity  for  the  misfortunes  which  towards  the  end  en- 
gulfed a  man  whose  life  from  very  boyhood  had  been  so 
loyally  cast  upon  lines  of  the  highest  ideals,  essentially 
pagan  though  such  ideals  may  be  considered.  But  on  the 
other  hand,  it  is  because  of  the  very  clearness  of  his  per- 
ception and  rigidity  of  his  practice  in  moral  affairs  that 
we  also  find  it  difficult  to  avoid  reproaching  him  for  nam- 
ing as  his  successor  in  an  office  where,  as  he  must  have 
known,  the  character  of  the  occupant  counted  for  so 
much,  the  weak,  licentious,  and  savage  youth  whose  in- 
nate wickedness  had  already  become  manifest.  For  it  is 
to  be  remembered  that  the  principle  of  royal  heredity, 
although  of  course  always  dear  to  a  father's  heart,  as  it 
seems  to  be  naturally,  ab^^table  to  the  governed,  was 
by  no  means  that  whicll^iiffid/'^r^Miofore  obtained  in  the 
Empire.  On  the  contrary,  out'  wrjsi^tefn  Emperors  there 
had  been  only  twp-„tkus  far  who  wfeBfe  the  natural  heirs 
of  their  predecessor,^  *l?fti*/:gke,  j^est,  the  custom  of  adop- 
tion (which,  through  lh«^.incWicr^  ^f  formal  ratification 
by  the  Senate  and  the  army^-fegs  heen  well  pointed  out^ 
to  have  been  a  sort  of  compromise  between  the  principles 
of  heredity  and  popular  election)  had  controlled  in  the 
bestowal  of  the  purple,  the  army  or  Senate  stepping  in  * 
where,  for  any  reason,  the  privilege  had  not  been  exercised 

^  These  were  Titus  and  Domitian. 

>  Confirmation  by  the  Senate  was  considered  as  the  assent  of  the  nobil- 
ity; that  of  the  soldiers  was  accepted  as  a  ratification  by  the  people,  of 
whom  the  army  was  considered  more  representative  than  was  the  popu- 
lace of  the  city. 
•  Duruy. 

[  288  ] 

down  upon  the  just  and  gentle-minded  Emperor,  who, 
unsupported  even  by  the  love  and  consideration  of  a  vir- 
tuous wife  or  son,  became  sad  and  mournful  and  rarely 
was  seen  to  smile.  It  is  impossible  to  withhold  profound- 
est  pity  for  the  misfortunes  which  towards  the  end  en- 
^Ifed  a  man  whose  life  from  very  boyhood  had  been  so 
loyally  cast  upon  lines  of  the  highest  ideals,  essentially 
pagan  though  such  ideals  may  be  considered.  But  on  the 
other  hand,  it  is  because  of  the  very  clearness  of  his  per- 
ception and  ligidity  of  his  practice  in  moral  affairs  that 
we  also  find  it  difficult  to  avoid  reproaching  him  for  nam- 
ing as  his  successor  in  an  office  where,  as  he  must  have 
known,  the  character  of  the  occupant  counted  for  so 
DQuch,  the  weak,  hcentious,  and  savage  youth  whose  in- 
nate wickedness  had  already  become  manifest.  For  it  is 
to  be  remembered  that  the  principle  of  royal  heredity, 
although  of  course  always  dear  to  a  father's  heart,  as  it 
seems  to  be  natural]^  abiMjitable  to  the  governed,  was 
by  no  means  that  w,faic^'h9d.'^er^:^fpre  obtained  in  the 
Empire.  On  the  contrary,  ouf  M.CBtjtepn  Emperors  there 
had  been  only  twj>„yhis  far  who  w6ue  the  natural  heirs 
of  their  predecessior^^  'Ffte'tiiQ,  jest,  the  custom  of  adop- 
tion (which,  through  Ui«^.incraei^  jbf  formal  ratification 
by  the  Senate  and  the  armyl'hag  Jbeen  well  pointed  out^ 
to  have  been  a  sort  of  compromise  between  the  principles 
of  heredity  and  popular  election)  bad  controlled  in  the 
bestowal  of  the  purple,  the  army  or  Senate  stepping  in  * 
where,  for  any  reason,  the  privilege  had  not  been  exercised 

'  These  were  Titus  and  Domitian. 

■  Confinnation  by  the  Senate  was  conadered  as  the  assent  of  the  nobil~ 
ity;  that  of  the  soldiers  was  accepted  as  a  ratification  by  the  people,  of 
whom  the  army  was  considered  more  representative  than  was  the  popu- 
lace of  the  city. 

[  288  ] 






Commodus,  who  was  with  the  army  at  the  time  of  the 
Emperor's  death,  was  urged  by  his  father  s  generals  to 
stay  and  press  the  advantages  which  had  been  obtained. 
Lxured  by  the  seductions  of  the  capital,  however,  he 
bought  an  ignoble  peace  with  the  barbarians,  and  leav- 
ing Niger,  Pertinax,  Albinus,  and  Severus  (each  of  whom 
afterwards  became  Emperor)  to  guard  the  frontiers.  Corn- 
modus  hurried  to  Rome  and  at  once  plunged  into  that 
sea  of  vice  from  which  he  never  emerged.  Of  an  inferior 
intellect,  his  low  instincts  prompted  him  to  pleasures 
either  vulgar  or  hideous;  and  being  both  vicious  and 
timid,  it  needed  only  a  spark  to  develop  that  unreason- 
ing cruelty  which  is  the  inevitable  outcome  of  such  a 
nature  when  frightened  or  opposed.  It  was  his  sister 
Lucilla^  who  roused  the  tiger  within  him.  Jealous  of  the 
Emperor's  wife,^  who  of  course  had  the  precedence,  Lu- 
cilla  formed  a  plot  to  kill  Commodus  and  bestow  the 
purple  upon  her  friend  Quadratus,  a  rich  young  senator, 
through  whom  she  would  thus  obtain  a  larger  measiure  of 
power.  To  her  son-in-law,  who  was  an  intimate  friend 
of  the  Emperor,  was  intrusted  the  task  of  striking  the 
blow ;  and  one  evening  as  Commodus  was  passing  through 
a  dark  passage  leading  to  the  amphitheatre,  the  assassin 
fell  upon  him  with  a  dagger,  cr5dng  "The  Senate  sends 
thee  this!"  Fortunately  for  Commodus,  his  guards  were  at 
hand,  the  assassin  was  knocked  down  and  killed,  Cassar 
escaping  without  a  scratch,  although  so  overcome  with 
fright  that  he  could  scarcely  speak.  When  he  recovered 
his  senses  he  was  wild  with  ftiry;  Lucilla,  Quadratus,  and 
all  others  concerned  in  the  plot  were  put  to  death  at 
once,  and  upon  the  strength  of  the  words  used  by  the 

^  The  widow  of  his  father's  adoptive  brother  Verus.  Ante,  page  231, 
*  The  Empress  Crispina. 

[  286  ] 

t  ;. 










Eissassin  many  noble  senators,  friends  of  Aurelius,  also 
perished-  From  that  day  the  cruelty  of  Commodus  knew 
Qo  bounds.  He  seemed  possessed  with  a  veritable  thirst 
For  blood.  The  list  of  his  victims  is  so  long  that  we  can 
well  believe  Dion's  statement,  that  of  all  who  enjoyed  dis- 
tinction in  the  State  during  the  reign  of  his  father  three 
mly  under  Commodus  escaped  with  their  lives.  Once  more 
the  informers,  who  had  flourished  under  Tiberius,  Caligula, 
ind  Nero,  were  called  into  being.  Indiscriminate  accusa- 
tions of  all  sorts  of  crimes  were  lodged  by  these  scoundrels 
igainst  the  wealthier  nobles,  condemnation  following  as 
matter  of  course ;  whereupon  their  estates  were  seized  by 
the  Emperor,  who  shared  with  the  informers.* 

But  not  content  with  executions  of  this  sort,  in  which 
lie  could  not  personally  participate,  this  brutalized  off- 
spring of  the  virtuous  Antonines  actually  descended  into 
the  arena,  where,  surroimde^'  anA  pcptected  by  Moorish 
uid  Parthian  archers,  and  tt|l:H',fi£l§ohit:^ly  without  danger 
to  himself,  he  fought  over;  sev^  %Un^r€d''tx>mbats  and 
feirly  glutted  himself  in  blood.  "Never,"  says  Lampridius, 
"did  he  appear  in  public  with^Jit^being  ^(^ed' with  blood. 
When  he  had  mortally  Ttoutxdea  a'  ^i^iiatdr,  he  would 
plunge  his  hand  into  the  wound  and'tKeit  wipe  the  blood 
off  on  his  hair."  And  Dion  tells  with  shocking  particularity 
how  he  collected  a  nimiber  of  maimed  and  infirm  persons, 
had  them  disguised  as  fabulous  monsters  and  then  turned 
into  the  streets  of  Rome,  where  this  Divine  Augustus  fell 
upon  them  with  clubs  and  beat  them  to  death,  while  the 
degraded  populace  hailed  him  as  Amazonius  Victor  I 

As  long  as  Commodus  scattered  gold  among  them  and 

maintained  the  amphitheatres  with  such  extravagance,  and 

as  long  as  it  was  only  the  nobles  who  were  terrorized,  mur- 

*  Man;  noble  women  even  suffered  in  the  same  way. 

[  287  ] 

dered,  and  robbed,  the  populace  had  nothing  but  applause 
for  their  flower-crowned  darling.  It  was  another  thing 
when  they  themselves  were  oppressed,  and  when  the  ex- 
actions of  the  favorites,  Perennis  and  Cleander,  became 
too  grinding  they  rose  in  wrath  and  did  some  murdering 
on  their  own  account.  While  their  frightened  master  seems 
to  have  taken  the  hint  and  left  the  populace  atone  after 
they  had  killed  his  two  friends,  his  conduct  towards  the 
rest  of  the  State  was  if  anything  worse  than  ever;  and  it 
soon  became  evident  that  expiation  could  not  be  much 
longer  delayed.  The  Empress  Crispina,  having  been  ban- 
ished to  Capri  under  a  charge  of  adultery,  was  finally  put 
to  death ;  after  which  Commodus  formed  a  passionate  at- 
tachment for  a  woman  named  Marcia,  the  widow  of  one 
of  the  Emperor's  victims.^  Marcia  is  said  to  have  been 
a  Christian;^  and  proof  positive  of  the  assertion  may  be 
found  in  the  fact  that  she  it  was  who  finally  reUeved  the 
Roman  world  of  its  greatest  monster.  On  the  eve  of  the 
Satmnalia,'  while  Commodus  was  making  ready  to  pass 
the  night  in  a  school  of  gladiators  as  final  preparation 
for  the  bloody  deeds  of  the  day  to  come,  a  child  playing 
about  the  palace  discovered  some  tablets  upon  which  the 

1  The  name  of  concubiDe  seems  to  have  had  no  disgrace  attached  to  it. 
A  woman  occasionally  inscribed  upon  her  husband's  tomb  Concubina  et 
haeret.  Vespasian,  Antoninus,  Aurelius,  Coustantius  the  Pale,  and  Con- 
stantine  the  Great,  all  had  maintained  concubinage.  It  was  really  a  kind 
of  marriage,  not  suppressed  until  the  time  of  Leo  VI,  988  a.  d. 

*  The  one  good  thing  which  may  be  attributed  to  Commodus — the  free- 
dom from  persecution  enjoyed  by  the  Christians  under  his  reign — is 
doubtless  in  no  small  degree  attributable  to  the  influence  of  Marcia.  But 
it  most  be  admitted  that  even  before  she  came  upon  the  scene,  when  the 
Emperor  first  came  to  the  throne  (his  ferocious  cruelty  not  having  been 
yet  aroused),  he  released  from  prison  those  Christians  who  had  been  in 
carccrated  by  his  &tber. 

*  The  great  festival  of  Saturn,  celebrated  December  seventeenth. 

[  288  ] 


Emperor  had  written  the  names  of  the  victims  who  should 
next  perish.  Among  them  were  the  chamberlain  of  the 
palace,  the  prefect  of  the  guards,  and  Marcia  herself.  It 
was  the  last  straw,  and  the  hastily  formed  plan  for  self- 
preservation  was  instantly  carried  out.  Calling  for  wine, 
according  to  his  custom  on  leaving  the  bath,  Commodus  re- 
ceived the  fatal  cup  from  Marcia  herself,  and  the  effect  not 
proving  instantaneous,  Lsetus  and  the  others — including 
the  Emperor's  own  physician — promptly  choked  him  to 
death.  So  perished  at  last  this  Roman  abomination  in  the 
purple  robe,  in  the  thirty-second  year  of  his  age^  and 
the  thirteenth  of  his  t3rranny.  Writers  who  have  preserved 
the  history  of  his  reign  have  supplied  us  with  a  monoto- 
nous account  of  the  most  shocking  atrocities,  without  the 
relation  of  one  good  measure  of  government  or  one  single 
act  which  shows  care  for  the  public  interest  And  of  the 
five  monsters  whose  hideous  crimes  render  the  perpetra- 
tors unique  in  history — Caligula,  Nero,  Domitian,  Cara- 
calla,  and  himself — Commodus  may  fairly  be  accounted 
the  worst,  both  for  what  he  did  and  what  he  failed  to  do. 

Pertinax — DiDius  JuLiANUs:  198  A.  D.  Following  the 
death  of  Commodus,  six  claimants  for  the  imperial  office 
sprang  up  in  different  parts  of  the  En^pire,  and  of  the 
five  who  were  actually  proclaimed  only  one  died  a  natural 

^  Nero  died  at  the  same  age;  Caracalla  was  two  and  Caligula  three  years 
younger,  while  Domitian^  the  other  member  of  this  precious  quintette^ 
was  forty-five.  Caligula  reigned  four  years,  Nero  fifteen^  Domitian  fifteen^ 
Commodus  eleven^  Caracalla  six. 

^  Septimius  Severus.  From  the  death  of  Marcus  Aurelius  to  the  time  of 
the  Emperor  Diocletian^  a  period  of  about  one  hundred  years^  out  of  fifty- 
one  Emperors^  with  the  exception  of  Claudius  11^  who  died  of  the  plague, 
Septimius  Severus  is  the  only  one  who  died  from  natural  causes. 

[  289] 

PjI  ■•111   «         r      jW 




:;lii^;^it^r|-.:  : 

■.■\\  ..     ;:••' 

■  *■li^  ■ ''.  •  ■     ,!<»■■•     * 




■M  •  .■■■  'irK' 

i'  f 

■  .x, 


,  Tit.   .  ,    i 

•  ■il"  ■'V 

I  Ht.:;y 

- ''  jji. 


■«» «' 

•    * 





The  first  to  be  invested  was  Pertinax,  who  was  chosen 
by  the  guard  upon  the  motion  of  its  prefect,  Lsetus,  who 
had  participated  in  the  murder  of  Commodus.  The  son  of 
a  charcoal  dealer  in  Liguria,  the  new  Emperor  had  risen 
in  turn  through  all  the  important  public  offices  in  both 
the  army  and  State,  including  command  of  the  Danubian 
army  and  the  administration  of  four  consular  provinces. 
At  the  time  of  his  itelection  he  was  prefect  of  the  city, 
and  although  now  sixty-six  years  of  age,  the  stem  old  gen- 
eral, who  seems  to  have  been  noted  alike  for  his  honesty, 
simplicity,  and  severity  in  discipUne,  at  first  gave  promise 
of  accomphshing  just  what  Rome  needed,  after  the  dis- 
organizing reign  of  the  besotted  Commodus.  But  the 
matter  had  gone  too  far;  the  antidote  had  been  too  long 
delayed.  Three  days  after  his  investiture  the  guards  rose, 
and  Pertinax  was  able  to  quiet  them  only  by  an  immense 
donatwvmy  which  he  secured  by  a  forced  sale  of  the  luxu- 
rious belongings  of  his  predecessor.  Shortly  aft;er,  it  was 
discovered  that  Lastus  was  himself  forming  a  plot  against 
the  Emperor,  who,  however,  declined  txJ  approve  the  Sen- 
ate's reconmiendation  that  Lastus  should  be  put  to  death, 
Pertinax  declaring  that  during  his  reign  no  Roman  should 
be  executed. 

Such  clemency  was  ill  advised.  The  people  were  satis- 
fied with  their  new  Emperor,  who  ruled  justly  and  well. 
But  the  army,  accustomed  to  the  license  and  extravagance 
of  a  Commodus,  were  ill  pleased  with  the  economy  and  un- 
bending discipline  which  the  upright  old  soldier  imposed 
upon  Rome.  Again  the  guard  rose  ^ — this  time  determined 
to  overthrow  the  government.  The  firiends  of  the  Emperor 

^  It  is  alleged  that  Leetus  was  responsible  for  the  uprisings  he  having 
put  certain  praetorians  to  death,  throwing  upon  the  Emperor  the  odium 
of  the  execution. 

[  240  ] 

Jl'LIA    SABIXA    WETK   ()¥    HADHEAN 

urged  him  to  fly,  but  the  dauntless  old  man  betook  him- 
self instead  to  the  palace  gates  to  meet  the  rioters,  of 
whom  there  were  three  hundred.  At  sight  of  their  im- 
penal  master,  some  indeed  sheathed  their  swords;  but  a 
Tongrian  soldier  rushed  in  and  wounded  the  Emperor, 
whereupon  the  whole  band  fell  upon  him  and  hacked  him 
to  pieces.  JHe  had  reigned  eighty-seven  days. 

At  the  first  news  of  the  insurrection,  Pertinax  had  sent 
his  father-in-law,  Sulpicianus,  to  treat  with  the  prstorians, 
into  whose  midst,  whDe  the  envoy  was  still  present,  soon 
came  the  rebels  bearing  the  gray  head  of  their  Emperor 
impaled  upon  a  spear.  "The  King  is  deadl  Long  live  the 
Kingl" — and  Sulpicianus,  affecting  no  useless  regrets  for 
his  daughter's  husband,  immediately  began  bai^aining 
with  the  guards  for  the  blood-stained  purple  of  his  son-in- 
law.  Realizing  that  this  was  their  opportunity,  the  pne- 
torians  now  added  to  Roman  disgrace  its  crowning  shame 
in  a  veritable  sale  at  audSfor  o^:  the; Empire.  A  senator 
named  Didius  Julianus,  wtfo^Hiad^id^i^evied  some  promi- 
nence in  the  State,  inspired  by  his  ambitious  wife,  entered 
the  list  against  Sulpicianus.  ..^he  latter  iwas  in  the  prae- 
torian camp;  Julianus  :mblihted 'the  wall,;  and  the  bidding 
proceeded.  Soldiers  ran"  baCk  Knd- forth- saying  to  the  one, 
"He  offers  four  thousand  drachmae;  how  much  will  you 
give?"  and  to  the  other,  "He  will  give  twenty  thousand 
sesterces;  will  you  go  higher?"  Julianus  finally  captured 
the  prize  by  offering  to  ^ve  each  soldier  the  equivalent  of 
H150,  at  the  same  time  promising  to  rehabilitate  the 
memory  of  Commodus.  The  soldiers  brought  a  ladder; 
Julianus  descended  from  the  wall,  and,  having  received  the 
oath  and  the  imperial  insignia  from  the  guards,  was  con- 
ducted by  the  latter  to  the  palace,  where,  after  sneering 
at  the  simplicity  of  the  repast  which  had  been  prepued 
[241  ] 

for  Pertinax,  he  ordered  another  and  then  went  calmly 
to  casting  dice  within  sight  of  the  spot  where  hty  the 
uncared-for  body  of  the  dead  Emperor. 

When  the  news  of  aU  that  was  going  on  at  Rome  came 
to  the  armies,  there  was  an  outburst  of  rage  against  the 
Senate.  Three  famous  generals  were  in  the  field, — Clodius 
Albinus,  who  commanded  in  Britain,  Fescennius  Niger  in 
Syria,  and  Septimius  Sevenis  in  Upper  Pannonia.^  The 
latter  was  by  &r  the  more  vigorous  in  action,  and  within 
a  short  time,  having  skilfully  secured  the  neutrality  of 
Albinus  and  made  himself  practically  master  of  half  the 
military  strength  of  the  Empire,  he  marched  rapidly  on 
Rome.  The  wretched  Julianus  declared  Severus  a  public 
enemy  and  made  some  feeble  show  of  resistance.  In  the 
vain  hope  of  ensuring  the  support  of  tiie  pnetorians,  he 
put  to  death  Laetus,  Marcia,  and  the  other  murderers  of 
Commodus;  he  despatched  assassins  to  do  away  with 
Severus,  and  sent  other  emissaries  to  detach  and  embroil 
his  troops.  But  his  adversary  was  utterly  resistless.  Pro- 
claimed at  Vienna  on  April  18,  he  was  at  the  gates  of 
Rome  with  an  immense  army  in  less  than  seven  weeks. 
Although  the  way  was  open  to  him,  Severus  shrewdly 
avoided  the  spilling  of  blood,  by  sending  a  message  to  the 
guard  that  he  sought  only  the  murderers  of  Pertinax.  Im- 
mediate compliance  on  the  part  of  the  pnetorians  was  fol- 
lowed by  a  meeting  of  the  Senate,  which  decreed  the  death 
of  Julianus,  divine  honor  to  Pertinax,  and  imperial  power 
to  Severus.  The  miserable  shadow  of  an  Emperor  was 
found  cowering  in  his  bed  and  died  saying  "What  wrong 
have  I  committed?" — a  question  that  might  have  been 
answered  by  the  famous  remark  of  Chateaubriand,  that 

lion  without  ability  is  a  crime.  Julianus  was  sixty 

Danubun  provinces. 

[  2*2  ] 


,    i^HE  «£»'  r<M>r   . 

esrs  old  at  the  time  of  his  death  and  had  posed  as  Em- 
leror  sixty-six  days. 

Pescennius  Niger — Clodids  Albinus:  198-197  a.d. 
Uthough  from  the  death  of  Julianus,  Severus  is  to  be 
onsidered  as  the  actual  Emperor,  it  was  necessary  to  dis- 
pose of  the  rival  pretensions  of  Niger  and  Albinus,  each 
f  whom  had  been  proclaimed  by  his  respective  legions, 
lefore  Septimius  might  deem  himself  the  undisputed  mas- 
er  of  the  Roman  world.  Of  the  three  competitors  who 
tarted  with  him  in  the  race,  one  had  been  quickly  over- 
lirown,  and  with  characteristic  determination  and  enei^ 
ieverus  set  himself  to  the  remainder  of  his  task;  which 
1  the  end  he  accomplished  so  well  as  to  provoke  the 
istorian  Herodian  to  say:  "That  one  man  should  have 
een  able  to  overthrow  three  competitors  already  in  pos- 
ession  of  power;  that  he  should  have  destroyed  one  of 
hese  in  his  palace  in  ^(U»n^,';t^.;se^ncl^in  the  remote 
^ast,  the  third  in  the  retn|ij^?ii)fcit^U^S6tfis^is  a  success  al- 
Qost  unparalleled  in  hisfory."  All  of  which^indeed  stamps 
he  Emperor  as  a  man  yif  action  an j.^pver,  but  at  the 
une  time  plainly  indicat^£(!t^w»«raMe^^emness  which 
?as  to  characterize  his  reigp,.^-  „.^^_,;~— ■— •■ 

Pescennius  Niger  (the  Black)  was  a  soldier  of  fortune, 
rhe  son  of  a  curator  at  Aquinum,  he  began  his  career  as 

centurion  and  worked  his  way  up  through  all  the  mili- 
ary grades.  The  death  of  Pertinax  found  Niger  in  com- 
nand  of  nine  legions  and  numerous  auxiliaries  in  Syria, 
Jid  Roman  Asia  at  once  proclaimed  him  Emperor.  Niger 
eems  to  have  been  a  man  of  stem  virtues,  affable  in  his 
Banners  and  extremely  popular  with  his  army,  albeit  a 
igid  disciplinarian.  He  had  been  highly  esteemed  by  Mar- 
m  Aurelius;  while  Severus  not  only  considered  him  a 

ormidable  adversary,  but  during  an  illness  in  the 
art  of  the  war  actually  contemplated  making  Niger 

two  EmperoRS  had  been  prockumed  about  the  same 
a  April.  On  the  second  of  June,  Rome  was  in  pes- 

of  Severus.  He,  however,  tarried  in  the  Imperial 
irely  long  enough  to  remove  somewhat  of  the  sena- 
Ustrust  and  to  gain  over  the  populace  by  gifts  and 
1^;  and  Julianus  had  been  dead  only  thirty  days 
lis  conqueror  again  set  out  upon  an  "imperial  hunt." 
ig  the  Hellespont,  the  troops  of  Severus  engaged 
ces  of  his  adversary  at  Cyzicus,  Nicaea,^  and  Issus, 
bree  actions  the  Asiatic  legions  being  defeated,  with 
laughter  at  the  last  Niger  fled  to  Antioch,  hoping 

an  asylum  among  the  Farthians,  but  was  overtaken 
headed.^  Three  years  later,  after  the  final  overthrow 
inus,  Niger's  wife,  children,  and  six  of  lus  near  rela- 
ere  also  put  to  death  by  the  conqueror. 
Ibinus  had  followed  Severus  to  Rome,  in  the  spring 
1,  the  subsequent  history  of  the  Empire  would 
3ss  have  taken  a  widely  different  turn.  From  the 
the  Senate  cherished  a  strong  distrust  of  Severus, 
Cer  the  death  of  Niger  all  the  hopes  of  the  opposi- 
ere  coitred  in  Albinus.  So  that  if  the  latter  had 
t  the  seat  of  power  while  Septimius  was  warring 
tiger  in  the  East,  the  redoubtable  Severus  at  least 
not  have  had  things  so  much  his  own  way.  But  the 
or  was  not  only  forceful  and  energetic — he  pos- 
no  small  degree  of  shrewdness.  And  before  start- 
pursuit  of  Niger  he  had  sent  messages  to  Albinus, 

undred  years  before  Alexander  made  himself  master  of  Asia 

r  fail  yUtory  over  the  Greeks  at  Nicsa. 


[  2**] 


eckring  that  he  had  adopted  Clodius  as  his  son,  had 
ranted  him  the  title  of  Ctesar,  and  had  designated  him 

0  share  with  himself  the  consulship  of  the  next  year. 
Whether  deceived  by  the  fair  promises  of  Severus,  or 
idifferent  to  the  charms  of  imperial  power,  or  merely 
waiting  the  time  when  he  should  have  won  over  suffi- 
ient  military  support,  certain  it  is  that  for  nearly  three 
ears  Albinus  stopped  quietly  in  the  West,  turning  a  deaf 
ar  to  the  entreaties  of  those  who  were  urging  him  to  set 
p  his  standard.^  It  was  not  until  the  summer  of  196 
tiat  an  open  rupture  occurred,  and  it  is  uncertain  whether 
;  was  precipitated  by  Albinus  or  Severus  himself.  The 
itter  was  returning  to  Rome  through  the  valley  of  the 
)anube  when  he  learned  that  Albinus  had  assumed  the 
itle  of  Augustus  and  was  preparing  to  march  into  Gaul, 
everus  acted  with  usual  promptitude.  Albinus  was  de- 
lared  both  by  the  army  and  the  Senate  a  public  enemy, 
tie  Emperor's  son  Caraealla  similarly  proclwmed  Ctesar, 
nd  Severus,  putting  himself  at  the  head  of  his  entire 
irces,  threw  himself  into  Gaul  prepared  for  the  supreme 
fFort  of  his  life. 

If  we  may  believe  the  historian  of  the  time,  three  hun- 
red  thousand  men  were  soon  confronting  each  other  on 
iie  banks  of  the  Sa6ne,  between  Lyons  and  Tr^voux — 
repared  to  teu*  each  other  in  pieces  over  the  question 
'hich  of  two  brave  men  should  be  caUed  the  ruler  of  the 
'orld.  Both  Albinus  and  Severus  commanded  in  person, 
)r  each  knew  that  all  of  his  fortune  was  at  stake  and  it 
'Bs  conquer  or  perish.  The  armies  seem  to  have  been 
qually  matched,  the  battle  was  bloody,  and  the  issue  long 

1  doubt,  A  cavalry  charge  by  Lietus  decided  the  victory 
1  favor  of  Severus,  and  Albinus,  after  an  unsuccessful 
Di«)  Cossius,  who  was  himself  a  member  of  the  Senate. 

[  245  ] 


attempt  at  suicide,  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  victorious 
Romans,  who  carried  him,  still  living,  into  the  presence  of 
the  Emperor,  by  whose  orders  he  was  at  once  beheaded.^ 
Little  is  to  be  found  in  regard  to  the  family  and  early 
life  of  Albinus.  He  is,  however,  known  to  have  been  of 
pure  African  descent  and  his  birth  is  said  to  have  been 
illustrious.  He  seems  to  have  had  command  in  Germany 
as  well  as  in  Britain,  and  must  have  been  a  man  of  stamp 
to  have  rallied  so  large  and  determined  a  force  in  support 
of  his  claims.  His  wife  and  two  sons  were  put  to  death  by 
the  Emperor  s  orders,  but  the  entire  family  could  not  have 
been  involved  in  his  ruin,  as  one  C.  Albinus  was  prefect 
of  Rome  under  Valerian. 

Septimius  Severus:  198-211  a.d.  Like  the  last  of 
his  competitors,  Severus  was  of  African  descent,  having 
been  born  at  Leptis^  of  a  family  which  had  refiised  to 
abandon  its  native  province,  even  under  the  flattery  of 
high  civic  honors  bestowed  by  the  Roman  State.  Seve- 
rus himself,  although  liberally  educated  in  Greek  and 
Latin  literature,  never  forgot  his  native  tongue;  and  one 
of  his  earliest  public  acts  was  the  erection  of  a  statue  of 
Hannibal,  whose  language  he  spoke  and  of  whom  he  was 
vastly  proud. 

When  about  fourteen  years  old  he  was .  taken  to  Rome 
and  there  completed  his  education,  which  included  a  course 
of  law  under  the  eminent  jurisconsult  Scaevola,  the  cele- 
brated Papinian  being  one  of  his  fellow-students  and 
thereafter  a  lifelong  friend.  At  the  age  of  twenty-seven 
he  entered  the  Senate,  and  in  time  passed  through  all  the 
civil  grades.  From  this  branch  of  the  public  service  he 
turned  to  the  army ;  upon  the  death  of  Aurelius  we  find 

1  Febniaiy  19,  187.     »  April  11,  146. 

[  246  ] 


►  -•! 





him  one  of  the  chief  commanders  against  the  barbarians, 
in  182  he  had  the  Scythian  l^on  in  Syria,  and  in  the 
following  year  he  was  at  the  head  of  the  Danubian  army, 
by  which  he  was  proclaimed  upon  the  death  of  Pertinax.* 

The  fomidation  lines  of  his  character  were  severity,  a 
love  of  order,  and  unbounded  energy;  and  Fortune  be- 
ing kind  to  him — as  she  always  is  to  men  who  have  the 
determination  and  ability  to  work  out  their  own  high 
aims — Severus  was  able  to  at  least  stay  for  a  few  years 
that  degeneration  of  the  Empire  which,  set  in  motion  by 
Commodus,  was  to  be  so  accelerated  by  the  Emperor's 
own  son. 

The  severity  with  which  the  name  of  Septimius  has 
been  associated  by  posterity  was  justified  by  the  Emperor 
in  his  autobiography,  upon  the  ground  that  it  is  better  to 
crash  by  a  few  heavy  blows  than  ^to.  .strike  feebly  and 
often.  In  view  of  the  times  and  the  plsntiert  of  the  Roman 
world  of  his  day,  and  judging  by  eveiiC;  tll^'^inperor's 
principle,  at  least  from  his  own  p6int  of  view,  was  npt  un- 
sound. Thus  when  he  made  his  f^;;enl<y,jpto  Roiie,  the 
three  hundred  murderers  of  Pertipax  w§rie''>E*w:ut^d  to  a 
man;  while  the  rest  of  the  guard,  invitedTtrrwiie.out  un- 
armed and  take  the  oath  of  allegiance,  suddenly  found 
themselves  surrounded  by  the  Illyrian  legions,  and  forth- 
with received  from  Severus  the  sentence  of  banishment, 
under  penalty  of  death  if  found  within  the  hundredth 
milestone  of  Rome  after  a  certain  number  of  days.  Jeered 
at  by  both  the  soldiers  and  the  populace,  many  of  the 
pratorians,  overcome  by  shame,  committed  suicide  on  the 
spot  and  the  rest  slunk  away  into  obscurity.  It  was  indeed 
a  heavy  blow.  But  there  was  no  more  impoverishment  of 
the  treasury  to  keep  the  guard  quiet;  brides  which  the 

'Jkte,  page  S41. 



or  was  now  free  to  pursue  the  campaigns  agunst 
and  Albinus  without  fear  of  a  pnetorian  conspiracy 

his  back.^  So  after  the  overthrow  of  Albinus,  when 
'-nine  senators,  convicted  of  a  con^iracy  in  his  favor, 
Lunmarily  put  to  death,*  and  at  the  same  time  every 
le  who  had  sided  against  the  Emperor  paid  for  the 
7  with  life  or  fortune, — Severus  justified  this  whole- 
struction  of  a  faction  in  the  laconic  remark,  "A  man 
je  cruel  once,  that  he  may  afterwards  be  merciful 

rest  of  his  life." 

imius  made  some  good  laws,  erected  some  noble 
gs,^  and  fought  many  hard  battles  in  defence  of  the 
z.  With  the  learned  and  upright  Papinian  as  his 
ounsellor,  his  l^islation  went  hand  in  hand  with 
mirable  administrative  work  which  he  himself  in 
lin  directed.  His  highest  gift  to  the  State  was  the 
>lishment  of  public  order,  which  had  flown  to  the 
under  Commodus.  The  chief  reproach  upon  his 
y  is  the  cruel  persecution  of  the  Christians,  which, 
led  even  by  the  bloody  tyrant  who  preceded  him, 
lewed  with  increased  severity  by  Septimius. 
ing  his  first  campaign  in  Syria,  Severus  became  ac- 

two  years,  however,  the  guftrd  was  reorganised,  and  in  the  end 
worse  and  more  dangerous  than  ever,  the  Emperor  having  in- 
the  number  to  forty  thousand.  As  originally  constituted  by  Au- 
here  were  three  cohorts  of  one  thousand  men  each,  but  from  Ve»- 
time  there  were  ten  cohorts.  The  number  of  the  pnetorians  was 
educed  by  the  Emperor  Diocletian,  and  under  Constantine  the 
ey  passed  out  of  history. 

them  was  Sulpidanus,  who  had  tried  to  buy  the  imperial  robes 
ad  just  been  stained  with  the  blood  of  his  son-in-law.  Ante, 

them  the  peculiar  Septizoniam,  the  rains  of  which  are  yet 
at  the  southeast  comer  of  the  Palatine,  and  the  magnificent 
il  arch  which  still  dominates  the  Forum  Romanom. 
[  248] 

quainted  with  the  beautiful  young  daughter  of  Julius  Bas- 
sianus,  a  priest  of  the  Sun  at  Emesa  ^ ;  and  learning  that  it 
had  been  foretold  that  she  would  become  an  empress,  the 
superstitious  African  married  her  forthwith.  Julia  Domna  ^ 
proved  herself  a  helpmate  in  the  highest  sense.  Beautiful, 
virtuous,^  intellectual,  prudent,  and  yet  ambitious  withal, 
we  can  well  beUeve  that  the  Emperor  both  respected  and 
leaned  upon  his  wife,  who  accompanied  him  upon  his  ex- 
peditions* and  indeed  is  said  to  have  first  prompted  him 
to  assume  the  purple.  Supported  by  her  sister  and  two 
nieces,''  also  famous  for  their  beauty  and  mental  giAs,  the 
Empress  gathered  about  her  a  circle  of  learned  men,  and 
so  impressed  herself  upon  the  society  of  the  times  that  her 
intellectual  tastes  are  said  to  have  lingered  upon  the  Pala- 
tine long  after  "Julia  the  Philosopher"  had  followed  her 
husband  to  the  grave.  She  was  the  mother  of  four  chil- 
dren: two  daughters,  of  whom  there  is  no  trace  in  history, 
'  The  name  of  thia  deity  vaa  EUg&balua.  See  pott,  page  SS9- 
'It  is  a  question  whether  "Domna"  ba  Roman  appellatioti  meaning  mis- 
tress,  or  whether  the  word  was  merely  a  Syrian  proper  name. 

*  She  was  indeed  reproached  l^  the  scandal-mongers  of  her  day  with 
nuDy  immoraliUes.  But  in  view  of  what  is  actually  known  about  her  life, 
the  charge  seems  incredible.  Certainly  if  the  beautiful  bust  that  we  see  in 
the  rotunda  of  the  Vatican  (No.  554  of  the  Catalogue)  is  indeed  that  of 
"Julia  Ra  Domna,"  one  need  not  be  a  physiognomist  of  any  of  the  schools 
fnim  Aristotle  to  Lavater  to  insist  upon  something  more  than  insinuation 
before  conceding  immoralities  to  this  pure,  intellectual,  and  noble-looking 

'From  this  fact  she  received  the  title  "Mother  of  Camps,"  which 
appellation,  with  a  figure  of  the  Empress  standing  in  front  of  three 
military  standards,  was  actually  impressed  upon  some  of  the  coins  of 
the  reign. 

*  These  latter  were  Julia  Sotemias  and  Julia  Mamsa,  each  of  whom  af- 
terwards became  the  mother  of  an  flmperor,  and  their  mother  was  the 
celebrated  Julia  M«sa,  who  played  an  important  part  in  the  history  of 
■  nibseqaent  reign.  See  poH,  page  S58. 

[  249  ] 


and  two  sons,  one  the  wild  but  unfortunate  G^ta,  the 
other  named  Bassianus,  afterwards  inscribed  upon  the  roll 
of  inffimy  as  Caracalla.^ 

In  the  year  208  Severus,  although  in  his  sixty-third 
year,  wearying  of  the  inactive  life  at  Rome,  set  out  upon 
what  proved  to  be  a  last  and  disastrous  campaign.  Ac- 
companied by  the  Empress  and  their  sons,  he  proceeded  to 
Britain,  where  for  three  years  he  pursued  a  fitful  and  in- 
effectual campaign  against  the  northern  barbarians,  under 
their  legendary  heroes  Fingal  and  Ossian.  The  loss  of  fifty 
thousand  of  his  best  troops  compelled  the  Emperor  to 
make  a  rather  humiliating  treaty  with  the  unconquerable 
wild  men  of  the  north;  and  after  partly  rebuilding  the 
great  wall  by  which  Hadrian  had  endeavored  to  keep  the 
barbarians  out,  Severus,  broken  in  health  and  spirit,  re- 
tired to  York  to  die.  It  is  said  that  Caracalla,  having  been 
detected  in  a  plot  to  dethrone  his  father  and  forgiven  by 
the  latter,  aft;erwards  attempted  to  assassinate  the  Em- 
peror while  on  the  march.  But  the  story,  although  not 
at  all  improbable,  rests  upon  insufficient  evidence;  and  as 
Duruy  says,  **To  these  doubtful  legends  we  shall  prefer 
the  truly  imperial  words  of  the  old  Emperor — *It  is  to  me 
a  great  satisfaction  to  leave  in  profound  peace  the  Empire 
which  I  found  a  prey  to  dissensions  of  every  kind.'"  He 
died  with  the  characteristic  words — (an  order  to  the  guard 
who  came  for  the  countersign) — "Go  and  see  if  anything 
is  to  be  done."  He  was  sixty-five  years  old  and  had  reigned 
eighteen  years. 

Geta — Caracalla:  211-217  a.  d.  After  the  example 
set  by  the  lofty-minded  Aurelius  in  the  choice  of  his  suc- 
cessor, that  a  man  of  the  type  of  Severus  should  also  have 

^  See  Note  2  to  Caracalla,  page  25  L 

[  250  ] 




yielded  to  the  natural  sentiment  of  heredity,  even  in  favor 
of  Caracalla,  excites  no  surprise.  On  the  eve  of  the  final 
campaign  against  Alfainus,  the  Emperor  having  himself 
previously  taken  the  designation  of  "the  son  of  Marcus 
Aurelius,"^  the  army  was  induced  to  proclaim  Bassianus 
Cffisar  imder  the  name  of  Aurelius  Antoninus.^  The  act 
was  immediately  confirmed  by  the  Senate,  and  one  year 
later,  when  Caracalla  was  only  eleven  years  old,  his  father 
clothed  him  with  the  tribunitian  power,  equivalent  to  as- 
sociation in  the  Empire,  at  the  same  time  proclaiming  his 
younger  son  Geta  as  Caesar. 

It  was  thus  plainly  their  Other's  intention  that  the 
brothers  should  share  the  Empire,  and  all  of  the  Em- 
peror's dispositions  were  made  accordingly.  But  he  seems 
to  have  assumed  that  Caracalla  would  be  the  dominant 
spirit,  and  with  a  view  of  securing  an  experienced  mentor 
for  his  son,  against  the  latter's  wishes  he  had  been  com- 
pelled to  marry  Flautilla,  daughter  of  the  prefect  Plau- 
tianus,  an  overbearing  and./u(i9Q)It)tilmis  official,  in  whom 
the  Emperor,  however,  reposed  ii^i^tfV?Ofifidence.  Cara- 
calla was  only  about  fifteen  years  of 'b^|.a)^  the  time  of 
this  marriage,  which  so  etiffi^d.-  him  that  ))e  not  only  re- 
fused to  live  with  the  yofmg  Atjglosta,  b'fat  shortly  after 

*  The  act  was  preceded  hy  a  Teritable  adbptdonj'Mtti  full  legal  forms,  the 
main  object  of  Severus  being  to  secure  that  portion  of  the  immenae 
wealth  of  Commodus  which  had  not  passed  to  the  latter's  sisters.  In  this 
way  becoming  the  brother  of  Commodus,  Severus  was  in  a  measure  forced 
to  rehabilitate  the  other's  accursed  memory;  which  perhaps  more  than 
anything  else  occasioned  the  conspiracy  in  favor  of  Albinus. 
'  Bassianus  has  invariably  been  known  in  history  as  Caracalla,  which  was 
the  name  of  a  Gallic  garmeDt,  a  sort  of  tunic  with  a  hood,  which  he  dis- 
tributed among  his  soldiers  and  the  common  people  of  Rome.  The  sur- 
name of  Caracalla,  however,  like  that  of  Caligula  and  Elogabalus,  was 
□ever  officially  recognized,  merely  having  passed  into  history  from  the 
months  of  the  people. 

[2S1  ] 


the  marriage  himself  actually  killed  her  father  in  the 
palace  and  very  presence  of  the  Emperor.  He  had  in- 
fluence enough  with  his  father  to  procure  the  banish- 
ment of  the  son  and  daughter  of  Plautianus  to  Lipari; 
where  a  few  years  later  Caracalla  did  not  fail  to  perform 
his  "marriage  vow"  to  Plautilla,  that  he  would  kill  her 
when  he  became  Emperor — her  brother  perishing  at  the 
same  time. 

Geta  was  twenty-two  years  of  age  at  the  time  of  his 
father's  death,  while  Caracalla  had  not  yet  completed  his 
twenty-third  year.  The  two  brothers  had  long  been  at 
swords'  points,  even  in  the  sports  of  their  younger  days 
hating  each  other  with  bitter  rivalry,  which  at  one  time 
during  a  chariot  race  resulted  in  a  broken  thigh  for  the 
elder.  Shunning  the  refined  surroundings  and  influences 
of  their  mother,  the  wild  and  fiery  young  princes  rushed 
into  every  sort  of  pleasure,  associating  with  the  lowest 
and  roughest  elements  of  the  city.  The  Emperor,  upon 
his  death-bed,  had  exhorted  his  sons  to  union;  although 
it  is  diflicult  to  believe  that  he  did  not  foresee  the  inevi- 
table tragedy  from  conferring  equal  rights  upon  two  hot- 
headed boys,  of  whom  one  at  least  had  already  disclosed 
a  base  and  wicked  nature. 

After  their  father's  death  the  brothers  set  out  together 
for  Rome,  their  jealousy  and  suspicion  of  each  other  be- 
coming stronger  as  the  journey  progressed.  Immediately 
upon  their  arrival,  the  soldiers  were  apportioned  between 
them  and  stationed  respectively  on  either  side  of  the  di- 
viding line  across  the  Palatine,  which  had  been  agreed 
upon  by  the  two  Emperors  and  was  picketed  by  their  re- 
spective guards.  It  was  obvious  that  the  explosion  would 
not  long  be  delayed.  The  Empress  Julia  is  said  to  have 
inquired  of  her  sons,  "And  will  you  also  divide  me?"  to 

[  252  ] 




avoid  the  embarrassment  of  which  situation  and  of  its 
recurrence,  Caracalla  speedily  made  his  plans.  Like  his 
renowned  father,  he  believed  in  one  strong  blow.  He 
begged  his  mother  to  bring  about  a  reconciliation,  and 
Geta  having  in  this  way  been  enticed  into  the  apart- 
ments of  the  Empress,  Caracalla  stabbed  him,  actually  in 
his  mother's  arms,  where  he  had  taken  refuge,  her  gray 
hair  and  widow's  weeds  being  dabbled  with  the  blood  of 
a  son  shun  by  his  brother.  Caracalla  at  once  ran  to  the 
guard  and  declared  that  he  had  barely  escaped  assassina- 
tion at  the  hands  of  Geta;  whereupon  the  latter  was  pro- 
nounced a  public  enemy,  his  statues  were  overthrown,  his 
name  was  erased  from  the  public  monuments,*  and  the 
sword  with  which  he  had  been  slain  was  "consecrated"  by 
the  murderer,  in  the  Temple  of  Serapis. 

On  the  day  following  the  ^nutder,  hell  — that  is  to  say 
the  guard ' — was  let  loose,  m^'pbm  4iiiat;tTKMnent  a  reign 
of  blood  began.  Twenty  tht^usarid  ftartifi^sv)^  Geta  were 
murdered  in  the  palace  alctne.  The  list  of  senatorial  vic- 
tims was  also  long,  and  ati  tfps  iiwp  the  noble  Fapinian 
and  his  son,  the  son  of  liiQ.ilnijJei^'-^^^l^ax,  an  own 
cousin  of  Caracalla,  and  a  daugKte1'*^dson  of  Mar- 
cus Aurelius  met  the  same  fate. 

Having  made  this  clean  sweep  of  his  enemies,  open  and 
suspected,  Caracalla  embarked  upon  a  career  of  vice,  out- 
rage, and  savage  wickedness  which  for  sheer  brutality  had 
never  been  surpassed  at  Rome.  Shameless  orgies  at  the 
palace,  massacres  in  the  amphitheatres,  open  murders  in 
the  streets,  a  loose  rein  given  to  every  form  of  vice, — 
once  again  the  devoted  city  found  itself  under  the  heel  of 

'  Geta's  name  b  said  to  be  partly  legible  upon  the  Arch  of  Severus  in 
the  Forum. 

'  The  prstorians  had  been  reestablished.  See  note,  ante,  page  248. 
[  253  ] 


a  frantic  madman ;  ^  and  this  time  there  was  no  Marcia 
either  to  stay  the  hand  of  persecution  or  rid  the  world  of 
its  tyrant  Acting  upon  a  maxim  attributed  to  his  &ther, — 
''Make  the  soldiers  content  and  laugh  at  the  rest," — he 
practically  turned  the  Empire  over  to  the  army,  which 
was  enough  to  counteract  what  little  virtue  and  virility 
may  have  dared  to  show  itself  in  the  State. 

After  making  a  shambles  of  the  Imperial  City,  in  the  au- 
tumn of  215,  it  having  come  to  his  ears  that  his  Egyptian 
subjects  had  spoken  ill  of  him  because  of  G^ta's  murder, 
he  set  out  for  Alexandria  in  pursuit  of  vengeance.  Inviting 
the  principal  citizens  to  a  banquet,  at  the  end  of  the  feast 
he  commanded  that  every  guest  should  be  put  to  death. 
After  personally  seeing  that  not  a  man  escaped,  he  ordered 
out  all  the  troops,  and  stationing  himself  in  the  Temple  of 
Serapis,  he  directed  a  massacre  which  in  extent  and  cold- 
blooded barbarity  has  perhaps  never  been  equalled.  For 
days  the  carnage  continued — without  distinction  of  sex, 
age,  or  condition — the  slaughter  ceasing  actually  not  until 
the  strength  of  the  butchers  failed.  And  at  Rome,  when 
the  news  was  received,  a  complacent  Senate  commemo- 
rated the  event  by  a  coin  representing  Egypt  trampled 
by  the  "Victorious  Emperor"! 

But  the  Erinyes  were  not  dead ;  ^  the  tjrrant's  dreams  of 
a  figure  threatening  with  sword  in  hand  were  about  to  be 
fulfilled.  In  April,  217,  Caracalla  set  out  for  Emesa  to 
consult  the  sun-god,  of  which  his  mother's  father,  whose 

^  That  Caracalla  had  intermittent  attacks  of  insanity  is  asserted  by  many 
writers^  who  believe  that^  like  Nero  and  Caligula,  the  breaking-down  of 
his  mind  was  caused  by  the  secret  administration  of  so-called  ^^love 
philters."  Ante,  page  91* 

*  The  Erinyes  were  the  Greek  goddesses  of  Vengeance,  of  which  the 
Dirae  of  the  Roman  poets  are  an  adaptation.  They  proceeded  upon  the 
simple  principle  ^' An  eye  for  an  eye,  and  a  tooth  for  a  tooth." 

[  254  ] 







name  he  bore,  had  been  a  priest.  About  this  time  there 
had  come  addressed  to  him  from  Rome  a  letter  in  which 
he  was  warned  to  beware  of  Macrinus,  his  prefect  of  the 
guards,  who  was  with  him  at  the  time.^  By  chance  this 
letter  fell  into  the  hands  of  Macrinus  himself,  and  though 
apparently  free  from  thought  of  treachery,  he  saw  plainly 
his  impending  fate  and  resolved  to  strike  first.  With  the 
help  of  a  disgruntled  soldier  the  act  was  readily  accom- 
plished. During  the  journey  above  mentioned,  Caracalla 
alighting  from  his  horse  one  day  was  stabbed  in  the  back, 
and  his  future  unrolled  without  calling  upon  the  oracle  of 
the  sun-god.  His  murderer  deserved  an  apotheosis — in- 
stead of  which  he  was  torn  to  pieces  by  the  Emperor's 
escort.  Caracalla  had  reigned  six  years  and  was  barely 
twenty-nine  years  of  age  at  the  time  of  his  death.^ 

Macrinus:  217-219  a:  D.''>t«r^Opelius  Macrinus  was 
a  native  of  Ciesarea,  in  |AJfn6&%7b^^  hi  wbs  of  the  hum- 
blest ori^  is  evident  from  the  fact  Ihal^'  he  had  fought 
under  the  lanista,  and  had  .hjs  ears  pierced  for  ear-rings, 

'  Severus  not  only  reorganized  the  gfi^r(teJiy'.enrq]]ing  picked  men  from 
ill  the  legions,  instead  of  irom  Italy  -aloiie  as  theVetofore,  but  he  em- 
ployed the  new  cohorts  in  all  his  wars,  his  successbre  doing  likewise. 
'  Apart  from  the  horrora  associated  with  his  memory,  the  name  of  Cara- 
calla recalls  those  magnificent  baths  whose  stupendous  ruins,  next  to  the 
Colosseum  the  moat  remarkable  in  Rome,  break  upon  the  eye  looking 
southeast  from  the  house  of  Severus  on  the  Palatine.  The  enormous  size 
of  the  original  structure  is  almost  beyond  comprehension;  the  themue 
themselves,  with  marble  seats  for  three  thousand  bathers,  having  been 
nuTounded  with  a  magnificent  colonnade  nearly  a  mile  in  length.  The 
premature  death  of  Caracalla  preventing  his  completion  of  this  vast  work, 
it  was  finished  by  his  successors,  Elagabalus  and  Alexander  Severus. 
Among  the  masterpieces  of  art  which  adorned  the  baths  were  the  Flora 
Famese,  the  Hercules  of  Glycon,  and  the  wonderJid  Parncse  Bull,  now 
in  the  Borbonlco  Museum  at  Naples. 

[  2S5  ] 


which  custom  was  afanost  peculiar  to  the  condition  of  sla- 
very. By  the  favor  of  Plautianus,  however,  he  had  been 
brought  to  the  attention  of  the  Emperor  Severus,  who 
made  him  superintendent  of  the  post  service  of  the  Fla- 
minian  Way.  For  some  reason  he  was  not  involved  in  the 
catastrophe  which  overtook  his  protector  at  the  hands  of 
Caracalla,^  who  elevated  Macrinus  to  the  important  post 
of  prsetorian  prefect.  The  accounts  of  his  character  are 
contradictory;  some  writers  asserting  that  he  was  mild 
and  just,  while  others  describe  him  as  severe,  false,  and 

The  death  of  Caracalla  was  greeted  with  unequivocal 
demonstrations  of  rage  by  the  soldiers,  and  Macrinus  hav- 
ing won  their  favor  by  professing  the  greatest  sorrow  for 
their  common  loss,  the  army  was  easily  induced  to  pro- 
claim him  Emperor.  He  was  invested  with  the  purple  on 
the  twelfth  of  April,  217,  and  at  the  same  time  his  son 
Diadumenianus  was  proclaimed  Ccesar. 

The  widowed  Empress  was  at  Antioch  when  the  death 
of  her  son  and  the  accession  of  Macrinus  were  noised 
abroad.  Her  cup  of  bitterness  was  now  full.  Cast  down 
from  her  position  of  supreme  authority,  which,  conferred 
by  her  deferential  husband,  had,  it  must  be  admitted  in 
justice  to  Caracalla,  been  continued  by  the  latter,  she  at 
last  found  herself  alone  with  her  unhappy  memories :  the 
thoughts  of  her  dead  husband,  of  the  fratricidal  murder  of 
one  son  and  the  assassination  of  the  other,  embittered  by 
the  reflection  that  the  low-born  adventurer  who  had  com- 
pleted the  destruction  of  her  house  had  himself  succeeded 
to  its  power.  She  was  suffering,  too,  from  an  incurable 
malady,  and  in  a  fit  of  despair  the  proud  Julia  Pia  Donma, 
the  ** Mother  of  Camps,"  "Mother  Augusta,"  "Mother  of 

^  See  ante,  page  251. 

[  256  ] 




the  Senate,"  "Mother  of  the  Country,"  as  she  had  been 
variously  entitled  in  the  proud  and  happy  days  at  Rome, 
deliberately  sought  through  the  medium  of  suicide  that 
oblivion  which,  in  her  hour  of  supreme  anguish  and  need, 
was  the  highest  consolation  her  Stoic  philosophy  could 

Although  the  new  Emperor  was  both  a  man  of  ideas 
and  of  good  impulses,  he  was  too  timid  in  disposition  and 
too  petty  in  method  to  secure  himself  in  the  high  position 
which  he  had  so  unexpectedly  acquired.  Prevented  by  a 
Parthian  invasion  of  Mesopotamia  from  hastening  at  once 
to  Rome,  the  flattering  letters  which,  with  a  view  to  gain- 
ing their  fevor,  he  wrote  to  the  Conscript  Fathers,  promis- 
ing to  reestablish  then*  influence  over  that  of  the  army, 
aroused  the  jealousy  of  the  soldiers,  already  provoked  by 
some  fitful  discipUnary  and  economic  measures  which 
Macrinus  had  instituted.  Serious  reverses  which  he  met  in 
the  war,  necessitating  a,  .humiliating  peace  with  the  Ar- 
menians, increased  the  discdBtept-!'C>^:ti|»e  army,  which  was 
further  incensed  by  the  p^f$tenf;i|9>':th^  Parthian  King 
of  a  large  sum  by  way  of  a  "pension,"  |^  called;  money 
which,  it  was  openly  declsr^  among  tb^  soldiers,  would 
have  come  to  tkem  if:  Carat!titai^ad.\h^Qi  alive.  The  con- 
ditions were  ripe  for  the'dhahge-^which  .was  at  hand. 

After  the  death  of  Caracalla's  mother,  her  sister  Mtesa, 
and  the  latter's  two  daughters,  SoEemias  and  Mameea,^  had 
been  banished  to  their  old  Syrian  home  at  Emesa,  where 
a  le^on  was  also  sent,  presumably  to  keep  an  eye  upon 
these  relations  of  the  dead  Emperor.  This  act  of  the  tim- 
orous usurper  proved  his  undoing.  He  should  either  have 
'  A  statement  that  Julia  killed  herself  in  obedience  to  a  secret  order 
froia  Macrinus  cannot  be  BubstantiatedL 
'  See  ante,  page  8*9,  Note  5, 

[  257] 


left  the  S3r]ians  alone»  or — as  Severus  would  have  done — 
destroyed  them  as  conspirators  at  a  blow.  The  three 
women  were  intelligent,  courageous,  and  rich,  and  the 
Temple  of  the  Sun,  of  which  their  family  had  long  been 
priests,  had  the  right  of  asylum  and  afforded  shelter  for 
both  their  persons  and  their  wealth.  Soasmias,  the  elder 
daughter,  had  a  son  named  Bassianus — afterwards  known 
to  history  as  Elagabalus.^  He  was  then  fourteen  years  old, 
of  remarkable  beauty,  and  had  already  been  consecrated  to 
the  priesthood  of  the  God  of  Emesa.  Through  this  boy 
Maesa  determined  to  avenge  her  race ;  and  for  the  success 
of  the  intrigue,  as  Duruy  says,  '^Meesa  sacrificed  her  gold, 
Soaemias  her  honor;  but  neither  of  them  cared  for  what 
they  lost."  Servants  of  the  palace  spread  the  report  that 
Elagabalus  was  actually  the  son  of  Caracalla,  and  the  im- 
mense sum  of  money  distributed  among  the  soldiers  at 
the  same  time  easily  persuaded  them  of  the  truth  of  the 
story  and  that  Bassianus  was  the  rightful  heir  to  the 
throne.  The  legion  declared  for  Elagabalus,  and  on  the  six- 
teenth of  May,  218,  he  was  proclaimed  Emperor,  as  Mar- 
cus Aurelius: Antoninus.  The  revolt  spread  quickly ;  from 
all  points  in  Syria  deserters  from  Macrinus  came  to  Emesa, 
and  it  was  not  long  before  the  army  of  Elagabalus  was 
strong  enough  to  take  the  field.  A  battle  occurred  on  the 
confines  of  Syria  and  Phoenicia.  Macrinus  might  easily 
have  won,  but  he  had  no  faith  in  his  destiny  and  at  an 
early  hour  of  the  combat  abandoned  his  troops,  who  there- 
upon took  the  oath  to  Elagabalus.  Intrusting  his  son  to 
some  faithful  servants  who  were  to  conduct  him  to  the 
Parthians,  the  father  fled  to  Byzantium,  hoping  to  escape 
this  way  to  Rome.  He  had  nearly  made  an  asylum  when 
the  soldiers  of  Elagabalus  overtook  him.  While  they  were 

^  See  next  page. 

[  258  ] 

conducting  him  to  the  conqueror  news  reached  the  un- 
happy Macrinus  that  his  boy  had  been  taken  and  killed. 
In  a  paroxysm  of  despair  he  threw  himself  irom  the 
chariot  and  broke  his  shoulder;  whereupon  the  guards  put 
him  to  death.  He  was  fifty-four  years  old  and  had  reigned 
barely  a  year.^ 

ElagaSalus:  218-222  A.  D.  The  new  master  of  the  Ro- 
man world,  Varius  Avitus  Bassianus,  was  of  pure  Syrian 
descent,  his  relationship  to  the  iamily  of  Severus  having 
already  been  expl^ned.  Although  his  mother,  Julia  So»- 
mias,  who  is  represented  on  coins  as  the  Heavenly  Virgin, 
was  accused  by  Lampridius  of  mundane  frailties,  the  re- 
port that  Caracalla  was  the  father  of  her  son  was  a  pure 
fabrication.  And  it  is  quite  possible  that  this  false  report 
was  itself  the  basis  of  the  historian's  accusation  against 
the  mother  who  apparently  cared  so  little  for  virtue  that 
she  willingly  sacrificed  her  reputation  to  advance  the  in- 
terests of  her  son. 

Being  high  priest  of  the  Sun  at  the  time  he  was  pro- 
claimed, the  Emperor  chose  to  be  called  Elagabalus,  which 
was  the  name  of  the  sun-god,^  the  deity  of  his  race.  This 
god,  represented  by  a  shapeless  black  stone  which  the 
Emperor  brought  with  him  to  Rome  irom  Emesa,  he  con- 
stituted the  supreme  divinity  of  the  Empire,  honoring  it 
with  barbarous  songs,  lascivious  dances,  and  the  immola- 
tion of  children.  Upon  this,  impure  and  sensuous  religion 
as  a  foundation  the  effeminate  young  Syrian  developed  a 
character  which  has  ever  remained  in  the  memory  of  men 

*  He  was  defeated  by  Elagabalus  on  June  6,  218,  having  been  proclaimed 
April  IS,  217. 

*  The  Gnecised  fonn  of  the  word  was  Heliogabalus,  by  which  name  the 
Emperor  was  sometimes  called. 

[  259  ] 


as  the  symbol  of  enthroned  infiuny.  During  the  brief  paiod 
of  his  reign,  the  barbarians  being  quiet  and  public  agita- 
tion having  subsided.  Rome  was  at  peace;  and  the  nuister 
of  all  things,  human  and  divine,  was  accordingly  free  from 
the  necessily  of  self-restraint  whatsoever.  The  pages  of 
Lampridius  fiurly  reek  with  the  recital  of  his  absurd  ex- 
travagances, abominable  vices,  and  infamous  debauchery. 
Yielding  absolutely  to  his  mother  and  grandmother  the 
direction  of  the  State,  the  effeminate  young  voluptuary 
abandoned  himself  to  a  life  which  has  been  summed  up  as 
''gluttony  which  would  have  driven  Vitellius  to  despair, 
lewdness  such  as  to  make  Nero  blush,  scenes  of  infamy 
which  can  only  be  told  in  Latin/'  In  the  short  space  of 
his  reign — less  than  four  years — he  married  and  repudi- 
ated in  turn  no  less  than  five  wives,  all  of  eminent  family, 
one  of  whom,  Annia  Faustina,  was  a  descaidant  of  Marcus 
Aurelius,  while  another,  Julia  Aquilia  Severa,  he  took  by 
force  from  the  Altar  of  Vesta — a  sacrilege  which  it  is  siud 
made  even  the  Romans  of  that  time  tremble. 

WhUe  Soaemias,  rather  than  attempting  to  restrain  her 
contemptible  son,  if  anything  encouraged  him  in  his 
shameful  excesses,  his  grandmother  Maesa,  who  had  lived 
in  the  orderly  administration  of  Severus,  did  not  &il  to  real- 
ize that  the  young  profligate  would  not  long  be  tolerated ; 
and  (perhaps  fearing  another  Macrinus)  she  deliberately 
set  about  supplanting  him  by  her  grandson  Alexander,  the 
only  son  of  her  younger  daughter,  Julia  Mamaea.  Adroitly 
inducing  Elagabalus  to  confer  upon  his  cousin  the  title  of 
Caesar  and  adopt  him  as  his  son,  she  at  the  same  time  by 
large  gifts,  secretly  made  to  the  prsetorians,  enlisted  their 
interest  in  favor  of  Alexander,  who  was  as  admirable  in 
character  as  Elagabalus  was  despicable.  The  plan  gathered 
force  as  its  success  became  assured,  and  the  besotted  young 

[  260  ] 



boy  who  was  dragging  the  purple  in  the  mu*e  began  to 
realize  his  danger.  His  first  impulse  was  to  strike  openly ; 
and  he  ordered  the  Senate  to  revoke  the  title  of  Caesar 
which  had  been  conferred  upon  Alexander,  whom  at  the 
same  time  he  threatened  to  kill.  But  the  order  coming  to 
the  ears  of  the  praetorians,  they  raised  such  a  tumult  that 
Elagabalus  himself  narrowly  escaped  death.  He  then 
sought  to  accompUsh  his  purpose  by  secret  means;  but 
the  vigilance  of  Mamaea,  who  surrounded  her  son  with 
trusty  guards  and  never  even  allowed  him  to  partake  of 
food  or  wine  that  had  not  previously  been  tasted,  proved 
too  much  for  the  weak  and  irresolute  Emperor.  The  latter 
finally  hit  upon  the  device  of  circulating  a  report  that 
Alexander  had  died,  thinking  that  when  the  soldiers 
should  have  accepted  the  fact  he  would  be  free  to  assassi- 
nate his  cousin  without  danger.  The  result  was  as  tragic 
as  the  plan  was  absurd.  Secretly  informed  through  Mamaea 
that  the  young  prince  was  alive,  the  guard  invaded  the 
palace,  demanding  that  Alexander  be  produced.  A  tumult 
broke  out,  Elagabalus,  like  the  j^fnify^wretch  he  was,  fly- 
ing at  the  first  outbreak.  T^ie^'gl^^d^^^^  by 
Mamsea,  resolved  to  end  ^e  mau^*  ^tlp^^^fol'  all.  The 
miserable  young  Emperor /w^  found  concealed  with  his 
mother  in  an  outhouse,  Where  4Ji?y  :W/^re  bqsth  slain,  the 
corpse  of  the  former  being  dvagge^  t}  the  streets 
and  flung  into  the  Tiber,  while  the  Senati^ /consigned  his 
memory  to  infamy.  He  was  barely  eighteen^  and  had 
reigned  (?)  three  years  and  nine  months. 

Alexander  Severus:  222-285  a.d.  The  last  of  the 
Syrian  princes  who  ruled  the  Roman  world  was  sixteen 
years  of  age  when  he  became  Emperor.  He  was  proclaimed 

^  According  to  Herodian;  Lampridius  says  he  was  twenty-one. 

[261  ] 






m '■■'](■  \'- 

mm  ■' 


)  ^ 


under  the  name  of  Marcus  Aurelius  Alexander,^  but  has 
passed  into  history  as  Alexander  Severus;  having  taken 
the  name  of  the  Macedonian  hero  from  a  temple  in  the 
city  of  his  birth  consecrated  to  Alexander,  while  that  of 
Severus  was  added  by  the  soldiers  in  memory  of  him  who 
was  by  many  beUeved,  although  without  ground,  to  be  the 
new  Emperor's  grandfather.  And  as  if  the  black  stone  of 
Emesa  ^  had  been  tumbled  into  the  Tiber  and  there  dis- 
appeared forever,  with  the  mortal  remains  of  its  high  priest, 
the  new  Emperor  added  to  his  official  designation  the  title 
of  Priest  of  Rome  (Sacerdos  Urhia)^  and  the  rule  of  the 
sun-god,  with  all  of  its  Oriental  sensuousness,  was  at  an  end 
During  the  reign  of  his  predecessor,  most  of  the  impor- 
tant hnperial  fimctions  were  discharged  by  Soiemias,  whose 
name  appeared  with  those  of  consuls  and  who  subscribed 
legislative  decrees  as  a  member  of  the  Assembly.  While 
fully  resolved  to  herself  retain  the  substance  of  power,  the 
wise  mother  of  Alexander  discreetly  procured  the  early 
enactment  of  a  law  forever  excluding  women  from  the 
Senate ;  and  by  thus  openly  repudiating  an  odious  innova- 
tion of  Elagabalus  and  his  mother  greatly  strengthened 
Mamcea's  prestige,  which  continued  throughout  her  son's 
reign.  Fortunately  for  the  young  Emperor,  destined  from 
the  beginning  to  the  domination  of  his  mother,  Julia 
Mamaea  was  a  woman  of  liberal  views  and  lofty  character. 
Her  inquiring  mind  and  political  sagacity  are  indicated  by 
her  correspondence  with  Origen,^  and  with  a  single  excep- 

^  The  Senate  urged  Alexander  to  also  adopt  the  name  of  Antoninus;  but 
the  Emperor  nobly  refiised  ''the  borrowed  lustre  of  a  great  name." 
s  See  oMte,  V^^  ^^9. 

*  Her  association  with  the  great  theologian  of  the  andent  Church  ac- 
counts in  part  for  the  supposition  that  Mamsea  was  a  Christian.  There 
seems  to  be  ground  for  the  statement  that  she  instructed  Alexander  in 
the  morality  of  Christianity. 

[  262  ] 



tioD,^  she  seems  to  have  labored  persistently,  unselfishly, 
and  in  the  main  wisely  for  her  son's  happiness  and  the 
genuine  welfare  of  the  State.  From  early  childhood  Alex- 
ander had  been  surromided  by  instructors  of  the  highest 
character  and  integrity ;  thus  developing  by  education  the 
boy  s  natural  tendencies  towards  uprightness  and  morality. 
As  a  result  Rome  once  more  beheld  upon  the  Palatine  the 
virtue,  simplicity,  and  pure  example  which  were  there 
enthroned  during  the  benign  reign  of  Antoninus — a  last 
gleam  of  sunlight  before  the  impending  gloom  should  de- 
scend. Amiable,  simple  in  tastes,  pure  in  morals,  animated 
by  a  genuine  desire  to  benefit  the  people  and  to  do  good 
in  every  possible  way — in  short,  apparently  basing  his  life 
upon  that  fundamental  maxim  of  the  Gospels,  *'As  ye 
would  that  men  should  do  unto  you,  do  ye  even  so  to 
them," — this  Syrian  boy,  fresh  fix)m  the  selfish,  effeminate, 
and  sensuous  influences  of  Oriental  sun-worship,  ^'in  the 
heart  of  depraved,  rotten  Rome,  in  the  teeth  of  the  de- 
bauched coiutiers  and  reptile  Senate,  singling  out  this 
golden  rule  of  conduct,"  ^  inevitably  challenges  our  admi- 
ration and  sympathy,  whether  our  estimate  of  Alexander 
is  based  upon  the  possibly  exaggerated  praises  of  Lampri- 
dius  or  the  apparently  unjust  severity  of  Herodian.  Al- 
though in  the  main  following  the  latter,  Gibbon's  estimate 
of  Alexander  may  nevertheless  be  accepted  as  perhaps  the 
best  possible  smnming-up  of  his  character  in  its  relation 
to  the  imperial  office:  "The  abilities  of  the  amiable  prince 
seem  to  have  been  inadequate  to  the  difficulties  of  the  sit- 
uation, the  firmness  of  his  conduct  inferior  to  the  purity 
of  his  intentions."  ^ 

*  See  next  page. 

*  Bonner's  Rome,  Vol.  ii.  page  192. 

'  The  DecUne  and  Fall,  Vol.  L  chap.  ▼! 

[  268  ] 






With  the  consent  of  Mamsea,  Alexander  first  married 
the  daughter  of  a  patrician,  whose  name  has  been  for- 
gotten. The  young  Augusta  is  said  to  have  loved  her  hus- 
band tenderly,  which  perhaps  accounts  for  the  jealousy 
displayed  by  Mamcea;  at  least  no  other  cause  is  assigned 
for  her  cruelty  towards  the  Empress,  who,  upon  the  request 
of  his  mother,  whom  he  dared  not  oppose,  was  banished 
by  Alexander  while  lamenting  his  hard  lot^  Although  the 
Emperor  remarried,  history  has  not  deemed  his  second 
wife  worthy  of  mention— the  only  proof  of  her  existence 
being  her  inscription,  with  the  title  of  Attffusta,  upon  some 
coins  of  the  period,  where  her  name  appears  as  Gnea  Seia 
Herennia  Sallustia  Barbia  Orbiana. 

Although  Rome  was  at  peace  during  the  first  part  of 
his  reign,  the  young  Emperor  was  constantly  being  brow- 
beaten, insulted,  and  robbed  by  the  prsetorians,  who  on 
one  occasion  actually  tore  in  pieces  before  his  face  their 
prefect,  the  great  jurisconsult  Ulpian,  who  had  tried  to 
check  their  turbulence,  and  whom  Alexander  vainly  en- 
deavored to  protect  by  covering  him  with  the  imperial 
piuple.  Neither  rights  nor  property  were  respected;  Em- 
peror, consuls,  Senate,  and  people  were  at  the  mercy  of 
the  soldiers.  Only  the  stem  hand  of  a  Severus  could  have 
met  the  situation;  the  gentle  and  passionless  Alexander 
was  utterly  powerless  to  quell  the  turbulent  spirits  whom 
he  both  feared  and  failed  to  imderstand. 

In  the  tenth  year  of  his  reign  the  Persians  under  Ar- 
taxerxes  invaded  Roman  Asia,  and  Alexander  set  out  in 
defence  of  his  Empire,  returning  after  a  two  years'  cam- 

^  Her  father^  having  complained  to  the  pnetorians  of  this  severity,  was 
put  to  death;  while  she  herself  is  thought  to  have  shared  the  &te  of 
Plautilla.  See  Citracalla,  ante,  page  252. 

• [  264  ] 


paign  to  celebrate  at  Rome  a  triumph  which  revived  all 
the  glories  of  Trajan  and  Sevenis.  But  the  dark  days  were 
at  hand.  Germany  had  broken  out  into  revolt,  and  the 
barbarians  were  ravaging  GauL  After  a  few  months  spent 
in  preparation,  Alexander,  accompanied  by  his  intrepid 
mother,  again  took  the  field — like  Severus  upon  a  similar 
occasion,  never  to  return.  His  first  act,  when  he  came  in 
contact  with  the  enemy,  sounded  his  doom;  he  sent  rich 
gifts  to  the  Germans  with  a  proposal  of  peace — greatly 
angering  his  soldiers,  who  preferred  both  to  fight  and  to 
keep  the  gold  for  themselves.  Commanding  the  new  levies 
which  the  Emperor  had  intrusted  to  him  to  be  drilled 
was  a  gigantic  Thracian  named  Maximin.  Endowed  with 
just  enough  intellect  to  realize  that  it  was  a  time  for  brute 
force  rather  than  for  mildness  and  humane  effort,  he  ha- 
rangued the  recruits,  who  were  easily  persuaded  to  accept 
him  as  leader.  Covering  him  with  a  purple  mantle,  they 
inarched  in  arms  to  the  Emperof*s  tent,  and  the  guard 
standing  aside  at  the  rebels'  hi^dji^dr  tAlcxs^ader  and  his 
mother  were  put  to  death  upon  the'Up^iJ  VfUx  for  the 
wise  Mamiea  and  the  virtuoijs^Alexander;'ijftith,all  their 
lofty  aims,  there  came  at  l^*iEi£'^me  dark  fate  which 
had  engulfed  the  consciencel&»~$oseftiias  ttad  hqt  infamous 
sea  No  turbid  Tiber,  indeed,  bore  their  dishonored  bodies 
to  the  sea,  and  the  Senate  voted  an  apotheosis,  instead  of 
a  decree  of  infamy,  while  posterity  has  not  foiled  to  accord 
this  remarkable  Syrian  woman  and  her  half-Christian  son  a 
high  place  upon  the  roll  of  those  who  have  wrought  nobly 
and  with  honor  to  themselves.  But  who  shall  say  that 
to  their  pagan  minds  such  thoughts  could  in  any  wise 
assuage  the  pain  and  bitterness  of  such  an  end,  or  awaken 
one  single  spark  of  resignation  to  their  evil  destiny? 

[265  ] 



— Balbinus — GoBDiAN  III :  285-244  a*  d.  From  the  time 
of  Commodus  to  the  reign  of  Diocletian  the  soldiers  were 
the  actual  masters  of  the  Empire;  and  during  the  nine 
years  following  the  death  of  Alexander  they  exercised 
their  power  by  pulling  down  four  Emperors  whom  the 
Senate  had  ventured  to  proclaim,  besides  murdering  ti^vo 
others  whom  they  themselves  had  selected.  The  reigns  of 
these  six  Emperors  are  so  interwoven  that  they  are  to  be 
considered  as  merely  incidents  of  a  smgle  admmistration. 

Caius  Julius  Verus  Maximin,  the  murderer  of  Alexan- 
der, was  the  first  barbarian  to  attain  supreme  power  in  the 
State  whose  triumphant  arms  had  imposed  the  yoke  upon 
the  savage  hordes  from  which  he  sprung.  He  was  a  native 
of  Thrace,  but  his  father  was  a  Goth  and  his  mother  be- 
longed to  the  Alani^;  so  that  the  blood  of  many  wild 
races  must  have  mingled  in  his  veins.  Distinguished  by 
his  gigantic  stature  and  truly  herculean  strength,^ — quali- 
ties which  especially  appealed  to  the  warrior  Severus, — he 
had  been  appointed  by  that  Emperor,  whose  attention  he 
had  attracted  during  some  games  in  his  native  land,  to  a 
position  in  the  horse-guards.^  Under  Caracalla  he  was  ad- 
vanced to  the  rank  of  centurion;  but  refusing  to  serve 
either  Macrinus,  whom  he  hated,  or  Elagabalus,  whom  he 
despised,^  he  only  returned  to  Court  upon  the  accession 

^  The  Alani  nation  was  made  up  of  a  number  of  nomadic  tribes  of  ELast- 

em  origin. 

'  He  was  more  than  eight  feet  in  height,  and  it  is  said  that  he  could 

drink  seven  gallons  of  wine  and  eat  thirty  pounds  of  meat  in  a  single 

day;  that  he  could  move  a  loaded  wagon,  break  a  horse's  leg  with  his 

fist,  crumble  stones  in  his  hand,  and  tear  up  a  small  tree  by  the  roots — 

a  veritable  Porthos  in  the  Antique. 

'  The  horse-guards  attended  upon  the  person  of  the  Sovereign. 

^  Such  discrimination  does  not  entirely  accord  with  his  reputed  lack  of 

intelligence.  r  266  1 


of  Alexander,  by  whom  he  was  appointed  tribune  to  the 
Fourth  Legion,  and  in  time  to  the  first  miUtary  command. 
Merciless  in  war  and  convinced  that  the  welfare  of  the 
army  was  the  chief  end  of  the  State — here  was  just  the 
kind  of  man  the  soldiers  wanted ;  and  as  at  all  times  and 
in  all  ages,  the  man  of  the  hour  was  accepted — bis  son 
Maximin  at  the  same  time  being  saluted  as  Caesar. 

The  reign  of  Maximin  was  precisely  what  might  be  ex- 
pected from  a  man  who  could  so  ruthlessly  destroy  his 
chief  benefactor.  All  of  the  household  of  Alexander,  his 
friends  and  his  councillors,  were  put  to  death,  and  cruelty, 
oppression,  robbery,  and  pillage  were  openly  practised  by 
the  Emperor,  whose  savage  example  was  eagerly  followed 
by  the  soldiers,  freed  at  last  from  the  semblance  of  re- 
straint which  had  been  imposed  upon  them  by  Alexander. 
The  Emperor,  however,  did  not  venture  to  visit  Rome, 
where,  as  he  knew,  he  was  cordi^y  hated  both  on  account 
of  his  low  birth  and  his  open  Jb^skiSfey  to  the  classes,  but 
seems  to  have  deliberately  sougm^lbiaiigjL  a  victory  over 
the  barbarians  to  acquire  ,^me  pul)ti{:  {^^on  for  his 
power.  It  was  the  mistake  of  Albinus  repeat^.^  For  while 
Maximin  remained  in  tJpp^  I^aj^^onia  to  ,^ain  some  in- 
ronsiderable  successes  over  the'tt^iselM^  ^German  rustics, 
every  opportunity  for  conspiracies  (iecunfed  at  home;  and 
although  the  cowardly  Senate  did  not  dare  to  take  the 
initiative,  Rome  speedily  became  ripe  to  follow  the  leader- 
ship of  Carthage,  where  the  explosion  occurred.  Enraged 
by  the  tyranny  of  the  Emperor's  procurator  for  that  prov- 
ince, the  people  rose,  put  the  governor  to  death,  and  pre- 
vailed upon  the  aged  Gordian  to  acc^t  the  purple.  Gor- 
dian  was  a  patrician  of  the  bluest  blood ;  his  mother  was 
of  the  family  of  Trajan,  while  through  his  &ther  he  claimed 




State.  Although  at  the  time  of  his  elevation  to  power  re- 
nowned only  for  his  eloquence,  Timesitheus  {or  Misitheus, 
as  he  is  sometimes  spoken  of)  proved  to  be  a  man  of  ver- 
satile genius ;  and  by  his  prudence,  energy,  integrity,  and 
genuine  ability  for  administrative  reform,  speedily  justified 
his  right  to  the  formal  salutation  of  "Tutor  of  the  State," 
decreed  to  him  by  the  Senate.  The  vile  crowd  which  had 
domineered  the  palace  was  suppressed,  the  restless  praeto- 
rians subdued  and  restrained,  while  order  and  discipline 
were  reestablished  in  the  army,  which  had  been  greatly 
disorganized  under  the  turmoils  and  contentions  of  the  five 
rivals  for  the  purple.  So  that  when  the  Persians  again  in- 
vaded the  Empire  under  Sapor,  guided  by  the  wise  coun- 
sels and  firm  hand  of  Timesitheus,  the  young  Emperor 
gallantly  reUeved  Antioch,  which  had  been  invested,  drove 
the  invaders  back  across  the  Euphrates  and  recaptured  all 
of  the  Syrian  cities  which  the  Pcfsiahs.;had.  conquered.^ 

But  alas  for  the  wisdom  and  vil'^Ae  ^hich  in  that  evil 
time  ventured  to  dignify  the  purple.  In  th^J^iflst  of  their 
triumphal  progress  the  "Tutor.of  the  State'Vsuecumbed 
to  that  dread  imperial  di§easif^  i%&ittA>:^hi^  neither  a 
spotless  nor  a  shameless  Ufe,  n^Hhi^r  ^sdom  nor  folly, 
neither  guards,  gods,  nor  ingenuity  of*^Hfan  whatsoever 
afTorded  protection.  Timesitheus  was  poisoned  by  a  bold 
adventurer  named  Philip;  and  the  soldiers  being  easily 
persuaded  that  Gordian  was  too  inexperienced  to  rule  and 
command  alone,  Philip  was  associated  with  the  young 
Emperor,  whose  days  had  already  been  numbered.  A 
feeble  effort  which  was  undertaken  in  his  behalf  by  a  few 
devoted  friends  resulted  merely  in  hastening  the  inevitable : 
the  Emperor  was  put  to  death  by  his  father-in-law's  assas- 

'  GordUo'a  departure  from  Rome  upon  this  campai^  was  signalised  by 

tbe  opening  of  the  Temple  of  Janus,  for  the  last  time  recorded  in  history. 

[271  ] 




thing  but  fortunate  for  the  Empire,  the  praises  of  the  old 
historians  were  apparently  merited  by  Dedus,  who  was 
brave,  energetic,  straightforward,  and,  according  to  his 
lights,  genuinely  concerned  for  the  wel&re  and  gl<^  of 
the  State,  in  whose  defence  he  laid  down  his  life.  He  was, 
however,  narrow-minded  and  superstitious  enough  to  ac- 
count for  the  woes  of  the  Empire  upon  the  theory  that  the 
gods  were  offended  because  tiiose  who  blasphemed  them 
were  tolerated  by  the  State.  Dedus  accordingly  inaugu- 
rated a  widespread  and  shameful  persecution  of  the  Chris- 
tians; and  although  it  lasted  only  a  few  months,^  after 
which  all  the  imprisoned  votaries  were  set  firee,  for  the  time 
being  it  appeared  to  be  a  veritable  war  of  extermination. 

The  reign  of  Decius  was  especially  signalized  by  an  in- 
vasion of  the  GLoths,  significant  as  the  first  great  wave  of 
that  immense  sea  of  barbaric  marauders  i^diich  gradually 
submerged  the  Empire  and  at  last  actually  inundated  the 
sacred  city  itsel£  There  upon  the  Palatine  where  Romulus 
had  built  and  Augustus,  Severus,  and  Trajan  had  lived, 
this  mi^ty  force  was  destined  to  install  a  barbarian  in- 
vader as  an  earnest  that  Rome  had  indeed  fallen. 

After  the  death  of  Philip  the  new  Emperor  had  jour- 
neyed leisurely  to  Rome,  where  his  two  sons,  Quintus 
Herrennius  and  Valens  Hostilianus,  were  each  proclaimed 
Caesar.  But  the  advance  guards  of  the  invaders  had  ap- 
peared in  eastern  Mcesia,^  while  the  main  body  was  fast 
approaching  an  important  fortress  on  the  Danube,  which 
guarded  the  approach  to  Thrace.  Hastily  assembling  his 
forces,  Decius  took  the  field  and  finally  confironted  the 

^  The  inyaskm  of  the  Goths,  which  soon  demanded  the  undivided  at- 
tention of  the  Emperor,  explains  why  his  other  task  was  left  unfinished. 
'  Moesia  included  two  provinces  north  of  the  Htemus  Mountains  (now 
the  Balkans)  in  northern  Thrace. 

[  274  ] 






GU>thic  leader,  who  had  suffered  a  serious  repulse  by  Gallus 
(ad%erwards  Emperor)  near  the  city  of  Nicopolis,  in  what 
is  now  Hiuigary.  The  barbarians  at  first  retreated  and  the 
Kmperor  at  one  time  might  have  annihilated  the  entire 
host.  But  he  seems  to  have  been  drawn  into  a  trap;  the 
Ooths  suddenly  fell  upon  him  with  all  their  forces,  and,  as 
it  is  aUeged,  aided  by  the  treachery  of  Gallus,  they  suc- 
ceeded in  completely  routing  the  imperial  troops,  Decius 
and  his  eldest  son  being  among  the  killed.  It  was  the  first 
time  a  Roman  Emperor  had  fallen  upon  Roman  soil  at 
the  hand  of  an  enemy;  and  the  death  of  Decius,  in  its 
moral  effect,  may  be  accounted  the  first  great  blow  among 
the  disasters  which  finally  crushed  the  Empire. 

Gallus — .^mill^nus  :  261-254  a.  d.  C.  Vibius  Trebo- 
oianus  Gallus,  who  succeeded  Decius,  was  a  native  of  the 
island  of  Meninx  in  Afiica.  The  highest  military  position 
i^hich  he  had  previously  attained  yftp^'- ih&t  s  of  dux  in 
IVloesia — the  title  designating  only  a  geiil^l.'in^command 
of  a  special  expedition,  with  Xio-wmerium  otKfer:1i>an  that 
exercised  over  his  own  soldiers;  aAvjihence  inferior  to  that 
of  an  imperial  legate  at  the  heSBfcd.  of  the.  legion^  Gallus 
i^as  plainly  a  man  of  mediocrity,  ajid>..^eyiMid '  his  first 
slight  advantage  over  the  Goths,  he  seems  "to  have  ren- 
dered no  assistance  to  Decius  in  the  latter's  emergency; 
but  the  charges  of  treachery  which  were  insinuated  by  the 
fi-iends  of  his  predecessor  seem  unwarranted.  The  Emperor, 
nevertheless,  sufiered  under  the  taint  of  suspicion,  which 
he  endeavored  to  remove  by  associating  with  him  in  the 
Empire  Hostilianus,^  the  surviving  son  of  Decius.  The 
latter,  however,  did  not  long  escape  the  dread  disease 
^virhich  infected  the  Palatine;  whereupon  the  Emperor's 

^  He  had  been  created  Cesar  in  his  father's  lifetime. 




son,  VolusianuSt  who  had  married  a  daughter  of  Decius, 
was  proclaimed  Augustus.  Other  than  a  bust  in  the  '^Hall 
of  Emperors'*  this  son  of  Gallus  left  no  trace  of  his  claim 
to  the  imperial  power. 

The  charms  of  a  luxurious  life  at  the  capital  city  out- 
weighed with  Gallus  either  the  dignity  or  safety  of  the 
State;  and  after  concluding  a  disgraceful  treaty  with  the 
Goths,  who  were  not  only  permitted  to  retire  with  all  their 
prisoners  and  booty,  but  were  also  promised  a  krge  annual 
payment  in  money,  the  Emperor  hastened  to  Rome.  Al- 
though between  fifty  and  sixty  years  of  age,  Gallus  re- 
signed himself  to  a  life  of  frivoUty  and  dissipation,  turning 
a  deaf  ear  to  all  the  appeals  for  aid  which  came  pouring 
into  Rome  from  wretched  Pannonia.  For  the  insatiable 
Goths  had  returned,  and  in  their  train  stalked  famme  and 
pestilence,  those  twin  ghosts  of  barbaric  war£Eu*e.  But  soon 
the  people  began  to  murmur.  Instead  of  the  blasphemous 
Christiaiis  who  had  aroused  the  anger  of  the  gods,  it  was 
their  "coward  Emperor"  who  was  now  held  responsible 
for  the  national  disasters ;  so  that  when  the  army — which 
had  always  resented  the  Senate's  choice  of  Gallus — pre- 
pared to  vindicate  its  rights,  all  Rome  stood  ready  to  ap- 
plaud what  it  lacked  the  spirit  to  inaugurate. 

The  governor  of  Pannonia  at  this  time  was  a  Maureta- 
nian  named  iEmilianus.  Having  engaged  the  army's  atten- 
tion by  some  sUght  successes  over  the  Goths,  he  completely 
won  the  approval  of  the  troops  by  distributing  among 
them  the  gold  which  Gallus  had  sent  for  the  promised 
tribute  to  the  barbarians.  The  enraptmed  soldiers  at  once 
invested  him  with  the  purple,  and  mustering  all  his  forces 
iEmiUanus  set  out  for  Rome.  Roused  by  this  personal 
danger  from  the  sloth  and  indifference  which  had  been 
proof  agamst  every  peril  of  the  State,  GaUus  hastily  de- 

[  276  ] 



spatched  Valerian  to  mobilize  the  Gallic  and  German 
legions,  while  he  himself  set  out  for  the  northern  frontier. 
Sut  his  hour  had  struck.  The  Danubians  had  already 
czrossed  the  Julian  Alps,  and  the  Emperor  encountered 
them  at  the  city  of  Temi,  scarcely  seventy  miles  from 
Home.  No  battle  was  fought,  however.  The  imperial 
troops,  cherishing  a  hearty  contempt  for  their  effeminate 
!Emperor,  and  attracted  by  the  fame  and  liberality  of 
^mihanus,  were  ripe  for  revolt ;  Gallus  and  his  son  were 
put  to  death  by  their  own  soldiers,  who  united  with  the 
provincial  army  in  proclaiming  the  victor. 

Gallus  had  reigned  three  years,  but  scarcely  as  many 
months  elapsed  between  the  elevation  and  the  downfrdl  of 
his  successor. 

M.  iEmilius  ^milianus  was  one  of  those  men  whose 
intense  personal  conceit  enables  them  for  a  time,  at  least, 
to  conceal  indifferent  ability  by  ah.dCeasipnal  showy  act. 
His  selection  by  the  army  was  qtiii^dy  cdnfinned  by  the 
Senate,  but  both  the  Conscript  Fathers  '^d  t9ie  soldiers 
reckoned  without  regard  tQ  Yal^rian  and  his  )6gions,  who 
-were  fast  coming  up  from  Oaiil  aiid  L^wer  Glprinany .  While 
^milianus  was  composing  boastfuL^d^^^^^  ^  ^he  Sen- 
ate, declaring  his  intention  of  driving  ottt*  ^e  barbarians 
from  the  northern  and  eastern  portions  of  the  Empire, — 
to  which  the  Conscript  Fathers  replied  by  the  coinage  of 
both  flattering  medals  and  titles  for  "Mars  the  Avenger," — 
the  troops  of  Valerian  suddenly  debouched  upon  the  plains 
of  Spoleto,  where  ^Emilianus  had  lain  encamped  ever  since 
the  death  of  Gallus.  The  bloodless  "battle  of  Temi"  was 
to  be  repeated.  Awed  both  by  the  superior  strength  of  the 
eastern  legions  and  the  military  reputation  of  their  leader, 
the  murderers  of  Gallus  themselves  avenged  that  Emperor 
by  presenting  to  Valerian  the  head  of  ^Emilianus ;  and  the 

[  277  ] 


new  Augustus  (whose  soldiers  had  several  months  earlier 
decorated  him  with  the  purple)  now  became  head  of  the 
State  by  the  unanimous  voice  of  the  Roman  world. 

Valerian — Galleenus — The  TmRTY  Tyrants  :  254- 
268  A.  D.  Publius  Licinius  Valerianus  was  of  an  old  Roman 
family,  and  if  we  may  believe  the  ancient  writers,  the  no- 
bility of  his  character  at  least  equalled  that  of  his  birth. 
He  seems  to  have  invariably  sided  with  the  better  elements 
in  the  State,  and  as  a  friend  of  the  elder  Gk>rdian  he  acted 
a  spirited  part  in  the  struggle  against  Maximin.  He  had 
worked  his  way  up  through  the  grades,  but  had  passed  his 
sixtieth  year  when  he  attained  the  tribunate  (under  Gallus). 
Of  unblemished  character,  mild  and  vmssvawng  in  manner, 
revered  by  Senate  and  people — if  mankind  had  been  al- 
lowed to  choose  a  master,  sajrs  an  old  writer  cited  by  Gib- 
bon, the  choice  would  have  fallen  on  Valerian.  Indeed  if 
it  had  not  been  for  those  terrible  barbarians,  Rome  might 
well  have  believed  that  the  Empire  was  once  more  to  en- 
joy the  benignancy  of  the  first  Antonines. 

By  the  Emperor  Decius,  Valerian  had  been  chosen  to 
fill  the  office  of  censor,  which  had  fallen  into  disuse  since 
the  days  of  Titus,  who  was  the  last  incumbent,  the  example 
of  Trajan,  who  modestly  refused  the  honor,  having  become 
a  law  to  the  Antonines.  But  however  qualified  he  may 
have  been  to  maintain  if  not  actually  to  restore  the  morals 
of  the  State,^  and  notwithstanding  all  the  admitted  ex- 
cellencies of  his  character.  Valerian  proved  to  be  anything 
but  the  man  for  the  times  and  his  reign  was  one  of  the 
most  calamitous  and  miserable  in  the  history  of  the  State. 

*  The  office  of  censor  was  very  widespread  in  the  line  of  its  duty,  in- 
cluding thlit  of  punishing  offences  not  only  against  morality  but  against 
the  conventional  requirements  of  Roman  custom. 

[  278  ] 



His  first  important  act  was  an  index  of  the  disasters  to 
come.  Emboldened  by  their  recent  successes,  and  also  by 
the  withdrawal  of  the  frontier  legions,  many  of  which 
during  the  civil  war  precipitated  by  iSmilianus  had  been 
recalled  to  Italy,  the  barbarians  were  menacing  the  Em- 
pire as  never  before.  With  Persians  in  the  east,  Gk>ths  and 
Alemanni  at  the  north,  and  Franks  on  the  west,  all  eager 
to  strike  a  deadly  blow,  it  was  apparent  that  one  man,  and 
he  already  past  the  prime  of  life,  could  ill  sustain  the 
weight  of  defending  the  Empire.  A  colleague  was  plainly 
advisable ;  but  instead  of  selecting  one  of  the  many  valiant 
and  able  generals  who  were  available,  self-love  proved 
stronger  than  duty  to  the  State,  Valerian  weakly  choosing 
his  own  profligate  son  to  defend  the  Empire  with  him.  It 
was  once  more  the  case  of  Aurelius  and  Commodus,  of 
Severus  and  Caracalla;  and  Valerian  and  Gallienus  have 
passed  into  history  as  the  virtuous,  high-minded  father, 
laboring  for  the  welfare  and  digjiity  of  the  State,  linked 
with  the  degenerate  and  vicious',s<ai^unconcemedly  yawn- 
ing while  the  purple  was  being  d^ed  through  the  mire. 

Turning  over  to  his  son  the  defenic6  of  the  west.  Va- 
lerian himself  departed  for  the^  eastern  frontier,  already 
being  ravaged  by  Goths  from  the. Lower  Danube  and  by 
the  Persians  under  Sapor,  for  nearly  haljf  a  century  one  of 
Rome's  bitterest  enemies.  Greece  was  overrun  by  the 
former,  while  Sapor,  first  taking  possession  of  Armenia 
and  Mesopotamia,  finally  crossed  the  Euphrates  and  en- 
tered Syria.  Valerian,  who  had  enjoyed  not  one  moment 
of  rest  or  peace  since  the  troops  saluted  him  as  "Master" 
of  the  Roman  world,  hastened  to  Antioch  shortly  after- 
wards, pushing  Sapor  back  to  the  Euphrates,  where  upon 
the  old  battle-ground  an  encounter  occurred.  Worn  out 
with  the  hardships  of  their  protracted  campaign,  which  had 

[  279  ] 


It  is  next  to  impossible  to  present  a  chronological  st 
ment  of  a  reign  so  torn  by  faction  and  trampled  by  inva- 
sion; the  whole  period,  as  pointed  out  in  Gibbon,  being 
«ine  uninterrupted  series  of  confusion  and  calamity.  And 
while  most  historians  agree  that  these  so-called  "Thirty 
Tyrants"  included  only  nineteen  who  were  actually  in- 
vested with  the  purple,  there  is  a  diversity  in  the  nomen- 
clature of  the  pretenders,^  for  the  reason  probably  that 
many  of  the  usurpers  barely  flitted  across  the  public  stage, 
leaving  a  certain  fact  but  an  uncertain  personality. 

(1)  In  the  year  258,  upon  setting  out  for  Rome  firom 
Gaul,  where  Postumus  remained  in  command,  oibtead  of 
intrusting  to  the  latter  his  son  Saloninus,  Gallienus  left 
the  young  Csesar  in  the  care  of  the  tribune  SUvanus  at 
Cologne.  Offended  by  the  Emperor's  apparent  distrust, 
Postumus  appealed  to  the  legions,  with  whom  he  was  im- 
mensely popular,  and  who  eagerly  embraced  his  proposi- 
tion to  march  against  Cologne.  After  a  stout  resistance 
the  besieged  city  was  taken,  Saloninus  and  his  protector 
were  put  to  death,  and  the  conqueror  was  proclaimed 
Augustus — Britain  and  Spain  also  taking  the  oath  to  him 
a  little  later. 

Like  almost  all  of  the  provincial  usurpers,  Postumus  was 
of  low  birth;  but  possessing  both  courage  and  the  confi- 
dence  of  the  Gallic  provinces,  where  he  was  bom  and  had 
always  Uved,  the  new  Augustus  maintained  himself  for 
ten  years — withstanding  even  the  imperial  prestige  when 
in  the  year  265  GalUenus  undertook,  without  success,  to 
avenge  his  son  and  recover  Gaul.  The  Gallic  Emperor 
was  finally  killed  during  a  tumult  caused  by  refusing  his 
soldiers  the  pillage  of  Mayence,  which  had  rebelled  against 

^  Gibbon,  for  example,  in  presenting  his  list  of  names,  cites  a  different 
one  compiled  by  Captain  Smyth  in  his  Catalogue  of  Medals, 

[  282  ] 



his  authority.  With  a  single  exception  he  was  the  most 
remarkable  of  the  nineteen  usurpers. 

(2)  Upon  the  death  of  Postumus,  Laslianus  was  invested 
with  the  Gallic  purple,  and  according  to  his  coins  he  won 
some  notable  victories  over  the  Germans.  He  was,  how- 
ever, soon  murdered  by  his  soldiers,  angry  at  being  com- 
pelled to  labor  in  rebuilding  the  Rhine  forts. 

(8)  Two  years  before  his  death,  Postumus  had  associated 
with  himself  an  Italian  general  named  Marcus  Piavonius 
Victorinus,  who  had  brought  over  several  legions  to  the 
support  of  the  Gallic  Caesar.  Allied  to  a  rich  and  influen- 
tial family,  and  being  very  popular  in  Gaul,  Victorinus 
became  so  firmly  established  that  he  appears  to  have  in- 
spired Gallienus  with  a  wholesome  dread,  and  was  allowed 
to  rule  his  province  without  opposition  from  Rome.  He, 
however,  speedily  paid  the  penalty  of  an  evil  life,  having 
been  assassinated  at  Cologne  by  dhe  v(>f  his  own  officers 
whom  he  had  greatly  wronged.^  Ii.ds$-jb]i^  a  year  had 
elapsed  since  the  death  of  his  predecessS%  ts^bf^e  murder 
Victorinus  is  said  to  have  instigated.  '^  / 

(4)  Another  competitor  foy  £he  Jpallic  purplq  was  a 
blacksmith  named  Marius,  who  cliiȣ  upon^^  ^Ehe  scene  just 
before  the  death  of  Victorinus.  The  "Augustan  History" 
assigns  to  Marius  the  shortest  reign  in  its  annals,  allowing 
him  only  three  days  of  imperial  grandeur;  "on  the  first 
of  which  he  was  made  Emperor,  on  the  second  he  reigned, 
and  on  the  third  he  was  dethroned."  There  is  evidence, 
however,  that  Marius  held  the  boards  for  three  or  four 
months.  He  is  said  to  have  been  endowed  with  "match- 
less strength,  intrepid  courage,  and  blunt  honesty."  But 
he  perished  at  the  hand  of  an  old  comrade  whom  he  had 
slighted  in  his  hour  of  dignity — struck  down,  it  is  said,  by 

^  Coins  of  Victorinus  are  said  to  have  been  found  in  England. 

[  283  ] 


a  blade  which  the  murderer  and  his  victim  had  one  day 
forged  together. 

(5)  Upon  the  death  of  Victorinus,  his  mother,  Victorina, 
who  was  a  woman  of  masculine  habit,  took  a  hand  at  Em- 
peror-making, the  Gallic  legions  at  her  instance  proclaim- 
ing as  Emperor  Pius  Esuvius  Tetricus,  who  was  a  relative 
of  Victorina.  Tetricus  had  been  a  senator,  but  without 
military  experience  and  of  a  retiring  disposition  he  was 
unfitted  for  the  stormy  life  upon  which  those  who  then 
adventured  the  purple  were  expected  to  embark.  Tetricus 
therefore  wisely  retired  to  Bordeaux  and  there  "busied 
himself  about  nothing";  so  that  not  being  esteemed  a 
dangerous  character,  he  remained  undisturbed  during  the 
remainder  of  the  reign  of  GalUenus  and  the  four  years  fol- 
lowing. After  the  death  of  Victorina,  whose  resolute  soul 
had  theretofore  largely  upheld  him,  the  peaceful-minded 
Tetricus  deliberately  sought  relief  from  his  imperial  func- 
tions. In  the  third  year  of  the  reign  of  AureUan,  he  wrote 
begging  that  Emperor  to  deliver  him  "from  the  miscreant 
legions";  and  when  Aurelian  came  with  his  army  Tetricus 
betrayed  his  own  troops  to  the  conqueror.  Although  led 
with  Zenobia  in  Aurelian's  great  triumph  at  Rome  after 
the  fall  of  Palmyra,  Tetricus  was  afterwards  admitted  to 
the  friendship  of  the  Emperor,  receiving  from  him  the 
government  of  Lucania,  while  his  son  became  a  senator. 
Looking  back  upon  the  fate  of  his  eighteen  associates  in 
imperial  pretension,  one  imagines  that  Tetricus  would  re- 
quire little  time  to  answer  Aurelian's  question :  Whether 
it  were  not  more  desirable  to  administer  a  province  in  Italy 
than  to  reign  beyond  the  Alps  ?  It  is  possible  that  he  died 
a  natural  death. 

(6)  After  the  captivity  of  Valerian  the  all-powerftd  Sapor 
selected  as  a  candidate  for  the  purple  in  the  East  an  ob- 

[  284  ] 


scure  adventurer  from  Antioch  named  Cyriades,  who  was 
accordingly  proclaimed  by  the  cowed  remnant  of  the  im- 
perial army.  It  is  not  improbable  that  Cyriades  purchased 
the  favor  of  Sapor  by  an  act  of  treachery ;  at  all  events, 
he  straightway  conducted  the  Persians  to  his  native  city, 
which  was  surprised  and  sacked  by  the  invaders.  After  the 
fall  of  Antioch  the  Persians  easily  overran  the  adjoining 
countries,  and  before  long  the  entire  East  trembled  at  the 
name  of  Valerian's  oppressor,  whose  conquests  were  marked 
by  wanton  and  imrelenting  cruelty. 

(7,  8)  For  a  long  time  the  triumphal  march  of  the  Per- 
sians was  practically  imopposed.  The  only  two  men  in  the 
East  who  were  capable  of  defending  the  Empire  were 
Macrianus,  one  of  Valerian's  generals,  and  Balista,  who 
had  been  the  prcetorian  prefect,  and  being  totally  without 
assistance  from  Rome,  they  at  first  found  it  next  to  impos- 
sible to  rouse  the  courage  of  the  provinces.  They,  however, 
finally  succeeded  in  collecting  the  scattered  remnants  of 
the  Syrian  army  and  were  fortunately  assisted  at  a  critical 
moment  by  the  Prince  of  Palmjn^,  who,  after  being  in- 
sulted and  threatened  by  Sapor,  had  decided  to  cast  in  his 
lot  with  the  Romans;  Odenathus  also  inducing  a  large 
band  of  Arabs  from  the  southern  deserts  to  enlist  with 
him.  The  Persians,  being  now  both  outnumbered  and  par- 
tially surrounded,  were  forced  to  retreat,  being  finally 
thrust  across  the  Euphrates  with  great  slaughter  and  with 
not  only  the  loss  of  their  booty  but — what  was  probably 
of  far  more  importance  to  Sapor — with  the  capture  of  a 
large  part  of  the  Persian  harem.  Cyriades,  the  renegade 
Augustus,  was  taken  and  burned  alive  by  the  enraged 
Syrians ;  Balista  and  Macrianus  assumed  the  purple,  while 
Odenathus,  to  whom  the  credit  of  the  Persians'  expulsion 
was  largely  due,  contented  himself  with  the  title  of  King 

[  285  ] 


bestowed  by  the  Arabs,  and  the  position  of  chief  of  the 
imperial  forces  in  the  Elast,  conferred  upon  him  by  Gal- 

Macrianus  was  a  soldier  of  fortune  who  had  risen  from 
the  ranks  to  a  hi^  position  both  in  the  army  and  in  the 
confidence  of  Valeiian.  But  he  lacked  the  essential  quali- 
ties of  a  ruler;  instead  of  restoring  order  and  safety  in 
the  provinces  and  thus  consolidating  his  power,  he  reck- 
lessly resolved  to  at  once  gain  possession  of  the  whole  Em- 
pire; and  with  an  army  of  only  thirty  thousand  men,  he 
set  out  for  Europe.  Warned  doubtless  by  Odenathus,  who 
was  both  prudent  and  loyal,  Gallienus  despatched  his  Em- 
peror-killer Aureolus^  to  intercept  the  Eastern  usurper. 
The  matter  was  easily  accomplished;  the  forces  of  Mac- 
rianus were  routed  and  their  leader,  with  his  son  of  the 
same  name,  put  to  death. 

(9)  Upon  his  departure  from  the  East,  Macrianus  had 
left  his  son  Quietus,  who  had  also  been  proclaimed  Au- 
gustus, and  his  colleague  Balista  to  govern  Asia.  Upon 
news  of  the  defeat  of  the  Sjnrian  army,  Odenathus  at  once 
marched  against  Quietus,  who  shut  himself  up  in  Emesa, 
but  was  quickly  overcome  and  sujSered  the  usual  fate; 
while  Balista  was  shortly  afterwards  assassinated. 

(10)  The  confidence  reposed  in  Odenathus  was  strength- 
ened materially  by  his  services  in  the  revolt  of  Macrianus 
and  his  colleagues,  and  two  years  later  the  Arab  chief  suc- 
ceeded to  the  purple  by  proclamation  of  Gallienus  himself 
— probably  the  most  popular  act  of  his  entire  reign.  Ode- 
nathus interests  us  both  as  the  only  one  of  the  provincial 
Emperors  whose  personality  attracts  attention,  and  as  the 
husband  of  the  celebrated  Zenobia.  Not  excepting  Cleo- 
patra, from  whom  she  traced  her  descent  and  whom  she  is 

^  See  poH,  page  290. 

[  286  ] 












said  to  have  surpassed  in  beauty,  as  she  certainly  excelled 
her  in  morality  and  valor,  the  Queen  of  Palmyra  is  easily 
the  most  remarkable  woman  who  has  come  down  to  us 
in  Roman  history.  Combining  the  charms  of  beauty  and 
femininity  with  a  masculine  ardor  and  understanding, 
highly  educated  and  with  a  constitution  inured  to  fatigue, 
thus  enabling  her  to  accompany  Odenathus  upon  his  cam- 
paigns, it  is  easy  to  beheve  that  both  the  fortitude  and  in- 
spiration of  the  Palmyrian  were  drawn  largely  from  his 
beautifril  and  devoted  wife,  who,  in  the  language  of  an 
eminent  historian,  ''soon  became  the  friend  and  companion 
of  a  hero." 

According  to  some  writers  Odenathus  was  a  prince  of 
the  Saracens ;  other  authorities  merely  accord  him  descent 
from  a  noble  family  in  Palmyra.  At  all  events,  he  was  the 
chief  person  in  the  "City  of  Palms"  at  the  time  of  Sapor's 
invasion;  and  after  their  splendid  victories  over  the  "Great 
King,"  Odenathus  and  his  illustnous  consort  found  in 
every  quarter  a  ready  acquiescence  in  his  designation  as  a 
colleague  of  GaUienus.  But  he  was  ilbt  Icing  tp  enjoy  the 
fruits  of  his  reward  fix)m  Rome.  Returning  frora  a  success- 
fril  expedition  against  some  (^rOi^c  invfiders  of  Asia  Minor, 
he  stopped  near  Emesa  to  <»igage  in  his  Havorite  pastime 
of  himting,  and  was  there  assassinated  by  a.  nephew  smart- 
ing imder  a  justly  administered  rebuke  fix)m  his  uncle.  His 
death  occurred  perhaps  a  year  before  that  of  GaUienus, 
and  without  awaiting  authority  frt)m  the  latter,  Zenobia 
herself  assumed  the  government,  which  some  years  later 
she  surrendered  only  to  AureUan  in  person.^ 

While  the  bloody  purple  was  thus  being  tossed  about 
in  the  East  and  the  West,  the  other  provinces  were  also 
indulging,  although  to  a  less  extent,  in  the  excitements  of 

^  Post,  page  298. 



Emperor-making.  In  Illyria  and  Fannonia  three  of  these 
sham  rulers  were  set  up  and  pulled  down ;  while  Thessaly 
and  Achaia  in  Europe,  Fontus  and  Isauria  in  Asia  Minor, 
and  Carthage  and  Egypt  in  Africa  each  furnished  one. 

(11,  12)  About  the  time  that  Macrianus  was  preparing 
to  cross  over  into  Europe,^  the  fever  of  unrest  which  was 
abroad  had  reached  Achaia  and  Thessaly,  and  these  prov- 
inces resolved  to  participate  in  the  imperial  foundations 
which  had  come  into  vogue.  In  the  former  the  pro-consul, 
a  talented  general  named  Valens,  was  proclaimed  Em- 
peror, while  in  Thessaly  the  purple  was  bestowed  upon 
Calpumius  Piso,  a  man  of  the  highest  rank,  belonging  to 
an  illustrious  family  which  from  Augustus  to  Alexander 
Severus  had  furnished  a  consul  in  every  generation — the 
only  family,  as  Gibbon  observes,  which  had  survived  the 
tyranny  of  the  Caesars.  But  the  moment  was  inopportune 
for  Emperor-making  in  that  part  of  the  world ;  the  prov- 
inces were  poor,  there  were  few  troops,  and  on  either  side 
were  the  approaching  forces  of  GaUienus  and  the  Eastern 
usurper.  Valens  became  suspicious  of  Fiso,  and  the  de- 
scendant of  Numa'  was  assassinated  by  emissaries  of  the 
low-bom  Achaian,  who,  thinking  to  consolidate  his  power, 
assimied  the  name  of  Thessalicus.  He  was  soon  put  out 
of  the  way  by  his  own  soldiers. 

(18)  Of  Satuminus,  who  was  proclaimed  in  Fontus,  be- 
yond the  fact  that  he  perished  in  the  traditional  manner, 
we  know  nothing  except  the  remark  he  is  said  to  have 
made  to  the  soldiers  who  invested  him:  ^* Comrades,  you 
lose  a  good  general  and  create  a  worthless  Emperor.''  His 
philosophy  doubtless  prepared  him  for  the  inevitable  stroke 
of  the  sword. 

(14)  Trebellianus  was  another  usurper  who  donned  the 

^  AwU,  page  M6.     *  The  Pisos  claimed  descent  from  Numa  PompOius. 

[  288  ] 


purple  in  Asia  Minor.  The  province  of  Isauria,  lying  over 
against  the  Taurus  Mountains,  had  never  been  fully  civil- 
ized by  Rome ;  and  Trebellianus  was  chief  of  the  robber 
mountaineers  who  had  always  existed,  but  whose  depre- 
dations became  more  widespread  under  the  present  disor- 
ganization. He  did  not  long  escape  the  sword,  at  the  hand 
of  one  of  the  Roman  lieutenants.  But  his  savage  followers, 
having  tasted  again  the  sweets  of  independence,  resolved 
to  forever  shake  off  the  imperial  yoke;  and  for  centuries 
thereafter  the  Isaurians  remained  a  nation  of  barbarian 
robbers  and  pirates.  It  was  the  one  lasting  change  effected 
by  the  provincial  usurpations. 

(15,  16)  When  Celsis  was  being  proclaimed  at  Carthage, 
no  purple  mantle  being  available,  the  robe  of  the  dea 
celestis  was  placed  upon  him ;  whereupon  some  of  the  by- 
standers, scandalized  by  such  impiety,  resolved  to  kill  the 
new  Augustus.  The  deed  was  accomplished  by  some  of  his 
own  soldiers  on  the  seventh  day  of  his  reign.  His  Egj^tian 
colleague  ^milianus  succumbed  almost  as  quickly  under 
an  attack  by  Theodotus,  who  was  in  quest  of  wheat  for 
Rome.  The  Nile  Emperor  was  made  prisoner  and  strangled 
in  his  dungeon. 

(17)  In  the  same  year  that  witnessed  the  elevation  of 
Postumus  the  troops  of  Pannonia  bestowed  a  similar 
honor  upon  their  general  Ingenuus,  whose  designation 
was  enthusiastically  ratified  by  the  entire  province.  In- 
genuus was  a  skilAil  soldier  who  had  won  renown  in  the 
border  warfare  with  the  Goths  and  Sarmatians,  and  it  was 
expected  that  like  Postumus  he  would  find  no  difficulty 
in  upholding  the  imperial  dignity  of  his  warlike  province. 
But  for  some  reason  the  Emperor  at  Rome,  ordinarily  so 
indifferent  to  rival  pretensions,  took  speedy  note  of  the 
revolt  on  the  Danube,  and  sent  Aiureolus,  one  of  his  best 



lieutenants,  to  punish  the  usurper.  Defeated  in  the  first 
encounter,  Ingenuus  conunitted  suicide,  the  victor,  under 
an  explicit  order  from  his  imperial  master,  inflicting  a 
bloody  punishment  upon  the  unfortunate  Fannonians.  The 
order,  which  is  still  extant,  may  be  quoted  as  illustrative 
of  the  occasional  savageness  displayed  by  Gallienus :  *^  It  is 
not  enough  that  you  exterminate  such  as  have  appeared 
in  arms;  the  chance  of  battle  might  have  served  me  as 
effectually.  The  male  sex  of  every  age  must  be  extirpated ; 
provided  that  in  the  execution  of  the  children  and  old 
men  you  can  contrive  means  to  save  our  reputation.  Let 
every  one  die  who  has  dropped  an  expression,  who  has 
entertained  a  thought  against  me,  against  mej  the  son  of 
Valerian.  Remember  that  Ingenuus  was  made  Emperor; 
tear,  kill,  and  hew  to  pieces."  The  soft  cruelty  of  a  Tibe- 
rius, the  fierce  egoism  of  a  Nero,  and  the  unrestrained 
savagery  of  a  CaracaUa  are  all  foimd  in  this  unrivalled 
mandate  of  Gallienus. 

(18)  Nothing  daunted  by  the  fate  of  his  predecessor,  a 
Dacian  named  Regalianus  (who  claimed  his  descent  from 
the  celebrated  Decebalus  of  Trajan's  reign),  after  gaining 
some  military  successes  over  the  Sarmatians,  accepted  the 
imperial  office  from  the  army  and  the  provincials,  alike  for- 
getful— or  perhaps  because  of  the  retribution  which  had 
overtaken  their  last  act  of  rebellion.  He  met  the  usual 
violent  death,  presumably  in  a  revolt  of  his  own  people.  * 

(19)  As  a  reward  for  canying  out  his  master's  orders 
against  Ingenuus  and  the  Fannonians,  Aureolus  received 
the  government  of  lUyria.  The  overthrow  of  Macrianus  ^ 
increased  his  prestige,  and  after  strengthening  his  power  in 
every  possible  way,  towards  the  end  of  the  reign  of  Gal- 
lienus when  the  general  disorder  was  at  its  climax,  Aureo- 

1  AnUy  page  286. 

[  290  ] 


lus  accepted  the  title  of  Emperor  from  the  army  on  the 
Upper  Danube,  and  crossing  the  Alps  marched  rapidly  to 
Milan,  which  he  occupied  as  a  base  for  his  intended  opera- 
tions against  Rome  itself.  As  long  as  the  pretenders  had 
contented  themselves  with  provincial  grandeur,  Gallienus 
saw  no  reason  to  interfere  with  their  ambition,  which  never 
in  the  slightest  interfered  with  his  personal  pleasures  and 
diversions.  But  when  the  standard  of  revolt  was  erected 
upon  the  sacred  soil  of  Italy,  even  this  imperial  trifler  was 
awakened  from  his  habitual  indolence;  and  wrenching 
himself  from  the  luxurious  life  on  the  Tiber,  the  Emperor 
gathered  together  the  Italian  troops  and  marched  towards 
the  Po.  The  armies  met  about  thirty  miles  from  Milan, 
and  after  a  stubborn  conflict  the  invaders  were  defeated, 
Aureolus,  who  was  severely  wounded,  barely  escaping  with 
his  life  to  Milan,  which  was  at  once  besieged  by  Gallienus. 
The  usurper  was  indeed  in  sore  straits,  but  it  was  not  for 
him  that  the  Parc»  were  first  preparing;  it  was  the  life- 
thread  of  the  dissolute  and  carele^'-i;^'^^  which 
had  unwound,  and  for  which  the  sheiu^  l^pe  rjiady.  Again 
the  Roman  purple  was  to  be  rent  by  a  bl6^  from  behind. 
Disgusted  at  last  with  a  £M.$tef-^ho  inspired*  neither  re- 
spect, nor  love,  nor  fear,  the  prtetprfei^BL^d^cidfed  to  resume 
their  time-honored  trade.  Late  at'^l^bt^  .While  the  Em- 
peror was  still  at  table,  the  false  alar^^was  raised  that 
Aureolus  was  attacking  in  force,  and  GalUenus,  rushing 
from  his  tent,  was  stabbed  in  the  back  by  the  assassins. 
Aureolus  himself  perished  a  little  later  when  Milan  sur- 
rendered to  the  next  Emperor,  by  whom  the  lUjrrian 
pretender  was  promptly  executed.  Thus  of  the  nineteen 
individuals  who  during  the  reign  of  GaUienus  had  flaunted 
the  purple  in  various  parts  of  the  Empire  which  most  of 
them  helped  to  drag  through  the  mire,  Tetricus  was  the 

[  291  ] 




lus  accepted  the  title  of  Emperor  from  the  army  on  the 
Upper  Danube,  and  crossing  the  Alps  marched  rapidly  to 
Milan,  which  he  occupied  as  a  base  for  his  intended  opera- 
tions against  Rome  itself.  As  long  as  the  pretenders  had 
contented  themselves  with  provincial  grandeur,  Gallienus 
saw  no  reason  to  interfere  with  their  ambition,  which  never 
in  the  slightest  interfered  with  his  personal  pleasures  and 
diversions.  But  when  the  standard  of  revolt  was  erected 
upon  the  sacred  soil  of  Italy,  even  this  imperial  trifler  was 
awakened  from  his  habitual  indolence;  and  wrenching 
himself  from  the  luxurious  life  on  the  Tiber,  the  Emperor 
gathered  together  the  Italian  troops  and  marched  towards 
the  Po.  The  armies  met  about  thirty  miles  from  Milan, 
and  after  a  stubborn  conflict  the  invaders  were  defeated, 
Aureolus,  who  was  severely  wounded,  barely  escaping  with 
his  life  to  Milan,  which  was  at  once  besieged  by  GaUienus. 
The  usurper  was  indeed  in  sore  straits,  but  it  was  not  for 
him  that  the  Parc»  were  first  preparing;  it  was  the  life- 
thread  of  the  dissolute  and  careless'-^^h-^-Yalerian  which 
had  unwound,  and  for  which  the  sheari^  i^pe  rjfeady.  Again 
the  Roman  purple  was  to  beibent  by  a  bl6^  froih  behind. 
Disgusted  at  last  with  a  itkA^tet  jvfho  inspired-  neither  re- 
spect, nor  love,  nor  fear,  the  prfetor&k^^d^cid^d  to  resume 
their  time-honored  trade.  Late  at  'lai^tj  .n^hile  the  Em- 
peror was  still  at  table,  the  false  akmh^was  raised  that 
Aureolus  was  attacking  in  force,  and  Gallienus,  rushing 
from  his  tent,  was  stabbed  in  the  back  by  the  assassins. 
Aureolus  himself  perished  a  little  later  when  Milan  sur- 
rendered to  the  next  Emperor,  by  whom  the  lUyrian 
pretender  was  promptly  executed.  Thus  of  the  nineteen 
individuals  who  during  the  reign  of  Gallienus  had  flaunted 
the  purple  in  various  parts  of  the  Empire  which  most  of 
them  helped  to  drag  through  the  mire,  Tetricus  was  the 

[  291  ] 


importuned  to  ''deliver  himself  from  Tetricus  and  Zeno- 
bia** — as  if  these  pretenders  were  the  only  enemies  who 
were  abroad;  to  which  the  Emperor  nobly  replied,  "The 
matter  of  the  usurpers  concerns  myself  alone ;  that  of  the 
Goths  is  of  importance  to  the  State," 

Fortunate  indeed  it  was  for  the  Empire  that  Gallienus, 
who  thought  always  of  himself  and  of  the  State  not  at  all, 
had  been  replaced  by  a  leader  who  was  at  least  concerned 
for  the  State  and  himself.  For  never  since  the  great  Cim- 
brie  invasion  had  Rome  been  in  such  danger  from  without, 
and  a  second  Marius  only  could  meet  the  emergency. 
Nearly  half  a  million  savage  invaders  who  had  "burned 
their  ships  behind  them"  were  in  motion,  resolved  to  take 
permanent  possession  of  the  mild  and  sunny  provinces  of 
the  south,  which  offered  such  a  wide  contrast  to  their  own 
bleak  and  wind-swept  countries.  If  the  invaders  had  acted 
in  unison,  the  Empire,  sorely  weakened  by  its  self-inflicted 
wounds,  might  perhaps  have  been  swept  away.  But  the 
Alemanni,^  too  impatient  to  await  their  Sarmatian  allies, 
all  of  whose  ships  were  not  yet  completed,  crossed  the 
Alps  alone.  Although  this  invasion  occurred  only  a  few 
months  after  his  accession,  Claudius  had  already  reformed 
the  Italian  army  to  a  large  measure  of  its  old-time  effec- 
tiveness and  the  Germans  were  completely  routed.  Elated 
by  their  victory,  the  imperial  troops  enthusiastically  fol- 
lowed their  intrepid  leader  to  lUyria;  and  after  crossing 
that  province  and  Macedon  by  forced  marches,  approached 
the  valley  of  the  M argus,  in  Moesia,  where  the  main  body 
of  the  Goths  were  operating,  totally  unaware  of  their 
enemy's  presence.  But  the  dangers  of  the  undertaking 
were  great.  "  I  must  tell  you  the  truth.  Conscript  Fathers," 
Claudius  wrote  the  Senate ;  "three  hundred  thousand  bar- 

1  "Men  of  aU  races." 

[  294  ] 




barians  have  invaded  Roman  territory.  If  I  am  successful 
you  will  acknowledge  we  have  deserved  well  of  our  coun- 
try. If  I  am  not  victorious  remember  whom  I  follow.  The 
State  is  exhausted  and  we  fight  after  Valerian,  after  In- 
genuus,  after  Regalianus,  after  Lcelianus,  after  Fostumus, 
after  Celsis,  after  many  others  who  have  been  detached 
fi"om  the  State  on  account  of  the  contempt  inspired  by 
Gallienus.  We  are  deficient  in  bucklers  and  swords  and 
javelins.  Tetricus  is  master  of  the  Gallic  and  Spanish  prov- 
inces, which  are  the  strength  of  the  Empire;  and — I  am 
ashamed  to  say  it — our  archers  are  all  serving  under 
Zenobia.  Whatever  Uttle  we  may  do,  our  successes  will 
be  as  great  as  you  have  a  right  to  expect." 

It  was  an  admirable  statement  of  the  situation,  and 
overwhelmed  Rome  with  both  shame  and  apprehension. 
But  the  result  far  exceeded  what  might  reasonably  have 
been  expected,  from  the  modesty  of  the  Emperor's  ex- 
pressions. Skilfully  occupying" 'a ;  strong  position  directly 
between  the  two  divisions  of  the  inam^nse  Gothic  host, 
Aurelian  was  at  once  despatched  against  the  southern 
enemy,  and  when  he  returned' successful,  Claudius  crossed 
the  mountains  and  encouiit^ed 'tha^main  body  of  the 
Goths  at  Naissus  (Nissa).  The  conflict,,  was  long  and  san- 
guinary, but  the  victory  finally  was  with  the  Romans. 
Fifty  thousand  of  the  barbarians  were  left  upon  the  field 
of  battle,  the  remainder  taking  refuge  in  the  mountain 
&stnesses,  where,  after  many  had  succumbed  to  famine 
and  exposure,  the  wretched  remnants  were  successively 
overtaken  by  Claudius  and  put  to  the  sword.  The  Gk)thic 
host  was  actually  annihilated. 

The  message  to  the  Senate  in  which  Claudius  announced 
his  victory  might  well  have  served  as  a  model  for  some 
of  those  "Homeric  strophes  fix)m  the  field  of  battle,"  as 

[  295  ] 


Victor  Hugo  terms  the  bulletins  of  the  Grand  Army. 
"We  have  destroyed,"  says  Claudius,  **a  hundred  and 
twenty  thousand  Goths  and  sunk  two  thousand  vessels. 
The  water  of  the  river  is  concealed  under  the  budders 
that  it  bears  along  with  it,  the  banks  under  broken  swords 
and  lances,  the  fields  under  the  bones  of  the  dead.  The 
roads  are  all  choked  with  the  enormous  baggage  the  enemy 
has  left  behind." 

The  Empire  went  wild  with  joy;  such  a  triumph  for 
Roman  arms  had  not  been  known  in  centuries.  And  might 
not  this  second  M anus  also  be  expected  to  prove  himself 
"less  great  in  having  overcome  the  Cimbri  than  in  having 
quelled  in  Rome  the  aristocracy  of  the  nobility  ?  "^  But  ahis 
for  Claudius ;  the  hopes  which  he  had  inspired  were  to  meet 
their  full  fruition  only  under  the  great  general  who  came 
after  him.  In  the  flush  of  his  triumph  he  contracted  the 
plague  which  was  ravaging  the  northern  provinces,  and 
died  in  the  fifty-fourth  year  of  his  age  and  the  third  of  his 
reign.  High  upon  the  scroll  of  Rome's  ablest  defenders 
history  has  written  the  name  of  Claudius  Gothicus,  which 
was  bestowed  by  a  genuinely  grateful  Senate  and  peo- 
ple; while  the  army  mourned  its  hero  by  at  once  com- 
pl}dng  with  his  dying  wishes  in  proclaiming  Aurehan  as 
his  successor. 

QuiNTiLLUS — AuKELiAN  I  270-275  A.  D.  When  Claudius 
was  setting  out  upon  his  campaign  against  the  Gk)ths,  he 
had  left  his  brother,  M .  Aurelius  Quintillus,  with  a  few 
legions  at  Aquileia,  to  guard  that  important  gateway  of 
Italy.2  With  the  news  of  the  Emperor  s  death,  the  Aqui- 

^  Mirabeau. 

*  Aquileia  was  situated  at  the  northern  extremity  of  the  Adriatic,  aboat 

midway  between  Venice  and  the  Julian  (now  the  Camic)  Alps. 

[  296  ] 


leian  legions  proclaimed  Quintillus,  who,  being  nearer 
Rome  than  Aurelian,  was  acknowledged  by  the  Senate. 
Aiirelian  was  on  the  Danube  with  the  Emperor  at  the 
time  of  the  latter's  death.  Shortly  afterwards  he  started 
for  Rome,  and  upon  learning  of  his  approach  to  Aquileia, 
Quintillus  opened  his  veins,  according  to  the  old  fashion. 

L.  Domitius  Aurehanus  was  well  fitted  to  take  up  the 
sword  which  his  predecessor  relinquished.  He  was  bom  in 
lUyria,  his  father  having  been  a  freedman  of  the  Senator 
Aurelius,  while  his  mother  was  a  priestess  of  the  Sun,  in 
the  small  Danubian  village  where  they  lived.  Aurelian  was 
a  bom  fighter,  and  in  some  respects  proved  himself  as 
great  a  general  as  the  Empire  ever  produced.  Severe  in 
discipline,  exacting  for  the  service,  of  the  strictest  personal 
morality,  which  he  also  insisted  upon  in  his  soldiers,  dis- 
dainful of  pleasure,  of  unbounded  energy,  and  apparently 
concerned  alone  for  the  glory  of  the  State,  the  destruction 
of  its  enemies  domestic  and  foreign,  and  the  rehabilitation 
of  the  dignity  and  power  of  an  undivided  imperial  office, 
his  reign  produced  the  same  results  which  came  from  that 
of  Septimius  Severus,  whom  Aurelian  in  fact  greatly  re- 
sembled. The  times  were  right  for  just  such  a  character. 

Scarcely  had  the  Emperor  returned  to  Rome  when  the 
Juthungi  and  Vandals  invaded  Pannonia,  where  Claudius 
had  been  in  widting  for  them  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
Returning  in  all  haste  to  the  northern  border,  Aurelian 
first  defeated  the  enemy  and  then  cut  their  line  of  retreat 
to  the  Danube ;  when  completely  humiliated  and  promis- 
ing submission,  they  were  finally  allowed  to  return  home. 
But  after  a  few  months  the  Vandals  returned  and  although 
again  victorious,  Aurehan,  hard  pushed  by  a  fresh  invasion 
of  Italy  by  the  Alemanni,  reluctantly  purchased  peace  with 
the  Vandals  by  ceding  Dacia,  the  Danube  thus  becoming 

[  297  ] 


the  boundary  for  the  first  time  since  Trajan's  conquest 
So  that  at  last  ^'the  God  Terminus''  had  fallen  back.  In 
the  meantime  the  Germans  had  traversed  Cisalpine  Gaul 
with  fire  and  sword,  and  it  required  all  of  the  Emperors 
energy  and  courage  to  turn  the  tables  and  destroy  the  in- 
vaders. Almost  immediately  followed  a  formidable  revolt 
at  Rome,  in  which  it  is  said  seven  thousand  soldiers  alone 
perished;  and  after  punishing  these  home  disturbers  with 
his  custonutry  severity,  the  indefatigable  Emperor  set  out 
for  the  Elast,  where  Zenobia  yet  maintained  her  imperial 
court.  Arrived  at  Palmyra,  he  sent  a  message  commanding 
the  widow  of  Odenathus  to  recognize  his  sovereignty ;  to 
which  the  Queen  haughtily  replied,  ''No  person  has  ever 
dared  demand  what  your  letter  asks.  You  wish  me  to  sur- 
render myself  as  if  you  did  not  know  that  Cleopatra  pre- 
ferred to  die  rather  than  owe  her  life  to  a  master.'*  Palmyra 
was  strongly  fortified  and  was  stubbornly  defended ;  but  it 
was  no  upstart  provincial  who  was  now  knocking  at  the 
gates,  and  in  the  end  the  city  fell.  Zenobia,  flying  upon 
her  swiftest  dromedary,  was  overtaken  near  the  Euphrates 
and  brought  into  the  presence  of  the  conqueror.  "  Why," 
sternly  demanded  Aurelian,  ''do  you  insult  the  majesty 
of  the  Roman  Emperor  ?  *"  to  which  this  daughter  of  the 
desert  naively  answered,  "  I  acknowledge  you  as  an  Em- 
peror, since  you  are  able  to  conquer ;  but  the  Gallieni,  the 
Aureoli,  and  others  like  them  were  not  Emperors." 

Leaving  a  small  garrison  in  the  captured  city,  the  Em- 
peror set  out  upon  his  return.  Halfway  across  Thrace  the 
news  overtook  him  that  the  Saracens  had  revolted,  had 
murdered  the  garrison  and  proclaimed  one  Antiochus  as 
Emperor.  Without  an  instant  s  delay  this  man  of  iron 
determination  raced  back  through  Asia  Minor,  entered 
Palmyra  like  a  whirlwind,  and,  as  in  the  case  of  Caracalla 

[  298  ] 



at  Alexandria,  although,  of  course,  with  greater  provoca- 
tion, turned  the  city  over  to  his  troops.  For  three  days 
the  beautiful  oasis  of  the  Palms  was  plundered  and  partly 
burned;  it  never  recovered  from  the  blow  and  now  lies 
buried  beneath  the  sands  of  the  desert 

From  the  smoking  ruins  of  Palmyra,  Aurelian  jour- 
neyed to  Eg3rpt,  where  his  general,  Probus,  had  been 
fighting  it  out  with  a  sham  Emperor  named  Firmus,  who 
had  been  ^'proclidmed"  by  the  inhabitants  after  the  ex- 
pulsion of  Zenobia*s  representatives.  The  Emperor  made 
short  work  of  this  impostor,  whose  army  was  cut  to  pieces, 
he  himself  being  crucified ;  and  after  establishing  a  strong 
Roman  garrison,  to  overawe  the  populace,  the  imperial 
restorer  returned  to  Europe  leaving  a  tranquillized  East 
behind  him.  Everything  being  in  order  at  Rome,  Aurelian 
at  once  set  out  against  the  last  remaining  rebel — the  Gal- 
lic Emperor  Tetricus.  It  was  his  easiest  task,^  and  in  the 
fourth  year  of  his  reign  he  jouhie^ed  once  more  to  Rome 
and  there  celebrated  one  of  thi; t^^^tn^^CTiiicent  of  the 
three  hundred  and  fifty  triumphs  whl^H  h^  hitherto  been 
counted  in  the  history  of  the  Eternal  City/*  !^ehind  the 
chariot  of  the  conqueror  c»ni^',Z^obia,^  staggering  be- 
neath the  weight  of  three  iflimeQse  gblcj^^hainrs,  and  Tetri- 
cus and  his  son,  '*who  walked  clad  in  the  scarlet  chlamys^ 
and  wearing  the  Gallic  braccae^  that  the  people  might 

^  Ante,  page  284. 

'  Aurelian  bestowed  upon  Zenobia  a  handsome  villa  near  that  of  Ha- 
drian^ and  here  the  beautiful  Queen  of  the  East  passed  the  rest  of  her 
days^  her  children  marrying  into  the  most  illustrious  Roman  houses.  The 
happy  ending  of  Tetricus  has  been  pointed  out.  Ante,  page  284. 
'  The  chlamys  was  an  oblong  piece  of  cloth  thrown  over  the  left  shoul- 
der, the  open  ends  being  fastened  with  clasps  on  the  right  shoulder. 
*  A  loose  garment  resembling  modem  trousers,  worn  by  Gauls  and  Asi- 

[  299  ] 


shall  rule  with  and  through  you/'  Tacitus  had  said.  The 
act  was  both  puerile  and  in  the  end  fatal  to  the  aspirations 
of  the  Senate,  the  election  of  Tacitus  having  been  not  ex- 
travagantly termed  the  last  political  act  of  the  Roman 

The  new  Emperor  had  barely  time  to  accomplish  the 
one  thing  for  which  posterity  owes  him  its  lasting  grati- 
tude before  the  inevitable  tragedy  overtook  him.  Tracing 
his  descent  from  the  great  historian  ^*who  ranks  beyond 
dispute  in  the  highest  place  among  men  of  letters  of  aU 
ages,"^  the  Emperor  caused  the  "Histories"  and  "Annals" 
to  be  placed  in  all  the  public  libraries;  and  but  for  this 
act,  as  Duruy  has  pointed  out,  the  tragic  history  of  the 
Csesars  might  have  been  lost  forever.^  Upon  the  heels  of 
this  noteworthy  deed  and  the  enactment  of  some  well- 
meaning  but  ineffectual  statutes,  came  the  news  that  the 
barbarians  had  again  broken  loose.  Quickly  appreciating 
the  change  that  had  occurred  at  Rome,  the  Alani  and 
Goths  had  invaded  Asia  Minor;  and  thither  p^nfully 
journeyed  the  poor  old  Emperor  to  show  himself  to  the 
army.  An  immense  donative  to  the  troops  caused  them 
momentarily  to  overlook  the  contrast  which  they  could 
not  fail  to  draw  between  the  enfeebled  old  civilian  and 
the  martial  figure  which  had  so  recently  filled  their  ho- 
rizon. But  when  a  little  later  the  pacific  old  man  sent 
more  of  his  gold  to  the  barbarians  themselves,  it  was  too 
much  for  men  who  under  Claudius  and  Aurelian  had  paid 
tribute  with  the  sword.  Once  more  the  old  disease  broke 
out  and  at  the  hands  of  his  soldiers  Tacitus  yielded  up 
the  purple  robe  which  had  been  forced  upon  him  barely 
six  months  before. 

When  he  became  Emperor  the  sons  of  Tacitus  were 

^  Encyc.  Brit.  Tit  Tacitus.     '  Hist.  Rome,  VoL  viL  chap.  xcviiL 

[  802  ] 



only  boys,  their  father  having  married  late  in  life,  and  he 
accordingly  requested  that  his  brother,  M.  Annius  Floria- 
nus,  be  made  consul.  But  the  Conscript  Fathers,  jealous 
of  their  new-found  power  and  averse  to  a  step  which 
might  thereafter  impair  its  free  exercise  by  unduly  digni- 
fying the  new  Emperor  s  family,  replied  that  the  lists  were 
full.  Tacitus  had  thereupon  appointed  his  brother  praeto- 
rian prefect,  and  with  tiie  news  of  the  Emperor's  death 
came  that  of  Florian's  investiture  by  his  soldiers.  So  that 
by  refusing  him  the  consulship  and  thus  leaving  him  to 
find  preferment  through  the  army,  the  Senate  had  actually 
opened  the  door  to  that  which  they  intended  to  bar  out. 

But  in  naming  Florian  the  troops  had  apparently  pro- 
ceeded more  from  a  desire  to  forestall  action  on  the  part 
of  the  Senate  than  from  any  personal  regard  for  their 
commander,  who,  although  an  estimable  character,  was  not 
one  who  would  naturally  be  chosen  as  leader  by  soldiers 
in  the  field.  The  real  candidate  of  the  army  was  a  general 
named  Probus;  and  as  soou  a%.  his  consent  to  accept  the 
purple  had  been  obtained  by  the  Syrian  legions  of  which 
he  was  in  command,  the  unfortunate  Florian,  after  a  reign 
of  barely  three  month^,  exchanged;  Ws  imperial  robe  for  a 
shroud,  bestowed  by  the-samcLjiands  which  had  tendered 
him  the  purple* 

Probus:  276-282  a.  d.  M.  Aurelius  Probus  was  an- 
other of  the  famous  Illyrian  generals  who  rolled  back  the 
great  waves  of  barbaric  invasion  which  swept  the  fit>ntier 
provinces  during  the  last  half  of  the  third  century.  Al- 
though he  claimed  to  be  of  Roman  origin,  Probus  was  a 
compatriot  of  Aurelian,  having  been  bom  at  Sirmium,  not 
far  from  the  little  Danubian  village  where  the  boyhood 
of  his  great  predecessor  had  been  passed.  His  father,  com- 

[  808  ] 


mencing  life  as  a  peasant,  finally  became  a  tribune;  and 
Probus  had  obtained  the  same  rank  at  an  miusuaUy  early 
age  under  Valerian,  by  whom  the  young  soldier  was  highly 
esteemed.  He  fought  with  growing  distinction  through  all 
the  border  wars,  until  at  last  as  a  special  mark  of  fiEivor 
the  Emperor  Aurelian  intrusted  him  with  the  Tenth  Le- 
gion, whose  leaders,  as  he  significantly  reminded  the  young 
general,  had  usually  become  Emperors.  He  was  in  fact  the 
only  logical  candidate  for  the  purple  when  Aurelian  died ; 
which  Tacitus  himself  acknowledged  by  writing  him  **The 
Senate  has  appointed  me  Emperor;  but  know  this,  that 
the  greater  part  of  the  burden  will  rest  upon  your  shoul- 
ders. We  all  know  your  worth  and  you  will  share  with 
me  the  consulship  of  the  coming  year.  Aid  us  then  in  our 
times  of  need/* 

By  his  first  public  acts  after  being  saluted  by  the  le- 
gions, Probus  indicated  that  the  measure  of  his  abilities 
was  not  limited  by  mUitary  accomplishments.  In  a  letter 
to  the  Senate  he  modestly  declined  to  accept  the  titie 
which  his  soldiers  had  conferred,  until  the  Conscript  Fa- 
thers should  approve;  and  when  informed  of  the  acclama- 
tions with  which  he  had  been  proclaimed  at  the  Capitol, 
he  despatched  another  message  to  the  effect  that  hence- 
forth all  imperial  ordinances  would  be  subject  to  the  Sen- 
ate's confirmation.  The  cup  of  the  Fathers  was  now  over- 
flowing— the  restoration  of  senatorial  authority  seemed  so 
complete ;  and  the  tactful  Probus  was  thus  assured  of  the 
active  cooperation  of  the  city  as  well  as  the  army  in  the 
arduous  undertakings  which  he  had  planned. 

After  a  brief  stay  in  Rome,  the  Emperor  proceeded  to 
Gaul,  where  he  drove  out  the  Franks  and  Alemanni,  who 
since  the  death  of  Aurelian  had  been  devastating  that 
province ;  and  to  prevent  future  incursions  constructed  a 

[  804  ] 


massive  wall,  flanked  by  huge  towers,  from  the  Danube 
to  the  Rhine.  He  thence  passed  along  the  entire  Danu- 
bian  frontier,  destroying  many  scattered  bands  of  barba- 
rians who  had  been  terrorizing  the  northern  provinces — 
among  them  a  fierce  Grerman  tribe  called  Lygians,  which 
he  absolutely  obliterated.^  From  Thrace  he  journeyed  to 
Asia  Minor,  with  sword  still  in  hand,  and  finally  returned 
to  Rome  by  way  of  Egypt,  thus  completing  one  of  those 
fit>ntier  inspections  which  Severus  and  Aurelian  had  con- 
sidered a  sine  qua  nan  to  the  maintenance  as  well  of  in- 
ternal order  as  efficient  defence. 

The  suppression  of  some  revolts  in  Britain,  Gaul,  and 
Egypt  left  the  Empire  entirely  tranquillized ;  and  the  Em- 
peror was  at  last  free  to  devote  his  energies  to  his  long- 
planned  work  of  building  up  those  provinces  which  had 
suffered  the  most  seriously  in  the  wars  and  insurrections 
of  the  past  forty  years.  In  Thrace,  which  was  almost  com- 
pletely devastated,  he  colonized  one  hundred  thousand 
Germans  called  Bastamse,  who  were  seemingly  glad  in 
this  way  to  escape  the  uncertainties  of  their  nomadic  life ; 
in  certain  parts  of  Gaul  which  fire  and  sword  had  turned 
into  a  desert,  he  inaugurated  the  planting  of  vineyards, 
some  of  which  are  said  to  be  still  existing ;  while  every- 
where he  engaged  in  the  most  extensive  public  works 
tending  to  the  physical  improvement  of  the  Empire. 

But  Probus  was  too  good  for  Rome.  And  in  the  midst 
of  his  labors  for  the  restoration  of  that  which  he  had  so 
largely  aided  in  staying  from  collapse,  death  overtook  the 
valiant  general,  at  the  very  prime  of  his  hopes  and  ener- 
gies. Unwilling  that  the  immense  army  should  continue  a 
dead  weight  upon  the  State,  during  the  interim  of  war  he 

^  The  Lygii^  who  lived  between  the  Oder  and  the  Vistuhi,  never  again 
appeared  in  histoiy. 

[  805  ] 


had  largely  employed  the  soldiery  in  the  building  of  roads 
and  canals.  Unlike  their  general,  the  legionaries  were  un- 
willing to  change  the  sword  for  the  pickaxe ;  and  enraged 
at  being  compelled  to  toil  in  the  heat  of  a  summer  day, 
they  mutinied,  attacked  the  Emperor  in  a  tower  from 
whence  he  was  superintending  the  work,  and  put  him  to 
death.  He  was  mourned  by  all  classes,  including  even  his 
murderers,  who  are  said  to  have  wept  over  his  body.  Pro- 
bus  was  fifty  years  old  and  had  reigned  six  years. 

Carus  :  282-288  a.  d.  Upon  the  death  of  Probus  an- 
other lUyrian  succeeded  to  the  purple  in  the  person  of 
Marcus  Aurelius  Carus,  who  was  proclaimed  by  the  army, 
the  Conscript  Fathers  being  entirely  ignored  in  the  trans- 
action. Carus  was  an  able  general  as  well  as  a  man  of 
rank,  having  filled  many  high  offices,  including  that  of 
pro-consul.  He  had  been  a  favorite  of  the  late  Emperor, 
whose  murderers  received  no  mercy  from  the  man  who 
had  profited  by  a  crime  in  which  he  had  no  part. 

At  the  news  of  the  death  of  Probus,  who  had  so  eflfectu- 
ally  cowed  the  northern  hordes,  the  latter  again  set  their 
faces  towards  the  south,  and  Upper  Pannonia  was  once 
more  overrun.  Leaving  his  son  Carinus  in  charge  of  the 
West,  Carus  set  out  from  Rome  with  a  formidable  army, 
and  speedily  convinced  the  invading  Quadi  that  Rome's 
present  defender  was  a  worthy  successor  to  Aurelian  and 
Probus,  whose  names  had  become  a  byword  of  fear  to  all 
the  savage  tribes.  After  soundly  punishing  the  marauders 
and  restoring  order  in  the  province,  Carus  determined  to 
carry  out  the  project  which  Probus  is  said  to  have  formed 
of  conquering  Persia.  At  the  head  of  a  vast  army  he 
traversed  lUyria  and  Thrace,  and  passing  swiftly  through 
Asia  Minor,  crossed  the  Tigris  and  captured  Ctesiphon — 

[  806  ] 


beyond  which  it  had  been  foretold  that  no  Roman  Em- 
peror could  go.  The  saying  proved  a  convenient  prophecy 
for  the  army,  who  began  to  find  the  forced  marches  and 
fierce  Eastern  sun  quite  as  irksome  as  the  ditch-digging  of 
Probus ;  indeed  it  is  supposed  that  in  this  case  the  soldiers 
were  themselves  the  oracle.  However  this  may  have  been, 
the  news  one  day  came  to  Rome  that  while  Cams  was 
resting  in  his  tent  during  a  storm  he  had  instantly  been 
killed  by  a  "flash  of  lightning,"  which  also  set  fire  to  the 
tent,  the  dead  body  of  the  Emperor  being  entirely  con- 
sumed. It  is  impossible  to  deny  that  this  may  have  been 
true;  and  lightning  or  prsetorian  steel,  it  was  all  one  to 
Cams,  dead  at  Ctesiphon  after  a  reign  of  fifteen  months. 

Carinus — NuMERiANUs:  288-285  a.  d.  Numerianus, 
the  younger  son  of  Cams,  had  accompanied  his  father  to 
Persia;  and  after  the  fulfilment  of  the  oracle,  Numerianus 
received  the  title  of  Augusti)6  ^m  the  army.  Carinus, 
who  was  at  Rome,  also  assum^'^.tlbM^.^urple — which  in- 
deed had  practically  been  a^cord^^^ix^JJuring  his  father's 
lifetime.  .  *  v*.;/-    » 

The  transition  from  ^ariK  *to.  Numerianils  Avas  quite  as 
abmpt  as  was  the  succes^on ''of^tl^e  age4/and  scholarly 
Tacitus  to  the  vigorous  and  warljike'iVurejplkn.  Numerianus 
had  a  delicate  constitution  and  wa^of  sl^  and  retiring  dis- 
position. Utterly  wanting  in  mUitary  instinct,  he  was  only 
too  glad  to  intrust  the  conduct  of  the  army  to  his  father- 
in-law,  the  prsetorian  prefect  Aper,  who  hastened  to  lead 
the  willing  soldiers  back  into  Roman  territory,  after  re- 
gaining which  they  slowly  journeyed  towards  Europe.  The 
young  Emperor,  who  was  suffering  ftom  an  affection  of 
the  eyes,  travelled  in  a  closed  Ktter  and  was  rarely  visible 
even  when  the  army  was  at  rest.  Just  as  the  European 

[  807  ] 


frontier  was  reached  a  rumor  was  circulated  that  Numeria- 
nus  was  dead;  and  the  guards,  rushing  to  the  imperial 
tent,  found  that  for  several  days  they  had  been  carrying 
the  mortal  remains  of  their  unfortunate  young  ruler. 

Suspicion  naturally  rested  on  Aper,  who  had  not  re- 
vealed his  son-in-law's  death,  of  which  he  must  necessarily 
have  been  aware.  The  prefect  was  seized  and  led  in  chains 
before  a  tribunal  of  generals  organized  to  try  the  prisoner 
who  was  accused  by  the  army.  Among  the  judges  was  a 
young  general  named  Diodes,  who  as  commander  of  the 
bodyguard  must  have  known  what  was  taking  place  in  his 
imperial  master's  tent.  Selected  by  his  associates  to  pre- 
side, he  permitted  no  time  to  be  wasted  in  proving  what 
every  one  believed.  First  volunteering  an  oath  that  he 
himself  neither  was  concerned  in  the  murder  nor  desired 
imperial  honors,  Diocles  then  turned  to  Aper  and  shout- 
ing in  a  loud  voice,  ^'This  man  is  the  assassin,"  sheathed 
his  sword  in  the  prefect's  breast.  How  like  a  modem  mur- 
der trial — this  "justice  of  Diocletian !"  And  yet  perhaps  in 
the  long  run  quite  as  much  real  justice  and  not  less  mercy 
than  results  in  some  of  these  later-day  causes  celebres. 

Carinus  in  the  meanwhile  had  been  playing  the  parts  of 
Domitian  and  Elagabalus  at  Rome,  which  was  now  long- 
ing for  a  deliverer.  The  elder  son  of  Cams  had  ingratiated 
himself  with  the  populace  by  declaring  that  the  wealth  of 
the  aristocracy  belonged  to  them  as  being  the  true  Roman 
people.  Fifteen  hundred  years  later  this  doctrine  bore 
bloody  fiiiit  in  France;  but  in  the  third  century  of  the 
Empire  it  was  naturally  very  shocking  to  the  Conscript 
Fathers,  by  whom  its  author  was  accordingly  detested 
quite  as  much  as  he  was  hated  by  the  soldiers  on  account 
of  his  cruelty  and  despised  by  the  best  citizens  because  of 
his  sensuality.  But  for  all  his  love  of  pleasure,  Carinus  was 

[  808  ] 


a  good  fighter  and  had  won  some  notable  victories  over 
the  barbarians  during  the  year  of  his  father's  campaign 
in  the  East.  At  his  back  were  the  tried  legions  of  Italy 
and  the  West,  before  whom  the  Asiatic  army  had  rarely 
been  able  to  stand.  So  that  when  Diodes  came  marching 
over  from  the  East  with  aU  his  forces,  his  task  proved 
anything  but  easy.  Carinus  was  successful  in  some  pre- 
liminary skirmishes  along  the  Danube  and  in  southern 
G^ermany,  and  finally  won  a  decisive  battle  over  his  East- 
em  competitor  at  Margus  in  Upper  Moesia.  But  the  force 
of  events  was  against  the  profligate  son  of  Carus,  and  in 
the  hour  of  victory  he  was  murdered  by  one  of  his  own 
officers  whom  the  Emperor  had  greatly  wronged — the 
assassin  having  the  hearty  support  of  the  soldiers  of  Italy, 
who  hailed  the  defeated  conqueror  as  the  deliverer  of  Rome. 
Carinus  had  reigned  only  a  month  longer  than  his  father. 

Diocletian — Maximian:  285-305  a.  d.  Marcus  Aure- 
lius  Valerius  Diocletianus,  as  his  name  appears  in  the  in- 
scriptions, was  only  thirty-nine  years  of  age  at  the  time 
of  his  accession.  His  parents  had  been  slaves  in  the  house 
of  a  Roman  senator,  and  it  was  from  the  obscure  Dalma- 
tian village  of  Dioclea  from  whence  his  mother  came,  that 
lie  acquired  his  original  name  of  Docles,  which  he  himself 
''first  lengthened  to  the  Grecian  harmony  of  Diodes,  and 
afterwards  to  the  Roman  majesty  of  Diocletianus." 

Entering  the  service  at  an  early  age,  Diocletian  had  won 
the  rapid  advancement  which  in  those  stormy  days  was  the 
sure  reward  of  personal  courage  and  ability,  having  passed 
tlirough  all  the  higher  grades  in  the  army  at  the  time  he 
was  selected  to  assume  the  purple  which  had  fallen  from 
the  murdered  son  of  Cams.  And  now  from  this  offspring 
of  the  lowest  class  in  Roman  society,  the  spirit  of  the  gov- 

[  809  ] 


eminent  was  to  receive  as  profound  an  impression  as  that 
which  had  been  created  by  the  imperial  institutions  of  the 
first  Augustus,  whose  ftindamental  idea  of  military  des- 
potism, after  enduring  three  centuries,  at  last  gave  way  to 
the  Diocletian  idea  of  military  partition. 

Since  the  death  of  Gallienus,  who  had  come  perilously 
near  destroying  the  inheritance  of  Augustus,  it  had  been 
the  Empire's  good  fortune  to  enjoy  a  succession  of  able 
military  chiefs  as  its  rulers.  But  even  the  matchless  cour- 
age, ability,  and  energy  of  Claudius,  Aurelian,  and  Probus 
had  sufficed  merely  to  keep  in  momentary  check  the  count- 
less foes  of  the  State,  whose  aggressiveness  gradually  re- 
vived as  the  warlike  spirit  tapered  off  under  Cams,  Cari- 
nus,  and  Numerianus.  The  new  Ejmperor,  while  a  man  of 
great  native  ability  both  as  a  soldier  and  statesman,  was 
lacking  in  those  extraordinary  ^fts  of  military  and  ad- 
ministrative energy  which  had  enabled  his  two  great  pre- 
decessors to  cope  single-handed  with  all  the  swarming 
enemies  of  the  State  and  at  the  same  time  maintain  a 
firm  control  of  its  internal  affairs.  But  he  possessed  in 
a  high  measure  one  great  gift  of  all  really  great  men,— a 
perfect  self-mastery  based  upon  a  thorough  self-knowledge. 
Thus  wisely  appreciating  that  the  task  was  beyond  his 
single  power,  he  conceived  the  idea  of  organizing  a  vigor- 
ous defensive  by  a  division  of  the  power  and  consequent 
sharing  of  the  responsibilities  which  attached  to  the  impe- 
rial office.  Selecting  first  an  associate  who  was  proclaimed 
Augustus  with  authority  equalling  his  own,  each  of  the 
Augusti  then  chose  for  himself  an  assistant  (and  future 
successor),  who  was  proclaimed  Caesar,  with  the  tribuni- 
tian  power  and  the  military  imperium;^  whereupon  the 

^  See  Eusebius's  Life  of  Constaniine  for  a  dissertation  on  the  office  of 
Caesar,  under  the  system  of  Diocletian. 

[810  ] 



Empire  was  apportioned  among  the  four,  who  ruled — or 
at  least  were  supposed  to  rule — "all  for  one  and  one  for 

Such,  in  brief,  was  the  so-called  system  of  Diocletian,  as 
it  was  finally  perfected.  But  at  the  outset  its  founder  per- 
haps contemplated  only  a  division  of  the  Empire  into 
halves,  which,  based  upon  natural  and  geographical  Unes, 
would  become  Greek  in  the  East  and  Latin  in  the  West. 
At  any  rate,  it  was  only  after  Maximian  and  himself  had 
struggled  seven  weary  years  in  defence  of  the  State  that 
Diocletian  saw  fit  to  complete  his  political  system  by 
creating  the  two  additional  subdivisions  and  their  rulers. 
From  which  it  is  not  unreasonable  to  conclude  that  the 
"system  **  was  stretched  to  meet  the  increasing  dangers  of 
the  State. 

Maximian,  who  became  the  Emperor's  first  colleague, 
was  peasant-bom,  a  native  of  Sirmium,  which,  having 
already  supplied  the  Empire  with  two  rulers,  was  now  to 
present  it  with  two  more.  Maximian  was  a  good  soldier, 
but  outside  of  his  fighting  potv^i^  was  without  ability, 
bdng  utterly  ignorant  of  letters  and  in.  appearance  and 
manners  always  displaying««ijic^. meanness  of  his  birth  and 
coarseness  of  his  nature.  H^  wasV^jt  even  a  great  general, 
his  victories  proceeding  rathe^•froto.^^utlJ  force  and  cour- 
age than  military  strategy  and  dispositions.  Rough  and 
brutal  as  he  was,  he  never  failed  to  recognize  the  superi- 
ority of  his  imperial  patron,  who  held  him  in  easy  check 
as  long  as  he  himself  remained  at  the  helm.  Of  the  two 
Caesars,  Galerius,  who  had  commenced  life  as  a  herdsman, 
was  a  native  of  the  same  territory  as  Maximian,  whom  he 
so  much  resembled  in  character  and  manners  that  he  was 
not  infi^quently  spoken  of  as  the  younger  Maximian.  The 
other  assistant.  Flavins   Constantius,  sumamed   Chlorus 

[811  ] 


ished  throughout  the  Empire,  Constantius  alone  protect- 
ing them  to  some  extent  in  Gaul. 

At  the  time  Maximian  was  elevated  to  the  purple,  it 
had  been  stipulated  that  he  should  abdicate  whenever  Dio- 
cletian should  do  so.  The  great  Roman  triumph  and  the 
persecution  of  the  Christians  occurred  in  the  twentieth 
year  of  their  reign,  and  at  the  end  of  that  year  Diocletian 
decided  that  the  time  had  come  to  lay  aside  the  purple. 
His  strength,  he  said,  was  decreasing  and  repose  was  need- 
ful after  so  many  labors.  On  the  &st  of  May,  805,  Max- 
imian^ at  Milan  proclaimed  as  Cassar  one  of  his  generals 
named  Severus,  while  on  the  same  day  at  Nikomedeia  the 
senior  Augustus  laid  his  mantle  upon  a  nephew  of  Gale- 
rius  named  Maximin  Daza,  and  ''Diocles"  once  more,  he 
quitted  the  scene  of  his  power  forever.  Upon  the  Dalma- 
tian coast  on  the  Adriatic,  he  had  prepared  a  magnificent 
palace,  covering  a  space  of  more  than  eight  acres.^  Here 
the  old  Emperor  Uved  in  seclusion  for  a  period  of  eight  or 
nine  years.  His  life  was  embittered  towards  the  end  by  the 
sufferings  and  death  of  his  wife  and  daughter  at  the  hands 
of  his  successors;^  other  than  which  he  lived  in  compara- 
tive peace  and  happiness.  To  an  appeal  of  his  former  col- 
league Maximian  that  he  should  reassmne  the  purple,  he 
philosophically  replied,  ''  If  you  could  see  the  cabbages  I 
am  raising,  you  would  not  ask  me  to  abandon  my  happiness 
for  the  piusuit  of  power  1 "  Sensibly  persisting  in  his  retire- 
ment, he  died  peacefully  in  his  bed  in  the  sixty-ninth  year 
of  his  age,  and  was  decreed  an  apotheosis  by  direction  of 
Constantine,  who  speaks  of  him  as  ''our  lord  and  father"; 

^  For  the  futare  life  and  death  of  Maximian,  see  pari,  pages  317  to  320. 
'  The  site  of  this  palace  is  now  occupied  by  the  little  town  of  Spalato, 
which  was  largely  erected  from  the  materials  of  its  forerunner. 
•  See  past,  page  324. 





while  an  inscription  of  the  time  calls  him  '^the  father  of 
the  Emperors."  AU  this  was  very  distasteful  to  the  Chris- 
tians, by  whom  were  circulated  various  reports  that  the 
Emperor,  after  a  wretched  old  age,  died  by  either  poison 
or  voluntary  starvation,  and  that  his  statues  were  over- 
thrown and  his  memory  execrated  by  Constantine ;  all  of 
these  misfortunes,  including  the  miseries  of  the  Empress 
Prisca  and  her  daughter,  being  of  course  attributed  to  the 
divine  retribution. 

Twelve  centuries  later  the  vengeance  of  the  oppressed 
Christians  worked  itself  out  in  a  more  poetical  way.  At 
Rome  the  name  of  Diocletian  will  always  be  associated 
with  the  magnificent  Thermae,^  which  were  completed  in 
the  year  of  his  abdication,  tradition  ascribing  the  execution 
of  the  work  to  condemned  Christians.  From  the  windows 
of  a  great  modem  hotel,  with  all  of  its  twentieth-century 
luxuries,  one  looks  out  to-d&y  upon  the  low,  quaint  en- 
trance to  the  Church  of  S.  jyfepsk  .degU  Angeli,  the  Tepi- 
darium  of  seventeen  centiuies  a^^'^hK^h  about  the  year 
1560  was  converted  into'  a  Carthiisliap*  ii^diivent  by  Pope 
Pius  IV  at  the  hands  of  Michael  Angeii^^  / 

Diocletian  to  Constant^e  :l^ft6^j8^4  a.d.  During  the 
twenty  years  which  immediately  fq^owed  the  abdication 
of  Diocletian,  Rome  was  under  the  sway  of  eight  Em- 
perors, not  one  of  whom  was  momentarily  supreme ;  while 
on  two  occasions  no  less  than  six  men  were  both  exercis- 
ing imperial  functions  and  acknowledged  throughout  the 

^  The  Baths  of  Diocletian  are  said  to  have  been  twice  as  large  in  circum- 
ference as  those  of  Caracalla.  See  arde^  page  9.^by  Note  2. 
'The  church  was  consecrated  August  5,  156l.  Most  of  the  remaining 
parts  of  the  Therms  are  preserved  and  occupied  for  charitable,  religious, 
and  educational  purposes. 



State  as  August!.  Pretenders  were  also  flourishing  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  Roman  world,  so  that  for  a  while  con- 
ditions resembled  somewhat  those  which  obtained  during 
the  reign  of  Gallienus  and  the  Thirty  Tyrants.  But  the  in- 
evitable jealousies  and  clashings  incident  to  such  a  division 
of  power  gradually  cleared  the  way  for  a  consolidation  of 
the  Empire  under  the  strong  arm  and  master  mind  of  Con- 
stantine,  who  emerged  at  last  as  the  sole  survivor  of  this 
double  decade  of  imperial  contention  and  strife,  in  which, 
with  the  exception  of  his  father  Constantius,  all  of  his 
seven  competitors  miserably  perished.  The  eight  Emperors 
who  bridged  the  period  from  Diocletian  to  Constantine 
were  as  follows : 

CoNSTANTius  Chlorus  :  proclaimed  805,  died  806. 

Galerius:  proclaimed  805,  died  811. 

Maximin  Daza  :  proclaimed  805,  died  818. 

Severus  :  proclaimed  805,  died  807. 

Constantine  :  proclaimed  806,  became  sole  Emperor  824. 

Maxentius  :  proclaimed  806,  died  812. 

Maximian  :  proclaimed  (the  second  time)  806,  died  810. 

LiciNius :  proclaimed  807,  died  824. 

When  Diocletian  and  Maximian  laid  aside  the  pur- 
ple, Constantius  remained  in  charge  of  Gaul,  Spain,  and 
Britain,  which  had  been  his  from  the  b^inning,  Galerius 
likewise  retaining  his  Danubian  provinces,  to  which  were 
added  a  large  part  of  eastern  Europe  formerly  controlled 
by  Diocletian ;  while  of  the  new  Caesars,  Maximin  received 
Egypt  and  Syria,  Severus  Africa  and  Italy.  At  Nikome- 
deia  with  Galerius  was  a  handsome  vigorous  youth,  who 
had  been  held  by  Diocletian  as  a  sort  of  hostage.  He  was  a 
son  of  Constantius,  who  had  frequently  begged  the  former 
Emperor  that  the  young  man  might  be  allowed  to  join 



him  in  the  West ;  to  all  which  entreaties  Diocletian  had  in- 
variably turned  a  deaf  ear.  Constantius  was  now  in  feeble 
health,  and  in  response  to  his  urgent  appeal  the  young 
Constantine  by  a  bold  stratagem  escaped  from  Galerius 
and  made  his  way  by  forced  marches  to  GauL  Constantius 
ivas  barely  able  to  muster  enough  strength  to  accompany 
him  to  Britain,  where  father  and  son  were  received  by 
the  army  with  acclamations.  The  Emperor  did  not  long 
survive  this  journey,  and  a  few  days  after  his  death,^  in 
the  city  of  York  (Eboracum),  Constantine  was  proclaimed 
Augustus  by  his  father's  devoted  legions. 

The  idea  of  hereditary  succession  was  directly  opposed 
to  the  principles  of  Diocletian's  system ;  and  the  senior  Au- 
gustus— having  no  sons  of  his  own — was  at  first  greatly 
enraged  by  the  news  from  Britain.  But  the  offenders  were 
too  far  away — and  too  powerful;  so  that  Galerius  finally 
accepted  the  situation,  merely  relegating  Constantine  from 
the  rank  of  Augustus  to  the  fourth  place ;  Severus  being 
raised  to  the  second  place,  with  the  title  of  Augustus, 
Maximin  remaining  the  first  Csesar.  Constantine  had  the 
good  sense  to  acquiesce,  and  for  a  while  ever3rthing  moved 
smoothly,  under  the  reestablished  tetrarchy.  But  a  storm 
was  brewing  at  Rome — out  of  patience  with  a  set  of  rulers 
who  seemed  to  scorn  the  Imperial  City,  which,  shorn  of  its 
importance,  its  authority,  and  its  grandeur,  was  already 
fast  becoming  merely  a  stopping-place  in  the  journeys 
from  one  provincial  palace  to  another.  Rome  clamored  for 
an  Emperor  of  its  own  and  found  one  ready  made  at  hand 
in  the  person  of  Maxentius,  the  son  of  the  old  Emperor 
Maximian,  and  the  son-in-law  of  Galerius.  Under  cover 
of  an  obnoxious  tax  measure,  a  riot  broke  out,  Maxentius 
was  proclaimed  Augustus,  and  Maximian,  recalled  from  his 

»  In  July,  306. 



retirement,  was  also  persuaded  to  accept  the  purple  from 
the  Senate,  the  people,  and  the  soldiers.  So  that  now  there 
were  six  Emperors  instead  of  four,  and  Rome  went  wild 
with  joy — a  sure  earnest  of  sorrows  to  come. 

Italy  was  supposed  to  be  under  the  special  direction  of 
Severus,  who  was  accordingly  at  once  instructed  by  Gale- 
rius  to  put  down  the  Roman  usurpers.  He  arrived  before 
the  Imperial  City  with  a  large  army;  but  before  a  blow 
was  struck  the  troops  went  over  to  Maxentius  in  a  body, 
Severus  barely  escaping  to  Ravenna,  from  whence  he  soon 
surrendered  to  Maxentius.  He  was  taken  to  Rome,  and 
there  imprisoned  in  a  villa  on  the  Appian  Way ;  and  after 
having  been  induced  to  resign  the  purple  (which  ought 
never  to  have  been  bestowed  upon  him)  by  Maxentius, 
who  promised  solemnly  that  his  life  should  be  spared,  the 
hapless  prisoner  was  ordered  to  commit  suicide,  which  he 
did  by  opening  his  veins. 

Maxentius  and  his  father  were  now  masters  of  Italy, 
and  the  situation  was  serious  enough  to  compel  the  per- 
sonal attention  of  Galerius.  He  came  down  from  Illjrria 
with  a  powerful  army  and  forced  his  way  to  within  sixty 
miles  of  Rome — the  nearest  he  had  ever  been  to  his  Im- 
perial City.  But  his  adversaries  were  active  and  had  the 
united  support  of  the  Italian  troops  and  people,  to  whom 
this  unknown  Eastern  Emperor  was  merely  an  invader.  So 
that  in  the  end  Galerius,  fearfrd  that  Constantine,  in  league 
with  the  Roman  Augusti,  might  attempt  to  intercept  his 
retreat,  abandoned  his  attempt  and  retired  in  hot  haste, 
burning  and  ravaging  the  Italian  provinces  as  he  went. 

Upon  setting  out  to  chastise  the  Roman  usurpers  the 
Eastern  Augustus  had  intrusted  to  his  friend  Licinius 
the  defence  of  the  Danube.  Licinius  had  been  an  old  com- 
rade in  arms  of  Galerius,  and  like  the  Emperor  was  the  son 

[  818  ] 




of  a  peasant,  although  he  claimed  to  be  descended  from 
the  Emperor  Philip.  He  had  long  been  destined  to  succeed 
Galerius,  and  immediately  upon  the  latter's  return  from 
the  unsuccessful  Italian  expedition,  Licinius  was  pro- 
claimed Augustus  and  received  Illyria  as  his  share  of  the 
government  The  Empire  was  now  divided  into  two  great 
hostile  powers ;  Maximian,  his  son  Maxentius,  and  his  son- 
in-law  Constantine  controUing  the  West,  while  Galerius, 
his  nephew  Maximin,  and  his  comrade  Licinius  ruled  the 
'East  The  system  of  Diocletian  was  utterly  destroyed,  and 
with  it  had  vanished  all  semblance  of  harmony  in  the  Em- 
pire. While  the  two  great  forces  of  which  Constantine  and 
Galerius  were  the  exponents  were  contending  for  suprem- 
acy, the  various  elements  in  each  were  struggling  among 
themselves.  Scarcely  had  Galerius  withdrawn  from  Italy, 
thereby  practically  sanctioning  the  Roman  Augusti,  before 
Maximian  and  his  son  had  a  serious  quarrel ;  and  the  fiery 
old  man,  deprived  of  what  he  considered*  his  due  share  of 
power,  betook  himself  to  the  Court  of  Constantine.  Soon 
after  his  arrival  he  formaUy  resigned  the  ^le;  and  hav- 
ing  thus  disarmed  possible  suspiajiiai)^  he  cotnmepced  to 
plot  the  overthrow  of  his  son-in-law/^aj^g  advitntage  of 
the  latter's  absence  in  repulsing  an  injjra^tk  of  the  Fr;anks, 
he  seized  and  distributed  among  the  sbldie^^  the  imperial 
treasure,  and  having  spread  a  false  report  of  Constantine's 
death,  caused  himself  to  be  once  more  proclaimed  Augus- 
tus. But  Constantine,  returning  by  forced  marches  from  the 
Rhine,  drove  his  traitorous  father-in-law  into  Marseilles 
and  was  preparing  to  carry  the  city  by  assault  when  the 
gates  were  opened  and  the  usurper  given  up  by  the  sol- 
diers. Deprived  of  his  imperial  honors,  Maximian  lived  a 
while  in  seeming  humility  at  the  Court  of  his  son-in-law, 
but  finally  tempted  Fate  once  more  by  engaging  in  a  fi'esh 

[  819  ] 


plot  The  forbearance  of  Constantine  was  exhausted,  Max- 
imian  was  condemned  to  be  executed,  but  allowed,  like 
Severus,  to  choose  the  instrument  of  his  death ;  and  in  the 
year  810  the  turbulent  spirit  of  the  old  warrior,  who  had 
enjoyed  the  unique  distinction  of  having  been  three  times 
invested  with  the  purple,  was  forever  stilled  by  the  cus- 
tomary method  of  self-destruction. 

After  the  unsuccessful  attempt  to  destroy  the  Roman 
Augusti,  Galerius  seems  to  have  given  up  his  former  pro- 
jects for  imiversal  Empire,  and  relying  upon  Licinius  as 
a  bulwark  against  the  possible  ambitions  of  Maxentiu^,  the 
elder  Augustus  devoted  himself  to  a  life  of  pleasure  in  his 
Eastern  city  of  Nikomedeia.  He  survived  Maximian  barely 
a  year,  and  a  month  before  his  death  performed  the  best 
act  of  his  reign, — the  issuance  of  an  edict  of  toleration, 
thus  ending  the  era  of  the  martyrs  which  Diocletian  and 
himself  had  inaugurated.  His  death  was  occasioned  by  a 
terrible  disease,  the  repulsive  details  of  which  are  related 
by  the  ancient  writers  with  undisguised  pleasure.  To  the 
persecuted  Christians  it  was  the  divine  retribution — un- 
tempered  by  the  tyrant's  display  of  eleventh-hour  mercy. 

The  dominions  of  Galerius  were  shared  between  Maxi- 
min  and  Licinius,  Asia  falling  to  the  former,  who  already 
had  the  far  East,  while  Licinius  acquired  the  European 
provinces.  But  the  crafty  and  far-sighted  Constantine,  who 
now  began  to  see  his  opening,  took  advantage  of  the  op- 
portunity to  break  up  the  old  combination  of  forces,  by 
forming  a  secret  alliance  with  Licinius;  whereupon  Max- 
entius  in  Italy  and  Maximin  in  Syn&  threw  in  their  lots 
together.  It  was  once  more  a  tetrarchy,  but  lacking  in 
that  essential  cohesiveness  which  could  result  only  from 
harmony  among  the  rulers  held  in  check  by  one  master 
mind,  as  in  the  case  of  Diocletian's  government. 


•  \ 


During  the  greater  port  of  the  time  which  had  elapsed 
since  Rome  had  given  way  to  such  unbounded  joy  upon 
the  acquisition  of  a  resident  Augustus  in  the  person  of 
Maxentius,  that  Emperor  had  conducted  himself  in  a  way 
to  arouse  the  bitterest  hostility  and  detestation  of  his  sub- 
jects. By  natiu^  cruel,  rapacious,  and  licentious,  it  needed 
only  the  defeat  of  Severus  and  the  banishment  of  Maxim- 
ian  to  bring  into  action  all  the  vicious  instincts  which  until 
his  power  had  become  thus  firmly  established  Maxentius 
had  wisely  kept  in  check.  In  the  abominable  pursuits  to 
which  his  life  was  thereafter  abandoned,  he  displayed  him- 
self a  veritable  tyrant.  The  noblest  Romans  were  robbed 
of  their  goods,  despoiled  of  their  wives  and  daughters,  and 
deprived  of  their  lives  at  the  whim  of  the  dissolute  and 
evil-minded  young  ruler,  who  had  protected  himself  from 
their  resentment  by  filling  the  city  with  armed  troops 
whose  devotion  was  secured  both  by  immense  largesses 
and  immunity  to  plunder  and  massacre  the  defenceless 
people.  No  wonder  an  appeal  went  out  to  tiqsistantine  to 
relieve  Italy  of  this  incarnated  Domitian. 

The  self-poised  Gallic  Emperor  at*  fir^  refused  to  inter/- 
fere;  but  when  Maxentius,  affecting  a  fifialajiiger  at  the 
death  of  the  father  he  had  himself  driveirawsf;^ ,rCl6stroyed 
the  statues  of  Constantine,  erased  his  titles  from  the  pub- 
lic monuments,  and  announced  his  intention  of  invading 
Gaul  and  possessing  himself  of  the  Western  Empire,  the 
son  of  Chlorus  knew  that  the  hour  which  he  had  been 
awaiting  had  struck.  Disregarding  the  timid  counsels  of 
his  generals,  Constantine  selected  fit)m  his  total  available 
forces  of  one  hundred  thousand  men,  about  forty  thousand 
of  his  best-seasoned  troops ;  and  leaving  the  remainder  to 
guard  the  Rhine,  he  crossed  the  Alps  by  way  of  Mont 
Cenis  so  expeditiously  that  his  little  army  was  deployed 

[  821  ] 


ing  more  difficult  Maximin  had  captured  Byzantium  and 
penetrated  as  far  as  Adrianople,  where  he  was  confix>nted 
by  Licinius  with  an  army  of  thirty  thousand  men.  The 
Eastern  Emperor  had  more  than  twice  that  number,  and 
for  a  time  Licinius  did  not  venture  to  test  the  issue.  He 
was,  however,  a  skilful  soldier,  and  his  legions  had  been 
well  hardened  and  disciplined  in  the  continuous  border 
war&xe.  A  battle  finally  took  place,  in  which  the  Sjrrian 
forces  were  completely  overthrown,  their  leader  escaping  to 
Tarsus,  where  he  soon  perished  by  that  so-called  "divine 
justice''  which  the  profane  mind  accounted  for  through 
the  medium  of  poison.  The  whole  East  accepted  his  defeat 
with  complacency,  Maximin  as  to  ability  and  virtue  hav- 
ing proved  a  rather  more  than  faint  echo  of  Maxentius. 
Licinius  celebrated  his  victory  by  an  act  which  could 
have  been  based  alone  upon  a  determination  to  extirpate 
every  individual  who  might  thereafter  advance  hereditary 
pretensions  to  his  power.  Having  first  destroyed  the  two 
children  of  Maximin,  a  boy  of  eight  and  a  girl  of  seven, 
he  next  put  to  death  Severianus,  the  harmless  son  of  the 
deceased  Emperor  Severus  (whose  death  had  made  room 
for  the  elevation  of  Licinius),  Candidianus,  the  natural 
son  of  his  friend  and  benefiEU^r  Galerius,  and  finally — the 
most  shameful  act  of  all — the  virtuous  and  unhappy 
Valeria,  widow  of  Galerius,  and  her  aged  mother  Prisca, 
who  were  ruthlessly  beheaded  in  Thessalonica.  Prisca  was 
the  wife  and  Valeria  the  daughter  of  Diocletian,  and 
before  the  ashes  of  Galerius  were  fairly  cold,  the  brutal 
Maximin,  whose  wife  was  still  ahve,  coveting  the  posses- 
sion and  charms  of  the  widowed  Empress,  endeavored  to 
force  her  into  a  marriage  with  himself.  Upon  her  dignified 
refrisal,  the  tyrant  had  confiscated  her  estates  and  con- 
demned the  Empress  and  her  mother  to  exile.  The  old 

[  824  ] 



Emperor  Diocletian  pleaded  in  vain  that  his  wife  and 
daughter  might  be  permitted  to  minister  to  his  declining 
years  at  his  retreat  in  Salona;  Maximin  had  been  obdu- 
rate, and  his  conqueror  indicating  if  anything  still  greater 
inhumanity,  the  wife  and  daughter  of  Diocletian  escaped 
in  disguise  from  their  former  asylum  in  exile,  only  to  per- 
ish miserably  after  fifteen  months'  hiding  in  the  utmost 
wretchedness  and  privation. 

The  tetrarchy  of  Diocletian  had  thus  fmally  been  re- 
placed by  a  dyarchy,  in  which  Constantine  controlled 
Italy,  Africa,  and  all  of  the  West,  while  the  remainder  of 
the  Empire  was  subject  to  Licinius.  It  is  true  that  the 
title  of  Cassar  was  conferred  by  Constantine  upon  Bassia- 
nus,  who  had  married  the  Emperor's  sister  Anastasia; 
while  Valens,  the  Illyrian  general  of  Licinius,  was  by  the 
latter  raised  to  the  same  rank.  But  in  the  war  which 
speedily  ensued  between  the  riv^ Augusti,  these  imim- 
portant  Csesars  were  speed^y  **yt^jf^ -Spf -^^th  title  and 
power,  which  Constantine  then  plaml^f  4^$6ii^^  should 
ultimately  be  possessed  byiiiiq^elf  alone.  A%u*  i^o  bloody 
battles  had  been  fought-4ron^"MJi;^  J^a^  tne  other  in 

Thrace — between  the  Augiislti^  ^9k^^  wHich  Constan- 
tine was  victorious,  although  Licu)iu3.^^'i^/^ot  absolutely 
conquered,  a  peace  was  patched  up  between  the  contes- 
tants, Licinius  remaining  in  possession  of  Thrace,  Egjrpt, 
and  the  East,  while  Constantine  added  to  his  former  pos- 
sessions all  of  the  European  provinces  between  Italy  and 
the  extremity  of  Peloponnesus.  With  this  accretion  of 
dignity  and  power  the  conqueror  contented  himself  for 
eight  years,  during  which  the  Roman  world  enjoyed  in- 
ternal peace.  But  after  his  great  victories  over  the  Goths 
and  other  northern  barbarians,  Constantine  ^^  in  his  exalted 
state  of  glory  found  it  impossible  to  longer  endure  a  part- 

[  825  ] 


ner  in  the  Empire";  and  assembling  a  formidable  army, 
he  marched  for  the  last  time  against  his  associate.  The 
old  Emperor,  notwithstanding  his  effeminate  life  in  the 
East,  was  still  warlike,  and  the  contest  was  long  in  doubt 
Constantine  won  the  memorable  battle  of  Adrianople,  in 
which  three  hundred  thousand  combatants  were  engaged ; 
but  Licinius  immediately  shut  himself  up  in  Byzantium, 
which  was  able  for  a  long  time  to  withstand  all  the  efforts 
of  the  conqueror.  Before  the  city  fell,  Licinius  escaped 
into  Bith3mia,  where  he  organized  a  new  army  of  sixty 
thousand  men ;  and  it  was  only  after  the  decisive  battle 
of  Chrysopolis,  in  which  more  than  half  of  his  troops 
perished,  that  the  sturdy  old  soldier  could  be  persuaded 
that  the  candle  was  burned  out.  It  is  said  that  his  wife 
Constantia  played  the  part  of  Octavia  in  the  negotiations 
between  her  vanquished  husband  and  the  victorious  Au- 
gustus. After  resigning  the  purple,  and  accepting  his  par- 
don from  Constantine,  Licinius  was  sent  into  confine- 
ment in  Thessalonica,  where  he  soon  passed  away  among 
the  shadows  which  so  commonly  settled  down  upon  the 
dethroned  rulers  of  the  Roman  world — once  more  united 
aft;er  thirty-seven  years  of  divided  power  under  a  leader 
whose  memorable  accomplishments  have  conferred  upon 
him  the  appellation  of  Constantine  the  Great. 

Constantine  :  806-824-887  a.  d.  Flavins  Valerius  Au- 
relius  Constantinus  was  bom  about  the  year  278,  on  the 
day  that  his  father  under  the  Emperor  Aurelian  gained  a 
great  victory  over  the  Alemanni.  His  father,  Constantius 
Chlorus,  a  nephew  of  the  Emperor  Claudius,^  had  married 
Flavia  Jtdia  Helena,  the  daughter  of  an  innkeeper  of  un- 
known nationality,  who  became  the  mother  of  Constan- 

1  Ante,  page  312. 

[  826  ] 


tine,  all  of  whose  successors  in  the  fourth  century  took  his 
gentile  name  of  Flavins.  Although  compelled  to  submit 
to  a  divorce  from  her  husband  upon  his  elevation  to  the 
rank  of  Caesar,^  Helena  lived  to  see  her  own  son  become 
the  sole  ruler  of  the  Empire  and  to  be  herself  saluted 
as  Augusta  by  the  soldiers.  The  mother  of  Constantine 
was  a  zealous  Christian,  and  on  the  occasion  of  her  pious 
pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem  in  the  year  827»  was  accredited 
with  the  discovery  of  the  holy  sepulchre  and  the  true 
cross,  which  in  later  years  won  for  her  the  honor  of  a 

Constantine  was  probably  bom  at  Naissus,^  in  Dacia, 
and  during  his  youth  and  early  manhood  concerned  him- 
self more  about  the  pursuit  of  arms  than  the  acquisition 
of  knowledge.  At  the  time  of  his  mother's  divorce  he  was 
eighteen  years  of  age,  and  instead  of  allowing  him  to  re- 
main in  the  service  with  his  father  and  thus  naturally  ac- 
quire hopes  of  future  power,  Diocletian,  whose  poUcy  for- 
bade the  idea  of  hereditary  succession,  took  the  young  man 
with  him  to  the  East,  where  he  served  with  distinction  in 
the  Persian  wars  and  finally  attained  the  office  of  tribune. 
He  remained  with  Diocletian,  practically  as  a  hostage, 
until  the  abdication;  soon  after  which,  having  escaped 
from  Nikomedeia,  where  Galerius  had  assumed  control, 
he  rejoined  his  father,  and  after  the  latter's  death  gradu- 
ally worked  his  way  up  to  supreme  power,  as  previously 

Constantine  is  represented  as  having  been  tall  and  hand- 
some, skilled  in  all  manly  exercises,  affable  in  manners, 

^  Helena  is  by  some  thought  to  have  been  united  to  Constantius  by  a 
mamage  of  the  second  order  only;  as  to  which  see  ante,  page  238,  Note  1. 
*  The  legend  that  Constantine  was  bom  in  Britain  has  been  abandoned. 
*Ante,  pages  3l6  to  326, 

[  827  ] 


and  of  a  kindly  disposition  when  not  opposed.  Possessed 
of  high  ambition  and  a  masterful  will,  he  was  not  over- 
scrupulous in  the  attainment  of  his  ends;  and  although 
apparently  free  from  cruel  and  revengeful  instincts,  he 
never  hesitated  to  sweep  out  of  his  path  every  one — man, 
woman,  or  child — who  impeded  or  in  the  slightest  degree 
threatened  his  progress.  The  unvarying  patience  and  self- 
control  manifested  by  him  during  all  the  years  of  his  asso- 
ciated reign  proves  that  he  had  early  mastered  the  grand 
philosophy  of  life  by  learning  to  wait.  But  the  successive 
steps  in  his  march  to  absolute  power  also  demonstrate  that 
when  the  time  for  action  had  unmistakably  arrived,  not 
even  the  great  Cassar  was  more  prompt  and  vigorous  in 

Constantine  was  an  intrepid  soldier  and  an  able  general, 
but  unlike  all  his  predecessors  in  the  purple  who  had  been 
great  military  leaders,  he  achieved  no  important  victory 
outside  of  the  civil  wars.  His  magnificent  triumphal  arch 
between  the  Colosseum  and  the  Palatine,  the  best-pre- 
served monument  of  its  kind  in  Rome,^  was  erected,  not 
after  any  victory  over  a  foreign  foe,  but  in  commemoration 
of  the  defeat  of  Maxentius,  at  Saxa  Rubra,  and  of  his  final 
disbandment  of  the  prcetorians — acts,  however,  for  which 
the  long-suffering.  Romans  might  with  genuine  reason 
accord  a  trimnph  to  their  Uberator. 

The  foundation  of  a  New  Rome  on  the  Bosphorus  and 
his  religious  poUcy  were  Constantine's  most  important 
contributions  to  imiversal  history.  In  the  establishment  of 

^  Roman  art  was  at  so  low  an  ebb  in  the  fourth  centuiy  that  in  default  of 
competent  sculptors  the  Arch  of  Constantine  was  embellished  with  orna- 
ments ruthlessly  torn  from  a  monument  of  Trajan,  whose  head  in  marble 
can  still  be  discerned  amidst  the  rude  and  unskilful  decorations  of  Con- 
stantine's builders. 

[  828  ] 



Constantinople  as  the  imperial  centre  of  a  government 
which  had  legalized  Christianity,  the  ultimate  triimiph  of 
Eastern  barbarism  was  retarded  ten  centuries ;  while  Rome, 
thus  finally  and  formally  discarded  by  her  temporal  rulers, 
became  the  natural  heritage  of  the  pontifical  authority.  Of 
comrse  neither  of  these  results  was  intended  by  Constantine, 
who,  in  creating  a  Nova  Roma,  was  actuated  purely  by  a 
desire  to  mark  in  a  visible  and  concrete  form  tiie  glory  of 
his  personal  achievements  and  at  the  same  time  establish 
for  himself  a  fitting  home  far  from  the  polluted  atmos- 
phere of  despised  Rome.  The  great  city  which  he  founded, 
after  playing  a  most  important  part  in  the  history  of  civil- 
ization and  again  and  again  becoming  the  key  to  European 
diplomacy,  has  retained  nothing  but  the  name  of  the  first 
Christian  Emperor,  whose  sarcophagus  even  has  been  re- 
moved to  the  city  he  had  scorned  and  abandoned — that 
pagan  city  which  in  the  end  surviving  all  assaults,  became 
the  living  centre  of  the  Christian  world. 

Concerning  the  nature  of  the  great  Constantine's  rela- 
tion to  Christianity  volumes  have  becBr  .^viitten^-^it  .being 
perhaps  the  most  hotly  disputed  sub^^db^  my.'ibQnnected 
with  the  lives  of  the  Roman  Emperors.  But,  after  all,  the 
historically  significant  fact  is  not  his  personal  acceptance 
or  rejection  of  Christianity,  but  that  W  eftdowed  it  with 
worldly  power  sufficient  for  its'iievelapment  int*  "the 
strongest  social  and  political  agent  that  affects  the  destinies 
of  the  human  race.''  Viewed  in  this  light,  it  is  largely  im- 
material whether  we  are  to  believe  the  story  of  Eusebius 
that  Constantine  was  converted  while  on  the  march  to 
meet  Maxentius  by  the  apparition  of  a  luminous  cross,  or 
the  relation  of  the  pagan  authors  Libanius  and  Zosimus, 
who  respectively  date  the  conversion  after  the  defeat  of 
Lidnius  (828)  and  after  the  death  of  Crispus  (826).  The 

[  829  ] 


facts  are  that  although  doubtless  imbibing  his  father's  in- 
clinations towards  the  new  religion,  statesman  as  he  was 
he  had  from  the  beginning  treated  the  question  as  one  of 
statesmanship.  It  is  therefore  occasion  for  no  surprise  that 
side  by  side  with  his  decrees  in  favor  of  Christianity  were 
others  in  favor  of  the  gods,  that  throughout  his  reign  new 
temples  were  built,  as  well  as  basilicas,  and  that  pagan  as 
well  as  Christian  observances  received  the  imperial  sanc- 
tion. In  all  these  acts  we  see  the  wisdom  of  the  great  ruler, 
devoting  himself  to  the  lofty  aim  of  compelling  men  to 
live  in  peace,  and  trusting  to  time  and  habit  to  efface  rad- 
ical differences  of  a  kind  which  can  never  be  destroyed  by 
arbitrary  decree.  As  Stanley  remarked,  Constantine  was 
entitled  to  be  called  Great  in  virtue  of  what  he  did,  rather 
than  what  he  was.  Whether  he  was  actually  a  convert  to 
Christianity  as  early  as  818  is  perhaps  uncertain,  but  we 
do  know  that  in  that  year  he  promulgated  the  Edict  of 
Milan ;  which  has  been  called  the  grandest  legislative  act 
in  all  history, — a  declaration  of  the  equality  of  all  cults 
and  the  establishment  of  complete  liberty  for  religious 
observances.  The  Christian  Church  doubtless  accords  him 
a  higher  place  because  of  the  Council  of  Nice,  which  he 
summoned  and  whose  conclusions  he  adopted.  The  for- 
mulation of  a  credo  was,  to  be  sure,  a  high  necessity  for  the 
Church  in  the  face  of  the  first  great  heresy  with  which  it 
had  been  confronted.  But  infinitely  grander,  to  the  stu- 
dent of  human  greatness,  is  the  solemn  declaration  over 
the  signature  of  an  Emperor  bearing  the  pagan  title  of 
Pontifex  Maximus,  that  Christian  believers  should  enjoy 
peace  and  tranquillity  equally  with  the  worshippers  of  the 
old  gods. 

Although  the  marriage  of  the  first  Constantius  with 
Theodora  had  resulted  in  six  children,  of  whom  three  were 

[  880  ] 



sons  (who  were  thus  of  imperial  descent  on  both  sides), 
the  father  seems  never  to  have  hesitated  in  according  the 
right  of  succession  to  the  child  of  his  earlier  marriage. 
The  d3dng  Emperor  nevertheless  solemnly  commended  his 
other  children  to  the  protection  and  care  of  Constantine, 
and  with  a  single  exception  ^  the  latter  proved  faithful  to 
the  trust,  Theodora's  children  receiving  constant  proofs  of 
their  imperial  brother's  affection.  He  married  Constantia 
to  the  Emperor  Licinius,  and  the  other  two  sisters  re- 
ceived husbands  of  the  highest  rank.  Of  the  three  brothers, 
one  died  without  a  name  or  posterity ;  the  other  two  mar- 
ried daughters  of  wealthy  senators,  and  the  son  of  one  of 
them  attained  the  purple  after  the  last  descendant  of  Con- 
stantine  had  perished. 

Constantine  himself  was  twice  married.  His  first  matri- 
monial relations,  however,  were  of  the  conjugium  inequale 
order ;  and  the  fact  that  Minervina  was  still  living  did  not 
therefore  stand  for  a  moment  in  the  way  of  his  second 
marriage  to  Fausta,  daughter  of  the  Emperor  M aximian, 
a  connection  which  promised  to  materially  advance  his  in- 
terests. By  his  first  wife  he  had  a  son  named  Crispus,  who 
was  about  six  years  old  when  Constantine  became  Caesar. 
Crispus  himself  received  the  title  some  fifteen  years  later 
and  proved  a  useftd  auxiliary  to  his  father  by  winning 
some  considerable  victories  over  the  Franks  and  Alemanni. 
In  time,  however,  factions  were  4>i'i^^d  about  Crispus  on 
the  one  side,  and  his  half-brothers  on  the  other;  and  the 

^  This  was  the  murder  of  the  only  son  of  Constantia  and  Ldcinius.  After 
the  latter's  overthrow^  the  joung  Licinianus  was  for  a  time  spared  through 
the  entreaties  of  his  mother.  When  he  had  attained  the  age  of  twelve 
years,  however,  the  Emperor  imagined  that  his  nephew  had  become  a 
dangerous  element,  and  notwithstanding  the  tears  and  supplications  of 
his  widowed  sister,  Constantine  ordered  the  boy's  death. 

[881  ] 


former,  accused  of  a  conspiracy  against  his  &ther,  was 
imprismed  by  the  Emperor.  The  unhappy  youth,  who  is 
said  to  hflYC  been  highly  amiable,  soon  perished  by  his  &^ 
ther's  commands.  Constantine  had  akeady  put  to  death  his 
&ther-in-law,  the  old  mischief-maker  Maximian;  his  wife's 
nephews,  the  two  sons  of  Maxentdus  (whom  he  had  killed 
in  battle) ;  Bassianus,  who  had  married  his  sister  Anasta^; 
the  Emperor  Licinius,  husband  to  his  sister  Ctuistantia, 
and  the  latter's  young  son  Licinianus — all  "for  the  good 
of  the  State."^  It  remained  only  to  round  out  this  &niily 
tragedy  by  a  still  grosser  domestic  crime — to  which  his- 
tary  declares  he  was  incited  by  "Saint"  Helena  hersel£ 
The  aged  mother  of  the  Emperor  had  been  greatly  at- 
tached to  Crispus,  and  enraged  by  his  murder,  which  she 
perhaps  rightly  attributed  to  the  jealous  dislike  of  Fausta, 
by  whom  Crispus  had  been  accused  of  meditating  parri- 
cide (or  a  worse  crime,  according  to  some  historians),  she 
seems  to  have  persuaded  her  son  that  the  Empress  had 
been  guilty  of  "abominable  machinations."  Under  her  hus- 
band's orders  Fausta  was  thereupon  seized  by  her  women 
and  stifled  in  a  hot  bath,  and  her  name  was  effaced  from 
the  public  edifices.' 

The  murder  of  his  wife  and  son  marked  the  culmination 
of  Constantine's  prosperity;  indeed,  with  the  exception  of 
the  foundation  of  Constantinople,  the  period  of  eleven 
years  during  which  his  life  was  prolonged  after  the  death 
of  Fausta  was  barren  of  important  events.  Since  his  tri- 

'  "--- ' deserves  no  pity,  having  ctHUpired  with  Lidnios 

<rother-in-Uw,  who  hwl  given  him  his  sirter  in  mar- 
m  to  the  rank  of  Ciesar. 

tn  expressed  in  regard  to  this  stoiy,  but  the  weight 
)  confirm  It  The  Church  of  St.  John  Lateian  occu- 
a's  palace,  which  alter  her  death  was  bestowed  hy 
Bishops  of  Rome. 
[  882  ] 



umphal  entry  into  the  city  after  the  overthrow  of  Maxen- 
tius,  the  Emperor  had  visited  Rome  only  to  celebrate  the 
solenm  festivals  of  the  tenth  and  twentieth  years  of  his 
reign.  It  was  during  the  vicennalia  celebration  ^  that  the 
deaths  of  Fausta  and  Crispus  occurred ;  and  the  Romans^ 
by  whom  Constantine  was  disliked  both  on  account  of  his 
studied  absences  fiom  the  ancient  city  and  the  favor  which 
he  had  shown  the  Christians,  taunted  him  with  the  murder 
of  Fausta,  declaring  that  "Nero  had  come  back  to  Rome."^ 
Satirical  verses  were  affixed  to  the  palace  gates,  and  the 
crowds  indulged  openly  in  sarcasms  and  insolence,  while 
the  Emperor,  upon  the  Palatine,  was  himself  contemptu- 
ously watching  a  celebration  by  the  knights  of  the  an- 
cient rite  of  offering  to  Jupiter  the  prayers  of  the  Roman 
youths.  Deeply  incensed  at  this  treatment,  Constantine 
determined  to  tmn  his  back  upon  Rome  forever.  Milan, 
Treves,  Sirmium,  and  other  pro\nux;^ial  cities  had  been  the 
occasional  places  of  his  residen6ii^^butr^hi!&  now  set  his  face 
squarely  towards  the  East,  and  the  town,  of  Byzantium 
was  finally  selected  as  the  i^to  of  a  new  capital' 

Constantine  spent  imm^sieNnilSisiQ  biiildii^  and  beau- 
tifying his  imperial  city,  for^llfe-ii4offiltoeirt  Rome, 
Athens,  and  the  East  were  despoil&d^f  tljfeir  sculptures. 
The  Emperor  never  again  visited  his  ancient  city  on  the 
Tiber.  After  devoting  four  years  to  the  building  of  Con- 
stantinople,^ he  spent  the  last  seven  years  of  his  life  in 
making  a  few  good  laws  and  indulging  in  some  desultory 
wars  with  the  Goths,  but  in  the  main  ^*  reposing  to  all 

^  The  twentieth  aimivenaiy  of  his  accession. 

'  The  death  of  Fausta  had  been  accomplished  bj  a  similar  method  to  that 

adopted  bj  Nero  in  ridding  himself  of  Octavia.  See  cade,  page  151. 

'  The  old  B3rzantium  was  not  destroyed  by  G>nstantine,  whose  edifices 

were  built  in  the  new  quarters  of  the  city. 

[  888  ] 


eternity  on  the  bosom  of  Indolence.**^  In  the  year  387, 
which  was  the  thirty-first  of  his  reign,  a  war  broke  out 
with  Rome's  traditional  foe,  the  Persians,  mider  a  new 
Sapor.  The  Emperor  left  Constantinople  at  the  head  of 
his  army;  but  death  was  upon  him,  and  at  Diocletian's 
old  city  of  Nikomedeia  the  end  came.  Just  at  the  last  he 
was  baptized  by  the  Arian  Bishop  Eusebius,  and  it  was 
therefore  said  that  he  died  a  Christian.  It  certainly  cannot 
be  averred  with  any  degree  of  truth  that  he  had  lived  like 
one.  His  body  was  conveyed  to  the  city  he  had  founded 
and  there  interred  near  that  of  his  mother  in  a  magnificent 
tomb  of  porph3rry  in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Apostles 
which  he  had  built.  He  had  lived  sixty-three  years,  during 
one-half  of  which  he  wore  the  purple — thus  marking  the 
longest  reign  of  any  Emperor  since  Augustus. 

The  Sons  of  Constantine  :  887-861  a.  d.  It  was  Con- 
stantine's  intention  that  his  three  sons  should  share  the 
Empire — with  the  exception  of  Pontus,  and  of  Thrace, 
Achaia,  and  Macedon,  which  the  Emperor  had  converted 
into  separate  kingdoms  for  his  respective  nephews,  Dalma- 
tius  and  Hannibalianus.^  At  the  time  of  their  father's  death 
Constantine  II  was  twenty-two,  Constantius  II  twenty, 
and  Constans  seventeen.  The  elder  brothers  had  become 
intensely  jealous  of  their  relatives  of  the  half-blood,  and 
in  disr^ard  of  their  father's  wishes  determined  to  secure 
for  themselves  the  entire  inheritance,  beyond  the  possi- 
bility of  reclaim.  The  funeral  of  Constantine  had  occurred 
in  June;  and  early  in  September  following  Constantius, 
who  appears  to  have  been  the  family  plotter,  having  en- 
ticed his  uncles  and  cousins  to  Constantinople  under  a 

^  Julian  in  the  Ccesars. 

'  They  were  the  sons  of  his  second  half-brother  Hannibalianus. 

[  884  ] 


solemn  pledge  of  safety,  incited  the  soldiers  to  a  whole- 
sale massacre  of  the  Flavians.  Constantine's  two  surviving 
brothers  and  seven  of  his  nine  nephews  perished  on  the 
same  day;  the  only  male  descendants  of  the  first  Con- 
stantius  (other  than  Constantine's  own  sons)  who  escaped 
were  the  two  youngest  sons  of  Julius  Constantius  (the 
youngest  son  of  Chlorus),  Gallus,  aged  twelve,  and  his 
half-brother  Julian,  a  boy  of  six.  Immediately  after  this 
great  family  murder,  the  three  brothers  were  proclaimed 
Augusti  under  the  imperial  division  which  their  father  had 
indicated:  Constantine  II  taking  the  West;  Italy,  Africa, 
and  lUyria  falling  to  Constans;  while  Constantius  II,  who 
had  engineered  the  crime,  added  to  his  original  share  of 
the  Eastern  provinces  the  kingdoms  of  Thrace  and  Pontus, 
whose  rulers  were  among  the  slain. 

This  ^'family  affair,''  as  D'Artagnan  and  his  friends  would 
have  termed  it,  was  commemorated  by  the  erection  of 
statues  inscribed  "To  the  brothers  who  love  each  other"; 
but  the  sentiment,  if  it  ever  existed,  was  of  short  duration. 
Scarcely  two  years  elapsed  before  Constantine,  in  emula- 
tion of  his  father,  crossed  the  Alps  with  the  intention  of 
appropriating  Italy  and  incidentally  of  pushing  his  youngest 
brother  into  the  Adriatic.  Successful  in  his  first  operations, 
still  following  in  the  footsteps  of  the  great  Constantine,  but 
lacking  his  ability  and  military  experience,  he  turned  to 
the  north  and  rashly  attempted  the  capture  of  Aquileia, 
which  was  defended  by  a  strong  force  under  an  able  gen- 
eral Constantine  was  defeated  and  killed;  so  that  it  was 
his  body  which  upon  the  currents  of  the  river  Alsa  was 
finally  cast  into  the  Adriatic,  while  his  provinces  of  Gaul, 
Spain,  and  Britain  reverted  to  his  intended  victim. 

Constantius  was  too  deeply  engaged  in  a  desperate  strug- 
gle with  the  Persians  to  oppose  this  aggrandizement  of  his 

[  885  ] 


younger  brother,  who  thus  became  master  of  two-thirds 
of  the  Roman  world,  a  dignity  which  he  retained  thirteen 
years.  Little  is  known  of  the  reign  of  Constans,  who  has 
been  variously  represented  by  the  ancient  writers  as  a  saint 
and  a  tyrant,  a  lazy  profligate  and  a  successful  campaigner. 
But  he  seems  to  have  at  last  thoroughly  disgusted  his  sub- 
jects; for  when  in  the  year  850  a  rough  Gallic  soldier  of 
German  extraction,  named  Magnentius,  during  a  drinking 
bout  of  the  guards  donned  the  purple  robe  in  a  spirit  of 
bravado,  the  soldiers  received  him  with  a  cheer,  while  not  a 
voice  was  raised  in  favor  of  the  Emperor.  When  the  news 
reached  Constans,  who  was  hunting  in  a  forest  near  Autun, 
he  fled  towards  the  Pyrenees,  but  was  speedily  overtaken 
by  the  bloodhounds  of  the  usurper  and  put  to  death. 

The  claims  of  Magnentius  were  at  first  strengthened  by 
an  alliance  with  Vetranio,  an  lUyrian  general  who  had 
himself  been  induced  to  assume  the  purple  by  Constantina, 
a  sister  of  Constantius  II,  and  the  widow  of  the  murdered 
Hannibalianus,  King  of  Thrace.  The  usurpers  sent  an  em- 
bassy to  Constantius,  proposing  a  division  of  the  Empire. 
The  Emperor  declined  to  negotiate,  and  glad  of  an  excuse 
to  withdraw  from  the  East,  where  he  had  been  almost  in- 
variably worsted  by  the  Persians,  came  marching  into  Pan- 
nonia,  with  the  avowed  purpose  of  aven^g  his  brother. 
He  soon  craftily  detached  his  sister  fix>m  the  cause  of  Ve- 
tranio, who  thereupon  at  once  surrendered.  Magnentius, 
however,  maintained  himself  nearly  a  year.  After  destroy- 
ing Nepotianus,  a  nephew  of  Constantius,  who  with  his 
mother,  Eutropia,  was  killed  at  Rome,  which  he  was  en- 
deavoring to  hold  against  the  usurper,  Magnentius,  who  did 
not  lack  for  courage,  set  out  for  the  Danube  in  quest  of 
his  adversary.  It  was  Constantius  who  now  proposed  an 
accommodation,  and  Magnentius  who  reAised.  The  issue 

[  886  ] 



was  decided  in  favor  of  Constantius,  who  won  the  bloody 
battle  of  Mursa,  in  which  fifty  thousand  of  the  best  soldiers 
in  the  Empire  perished.  Magnentius  fled  to  Italy,  thence 
escaping  to  Gaul — only  to  learn  that  the  Gallic  and  Italian 
cities  had  repudiated  his  brothers,  who  had  been  created 
Cassars  and  left  in  charge  of  the  West  during  his  absence 
in  Pannonia.  One  of  his  brothers  had  already  conunitted 
suicide,  and  Magnentius  in  a  wild  fit  of  rage  and  despair 
killed  his  mother  and  surviving  brother  and  fell  upon  his 
sword.  The  curtain  was  rung  down  to  a  wholesale  slaughter 
of  his  friends  and  partisans  ordered  by  his  conqueror. 

Constantius  II,  in  whom  the  imperial  power  was  united 
for  a  period  of  seven  years,^  has  come  down  to  us  as  small 
in  stature  and  mind,  and  in  character  timid,  crafty,  sus- 
picious, and  cruel,  but  with  the  redeeming  traits  of  so- 
briety and  a  taste  for  literature.  After  the  death  of  his  first 
wife,  who  was  his  cousin,^  Constantius  j^nxned  a  lady  of 
consular  rank,  who  is  spoken  of  by  5^|ji^  as  f^the  good 
and  beautiful  Eusebia."  The  Emperor,  h'crWeVjei:/  had  no 
children,  and  when  the  rebeUion .  pfC,  ^agnentiiis  be^eame 
formidable,  he  appointed  his  coui^n  Ga(((is»  Caesar  wv^  the 
government  of  the  far  East,  and  ga'Vt^.Jiimf  tii^sist^  Con- 
stantina  ^  in  marriage.  Gallus,  who  was  Tww  t^nty-six 
years  of  age,  had  lived  in  a  state  of  practical  captivity 
since  the  murder  of  the  Flavians,  fourteen  years  before. 
His  character  was  too  weak  to  support  this  sudden  change 
from  a  prison  to  a  viceroyalty ;  and  making  a  complete  fail- 
ure of  his  charge,  he  was  ordered  back  to  Italy.  Upon  his 
arrival  he  was  deprived  of  his  office  and  after  a  mock  trial 
beheaded.  Constantina  had  died  upon  the  way. 

^  Magnentius  died  in  353,  and  Julian  was  proclaimed  in  S60,  the  year 

preceding  Constantius's  death. 

*  She  was  sister  to  Julian.     *  Ante,  page  335. 

[  887  ] 


In  the  meantime  Gaul  had  been  completely  overrun  by 
an  immense  horde  of  Germans,  who  permanently  occupied 
the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine ;  and  in  default  of  a  trustworthy 
leader,  Constantius,  who  was  in  perpetual  fear  of  another 
M agnentius,  was  induced  by  the  Empress  to  appoint  his 
cousin  Julian,  the  last  male  Flavian,  Csesar  and  prefect  of 
the  Gallic  provinces — as  in  the  case  of  Gallus,  at  the 
same  time  bestowing  upon  him  a  sister  (named  Helena)  in 
marriage.^  But  the  notable  victories  soon  won  by  Julian 
speedily  awakened  the  jealousy  and  suspicions  of  the  Em- 
peror, who  ordered  the  Gallic  Csesar  to  despatch  the  flower 
of  his  army  to  assist  the  Emperor  in  the  Persian  war  which 
had  again  broken  out.  The  troops,  unwilling  to  be  trans- 
ported to  the  deadly  sands  beyond  the  Euphrates,  openly 
rebelled;  Constantius  was  publicly  execrated,  and  Julian, 
strongly  against  his  will,  compelled  to  accept  the  title  of 
Augustus  which  the  army  conferred.  Although  the  Gallic 
Emperor  seems  to  have  honestly  endeavored  to  avoid  civil 
war,  it  soon  became  evident  that  no  reconciliation  was 
possible,  and  both  sides  prepared  for  the  struggle.  Julian 
first  took  the  offensive  by  occupying  Illyria,  while  Con- 
stantius was  still  in  the  far  East.  The  latter  at  once  set 
out  for  Europe,  but  at  Tarsus  was  overtaken  by  a  fever 
and  a  few  days  later  died.  He  was  in  his  forty-fifth  year, 
having  reigned  a  fuU  quarter  of  a  century.  Like  his  father, 
he  was  baptized  in  his  last  illness. 

Julian  :  861-868  a.  d.  Measured  both  by  character  and 
accomplishment,  and  considering  the  fact  that  he  died 
before  completing  his  thirty-second  year,  the  last  of  the 
Flavian  dynasty  must  be  considered  as  one  of  the  greatest 

^  No  children  resulted  from  this  marriage^  which  Helena,  much  older 
than  Julian,  did  not  long  survive. 

[  888  ] 


of  the  Roman  Emperors.  Pure  in  morals,  even  to  austerity, 
intellectual  and  scholarly  in  taste,  successful  in  war,  and 
possessing  administrative  ability  of  high  order,  Uke  that 
other  pagan  philosopher-Emperor,  Marcus  AureUus,  whom 
he  indeed  in  many  respects  resembled,  JuUan  commands 
the  respect  and  esteem  of  an  unbigoted  posterity. 

Constantius,  the  father  of  JuUan,  was  the  youngest  son 
of  Constantius  Chlorus  and  Theodora.  He  perished  with 
his  eldest  son  in  the  Flavian  massacre,^  leaving  a  son 
Gallus,  by  his  first  wife,  Galla,  and  by  his  second  wife, 
Basilina,  a  daughter,  who  married  Constantius  II,  and  a 
son  JuUan.  The  latter  was  only  six  years  old  when  his 
father  died,  and  during  the  eighteen  years  following  he 
endured  a  sort  of  captivity  at  the  hands  of  Constantius, 
to  whom  the  young  Flavian,  at  an  early  period  in  life,  be- 
came an  object  of  both  suspicion  and  fear.  But  the  Em- 
press Eusebia,  who  fully  appreciated  his  talents  and  worth, 
never  ceased  to  intercede  for  him  with  Constantius,  who 
was  finally  persuaded  by  the  Empress  to  install  his  cousin 
in  the  GaUic  prefecture  with  the  title  of  Caesar.^  Prior  to 
this  event,  which  occurred  in  his  twenty-fifth  year,  Julian's 
life  had  been  devoted  to  study  and  meditation;  and  we 
find  him  writing  to  one  of  his  philosopher  fiiends,  "I  could 
have  wished  to  have  no  other  occupation  but  to  converse 
with  you,  as  heavily  laden  travellers  sing  on  the  road  to 
lighten  the  weight  of  their  burdens.*'  He  tells  us  that  as  a 
boy  he  "often  left  his  books  to  follow  with  devout  gaze 
the  triumphal  march  of  the  sun,  or  to  contemplate  by 
night  the  wonders  and  splendors  of  the  starry  sky";  and 
as  a  modem  writer  observes,  in  the  worship  of  "the  divine 
star,"  the  noblest  of  idolatries,  he  recognized  the  reUgion 
of  his  fathers  and  in  Christianity  he  grew  to  hate  the  re- 

>  Ante,  page  335.     *  Ante,  page  338. 

[  889  ] 


ligion  of  his  persecutors.  Short  and  thick-set  in  person  and 
awkward  in  manner,  it  is  said  that  when  in  answer  to  the 
Emperor's  smnmons  after  the  death  of  Gallus  Julian  came 
to  Milan,^  wearing  his  philosopher's  cloak,  his  strange  ap- 
pearance made  him  an  object  of  ridicule  to  the  entire 
Court  This  fact  not  improbably  counted  for  more  than 
the  persuasion  of  the  Empress  in  overcoming  the  uneasi- 
ness  and  suspicion  with  which  Julian  had  been  regarded  by 
the  Emperor.  For  his  own  security,  however,  Constantius 
might  wisely  have  yielded  to  his  instinctive  fears  of  his 
cousin.  For  this  uncouth  dreamer,  whose  conception  of 
the  duties  of  an  Emperor  were  embodied  in  his  statement 
to  Themistius,  **A  king  should  have  the  nature  of  a  god," 
had  in  him  the  stuff  of  which  true  Qesars  are  made— re- 
quiring only  opportunity  to  disclose  the  fires  which  were 
burning  beneath  his  indifferent  exterior. 

Aft^r  several  months'  arduous  study  of  the  science  of 
war,  the  yoxmg  lieutenant  exchanged  his  philosopher's 
cloak  for  the  harness,  and  in  a  series  of  most  brilliant 
campaigns,^  in  which  he  never  met  a  reverse,  he  com- 
pletely freed  Gaul  from  the  barbarians  and  demonstrated 
himself  as  consmnmate  a  general  as  he  afterwards  proved 
a  statesman  in  the  speedy  reestablishment  of  public  order 
which  he  effected. 

After  the  death  of  Constantius,  Julian,  who  had  already 
been  invested  with  the  purple  by  the  Gallic  army,  was 
decreed  the  imperial  honors  by  the  Roman  Senate,  and 

^  Constantius  had  resided  there  since  the  death  of  Magnentius. 

*  These  campaigns  extended  over  a  period  of  five  years,  and  during 

the  enforced  idleness  of  the  winter  months,  the  joung  general  led  the 

life  of  an  ascetic  philosopher  in  his  Palace  of  the  Thermes  at  Lntetia 

(Paris),  the  remains  of  which  are  still  to  be  seen  on  the  Boulevard 

St.  Michel,  passing  his  time  in  study  and  the  administration  of  pubtic 


[  840  ] 



every  one  who  believed  in  the  old  gods  took  heart  of  grace 
to  believe  that  the  ancient  religion  was  to  be  reestablished. 
The  Emperor  had  received  Christian  teaching  during  his 
boyhood,  and  until  his  twentieth  year  was  supposed  to 
have  accepted  the  new  religion.  But  at  heart  he  seems 
to  have  always  cherished  the  gods  of  his  forefathers,  and 
during  a  residence  in  Achaia — to  which  he  had  once  been 
banished  by  Constantius — his  dreamy  and  superstitious  na- 
ture finally  capitulated  to  the  allurements  of  the  old  Greek 
religion ;  so  that  he  returned  to  Italy  despising  Christianity 
more  than  ever.  The  reestablishment  of  the  ancient  cult 
became  to  him  a  sacred  cause.  But  in  the  main  he  sought 
rather  to  accomplish  it  under  the  wise  policy  of  the  Edict 
of  Milan  ^  than  by  the  intolerant  methods  of  some  of 
his  pagan  predecessors.  And  while  some  persecutions  un- 
doubtedly occurred  as  soon  as  it  became  evident  that  the 
Christians  were  no  longer  to  receive  the  special  protec- 
tion hitherto  accorded  them,  it  is  eettain  that  the  Emperor 
neither  abetted  nor  approved  any  i^t))^  .acts  of  violence. 
His  order  compelling  the  Christian  churclieiSfrtQ..  restore  all 
the  property  that  had  been  pillaged  from  the  pagan  tem- 
ples was  founded  upon  the  &inipl6st  principles  of  justice ; 
although  to  despoil  the  churches  ^for. any  reason  was  per- 
haps  not  unnaturally  considered  an  utter-sacrilege  by  the 
Christians.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Emperor's  decree  for- 
bidding Christians  to  hold  public  office  and  expelling  their 
instructors  from  the  public  schools  was  a  manifest  iniquity 
and  in  strange  contrast  with  his  general  religious  policy, 
in  regard  to  which  the  worst  to  be  said  is  that  throughout 
his  reign  the  indulgence  of  the  government  was  towards 
the  pagans  and  its  severity  towards  the  Christians.  And 
"the  great  Apostate''  (as  with  a  degree  of  injustice  he  has 

1  Ante,  page  330. 

[  841  ] 


been  generally  tenned  ^)  seems  at  least  to  have  been  in- 
variably animated  by  a  genuine  humanity  in  his  heroic 
effort — the  most  important  fisurt  of  his  reign — to  restore 
the  gods  he  adored  with  such  ardent  piety,  and  revive  the 
superstitious  practices  which  were  a  part  of  his  religion. 

Dining  the  first  six  months  of  his  reign  Julian  remained 
at  Constantinople ;  and  then  assured  that  the  tranquillity 
which  obtained  throughout  the  Empire^  would  not  be 
affected  by  his  temporary  absence,  he  concluded  that  the 
time  was  opportune  for  a  decisive  victory  over  Rome's 
perennial  foe  in  the  East,  and  set  out  for  Antioch  to  pre- 
pare for  an  expedition  against  the  Persians.  In  the  spring 
of  853  he  left  Antioch  with  the  largest  force  that  ever 
invaded  the  East,  and,  dividing  his  troops  into  two  armies, 
despatched  one  contingent  under  his  kinsman  and  favor- 
ite general  ^Procopius,  who  was  expected  to  pass  through 
Upper  Mesopotamia  aiid  operate  on  the  left  bank  of  the 
Tigris  towards  the  souISl  Julian  himself  with  the  main 
body  sailed  down  the  Euphrates  and  crossed  over  to  Ctesi- 
phon.  Failing  to  capture  this  time-honored  bulwark  of  the 
sun-god's  domain,  the  Emperor  turned  aside  and  rashly 
advanced  into  the  burning  deserts  to  the  north,  in  hope  of 
efiecting  a  junction  with  his  other  division.  But  the  old 
prophecy  ^  had  not  yet  spent  its  force.  In  repulsing  an  at- 
tack in  force,  Julian,  who  had  carelessly  exposed  himself 
without  a  breastplate,  was  struck  by  a  random  spear,  which 
bore  him  to  the  ground.  He  made  a  gallant  attempt  to  re- 

^  The  assertion  of  St.  Cyril  that  Julian  had  been  baptized  by  Eusebius, 
Bishop  of  Nikomedeia,  who  had  directed  his  early  studies^  is  considered 
extremely  improbable — it  being  customary  at  the  time  to  receive  baptism 
very  late  in  life. 

*  ^^  While  this  great  monarch  reigned/'  says  the  historian  of  the  period, 
'^not  a  barbarian  crossed  the  frontier." 

*  See  Carui,  ante,  page  306. 

[  842  ] 














J?  o"?  k 

H  a  B  s 






















&fl    o 

CD         {> 





enter  the  fights-even  attempting  to  pull  out  the  spear  with 
his  own  hands — but  the  eflfbrt  was  bey^^Md  his  strength. 
He  was  borne  to  his  tent,  and  after  an  affecting  leave-tak- 
ing with  his  generals  and  friends,  to  whom  he  reaffirmed 
his  confidence  in  an  immortal  life  in  heaven  and  among 
the  stars,  he  quietly  passed  away,  in  the  twentieth  month 
of  his  reign  and  the  thirty-second  year  of  his  age.  With 
him  disappeared  the  last  expiring  gleams  of  that  imperial 
splendor  which,  checked  in  its  decline  by  the  second  Clau- 
dius, and  revived  by  his  immediate  successors,  had  been 
again  steadily  diminishing  since  the  reign  of  Diocletian. 
Paganism  had  fought  its  last  battle;  the  final  triumph  of 
Christianity,  as  a  State  religion,  had  come  at  last;  and  the 
disjointed  evidences  of  a  past  imperial  grandeur  were  soon 
to  disappear  forever  beneath  the  great  waves  of  barbaric 
invasion,  already  rolling  up  against  the  horizon. 

The  dying  Emperor  had  expressed  the  wish  to  be  buried 
in  a  city  where  the  old  gods  still  reigned  supreme ;  and  in 
the  city  of  Tarsus,  far  from  the  sepulchre  of  his  two  Chris- 
tian predecessors,  the  body  of  Rome's  last  pagan  Emperor 
was  tenderly  laid  at  rest  by  his  fiiend  Procopius.  It  was 
declared  by  a  Christian  Bishop  of  the  day  that  "the  earth 
shuddered  at  contact  with  the  Apostate's  body,  and  cast 
out  the  sacrilegious  dust";  while  Procopius  engraved  this 
epitaph  upon  his  tomb:  "Here  lies  Julian,  killed  beyond 
the  Tigris,  a  good  Emperor,  a  brave  soldier" — in  which 
simple  eulogium  at  least  all  fair-minded  men  must  concur.^ 

^  The  Emperor  Julian  was  a  prolific  writer.  Many  of  his  works  are  lost — 
destroyed  it  is  supposed  by  the  Christians — including  his  History  of  the 
Gallic  War  and  the  Refutation  of  the  Gospels,  But  in  his  satirical  drama  of 
The  Ccesars — which  Gibbon  pronounces  one  of  the  most  agreeable  and 
instructive  productions  of  ancient  wit — and  in  some  of  his  Letters  and 
Orations,  we  find  evidences  of  more  than  ordinary  Hteraiy  taste  and 

[  843  ] 



FlOM  JOTIAN  TO  RoKULCm  AUGUflTVLCB :  86S-476  A.D. 

JOVLA.N:  86a-^864  a.  d.  The  death  of  Julian,  which  was 
hailed  with  extravagant  joy  by  the  Christians,  was  the 
signal  of  disasters  to  the  anny  in  the  East,  which  soon 
found  itself  in  sore  straits.  On  the  day  after  the  Emptor  s 
death  a  grave  council  was  held  in  the  camp.  The  friends 
of  Procopius,  the  general  in  command  of  the  northern  con- 
tingent of  the  imperial  army,  who  was  believed  to  have 
been  Julian's  choice  as  his  successor,  urged  that  the  selec- 
tion of  a  leader  should  be  postponed  until  the  two  forces 
were  united.  The  proposal  was,  however,  rejected  by  the 
majority,  and  the  purple  first  tendered  to  Sallust,  the  prse- 
torian  prefect,  who  declined  the  honor  on  the  score  of 
advanced  age.  The  choice  then  fell  upcm  the  chief  officer 
of  the  guards,  a  young  man  named  Jovian,  who  was  ex- 
tremely popular  in  the  ranks,  from  which,  under  the  in- 
fluence of  his  frither,  who  was  an  officer  of  the  imperial 
household,  he  had  risen  to  the  highest  grades  without 
losing  the  democratic  qualities  which  had  endeared  him 
to  his  humbler  associates.  Like  all  of  his  predecessors  since 
the  second  Claudius,  Jovian  was  a  native  of  Pannonia,  and 
although  deficient  in  character  as  well  as  talent,  to  none 
more  than  the  Christians  was  h^  persona  grata  as  candi- 
date  for  the  purple — doubtiess  because  of  the  significant 
fact  that  immediately  after  his  election  he  madeapubUe 
confession  of  Christiamty. 

The  imperial  convert,  however,  had  no  scruples  against 
obeying  the  voice  of  superstition  when  in  the  entrails  of 

[  844  ] 


O     M 



the  sacrifice  the  priests  of  the  army  discovered  that  the 
gods  counselled  an  immediate  retreat  from  Persia;  and  in 
the  greatest  disorder  the  army  prepared  to  recross  the 
Tigris.  But  at  a  critical  moment  Sapor,  informed  by  a  de- 
serter of  the  disorganization  which  followed  Juhan's  death, 
appeared  upon  the  scene  with  an  "offer  of  peace" — which 
was  practically  a  demand  for  the  capitulation  of  the  Roman 
army.  A  leader  of  ordinary  courage  and  ability  might  safely 
have  scorned  such  an  overture,  but  the  cowardly  and  plea- 
sure-seeking Jovian,  whoise  only  desire  was  to  reach  Con- 
stantinople and  there  indulge  his  profligate  propensities, 
did  not  hesitate  to  accept  the  shameful  conditions  im- 
posed. As  a  result  Rome  lost  all  the  advantages  gained  by 
Diocletian  in  his  memorable  campaign  in  297»  including 
the  five  provinces  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Tigris  and  ulti- 
mately the  Armenian  alliance,  that  kingdom  being  speedily 
overthrown  by  the  triumphant  PersiijOxs^  Thus  the  limits 
of  the  Empire  began  to  contrjict^ii^',  g$  in  the  case  of 
Aurelian's  abandonment  of  Dacia,  fird&V  ki  deliberate  act 
of  policy,  but  because  of  tbb^iiQid  and  utiiiecessary  con- 
cession of  a  weak  and  incom^tent»^y,  who  caried  more  for 
a  good  dinner  than  for  the  glory^^cf^d^lbty  of  an  Empire. 
Early  in  October  Jovian  reenteite4».  ^^tjOch  with  the 
disheartened  and  humbled  fi'agments  of^  the  great  army 
which  had  marched  out  so  vaingloriously  a  few  short 
months  before.  Unable  to  endure  the  reproaches  and  sar- 
casm of  the  inhabitants,  he  hastily  resumed  his  march,  and 
passing  through  Cappadocia  about  the  middle  of  Febru- 
ary began  to  approach  his  imperial  city  on  the  Bosphorus, 
for  whose  pleasures  and  excitements  his  profligate  soul 
had  so  yearned,  but  which  he  was  destined  never  to  en- 
joy. Arriving  one  night  at  a  little  village  in  Bithjniia,  he 
indulged  so  freely  in  his  favorite  vice  of  gluttony  that  be- 

[  845  ] 


fore  morning  dawned  his  feeble  and  melancholy  reign  had 
ended.  As  one  historian  laconically  observes,  *'He  was  a 
Christian,  overate  himself,  and  died." 

Proclaimed  on  the  twenty-seventh  of  Jmie,  his  death 
occurred  on  the  sixteenth  of  February  following.  At  Ti- 
gris he  had  redeemed  one  day  by  a  pilgrimage  to  Julian's 
tomb,  for  which  he  ordered  some  decorations;  so  that  it  is 
not  an  extravagant  summing-up  of  his  character  as  Em- 
peror to  say  that  he  had  reigned  just  seven  months  and 
eighteen  days  too  long. 

Vajlentini AN  I  AND  Vauens  :  864-878  a.  d.  After  the 
death  of  Jovian  the  army  marched  to  Nicsea,  where  the 
question  of  a  successor  was  debated.  The  aged  Sallust 
again  declined  the  honor  of  an  election,  and  it  was  only 
after  the  discussion  had  been  prolonged  ten  days  that  an 
agreement  was  reached  in  the  selection  of  Valentinian,  the 
tribune  of  the  second  company  of  the  imperial  guards. 
The  new  Emperor  was  in  his  forty-third  year,  a  bold  and 
skilful  soldier  and  in  high  credit  with  the  Christians— it 
having  been  related  of  him  that  during  the  reign  of  Julian 
he  had  openly  declared  his  contempt  for  the  ancient  religion 
and  refused,  under  threat  of  exile,  to  sacrifice  to  the  old  gods. 

Valentinian  was  bom  in  Pannonia,  that  perpetual  battle- 
ground of  the  Empire  which  had  produced  so  mfinj  of  his 
warlike  predecessors — unlike  most  of  whom,  however,  the 
successor  of  Jovian  had  acquired  some  education  in  letters 
while  mastering  the  art  of  war.  A  stem  lover  of  discipline, 
his  irascible  temper  frequently  led  him  to  impose  the  se- 
verest penalties  for  trifling  negligences ;  and  his  harshness 
in  this  respect  soon  degenerated  into  absolute  cruelty.  Thus 
a  boy,  who,  having  been  bitten  by  a  hunting  dog  of  which 
he  was  in  charge,  idlowed  the  animal  to  escape,  was  whipped 

[  846  ] 


to  death ;  a  circus  charioteer  guilty  of  a  slight  breach  of  the 
rules  perished  at  the  stake;  a  provincial  governor  having 
ventured  to  request  an  exchange  in  the  line  of  prefennent, 
Valentinian  brutally  ordered  that  "his  head  be  changed 
instead."  And  it  is  related  under  what  must  be  considered 
sufficient  corroboration,  that  in  a  cage  near  his  bed-chamber 
the  Emperor  kept  two  bears  which  were  fed  upon  the  liv- 
ing bodies  of  condemned  criminals ;  one  of  these  grim  exe- 
cutioners named  "  Innocence,"  ^  as  a  reward  for  her  services, 
being  at  last  set  free  and  allowed  to  range  the  forests  under 
an  hnperial  decree  of  protection. 

In  view  of  the  tales  of  imperial  cruelty  and  murder  with 
which  the  histories  of  his  reign  fairly  bristle,  posterity  is 
compelled  to  withhold  much  of  that  profound  respect 
which  the  religious  policy  of  Valentinian  commands.  Con- 
stantine  and  Jovian,  the  great  jphampions  of  Christianity 
and  paganism,  had  each  declare4r  in  favor  of  toleration. 
But  Constantine,  nominally  unbi&isftd}  ^as  by  turns  severe 
and  gracious  to  pagans  and  Christians,  as  policy  demanded ; 
while  Julian,  intensely  pagan,  ..was  not  broad  enough  to 
establish  and  maintain  an  absolutely  equal  bill  of  rights 
for  both  parties.  It  remained  for  "the  bloodthirsty  Valen- 
tinian" to  both  decree  and  compel  the  actual  observance 
of  a  genuine  religious  liberty.  Pagan  and  Christian  were 
alike  protected  in  their  religious  rights  and  observances, 
the  scales  being  so  evenly  held  that  neither  party  might 
fairly  claim  imperial  partiality.  And  this  Emperor,  who 
delighted  in  the  spectacle  of  living  criminals  torn  to  pieces 
by  a  caged  bear,  seems  actually  to  have  based  his  religious 
policy  upon  the  broad  foundations  which  had  been  outlined 
in  the  remarkable  defence  of  toleration  which  had  been 
addressed  to  Jovian  by  the  orator  Themistius :  "  Gk)d,  who 

^  The  name  of  the  other  was  ^'Golden  Camel" ! 



has  put  the  rehgious  sentiment  m  the  hearts  of  men,  is 
wiUing  to  be  worshipped  in  the  way  which  each  man  pre- 
fers. The  right  of  going  to  him  as  a  man  pleases,  cannot 
be  destroyed  by  confiscations,  tortures,  or  death.  From  the 
lacerated  body  the  soul  escapes  and  carries  with  it  a  finee 

The  death  of  Julian  had  been  the  signal  for  war  through- 
out the  whole  Roman  world,  and  within  a  year  following 
the  assaults  upon  the  Empire  had  become  so  terrible  that, 
as  Marcellii^us  observes,  *4t  seemed  as  if  the  Furies  were 
throwing  everjrthing  into  conftision.**  In  October,  865,  the 
necessity  of  a  vigorous  defence  of  his  frontiers  called  the 
Emperor  from  Milan  to  Gaul,  where  he  was  fated  to  pass 
the  ensuing  ten  years,  sword  in  hand.  At  the  end  of  that 
time,  having  secured  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine  by  a  chain 
of  strong  fortifications,  he  determined  to  establish  a  similar 
Ime  of  defence  along  the  Danube.  To  prepare  the  way  for 
this  work,  Valentinian  crossed  the  river  and  engaged  in  an 
expedition  against  one  of  the  border  nations,  in  the  course 
of  which  he  destroyed  many  villages,  all  of  whose  inhabi- 
tants— men,  women,  and  children — were  put  to  the  sword. 
But  in  the  very  passions  which  prompted  this  merciless 
extermination,  the  murdered  Quadi  speedily  found  an 
avenger.  During  his  interview  with  a  delegation  which 
came  begging  for  peace,  Valentinian  gave  way  to  such  a 
violent  fit  of  rage  that  he  ruptured  a  blood-vessel  and  ex- 
pired within  a  few  hours.  He  was  in  his  fifty-fifth  year,  and 
had  nearly  completed  the  twelfth  of  his  reign. 

Valentinian  was  twice  married.  Five  yeaxs  after  he  be- 
came  Emperor  he  repudiated  his  first  wife,  Valeria  Severa, 
in  order  to  marry  the  Arian  Justina.  Both  Empresses  sur- 
vived him,  and  each  of  their  respective  sons,  Gratian  and 
Valentinian,  lived  to  wear  the  purple. 

[  848  ] 


At  the  time  of  his  election  Valentinian  had  been  urged 
to  associate  some  fitting  person  with  himself  in  the  de- 
fence of  the  Empire.  The  spokesman  of  the  army  had  sig- 
nificantly remarked,  "O  Excellent  Emperor,  if  you  love 
your  kindred,  you  have  a  brother;  if  you  love  the  State, 
then  seek  the  fittest  man."  The  Emperor  gravely  promised 
to  reflect,  but  almost  immediately  proclaimed  his  brother 
Gratian  Augustus,  with  authority  over  the  Eastern  prov- 
inces. Three  months  later  the  brothers  separated  forever; 
Valentinian  remaining  at  Milan,  Valens  proceeding  to 
Constantinople.  This  proved  to  be  the  final  and  irrevocable 
division  of  the  Empire,  thereafter  united  only  during  the 
brief  interval  (following  the  death  of  Valentinian  II)  in 
which  Theodosius,  the  Emperor  of  the  East,  remained  at 
Milan.  The  death  of  the  latter  has,  however,  been  so  gen- 
erally regarded  as  the  period  when  the  Empire  actually 
split  in  two,  that  both  Theodosius  and  his  predecessor  may 
not  improperly  be  counted  among  the  Emperors  of  the 

Valens  was  six  years  yoimger  than  his  brother,  whom 
he  seems  to  have  resembled  ^ojily  in  the  cruelty  of  his  dis- 
position. Small  in  stature,  ilej^lsiye  in  coimtenance,  rude, 
indolent,  avaricious,  and  of  a  coWaidl)r  natiu*e,  it  is  a  mat- 
ter for  wonder  that  neitiie^  of  the  rebellions  against  him 
was  successftd.  Procerus— the  friend  end  trusted  lieuten- 
ant of  Julian — did  make  some  headway  in  his  resistance, 
and  for  a  time  actually  pretenddd  tp  exercise  imperial  func- 
tions ;  but  in  the  end  his  generals  deserted  and  traitorously 
surrendered  their  leader  to  the  vindictive  young  t3rrant,  by 
whom  he  was  put  to  death  and  his  head  despatched  to 
Valentinian,  as  a  gory  emblem  of  his  brother's  triumph. 
All  of  the  fiiends  of  Procopius  also  suffered  a  cruel  death 
at  the  Emperor's  hands.  Theodorus,  another  competitor, 

[  849  ] 


met  a  similar  fate,  while  a  great  nmnber  of  the  honorati 
perished  in  "a  promiscuous  execution  of  the  innocent  and 
the  guilty,"  to  which  Valens  was  prompted  as  well  by  rage 
as  by  his  anxious  suspicions.  His  reign  was  a  time  of 
brutality  'and  bloodshed,  but  he  "was  a  Christian,"  which 
presumably  reconciled  the  people  to  all  the  rest 

In  the  year  876  the  great  Gothic  nation  which  ruled  the 
north  country  from  the  Don  to  Transylvania  found  itself 
hard  pressed  by  a  new  and  savage  people  called  Huns^; 
and  after  one  great  division  of  the  Goths  had  been  over- 
come,^ the  other  despairingly  appealed  to  Valens  for  leave 
to  cross  the  Danube  and  settle  in  the  waste  lands  of  Thrace. 
The  Emperor  weakly  consented,  and  in  a  short  time  be- 
tween one  and  two  himdred  thousand  fighting  men  with 
their  wives  and  children — perhaps  a  million  souls  in  all — 
had  crossed  the  frontiers  and  established  themselves  in  the 
Roman  provinces.  The  result  was  precisely  what  might  have 
been  foreseen.  Disputes  arose  between  the  fair-haired,  blue- 
eyed  warriors  of  the  north  and  the  swarthy  inhabitants 
who  found  themselves  gradually  pushed  backwards  by  the 
hungry  newcomers.  Soon  a  battle  was  fought  in  which  the 
Romans  were  badly  beaten ;  whereupon  the  greedy  barba- 
rians, tempted  by  the  prospect  of  rich  booty,  quickly  over- 
ran the  entire  country  which  is  now  Turkey  in  Europe. 

Despatching  an  urgent  appeal  for  aid  to  his  nephew 
Gratian,  who  had  succeeded  Valentinian,  Valens  assem- 
bled an  army  and  set  out  for  Adrianople,  which  the  Gk>ths 
were  menacing.  Gratian  sent  word  that  he  was  tempora- 

^  The  Huns  were  a  nomad  people  of  Asia,  and  belonged  to  the  great 
Mongolian  race. 

'  The  Gothic  nation  was  divided  into  the  Ostrogoths,  or  ''Steppe  Dwell- 
ers," in  the  east,  and  the  Visigoths,  or  ''Dwellers  in  the  Woods,"  on  the 
west  The  former  bore  the  brunt  of  the  Hun  invasion  from  the  northeast. 

[  850  ] 


rily  detained  by  illness  at  Sirmium  and  begged  Valens  to 
await  his  arrival,  when  by  their  combined  forces  the  bar- 
barians might  be  completely  destroyed.  Ambitious  to  se- 
cure all  the  glory,  Valens  foolishly  resolved  to  proceed 
alone  and  force  a  battle  at  once.  On  the  ninth  of  August 
he  attacked  the  Goths  about  twelve  miles  from  Adrian- 
ople,  and  after  a  series  of  misfortunes  on  the  part  of  the 
imperial  forces,  the  latter  were  utterly  routed.  In  actual 
losses  incurred,  as  well  as  in  the  fatal  consequences,  the 
defeat  was  the  most  disastrous  which  had  befallen  any 
Roman  army  since  Hamiibal  won  the  battle  of  Cami«  in 
the  Second  Punic  War.^  Almost  all  of  its  generals,  thirty- 
six  tribunes,  and  two-thirds  of  the  Roman  army«  are  said 
to  have  perished.  Valens,  woimded  by  an  arrow  while  at- 
tempting to  escape,  took  refuge  in  a  neighboring  cottage. 
A  band  of  the  enemy  speedily  attacked  the  building, 
and  repulsed  by  a  few  archers  who  had  accompanied  the 
wounded  Emperor,  set  fire  to  the  structiure,  all  of  whose 
inmates  perished  in  the  flames.  Valens  was  forty-eight 
years  old  and  had  reigned  fourteen  years. 

Gratian — Maximus — Valentinian  II :  878-892  a.  d. 
In  the  year  867  the  Emperor  Valentinian,  during  a  severe 
illness,  had  conferred  upon  Gratian,  the  son  of  his  first 
wife,  Severa,  the  title  of  Augustus.^  Gratian  was  then  only 
eight  years  of  age ;  so  that  upon  his  father's  death  the  piur- 

^  August  2,  2l6  B.  c. 

>  Valens  had  from  eighty  to  ninety  thousand  effective  men. 

'  Julian  was  the  last  '^Caesar."  This  name,  the  hereditary  cognomen  of 

the  Gens  Julia,  originally  belonged  to  all  related  on  the  father's  side 

of  that  house.  From  the  time  that  Verus,  the  adopted  son  of  Hadrian, 

assumed  the  name,  it  designated  the  heir-apparent,  but  conferred  no 

special  authority.  The  Caesars  of  Diocletian,  heirs  of  the  Augusti,  were 

invested  with  extensive  authority;  each  had  his  capital  city^  his  army, 

[851  ] 


pie  descended  to  a  lad  of  fourteen.  The  army,  however, 
insisted  that  the  title  of  Augustus  should  be  given  also  to 
Gratian's  half-brother,  Valentinian,  a  boy  of  five,  to  whom 
were  assigned  the  provinces  of  Illjrria,  Italy,  and  Africa, 
as  his  share  of  the  Empire.  Strangely  enough,  neither  jeal- 
ousy nor  rivalry  seems  to  have  been  at  any  time  mani- 
fested by  either  the  boy  Emperors  or  their  mothers.  Al- 
though not  consulted  in  the  division  of  his  Empire,  Gratian 
and  his  friends  accepted  the  result  with  complacency,  the 
former  quietly  proceeding  to  Lutetia  (Paris),  where  he 
fixed  his  headquarters,  leaving  Valentinian  and  his  mother, 
the  Empress  Justina,  at  Milan. 

Gratian  was  of  a  mild  ai^l  kindly  disposition,  but  with- 
out any  strength  of  character  and  utterly  wanting  in  tact. 
He  soon  lost  the  affection  with  which  he  had  first  been 
received  by  his  subjects,  who  became  more  than  ever  es- 
tranged when  the  young  man  surrounded  himself  with 
barbarians,  whose  customs  and  dress  he  even  adopted. 
During  the  eight  years  of  his  reign  this  son  of  the  vigor- 
ous and  warlike  Valentinian  seems  to  have  devoted  him- 
self almost  entirely  to  boyish  trifling  and  hunting;  and  by 
this  inattention  to  even  the  artificial  duties  of  sovereignty, 
he  himself  prepared  the  way  for  a  successfrd  revolution. 
In  the  year  888  his  subjects  in  Britain  rebelled  and  pro- 
claimed an  ambitious  young  Spaniard  named  Maximus, 
who  forthwith  gathered  together  such  an  immense  army 
that  its  departure  was  long  remembered  as  ''the  emigra- 

and  his  treasuiy,  and  exercised  executive,  judicial,  and  military  functions. 
Under  Constantine  the  Caesars  were  bojs  designated  for  the  imperial 
station;  under  Constantius  they  were  lieutenants  with  very  limited  au- 
thority; after  Julian  the  title  and  position  ceased  to  exist.  Duruy,  Hui, 
Rome,  Vol.  viii  page  76,  note.  Gibbon,  however,  asserts  that  Valentinian 
III  ''was  promoted  to  the  rank  and  dignity  of  Caesar"  by  Theodosius  II, 
Emperor  of  the  East. 

[  852  ] 



tion  of  a  considerable  part  of  the  British  nation."  Gratian 
made  some  feeble  show  of  defence,  but  upon  the  approach 
of  Maximus  the  Gallic  legions  deserted  en  masse  and  the 
usurper  entered  Paris  unopposed.  Gratian  fled  to  Lyons, 
whence  he  might  easily  have  escaped  to  the  East ;  but  he 
foolishly  allowed  the  governor  to  detain  hhn  with  prom- 
ises  of  approaching  succor  until  the  arrival  of  Maximus's 
cavalry,  the  commander  of  which  immediately  put  him  to 
death.  Gratian  had  reigned  eight  years  and  was  twenty- 
four  years  of  age.  His  one  service  to  the  State  had  been 
his  appointment  of  Theodosius  to  the  Eastern  Empire, 
after  the  death  of  his  uncle  Valens  in  878. 

The  marriage  of  Gratian  at  an  early  age  to  Flavia  Con- 
stantia,  daughter  of  the  Emperor  Constantius  II,  had 
awakened  great  hopes  that  the  noble  Flavian  line  might 
be  reestablished.  But  no  children  were  bom  to  Constantia, 
who  did  not  survive  her  husband.  She  is  believed  to  have 
been  the  St.  Constantia  of  the  ^Gl^areh; .  whose  sarcopha- 
gus,  obtained  from  the  Church  of  Sat^  Constantia  fiiori 
le  mura,  may  still  be  seen  in'tlfe  Vatidfe,-  ^  ; 

The  conqueror  of  Gratian  .w4&^f(  Spanieb^by  birth,  who, 
although  apparently  a  man  of«  both*  ability  a)ad  integrity, 
had  achieved  no  high  position;  eith^  civil. -or  military, 
prior  to  his  investiture  by  the  artay.^Tlvere  is  reason  to 
believe  that  the  purple  was  forced  upoh  him  against  his 
wishes.  In  an  embassy  to  Theodosius — the  recognized 
head  of  the  State,  Valentinian  II  being  a  weak  boy 
of  thirteen,  in  leading-strings  to  his  mother — Maximus 
denied  responsibility  for  Gratian's  death,  which  he  af- 
fected to  deplore;  and  proposed  that  the  division  of  the 
Western  Empire  which  had  been  established  between 
Valentinian  II  and  Gratian  should  be  continued  imder  the 
former  and  himself  as  the  latter's  successor.  Theodosius, 

[  858  ] 


exhausted  by  his  struggle  with  the  Goths,  and  thus  forced 
to  dissemble  his  resentment,  agreed  to  these  proposals  and 
Maximus  permanently  established  himself  in  GauL  Here 
he  might  have  ended  his  days  in  peace  had  he  been  able 
to  resist  that  ^'lust  for  greater  and  greater  power''  which 
so  commonly  follows  its  first  taste.  At  the  end  of  four 
years,  under  cover  of  despatching  auxiliaries  to  aid  Valen- 
tinian  in  a  Pannonian  war,  Maximus  seized  the  fortresses 
of  the  Alps  and  unexpectedly  appeared  before  Milan,  the 
boy  Emperor  and  his  mother  barely  escaping  before  the 
invaders  entered  the  city. 

The  Empress  Justina,  who  was  a  woman  of  spirit,  has- 
tened to  Constantinople  to  beg  aid  fix>m  Theodosius.  She 
had  a  powerfiil  advocate  in  her  beautiful  daughter  GaUa, 
of  whom  the  Emperor  of  the  East  soon  became  so  enam- 
ored that  he  requested  only  the  favor  of  an  immediate 
marriage,  before  setting  out  to  avenge  the  family  of  his 
benefactor.  The  wedding  was  accordingly  celebrated,  and 
Theodosius  prepared  with  equal  promptitude  to  fulfil  his 
promise.  Assembling  a  great  host  of  Goths,  Huns,  and  other 
barbarian  mercenaries,  as  auxiliary  to  his  regular  troops,  he 
set  out  for  Italy  in  May,  888,  and  three  months  later,  after 
winning  two  decisive  battles  fix>m  Maximus,  crossed  the 
Julian  Alps  and  drove  the  usurper  into  Aquileia,  whence 
he  was  speedily  deUvered  up  to  the  conqueror  and  by  the 
latter  beheaded.  His  young  son  was  also  put  to  death, 
while  his  mother  and  daughters  were  condemned  to  exile. 
Maximus  had  ruled  five  years.  His  reign  is  memorable  as 
that  of  the  first  Christian  ruler  who  shed  heretical  blood, 
under  due  process  of  law. 

After  the  overthrow  of  Maximus,  Theodosius  reseated 
the  yoimg  Emperor  upon  the  throne  of  Milan,  adding  to 
his  original  domain  all  of  the  Western  provinces  which  had 

[  854  ]* 


been  held  by  Maximus.  The  Emperor  of  the  East,  how- 
ever, himself  remained  three  years  in  Italy,  bending  all  his 
energies  to  the  restoration  of  public  order  and  a  reforma- 
tion of  the  abuses  which  had  grown  up  since  the  death  of 
Valentinian  I,  although  the  name  of  the  boy  Emperor  was 
invariably  written  in  the  pubUc  acts.  The  Empress  Justma 
had  died  shortly  after  the  restoration;  and  upon  his  final 
departure  for  Constantinople  Theodosius  selected  a  brave 
Frank  named  Arbogastes  to  act  as  guide  and  proctor  for 
Valentinian,  then  seventeen  years  old.  The  latter  is  repre- 
sented as  a  most  amiable  and  engaging  youth,  virtuous, 
temperate,  and  industrious.  But  like  his  elder  brother  he 
had  no  stability  of  character,  and  the  ambitious  and  strong- 
willed  Frank  easily  and  quickly  made  himself  supreme  in 
the  State.  Boy  that  he  was,  the  Emperor  seems  to  have 
realized  the  situation,  and  egged  on  by  his  courtiers,  who 
were  restive  under  the  imchecked  power  of  a  barbarian, 
Valentinian  one  day  handed  a  rescript  to  Arbogastes  de- 
priving him  of  his  office.  The  proud  Frank  coolly  tore  the 
paper  to  fragments  with  the  remark,  "My  authority  does 
not  depend  on  the  smile  or  frown  of  a  monarch."  The 
young  Emperor  angrily  reached  for  a  sword,  but  the  guards 
interposed  and  Arbogastes  contemptuously  left  the  room. 
A  few  days  later  the  body  of  Valentinian  was  found  hang- 
ing from  a  tree;  and  although  the  fact  was  strenuously 
denied  by  Arbogastes,  there  seems  little  doubt  that  the 
Emperor  was  murdered  at  the  instigation  of  his  minister. 
Valentinian  had  just  become  twenty-one  and  had  reigned 
sixteen  years. 

Theodosius:  892-895  a. d.  The  Emperor  Theodosius 
was  the  son  of  a  skilful  general  of  the  same  name,,  who 
had  been  one  of  the  most  usefrd  Ueutenants  of  the  first 

[  855  ] 





5ntinian.  The  son  himself  rendered  valuable  services  to 
same  Emperor,  from  whom  he  in  return  received  sub- 
itial  favors ;  and  to  the  latter's  son  Gratian  he  owed  his 
elevation  to  the  throne  of  Constantinople  after  the  over- 
throw of  Valens.  To  his  credit  be  it  said  he  never  Mled  in 
loyalty  to  the  family  which  had  established  his  fortunes; 
and  this  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  the  elder  Theodo- 
sius  lost  his  life  through  the  unjust  anger  of  Gratian's 
mother,  after  her  return  to  power  following  the  death  of 
Valentinian,  who  had  previously  divorced  her. 

Theodosius  was  thirty-two  years  of  age  when  appointed 
to  the  Western  Empire,  and  from  that  time  on  his  life 
was  for  the  most  part  intensely  active,  and  in  his  military 
efforts  at  least  crowned  with  invariable  success.  The  last 
Roman  Emperor  to  whom  any  measure  of  greatness  may 
with  certainty^  be  accorded,  his  character  was  a  singular 
blending  of  cruelty  and  kindness,  passion  and  benevolence, 
Uberality  and  narrowness.  The  massacre  in  Thessalonica 
was  scarcely  exceeded  in  brutal  cruelty  by  that  of  the 
Alexandrians  under  Caracalla.  The  Emperor  was  himself 
painfully  conscious  of  his  passionate  temper,  to  which 
rather  than  any  innate  vicious  tendencies  his  occasional 
cruelties  are  pi^perly  asmbed.  Apart  from  these,  his  im- 
placable  hatred  of  "heretics"  and  his  intolerance  of  expir- 
ing paganism,  Theodosius  seems  to  have  merited  much  of 
the  extravagant  praises  of  the  "Panegyrics."  A  good  hus- 
band and  father,  a  good  friend,  and  on  the  whole  a  good 
ruler,  it  may  be  conceded  that  he  really  aimed  to  be  "a 
faithful  guardian  of  the  happiness  and  dignity  of  the  Ro- 
man people."  The  author  of  the  "Decline  and  Fall"  de- 
clares that  Theodosius  has  deserved  the  singular  commen- 
dation "that  his  virtues  always  seemed  to  expand  with  his 

^  See  Miyarian,  poH,  page  870. 

[  856  ] 



fortune ;  the  season  of  his  prosperity  was  that  of  his  mod- 
eration ;  and  his  clemency  appeared  the  most  conspicuous 
after  the  danger  and  success  of  a  civil  war."  In  such  an 
eulogy  are  many  of  the  elements  of  true  greatness. 

During  the  first  year  of  his  reign  Theodosius  was  over- 
taken by  a  serious  illness,  and  in  the  expectation  of  death 
he  accepted  baptism  in  the  Orthodox  Church.  His  recov- 
ery to  health  was  signalized  by  some  particularly  intolerant 
decrees  against  heretics — one  of  his  laws  even  declaring 
that  ''whoever  by  ignorance  or  negligence  offends  against 
the  divine  law  commits  sacrilege";  with  the  penalty  of 
death  at  the  stake,  in  the  arena,  or  on  the  cross.  But  tiiese 
edicts  were  as  nothing  compared  with  his  rescripts  against 
the  pagans.  Under  successive  decrees,  the  privileges  of  the 
priests  were  abolished,  the  instruments  of  idolatry  were 
seized  and  destroyed,  the  temples  were  closed,  and  the 
consecrated  property  was  confiscated  for  the  benefit  of  the 
State  or  the  Church  or  the  army?  )vhile  the  sacred  edifices 
themselves,  although  not  efiiciallj^condemned  to  destruc- 
tion, gradually  disappeared  under  the  ^eal  of  the  Christian 
reformers  and  the  fiiry  of  *  the  monks,  which  the  Emperor 
did  nothing  to  check.^  And  as  a  Iiist  and  final  blow  to  the 
ancient  rehgion,  the  use  of  sacrifices  and  the  practice  of 
divination  by  the  entrails  of  the  victim  were  declared  to 
be  both  infamous  and  a  crime  against  the  State,  pun- 
ishable by  death.  Under  this  master  stroke,  superstition, 
wounded  in  its  most  vital  part,  succumbed  so  rapidly  that, 
as  we  are  told,  "only  twenty-eight  years  aft«r  the  death 
of  Theodosius  the  faint  and  minute  vestiges  of  paganism 
were  no  longer  visible  to  the  eye  of  the  legislator."  This 
absolute  destruction  of  the  pagan  religion  (said  to  be  the 

^  In  this  blind  fanaticism  many  priceless  works  of  art  and  literature  were 
lost  to  the  world  forever. 

[  857  ] 


only  instance  of  the  total  extirpation  of  any  ancient  and 
popular  superstition)  was  the  most  memorable  event  in 
the  life  of  Theodosius. 

After  the  death  of  the  second  Valentinian,^  Arbogastes, 
who  had  vainly  endeavored  to  convince  the  world  that  his 
imperial  master  had  committed  suicide,  deemed  it  prudent 
to  perpetuate  his  power  under  cover  of  another  name,  and 
accordingly  designated  for  the  purple  his  former  private 
secretary  Eugenius.  The  latter  was  a  man  of  obscure  origin, 
who  had  at  one  time  been  a  teacher  of  rhetoric ;  evidently 
endowed  with  both  ability  and  character  and  possessed  of 
enough  common  sense  to  accept  his  unexpected  honors 
with  extreme  reluctance.  The  army  interposed  no  objec- 
tion to  the  wishes  of  Arbogastes,  but  the  Emperor  Theo- 
dosius refiised  to  accept  Eugenius  as  a  colleague  (incited 
perhaps  by  GaUa,  who  implored  him  to  again  ^  avenge  a 
murdered  brother)  and  prepared  for  another  expedition  to 
Italy.  Arbogastes  was,  however,  recognized  as  a  formidable 
adversary,  and  it  was  quite  two  years  before  Theodosius 
succeeded  in  organizing  an  army  with  which  he  felt  will- 
ing to  hazard  his  fortunes.  Arbogastes  had  not  been  idle 
in  the  meantime,  and  when  the  opposing  forces  finally 
came  together  near  Aquileia  in  September,  895,  the  re- 
sult of  the  first  day's  combat  was  so  doubtful  that  the 
generals  of  Theodosius  urged  him  to  retire.  The  Emperor 
stubbornly  refiised,  and  on  the  following  day,  after  a  most 
desperate  struggle,  achieved  a  complete  victory.  As  in  the 
case  of  Maximus,^  the  usurper  Eugenius  was  delivered  up 
to  Theodosius  by  his  own  soldiers,  and  while  in  the  very 
act  of  begging  forgiveness  upon  bended  knees  his  head 

^  Ante,  page  S55. 

*  The  murderer  of  her  brother,  Gratian,  had  been  overthrown  by  Theo- 
dosius at  her  instigation.  Ante,  page  354.     *  Ante,  page  354. 

[  858  ] 


was  stricken  off  by  order  of  the  conqueror.  Two  days  later 
Arbogastes,  a  fugitive  in  the  mountains,  committed  sui- 
cide. His  pretence  of  power  had  lasted  two  years.  The 
Emperor  himself  survived  his  victory  scarcely  five  months. 
He  died  at  Milan  in  January,  895,  having  lived  forty-nine 
years  and  reigned  sixteen.  His  death  marked  the  final  sepa- 
ration of  the  Empire. 

Theodosius  was  twice  married.  By  his  first  wife,  Mha, 
Flaccilla,  he  had  two  sons,  Arcadius,  who  succeeded  him 
as  Emperor  of  the  East,  and  Honorius,  who  received  the 
Western  Empire.  His  second  wife,  Galla,  the  sister  of  the 
Emperor  Gratian  and  Valentinian  II,  died  in  childbed  leav- 
ing an  only  daughter,  Placidia,  who  lived  to  play  a  singular 
and  eventful  part  in  the  future  history  of  the  State. 

HoNOMUS :  895-428  a.  d.  The  younger  son  of  Theodo- 
sius was  only  ten  years  old  when  he  became  Emperor. 
His  authority,  under  what  promised  to  be  the  final  and 
permanent  division  of  the  Empire,  extended  over  Italy, 
Africa,  Spain,  Gaul,  Britain,  and  half  of  the  lUjnrian  prov- 
inces, the  remainder  fEdling  to  Arcadius,  then  eighteen  years 
of  age.  The  sons  of  Theodosius  were  accepted  eagerly  by 
their  respective  subjects  in  old  and  new  Rome»  and  there- 
after each  of  the  brothers  pursued  his  feeble  and  meaning- 
less course  without  in  the  slightest  concerning  himself 
about  the  other. 

Honorius  proved  in  every  respect  a  most  degenerate 
son  of  his  forceful  and  vigorous  father.  Ignorant,  efienu- 
nate,  utterly  devoid  of  ambition,  and  apparently  a  stranger 
even  to  every  s6rt  of  passion,  the  chief  amusement,  if  not 
actually  the  sole  occupation  of  his  life,  seems  to  have  been 
the  feeding  of  poultry.  With  the  death  of  Theodosius  the 
genius  of  Rome  may  indeed  be  said  to  have  perished. 

[  859  ] 


The  partiality  of  a  father  which  led  to  the  designation  of 
this  unworthy  successor  to  Theodosius  did  not  blind  that 
Emperor  to  the  necessity  of  providing  an  efficient  guar- 
dian to  direct  the  State  at  least  during  the  immaturity 
of  his  son ;  and  with  his  usual  penetration  he  selected  for 
that  purpose  a  brave  and  energetic  soldier  named  Stilicho, 
who  had  married  the  Emperor's  niece,  Serena,  their  only 
daughter,  Maria,  being  at  the  same  time  betrothed  to  Ho- 
norius.  The  marriage  occurred  when  the  boy  Emperor  at- 
tained the  age  of  fourteen,  Maria  being  two  or  three  years 
younger.  Ten  years  later  this  play-marriage  was  dissolved 
by  the  death  of  Maria,  and  about  the  same  time  Stilicho, 
who  had  consistently  devoted  his  great  energies  and  com- 
manding abilities  to  the  defence  of  the  Empire,  now  en- 
gaged in  a  death-grapple  with  its  countless  foes,  was  mur- 
dered through  the  jealous  spite  of  an  unscrupulous  minister 
of  Honorius.  Stilicho  was  perhaps  the  only  man  who  might 
have  prolonged  the  existence  of  the  State,  and  his  fall 
gave  the  signal  for  such  an  invasion  of  wild  races  that  the 
Roman  provinces  were  reduced  to  the  verge  of  ruin.  Upon 
news  of  his  death  Alaric  and  his  Goths,  who  had  been 
twice  defeated  and  finally  driven  out  of  Italy  by  the  in- 
trepid StiUcho,  came  rushing  back  across  the  Alps  and 
made  straight  for  Rome.  After  sustaining  three  separate 
sieges,  the  first  two  of  which  were  terminated  by  the  pay- 
ment of  a  heavy  tribute  to  the  invaders,  through  the 
treachery  of  some  slaves  who  opened  the  Salarian  gate  at 
midnight,  the  city  was  finally  taken  by  Alaric,  and  for  the 
first  time  in  eight  hundred  years  ^  a  foreign  army  entered 
the  proud  city  of  Romulus ;  which  was  speedily  given  up 
to  plunder  and  destruction  by  the  ruthless  conqueror.  It 
is  said  that  when  a  terror-stricken  courier  rushed  into  the 

^  Rome  was  burned  by  the  Gauls  in  the  year  390  B.a 

[  860  ] 












fc-  tD 




presence  of  the  Emperor  at  Ravenna  with  the  cry,  "It 
is  all  over  with  Romel"  Honorius  rejoined,  "Why,  how 
can  that  be  when  I  have  just  this  moment  fed  her?"  his 
thoughts  being  engrossed  with  a  pet  hen  which  he  had 
named  after  the  now  dethroned  mistress  of  the  world. 

Alaric  did  not  long  siurive  the  sack  of  Rome,  but  under 
his  half-brother  Adolphus,  who  succeeded  him,  the  Goths 
overran  Italy,  to  whose  sufferings  and  misery  Honorius 
remained  supremely  indifferent.  In  fact,  the  personahty  of 
the  Emperor  played  so  small  a  part  in  the  history  of  the 
eventfiil  twenty-eight  years  of  his  so-called  reign  that  there . 
remains  slight  cause  for  wonder  at  his  escape  from  a  vio- 
lent death  during  a  period  choked  with  such  terrible  deeds 
of  bloodshed ;  a  fSact  which  one  historian  nevertheless  pro- 
nounces "the  most  remarkable  occurrence  *  of  his  lifel" 
He  died  finally  of  dropsy  in  his  fortieth  year.  During  his 
reign  Britain  had  become  independent,  Spain  also  was  lost 
forever,  and  the  terrible  Goths  tcad  gidneda  foothold  in 
Italy  from  which  they  were  to  'Jie  dislodgj^nl  only  after 
Rome  itself  had  perished.         ^    ;  i  • 


John  :  428-425  a.  d.  During  the  reign  of  Honorius,  Ra- 
venna on  the  Adriatic  had  been  the  nominal  seat  of  the 
Western  Empire ;  and  from  that  city  messengers  were  at 
once  despatched  to  announce  the  Emperor  s  death  to  the 
Court  of  Constantinople,  which  was  expected  to  designate 
a  successor.  Italy  was  of  course  in  a  state  of  chaos  at 
the  time;  and  while  the  Eastern  Court  was  deliberating, 
the  late  Emperor's  confidential  secretary,  an  unscrupulous 
character  named  John,  found  no  difficulty  in  arrogating 
to  himself  the  pitiful  remnants  of  imperial  power.  Forti- 
fied by  the  acquiescence  of  the  Italians  and  a  promise  of 
support  from  the  Huns,  the  usurper  sent  an  embassy  to 

[  861  ] 


named  as  the  last  of  the  Romans."  An  enduring  alliance 
between  the  three  might  have  accomplished  much  for  the 
State.  But  Placidia,  who  was  weak  and  incompetent,  could 
not  control  her  lieutenants,  whose  mutual  jealousies  soon 
led  to  a  personal  encounter  in  which  Boni&ce  was  killed. 
Aetius  was  exiled  for  the  offence,  but  within  a  few  years 
was  recalled  to  defend  a  threatened  invasion  by  the  Huns, 
under  the  terrible  Attila;  and  fix)m  that  time  until  his 
death  he  was  the  actual  master  of  what  remained  of  the 
Western  Empire. 

A  historian  of  the  time  declares  that  AStius  was  bom 
to  be  the  salvation  of  the  Roman  Republic.  He  was  cer- 
tainly a  man  of  remarkable  vigor  and  ability,  and  during 
the  entire  seventeen  years  of  his  virtual  reign  substan- 
tially protected  Italy  and  Gaul  fix>m  the  barbarians.  About 
the  year  450  the  Scourge  of  God}  after  threatening  both 
the  Eastern  and  Western  Empires  and  demanding  sub- 
mission to  him  as  ^^  their  master,"  invaded  Gaul  with  a 
mighty  host.  The  heroic  AStius  was  prepared  for  him,  and 
at  Ch&lons,  in  one  of  the  bloodiest  battles  of  antiquity,  the 
Huns  were  defeated  and  Attila  forced  to  retire  fix)m  the 
Roman  provinces.^ 

Placidia,  who  died  about  the  time  of  Attila*s  defeat,^ 
had  a  daughter  named  Honoria,  who  had  angered  her 

I  Attila  had  been  so  named  by  a  pious  monk  who  believed  that  his  rav- 
ages were  a  direct  punishment  for  the  awful  sins  of  Rome. 

*  The  number  killed  in  this  memorable  battle  has  been  variously  esti- 
mated at  from  one  hundred  and  sixty  thousand  to  three  hundred  thou- 
sand. Even  the  lowest  number  is  doubtless  an  exaggeration — although 
one  historian  observes  that  ''whole  generations  may  be  thus  swept  away 
by  the  madness  of  kings  in  a  single  hour." 

*  She  died  at  Rome  November  27, 450,  and  was  buried  at  Ravenna,  where 
her  sepulchre  and  even  her  corpse,  seated  in  a  chair  of  cypress  wood, 
were  preserved  for  ages. 

[  864  ] 






£Eimily  by  selecting  as  a  lover  her  chamberlain  Eugenius. 
The  princess,  who  was  only  sixteen,  was  first  publicly  dis- 
graced by  her  resentful  mother  and  then  banished  to  Con- 
stantinople, where  she  passed  ten  or  more  years  in  irksome 
seclusion.  Despairing  of  other  relief,  she  at  last  conceived 
the  remarkable  idea  of  appealing  to  Attila;  and  just  be- 
fore the  battle  of  Chylous  managed  to  transmit  a  letter  to 
him,  enclosing  a  ring  as  pledge  of  her  love  and  earnestly 
entreating  him  to  claim  her  as  his  wife.  The  astonished 
Hun,  nothing  loath  to  include  an  Emperors  sister  in  his 
train,  actually  made  a  demand  for  the  princess  just  before 
his  invasion  of  Gaul ;  whereupon  her  indignant  relatives  at 
Constantinople  sent  the  misguided  woman  back  to  Rome. 
There  she  was  compelled  to  marry  an  obscure  person,  as 
a  nominal  husband,  and  immediately  afterwards  was  con- 
denmed  to  perpetual  imprisonment — as  the  historian  says 
*'to  bewail  those  crimes  and  misfortunes  which  Honoria 
might  have  escaped  had  she  not  beep  bom  the  daughter 
of  an  Emperor."  ^  •  . ' 

After  his  defeat  by  Aetius,  Attila  renA^ed  hii$  demand  for 
Honoria,  and  being  again  refused  at  once  iilv^ded  Italy, 
laid  siege  to  Aquileia,  which  hie  destroyed  so  completely 
that  after  fifty  years  its  site  even  coiild  'not  be'  found,  and 
marched  on  Rome.  Valentinian,  wild  with  fright,  at  once 
despatched  Pope  Leo  to  promise  that  Honoria  should  be 
given  up.  The  savage  destroyer,  of  whom  it  was  said  that 
the  grass  never  grew  on  a  spot  where  his  horse  had  trod, 
agreed  to  stay  his  conquest  until  the  condition  of  its  en- 
tire abandonment  should  be  fulfilled  by  Honoria's  release. 
In  the  meantime  he  consoled  himself  by  manying  a  beau- 
tiful girl  named  Hilda;  and  in  a  debauch  incident  to  the 
nuptial  ceremonies  his  wild  barbarian  life  went  out — leav- 
ing one  weeping  woman  by  his  bedside  and  another  in  the 

[  865  ] 


Roman  prison  fix)m  which  she  was  now  destined  never  to 

The  death  of  Attila,  which  might  be  thought  to  have 
marked  Rome's  salvation,  was  actually  the  signal  for  its 
final  downfall.  The  miserable  Emperor,  who  had  cringed 
to  Aetius  while  the  formidable  invader  was  alive,  now  de- 
cided that  he  could  rule  alone,  and  '^the  last  Roman''  was 
openly  murdered  by  Valentinian  himself,  supported  by  his 
guards.  As  one  of  his  courtiers  had  the  courage  to  tell 
him,  the  imperial  assassin  had  acted  '4ike  a  man  who  cuts 
off  his  right  hand  with  his  left"  He  himself  did  not  long 
survive  the  outrage.  Incensed  by  a  most  shameful  crime 
which  Valentinian  had  committed  against  his  domestic 
happiness,  a  wealthy  senator  named  Petronius  Maximus 
determined  to  rid  the  State  of  its  degenerate  head.  He 
employed  for  the  purpose  two  servants  of  the  murdered 
Aetius,  who  were  easily  induced  to  avenge  their  master, 
and  while  observing  some  military  sports  Valentinian  was 
stabbed  to  death  in  the  very  midst  of  his  guards,  not  one 
of  whom  lifted  a  hand  or  voice  in  defence  of  their  despised 
ruler.  Thus  perished  the  last  Roman  Emperor  of  the  family 
of  Theodosius,  in  the  thirty-sixth  year  of  his  age  and  the 
thirtieth  of  his  reign. 

Valentinian  was  married  at  an  early  age  to  his  cousin 
Eudoxia,  daughter  of  Theodosius  II,  Emperor  of  the  East, 
and  the  beautiful  and  celebrated  Athenais.^  She  bore  him 
two  daughters  named  Placidia  and  Eudoxia,  and  lived  to 
destroy  her  husband's  murderer,  although  she  herself  per- 
ished in  the  catastrophe.^ 

^  Athenais  was  the  daughter  of  an  Athenian  philosopher  named  Leontius. 
Before  her  marriage  to  Theodosius  she  renounced  paganism  and  was  bap- 
tized with  the  Christian  name  of  Eudoxia,  which  had  been  that  of  her 
husband's  mother.         *  Post,  page  368. 

[  866  ] 


Petronius  Maximus  :  455  a.  d.  In  the  assassination  of 
the  Emperor,  Maximus  was  doubtless  actuated  as  much  by 
ambition  as  revenge.  Possessed  of  ability,  wealth,  and  rank 
— he  had  been  twice  consul  and  thrice  prsetorian  prefect 
of  Italy — his  vanity  was  easily  stirred  by  the  plaudits  of 
a  large  following  of  clients,  who  were  prepared  to  salute 
him  as  Emperor  as  soon  as  the  royal  house  of  Theodosius 
should  be  extinct ;  and  over  the  bleeding  corpse  of  his  vic- 
tim Maximus  was  unanimously  proclaimed  by  Senate  and 
people*  His  short  reign  of  three  months,  fall  of  misery  for 
himself  and  for  the  family  of  the  imfortunate  Valentinian, 
ended  in  a  terrible  disaster  which  he  indirectly  brought 
down  upon  Rome. 

Upon  the  death  of  his  wife,  who  did  not  long  siu^ve 
his  elevation  to  the  purple,  Maximus  at  once  compelled 
the  widowed  Empress  Eudoxia  to  marry  him,  her  eldest 
daughter  Eudoxia  being  at  the  same  time  married  to  the 
Emperor's  son  Paladius.  Havmg  thus,  as  he  supposed,  es- 
tablished the  hereditary  succession  of  his  family  and  at  the 
same  time  humiliated  that  of  his  enemy,  the  revenge  of 
Maximus  appeared  complete.  But  in  this  hour  of  his  ap- 
parent triumph,  all  was  imaginary,  as  it  proved.  Gnawed 
by  remorse  and  a  prey  to  terror,  the  Emperor  mourned 
his  lost  happiness,  exclaiming  to  a  friend,  ^'O  fortimate 
Damocles,  thy  reign  began  and  ended  with  the  same 

The  proud  Eudoxia,  whose  mourning,  whether  real  or 
apparent,  had  been  so  shamefrdly  outraged,  determined 
herself  to  play  a  hand  in  the  game  of  revenge.  Unable  to 
secure  assistance  from  her  family,  whose  power  had  been 
destroyed,  she  made  secret  overtures  to  Genseric,  King  of 
the  Vandals.  Assured  that  neither  the  soldiers — with  whom 
Maximus  was  unpopular — nor  the  confederate  barbarians 

[  867  ] 


would  oppose,  the  African  monarch  landed  a  powerftil 
force  at  the  mouth  of  the  Tiber  and  sunmioned  Rome  to 
surrender.  Maximus  attempted  to  escape,  but  in  his  flight 
through  the  streets  he  was  assaulted  by  the  frenzied  popu- 
lace and  stoned  to  death,  his  mangled  body  being  cast  into 
the  Tiber.  Three  days  later  Genseric  entered  the  defence- 
less city,  which  during  fourteen  days  was  given  over  to 
pillage  and  rapine  by  the  Moors  and  Vandals.  When  the 
barbarians  finally  set  sail  again,  they  took  with  them  nearly 
all  that  had  thus  far  been  left  of  the  splendor  and  magnifi- 
cence of  public  and  private  wealth ;  including  the  wonder- 
ful bronze  roof  of  the  Capitol,^  and  the  holy  instruments 
of  Jewish  worship  which  four  centuries  earlier  had  been 
brought  by  Titus  from  Jerusalem.  Eudoxia  herself  did  not 
escape  the  ruin  which  she  had  caused.  Stripped  of  her 
jewels,  the  twice -widowed  Empress,  with  her  two  daugh- 
ters, the  only  surviving  descendants  of  the  great  Theodo- 
sius,  was  dragged  an  unhappy  captive  to  Carthage.  Six 
years  later,  soon  after  the  death  of  the  Emperor  Majorian, 
Eudoxia  and  her  yoimgest  daughter,  Placidia,  were  restored 
by  Genseric,  who,  however,  retained  the  eldest  daughter  as 
the  wife,  or  rather  captive,  of  his  son,  Hunneria  Placidia 
afterwards  married  the  Emperor  Olybrius,  through  which 
connection  the  family  of  Theodosius  was  propagated  in  the 
female  line  as  far  as  the  eighth  generation.^ 

AviTUS :  455-457  a.  d.  After  the  death  of  Aetius,  whose 
vigor  and  military  fame  had  kept  the  foes  of  the  Empire 
in  check,  the  barbarians  soon  became  restless,  and  when 
Valentinian  followed  his  great  general  to  the  grave,  the 

^  The  external  gilding  is  said  to  have  cost  Domitian  two  miUion  five  hun- 
dred thousand  pounds  sterling.  The  ship  which  carried  these  relics  was 
the  only  one  of  the  fleet  to  suffer  shipwreck.         *  Gibbon. 

[  868  ] 


V*  ■    -A 




storm  broke.  Realizing  his  personal  unfitness  to  cope  with 
the  danger,  Maximus  wisely  selected  for  that  purpose  a 
Gallic  general  named  Avitus»  who  had  been  one  of  the 
ablest  lieutenants  of  the  murdered  Aetius. 

After  a  lifetime  of  active  emplojonent  in  the  public  ser- 
vice, where  he  had  distinguished  himself  alike  in  the  civil 
and  military  branches,  Avitus  had  withdrawn  to  a  beauti- 
ful estate  near  Clermont,  having  determined  to  devote  his 
remaining  years  to  literature  and  the  simple  pleasures  of 
rural  life.  But  at  the  threshold  of  this  peaceftil  existence 
he  was  overtaken  by  the  messengers  who  bore  the  imperial 
rescript  creating  him  prsetorian  prefect  of  Gaul.  Unable  to 
resist  the  temptation  of  an  ambitious  ftiture,  he  immedi- 
ately assumed  the  military  command,  and  after  quelling 
the  disturbance  in  Gaul  proceeded  to  Toulouse,  where 
he  efiected  a  solid  alliance  with  Theodoric,  King  of  the 
Goths.  About  this  time  news  of  the  death  of  Maximus 
reached  Gaul,  and  the  provincials  and  barbarians,  with 
whom  Avitus  had  always  been  popular;  at  once  proclaimed 
him  Emperor.  The  consent  of  the  ISsag^&p  of  the  East 
was  readily  obtained ;  but  Rome  and  Italy;  't^  *^h|eh  the 
Western  Empire  was  now  practically  reduced,  although 
formally  assenting,  were  iU-pleased  "i^tlr  the  idea/ of  being 
governed  by  the  so-called  "GallicdSHrper.  ■*■..• 

In  the  hope  of  overcoming  the  hostility  ^tbe  Romans, 
the  new  Emperor  decided  to  fix  his  residence  in  the  old 
capital,  and  announced  his  intention  of  accepting  the  con- 
sulship for  the  ensuing  year.  But  in  Rome  loyalty  to  the 
sovereign  had  long  been  a  dead  idea.  Scorned  and  disliked 
as  a  "foreigner,"  Avitus  speedily  became  an  object  of  gen- 
uine hatred  to  the  Romans ;  and  supported  by  Count  Rici- 
mer,  the  principal  military  commander  in  Italy,  the  Senate, 
disclosing  a  last  glimmering  spark  in  its  bed  of  ashes,  de- 

[  869  ] 


manded  its  right,  founded  upon  the  ancient  constitutions, 
of  choosing  an  Emperor.  Separated  from  liis  Gothic  allies 
and  his  provincial  supporters,  Avitus,  after  a  feeble  show 
of  resistance,  abdicated  the  purple,  in  lieu  of  which  he  re- 
ceived from  Ricimer  the  bishopric  of  Placentia.  But  the 
Senate,  flushed  with  victory,  decreed  otherwise,  and  Avitus, 
in  his  flight  towards  the  Alps  in  search  of  sanctuary,  was 
overtaken  and  put  to  death.  He  had  reigned  about  a  year. 

Majorian  :  457-461  a.  d.  The  apparent  triumph  of  the 
Senate,  in  the  deposition  of  Avitus,  as  matter  of  teuct  left 
the  State  at  the  complete  mercy  of  the  barbarian  com- 
mander of  the  Italian  troops.  Without  troubUng  himself 
to  first  advise  with  the  Conscript  Fathers,  Ricimer  placed 
upon  the  throne  another  retired  general  named  Julianus 
Majorianus.  The  new  Emperor  derived  his  name  from 
his  maternal  grandfather,  who  in  the  reign  of  Theodosius 
had  commanded  the  Ill3rrian  troops.  His  father  had  been 
a  loyal  friend  and  faithful  officer  of  Aetius,  under  whom 
Majorian  received  his  military  education.  His  rise  had 
been  so  rapid  and  his  successes  so  great,  that  he  incurred 
the  enmity  of  the  wife  of  his  patron,  jealous  for  her  hus- 
band's reputation,  which  at  times  was  eclipsed  by  that  of 
the  able  and  intrepid  young  officer,  who  was  for  that  rea- 
son forced  out  of  the  service.  Recalled  and  promoted  after 
the  death  of  Aetius,  at  the  time  of  the  deposition  of  Avitus 
he  held  the  post  of  master-general  of  the  cavahy  and  in- 
fantry, from  which  he  was  elevated  to  the  purple  by  his 
friend  the  King-maker. 

The  appointment  was  not  only  popular  in  its  immediate 
results,  but  eminently  wise ;  and  for  the  last  time  in  its  his- 
tory Rome  was  blessed  with  an  Emperor  brave,  virtuous, 
and  capable.  "The  successor  of  Avitus,"  says  Gibbon,  "pre- 

[  870  ] 


sents  the  welcome  discovery  of  a  great  and  heroic  char- 
acter, such  as  sometimes  arise  in  a  degenerate  age  to  vin- 
dicate the  honor  of  the  human  species/'  And  while  the 
history  of  his  reign  is  imperfectly  related,  enough  is  known 
of  his  pubUc  and  private  actions  to  convince  posterity  that 
there  was  at  least  some  foimdation  for  the  extravagant 
encomium  of  the  historian  Procopius,  who  declared  "that 
he  was  gentle  to  his  subjects,  terrible  to  his  enemies ;  and 
excelled  in  eoery  virtue  all  his  predecessors  who  had  reigned 
over  the  Romans." 

Appreciating,  apparently,  not  only  the  fact  of  Rome's 
decay  but  as  well  the  causes  of  its  decline,  Majorian  cour- 
ageously undertook  the  task  of  reform.  It  is  known  that 
he  made  many  admirable  laws,  that  he  lightened  the  bur- 
dens of  taxation,  which  had  become  unbearable,  and  that 
he  even  infused  the  degenerate  Italians  with  some  show 
of  pubUc  spirit.  At  the  same  time  he  quelled  the  disorders 
in  Gaul  and  displayed  such  vigor  against  the  marauding 
Vandals  who  had  long  terrorized  Rome,  that  Genseric  was 
forced  to  promise  that  he  would  molest  Italy  no  more.  But 
for  Rome,  alas !  all  this  was  at  best  only  the  flickering  fires 
of  a  long-spent  energy.  The  love  and  respect  which  the 
Emperor  inspired  and  the  hold  which  he  was  acquiring 
upon  the  people  at  last  aroused  the  jealousy  of  Ricimer, 
who  was  unwilling  to  be  so  entirely  obscured  by  the  glory 
of  his  friend.  The  King-maker's  influence  with  the  army 
was  stiU  supreme,  and  with  the  help  of  his  soldiers  he 
speedily  mastered  the  unsuspicious  Emperor,  whose  virtue 
could  not  protect  him  against  an  unscrupulous  ambition 
at  the  head  of  the  guards.  Majorian  was  compelled  to  ab- 
dicate, and  by  his  death  from  poison  five  days  afterwards, 
the  fateful  history  of  his  immediate  predecessor  was  re- 
peated. He  had  reigned  four  years. 

[  871  ] 


The  Six  Shadows  :  461-476  a.  d.  During  the  fifteen 
years  which  followed  the  death  of  Majorian,  the  ragged 
outlines  of  imperial  power  were  rapidly  obliterated  by  an 
almost  uninterrupted  series  of  invasions,  revolutions,  and 
frantic  social  convulsions.  No  less  than  six  masqueraders 
in  the  imperial  rdle  emerged  momentarily  from  the  fast- 
gathering  darkness,  and  one  by  one  vanished  in  the  flames 
which  were  licking  up  the  last  fragments  of  the  structure 
of  Augustus.  A  few  brief  references  may  suffice  to  consign 
these  ghostly  shadows  to  their  several  graves. 

While  Ricimer  preferred  to  rule  under  the  personality  of 
another,  he  determined  not  to  again  jeopardize  his  power  by 
"the  imprudent  preference  of  superior  virtue  and  merit." 
Disclahning  for  himself  the  title  of  either  King  or  Em- 
peror, he  bestowed  the  purple  upon  an  obscure  individual 
named  Libius  Severus,  of  whose  birth  arid  character  noth- 
ing is  known.  "  It  would  be  useless,"  says  Gibbon,  "to  dis- 
criminate his  nominal  reign  in  the  vacant  interval  of  six 
years  between  the  death  of  Majorian  and  the  elevation  of 
Anthemius,  since  during  that  period  the  government  was 
in  the  hands  of  Ricimer  alone."  Severus  expired  as  soon 
as  his  life  became  inconvenient  to  his  patron;  which  oc- 
curred when  the  latter  found  himself  imable  to  further 
withstand  rebellion  at  home  and  the  alarmingly  increas- 
ing depredations  of  Genseric  and  his  terrible  Vandals. 
Himself  destitute  of  ships,  Ricimer  was  compelled  to  ap- 
peal for  assistance  to  the  Emperor  of  the  East,  which  was 
accorded  by  Leo  upon  condition  that  the  ancient  preten- 
sions of  Constantinople  to  the  right  of  naming  the  sov- 
ereign of  the  West  should  be  recognized.  Ricimer  was 
forced  to  consent — saving  a  bit  of  his  pride  by  demanding 
and  receiving  as  his  wife  the  daughter  of  Anthemius,  the 
new  Emperor  of  Rome.  The  latter  was  a  man  of  high 

[  872  ] 




birth  and  station.  His  father,  Procopius,  had  obtained  the 
rank  of  general  and  patrician,  his  grandfather  was  the  cele- 
brated prefect  who  directed  affairs  during  the  infancy  of 
the  younger  Theodosius,  while  he  himself  had  married  the 
daughter  of  the  Emperor  Marcian.  His  elevation  to  the 
purple  was  universally  approved,  and  the  alliance  with 
Ricimer  seemed  to  ftimish  an  enduring  promise  for  the 
union  and  happiness  of  the  State.  But  the  King-maker 
soon  tired  of  both  his  bride  and  his  subordinate  position 
in  affairs.  Retiring  to  Milan,  he  opened  a  treasonable  corre- 
spondence with  Anicius  Olybrius,  an  ambitious  noble  who 
had  married  Placidia,  the  younger  daughter  of  Valentinian 
III,  after  she  had  been  restored  by  Genseric.^  Olybrius 
was  quite  willing  to  exchange  a  peaceful  residence  at  Con- 
stantinople for  the  hazards  of  the  Roman  people ;  landing 
at  Ravenna  he  joined  Ricimer  and  together  the  conspira- 
tors marched  on  Rome.  After  a  terrible  battle^  Anthemius 
was  slain,  the  city  was  taken  and  given  over  to  pillage,  and 
Olybrius  declared  Emperor.  The  ^King-maker,  however, 
died  in  the  midst  of  his  trium^pb^r,  and  Olybrius  himself 
followed  in  less  than  six  months  (0(aobery  ^72  a.  d.). 

Ricuner  had  bequeathed  the  command 'o^  his  army  to 
his  nephew  Gundobald,  a  Biirgujbfidian  prince  ^  and  assum- 
ing that  his  prerogatives  ihcki4ed' that  of  nommating  a 
successor  to  the  purple,  Gundobald  ^ected  for  that  pur- 
pose an  obscure  soldier  named  Glycerius.'  In  the  mean- 
time the  Emperor  of  the  East  at  the  instance  of  his  wife 
was  persuaded  to  nominate  for  the  Roman  purple  Julius 
Nepos,  who  had  married  a  niece  of  the  Empress.  Accom- 

^  Ante,  page  S68. 

'  It  was  in  this  battle  that  the  statues  and  bronzes  which  embellished  the 
tomb  of  Hadrian  were  thrown  down  by  the  Goths,  whose  ammunition 
had  been  exhausted  in  defence  of  the  bridge  of  St  Angelo. 

[  878  ] 


panied  by  a  few  troops  Nepos  came  over  from  the  Eastern 
capital  and  easily  became  master  of  what  was  left  of  Rome 
— including  the  miserable  Glycerins.  To  the  latter  Nepos 
offered  the  choice  between  death  and  a  bishopric.  Glycerins 
accepted  the  see,  and,  more  fortunate  than  Avitus,^  lived 
to  enjoy  both  the  dignity  and  an  ultimate  revenge.^ 

The  reign  of  Nepos  was  short  and  inglorious.  Vainly 
endeavoring  to  purchase  immunity  from  barbaric  invasion 
by  ceding  Auvergne  to  the  Visigoths,  within  a  year  from 
his  accession  the  Emperor  fled  in  dismay  frx>m  a  fririous 
onslaught  by  the  barbarian  confederates  under  Orestes. 
Escaping  to  his  ships,  Nepos  crossed  the  Adriatic  and  re- 
tired to  his  Dalmatian  principality,  where  five  years  later 
he  was  murdered  by  Glycerins,  who  shortly  afterwards  be- 
came the  Archbishop  of  Milan. 

After  the  expulsion  of  Nepos  (475  a.  d.)  Orestes,  with 
the  consent  of  the  army,  of  which  he  had  been  made  the 
master-general  by  the  last  Emperor,  presented  the  purple 
to  his  son  Romulus  Augustus — or  Augustvlus  (Little  Au- 
gustus J,  as  he  was  called  on  account  of  his  youth.  The 
boy  Emperor,  who  was  noted  for  his  extreme  beauty  (and 
apparently  for  that  alone),  took  his  name  from  his  mother, 
who  was  the  daughter  of  Count  Romulus  of  Petovio,  in 
Noriciun.  The  name  of  Augustus  was,  at  this  time,  a  not 
uncommon  surname ;  and  the  appellations  of  the  two  great 
founders  of  the  city  and  of  the  Empire  were  thus  strangely 
united  in  the  last  of  their  successors.^ 

Orestes  had  now  attained  the  siunmit  of  his  ambition — 

*  Ante,  page  870.  *  See  below. 

*  Gibbon,  Decline  and  FaU,  Vol.  iii.  page  -5 IS.  The  aathor  notes  a  £unous 
and  similar  case:  ''The  meanest  subjects  of  the  Roman  Empire  assumed 
the  illustrious  name  of  Pairiciui,  which^  by  the  conversion  of  Ireland,  has 
been  communicated  to  a  whole  nation." 



in  the  same  moment  at  which  the  Empire  reached  the 
last  stair  in  its  descent.  Scarcely  had  Romulus  been  pro- 
claimed before  the  troops,  whose  insolence  had  become  un- 
bounded after  years  of  unbridled  license,  demanded  of  their 
general  that  one-tMrd  of  all  the  lands  in  Italy  should  be 
divided  among  them  1  Orestes  sharply  reftised ;  whereupon 
the  troops,  under  a  huge  warrior  named  Odoacer,  marched 
against  Orestes,  besieged  him  in  Pavia,  which  finally 
yielded,  and  the  father  of  Augustulus  was  put  to  death. 
The  helpless  young  Emperor  was  taken  to  Rome  by  the 
conqueror,  who,  however,  spared  the  inoffensive  youth  and 
dismissed  him  from  the  imperial  palace  with  his  whole 
family,  to  enjoy  a  pension  for  life  in  the  castle  of  Lucul- 
lus,  in  Campania  (476  a.  d.).  Odoacer  and  his  barbarians 
remained  at  last  the  masters  of  the  Palatine.  Their  royalty 
was  acknowledged  by  Senate  and  people ;  it  was  decreed 
by  the  former  that  no  more  Emperors  should  be  chosen, 
and  that  the  Emperor  of  the  East  might  take  also  the 
title  of  Emperor  of  the  West,  which  Rome  repudiated 

Thus  ended  the  Empire  of  Rome,  in  strange  coincidence 
with  the  prophecy  of  the  early  augurs  that  the  twelve  vul- 
tures which  Romulus  had  seen  represented  twelve  centu- 
ries before  the  downfall  of  the  city  would  occur.^  But  as  a 
great  philosopher  has  observed,  the  fall  of  the  Empire  was 
announced  **by  a  clearer  omen  than  the  flight  of  vultures : 
the  Rorruin  government  appeared  eojch  day  less  formidable 
to  its  enemies^  more  odious  and  oppressive  to  its  subjects.'' 

^  These  interpretations  of  the  augurs  were  current  as  early  as  the  time  of 
Cicero  and  Varro.  According  to  the  latter  the  twelfth  century  would  ex- 
pire 447  A.  D. ;  there  was^  however,  enough  uncertainty  as  to  the  true  era 
of  the  city  to  bring  the  fact  of  its  overthrow  in  remarkably  dose  accord 
with  the  prophecies. 

[  875  ] 


Freedom,  virtue,  power,  and  honor  had  long  been  lost 
The  name  of  Roman  citizenship,  which  formerly  excited 
the  ambition  of  humanity  as  the  highest  guaranty  of  indi- 
vidual safety  and  dignity,  and  of  personal  rights,  had  been 
scorned  and  abjured  as  a  badge  of  servility  and  personal 
wretchedness.  Towards  the  end  nothing  remained  to  indi- 
cate that  Rome  claimed  a  place  among  the  sovereignties 
of  the  world  except  the  bare  idea  of  the  imperial  office 
which  a  few  mad  actors  in  the  conspiracy  for  power  at- 
tempted to  keep  alive  by  a  bit  of  purple  doth,  a  diadem,^ 
and  title.  This  last  frail  thread  had  snapped  at  last  A  bar- 
barian was  firmly  established  upon  the  Palatine,  as  King. 
The  proud  title  of  Augustus  had  been  forsworn.  The  name 
of  the  last  Emperor  of  the  West  had  been  written.  The 
might  of  Caesar  was  broken.  Rome  was  dead. 

Romulus  Augustus  and  Romulus  Augustulus,  with  their 
connecting  links  of  Kings,  consuls,  tyrants,  and  Emperors, 
had  spanned  one  of  the  most  tremendous  episodes  in  world 
history.  But  what  remains  to-day  of  all  that  mighty  power 
which  had  enthroned  itself  so  massively  upon  the  Seven 
Hills  of  the  sacred  city?  Cemented  by  the  misty  tradi- 
tions of  the  Age  of  Fable,  by  the  refulgent  glories  of  the 
Republic,  by  the  grandeur  and  magnificence  of  Augustus, 
to  the  successors  of  the  first  Julian  it  may  well  have  ap- 
peared forever  impregnable.  But  in  the  irresistible  march 
of  events,  and  under  the  relentless  hand  of  time,  as  in  the 
case  of  every  other  human  creation,  in  all  ages,  decay  set 
in,  it  crumbled,  gave  way,  its  fragments  were  destroyed, 
its  very  dust  scattered  to  the  four  winds.  So  that  to-day 
a  few  impressive  ruins,  a  few  discolored  and  mutilated 

^  The  Emperor  Aurelian  first  introduced  the  Oriental  custom  of  wearing 
the  royal  diadem,  which  was  bound  upon  the  forehead. 

[  876  ] 


marbles,  a  handful  of  corroded  coins,  alone  reward  the 
curious  search  for  material  proof  of  the  purple  mantle,  the 
curule  chair,  and  the  august  Emperors  of  Rome.  So  true 
indeed  it  is 

^TTie  bu9t  ouilagts  the  throne. 
The  coin,  Tiberius^ 


•  ♦-  ♦- 






ACERRONiA^  Agrippina's  freedwo- 
^  man,  gives  her  life  for  her 
mistress,  145,  146. 

Acts,  a  favorite  of  Nero,  159;  said 
to  have  become  a  Christian,  per- 
forms the  last  offices  for  Nero, 

Adoption,  the  fiction  of,  55. 

Afer,  Domitius,  the  orator,  accuses 
Claudia  Pulchra  of  witchcraft,  64. 

Afranius,  Burrhus,  conmiands  the 
praetorians,  180;  helps  Nero  se- 
cure the  purple,  131;  influence 
over  Nero,  140;  death  of,  147. 

AoRippA,  Marcus  Vipsanius,  minis- 
ter of  Augustus,  marries  Pompo- 
nia,  S6;  marries  Marcella  and  at 
(M>mmand  of  Augustus  divorces 
her  and  marries  Julia,  the  Em- 
peror's daughter,  84;  his  high 
character  and  ability,  35;  his 
death,  86. 

Agrippa,  Postumus,  son  of  Agrippa, 
S6;  his  coarse  nature  and  unruly 
disposition,  banished  by  Augus- 
tus, 42 ;  disinherited  by  Augustus, 
put  to  death  by  livia  and  Tibe- 
rius, 45. 

AoRiPPiNA,  Vipsania,  daughter  of 
Agrippa,  marries  Tiberius,  di- 
vorced by  him,  marries  Asinius 
Gallus,  S6. 

Agrippina  (1),  granddaughter  of 
Augustus,  36;  marries  Germani- 
cus,  41 ;  care  of  her  children,  63; 
falsely  accused  by  Sejanus  and 
Livia,  banished  by  Tiberius,  her 
two  eldest  sons  murdered,  starves 

herself  to  death,  64.  S.  Baring- 
Gould's  Estimate  of.  Note  to 
Chap.  XII,  182. 

Agrippina,  mother  of  Nero,  daugh- 
ter of  Germanicus  and  the  elder 
Agrippina,  60;  banished  by  Ca- 
ligula, 87;  recalled  by  Claudius, 
117;  marries  Passienus,  117;  poi- 
sons her  husband  to  secure  his 
wealth,  118;  her  character,  118; 
her  marriage  to  Claudius — in- 
duces him  to  betroth  Octavia  to 
Nero,  and  to  adopt  the  latter, 
118-121;  her  hatred  of  Lepida, 
121 ;  procures  the  death  of  Lepida 
and  confiscates  her  great  estate, 
128;  poisons  Claudius,  124;  plots 
to  supplant  Britannicus  with  Nero, 
121, 129;  overcomes  all  obstacles 
and  her  son  is  proclaimed,  180, 
181;  compared  with  Livia  Au- 
gusta, 180;  heartless  conduct  of, 
towards  Octavia  and  Britannicus, 
181 ;  at  the  summit  of  her  power 
receives  the  name  of  ''Best  of 
Mothers"  from  Nero,  182;  her 
power  over  Nero  undermined  by 
Seneca  and  Burrhus,  140;  dismay 
at  murder  of  Britannicus,  142; 
attaches  herself  to  Octavia,  148; 
accused  of  conspiracy  by  Domitia 
Lepida,  ibid.;  successfully  defends 
herself,  144;  narrow  escape  from 
death,  145;  murdered  by  Anice- 
tus  at  Nero's  command,  146;  her 
great  fortitude,  ibid.;  her  mem- 
oiy  execrated  by  Nero,  147.  S. 
Baring-Gould's  Estimate  of.  Note 
to  Chap.  XII,  182. 

[  881   ] 


Ahenobarbu8,  cognomen  of  the  fiun- 
ily  of  Nero,  derivation  of  the 
word,  125. 

Ahbnobarbd8,  Lucius  Domitius,  the 
founder  of  the  fiunily,  125. 

Ahenobarbu8,  Cneius  Domitins, 
great-great-grandfather  of  Nero, 

Ahbnobarbu8,  Cneius,  great-gnmd- 
father  of  Nero,  126. 

Ahenobarbus,  Domitins,  gnmd- 
father  of  Nero,  126. 

Ahenobarbus,  Cneius  Domitius,  fa- 
ther of  Neio,  126. 

Ahenobarbus,  Domitius.  See  Nero. 

Alexander,  son  of  Mark  Antony 
and  Cleopat^^  23  (noU). 

Ancharia,  first  wife  of  Caius  Octa- 
vius,  20. 

Anicetus,  Nero's  adminl,  attempts 
to  drown  Agrippina,  145;  mur- 
ders Agrippina,  146;  lodges  a  false 
and  shameful  accusation  against 
Octavia,  his  reward  therefcnr,  151. 

Antistia,  wife  of  Plautus,  murdered 
by  Nero,  159. 

Antonia,  wife  of  Antony,  23  (noU), 

Antonia,  the  elder,  daughter  of 
Antony  and  Octavia,  marries 
Drusus,  brother  of  Tiberius,  33; 
poisoned  by  Caligula,  88. 

Antonia,  the  younger,  daughter  of 
Antony  and  Octavia  and  grand- 
mother of  Nero,  marries  Aheno- 
barbus, 106. 

Antonia,  daughter  of  the  Emperor 
Claudius,  marries  Cneius  Pompey 
and  after  his  death  Cornelius 
Sylla,  113;  after  the  murder  of 
Sylla  by  Nero,  she  refuses  to 
marry  Uie  latter  and  is  put  to 
death,  154. 

Antony,  Mark,  the  triumvir,   21; 

marries  Cleopat^^  his  fiunily,  his 
death,  23. 

Antony,  Julius,  son  of  Mark  An- 
tony and  Fulvia,  23  (noie),  35. 

Antony,  Lucius,  illegitimate  soil  of 
the  fifth  Julia,  is  exiled,  41. 

Antyllus,  son  of  Mark  Antony  and 
Fulvia,  23  (noU), 

Apicata,  divorced  wife  of  Sejanns, 
commits  suicide  upon  learning  of 
murder  of  her  children,  67. 

Arria,  wife  of  Thrasea  Pietus,  offers 
to  share  her  husband's  fiite,  162. 

Arria,  mother  of  the  wife  of  Paetus, 
heroic  anecdote  of,  l62  (note), 

AsiATicus,  Valerius,  the  consul,  his 
fine  gardens  on  the  Pincian  Hill 
coveted  by  Messalina,  his  bravery 
and  high  bearing,  his  murder  by 
Messalina,  114. 

Atticus,  Pomponius,  the  friend  of 
Cicero,  &ther-in-law  of  Agrippa, 

Augusta.  See  Livia. 

Augusta,  infimt  daughter  of  Nero 
and  Poppna,  154. 

Augustus.  See  Ceesar  Augustus. 


Barratus,  M.  Valerius  Messala,  £&- 
ther  of  Messalina,  lOa 

Barbatub,  Messala,  consul,  husband 
of  Marcella  Minor,  109. 

Baring-Gould,  S.,  his  attempt  to 
vindicate  the  characters  of  Tibe- 
rius, Livia,  and  Agrippina  Minor, 
Note  to  Chap.  XII,  182. 

Blandus,  Rubellius,  husband  of 
Julia,  granddaughter  of  Tiberius, 

Bologna  Compact,  22,  25,  30. 

BRrTANNicus  (Tiberius  Claudius 
Germanicus),  son  of  Claudius  and 
Messalina,   110;  supplanted    by 

[  882  ] 


Nero,  120,  ISl ;  grief  of,  upon  his 
father's  death,  151 ;  poisoned  by 
Nero,  140  (note),  141,  142. 

Brutus,  one  of  Caesar's    muider- 
ers,  8.* 

BuRRHus.  See  Afranius. 

CiESAR  Augustus,  first  Roman  Em- 
peror, adopted  by  his  great- 
uncle,  Juhus  Caesar,  and  assumes 
the  name  of  Caius  Caesar,  in 
place  of  Caius  Octavius,  20;  his 
birth  and  ancestry,  ilnd.;  plans 
to  acquire  supreme  power  and 
forms  the  Second  Triumvirate, 
21-2  ;  Plutarch's  estimate  of  his 
first  great  crime,  22;  the  Tri- 
umvirate enlarged,  23;  seizes  the 
entire  power,  establishes  the 
praetorian  guard,  declines  the  of- 
fice of  dictator  for  life,  assumes 
the  title  of  Augustus,  and  be- 
comes first  Roman  Emperor,  24, 
27;  personal  appearance  and 
traits,  military  talents,  24-5; 
his  character,  25-6 ;  accomplish- 
ments of  his  reign,  26-7;  ac- 
corded the  titles  of  ''Father  of 
his  Country"  and  ''Imperator" 
and  most  of  the  important  offices 
of  the  State  united  in  him  for 
life,  including  that  of  Pontifex 
Maximus,  27-8 ;  marries  Claudia, 
divorces  her  and  marries  Scri- 
bonia,  30;  birth  of  his  only 
daughter,  Julia,  divorces  her 
mother  and  marries  Livia,  31; 
great  solicitude  about  Julia,  his 
only  direct  heir,  33;  marries  her 
to  Marcellus,  and  after  his  death 
to  Agrippa,  34;  his  great  regard 
for  Agrippa  and  joy  at  births 
of  his  five  grandchildren,  35-6; 
adopts  his  grandsons,  Caius  and 
Lucius,  37 ;  after  death  of  Agrippa 
marries  Julia  to  Tiberius,  37 ;  be- 

cause of  her  immorality  divorces 
and  banishes  her,  harsh  remark 
about  Julia,  38;  murder  of  his 
adoptive  sons,  38-9;  banishes  his 
granddaughter  Julia,  40 ;  evil  fate 
of  his  posterity,  39^  40;  induced 
by  livia  to  adopt  Tiberius  jointly 
with  his  grandson  Postumus 
Agrippa,  banishes  Postumus,  42 ; 
compels  Tiberius  to  adopt  Ger- 
manicus,  43;  circumstances  of 
his  death,  in  regard  to  which 
there  were  conflicting  rumors, 
43-4;  probably  not  murdered, 
44;  death-bed  remark,  popular 
estimate  of  his  character,  his 
true  place  in  history,  28-9;  his 
last  will,  speaks  of  his  daughter, 
grandson,  and  granddaughter  as 
"the  three  cancers,"  43,  45. 

CssAR,  Caius  Julius,  pedigree  of, 
4-5;  etymology  of  name,  5;  his 
birth  and  early  youth,  tender  re- 
lations with  his  mother,  6;  first 
betrothed  to  Cossutia,  repudiates 
the  engagement  and  marries  Cor- 
nelia, 6;  refuses  to  divorce  Cor- 
nelia at  command  of  Sylla  and 
is  outlawed,  Sylla's  prophecy  in 
regard  to  him,  7 ;  birth  and  mar- 
riage of  his  daughter,  death  of 
Cornelia,  marriage  to  Pompeia 
and  divorce  from  her,  7;  marries 
Calpumia,  8;  after  death  of  his 
daughter  adopts  Caius  Octavius, 
his  grandnephew,  and  names  him 
in  his  will  as  chief  heir,  20; 
his  assassination,  3,  8;  Goethe's 
characterization  of  his  murder, 
4;  founder  of  the  Empire,  8,  9; 
personal  appearance  and  habits, 
10,  12;  never  lost  a  battle,  13; 
personal  traits,  13;  commenced 
life  as  a  lawyer,  his  remarkable 
energy,  ability,  and  versatility, 
Cicero's  estimate  of  his  powers 
of  oratory  and  literary  abilities. 

[  888  ] 


14;  hiB  place  in  the  roll  of  great 
men,  15;  claim  to  preliminent 
greatness  questioned,  his  im- 
mense debts,  moral  defects,  15, 
l6;  his  love  of  power — com- 
pared with  Washington,  Lincoln, 
Cromwell,  Napoleon,  17,  19;  re- 
fuses to  be  made  King,  Walpole's 
estimate  of,  19;  popular  estimate 
of,  remaricable  demonstration  at 
his  funeral,  17  (note);  his  true 
place  in  the  evolution  of  man- 
kind, S,  4,  19. 

Cmsar,  Caius,  the  Emperor,  com- 
monly called  Ca&guia,  75 ;  adopted 
jointly  with  Tiberius  Gemellus 
by  Tiberius,  ibid.;  murders  Ge- 
mellus and  assumes  entire  sov- 
ereignty, 76;  his  birth,  ancestry, 
and  early  life,  ibid.;  personal 
traits  and  character,  77-81 ;  mar- 
ries Junia  Claudia,  82;  murders 
Silanus,  Gradnas,  Ennia  Nevia, 
Macro,  and  Ptolemy,  84;  marries 
Livia  Orestilla,  tmd.;  divorces 
Orestilla  and  marries  his  sister 
Drusilla,  85;  murders  Lepidus 
and  Gsetulicus,  87;  banishes  his 
sisters  Julia  and  Agrippina,  88 ; 
poisons  his  grandmother,  ibid. ; 
his  horse  Incitatus,  89;  marries 
Lollia  Paulina,  89;  dismisses  her, 
90,  and  marries  Milonia  Csesonia, 
91;  his  mental  and  bodily  un- 
soundness caused  by  '^love  phil- 
ters" administered  by  Csesonia, 
91 ;  birth  of  his  only  child,  Julia 
Drusilla,  92;  a  plot  formed  to  kill 
him,  92;  his  death  and  burial, 
93 ;  his  death  termed  a  ^'virtuous 
slaughter"  by  the  historian  Jo- 
sephus,  96. 

CssAR,  Caius,  grandson  of  Augus- 
tus, S6;  marries  Livia,  niece  of 
Tiberius,  39;  his  death,  38. 

Cjbsar,  Lucius,  uncle  of  Mark  An- 
tony, 22. 

Cjesar,  Lucius,  grandson  of  Augus- 
tus, 36 ;  his  death,  38. 

Ci»ARio,  reputed  son  of  Julius 
Caesar  and  Geopatra,  8. 

CfisoNiA,  Milonia,  wife  of  Caligula, 
her  sensuality,  administers  ''love 
philters"  to  her  husband,  91; 
murdered  by  Lupus,  94. 

Casar,  Tiberius.  See  Tiberius. 

Cjesar,  House  of,  establishes  the 
imperialistic  idea,  24;  causes  of 
its  destruction,  179  ^  *eq. 

Cauoula.  See  Caius  Caesar. 

Calpurnia,  wife  of  Julius  Caesar,  8. 

Calvina,  Junia,  great-great-grand- 
daughter of  Augustus,  marries 
the  son  of  Vitellius  (afterwards 
Emperor),  is  banished  by  Clau- 
dius, 119. 

Cassius,  one  of  Caesar's  murderers,  8. 

Cassius,  Lucius,  husband  of  Drusilla, 
daughter  of  Germanicus,  85. 

Cassius,  Longinus.  See  Longinus. 

CHiBRBA,  Cassius,  conspires  against 
Caligula,  92;  kills  the  Emperor, 
93 ;  put  to  death  by  Claudius,  101. 

Christians,  persecuted  by  Nero,  1 52. 

Cicero,  his  estimate  of  Caesar,  14; 
his  attack  upon  the  Triumvirate, 
21;  his  murder  at  the  instance 
of  Antony,  22. 

CiNNA,  the  consul,  colleague  of  the 
younger  Marius,  father-in-law  of 
Julius  Caesar,  6. 

Claudia,  first  wife  of  Augustus,  30. 

Claudia,  Junia,  wife  of  Caligula,  82. 

Claudia,  daughter  of  the  Emperor 
Claudius,  murdered  by  him,  105. 

Claudianus,  Livius  Drusus,  father- 
in-law  of  Augustus,  31. 

Claudius  Casar,  the  Emperor,  pro- 
claimed by  the  preetorians  after 
the  death  of  Caligula,  9&-7:  his 



birth  and  early  education,  98^ 
101;  personal  traits  and  char- 
acter, 100,  103;  marries  .£milia 
Lepida,  is  divorced  from  her  and 
marries  Medullina,  after  whose 
death  he  marries  Urgulanilla, 
104;  repudiates  his  third  wife 
and  marries  Paetina,  105;  divorces 
Petina,  106,  and  marries  Messa- 
lina,  109;  who  prompts  him  to 
&mily  murder.  111;  murders  his 
two  nieces.  111,  and  Appius  J. 
Silanus,  US;  murders  his  son- 
in-law  Pompej,  Crassus  Frugi, 
and  Scribonia,  113;  unconcerned 
at  Messalina's  death,  but  declares 
he  will  never  many  again,  ll6; 
marries  his  niece  Agrippina,  118; 
marries  his  daughter  to  Nero, 
ISO;  adopts  Nero,  ISl;  consents 
to  the  murder  of  Lepida,  123;  is 
poisoned  by  Agrippina,  1S4. 

Claudius,  Publius,  father-in-law  of 
Augustus,  30. 

Claudius,  Tiberius.  See  Britannicus. 

Cleopatra,  Queen  of  Egypt,  8. 

Cleopatra,  daughter  of  Antony  and 
Cleopatra,  S3  (note). 

Clodius,  the  quaestor,  whose  con- 
duct caused  the  divorce  of  Caesar's 
wife  Pompeia,  7. 

CoRNEiJA,  second  wife  of  Julius 
Caesar,  6. 

CossuTiA,  first  wife  of  Julius  Caesar,  6. 

CoTTA,  Aurelia,  mother  of  Julius 
Caesar,  her  tender  relations  with 
her  son,  her  death,  5,  6. 

Crassus,  triumvir,  SI. 

Crispinus,  Rufius,  commander  of  the 
praetorians,  removed  by  Agrip- 
pina, 1S9 ;  murdered  by  Nero,  1 53. 

Crispinus,  Rufinus,  son  of  Poppaea, 
drown^  by  Nero,  153. 

Cromwell,  compared  with  Caesar, 
18,  19. 


Descent,  difficulty  of  tracing 
through  the  female  line,  106-7. 

Domestic  murder  among  the  Ro- 
mans, 10,  24,  32,  61,  167,  173. 

Drusilla,  Livia.  See  Livia  Augusta. 

Drusilla,  sister  and  wife  of  Calig- 
ula, 85 ;  marries  her  cousin  Lepi- 
dus,  86;  her  death  and  apotheo- 
sis, 87. 

Drusilla,  Julia,  daughter  of  Calig- 
ula, murdered  by  Lupus,  9^- 

Drusus,  brother  of  Tiberius,  31 ;  his 
birth,  47;  his  military  exploits 
and  great  reputation,  77 ;  marries 
Antonia,  SS;  his  death  in  Ger- 
many and  magnificent  funeral  at 
Rome,  77. 

Drusus,  son  of  Tiberius,  his  early 
life,  55-6;  marries  Livia,  56;  birth 
of  his  three  children,  ibid.;  poi- 
soned by  his  wife  Livia,  6S, 

Drusus,  son  of  Claudius,  his  death, 

Drusus,  son  of  Germanicus,  marries 
.Emilia  Lepida,  murdered  by  Ti- 
berius, his  frenzied  imprecations 
against  the  Emperor,  69. 


EpAPHRonrrus,  secretary  of  Nero, 
assists  the  Emperor  to  commit 
suicide,  I66. 

EuDEMUs,  physician  employed  by 
Livia,  the  younger,  to  poison  her 
husband,  confesses  the  crime,  6S. 

Favia,   wife   of  Mark  Antony,  23 

Fruoi,  Crassus,  murder  of,  113. 

FuLViA,  wife  of  Mark  Antony,  23 

[  885  ] 



GirruucuB,  Lentulas,  consul^  con- 
spires against  Caligula  and  is 
put  to  deaths  87. 

Gallvs,  AsiniuSf  husband  of  Vip- 
sania  Agrippina,  36 ;  his  death,  37. 

Germanicus,  his  birth^  ancestiy,  and 
character,  57-8;  adopted  by  Ti- 
berius, 43;  marries  Agrippina, 
60;  sent  to  Syria  by  Tiberius, 
poisoned  by  Fiso  at  instigation 
of  Livia,  59;  his  children,  w,  6l. 

GonuB,  his  chaiacterization  of  Cae- 
sar's murder,  4. 

Golden  House  of  Nero,  134. 

Gracchus,  Semptonius,  one  of  the 
lovers  of  Julia,  37;  killed  by  or- 
der of  Tiberius,  38. 

GRiBciNAS,  Julius,  £iither  of  Agricola, 
put  to  death  by  Caligula,  84. 


HcRBDrrARY  succession  among  the 
Romans,  74,  130  (note  2). 

House  of  Cflesar.  See  Caesar. 

Impbrial  Disease,  173. 

Imperial  Marriages,  Analysis  of, 
173-6;  conclusions  in  regard  to, 
176-9;  tables  of,  202-4. 

Imperial  Murders,  Analysis  of, 
168-73;  conclusions  in  regard 
to,  173;  tables  of  the  victims, 
195-9;  of  those  who  escaped  a 
violent  death,  200,  201. 

JuuA  (1\  aunt  of  Julius  Caesar, 
¥nfe  ox  Marius,  4. 

Julia  (2),  sister  of  Julius  Caesar,  21. 

Julia  (3),  only  child  of  Julius  Caesar, 
her  marriage  to  Pompey,  her 
death,  7. 

JuuA  (4),  daughter  of  Augustus, 
birth  of,  eany  life,  beauty  and 
great  ability  of,  extreme  profli- 
gacy, SS'f  marries  Marcellus,  then 
Apippa,  34;  her  five  children, 
So;  marries  Tiberius,  her  great 
depravity,  repudiation  by  her  hus- 
band, her  banishment  aind  miser- 
able death,  37-8. 

JuuA  (5),  granddaughter  of  Augus- 
tus, So;  marries  L.  ^milius  Pau- 
lus,  S9;  her  descendants,  S9,  40; 
her  dissolute  life,  banishment, 
and  death,  40. 

Julia  (6),  granddaughter  of  Tibe- 
rius, 56;  marries  Nero,  son  of 
Germanicus,  betrays  her  husband, 
66;  marries  Rubellius  Blandus, 
71 ;  put  to  death  by  Clandius  and 
Messalina,  111. 

Julia  (7),  daughter  of  Germanicus, 
her  birth,  ol;  put  to  death  by 
Claudius,  111. 

Juuus,  Caius,  grand£Etther  of  Julius 
Caesar,  5. 

Juuus,  Caius  Julius,  father  of  Julius 

Juuus,  Sextos,  unde  of  Julius  Cae- 
sar, 5. 


Lepida,  Emilia,  granddaughter  of 
Augustus,  marries  Qaudius,  104; 
marries  Silanus,  40;  their  chil- 
dren, Und. 

Lepida,  2£milia,  wife  of  Drusus, 
son  of  Germanicus,  murdered  by 
Tiberius,  69. 

Lepida,  Domitia,  Nero's  aunt,  fre- 
quently confounded  with  her 
dder  sister  of  same  name, 
106-7;  marries  Crispus  Passienus, 
108;  put  to  death  by  Nero^  148. 

Lepida  (Domitia),  Nero's  aunt,  fre- 
quently confounded  with  her 
younger   sister  of  same    name. 

[  886  ] 



106-7;  usually  spoken  of  as  Lep* 
ida,  more  brilliant  and  notorious 
than  her  younger  sister^  marries 
M.  Valerius  Messala  Barbatus, 
108;  marries  Silanus,  IIS;  ad- 
vises Messalina  to  commit  sui- 
cide^ 1X6;  rivaliy  between  her- 
self and  Agrippina^  122;  accused 
of  ^'magic^'  by  Agrippina  and 
put  to  death  by  Claudius^  123. 

Lepida,  Junia,  aunt  of  Lucius  Junius 
Silanus^  wife  of  Cassius  Longinus, 
157;  shameful  accusation  against^ 
her  banishment  and  death,  158. 

Lepidus,  Caesar's  master  of  the 
horse,  one  of  the  triumvirs,  21; 
high  priest  of  Rome,  23. 

Lepidus,  Marcus,  great-grandson  of 
Augustus,  40;  marries  his  cousin 
Drusilla,  86;  put  to  death  by 
Caligula,  87. 

Lex  Julia,  severe  workings  of,  83. 

LiBo,  P.  Scribonius,  father-in-law  of 
Augustus,  30. 

Lincoln,  compared  with  Caesar,  18. 

LiviA  Augusta,  the  Empress,  wife 
of  Augustus,  30;  muries  the  Em- 
peror while  her  first  husband,  Ti- 
berius Nero,  is  hving  and  undi- 
vorced  from  her,  31;  introduces 
the  practice  of  domestic  murder 
among  the  Romans,  32;  its  per- 
nicious consequences,  10,  24,  6l, 
l67,  173;  her  great  beauty,  32; 
poisons  Marcellus,  34;  suspected 
of  poisoning  her  stepsons,  38; 
alienates  Augustus  from  his 
daughter,  37;  instigates  Piso  to 
poison  Germanicus,  59 ;  fatal  con- 
sequences to  the  &mily  of  Au- 
rus,  6l ;  accuses  Agrippina, 
suspected  of  poisoning  Au- 
gustus, 43;  her  death,  70.  S. 
Baring-Gould's  Estimate  of.  Note 
to  Chap.  XII,  182. 

LiviA,  daughter  of  Drusus  and  An- 


tonia,  marries  first  Caius  Caesar, 
second,  her  cousin  Drusus,  son  of 
Tiberius,  39;  her  disgrace,  62; 
poisons  her  husband,  6S;  her 
wretched  ending,  66,  67. 

LocusTA,  court  poisoner  of  Agrip- 
pina and  Nero,  124,  141,  l64. 

LoNoiNUs,  Cassius,  preceptor  of  the 
last  Silanus,  157;  fabely  accused 
of  conspiracy,  is  banished,  his 
death,  158. 

Lupus,  Julius,  a  tribune,  kills  the 
wife  and  daughter  of  Caligula, 
94;  is  put  to  death  by  Claudius, 


Macro,  captain  of  the  guards,  mur- 
ders Tiberius,  73;  put  to  death 
by  Caligula,  84. 

Marcblla,  daughter  of  Octavia, 
6xst  wife  of  Agrippa,  34. 

Marcblla,  second  daughter  of  Oc- 
tavia, 201. 

Marcellus,  first  husband  of  the 
younger  Octavia,  20. 

Marcellus,  Claudius,  nephew  of 
Augustus,  celebrated  by  Virgil, 
marries  the  fourth  JuUa,  his 
death,  34. 

Marcia,  grandmother  of  Julius  Cae- 
sar, 5. 

Marcius,  Ancus,  fourth  King  of 
Rome,  an  ancestor  of  JuUus  Cae- 
sar, 5. 

Marius,  Caius,  husband  of  the  first 
Julia,  5. 

Marius  (the  younger),  colleague  of 
Cinna,  cousin  of  Jtdius  Caesar,  5. 

Medullina,  Livia,  wife  of  Caligula, 

Messauna,  the  Empress,  her  ances- 
try and  marriage  to  Claudius,  109; 
her  great  beauty,  immorality,  and 
influence  over  her  husband,  109> 

887  ] 


110;  instigates  the  Emperor  to 
commit  various  crimes^  111;  poi- 
sons Vinidus^  US;  compels  Si- 
lius  to  divorce  his  wife^  114;  her 
infamous  marriage  to  Silius  dar- 
ing the  absence  of  Claudius,  115; 
her  flight  to  the  gardens  of  Lu- 
cullus,  upon  the  return  of  Clau- 
dius^ 115;  the  visit  of  her  mother 
and  her  death,  116. 

Messauna,  Statilia,  last  wife  of 
Nero,  155;  survives  his  death, 

Milady  Clarik,  cited  against  con- 
clusions of  character  drawn  fiom 
physiognomy,  184  (note). 


NiBviA,  Ennia,  Macro's  wife,  mis- 
tress of  Caligula,  who  engages 
to  marry  her  when  he  shall  be- 
come Emperor,  78 ;  murder  of,  84. 

Napoleon,  anecdote  of,  S ;  compared 
with  Caesar,  18. 

Nero,  Tiberius  Claudius,  first  hus- 
band of  the  Empress  Livia,  81 ; 
his  life,  46;  his  death,  47. 

Nero,  Tiberius.  See  Tiberius. 

Nero,  son  of  Germanicus,  marries 
his  cousin  Julia,  fidsely  accused 
by  her,  66;  is  banished  by  Tibe- 
rius, his  death,  67. 

Nero,  fifth  Roman  Emperor,  125; 
inherits  a  cruel  disposition  fiK>m 
his  paternal  ancestors,  126;  the 
product  of  a  remarkable  ances- 
,try,  127;  his  birth,  early  signs  of 
promise,  sa3dng  attributed  to  his 
father,  128;  after  banishment  of 
his  mother  and  death  of  his  fa- 
ther, lives  with  his  aunt,  Lepida, 
ibid.;  Messalina  seeks  to  destroy 
him,  129;  his  early  hatred  of 
Britannicus,  marriage  with  Oc- 
tavia,  129;  supplants  Britannicus, 

[  888 

proclaimed  Emperor  by  the  Sen- 
ate and  the  guard,  131 ;  personal 
appearance,  138;  love  of  the  fine 
arts,  133;  performs  upon  the 
stage,  drives  his  chariot  in  the 
Circus  Maximus,  133-4;  great 
extravagance,  134;  wonders  of 
his  palace,  called  the  '^  Golden 
House,"  135;  early  years  of  his 
reign  distinguished  by  mildness 
and  clemency,  135-6;  malign  in- 
fluence of  Poppaea  largely  respon- 
sible for  his  later  wickedness, 
136;  Augustine's  opinion:  ''the 
most  finished  pattern  of  wicked 
rulers,"  ibid.;  popular  belief  that 
he  survived  as  ''Antichrist,"  ibid, ; 
marries  Octavia,  137 ;  despises  his 
beautiful  wife  and  forms  a  con- 
nection with  Acte,  139;  breaks 
away  from  his  mother's  influence, 
140;  alarmed  by  his  mother's 
threats,  he  poisons  Britannicus, 
141;  attempts  to  drown  his 
mother,  145 ;  murders  his  mother, 
146;  execrates  her  memory,  147; 
murders  Seneca  and  Burrhus, 
147;  murders  Plautus,  Sylla,  and 
Domitia  Lepida,  148;  divorces 
Octavia  and  marries  Poppeea, 
149,  150;  banishes  Octavia,  but 
forced  to  recall  her  by  the  peo- 
ple, 150;  murders  Octavia,  151; 
birth  and  death  of  his  only  child, 
152;  persecutes  the  Christians, 
152;  horrible  crimes  committed 
by  him,  153;  murders  Poppeea, 
her  first  husband  and  son,  153; 
is  refused  in  marriage  by  Antonia, 
half-sister  of  Octavia,  and  mur- 
ders her,  154;  murders  Piso — 
"the  City  thronged  with  funerals, 
the  Capitol  with  victims,"  155; 
marries  Statilia  Messalina,  mur- 
ders her  husband  Vestinus,  1 55-6 ; 
banishes  Cassius  Longinus  and  at- 
tempts to  kill  him,  murders  Junia 



Lepida  and  Ldciqs  JnniosSilnnng, 
bis  last  nude  reLMiTe  of  the  blood 
of  AvtgastoB,  158;  mmders  La- 
cios  Vetos,  Antistia,  and  Sextia, 
160 ;  muiden  Baieas  Scnranas^Ser- 
▼yjayandThnsea  P8etii8,l6l,l62; 
revolt  of  the  Gank,  l6£;  Nero's 
onconeem,  revolt  of  Galba  and 
the  Spanish  province^  his  fear  and 
remorse,  l6S;  procures  poison  as 
a  final  resource,  plans  escape  to 
Parthia,  abandoned  by  his  fnends 
and  servants,  leaTes  the  Golden 
House  forever,  l64;  escapes  to 
Phaon's  villa,  bis  abject  sufferings 
and  miserable  deaUi  on  the  an- 
niversaiy  of  Octavia's  murder, 
165-6;  his  remains  buried  by 
Acte  on  the  Pincian  Hill,  l67. 


OcTAViA  Major,  daughter  of  Octa- 
vius  and  Ancharia,  20;  confused 
with  her  half-sister,  Octavia,  the 
sister  of  Augustus,  20,  120. 

Octavia  Minor,  sister  of  Augustus, 
wife  of  Marcellus,  and  of  Mark 
Antony,  20;  mother  of  the  two 
Antonias,  108;  estimates  of  her 
character,  19O;  died  from  natural 
causes,  200. 

Octavia,  daughter  of  the  Emperor 
Claudius,  betrothed  first  to  Lu- 
cius Silanus,  119;  then  to  Nero, 
120;  her  birth,  grief  of,  upon  her 
father's  death,  137;  married  to 
Nero,  139;  her  sweet  disposition 
and  elevated  character,  was  prob- 
ably a  Christian,  139;  grief  at  the 
murder  of  her  brother,  142;  di- 
vorced by  Nero,  1 49 ;  banished,  re- 
called by  Nero  because  of  the  rage 
of  the  people,  1 50 ;  falsely  accused 
by  Anicetus,  banished  to  Panda- 
taria  and  there  brutally  mur- 
dered, 151;  said  to  have  been  bap- 
tised by  the  Apostle  Peter,  152. 

OcTAvroa^Caios.  See  Caaar  AQgutns. 
OcTAVfira,  CaioSy  fiUher  of  Augustus, 

Oluus,  Titus,  father  of  Pof^MM, 
murdered  by  Sejanns,  153. 

Ormtilla,  Livia,wifeof  Caligula,  84. 

PiniNA,  JElia,  wife  of  the  Emperor 
Claudius,  is  divorced  by  him,  106L 

PiBTUs,  Thrasea,  his  elevated  char- 
acter, rouses  the  hatred  of  Nero^ 
l60;condemned  todeath^'on  gen- 
eral principles,"  I6I;  his  heroic 
death,  I62. 

Paris,  an  actor,  accuses  Agrippina 
of  conspiracy,  143. 

Passiknus,  Crispus,  the  orator,  mar* 
ries  Domitia  Lepida,  108;  after 
her  death  marries  Agrippina,  117; 
poisoned  by  his  wife,  117. 

Paulina,  LoUia,  wife  of  Caligula,  89> 
90 ;  her  murder  by  Agrippina  and 
her  immense  fortune,  120. 

Paulus,  Lucius  .£milius,  husband  of 
the  fifth  Julia,  39;  his  death,  41. 

PBDius,Quintus,  cousin  of  Augustus, 

Phaon,  freedman  of  Nero,  offers  the 
deposed  Emperor  an  asylum,  1 64. 

Physiognomy  tv.  Tacitus  and  Plu- 
tarch, 183-4,  190. 

PiNARius,  Ludus,  cousin  of  Augus- 
tus, 20. 

Piso,  Caius,  husband  of  Livia  Orcs- 
tiUa,  who  is  taken  from  him  bv 
Caligula,  84;  regains  his  wife 
after  her  divorce  by  Caligula, 

Piso,  Cneius,  governor  of  Syria, 
poisons  Germanicus,  59>  6O;  com- 
mits suicide,  60. 

Piso,  conspires  against  Nero,  put  to 
death,  154-5. 

[  889  ] 


Plancin A^  wife  of  Cneiiis  Fiao,  death 
of,  60. 

PLAUTINU8,  Aulus,  mentioned  by 
Suetonius,  probably  Rubellius 
Plautus,  148  (note). 

Plautu8,  Rubellius,  great-grandson 
of  Tiberius,  71;  murdered  by 
Nero,  72,  148. 

PoLuo,  Asinius,  the  orator,  36, 

PoMPEiA,  third  wife  of  Julius  Cse- 
sar,  7. 

PoMPEius,  Sextos,  triumvir,  his  mur- 
der, 23. 

PoMPEius,  Cneius,  triumvir,  21. 

PoMPiius,  Quintus,  father-in-law  of 
Julius  Caesar,  7. 

PoMPONiA,  first  wife  of  Agrippa,  S& 

Pontifex  Maximus,  the  office  of, 
held  by  Julius  Caesar  and  Augus- 
tus, 6,  28. 

PoppiBA,  wife  of  Otho,  marries  Nero, 
149;  instigates  him  to  destroy 
Octavia,  144;  falsely  accuses  Oc- 
tavia,  induces  Nero  to  murder 
her  rival,  150;  her  character, 
149;  death  of  her  daughter,  152; 
brutally  murdered  by  Nero,  153. 

PopPiBA,  Sabina.  See  Sabina. 

PtOLBMY,  grandson  of  Mark  Antony 
and  Qeopatn,  put  to  death  by 
Caligula,  84. 

PuLCHRA,  Claudia,  imcertainty  of 
her  relationship  to  the  flunily 
of  Caesar,  put  to  death  by  Tib^ 
rius,  64,  65, 


QuiNnuA,  conapiies  against  Calig- 
ula and  tortured  fay  nim,  9^. 



Regulus,  Memmius,  the  consul,  his 
wife  Lollia  taken  ^m  him  by  Ca- 
ligula, 89;  his  high  character  and 
Nero's  remarkable  tribute,  90. 

Sabina,  Poppeea,  mother  of  Poppaea, 
murdered  by  Messalina,  153. 

SciPio,  first  husband  of  Scribonia,  30. 

ScRiBONiA,  wife  of  Augustus,  30-1. 

ScRiBONiA,  mother  of  Crassus  Frugi, 
murder  of,  113. 

Sbjanus,  JElivis,  praetorian  prefect 
under  Tiberius,  his  unscrupulous 
character  and  evil  designs,  62; 
seduces  Livia  and  induces  her 
to  poison  Drusus,  63;  destroys 
the  fiunily  of  Germanicus,  63-5 ; 
persuades  the  Emperor  to  with- 
draw to  Capri,  is  suspected,  ac- 
cused, condenmed  to  death  and 
his  wife  and  children  murdered, 

Sbneca,  Nen>'s  preceptor,  133  ;exiled 
because  of  an  intrigue  with  Ju- 
lia, daughter  of  Germanicus,  140 
(note  £) ;  participates  in  murder  of 
Agrippina,  146;  death  of,  147. 

Serviua,  daughter  of  Soranus,  mur- 
dered by  Nero,  l6l. 

Skztia,  mother  of  Lucius  Vetus, 
murdered  by  Nero,  l60. 

SiLANA,  Junia,  the  divorced  wife  of 
Caius  Silius,  accuses  Agrippina 
of  conspiracy,  144;  her  unhappy 
life,  her  death,  ibid, 

SiLANus,  Appius  Junius,  husband 
of  Emilia  Lepida,  great-grand- 
daughter of  Augustus,  compelled 
by  Messalina  to  many  Lepida, 
incurs  the  displeasure  of  the 
Empress,  who  instigates  Claudius 
to  put  him  to  death,  112;  the 
fate  of  his  children,  112. 

SiLANUs,  Marcus,  put  to  death  by 
Caligula,  83. 

SiLANUs,  Decius,  a  lover  of  Julia, 
granddaughter  of  Augustus,  ban- 
ished by  the  first  Emperor,  82. 

[  890  ] 


SiLANUs,  Lucius,  betrothed  to  Oc- 
tavia,  the  daughter  of  Claudius, 
disgraced  and  compelled  to  com- 
mit suicide  by  Agrippina,  119. 

SiLANus,  Marcus  Junius,  the ''  Golden 
Sheep/'  137;  proconsul  of  Asia, 
poisoned  by  Agrippina,  138. 

SiLANus,  Torquatus,  suicided  by 
Nero's  order,  138. 

SiLANUs,  Lucius  Junius  Torquatus, 
the  last  male  Caesar  excepting 
Nero,  157;  murdered  by  Nero, 
his  noble  death,  158;  his  high 
character,  his  ancestry,  ^'  the  last 
spark  of  virtue,"  157,  159. 

SiLius,  Caius,  brother-in-law  of  Ca- 
ligula, 83,  114;  is  compelled  by 
Messalina  to  divorce  his  wife  and 
marry  the  Empress,  1 1 4, 1 1 5. 

SoRANUs,  Bareas,  his  high  character, 
l60 ;  falls  a  victim  to  Nero's  deter- 
mination to  '^  extirpate  virtue," 

Sylla,  the  Dictator,  banishes  Julius 
Caesar,  spares  his  life,  prophesies 
his  future  greatness,  7. 

Sylla,  Cornelius,  son-in-law  of 
Claudius,  murdered  by  Nero, 


Taurus,  Statilius,  great-grand&ther 
of  the  second  Messalina,  wife  of 
Nero,  155. 

The  Three  Men,  23. 

TiBBRius,  the  Emperor,  his  birth 
and  ancestry,  46-7;  esteemed 
by  Augustus,  early  public  ap- 
pointments, military  successes, 
47;  marries  Agrippina,  reluc- 
tantly divorces  her  and  marries 
Julia,  daughter  of  Augustus, 
48-9;  repudiates  Julia  and  re- 
tires ^m  Rome,  49;  returns  to 
Rome,  is  adopted  by  Augustus 
and   engages   actively  in  affairs 

of  State,  50;  his  hypocrisy  upon 
being  tendered  the  purple,  51; 
personal  appearance,  traits,  and 
habits,  his  militanr  ability,  51, 
53;  estimate  of  his  character, 
prophetic  remark  of  Augustus, 
53,  54;  adopts  his  nephew  Ger- 
manicus,  43;  his  posterity,  55 
et  seq.;  pride  in  his  grandchil- 
dren, 56;  considered  an  acces- 
soiy  in  murder  of  Germanicus, 
60;  appoints  Sejanus  praetorian 
prefect,  62;  Sejanus  poisons  his 
mind  against  Agrippina,  63;  ban- 
ishes Agrippina  and  drives  her  to 
suicide,  shameful  remarks  about 
her,  64,  70;  hatred  of  the  chil- 
dren of  Germanicus  and  murder 
of  Nero  and  Drusus,  65,  68-9; 
his  remarkable  conduct  upon  the 
death  of  Drusus,  69 ;  withdraws 
to  Capri,  distrust  of  Sejanus,  who 
is  charged  with  conspiracy  by  the 
Emperor  and  put  to  death,  67; 
puts  to  death  his  daughter-in-law 
Livia,  unconcern  at  death  of  his 
son,  68;  unconcern  at  death  of 
his  mother,  70;  his  great  cruelty 
and  depravity,  70,  72;  retires  to 
Misenum,  his  despairing  letter 
to  the  Senate,  72;  smothered  to 
death  by  Macro,  his  body  thrown 
into  the  Tiber,  73.  S.  Baring- 
Gould's  Estimate  of,  Note  to  Chc^, 
XII,  182. 

Tiberius  Gemellus,  grandson  of 
Tiberius,  56;  named  by  Tiberius 
as  one  of  the  imperial  heirs, 
with  Caligula,  but  dispossessed 
and  murdered  by  the  latter,  71. 

TiGELLiNus,  prompts  Nero  to  many 
crimes,  147.     ^ 

TiRiDATBs,  the  Parthian  King,  lav- 
ishly entertained  by  Nero,  134. 

Triumvirate,  the  First,  21. 

Triumvirate,  the  Second,  22. 

[891  ] 



wife   of 

155;  T 

if  Sero^     ^ 


of  P"i> ■!!■■■  T%mmimtpumt  to 
^taA  bf  Sao,  159. 

m  124u 

[  892  ] 


"Thirty  Tyrants,"  286,  289, 290, 

A  DOLPHU8,sacce88or  of  Alaric,  S6h 
-^^  Adrianople,  battle  of,  326. 
JEmuANUB,  M.  Aurelins,  Emperor,     ^^™«>  Emperor,  S68,  870. 



^!!I^!l%^^i«n''''  ""^  ^^     BAUiiNU8,DecimusC«liu8,Emperor, 

Thirty  Tyrants,"  289. 


AiBTius,  Roman  general,  under  Pk.     Bausta,    Emperor,    one    of    the 

Thirty  Tyrants,"  285. 

Afer,  Domitius,  historian  of  Tibe-     Bassianus,  C«sar,  brother-in-kw  of 

rius,  230. 

Constantine,  325,  332. 

^^l^'^l'oi^^''''  ^"^^  '^^''''^  ^     Bassianus,  Julius,  priest  of  the  Sun 
""'"  at  Emesa,  249. 

Bassianus.  See  Caracalla  and  Elaga- 

Spain,.  222. 
Alaric,  invasion  of  Italy,  360. 
Anoelo,  Michael,  315. 
Anthemius,  Emperor,  372,  373. 

Blj»us,  poisoned  by  Vitellius,  212. 

Antinous,  favorite  of  the  Emperor     Biutannicus,    educated    with    the 

Hadrian,  227. 

sons  of  Vespasian,  217. 

Antiochus,  proclaimed  Emperor  by     Byzantium,  capital  of  the  Empire 
the  Saracens,  298. 

Antoninus,  Titus  Aurelius  Fulvus 

Boionius  Arrius  (''Pius"  Antoni- 
nus), Emperor,  227,  230. 

of  the  East,  333. 


CiBCiNA,  consul  under  Vitellius,  213. 

Apkr,  pnetorian  prefect  under  Nu-     CiBNis,a  mistress  of  Vespasian,  217. 

merianus,  307,  308. 

Arbooastbs,  general  under  Valen- 
tinian  II,  355,  358,  359. 

CANomiANus,  son  of  the  Emperor 
Galerius,  put  to  death  by  Licin- 
ius,  324. 

Arcadius,  Emperor  of  the  East,  359.     ^^""^>  Statilius,  a  Roman  knight, 

XA  I  • 

Arch  of  Titus,  217. 

Artaxkrxes,  invades  Roman  Asia., 

Attila,  invasion  of  Italy,  364,  365. 

Augustine,  St,  2l6. 

CAPrro,  Fortenis,  assumes  imperial 
rights  in  Lower  Germany,  211. 

Caracalla    (Bassianus),    Emperor, 

Carinus,  Emperor,  307-9* 
AuGusTULus,  Romulus,  last  Roman     Carus,  Marcus  Aurelius,  Emperor, 

Emperor,  374. 


AuREUAN  (L.  Domitius  Aurelianos),     Castle  of  St  Angelo,  228. 

Emperor,  297-300. 
Aurelius,  Marcus,  Emperor,  230-3. 
AuRBOLUs,   Emperor,  one   of  the 

Cclsis,  Emperor,  one  of  the  ^'Thirty 

Tyrants,"  289. 
Chilons,  battle  of,  364. 

[  898  ] 


Chxysopolis,  battle  of,  326. 

Claudius  II  (Marcus  Aurelius  Gau- 
dius).  Emperor,  293-€. 

Clbandbr,  favorite  of  Commodiis, 

Clodius  Albinus,  Emperor,  243-6. 

CoimoDUs,  Marcos  Lucius  .£lios. 
Emperor,  235-9. 

CoNSTANS,  Emperor,  334-6. 

CoNSTANTiA,  Emprcss,  wife  of  lidn- 
ius,  323. 

CoNSTAMTiA,  Flavia,  Empress,  wife 
of  Gratian,  353. 

CONSTANTINA,     SlStCT     of     CoDStaO- 

tius  II,  336,  337. 

CoNSTANTiNB,  Flavius  Valerius  Au- 
relius (the  Great),  Emperor,  3l6, 

CoNSTANTiNK  II,  Empcror,  life  of, 

CoNSTANTiNB,  a  Roman  soldier,  res- 
cues and  marries  Pladdia,  362. 

Constantinople,  building  of,  SSS. 

CoNSTANTius  I  (Flavius  ''Chlorus"), 
Emperor,  31 1-l6. 

CoNSTANnus  II,  Emperor,  life  of, 

Council  of  Nice,  330. 

Crassus,  a  Roman  senator,  attempts 
to  assassinate  Trajan,  224. 

Cremona,  destroyed  by  Flavians,  214. 

Crispina,  Empress,  wife  of  Commo- 
dus,  banished  to  Capri,  238. 

Crispus,  son  of  Constantine,  331; 
put  to  death  by  Constantine,  332. 

Cyriades,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
''Thirty  Tyrants,"  285. 


Dalmatius,  nephew  of  Constantine, 

Daza.  See  Mazimin  Dasa. 

Decius,  C.  Messius  Quintus  Tm- 
janus.  Emperor,  273-5. 

DiADUMENIANUS,    SOU     of    EmpeTOT 

Macrinus,  proclaimed  Caesar,  256. 

DiDius,  Emperor,  241-2. 

Diocletian  (Marcus  Aurelius  Vale- 
rius Diodetianus),  Emperor,  308— 

Dion,  statement  of  murders  under 
Commodus,  237. 

DoLABBLLA,  Comclius,  victlm  of  Vi- 
tellius,  212. 

DoMrriAN,  Emperor,  217-18. 

DoMmLLA,  Flavia,  Empress,  wife  of 
Vespasian,  21 6,  222. 

DoMNA,  Julia,  Empress,  wife  of  Se- 
venis,  249>  252. 


Edict  of  Milan,  330. 
Elagabalus,  the  sun-god,  249. 

Elaoabalus  (Varius  Avitus  Bassia- 
nus),  258-01. 

Emesa,  black  stone  of,  259>  262. 

EuDoxiA,  Empress,  wife  of  Valen- 
tinian  II,  366,  368. 

EuDoxiA,  wife  of  Theodosius  II, 
Emperor  of  the  East,  366  (moie). 

EuDoxiA,  daughter  of  Valentinian 
III,  366. 

EuGENius,  tool  of  Arbogastes,  358. 

EusEBiA,  Empress,  wife  of  Constan- 
tins  II,  337,  338. 

EusEBius,  baptiaes  Constantine,  334. 

EuTRopiA,  killed  by  Magnentius, 


Fausta,  Empress,  wife  of  Constan- 
tine, 331. 

Faustina,  Annia,  Empress,  wife  of 
Ekgabalus,  260. 

[  894  ] 


Faustina^  Empress^  wife  of  Titos 
Antoninus^  229>  232. 

Flacx:illa^  ^ia.  Empress^  wife  of 
Theodosius^  $59. 

Florian  (M.  Annius  Florianus)^ 
Emperor^  SOS. 


Galba^  Servius  SulpiduSy  Emperor^ 

207,  212. 
Galerius,  Emperor,  311,  320. 

Galla,  Empress,  wife  of  Theodo- 
sius^  354,  358,  359. 

Galuenus,  Emperor,  278-91* 

Gallus,  C.  Vibius  Trebonianus, 
Emperor,  275-8. 

Gbnseric,  King  of  the  Vandals,  Eu- 
doxia  makes  overtures  to,  367; 
promises  to  molest  Italy  no  more^ 

Geta^  Emperor,  250,  251. 

Glycbrius,  Emperor,  373. 

Gorman  I,  Emperor,  267-8. 

GoRDiAN  II,  Emperor,  268. 

GoRDiAN  III,  Emperor,  270-2. 

Gratian,  Emperor,  348-53. 

GuNDOBALD,  succeeds  Ricimer,  the 
'^  King-maker,"  373. 


Hadrian  (Publius  ^lius  Hadria- 
nus).  Emperor,  225-8. 

Hannibalianus,  nephew  of  Constan- 
tine,  334. 

Helena,  Julia  Flavia  (''St  He- 
lena"), mother  of  Constantine, 
326,  327. 

Herrennius,  Quintus,  son  of  the 
Emperor  Decius,  proclaimed  Ctt^ 

sar,  274. 

HoNORiA,  granddaughter  of  Theodo- 
sius,  romantic  career  of,  364, 366. 

HoNORius,  Emperor,  359-61. 

HosnuANUs,  Valens,  son  of  the 
Emperor  Decius,  proclaimed  G^ 
sar,  274;  associated  in  the  Em- 
pire, 275. 

Inoenuus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  289,  290. 

John,  Emperor,  361-3. 

Jovian,  Emperor,  344-€. 

JuuA,  daughter  of  Titus,  218;  mar- 
ries her  uncle  Domitian,  220. 

Julian,  Emperor^  335,  338-43. 

JusTiNA,  Empress,  wife  of  Valen- 
tinian,  348,  352,  354. 

Ljelianus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  283. 

Ljetus,  assists  in  killing  Commodus, 
239;  moves  to  make  Pertinax 
Emperor,  240;  his  great  cavalry 
charge,  245. 

Lampridius,  characterization  of 
Commodus,  235,  237;  accuses 
Julia  Soeemias,  259. 

LiciNiANus,  Piso,  murder  of,  by 
Otho,  209. 

LiciNiANus, '  son  of  the  Emperor 
Lidnius,  put  to  death  by  Con- 
stantine, 332. 

LiciNius,  Emperor,  316-26. 

LoNoiNA,  Domitia,  Empress,  wife 
of  Domitian,  220. 

LuciLLA,  mother  of  Marcus  Aure- 
lius,  230. 

LuaLLA,  sister  of  Commodus,  wife 
of  Lucius  Aurelius  Verus.  231. 


Macrianus,   Emperor,  one  of  the 
Thirty  Tyrants,"  285, 288. 


[  895  ] 


Macrinus,  Marcos  Opelius,  Em- 
peror, 255-9> 

Mm8a,  Julia,  sister  of  the  Empress 
Julia  Domna,  249;  banished  to 
Emesa,  257. 

Maonentius,  Emperor,  SS6,  337. 

Majorian,  Julianus,  Emperor,  370, 

Mamjba,  Julia,  sister  of  Empress 
Julia  Domna,  249;  banished  to 
Emesa,  257 ;  saves  the  life  of  her 
son  Alexander,  260,  26l ;  charac- 
ter of,  262. 

Marcblunus,  grand&ther  of  the 
Emperor  Hadrian,  225. 

Marcia,  mistress  of  Commodus, 
238 ;  poisons  Commodus,  239. 

Maria,  Empress,  wife  of  Honorius, 

Marius,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
^Thirty  Tyrants,"  283. 

Maxentius,  Emperor,  31 6,  323. 

Maximian,  Emperor,  311-24. 

Maximin  I  (Caius  Julius  Verus), 
Emperor,  265, 266,  269. 

Maximin  II  (Dasa),  Emperor, 

Maximus,  Emperor,  352-4. 

Maximus,  Petronius,  Emperor,  367- 

Mbnestheus,  chief  conspirator 
against  Aurelian,  death  of,  300. 

Minbrvina,  first  wife  of  Constan- 
tine,  331.    ' 

Mursa,  battle  of,  337. 


Nepos,  Julius,  Emperor,  373. 

Nepotianus,  nephew  of  Constan- 
tius,  SS6. 

Nerva,  Cocceius,  Emperor,  220-2. 

Niger,  Pescennius,  Emperor,  236, 
242,  246. 

NioRiNus,  Caius,  put  to  death  for 
his  conspiracy  against  Hadrian, 


Nissa,  battle  of,  295. 
NuMERiANUS,  Emperor,  307-0. 


Odbnathus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
**Thirty  Tyrants,"  285-7. 

Odoacer,  conqueror  of  Rome  and 
master  of  the  Palatine,  375. 

Olybrius,  Emperor,  373. 

Orbiana,  Gnea  Seia  Herennia  Sal- 
lustia  Barbia,  Empress,  wife  of 
Alexander  Severus,  264. 

Orestes,  Roman  general,  374-5. 

Orioen,  correspondence  with  Julia 
Mamea,  262. 

Otho,  Emperor,  life  of,  208,  211. 

Papinian,  counsellor  of  Severus,  248 ; 
death  of,  253. 

Pkrennis,  fiivorite  of  Commodus, 

Pbrtinax,  Emperor,  236,  239>  243. 

Philip  (M.  Julius  Philippus),  Em- 
peror, 271-3. 

Phiuppus,  M.  Junius,  son  of  the 
Emperor  Philip,  proclaimed  Cce- 
sar,  272. 

PiPA,  &Torite  of  Gallienus,  281. 

Piso,  Calpumius,  Emperor,  one  of 
the  ''Thirty  Tyrants,"  288. 

Placidia,  daughter  of  Theodosius, 
359;  detained  by  Alaric  as  hos- 
tage, 362;  delegated  to  exercise 
imperial  power,  363,  364. 

Placidia,  Empress,  wife  of  Oly- 
brius, 368. 

Plautianus,  prefect  under  Severus, 

[  896  ] 


PukimLLA^  Empress^  wife  of  Cara- 
calla,  251. 

PuNY^  panegyrics  of,  223. 

Plotina,  Empress,  wife  of  Trajan, 
223,  225. 

PoMPBiANus,  son-in-law  of  Marcus 
Aurelius,  232. 

PoMPONius,  general  under  Maxen- 
tius,  322. 

PosTUMUs,   Emperor,   one   of   the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  282. 

Prisca,  Empress,  wife  of  Diocletian, 
315,  324. 

Friscus,  brother  of  the  Emperor 
Philip,  273. 

Probus,  Emperor,  299^  303-6. 

Procopius,  favorite  general  of  Ju- 
lian, 342,  343,  349. 

PupiENus,  Clodius,  Mazimus,  Em- 
peror, 268-70. 


QuADRATUs,  friend  of  Ludlla,  sister 
of  Commodus,  236. 

Quietus,    Emperor,    one    of    the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  286. 

QuiNTiLLUs,  M.  Aurelius,  Emperor, 


Ravenna,  battle  of,  36l. 

Rboauanus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  290. 

RiciMER,  Count,  the  "King-maker," 
869,  373. 

Rome,  sacked  by  the  Goths  under 
Alaric,  360. 


Sabina,  Empress,  wife  of  Hadrian, 

Sallust,  praetorian  prefect,  tendered 
the  purple,  344,  346. 

Salonina,  Empress,  wife  of  Gallie- 
nus,  281. 

Saloninus,  Csesar,  son  of  the  Em- 
peror Gallienus,  282. 

Sapor,  King  of  Persia,  captures  the 
Emperor  Valerian,  280. 

Saturninus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  288. 

Saxa  Rubra,  battle  of,  322. 

Scavola,  jurisconsult,  246. 

Serena,  niece  of  Theodosius,  360. 

Severa,  Marcia  Otacilia,  Empress, 
wife  of  Philip,  272. 

Severa,  Julia  Aquilia,  Empress,  wife 
of  Elagabalus,  260. 

Severa,  Valeria,  Empress,  wife  of 
Valentiiiian  I,  348. 

Severianus,  son  of  the  Emperor 
Severus,  coadjutor  of  Galerius, 

Severus,  Septimius,  Emperor,  life  of, 
236,  239,  242,  246,  250. 

Severus,  Alexander,  Emperor,  260, 
261,  265. 

Severus,  Emperor,  314,  316,  318. 

Severus,  Libius,  Emperor,  372. 

Six  Shadows,  372,  376. 

SoiEMiAS,  Julia,  mother  of  Elagaba- 
lus, 249,  257,  259,  260,  262. 

Stephanus,  assassinates  Domitian, 

SnucHo,  a  celebrated  Roman  gen- 
eral under  Honorius,  360. 

SuLPiaANUs,  father-in-law  of  the 
Emperor  Pertinax,  bids  for  the 
pittple,  241. 


TAcrru8,ihe  historian,  207, 209, 212. 

TAcrrus,  M.Claudius,  Emperor,  300- 

Tetricus,  Pius  Esuvius,  Emperor, 

[  897  ] 


one  of  the  "Thirty  Tyrante,"  281, 

Theodora,  Empress,  wife  of  Con- 
stantius  Chlorus,  812,  880. 

TiuoDosivs,  Emperor,  855-9;  Em- 
peror  of  the  East,  849. 

Thbodosius,  son  of  Arcadius,  Em- 
peror of  the  East,  862. 

Theodotus,  conquers  the  usurper 
.fimilianus,  one  of  the ''Thirty 
Tyrants,"  289. 

Thessalonica,  massacre  in,  356. 

Thirty  Tyrants,  the,  282. 

TiMBsmiEus,  counsellor  of  Gordian 

III,  271. 
Trrus,  Emperor,  216-18. 

Trajan  (M.  Ulpius  Trajanus),  Em- 
peror, 222-5. 

Tranquiluna^  Empress,  wife  of 
Gordian  III,  270. 

Trebbluanus,  Emperor,  one  of  the 
"Thirty  Tyrants,"  288,  289. 

Ulpian,  jurisconsult,  264. 


Valbns,  consul  under  Vitellius,  21 1, 

VAiJENs,Emperor,  one  of  the^Thirty 
Tyrants,"  288. 

Valens,  Emperor,  849-51. 

Valeria,  wife  of  Galerius,  812, 824. 

Valerian  (Publius  Lidnius  Vale- 
rianus)^  Emperor,  277-80. 

Valenttnian  I,  Emperor,  846,  850. 

Valentinian  II,  Emperor,  849-51. 

Valentinian  III,  Emperor,  868-6. 

Vbrus,  Lucius  Aurelius,  adopted  by 
Hadrian,  227;  associated  in  im- 
perial power  with  Marcus  Aure- 
lius, 281 ;  death,  282. 

Vbrus,  Marcus  Annius.  See  Aure- 
lius, Marcus. 

Vespasian  (Titus  Flavins  Vespasi- 
anus).  Emperor,  218,  214,  217, 

Vetranio,  an  Illyrian  usurper,  336. 

VicroRiNA,  mother  of  the  Emperor 
Victorinus,  284. 

VicroRiNus,  Marcus  Piavonius,  Em- 
peror, one  of  the  "Thkty  Ty- 
rants," 288. 

ViNius,  murdered  by  Otho,  209. 

VnvLLius,  Aulus,  Emperor,  21 0, 211, 

VoLUsiANUs,  son  of  the  Emperor 
Gallus,  proclaimed  Emperor  but 
does  not  reign,  276. 


Zbnobia,  Queen  of  Palmyra,  286, 
298,  299.