The Lives of the Twelve Caesars
C. Suetonius Tranquillus
I. That the family of the Octavii was of the first distinction in Velitrae [a town in the ancient Volscian territory, standing on the verge of the Pontine Marshes, on the road to Naples], is rendered evident by many circumstances. For in the most frequented part of the town, there was, not long since, a street named the Octavian; and an altar was to be seen, consecrated to one Octavius, who being chosen general in a war with some neighboring people, the enemy making a sudden attack, while he was sacrificing to Mars, he immediately snatched the entrails of the victim from off the fire, and offered them half raw upon the altar; after which, marching out to battle, he returned victorious. This incident gave rise to a law, by which it was enacted, that in all future times the entrails should be offered to Mars in the same manner; and the rest of the victim be carried to the Octavii.
II. This family, as well as several in Rome, was admitted into the senate by Tarquinius Priscus, and soon afterwards placed by Servius Tullius among the patricians; but in process of time it transferred itself to the plebeian order, and, after the lapse of a long interval, was restored by Julius Caesar to the rank of patricians. The first person of the family raised by the suffrages of the people to the magistracy, was Caius Rufus. He obtained the quaestorship, and had two sons, Cneius and Caius; from whom are descended the two branches of the Octavian family, which have had very different fortunes. For Cneius, and his descendants in uninterrupted succession, held all the highest offices of the state; whilst Caius and his posterity, whether from their circumstances or their choice, remained in the equestrian order until the father of Augustus.
The great-grandfather of Augustus served as a military tribune in the second Punic war in Sicily, under the command of Aemilius Pappus. His grandfather contented himself with bearing the public offices of his own municipality, and grew old in the tranquil enjoyment of an ample patrimony. Such is the account given by different authors. Augustus himself, however, tells us nothing more than that he was descended of an equestrian family, both ancient and rich, of which his father was the first who obtained the rank of senator. Mark Antony upbraidingly tells him that his great-grandfather was a freedman of the territory of Thurium [a territory in Magna Graecia, on the coast, near Tarentum], and a rope-maker, and his grandfather a usurer. This is all the information I have any where met with, respecting the ancestors of Augustus by the father's side.
III. His father Caius Octavius was, from his earliest years, a person both of opulence and distinction: for which reason I am surprised at those who say that he was a money-dealer [argentarius; a banker, one who dealt in exchanging money,as well as lent his own funds at interest to borrowers], and was employed in scattering bribes, and canvassing for the candidates at elections, in the Campus Martius. For being bred up in all the affluence of a great estate, he attained with ease to honorable posts, and discharged the duties of them with much distinction. After his praetorship, he obtained by lot the province of Macedonia; in his way to which he cut off some banditti, the relics of the armies of Spartacus and Catiline, who had possessed themselves of the territory of Thurium; having received from the senate an extraordinary commission for that purpose. In his government of the province, he conducted himself with equal justice and resolution; for he defeated the Bessians and Thracians in a great battle, and treated the allies of the republic in such a manner, that there are extant letters from M. Tullius Cicero, in which he advises and exhorts his brother Quintus, who then held the proconsulship of Asia with no great reputation, to imitate the example of his neighbour Octavius, in gaining the affections of the allies of Rome.
IV. After quitting Macedonia, before he could declare himself a candidate for the consulship, he died suddenly, leaving behind him a daughter, the elder Octavia, by Ancharia; and another daughter, Octavia the younger, as well as Augustus, by Atia, who was the daughter of Marcus Atius Balbus, and Julia, sister to Caius Julius Caesar. Balbus was, by the father's side, of a family who were natives of Aricia [a town of the Campagna di Roma, on the Appian Way, about ten miles from Rome], and many of whom had been in the senate. By the mother's side he was nearly related to Pompey the Great; and after he had borne the office of praetor, was one of the twenty commissioners appointed by the Julian law to divide the land in Campania among the people.
But Mark Antony, treating with contempt Augustus's descent even by the mother's side, says that his great grand-father was of African descent, and at one time kept a perfumer's shop, and at another, a bake-house, in Aricia. And Cassius of Parma, in a letter, taxes Augustus with being the son not only of a baker, but a usurer. These are his words: "Thou art a lump of thy mother's meal, which a money-changer of Nerulum taking from the newest bake-house of Aricia, kneaded into some shape, with his hands all discoloured by the fingering of money."
V. Augustus was born in the consulship of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Caius Antonius [A.U.C. 691. A.C. (before Christ) 61], upon the ninth of the calends of October [the 23rd September], a little before sunrise, in the quarter of the Palatine Hill [the Palatine hill was not only the first seat of the colony of Romulus, but gave its name to the first and principal of the four regions into which the city was divided], and the street called The Ox-Heads [there were seven streets or quarters in the Palatine region, one of which was called "Ad Capita Bubula," either from the butchers' stalls at which ox-heads are hung up for sale, or from their being sculptured on some edifice], where now stands a chapel dedicated to him, and built a little after his death. For, as it is recorded in the proceedings of the senate, when Caius Laetorius, a young man of a patrician family, in pleading before the senators for a lighter sentence, upon his being convicted of adultery, alleged, besides his youth and quality, that he was the possessor, and as it were the guardian, of the ground which the Divine Augustus first touched upon his coming into the world; and entreated that he might find favor, for the sake of that deity, who was in a peculiar manner his; an act of the senate was passed, for the consecration of that part of his house in which Augustus was born.
VI. His nursery is shown to this day, in a villa belonging to the family, in the suburbs of Velitrae; being a very small place, and much like a pantry. An opinion prevails in the neighborhood, that he was also born there. Into this place no person presumes to enter, unless upon necessity, and with great devotion, from a belief, for a long time prevalent, that such as rashly enter it are seized with great horror and consternation, which a short while since was confirmed by a remarkable incident. For when a new inhabitant of the house had, either by mere chance, or to try the truth of the report, taken up his lodging in that apartment, in the course of the night, a few hours afterwards, he was thrown out by some sudden violence, he knew not how, and was found in a state of stupefaction, with the coverlid of his bed, before the door of the chamber.
VII. While he was yet an infant, the surname of Thurinus was given him, in memory of the birth-place of his family, or because, soon after he was born, his father Octavius had been successful against the fugitive slaves, in the country near Thurium. That he was surnamed Thurinus, I can affirm upon good foundation, for when a boy, I had a small bronze statue of him, with that name upon it in iron letters, nearly effaced by age, which I presented to the emperor [Adrian, to whom Suetonius was secretary], by whom it is now revered amongst the other tutelary deities in his chamber. He is also often called Thurinus contemptuously, by Mark Antony in his letters; to which he makes only this reply: "I am surprised that my former name should be made a subject of reproach."
He afterwards assumed the name of Caius Caesar, and then of Augustus; the former in compliance with the will of his great-uncle, and the latter upon a motion of Munatius Plancus in the senate. For when some proposed to confer upon him the name of Romulus, as being, in a manner, a second founder of the city, it was resolved that he should rather be called Augustus, a surname not only new, but of more dignity, because places devoted to religion, and those in which anything is consecrated by augury, are denominated august, either from the word auctus, signifying augmentation, or ab avium gestu, gustuve, from the flight and feeding of birds; as appears from this verse of Ennius:
When glorious Rome by august augury was built.
VIII. He lost his father when he was only four years of age; and, in his twelfth year, pronounced a funeral oration in praise of his grand-mother Julia. Four years afterwards, having assumed the robe of manhood, he was honored with several military rewards by Caesar in his African triumph, although he took no part in the war, on account of his youth. Upon his uncle's expedition to Spain against the sons of Pompey, he was followed by his nephew, although he was scarcely recovered from a dangerous sickness; and after being shipwrecked at sea, and travelling with very few attendants through roads that were infested with the enemy, he at last came up with him. This activity gave great satisfaction to his uncle, who soon conceived an increasing affection for him, on account of such indications of character.
After the subjugation of Spain, while Caesar was meditating an expedition against the Dacians and Parthians, he was sent before him to Apollonia, where he applied himself to his studies; until receiving intelligence that his uncle was murdered, and that he was appointed his heir, he hesitated for some time whether he should call to his aid the legions stationed in the neighborhood; but he abandoned the design as rash and premature. However, returning to Rome, he took possession of his inheritance, although his mother was apprehensive that such a measure might be attended with danger, and his step-father, Marcius Philippus, a man of consular rank, very earnestly dissuaded him from it. From this time, collecting together a strong military force, he first held the government in conjunction with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, then with Antony only, for nearly twelve years, and at last in his own hands during a period of four and forty.
IX. Having thus given a very short summary of his life, I shall prosecute the several parts of it, not in order of time, but arranging his acts into distinct classes, for the sake of perspicuity. He was engaged in five civil wars, namely those of Modena, Philippi, Perugia, Sicily, and Actium; the first and last of which were against Antony, and the second against Brutus and Cassius; the third against Lucius Antonius, the triumvir's brother, and the fourth against Sextus Pompeius, the son of Cneius Pompeius.
X. The motive which gave rise to all these wars was the opinion he entertained that both his honor and interest were concerned in revenging the murder of his uncle, and maintaining the state of affairs he had established. Immediately after his return from Apollonia, he formed the design of taking forcible and unexpected measures against Brutus and Cassius; but they having foreseen the danger and made their escape, he resolved to proceed against them by an appeal to the laws in their absence, and impeach them for the murder. In the mean time, those whose province it was to prepare the sports in honor of Caesar's last victory in the civil war, not daring to do it, he undertook it himself. And that he might carry into effect his other designs with greater authority, he declared himself a candidate in the room of a tribune of the people who happened to die at that time, although he was of a patrician family, and had not yet been in the senate.
But the consul, Mark Antony, from whom he had expected the greatest assistance, opposing him in his suit, and even refusing to do him so much as common justice, unless gratified with a large bribe, he went over to the party of the nobles, to whom he perceived Sylla to be odious, chiefly for endeavoring to drive Decius Brutus, whom he besieged in the town of Modena, out of the province, which had been given him by Caesar, and confirmed to him by the senate. At the instigation of persons about him, he engaged some ruffians to murder his antagonist; but the plot being discovered, and dreading a similar attempt upon himself, he gained over Caesar's veteran soldiers, by distributing among them all the money he could collect.
Being now commissioned by the senate to command the troops he had gathered, with the rank of praetor, and in conjunction with Hirtius and Pansa, who had accepted the consulship, to carry assistance to Decius Brutus, he put an end to the war by two battles in three months. Antony writes, that in the former of these he ran away, and two days afterwards made his appearance without his general's cloak and his horse. In the last battle, however, it is certain that he performed the part not only of a general, but a soldier; for, in the heat of the battle; when the standard-bearer of his legion was severely wounded, he took the eagle upon his shoulders, and carried it a long time.
XI. In this war [A.U.C. 711], Hirtius being slain in battle, and Pansa dying a short time afterwards of a wound, a report was circulated that they both were killed through his means, in order that, when Antony fled, the republic having lost its consuls, he might have the victorious armies entirely at his own command. The death of Pansa was so fully believed to have been caused by undue means, that Glyco, his surgeon, was placed in custody, on a suspicion of having poisoned his wound. And to this, Aquilius Niger adds, that he killed Hirtius, the other consul, in the confusion of the battle, with his own hands.
XII. But upon intelligence that Antony, after his defeat, had been received by Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the generals and armies had all declared for the senate, he, without any hesitation, deserted from the party of the nobles; alleging as an excuse for his conduct, the actions and sayings of several amongst them; for some said, "he was a mere boy," and others threw out, "that he ought to be promoted to honors, and cut off," to avoid the making any suitable acknowledgment either to him or the veteran legions. And the more to testify his regret for having before attached himself to the other faction, he fined the Nursini in a large sum of money, which they were unable to pay, and then expelled them from the town, for having inscribed upon a monument, erected at the public charge to their countrymen who were slain in the battle of Modena, "That they fell in the cause of liberty."
XIII. Having entered into a confederacy with Antony and Lepidus, he brought the war at Philippi to an end in two battles, although he was at that time weak, and suffering from sickness [A.U.C. 712]. In the first battle he was driven from his camp, and with some difficulty made his escape to the wing of the army commanded by Antony. And now, intoxicated with success, he sent the head of Brutus [after being defeated in the second engagement, Brutus retired to a hill, and slew himself in the night] to be cast at the foot of Caesar's statue, and treated the most illustrious of the prisoners not only with cruelty, but with abusive language; insomuch that he is said to have answered one of them who humbly entreated that at least he might not remain unburied, "That will be in the power of the birds."
Two others, father and son, who begged for their lives, he ordered to cast lots which of them should live, or settle it between themselves by the sword; and was a spectator of both their deaths: for the father offering his life to save his son, and being accordingly executed, the son likewise killed himself upon the spot. On this account, the rest of the prisoners, and amongst them Marcus Favonius, Cato's rival, being led up in fetters, after they had saluted Antony, the general, with much respect, reviled Octavius in the foulest language. After this victory, dividing between them the offices of the state, Mark Antony [the triumvir] undertook to restore order in the east, while Caesar conducted the veteran soldiers back to Italy, and settled them in colonies on the lands belonging to the municipalities. But he had the misfortune to please neither the soldiers nor the owners of the lands; one party complaining of the injustice done them, in being violently ejected from their possessions, and the other, that they were not rewarded according to their merit. [Virgil was one of the fugitives, having narrowly escaped being killed by the centurion Ario; and being ejected from his farm. Eclog. i.]
XIV. At this time he obliged Lucius Antony [there were three distinguished brothers of the name of Antony; Mark, the consul; Caius, who was praetor; and Lucius, a tribune of the people], who, presuming upon his own authority as consul, and his brother's power, was raising new commotions, to fly to Perugia, and forced him, by famine, to surrender at last, although not without having been exposed to great hazards, both before the war and during its continuance. For a common soldier having got into the seats of the equestrian order in the theatre, at the public spectacles, Caesar ordered him to be removed by an officer; and a rumor being thence spread by his enemies, that he had put the man to death by torture, the soldiers flocked together so much enraged, that he narrowly escaped with his life. The only thing that saved him, was the sudden appearance of the man, safe and sound, no violence having been offered him. And whilst he was sacrificing under the walls of Perugia, he nearly fell into the hands of a body of gladiators, who sallied out of the town.
XV. After the taking of Perugia [A.U.C. 714], he sentenced a great number of the prisoners to death, making only one reply to all who implored pardon, or endeavored to excuse themselves, "You must die." Some authors write, that three hundred of the two orders, selected from the rest, were slaughtered, like victims, before an altar raised to Julius Caesar, upon the ides of March [15th April] [the anniversary of Julius Caesar's death]. Nay, there are some who relate, that he entered upon the war with no other view, than that his secret enemies, and those whom fear more than affection kept quiet, might be detected, by declaring themselves, now they had an opportunity, with Lucius Antony at their head; and that having defeated them, and confiscated their estates, he might be enabled to fulfill his promises to the veteran soldiers.
XVI. He soon commenced the Sicilian war, but it was protracted by various delays during a long period [A.U.C. 712-718]; at one time for the purpose of repairing his fleets, which he lost twice by storm, even in the summer; at another, while patching up a peace, to which he was forced by the clamors of the people, in consequence of a famine occasioned by Pompey's cutting off the supply of corn by sea. But at last, having built a new fleet, and obtained twenty thousand manumitted slaves [the Romans employed slaves in their wars only in cases of great emergency, and with much reluctance. After the great slaughter at the battle of Cannae, eight thousand were bought and armed by the republic. Augustus was the first who manumitted them, and employed them as rowers in his gallies], who were given him for the oar, he formed the Julian harbor at Baiae, by letting the sea into the Lucrine and Avernian lakes; and having exercised his forces there during the whole winter, he defeated Pompey betwixt Mylae and Naulochus; although just as the engagement commenced, he suddenly fell into such a profound sleep, that his friends were obliged to wake him to give the signal. This, I suppose, gave occasion for Antony's reproach: "You were not able to take a clear view of the fleet, when drawn up in line of battle, but lay stupidly upon your back, gazing at the sky; nor did you get up and let your men see you, until Marcus Agrippa had forced the enemies' ships to sheer off."
Others imputed to him both a saying and an action which were indefensible; for, upon the loss of his fleets by storm, he is reported to have said: "I will conquer in spite of Neptune;" and at the next Circensian games, he would not suffer the statue of that God to be carried in procession as usual. Indeed he scarcely ever ran more or greater risks in any of his wars than in this. Having transported part of his army to Sicily, and being on his return for the rest, he was unexpectedly attacked by Demochares and Apollophanes, Pompey's admirals, from whom he escaped with great difficulty, and with one ship only. Likewise, as he was travelling on foot through the Locrian territory to Rhegium, seeing two of Pompey's vessels passing by that coast, and supposing them to be his own, he went down to the shore, and was very nearly taken prisoner.
On this occasion,
as he was making his escape by some bye-ways, a slave belonging to Aemilius
Paulus, who accompanied him, owing him a grudge for the
proscription of Paulus, the father of Aemilius, and thinking he had now
an opportunity of revenging it, attempted to assassinate him. After the
defeat of Pompey, one of his colleagues [in the
triumvirate, consisting of Augustus, Mark Antony,
XVII. The alliance between him and Antony, which had always been precarious, often interrupted, and ill cemented by repeated reconciliations, he at last entirely dissolved. And to make it known to the world how far Antony had degenerated from patriotic feelings, he caused a will of his, which had been left at Rome, and in which he had nominated Cleopatra's children, amongst others, as his heirs, to be opened and read in an assembly of the people. Yet upon his being declared an enemy, he sent to him all his relations and friends, among whom were Caius Sosius and Titus Domitius, at that time consuls. He likewise spoke favorably in public of the people of Bologna, for joining in the association with the rest of Italy to support his cause, because they had, in former times, been under the protection of the family of the Antonii. And not long afterwards he defeated him in a naval engagement near Actium, which was prolonged to so late an hour, that, after the victory, he was obliged to sleep on board his ship.
From Actium he went to the isle of Samoa to winter; but being alarmed with the accounts of a mutiny amongst the soldiers he had selected from the main body of his army sent to Brundisium after the victory, who insisted on their being rewarded for their service and discharged, he returned to Italy. In his passage thither, he encountered two violent storms, the first between the promontories of Peloponnesus and Aetolia, and the other about the Ceraunian mountains; in both which a part of his Liburnian squadron was sunk, the spars and rigging of his own ship carried away, and the rudder broken in pieces. He remained only twenty-seven days at Brundisium, until the demands of the soldiers were settled, and then went, by way of Asia and Syria, to Egypt, where laying siege to Alexandria, whither Antony had fled with Cleopatra, he made himself master of it in a short time.
He drove Antony to kill himself, after he had used every effort to obtain conditions of peace, and he saw his corpse [there is no other authority for Augustus having viewed Antony's corpse]. Cleopatra he anxiously wished to save for his triumph; and when she was supposed to have been bit to death by an asp, he sent for the Psylli [the Psylli were a people of Africa, celebrated for sucking the poison from wounds inflicted by serpents, with which that country anciently abounded] to endeavor to suck out the poison. He allowed them to be buried together in the same grave, and ordered a mausoleum, begun by themselves, to be completed. The eldest of Antony's two sons by Fulvia he commanded to be taken by force from the statue of Julius Caesar, to which he had fled, after many fruitless supplications for his life, and put him to death. The same fate attended Caesario, Cleopatra's son by Caesar, as he pretended, who had fled for his life, but was retaken. The children which Antony had by Cleopatra he saved, and brought up and cherished in a manner suitable to their rank, just as if they had been his own relations.
XVIII. At this time he had a desire to see the sarcophagus and body of
Alexander the Great, which, for that purpose, were taken out of the cell
in which they rested [Strabo informs us that
Ptolemy caused it to be deposited in a golden sarcophagus, which was
afterwards exchanged for one of glass]; and after viewing them for some time, he
paid honors to the memory of that prince, by offering a golden crown, and
scattering flowers upon the body [a custom of all
ages and of people the most remote from
He reduced Egypt into the form of a province and to render it more fertile, and more capable of supplying Rome with corn, he employed his army to scour the canals, into which the Nile, upon its rise, discharges itself; but which during a long series of years had become nearly choked up with mud. To perpetuate the glory of his victory at Actium, he built the city of Nicopolis on that part of the coast, and established games to be celebrated there every five years; enlarging likewise an old temple of Apollo, he ornamented with naval trophies [formed of the prows of ships] the spot on which he had pitched his camp, and consecrated it to Neptune and Mars.
XIX. He afterwards [A.U.C. 721] quashed several tumults and insurrections, as well as several conspiracies against his life, which were discovered, by the confession of accomplices, before they were ripe for execution; and others subsequently. Such were those of the younger Lepidus, of Varro Muraena, and Fannius Caepio; then that of Marcus Egnatius, afterwards that of Plautius Rufus, and of Lucius Paulus, his grand-daughter's husband; and besides these, another of Lucius Audasius, an old feeble man, who was under prosecution for forgery; as also of Asinius Epicadus, a Parthinian mongrel [because his father was a Roman and his mother of the race of the Parthini, an Illyrian tribe], and at last that of Telephus, a lady's prompter [it being of great consequence to know the names of persons, Roman candidates were commonly attended by a nomenclator, who whispered into their ears that information, wherever it was wanted]; for he was in danger of his life from the plots and conspiracies of some of the lowest of the people against him.
Audasius and Epicadus had formed the design of carrying off to the armies his daughter Julia, and his grandson Agrippa, from the islands in which they were confined. Telephus, wildly dreaming that the government was destined to him by the fates, proposed to fall both upon Octavius and the senate. Nay, once, a soldier's servant belonging to the army in Illyricum, having passed the porters unobserved, was found in the night-time standing before his chamber-door, armed with a hunting-dagger. Whether the person was really disordered in the head, or only counterfeited madness, is uncertain; for no confession was obtained from him by torture.
XX. He conducted in person only two foreign wars; the Dalmatian, whilst he was yet but a youth; and, after Antony's final defeat, the Cantabrian. He was wounded in the former of these wars; in one battle he received a contusion in the right knee from a stone—and in another, he was much hurt in one leg and both arms, by the fall of a bridge [not a bridge over a river, but a military engine used for gaining admittance into a fortress]. His other wars he carried on by his lieutenants; but occasionally visited the army, in some of the wars of Pannonia and Germany, or remained at no great distance, proceeding from Rome as far as Ravenna, Milan, or Aquileia.
XXI. He conquered, however, partly in person, and partly by his lieutenants, Cantabria [in the north of Spain, now the Basque province], Aquitania and Pannonia [the ancient Pannonia includes Hungary and part of Austria, Styria and Carniola], Dalmatia, with all Illyricum and Rhaetia [the Rhaetian Alps are that part of the chain bordering on the Tyrol], besides the two Alpine nations, the Vindelici and the Salassii [the Vindelici principally occupied the country which is now the kingdom of Bavaria; and the Salassii, that part of Piedmont which includes the valley of Aost]. He also checked the incursions of the Dacians, by cutting off three of their generals with vast armies, and drove the Germans beyond the river Elbe; removing two other tribes who submitted, the Ubii and Sicambri, into Gaul, and settling them in the country bordering on the Rhine. Other nations also, which broke into revolt, he reduced to submission.
But he never made war upon any nation without just and necessary cause; and was so far from being ambitious either to extend the empire, or advance his own military glory, that he obliged the chiefs of some barbarous tribes to swear in the temple of Mars the Avenger [the temple of Mars Ultor was erected by Augustus in fulfillment of a vow made by him at the battle of Philippi], that they would faithfully observe their engagements, and not violate the peace which they had implored. Of some he demanded a new description of hostages, their women, having found from experience that they cared little for their men when given as hostages; but he always afforded them the means of getting back their hostages whenever they wished it. Even those who engaged most frequently and with the greatest perfidy in their rebellion, he never punished more severely than by selling their captives, on the terms of their not serving in any neighboring country, nor being released from their slavery before the expiration of thirty years.
By the character which he thus acquired, for virtue and moderation, he induced even the Indians and Scythians, nations before known to the Romans by report only, to solicit his friendship, and that of the Roman people, by ambassadors. The Parthians readily allowed his claim to Armenia; restoring at his demand, the standards which they had taken from Marcus Crassus and Mark Antony, and offering him hostages besides. Afterwards, when a contest arose between several pretenders to the crown of that kingdom, they refused to acknowledge any one who was not chosen by him.
XXII. The temple of Janus Quirinus, which had been shut twice only, from the era of the building of the city to his own time, he closed thrice in a much shorter period, having established universal peace both by sea and land. He twice entered the city with the honors of an Ovation [the Ovatio was an inferior kind of Triumph, granted in cases where the victory was not of great importance, or had been obtained without difficulty], namely, after the war of Philippi, and again after that of Sicily. He had also three curule triumphs [the greater Triumph, in which the victorious general and his army advanced in solemn procession through the city to the Capitol, was the highest military honor which could be obtained in the Roman state] for his several victories in Dalmatia, at Actium, and Alexandria; each of which lasted three days.
XXIII. In all his wars, he never received any signal or ignominious defeat, except twice in Germany, under his lieutenants Lollius and Varus. The former indeed had in it more of dishonor than disaster; but that of Varus threatened the security of the empire itself; three legions, with the commander, his lieutenants, and all the auxiliaries, being cut off. Upon receiving intelligence of this disaster, he gave orders for keeping a strict watch over the city, to prevent any public disturbance, and prolonged the appointments of the prefects in the provinces, that the allies might be kept in order by experience of persons to whom they were used.
He made a vow to celebrate the great games in honor of Jupiter, Optimus, Maximus, "if he would be pleased to restore the state to more prosperous circumstances." This had formerly been resorted to in the Cimbrian and Marsian wars. In short, we are informed that he was in such consternation at this event, that he let the hair of his head and beard grow for several months, and sometimes knocked his head against the door-posts, crying out, "O, Quintilius Varus! Give me back my legions!" And ever after, he observed the anniversary of this calamity, as a day of sorrow and mourning.
XXIV. In military affairs he made many alterations, introducing some practices entirely new, and reviving others, which had become obsolete. He maintained the strictest discipline among the troops; and would not allow even his lieutenants the liberty to visit their wives, except reluctantly, and in the winter season only. A Roman knight having cut off the thumbs of his two young sons, to render them incapable of serving in the wars, he exposed both him and his estate to public sale. But upon observing the farmers of the revenue very greedy for the purchase, he assigned him to a freedman of his own, that he might send him into the country, and suffer him to retain his freedom.
The tenth legion becoming mutinous, he disbanded it with ignominy; and did the same by some others which petulantly demanded their discharge; withholding from them the rewards usually bestowed on those who had served their stated time in the wars. The cohorts which yielded their ground in time of action, he decimated, and fed with barley. Centurions, as well as common sentinels, who deserted their posts when on guard, he punished with death. For other misdemeanors he inflicted upon them various kinds of disgrace; such as obliging them to stand all day before the praetorium, sometimes in their tunics only, and without their belts, sometimes to carry poles ten feet long, or sods of turf.
XXV. After the conclusion of the civil wars, he never, in any of his military harangues, or proclamations, addressed them by the title of "Fellow-soldiers," but as "Soldiers" only. Nor would he suffer them to be otherwise called by his sons or step-sons, when they were in command; judging the former epithet to convey the idea of a degree of condescension inconsistent with military discipline, the maintenance of order, and his own majesty, and that of his house. Unless at Rome, in case of incendiary fires, or under the apprehension of public disturbances during a scarcity of provisions, he never employed in his army slaves who had been made freedmen, except upon two occasions; on one, for the security of the colonies bordering upon Illyricum, and on the other, to guard the banks of the river Rhine. Although he obliged persons of fortune, both male and female, to give up their slaves, and they received their manumission at once, yet he kept them together under their own standard, unmixed with soldiers who were better born, and armed likewise after different fashion.
Military rewards, such as trappings, collars, and other decorations of gold and silver, he distributed more readily than camp or mural crowns, which were reckoned more honorable than the former. These he bestowed sparingly, without partiality, and frequently even on common soldiers. He presented M. Agrippa, after the naval engagement in the Sicilian war, with a sea-green banner. Those who shared in the honors of a triumph, although they had attended him in his expeditions, and taken part in his victories, he judged it improper to distinguish by the usual rewards for service, because they had a right themselves to grant such rewards to whom they pleased. He thought nothing more derogatory to the character of an accomplished general than precipitancy and rashness; on which account he had frequently in his mouth those proverbs:
'Asphalaes gar est' ameinon, hae erasus strataelataes.
And "That is done fast enough, which is done well enough."
He was wont to say also, that "a battle or a war ought never to be undertaken, unless the prospect of gain overbalanced the fear of loss. For," said he, "men who pursue small advantages with no small hazard, resemble those who fish with a golden hook, the loss of which, if the line should happen to break, could never be compensated by all the fish they might take."
XXVI. He was advanced to public offices before the age at which he was legally qualified for them; and to some, also, of a new kind, and for life. He seized the consulship in the twentieth year of his age, quartering his legions in a threatening manner near the city, and sending deputies to demand it for him in the name of the army. When the senate demurred, a centurion, named Cornelius, who was at the head of the chief deputation, throwing back his cloak, and showing the hilt of his sword, had the presumption to say in the senate-house, "This will make him consul, if ye will not." His second consulship he filled nine years afterwards; his third, after the interval of only one year, and held the same office every year successively until the eleventh. From this period, although the consulship was frequently offered him, he always declined it, until, after a long interval, not less than seventeen years, he voluntarily stood for the twelfth, and two years after that, for a thirteenth; that he might successively introduce into the forum, on their entering public life, his two sons, Caius and Lucius, while he was invested with the highest office in the state.
In his five consulships from the sixth to the eleventh, he continued in office throughout the year; but in the rest, during only nine, six, four, or three months, and in his second no more than a few hours. For having sat for a short time in the morning, upon the calends of January [1st January], in his curule chair [the Sella Curulis was a chair on which the principal magistrates sat in the tribunal upon solemn occasions], before the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, he abdicated the office, and substituted another in his room. Nor did he enter upon them all at Rome, but upon the fourth in Asia, the fifth in the Isle of Samos, and the eighth and ninth at Tarragona [now Saragossa].
XXVII. During ten years he acted as one of the triumvirate for settling the commonwealth, in which office he for some time opposed his colleagues in their design of a proscription; but after it was begun, he prosecuted it with more determined rigor than either of them. For whilst they were often prevailed upon, by the interest and intercession of friends, to show mercy, he alone strongly insisted that no one should be spared, and even proscribed Caius Toranius, his guardian; who had been formerly the colleague of his father Octavius in the aedileship. Junius Saturnius adds this farther account of him: that when, after the proscription was over, Marcus Lepidus made an apology in the senate for their past proceedings, and gave them hopes of a more mild administration for the future, because they had now sufficiently crushed their enemies; he, on the other hand, declared that the only limit he had fixed to the proscription was, that he should be free to act as he pleased. Afterwards, however, repenting of his severity, he advanced T. Vinius Philopoemen to the equestrian rank, for having concealed his patron at the time he was proscribed.
In this same office he incurred great odium upon many accounts. For as he was one day making an harangue, observing among the soldiers Pinarius, a Roman knight, admit some private citizens, and engaged in taking notes, he ordered him to be stabbed before his eyes, as a busy-body and a spy upon him. He so terrified with his menaces Tedius Afer, the consul elect [A.U.C. 731], for having reflected upon some action of his, that he threw himself from a great height, and died on the spot. And when Quintus Gallius, the praetor, came to compliment him with a double tablet under his cloak, suspecting that it was a sword he had concealed, and yet not venturing to make a search, lest it should be found to be something else, he caused him to be dragged from his tribunal by centurions and soldiers, and tortured like a slave: and although he made no confession, ordered him to be put to death, after he had, with his own hands, plucked out his eyes. His own account of the matter, however, is, that Quintus Gallius sought a private conference with him, for the purpose of assassinating him; that he therefore put him in prison, but afterwards released him, and banished him the city; when he perished either in a storm at sea, or by falling into the hands of robbers.
He accepted of the tribunitian power for life, but more than once chose
a colleague in that office for two lustra [the
Lustrum was a period of five years, at the end of
which the census of the people was taken. It was first made by the Roman
kings, then by the consuls, but after the year 310 from the building of
XXVIII. He twice entertained thoughts of restoring the republic [Seneca. De Brev. Vit. c. 5]; first, immediately after he had crushed Antony, remembering that he had often charged him with being the obstacle to its restoration. The second time was in consequence of a long illness, when he sent for the magistrates and the senate to his own house, and delivered them a particular account of the state of the empire. But reflecting at the same time that it would be both hazardous to himself to return to the condition of a private person, and might be dangerous to the public to have the government placed again under the control of the people, he resolved to keep it in his own hands, whether with the better event or intention, is hard to say.
His good intentions he often affirmed in private discourse, and also published an edict, in which it was declared in the following terms: "May it be permitted me to have the happiness of establishing the commonwealth on a safe and sound basis, and thus enjoy the reward of which I am ambitious, that of being celebrated for molding it into the form best adapted to present circumstances; so that, on my leaving the world, I may carry with me the hope that the foundations which I have laid for its future government, will stand firm and stable."
XXIX. The city, which was not built in a manner suitable to the grandeur of the empire, and was liable to inundations of the Tiber [Pliny, iii. 5], as well as to fires, was so much improved under his administration, that he boasted, not without reason, that he "found it of brick, but left it of marble." He also rendered it secure for the time to come against such disasters, as far as could be effected by human foresight. A great number of public buildings were erected by him, the most considerable of which were a forum, containing the temple of Mars the Avenger, the temple of Apollo on the Palatine hill, and the temple of Jupiter Tonans in the Capitol.
The reason of his building a new forum was the vast increase in the population, and the number of causes to be tried in the courts, for which, the two already existing not affording sufficient space, it was thought necessary to have a third. It was therefore opened for public use before the temple of Mars was completely finished; and a law was passed, that causes should be tried, and judges chosen by lot, in that place. The temple of Mars was built in fulfillment of a vow made during the war of Philippi, undertaken by him to avenge his father's murder. He ordained that the senate should always assemble there when they met to deliberate respecting wars and triumphs; that thence should be dispatched all those who were sent into the provinces in the command of armies; and that in it those who returned victorious from the wars, should lodge the trophies of their triumphs.
He erected the temple of Apollo [the temple of the Palatine Apollo stood a little beyond the triumphal arch of Titus. Here, in the presence of Augustus, Horace's Carmen Seculare was sung by twenty-seven noble youths and as many virgins] in that part of his house on the Palatine hill which had been struck with lightning, and which, on that account, the soothsayers declared the God to have chosen. He added porticos to it, with a library of Latin and Greek authors [the library adjoined the temple, and was under the protection of Apollo. Caius Julius Hegenus, a freedman of Augustus, and an eminent grammarian, was the librarian]; and when advanced in years, used frequently there to hold the senate, and examine the rolls of the judges.
He dedicated the temple to Apollo Tonans [Coelo tonantem credidimus Jovem Regnare.--Hor. 1. iii. Ode 5], in acknowledgment of his escape from a great danger in his Cantabrian expedition; when, as he was travelling in the night, his litter was struck by lightning, which killed the slave who carried a torch before him. He likewise constructed some public buildings in the name of others; for instance, his grandsons, his wife, and sister. Thus he built the portico and basilica of Lucius and Caius, and the porticos of Livia and Octavia [the Portico of Octavia stood between the Flaminian circus and the theatre of Marcellus, enclosing the temples of Jupiter and Juno], and the theatre of Marcellus [it stood between the portico of Octavia and the hill of the Capitol]. He also often exhorted other persons of rank to embellish the city by new buildings, or repairing and improving the old, according to their means. In consequence of this recommendation, many were raised; such as the temple of Hercules and the Muses, by Marcius Philippus; a temple of Diana by Lucius Cornificius; the Court of Freedom by Asinius Pollio; a temple of Saturn by Munatius Plancus; a theatre by Cornelius Balbus; an amphitheatre by Statilius Taurus; and several other noble edifices by Marcus Agrippa [among these were the noble portico, if not the whole, of the Pantheon, still the pride of Rome, under the name of the Rotondo, on the frieze of which may be seen the inscription, M. AGRIPPA. L. F. COS: TERTIUM. FECIT].
XXX. He divided the city into regions and districts, ordaining that the annual magistrates should take by lot the charge of the former; and that the latter should be superintended by wardens chosen out of the people of each neighborhood. He appointed a nightly watch to be on their guard against accidents from fire; and, to prevent the frequent inundations, he widened and cleansed the bed of the Tiber, which had in the course of years been almost dammed up with rubbish, and the channel narrowed by the ruins of houses.
To render the approaches to the city more commodious, he took upon himself the charge of repairing the Flaminian way as far as Ariminum [the Via Flaminia was probably undertaken by the censor Caius Flaminius, and finished by his son of the same name, who was consul A.U.C. 566, and employed his soldiers in forming it after subduing the Ligurians], and distributed the repairs of the other roads amongst several persons who had obtained the honor of a triumph; to be defrayed out of the money arising from the spoils of war. Temples decayed by time, or destroyed by fire, he either repaired or rebuilt; and enriched them, as well as many others, with splendid offerings. On a single occasion, he deposited in the cell of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, sixteen thousand pounds of gold, with jewels and pearls to the amount of fifty millions of sesterces.
XXXI. The office of Pontifex Maximus, of which he could not decently deprive Lepidus as long as he lived, he assumed as soon as he was dead. He then caused all prophetical books, both in Latin and Greek, the authors of which were either unknown, or of no great authority, to be brought in; and the whole collection, amounting to upwards of two thousand volumes, he committed to the flames, preserving only the Sibylline oracles; but not even those without a strict examination, to ascertain which were genuine. This being done, he deposited them in two gilt coffers, under the pedestal of the statue of the Palatine Apollo.
He restored the calendar, which had been corrected by Julius Caesar, but through negligence was again fallen into confusion [in the thirty-six years since the calendar was corrected by Julius Caesar, the priests had erroneously intercalated eleven days instead of nine], to its former regularity; and upon that occasion, called the month Sextilis [Sextilis, the sixth month, reckoning from March, in which the year of Romulus commenced], by his own name, August, rather than September, in which he was born; because in it he had obtained his first consulship, and all his most considerable victories [so Cicero called the day on which he returned from exile, the day of his "nativity" and his "new birth," paligennesian]. He increased the number, dignity, and revenues of the priests, and especially those of the Vestal Virgins. And when, upon the death of one of them, a new one was to be taken [the form used by the Pontifex Maximus, when he took the novice from the hand of her father, being Te capio amata, "I have you, my dear"], and many persons made interest that their daughters' names might be omitted in the lists for election, he replied with an oath, "If either of my own grand-daughters were old enough, I would have proposed her."
He likewise revived some old religious customs, which had become obsolete; as the augury of public health [at times when the temple of Janus was shut, and then only, certain divinations were made, preparatory to solemn supplication for the public health, "as if," says Dio, "even that could not be implored from the gods, unless the signs were propitious"], the office of high priest of Jupiter, the religious solemnity of the Lupercalia, with the Secular, and Compitalian games. He prohibited young boys from running in the Lupercalia; and in respect of the Secular games, issued an order, that no young persons of either sex should appear at any public diversions in the night-time, unless in the company of some elderly relation. He ordered the household gods to be decked twice a year with spring and summer flowers [Theophrastus mentions the spring and summer flowers most suited for these chaplets. Among the former, were hyacinths, roses, and white violets; among the latter, lychinis, amaryllis, iris, and some species of lilies], in the Compitalian festival.
Next to the immortal gods, he paid the highest honors to the memory of those generals who had raised the Roman state from its low origin to the highest pitch of grandeur. He accordingly repaired or rebuilt the public edifices erected by them; preserving the former inscriptions, and placing statues of them all, with triumphal emblems, in both the porticos of his forum, issuing an edict on the occasion, in which he made the following declaration: "My design in so doing is, that the Roman people may require from me, and all succeeding princes, a conformity to those illustrious examples." He likewise removed the statue of Pompey from the senate-house, in which Caius Caesar had been killed, and placed it under a marble arch, fronting the palace attached to Pompey's theatre.
XXXII. He corrected many ill practices, which, to the detriment of the public, had either survived the licentious habits of the late civil wars, or else originated in the long peace. Bands of robbers showed themselves openly, completely armed, under color of self-defense; and in different parts of the country, travellers, freemen and slaves without distinction, were forcibly carried off, and kept to work in the houses of correction [ergastulis. These were subterranean strong rooms, with narrow windows, like dungeons, in the country houses, where incorrigible slaves were confined in fetters, in the intervals of the severe tasks in grinding at the hand-mills, quarrying stones, drawing water, and other hard agricultural labor in which they were employed]. Several associations were formed under the specious name of a new college, which banded together for the perpetration of all kinds of villany. The banditti he quelled by establishing posts of soldiers in suitable stations for the purpose; the houses of correction were subjected to a strict superintendence; all associations, those only excepted which were of ancient standing, and recognized by the laws, were dissolved.
He burnt all the notes of those who had been a long time in arrear with the treasury, as being the principal source of vexatious suits and prosecutions. Places in the city claimed by the public, where the right was doubtful, he adjudged to the actual possessors. He struck out of the list of criminals the names of those over whom prosecutions had been long impending, where nothing further was intended by the informers than to gratify their own malice, by seeing their enemies humiliated; laying it down as a rule, that if any one chose to renew a prosecution, he should incur the risk of the punishment which he sought to inflict. And that crimes might not escape punishment, nor business be neglected by delay, he ordered the courts to sit during the thirty days which were spent in celebrating honorary games.
To the three classes of judges then existing, he added a fourth, consisting of persons of inferior order, who were called Ducenarii, and decided all litigations about trifling sums. He chose judges from the age of thirty years and upwards; that is five years younger than had been usual before. And a great many declining the office, he was with much difficulty prevailed upon to allow each class of judges a twelve-month's vacation in turn; and the courts to be shut during the months of November and December [during these months there was a general cessation of business at Rome; the calendar exhibiting a constant succession of festivals].
XXXIII. He was himself assiduous in his functions as a judge, and would sometimes prolong his sittings even into the night: if he were indisposed, his litter was placed before the tribunal, or he administered justice reclining on his couch at home; displaying always not only the greatest attention, but extreme lenity. To save a culprit, who evidently appeared guilty of parricide, from the extreme penalty of being sewn up in a sack, because none were punished in that manner but such as confessed the fact, he is said to have interrogated him thus: "Surely you did not kill your father, did you?"
And when, in a trial of a cause about a forged will, all those who had signed it were liable to the penalty of the Cornelian law, he ordered that his colleagues on the tribunal should not only be furnished with the two tablets by which they decided, "guilty or not guilty," but with a third likewise, ignoring the offense of those who should appear to have given their signatures through any deception or mistake. All appeals in causes between inhabitants of Rome, he assigned every year to the praetor of the city; and where provincials were concerned, to men of consular rank, to one of whom the business of each province was referred.
XXXIV. Some laws he abrogated, and he made some new ones; such as the sumptuary law, that relating to adultery and the violation of chastity, the law against bribery in elections, and likewise that for the encouragement of marriage. Having been more severe in his reform of this law than the rest, he found the people utterly averse to submit to it, unless the penalties were abolished or mitigated, besides allowing an interval of three years after a wife's death, and increasing the premiums on marriage. The equestrian order clamored loudly, at a spectacle in the theatre, for its total repeal; whereupon he sent for the children of Germanicus, and showed them partly sitting upon his own lap, and partly on their father's; intimating by his looks and gestures, that they ought not to think it a grievance to follow the example of that young man. But finding that the force of the law was eluded, by marrying girls under the age of puberty, and by frequent change of wives, he limited the time for consummation after espousals, and imposed restrictions on divorce.
XXXV. By two separate scrutinies he reduced to their former number and splendor the senate, which had been swamped by a disorderly crowd; for they were now more than a thousand, and some of them very mean persons, who, after Caesar's death, had been chosen by dint of interest and bribery, so that they had the nickname of Orcini among the people [Orcini, also called Charonites, the point of the sarcasm being, that they owed their elevation to a dead man, one who was gone to Orcus, namely Julius Caesar, after whose death Mark Antony introduced into the senate many persons of low rank who were designated for that honor in a document left by the deceased emperor]. The first of these scrutinies was left to themselves, each senator naming another; but the last was conducted by himself and Agrippa. On this occasion he is believed to have taken his seat as he presided, with a coat of mail under his tunic, and a sword by his side, and with ten of the stoutest men of senatorial rank, who were his friends, standing round his chair. Cordus Cremutius [who wrote a History of the Civil Wars, and the Times of Augustus] relates that no senator was suffered to approach him, except singly, and after having his bosom searched [for secreted daggers]. Some he obliged to have the grace of declining the office; these he allowed to retain the privileges of wearing the distinguishing dress, occupying the seats at the solemn spectacles, and of feasting publicly, reserved to the senatorial order [in front of the orchestra].
That those who were chosen and approved of, might perform their functions under more solemn obligations, and with less inconvenience, he ordered that every senator, before he took his seat in the house, should pay his devotions, with an offering of frankincense and wine, at the altar of that God in whose temple the senate then assembled, and that their stated meetings should be only twice in the month, namely, on the calends and ides; and that in the months of September and October [to allow of their absence during the vintage, always an important season in rural affairs in wine-growing countries], a certain number only, chosen by lot, such as the law required to give validity to a decree, should be required to attend. For himself, he resolved to choose every six months a new council, with whom he might consult previously upon such affairs as he judged proper at any time to lay before the full senate. He also took the votes of the senators upon any subject of importance, not according to custom, nor in regular order, but as he pleased; that every one might hold himself ready to give his opinion, rather than a mere vote of assent.
XXXVI. He also made several other alterations in the management of public affairs, among which were these following: that the acts of the senate should not be published [Julius Caesar had introduced the contrary practice]; that the magistrates should not be sent into the provinces immediately after the expiration of their office; that the proconsuls should have a certain sum assigned them out of the treasury for mules and tents, which used before to be contracted for by the government with private persons; that the management of the treasury should be transferred from the city-quaestors to the praetors, or those who had already served in the latter office; and that the decemviri should call together the court of One hundred, which had been formerly summoned by those who had filled the office of quaestor.
XXXVII. To augment the number of persons employed in the administration of the state, he devised several new offices; such as surveyors of the public buildings, of the roads, the aqueducts, and the bed of the Tiber; for the distribution of corn to the people; the praefecture of the city; a triumvirate for the election of the senators; and another for inspecting the several troops of the equestrian order, as often as it was necessary. He revived the office of censor [A.U.C. 312, two magistrates were created, under the name of Censors, whose office, at first, was to take an account of the number of the people, and the value of their estates. Power was afterwards granted them to inspect the morals of the people], which had been long disused, and increased the number of praetors. He likewise required that whenever the consulship was conferred on him, he should have two colleagues instead of one; but his proposal was rejected, all the senators declaring by acclamation that he abated his high majesty quite enough in not filling the office alone, and consenting to share it with another.
XXXVIII. He was unsparing in the reward of military merit, having granted to above thirty generals the honor of the greater triumph; besides which, he took care to have triumphal decorations voted by the senate for more than that number. That the sons of senators might become early acquainted with the administration of affairs, he permitted them, at the age when they took the garb of manhood [young men until they were seventeen years of age, and young women until they were married, wore a white robe bordered with purple, called Toga Praetexta], to assume also the distinction of the senatorian robe, with its broad border, and to be present at the debates in the senate-house. When they entered the military service, he not only gave them the rank of military tribunes in the legions, but likewise the command of the auxiliary horse. And that all might have an opportunity of acquiring military experience, he commonly joined two sons of senators in command of each troop of horse.
He frequently reviewed the troops of the equestrian order, reviving the ancient custom of a cavalcade [transvectio: a procession of the equestrian order, which they made with great splendor through the city, every year, on the fifteenth of July. They rode on horseback from the temple of Honor, or of Mars, without the city, to the Capitol, with wreaths of olive on their heads, dressed in robes of scarlet], which had been long laid aside. But he did not suffer any one to be obliged by an accuser to dismount while he passed in review, as had formerly been the practice. As for such as were infirm with age, or any way deformed, he allowed them to send their horses before them, coming on foot to answer to their names, when the muster roll was called over soon afterwards. He permitted those who had attained the age of thirty-five years, and desired not to keep their horse any longer, to have the privilege of giving it up.
XXXIX. With the assistance of ten senators, he obliged each of the Roman knights to give an account of his life: in regard to those who fell under his displeasure, some were punished; others had a mark of infamy set against their names. The most part he only reprimanded, but not in the same terms. The mildest mode of reproof was by delivering them tablets [pugillaria were a kind of pocket book, so called, because memorandums were written or impinged by the styli, on their waxed surface], the contents of which, confined to themselves, they were to read on the spot. Some he disgraced for borrowing money at low interest, and letting it out again upon usurious profit.
XL. In the election of tribunes of the people, if there was not a sufficient number of senatorian candidates, he nominated others from the equestrian order; granting them the liberty, after the expiration of their office, to continue in whichsoever of the two orders they pleased. As most of the knights had been much reduced in their estates by the civil wars, and therefore durst not sit to see the public games in the theatre in the seats allotted to their order, for fear of the penalty provided by the law in that case, he enacted, that none were liable to it, who had themselves, or whose parents had ever, possessed a knight's estate.
He took the census of the Roman people street by street: and that the people might not be too often taken from their business to receive the distribution of corn, it was his intention to deliver tickets three times a year for four months respectively; but at their request, he continued the former regulation, that they should receive their share monthly. He revived the former law of elections, endeavoring, by various penalties, to suppress the practice of bribery. Upon the day of election, he distributed to the freemen of the Fabian and Scaptian tribes, in which he himself was enrolled, a thousand sesterces each, that they might look for nothing from any of the candidates.
Considering it of extreme importance to preserve the Roman people pure, and untainted with a mixture of foreign or servile blood, he not only bestowed the freedom of the city with a sparing hand, but laid some restriction upon the practice of manumitting slaves. When Tiberius interceded with him for the freedom of Rome in behalf of a Greek client of his, he wrote to him for answer, "I shall not grant it, unless he comes himself, and satisfies me that he has just grounds for the application." And when Livia begged the freedom of the city for a tributary Gaul, he refused it, but offered to release him from payment of taxes, saying, "I shall sooner suffer some loss in my exchequer, than that the citizenship of Rome be rendered too common." Not content with interposing many obstacles to either the partial or complete emancipation of slaves, by quibbles respecting the number, condition and difference of those who were to be manumitted; he likewise enacted that none who had been put in chains or tortured, should ever obtain the freedom of the city in any degree. He endeavored also to restore the old habit and dress of the Romans; and upon seeing once, in an assembly of the people, a crowd in grey cloaks [pullatorum; dusky, either from their dark color, or their being soiled. The toga was white, and was the distinguishing costume of the sovereign people of Rome], he exclaimed with indignation, "See there,
Romanos rerum dominos, gentemque togatem." [Aen. i. 186]
Rome's conquering sons, lords of the wide-spread globe,
And he gave orders to the aediles not to permit, in future, any Roman to be present in the forum or circus unless they took off their short coats, and wore the toga.
XLI. He displayed his munificence to all ranks of the people on various occasions. Moreover, upon his bringing the treasure belonging to the kings of Egypt into the city, in his Alexandrian triumph, he made money so plentiful, that interest fell, and the price of land rose considerably. And afterwards, as often as large sums of money came into his possession by means of confiscations, he would lend it free of interest, for a fixed term, to such as could give security for the double of what was borrowed.
The estate necessary to qualify a senator, instead of eight hundred thousand sesterces, the former standard, he ordered, for the future, to be twelve hundred thousand; and to those who had not so much, he made good the deficiency. He often made donations to the people, but generally of different sums; sometimes four hundred, sometimes three hundred, or two hundred and fifty sesterces upon which occasions, he extended his bounty even to young boys, who before were not used to receive anything, until they arrived at eleven years of age. In a scarcity of corn, he would frequently let them have it at a very low price, or none at all; and doubled the number of the money tickets.
XLII. But to show that he was a prince who regarded more the good of his people than their applause, he reprimanded them very severely, upon their complaining of the scarcity and dearness of wine. "My son-in-law, Agrippa," he said, "has sufficiently provided for quenching your thirst, by the great plenty of water with which he has supplied the town." Upon their demanding a gift which he had promised them, he said, "I am a man of my word." But upon their importuning him for one which he had not promised, he issued a proclamation upbraiding them for their scandalous impudence; at the same time telling them, "I shall now give you nothing, whatever I may have intended to do." With the same strict firmness, when, upon a promise he had made of a donative, he found many slaves had been emancipated and enrolled amongst the citizens, he declared that no one should receive anything who was not included in the promise, and he gave the rest less than he had promised them, in order that the amount he had set apart might hold out.
On one occasion, in a season of great scarcity, which it was difficult to remedy, he ordered out of the city the troops of slaves brought for sale, the gladiators belonging to the masters of defense, and all foreigners, excepting physicians and the teachers of the liberal sciences. Part of the domestic slaves were likewise ordered to be dismissed. When, at last, plenty was restored, he writes thus "I was much inclined to abolish for ever the practice of allowing the people corn at the public expense, because they trust so much to it, that they are too lazy to till their lands; but I did not persevere in my design, as I felt sure that the practice would some time or other be revived by some one ambitious of popular favor." However, he so managed the affair ever afterwards, that as much account was taken of husbandmen and traders, as of the idle populace.
XLIII. In the number, variety, and magnificence of his public spectacles, he surpassed all former example. Four-and-twenty times, he says, he treated the people with games upon his own account, and three-and-twenty times for such magistrates as were either absent, or not able to afford the expense. The performances took place sometimes in the different streets of the city, and upon several stages, by players in all languages. The same he did not only in the forum and amphitheatre, but in the circus likewise, and in the septa [septa were enclosures made with boards, commonly for the purpose of distributing the people into distinct classes]: and sometimes he exhibited only the hunting of wild beasts. He entertained the people with wrestlers in the Campus Martius, where wooden seats were erected for the purpose; and also with a naval fight, for which he excavated the ground near the Tiber, where there is now the grove of the Caesars.
During these two entertainments he stationed guards in the city, lest, by robbers taking advantage of the small number of people left at home, it might be exposed to depredations. In the circus he exhibited chariot and foot races, and combats with wild beasts, in which the performers were often youths of the highest rank. His favorite spectacle was the Trojan game, acted by a select number of boys, in parties differing in age and station; thinking that it was a practice both excellent in itself, and sanctioned by ancient usage, that the spirit of the young nobles should be displayed in such exercises. Caius Nonius Asprenas, who was lamed by a fall in this diversion, he presented with a gold collar, and allowed him and his posterity to bear the surname of Torquati. But soon afterwards he gave up the exhibition of this game, in consequence of a severe and bitter speech made in the senate by Asinius Pollio, the orator, in which he complained bitterly of the misfortune of Aeserninus, his grandson, who likewise broke his leg in the same diversion.
Sometimes he engaged Roman knights to act upon the stage, or to fight as gladiators; but only before the practice was prohibited by a decree of the senate. Thenceforth, the only exhibition he made of that kind, was that of a young man named Lucius, of a good family, who was not quite two feet in height, and weighed only seventeen pounds, but had a stentorian voice. In one of his public spectacles, he brought the hostages of the Parthians, the first ever sent to Rome from that nation, through the middle of the amphitheatre, and placed them in the second tier of seats above him.
He used likewise, at times when there were no public entertainments, if any thing was brought to Rome which was uncommon, and might gratify curiosity, to expose it to public view, in any place whatever; as he did a rhinoceros in the Septa, a tiger upon a stage, and a snake fifty cubits lung in the Comitium. It happened in the Circensian games, which he performed in consequence of a vow, that he was taken ill, and obliged to attend the Thensae [the Thensa was a splendid carriage with four wheels, and four horses, adorned with ivory and silver, in which, at the Circensian games, the images of the gods were drawn in solemn procession from their shrines, to a place in the circus, called the Pulvinar, where couches were prepared for their reception], reclining on a litter. Another time, in the games celebrated for the opening of the theatre of Marcellus, the joints of his curule chair happening to give way, he fell on his back. And in the games exhibited by his grandsons, when the people were in such consternation, by an alarm raised that the theatre was falling, that all his efforts to re-assure them and keep them quiet, failed, he moved from his place, and seated himself in that part of the theatre which was thought to be exposed to most danger.
XLIV. He corrected the confusion and disorder with which the spectators took their seats at the public games, after an affront which was offered to a senator at Puteoli, for whom, in a crowded theatre, no one would make room. He therefore procured a decree of the senate, that in all public spectacles of any sort, and in any place whatever, the first tier of benches should be left empty for the accommodation of senators. He would not even permit the ambassadors of free nations, nor of those which were allies of Rome, to sit in the orchestra; having found that some manumitted slaves had been sent under that character. He separated the soldiery from the rest of the people, and assigned to married plebeians their particular rows of seats. To the boys he assigned their own benches, and to their tutors the seats which were nearest it; ordering that none clothed in black should sit in the center of the circle [the Cavea was the name of the whole of that part of the theatre where the spectators sat].
Nor would he allow any women to witness the combats of gladiators, except from the upper part of the theatre, although they formerly used to take their places promiscuously with the rest of the spectators. To the vestal virgins he granted seats in the theatre, reserved for them only, opposite the praetor's bench. He excluded, however, the whole female sex from seeing the wrestlers: so that in the games which he exhibited upon his accession to the office of high-priest, he deferred producing a pair of combatants which the people called for, until the next morning; and intimated by proclamation, "his pleasure that no woman should appear in the theatre before five o'clock."
XLV. He generally viewed the Circensian games himself, from the upper rooms of the houses of his friends or freedmen; sometimes from the place appointed for the statues of the gods, and sitting in company with his wife and children. He occasionally absented himself from the spectacles for several hours, and sometimes for whole days; but not without first making an apology, and appointing substitutes to preside in his stead. When present, he never attended to anything else either to avoid the reflections which he used to say were commonly made upon his father, Caesar, for perusing letters and memorials, and making rescripts during the spectacles; or from the real pleasure he took in attending those exhibitions; of which he made no secret, he often candidly owning it. This he manifested frequently by presenting honorary crowns and handsome rewards to the best performers, in the games exhibited by others; and he never was present at any performance of the Greeks, without rewarding the most deserving, according to their merit.
He took particular pleasure in witnessing pugilistic contests, especially those of the Latins, not only between combatants who had been trained scientifically, whom he used often to match with the Greek champions; but even between mobs of the lower classes fighting in streets, and tilting at random, without any knowledge of the art. In short, he honored with his patronage all sorts of people who contributed in any way to the success of the public entertainments. He not only maintained, but enlarged, the privileges of the wrestlers. He prohibited combats of gladiators where no quarter was given. He deprived the magistrates of the power of correcting the stage-players, which by an ancient law was allowed them at all times, and in all places; restricting their jurisdiction entirely to the time of performance and misdemeanors in the theatres.
He would, however, admit, of no abatement, and exacted with the utmost rigor the greatest exertions of the wrestlers and gladiators in their several encounters. He went so far in restraining the licentiousness of stage-players, that upon discovering that Stephanio, a performer of the highest class, had a married woman with her hair cropped, and dressed in boy's clothes, to wait upon him at table, he ordered him to be whipped through all the three theatres, and then banished him. Hylas, an actor of pantomimes, upon a complaint against him by the praetor, he commanded to be scourged in the court of his own house, which, however, was open to the public. And Pylades he not only banished from the city, but from Italy also, for pointing with his finger at a spectator by whom he was hissed, and turning the eyes of the audience upon him.
XLVI. Having thus regulated the city and its concerns, he augmented the population of Italy by planting in it no less than twenty-eight colonies [A.U.C. 726], and greatly improved it by public works, and a beneficial application of the revenues. In rights and privileges, he rendered it in a measure equal to the city itself, by inventing a new kind of suffrage, which the principal officers and magistrates of the colonies might take at home, and forward under seal to the city, against the time of the elections. To increase the number of persons of condition, and of children among the lower ranks, he granted the petitions of all those who requested the honor of doing military service on horseback as knights, provided their demands were seconded by the recommendation of the town in which they lived; and when he visited the several districts of Italy, he distributed a thousand sesterces a head to such of the lower class as presented him with sons or daughters.
XLVII. The more important provinces, which could not with ease or safety be entrusted to the government of annual magistrates, he reserved for his own administration: the rest he distributed by lot amongst the proconsuls: but sometimes he made exchanges, and frequently visited most of both kinds in person. Some cities in alliance with Rome, but which by their great licentiousness were hastening to ruin, he deprived of their independence. Others, which were much in debt, he relieved, and rebuilt such as had been destroyed by earthquakes. To those that could produce any instance of their having deserved well of the Roman people, he presented the freedom of Latium, or even that of the City. There is not, I believe, a province, except Africa and Sardinia, which he did not visit. After forcing Sextus Pompeius to take refuge in those provinces, he was indeed preparing to cross over from Sicily to them, but was prevented by continual and violent storms, and afterwards there was no occasion or call for such a voyage.
XLVIII. Kingdoms, of which he had made himself master by the right of conquest, a few only excepted, he either restored to their former possessors [as in the case of Herod, Joseph. Antiq. Jud. xv. 10], or conferred upon aliens. Between kings of alliance with Rome, he encouraged most intimate union; being always ready to promote or favor any proposal of marriage or friendship amongst them; and, indeed, treated them all with the same consideration, as if they were members and parts of the empire. To such of them as were minors or lunatics he appointed guardians, until they arrived at age, or recovered their senses; and the sons of many of them he brought up and educated with his own.
XLIX. With respect to the army, he distributed the legions and auxiliary troops throughout the several provinces, he stationed a fleet at Misenum, and another at Ravenna, for the protection of the Upper and Lower Seas [the Adriatic and the Tuscan]. A certain number of the forces were selected, to occupy the posts in the city, and partly for his own body-guard; but he dismissed the Spanish guard, which he retained about him till the fall of Antony; and also the Germans, whom he had amongst his guards, until the defeat of Varus. Yet he never permitted a greater force than three cohorts in the city, and had no (pretorian) camps [first established by Tiberius]. The rest he quartered in the neighborhood of the nearest towns, in winter and summer camps.
All the troops throughout the empire he reduced to one fixed model with regard to their pay and their pensions; determining these according to their rank in the army, the time they had served, and their private means; so that after their discharge, they might not be tempted by age or necessities to join the agitators for a revolution. For the purpose of providing a fund always ready to meet their pay and pensions, he instituted a military exchequer, and appropriated new taxes to that object. In order to obtain the earliest intelligence of what was passing in the provinces, he established posts, consisting at first of young men stationed at moderate distances along the military roads, and afterwards of regular couriers with fast vehicles; which appeared to him the most commodious, because the persons who were the bearers of dispatches, written on the spot, might then be questioned about the business, as occasion occurred.
L. In sealing letters-patent, rescripts, or epistles, he at first used the figure of a sphinx, afterwards the head of Alexander the Great, and at last his own, engraved by the hand of Dioscorides; which practice was retained by the succeeding emperors. He was extremely precise in dating his letters, putting down exactly the time of the day or night at which they were dispatched.
LI. Of his clemency and moderation there are abundant and signal instances. For, not to enumerate how many and what persons of the adverse party he pardoned, received into favor, and suffered to rise to the highest eminence in the state; he thought it sufficient to punish Junius Novatus and Cassius Patavinus, who were both plebeians, one of them with a fine, and the other with an easy banishment; although the former had published, in the name of young Agrippa, a very scurrilous letter against him, and the other declared openly, at an entertainment where there was a great deal of company, "that he neither wanted inclination nor courage to stab him."
In the trial of Aemilius Aelianus, of Cordova, when, among other charges exhibited against him, it was particularly insisted upon, that he used to calumniate Caesar, he turned round to the accuser, and said, with an air and tone of passion, "I wish you could make that appear; I shall let Aelianus know that I have a tongue too, and shall speak sharper of him than he ever did of me." Nor did he, either then or afterwards, make any farther inquiry into the affair. And when Tiberius, in a letter, complained of the affront with great earnestness, he returned him an answer in the following terms: "Do not, my dear Tiberius, give way to the ardor of youth in this affair; nor be so indignant that any person should speak ill of me. It is enough, for us, if we can prevent any one from really doing us mischief."
LII. Although he knew that it had been customary to decree temples in honor of the proconsuls, yet he would not permit them to be erected in any of the provinces, unless in the joint names of himself and Rome. Within the limits of the city, he positively refused any honor of that kind. He melted down all the silver statues which had been erected to him, and converted the whole into tripods, which he consecrated to the Palatine Apollo. And when the people importuned him to accept the dictatorship, he bent down on one knee, with his toga thrown over his shoulders, and his breast exposed to view, begging to be excused.
LIII. He always abhorred the title of Lord [Tertullian, in his Apology, c. 34, makes the same remark], as ill-omened and offensive. And when, in a play, performed at the theatre, at which he was present, these words were introduced, "O just and gracious lord," and the whole company, with joyful acclamations, testified their approbation of them, as applied to him, he instantly put a stop to their indecent flattery, by waving his hand, and frowning sternly, and next day publicly declared his displeasure, in a proclamation. He never afterwards would suffer himself to be addressed in that manner, even by his own children or grand-children, either in jest or earnest and forbad them the use of all such complimentary expressions to one another. He rarely entered any city or town, or departed from it, except in the evening or the night, to avoid giving any person the trouble of complimenting him.
During his consulships, he commonly walked the streets on foot; but at other times, rode in a close carriage. He admitted to court even plebeians, in common with people of the higher ranks; receiving the petitions of those who approached him with so much affability, that he once jocosely rebuked a man, by telling him, "You present your memorial with as much hesitation as if you were offering money to an elephant." On senate days, he used to pay his respects to the Conscript Fathers only in the house, addressing them each by name as they sat, without any prompter; and on his departure, he bade each of them farewell, while they retained their seats. In the same manner, he maintained with many of them a constant intercourse of mutual civilities, giving them his company upon occasions of any particular festivity in their families; until he became advanced in years, and was incommoded by the crowd at a wedding. Being informed that Gallus Terrinius, a senator, with whom he had only a slight acquaintance, had suddenly lost his sight, and under that privation had resolved to starve himself to death, he paid him a visit, and by his consolatory admonitions diverted him from his purpose.
LIV. On his speaking in the senate, he has been told by one of the members, "I did not understand you," and by another, "I would contradict you, could I do it with safety." And sometimes, upon his being so much offended at the heat with which the debates were conducted in the senate, as to quit the house in anger, some of the members have repeatedly exclaimed: "Surely, the senators ought to have liberty of speech on matters of government." Antistius Labeo, in the election of a new senate, when each, as he was named, chose another, nominated Marcus Lepidus, who had formerly been Augustus's enemy, and was then in banishment; and being asked by the latter, "Is there no other person more deserving?" he replied, "Every man has his own opinion." Nor was any one ever molested for his freedom of speech, although it was carried to the extent of insolence.
LV. Even when some infamous libels against him were dispersed in the senate-house, he was neither disturbed, nor did he give himself much trouble to refute them. He would not so much as order an enquiry to be made after the authors; but only proposed, that, for the future, those who published libels or lampoons, in a borrowed name, against any person, should be called to account.
LVI. Being provoked by some petulant jests, which were designed to render him odious, he answered them by a proclamation; and yet he prevented the senate from passing an act, to restrain the liberties which were taken with others in people's wills. Whenever he attended at the election of magistrates, he went round the tribes, with the candidates of his nomination, and begged the votes of the people in the usual manner. He likewise gave his own vote in his tribe, as one of the people. He suffered himself to be summoned as a witness upon trials, and not only to be questioned, but to be cross-examined, with the utmost patience. In building his Forum, he restricted himself in the site, not presuming to compel the owners of the neighboring houses to give up their property. He never recommended his sons to the people, without adding these words, "If they deserve it." And upon the audience rising on their entering the theatre, while they were yet minors, and giving them applause in a standing position, he made it a matter of serious complaint.
He was desirous that his friends should be great and powerful in the state, but have no exclusive privileges, or be exempt from the laws which governed others. When Asprenas Nonius, an intimate friend of his, was tried upon a charge of administering poison at the instance of Cassius Severus, he consulted the senate for their opinion what was his duty under the circumstances: "For," said he, "I am afraid, lest, if I should stand by him in the cause, I may be supposed to screen a guilty man; and if I do not, to desert and prejudge a friend." With the unanimous concurrence, therefore, of the senate, he took his seat amongst his advocates for several hours, but without giving him the benefit of speaking to character, as was usual. He likewise appeared for his clients; as on behalf of Scutarius, an old soldier of his, who brought an action for slander. He never relieved any one from prosecution but in a single instance, in the case of a man who had given information of the conspiracy of Muraena; and that he did only by prevailing upon the accuser, in open court, to drop his prosecution.
LVII. How much he was beloved for his worthy conduct in all these respects, it is easy to imagine. I say nothing of the decrees of the senate in his honor, which may seem to have resulted from compulsion or deference. The Roman knights voluntarily, and with one accord, always celebrated his birth for two days together; and all ranks of the people, yearly, in performance of a vow they had made, threw a piece of money into the Curtian lake [an enclosure in the middle of the Forum, marking the spot where Curtius leapt into the lake, which had been long since filled up], as an offering for his welfare. They likewise, on the calends [first] of January, presented for his acceptance new-year's gifts in the Capitol, though he was not present with which donations he purchased some costly images of the Gods, which he erected in several streets of the city; as that of Apollo Sandaliarius, Jupiter Tragoedus [names of streets], and others.
When his house on the Palatine hill was accidentally destroyed by fire, the veteran soldiers, the judges, the tribes, and even the people, individually, contributed, according to the ability of each, for rebuilding it; but he would accept only of some small portion out of the several sums collected, and refused to take from any one person more than a single denarius. Upon his return home from any of the provinces, they attended him not only with joyful acclamations, but with songs. It is also remarked, that as often as he entered the city, the infliction of punishment was suspended for the time.
LVIII. The whole body of the people, upon a sudden impulse, and with unanimous consent, offered him the title of FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY. It was announced to him first at Antium, by a deputation from the people, and upon his declining the honor, they repeated their offer on his return to Rome, in a full theatre, when they were crowned with laurel. The senate soon afterwards adopted the proposal, not in the way of acclamation or decree, but by commissioning M. Messala, in an unanimous vote, to compliment him with it in the following terms: "With hearty wishes for the happiness and prosperity of yourself and your family, Caesar Augustus, (for we think we thus most effectually pray for the lasting welfare of the state), the senate, in agreement with the Roman people, salute you by the title of FATHER OF YOUR COUNTRY." To this compliment Augustus replied, with tears in his eyes, in these words (for I give them exactly as I have done those of Messala): "Having now arrived at the summit of my wishes, O Conscript Fathers, what else have I to beg of the Immortal Gods, but the continuance of this your affection for me to the last moments of my life?" [The senate, as instituted by Romulus, consisted of one hundred members, who were called Patres, i. e. Fathers, either upon account of their age, or their paternal care of the state. The number received some augmentation under Tullus Hostilius; and Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, added a hundred more, who were called Patres minorum gentium; those created by Romulus being distinguished by the name of Patres majorum gentium. Those who were chosen into the senate by Brutus, after the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud, to supply the place of those whom that king had slain, were called Conscripti, i.e. persons written or enrolled among the old senators, who alone were properly styled Patres. Hence arose the custom of summoning to the senate those who were Patres, and those who were Conscripti; and hence also was applied to the senators in general the designation of Patres Conscripti, the particle et, and, being understood to connect the two classes of senators. In the time of Julius Caesar, the number of senators was increased to nine hundred, and after his death to a thousand; many worthless persons having been admitted into the senate during the civil wars. Augustus afterwards reduced the number to six hundred.]
LIX. To the physician Antonius Musa [a freedman, who had acquired his knowledge of medicine while a domestic slave], who had cured him of a dangerous illness, they erected a statue near that of Aesculapius, by a general subscription. Some heads of families ordered in their wills, that their heirs should lead victims to the Capitol, with a tablet carried before them, and pay their vows, "Because Augustus still survived." Some Italian cities appointed the day upon which he first visited them, to be thenceforth the beginning of their year. And most of the provinces, besides erecting temples and altars, instituted games, to be celebrated to his honor, in most towns, every five years.
LX. The kings, his friends and allies, built cities in their respective kingdoms, to which they gave the name of Caesarea; and all with one consent resolved to finish, at their common expense, the temple of Jupiter Olympius, at Athens, which had been begun long before, and consecrate it to his Genius. They frequently also left their kingdoms, laid aside the badges of royalty, and assuming the toga, attended and paid their respects to him daily, in the manner of clients to their patrons; not only at Rome, but when he was travelling through the provinces.
LXI. Having thus given an account of the manner in which he filled his public offices both civil and military, and his conduct in the government of the empire, both in peace and war; I shall now describe his private and domestic life, his habits at home and among his friends and dependents, and the fortune attending him in those scenes of retirement, from his youth to the day of his death. He lost his mother in his first consulship, and his sister Octavia, when he was in the fifty-fourth year of his age [A.U.C. 711]. He behaved towards them both with the utmost kindness whilst living, and after their decease paid the highest honors to their memory.
LXII. He was contracted when very young to the daughter of Publius Servilius Isauricus; but upon his reconciliation with Antony after their first rupture, the armies on both sides insisting on a family alliance between them, he married Antony's step-daughter Claudia, the daughter of Fulvia by Publius Claudius, although at that time she was scarcely marriageable; and upon a difference arising with his mother-in-law Fulvia, he divorced her untouched, and a pure virgin. Soon afterwards he took to wife Scribonia, who had before been twice married to men of consular rank [one of them was Scipio, the father of Cornelia, whose death is lamented by Propertius, iv. 12], and was a mother by one of them. With her likewise he parted [A.U.C. 715], being quite tired out, as he himself writes, with the perverseness of her temper; and immediately took Livia Drusilla, though then pregnant, from her husband Tiberius Nero; and she had never any rival in his love and esteem.
LXIII. By Scribonia he had a daughter named Julia, but no children by Livia, although extremely desirous of issue. She, indeed, conceived once, but miscarried. He gave his daughter Julia in the first instance to Marcellus, his sister's son, who had just completed his minority; and, after his death, to Marcus Agrippa, having prevailed with his sister to yield her son-in-law to his wishes; for at that time Agrippa was married to one of the Marcellas, and had children by her. Agrippa dying also, he for a long time thought of several matches for Julia in even the equestrian order, and at last resolved upon selecting Tiberius for his step-son; and he obliged him to part with his wife at that time pregnant, and who had already brought him a child. Mark Antony writes, "That he first contracted Julia to his son, and afterwards to Cotiso, king of the Getae [mentioned by Horace, Ode 8, b. iii], demanding at the same time the king's daughter in marriage for himself."
LXIV. He had three grandsons by Agrippa and Julia, namely, Caius, Lucius, and Agrippa; and two grand-daughters, Julia and Agrippina. Julia he married to Lucius Paulus, the censor's son, and Agrippina to Germanicus, his sister's grandson. Caius and Lucius he adopted at home, by the ceremony of purchase [this form of adoption consisted in a fictitious sale] from their father, advanced them, while yet very young, to offices in the state, and when they were consuls-elect, sent them to visit the provinces and armies.
In bringing up his daughter and grand-daughters, he accustomed them to domestic employments, and even spinning, and obliged them to speak and act every thing openly before the family, that it might be put down in the diary. He so strictly prohibited them from all converse with strangers, that he once wrote a letter to Lucius Vinicius, a handsome young man of a good family, in which he told him, "You have not behaved very modestly, in making a visit to my daughter at Baiae." He usually instructed his grandsons himself in reading, swimming, and other rudiments of knowledge; and he labored nothing more than to perfect them in the imitation of his hand-writing. He never supped but he had them sitting at the foot of his couch; nor ever travelled but with them in a chariot before him, or riding beside him.
LXV. But in the midst of all his joy and hopes in his numerous and well-regulated family, his fortune failed him. The two Julias, his daughter and grand-daughter, abandoned themselves to such courses of lewdness and debauchery, that he banished them both. Caius and Lucius he lost within the space of eighteen months; the former dying in Lycia, and the latter at Marseilles. His third grandson Agrippa, with his step-son Tiberius, he adopted in the forum, by a law passed for the purpose by the Sections [Curiae. Romulus divided the people of Rome into three tribes; and each tribe into ten Curiae. The number of tribes was afterwards increased by degrees to thirty-five; but that of the Curiae always remained the same]; but he soon afterwards discarded Agrippa for his coarse and unruly temper, and confined him at Surrentum.
He bore the death of his relations with more patience than he did their disgrace; for he was not overwhelmed by the loss of Caius and Lucius; but in the case of his daughter, he stated the facts to the senate in a message read to them by the quaestor, not having the heart to be present himself; indeed, he was so much ashamed of her infamous conduct, that for some time he avoided all company, and had thoughts of putting her to death. It is certain that when one Phoebe, a freed-woman and confidant of hers, hanged herself about the same time, he said, "I had rather be the father of Phoebe than of Julia." In her banishment he would not allow her the use of wine, nor any luxury in dress; nor would he suffer her to be waited upon by any male servant, either freeman or slave, without his permission, and having received an exact account of his age, stature, complexion, and what marks or scars he had about him.
At the end of five years he removed her from the island [where she was confined] to the continent [she was removed to Reggio in Calabria], and treated her with less severity, but could never be prevailed upon to recall her. When the Roman people interposed on her behalf several times with much importunity, all the reply he gave was: "I wish you had all such daughters and wives as she is." He likewise forbade a child, of which his grand-daughter Julia was delivered after sentence had passed against her, to be either owned as a relation, or brought up. Agrippa, who was equally intractable, and whose folly increased every day, he transported to an island [Agrippa was first banished to the little desolate island of Planasia. It is one of the group in the Tuscan sea, between Elba and Corsica], and placed a guard of soldiers about him; procuring at the same time an act of the senate for his confinement there during life. Upon any mention of him and the two Julias, he would say, with a heavy sigh,
Aith' ophelon agamos t' emenai, agonos t' apoletai.
Would I were wifeless, or had childless died! [Iliad, 40, iii.]
nor did he usually call them by any other name than that of his "three imposthumes or cancers."
LXVI. He was cautious in forming friendships, but clung to them with great constancy; not only rewarding the virtues and merits of his friends according to their deserts, but bearing likewise with their faults and vices, provided that they were of a venial kind. For amongst all his friends, we scarcely find any who fell into disgrace with him, except Salvidienus Rufus, whom he raised to the consulship, and Cornelius Gallus, whom he made prefect of Egypt; both of them men of the lowest extraction. One of these, being engaged in plotting a rebellion, he delivered over to the senate, for condemnation; and the other, on account of his ungrateful and malicious temper, he forbade his house, and his living in any of the provinces.
When, however, Gallus, being denounced by his accusers, and sentenced by the senate, was driven to the desperate extremity of laying violent hands upon himself, he commended, indeed, the attachment to his person of those who manifested so much indignation, but he shed tears, and lamented his unhappy condition, "That I alone," said he, "cannot be allowed to resent the misconduct of my friends in such a way only as I would wish." The rest of his friends of all orders flourished during their whole lives, both in power and wealth, in the highest ranks of their several orders, notwithstanding some occasional lapses. For, to say nothing of others, he sometimes complained that Agrippa was hasty, and Mecaenas a tattler; the former having thrown up all his employments and retired to Mitylene, on suspicion of some slight coolness, and from jealousy that Marcellus received greater marks of favor; and the latter having confidentially imparted to his wife Terentia the discovery of Muraena's conspiracy.
He likewise expected from his friends, at their deaths as well as during their lives, some proofs of their reciprocal attachment. For though he was far from coveting their property, and indeed would never accept of any legacy left him by a stranger, yet he pondered in a melancholy mood over their last words; not being able to conceal his chagrin, if in their wills they made but a slight, or no very honorable mention of him, nor his joy, on the other hand, if they expressed a grateful sense of his favors, and a hearty affection for him. And whatever legacies or shares of their property were left him by such as were parents, he used to restore to their children, either immediately, or if they were under age, upon the day of their assuming the manly dress, or of their marriage; with interest.
LXVII. As a patron and master, his behavior in general was mild and conciliating; but when occasion required it, he could be severe. He advanced many of his freedmen to posts of honor and great importance, as Licinus, Enceladus, and others; and when his slave, Cosmus, had reflected bitterly upon him, he resented the injury no further than by putting him in fetters. When his steward, Diomedes, left him to the mercy of a wild boar, which suddenly attacked them while they were walking together, he considered it rather a cowardice than a breach of duty; and turned an occurrence of no small hazard into a jest, because there was no knavery in his steward's conduct.
He put to death Proculus, one of his most favorite freedmen, for maintaining a criminal commerce with other men's wives. He broke the legs of his secretary, Thallus, for taking a bribe of five hundred denarii to discover the contents of one of his letters. And the tutor and other attendants of his son Caius, having taken advantage of his sickness and death, to give loose to their insolence and rapacity in the province he governed, he caused heavy weights to be tied about their necks, and had them thrown into a river.
LXVIII. In his early youth various aspersions of an infamous character were heaped upon him. Sextus Pompey reproached him with being an effeminate fellow; and M. Antony, with earning his adoption from his uncle by prostitution. Lucius Antony, likewise Mark's brother, charges him with pollution by Caesar; and that, for a gratification of three hundred thousand sesterces, he had submitted to Aulus Hirtius in the same way, in Spain; adding, that he used to singe his legs with burnt nut-shells, to make the hair become softer . Nay, the whole concourse of the people, at some public diversions in the theatre, when the following sentence was recited, alluding to the Gallic priest of the mother of the gods [Cybele], beating a drum [a small drum, beat by the finger or thumb, was used by the priests of Cybele in their lascivious rites and in other orgies of a similar description, These drums were made of inflated skin, circular in shape, so that they had some resemblance to the orb which, in the statues of the emperor, he is represented as holding in his hand],
Videsne ut cinaedus orbem digito temperet?
applied the passage to him, with great applause.
LXIX. That he was guilty of various acts of adultery, is not denied even by his friends; but they allege in excuse for it, that he engaged in those intrigues not from lewdness, but from policy, in order to discover more easily the designs of his enemies, through their wives. Mark Antony, besides the precipitate marriage of Livia, charges him with taking the wife of a man of consular rank from table, in the presence of her husband, into a bed-chamber, and bringing her again to the entertainment, with her ears very red, and her hair in great disorder: that he had divorced Scribonia, for resenting too freely the excessive influence which one of his mistresses had gained over him: that his friends were employed to pimp for him, and accordingly obliged both matrons and ripe virgins to strip, for a complete examination of their persons, in the same manner as if Thoranius, the dealer in slaves, had them under sale.
And before they came to an open rupture, he writes to him in a familiar manner, thus: "Why are you changed towards me? Because I lie with a queen? She is my wife. Is this a new thing with me, or have I not done so for these nine years? And do you take freedoms with Drusilla only? May health and happiness so attend you, as when you read this letter, you are not in dalliance with Tertulla, Terentilla, Rufilla [Mark Antony makes use of fondling diminutives of the names of Tertia, Terentia, and Rufa, some of Augustus's favorites], or Salvia Titiscenia, or all of them. What matters it to you where, or upon whom, you spend your manly vigor?"
LXX. A private entertainment which he gave, commonly called the Supper of the Twelve Gods [the twelve Dii Majores; they are enumerated in two verses by Ennius:— Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars;Mercurius, Jovis, Neptunus, Vulcanus, Apollo], and at which the guests were dressed in the habit of gods and goddesses, while he personated Apollo himself, afforded subject of much conversation, and was imputed to him not only by Antony in his letters, who likewise names all the parties concerned, but in the following well-known anonymous verses:
Cum primum istorum conduxit mensa choragum,
When Mallia late beheld, in mingled train,
What rendered this supper more obnoxious to public censure, was that it happened at a time when there was a great scarcity, and almost a famine, in the city. The day after, there was a cry current among the people, "that the gods had eaten up all the corn; and that Caesar was indeed Apollo, but Apollo the Tormentor;" under which title that god was worshipped in some quarter of the city [probably in the Suburra]. He was likewise charged with being excessively fond of fine furniture, and Corinthian vessels, as well as with being addicted to gaming. For, during the time of the proscription, the following line was written upon his statue:—
Pater argentarius, ego Corinthiarius;
because it was believed, that he had put some persons upon the list of the proscribed, only to obtain the Corinthian vessels in their possession. And afterwards, in the Sicilian war, the following epigram was published:—
Postquam bis classe victus naves perdidit,
Twice having lost a fleet in luckless fight,
LXXI. With respect to the charge or imputation of loathsome impurity before-mentioned, he very easily refuted it by the chastity of his life, at the very time when it was made, as well as ever afterwards. His conduct likewise gave the lie to that of luxurious extravagance in his furniture, when, upon the taking of Alexandria, he reserved for himself nothing of the royal treasures but a porcelain cup, and soon afterwards melted down all the vessels of gold, even such as were intended for common use. But his amorous propensities never left him, and, as he grew older, as is reported, he was in the habit of debauching young girls, who were procured for him, from all quarters, even by his own wife.
To the observations on his gaming, he paid not the smallest regard; but played in public, but purely for his diversion, even when he was advanced in years; and not only in the month of December, but at other times, and upon all days, whether festivals or not. This evidently appears from a letter under his own hand, in which he says, "I supped, my dear Tiberius, with the same company. We had, besides, Vinicius, and Silvius the father. We gamed at supper like old fellows, both yesterday and today. And as any one threw upon the tali [the Romans played with two kinds of dice, the tesserae and tali. The former had six sides, like the modern dice; the latter, four oblong sides, for the two ends were not regarded. In playing, they used three tesserae and four tali, which were all put into a box wider below than above, and being shaken, were thrown out upon the gaming-board or table] aces or sixes, he put down for every talus a denarius; all which was gained by him who threw a Venus." [The highest cast was so called.]
In another letter, he says: "We had, my dear Tiberius, a pleasant time of it during the festival of Minerva: for we played every day, and kept the gaming-board warm. Your brother uttered many exclamations at a desperate run of ill-fortune; but recovering by degrees, and unexpectedly, he in the end lost not much. I lost twenty thousand sesterces for my part; but then I was profusely generous in my play, as I commonly am; for had I insisted upon the stakes which I declined, or kept what I gave away, I should have won about fifty thousand. But this I like better for it will raise my character for generosity to the skies." In a letter to his daughter, he writes thus: "I have sent you two hundred and fifty denarii, which I gave to every one of my guests; in case they were inclined at supper to divert themselves with the Tali, or at the game of Even-or-Odd."
LXXII. In other matters, it appears that he was moderate in his habits, and free from suspicion of any kind of vice. He lived at first near the Roman Forum, above the Ring-maker's Stairs, in a house which had once been occupied by Calvus the orator. He afterwards moved to the Palatine Hill, where he resided in a small house [enlarged by Tiberius and succeeding emperors] belonging to Hortensius, no way remarkable either for size or ornament; the piazzas being but small, the pillars of Alban stone [probably travertine, a soft limestone, from the Alban Mount], and the rooms without any thing of marble, or fine paving. He continued to use the same bed-chamber, both winter and summer, during forty years [it was usual among the Romans to have separate sets of apartments for summer and winter use, according to their exposure to the sun]: for though he was sensible that the city did not agree with his health in the winter, he nevertheless resided constantly in it during that season. If at any time he wished to be perfectly retired, and secure from interruption, he shut himself up in an apartment at the top of his house, which he called his Syracuse or Technophuon [this word may be interpreted the Cabinet of Arts], or he went to some villa belonging to his freedmen near the city. But when he was indisposed, he commonly took up his residence in the house of Mecaenas [Mecaenas had a house and gardens on the Esquiline Hill, celebrated for their salubrity].
Of all the places of retirement from the city, he chiefly frequented those upon the sea-coast, and the islands of Campania [such as Baiae, and the islands of Ischia, Procida, Capri, and others; the resorts of the opulent nobles, where they had magnificent marine villas], or the towns nearest the city, such as Lanuvium, Praeneste, and Tibur [now Tivoli, a delicious spot, where Horace had a villa], where he often used to sit for the administration of justice, in the porticos of the temple of Hercules. He had a particular aversion to large and sumptuous palaces; and some which had been raised at a vast expense by his grand-daughter, Julia, he levelled to the ground. Those of his own, which were far from being spacious, he adorned, not so much with statues and pictures, as with walks and groves, and things which were curious either for their antiquity or rarity; such as, at Capri, the huge limbs of sea-monsters and wild beasts, which some affect to call the bones of giants; and also the arms of ancient heroes.
LXXIII. His frugality in the furniture of his house appears even at this day, from some beds and tables still remaining, most of which are scarcely elegant enough for a private family. It is reported that he never lay upon a bed, but such as was low, and meanly furnished. He seldom wore any garment but what was made by the hands of his wife, sister, daughter, and grand-daughters. His togas [the toga was a loose woollen robe; none but Roman citizens were permitted to wear the toga; and banished persons were prohibited the use of it. The color of the toga was white. The clavus was a purple border, by which the senators, and other orders, with the magistrates, were distinguished; the breadth of the stripe corresponding with their rank] were neither scanty nor full; and the clavus was neither remarkably broad or narrow. His shoes were a little higher than common, to make him appear taller than he was. He had always clothes and shoes, fit to appear in public, ready in his bed-chamber for any sudden occasion.
LXXIV. At his table, which was always plentiful and elegant, he constantly entertained company; but was very scrupulous in the choice of them, both as to rank and character. Valerius Messala informs us, that he never admitted any freedman to his table, except Menas, when rewarded with the privilege of citizenship, for betraying Pompey's fleet. He writes, himself, that he invited to his table a person in whose villa he lodged, and who had formerly been employed by him as a spy. He often came late to table, and withdrew early; so that the company began supper before his arrival, and continued at table after his departure. His entertainments consisted of three entries, or at most of only six. But if his fare was moderate, his courtesy was extreme. For those who were silent, or talked in whispers, he encouraged to join in the general conversation; and introduced buffoons and stage players, or even low performers from the circus, and very often itinerant humorists, to enliven the company.
LXXV. Festivals and holidays he usually celebrated very expensively, but sometimes only with merriment. In the Saturnalia, or at any other time when the fancy took him, he distributed to his company clothes, gold, and silver; sometimes coins of all sorts, even of the ancient kings of Rome and of foreign nations; sometimes nothing but towels, sponges, rakes, and tweezers, and other things of that kind, with tickets on them, which were enigmatical, and had a double meaning. He used likewise to sell by lot among his guests articles of very unequal value, and pictures with their fronts reversed; and so, by the unknown quality of the lot, disappoint or gratify the expectation of the purchasers. This sort of traffic went round the whole company, every one being obliged to buy something, and to run the chance of loss or gain wits the rest.
LXXVI. He ate sparingly (for I must not omit even this), and commonly used a plain diet. He was particularly fond of coarse bread, small fishes, new cheese made of cow's milk, and green figs of the sort which bear fruit twice a year [a species of fig tree, known in some places as Adam's fig]. He did not wait for supper, but took food at any time, and in any place, when he had an appetite. The following passages relative to this subject, I have transcribed from his letters. "I ate a little bread and some small dates, in my carriage." Again. "In returning home from the palace in my litter, I ate an ounce of bread, and a few raisins." Again. "No Jew, my dear Tiberius, ever keeps such strict fast upon the Sabbath [Augustus might have been better informed of the Jewish rites, from his familiarity with Herod and others; for it is certain that their sabbath was not a day of fasting], as I have to-day; for while in the bath, and after the first hour of the night, I only ate two biscuits, before I began to be rubbed with oil." From this great indifference about his diet, he sometimes supped by himself, before his company began, or after they had finished, and would not touch a morsel at table with his guests.
LXXVII. He was by nature extremely sparing in the use of wine. Cornelius Nepos says, that he used to drink only three times at supper in the camp at Modena; and when he indulged himself the most, he never exceeded a pint; or if he did, his stomach rejected it. Of all wines, he gave the preference to the Rhaetian [the vineyards lay at the foot of the Rhaetian Alps], but scarcely ever drank any in the day-time. Instead of drinking, he used to take a piece of bread dipped in cold water, or a slice of cucumber, or some leaves of lettuce, or a green, sharp, juicy apple.
LXXVIII. After a slight repast at noon, he used to seek repose, dressed as he was, and with his shoes on, his feet covered, and his hand held before his eyes. After supper he commonly withdrew to his study, a small closet, where he sat late, until he had put down in his diary all or most of the remaining transactions of the day, which he had not before registered. He would then go to bed, but never slept above seven hours at most, and that not without interruption; for he would wake three or four times during that time.
If he could not again fall asleep, as sometimes happened, he called for some one to read or tell stories to him, until he became drowsy, and then his sleep was usually protracted till after day-break. He never liked to lie awake in the dark, without somebody to sit by him. Very early rising was apt to disagree with him. On which account, if he was obliged to rise betimes, for any civil or religious functions, in order to guard as much as possible against the inconvenience resulting from it, he used to lodge in some apartment near the spot, belonging to any of his attendants. If at any time a fit of drowsiness seized him in passing along the streets, his litter was set down while he snatched a few moments' sleep.
LXXIX. In person he was handsome and graceful, through every period of his life. But he was negligent in his dress; and so careless about dressing his hair, that he usually had it done in great haste, by several barbers at a time. His beard he sometimes clipped, and sometimes shaved; and either read or wrote during the operation. His countenance, either when discoursing or silent, was so calm and serene, that a Gaul of the first rank declared amongst his friends, that he was so softened by it, as to be restrained from throwing him down a precipice, in his passage over the Alps, when he had been admitted to approach him, under pretence of conferring with him.
His eyes were bright and piercing; and he was willing it should be thought that there was something of a divine vigor in them. He was likewise not a little pleased to see people, upon his looking steadfastly at them, lower their countenances, as if the sun shone in their eyes. But in his old age, he saw very imperfectly with his left eye. His teeth were thin set, small and scaly, his hair a little curled, and inclining to a yellow color. His eye-brows met; his ears were small, and he had an aquiline nose. His complexion was betwixt brown and fair; his stature but low; though Julius Marathus, his freedman, says he was five feet and nine inches in height. This, however, was so much concealed by the just proportion of his limbs, that it was only perceivable upon comparison with some taller person standing by him.
LXXX. He is said to have been born with many spots upon his breast and belly, answering to the figure, order, and number of the stars in the constellation of the Bear. He had besides several callosities resembling scars, occasioned by an itching in his body, and the constant and violent use of the strigil [used in the baths for scraping the body when in a state of perspiration] in being rubbed. He had a weakness in his left hip, thigh, and leg, insomuch that he often halted on that side; but he received much benefit from the use of sand and reeds. He likewise sometimes found the fore-finger of his right hand so weak, that when it was benumbed and contracted with cold, to use it in writing, he was obliged to have recourse to a circular piece of horn. He had occasionally a complaint in the bladder; but upon voiding some stones in his urine, he was relieved from that pain.
LXXXI. During the whole course of his life, he suffered, at times, dangerous fits of sickness, especially after the conquest of Cantabria; when his liver being injured by a defluxion upon it, he was reduced to such a condition, that he was obliged to undergo a desperate and doubtful method of cure: for warm applications having no effect, Antonius Musa [his physician] directed the use of those which were cold. He was likewise subject to fits of sickness at stated times every year; for about his birth-day [Sept. 21st] he was commonly a little indisposed. In the beginning of spring, he was attacked with an inflation of the midriff; and when the wind was southerly, with a cold in his head. By all these complaints, his constitution was so shattered, that he could not easily bear either heat or cold.
LXXXII. In winter, he was protected against the inclemency of the weather by a thick toga, four tunics, a shirt, a flannel stomacher, and swathings upon his legs and thighs [feminalibus et tibialibus: Neither the ancient Romans or the Greeks wore breeches or trousers, which they despised as barbarian articles of dress. The coverings here mentioned were swathings for the legs and thighs, used mostly in cases of sickness or infirmity]. In summer, he lay with the doors of his bedchamber open, and frequently in a piazza, refreshed by a bubbling fountain, and a person standing by to fan him. He could not bear even the winter's sun; and at home, never walked in the open air without a broad-brimmed hat on his head. He usually travelled in a litter, and by night: and so slow, that he was two days in going to Praeneste or Tibur. And if he could go to any place by sea, he preferred that mode of travelling.
He carefully nourished his health against his many infirmities, avoiding chiefly the free use of the bath; but he was often rubbed with oil, and sweated in a stove; after which he was washed with tepid water, warmed either by a fire, or by being exposed to the heat of the sun. When, upon account of his nerves, he was obliged to have recourse to sea-water, or the waters of Albula [on the left of the road to Tivoli, near the ruins of Adrian's villa. The waters are sulfurous, and the deposit from them causes incrustations on twigs and other matters plunged in the springs], he was contented with sitting over a wooden tub, which he called by a Spanish name Dureta, and plunging his hands and feet in the water by turns.
LXXXIII. As soon as the civil wars were ended, he gave up riding and other military exercises in the Campus Martius, and took to playing at ball, or foot-ball; but soon afterwards used no other exercise than that of going abroad in his litter, or walking. Towards the end of his walk, he would run leaping, wrapped up in a short cloak or cape. For amusement he would sometimes angle, or play with dice, pebbles, or nuts, with little boys, collected from various countries, and particularly Moors and Syrians, for their beauty or amusing talk. But dwarfs, and such as were in any way deformed, he held in abhorrence, as lusus naturae (nature's abortions), and of evil omen.
LXXXIV. From early youth he devoted himself with great diligence and application to the study of eloquence, and the other liberal arts. In the war of Modena, notwithstanding the weighty affairs in which he was engaged, he is said to have read, written, and declaimed every day. He never addressed the senate, the people, or the army, but in a premeditated speech, though he did not want the talent of speaking extempore on the spur of the occasion. And lest his memory should fail him, as well as to prevent the loss of time in getting up his speeches, it was his general practice to recite them. In his intercourse with individuals, and even with his wife Livia, upon subjects of importance he wrote on his tablets all he wished to express, lest, if he spoke extempore, he should say more or less than was proper. He delivered himself in a sweet and peculiar tone, in which he was diligently instructed by a master of elocution. But when he had a cold, he sometimes employed a herald to deliver his speeches to the people.
LXXXV. He composed many tracts in prose on various subjects, some of which he read occasionally in the circle of his friends, as to an auditory. Among these was his "Rescript to Brutus respecting Cato." Most of the pages he read himself, although he was advanced in years, but becoming fatigued, he gave the rest to Tiberius to finish. He likewise read over to his friends his "Exhortations to Philosophy," and the "History of his own Life," which he continued in thirteen books, as far as the Cantabrian war, but no farther. He likewise made some attempts at poetry. There is extant one book written by him in hexameter verse, of which both the subject and title is "Sicily." There is also a book of Epigrams, no larger than the last, which he composed almost entirely while he was in the bath. These are all his poetical compositions for though he begun a tragedy with great zest, becoming dissatisfied with the style, he obliterated the whole; and his friends saying to him, "What is your Ajax doing?" he answered, "My Ajax has met with a sponge" [literally has fallen upon a sponge, as Ajax is said to have perished by falling on his own sword].
LXXXVI. He cultivated a style which was neat and chaste, avoiding frivolous or harsh language, as well as obsolete words, which he calls disgusting. His chief object was to deliver his thoughts with all possible perspicuity. To attain this end, and that he might nowhere perplex, or retard the reader or hearer, he made no scruple to add prepositions to his verbs, or to repeat the same conjunction several times; which, when omitted, occasion some little obscurity, but give a grace to the style. Those who used affected language, or adopted obsolete words, he despised, as equally faulty, though in different ways.
He sometimes indulged himself in jesting, particularly with his friend Mecaenas, whom he rallied upon all occasions for his fine phrases [myrobrecheis. Suetonius often preserves expressive Greek phrases which Augustus was in the habit of using. This compound word meant literally, myrrh-scented, perfumed], and bantered by imitating his way of talking. Nor did he spare Tiberius, who was fond of obsolete and far-fetched expressions. He charges Mark Antony with insanity, writing rather to make men stare, than to be understood; and by way of sarcasm upon his depraved and fickle taste in the choice of words, he writes to him thus: "And are you yet in doubt, whether Cimber Annius or Veranius Flaccus be more proper for your imitation? Whether you will adopt words which Sallustius Crispus has borrowed from the 'Origines' of Cato? Or do you think that the verbose empty bombast of Asiatic orators is fit to be transfused into our language?" And in a letter where he commends the talent of his grand-daughter, Agrippina, he says, "But you must be particularly careful, both in writing and speaking, to avoid affectation."
LXXXVII. In ordinary conversation, he made use of several peculiar expressions, as appears from letters in his own hand-writing; in which, now and then, when he means to intimate that some persons would never pay their debts, he says, "They will pay at the Greek Calends." And when he advised patience in the present posture of affairs, he would say, "Let us be content with our Cato." To describe anything in haste, he said, "It was sooner done than asparagus is cooked." He constantly puts baceolus for stultus, pullejaceus for pullus, vacerrosus for cerritus, vapide se habere for male, and betizare for languere, which is commonly called lachanizare. Likewise simus for sumus, domos for domus in the genitive singular. With respect to the last two peculiarities, lest any person should imagine that they were only slips of his pen, and not customary with him, he never varies. I have likewise remarked this singularity in his hand-writing; he never divides his words, so as to carry the letters which cannot be inserted at the end of a line to the next, but puts them below the other, enclosed by a bracket.
LXXXVIII. He did not adhere strictly to orthography as laid down by the grammarians, but seems to have been of the opinion of those who think, that we ought to write as we speak; for as to his changing and omitting not only letters but whole syllables, it is a vulgar mistake. Nor should I have taken notice of it, but that it appears strange to me, that any person should have told us, that he sent a successor to a consular lieutenant of a province, as an ignorant, illiterate fellow, upon his observing that he had written ixi for ipsi. When he had occasion to write in cypher, he put b for a, c for b, and so forth; and instead of z, aa.
LXXXIX. He was no less fond of the Greek literature, in which he made considerable proficiency; having had Apollodorus of Pergamus, for his master in rhetoric; whom, though much advanced in years, he took with him from The City, when he was himself very young, to Apollonia. Afterwards, being instructed in philology by Sephaerus, he received into his family Areus the philosopher, and his sons Dionysius and Nicanor; but he never could speak the Greek tongue readily, nor ever ventured to compose in it. For if there was occasion for him to deliver his sentiments in that language, he always expressed what he had to say in Latin, and gave it another to translate. He was evidently not unacquainted with the poetry of the Greeks, and had a great taste for the ancient comedy, which he often brought upon the stage, in his public spectacles.
In reading the Greek and Latin authors, he paid particular attention to precepts and examples which might be useful in public or private life. Those he used to extract verbatim, and gave to his domestics, or send to the commanders of the armies, the governors of the provinces, or the magistrates of the city, when any of them seemed to stand in need of admonition. He likewise read whole books to the senate, and frequently made them known to the people by his edicts; such as the orations of Quintus Metellus "for the Encouragement of Marriage," and those of Rutilius "On the Style of Building;" [it may create a smile to hear that, to prevent danger to the public, Augustus decreed that no new buildings erected in a public thoroughfare should exceed in height seventy feet] to show the people that he was not the first who had promoted those objects, but that the ancients likewise had thought them worthy their attention. He patronized the men of genius of that age in every possible way. He would hear them read their works with a great deal of patience and good nature; and not only poetry [Virgil is said to have recited before him the whole of the second, fourth, and sixth books of the Aeneid] and history, but orations and dialogues. He was displeased, however, that anything should be written upon himself, except in a grave manner, and by men of the most eminent abilities: and he enjoined the praetors not to suffer his name to be made too common in the contests amongst orators and poets in the theatres.
XC. We have the following account of him respecting his belief in omens and such like. He had so great a dread of thunder and lightning that he always carried about him a seal's skin, by way of preservation. And upon any apprehension of a violent storm, he would retire to some place of concealment in a vault under ground; having formerly been terrified by a flash of lightning, while travelling in the night, as we have already mentioned.
XCI. He neither slighted his own dreams nor those of other people relating to himself. At the battle of Philippi, although he had resolved not to stir out of his tent, on account of his being indisposed, yet, being warned by a dream of one of his friends, he changed his mind; and well it was that he did so, for in the enemy's attack, his couch was pierced and cut to pieces, on the supposition of his being in it. He had many frivolous and frightful dreams during the spring; but in the other parts of the year, they were less frequent and more significative. Upon his frequently visiting a temple near the Capitol, which he had dedicated to Jupiter Tonans, he dreamt that Jupiter Capitolinus complained that his worshippers were taken from him, and that upon this he replied, he had only given him The Thunderer for his porter. He therefore immediately suspended little bells round the summit of the temple; because such commonly hung at the gates of great houses. In consequence of a dream, too, he always, on a certain day of the year, begged alms of the people, reaching out his hand to receive the dole which they offered him.
XCII. Some signs and omens he regarded as infallible. If in the morning his shoe was put on wrong, the left instead of the right, that boded some disaster. If when he commenced a long journey, by sea or land, there happened to fall a mizzling rain, he held it to be a good sign of a speedy and happy return. He was much affected likewise with any thing out of the common course of nature. A palm-tree [if these trees flourished at Rome in the time of Augustus, the winters there must have been much milder than they now are] which chanced to grow up between some stone's in the court of his house, he transplanted into a court where the images of the Household Gods were placed, and took all possible care to make it thrive in the island of Capri, some decayed branches of an old ilex, which hung drooping to the ground, recovered themselves upon his arrival; at which he was so delighted, that he made an exchange with the Republic [the Republican forms were preserved in some of the larger towns] of Naples, of the island of Oenaria [Ischia], for that of Capri. He likewise observed certain days; as never to go from home the day after the Nundiae [the Nundinae occurred every ninth day, when a market was held at Rome, and the people came to it from the country. The practice was not then introduced amongst the Romans, of dividing their time into weeks, as we do, in imitation of the Jews. Dio, who flourished under Severus, says that it first took place a little before his time, and was derived from the Egyptians], nor to begin any serious business upon the nones [the Romans divided their months into calends, nones, and ides. The first day of the month was the calends of that month; whence they reckoned backwards, distinguishing the time by the day before the calends, the second day before the calends, and so on, to the ides of the preceding month]; avoiding nothing else in it, as he writes to Tiberius, than its unlucky name.
XCIII. With regard to the religious ceremonies of foreign nations, he was a strict observer of those which had been established by ancient custom; but others he held in no esteem. For, having been initiated at Athens, and coming afterwards to hear a cause at Rome, relative to the privileges of the priests of the Attic Ceres, when some of the mysteries of their sacred rites were to be introduced in the pleadings, he dismissed those who sat upon the bench as judges with him, as well as the by-standers, and heard the argument upon those points himself. But, on the other hand, he not only declined, in his progress through Egypt, to go out of his way to pay a visit to Apis, but he likewise commended his grandson Caius for not paying his devotions at Jerusalem in his passage through Judaea. [The early Christians shared with the Jews the aversion of the Romans to their religion, more than that of others, arising probably from its monotheistic and exclusive character.]
XCIV. Since we are upon this subject, it may not be improper to give an account of the omens, before and at his birth, as well as afterwards, which gave hopes of his future greatness, and the good fortune that constantly attended him. A part of the wall of Velletri having in former times been struck with thunder, the response of the soothsayers was, that a native of that town would some time or other arrive at supreme power; relying on which prediction, the Velletrians both then, and several times afterwards, made war upon the Roman people, to their own ruin. At last it appeared by the event, that the omen had portended the elevation of Augustus.
Julius Marathus informs us, that a few months before his birth, there happened at Rome a prodigy, by which was signified that Nature was in travail with a king for the Roman people; and that the senate, in alarm, came to the resolution that no child born that year should be brought up; but that those amongst them, whose wives were pregnant, to secure to themselves a chance of that dignity, took care that the decree of the senate should not be registered in the treasury.
I find in the theological books of Asclepiades the Mendesian [Strabo tells us that Mendes was a city of Egypt near Lycopolis. Asclepias wrote a book in Greek with the idea of theologoumenon, in defence of some very strange religious rites], that Atia, upon attending at midnight a religious solemnity in honor of Apollo, when the rest of the matrons retired home, fell asleep on her couch in the temple, and that a serpent immediately crept to her, and soon after withdrew. She awaking upon it, purified herself, as usual after the embraces of her husband; and instantly there appeared upon her body a mark in the form of a serpent, which she never after could efface, and which obliged her, during the subsequent part of her life, to decline the use of the public baths. Augustus, it was added, was born in the tenth month after, and for that reason was thought to be the son of Apollo. The same Atia, before her delivery, dreamed that her bowels stretched to the stars, and expanded through the whole circuit of heaven and earth. His father Octavius, likewise, dreamt that a sun-beam issued from his wife's womb.
Upon the day he was born, the senate being engaged in a debate on Catiline's conspiracy, and Octavius, in consequence of his wife's being in childbirth, coming late into the house, it is a well-known fact, that Publius Nigidius, upon hearing the occasion of his coming so late, and the hour of his wife's delivery, declared that the world had got a master. Afterwards, when Octavius, upon marching with his army through the deserts of Thrace, consulted the oracle in the grove of father Bacchus, with barbarous rites, concerning his son, he received from the priests an answer to the same purpose; because, when they poured wine upon the altar, there burst out so prodigious a flame, that it ascended above the roof of the temple, and reached up to the heavens; a circumstance which had never happened to any one but Alexander the Great, upon his sacrificing at the same altars. And next night he dreamt that he saw his son under a more than human appearance, with thunder and a sceptre, and the other insignia of Jupiter, Optimus, Maximus, having on his head a radiant crown, mounted upon a chariot decked with laurel, and drawn by six pair of milk-white horses.
Whilst he was yet an infant, as Caius Drusus relates, being laid in his cradle by his nurse, and in a low place, the next day he was not to be found, and after he had been sought for a long time, he was at last discovered upon a lofty tower, lying with his face towards the rising sun [Velletri stands on very high ground, commanding extensive views of the Pontine marshes and the sea]. When he first began to speak, he ordered the frogs that happened to make a troublesome noise, upon an estate belonging to the family near the town, to be silent; and there goes a report that frogs never croaked there since that time. As he was dining in a grove at the fourth mile-stone on the Campanian road, an eagle suddenly snatched a piece of bread out of his hand, and, soaring to a prodigious height, after hovering, came down most unexpectedly, and returned it to him.
Quintus Catulus had a dream, for two nights successively after his dedication of the Capitol. The first night he dreamt that Jupiter, out of several boys of the order of the nobility who were playing about his altar, selected one, into whose bosom he put the public seal of the commonwealth, which he held in his hand; but in his vision the next night, he saw in the bosom of Jupiter Capitolinus, the same boy; whom he ordered to be removed, but it was forbidden by the God, who declared that it must be brought up to become the guardian of the state. The next day, meeting Augustus, with whom till that hour he had not the least acquaintance, and looking at him with admiration, he said he was extremely like the boy he had seen in his dream. Some give a different account of Catulus's first dream, namely, that Jupiter, upon several noble lads requesting of him that they might have a guardian, had pointed to one amongst them, to whom they were to prefer their requests; and putting his fingers to the boy's mouth to kiss, he afterwards applied them to his own.
Marcus Cicero, as he was attending Caius Caesar to the Capitol, happened to be telling some of his friends a dream which he had the preceding night, in which he saw a comely youth, let down from heaven by a golden chain, who stood at the door of the Capitol, and had a whip put into his hands by Jupiter. And immediately upon sight of Augustus, who had been sent for by his uncle Caesar to the sacrifice, and was as yet perfectly unknown to most of the company, he affirmed that it was the very boy he had seen in his dream. When he assumed the manly toga, his senatorian tunic becoming loose in the seam on each side, fell at his feet. Some would have this to forbode, that the order, of which that was the badge of distinction, would some time or other be subject to him.
Julius Caesar, in cutting down a wood to make room for his camp near Munda [Munda was a city in the Hispania Boetica, where Julius Caesar fought a battle], happened to light upon a palm-tree, and ordered it to be preserved as an omen of victory. From the root of this tree there put out immediately a sucker, which, in a few days, grew to such a height as not only to equal, but overshadow it, and afford room for many nests of wild pigeons which built in it, though that species of bird particularly avoids a hard and rough leaf. It is likewise reported, that Caesar was chiefly influenced by this prodigy, to prefer his sister's grandson before all others for his successor.
In his retirement at Apollonia, he went with his friend Agrippa to visit Theogenes, the astrologer, in his gallery on the roof. Agrippa, who first consulted the fates, having great and almost incredible fortunes predicted of him, Augustus did not choose to make known his nativity, and persisted for some time in the refusal, from a mixture of shame and fear, lest his fortunes should be predicted as inferior to those of Agrippa. Being persuaded, however, after much importunity, to declare it, Theogenes started up from his seat, and paid him adoration. Not long afterwards, Augustus was so confident of the greatness of his destiny, that he published his horoscope, and struck a silver coin, bearing upon it the sign of Capricorn, under the influence of which he was born.
XCV. After the death of Caesar, upon his return from Apollonia, as he was entering the city, on a sudden, in a clear and bright sky, a circle resembling the rainbow surrounded the body of the sun; and, immediately afterwards, the tomb of Julia, Caesar's daughter, was struck by lightning. In his first consulship, whilst he was observing the auguries, twelve vultures presented themselves, as they had done to Romulus. And when he offered sacrifice, the livers of all the victims were folded inward in the lower part; a circumstance which was regarded by those present, who had skill in things of that nature, as an indubitable prognostic of great and wonderful fortune.
XCVI. He certainly had a presentiment of the issue of all his wars. When the troops of the Triumviri were collected about Bolognia, an eagle, which sat upon his tent, and was attacked by two crows, beat them both, and struck them to the ground, in the view of the whole army; who thence inferred that discord would arise between the three colleagues, which would be attended with the like event: and it accordingly happened. At Philippi, he was assured of success by a Thessalian, upon the authority, as he pretended, of the Divine Caesar himself, who had appeared to him while he was travelling in a bye-road.
At Perugia, the sacrifice not presenting any favorable intimations, but the contrary, he ordered fresh victims; the enemy, however, carrying off the sacred things in a sudden sally, it was agreed amongst the augurs, that all the dangers and misfortunes which had threatened the sacrificer, would fall upon the heads of those who had got possession of the entrails. And, accordingly, so it happened. The day before the sea-fight near Sicily, as he was walking upon the shore, a fish leaped out of the sea, and laid itself at his feet. At Actium, while he was going down to his fleet to engage the enemy, he was met by an ass with a fellow driving it. The name of the man was Eutychus, and that of the animal, Nichon [the good omen, in this instance, was founded upon the etymology of the names of the ass and its driver; the former of which, in Greek, signifies fortunate, and the latter, victorious]. After the victory, he erected a brazen statue to each, in a temple built upon the spot where he had encamped.
XCVII. His death, of which I shall now speak, and his subsequent deification, were intimated by diverse manifest prodigies. As he was finishing the census amidst a great crowd of people in the Campus Martius, an eagle hovered round him several times, and then directed its course to a neighboring temple, where it settled upon the name of Agrippa, and at the first letter. Upon observing this, he ordered his colleague Tiberius to put up the vows, which it is usual to make on such occasions, for the succeeding Lustrum. For he declared he would not meddle with what it was probable he should never accomplish, though the tables were ready drawn for it.
About the same time, the first letter of his name, in an inscription upon one of his statues, was struck out by lightning; which was interpreted as a presage that he would live only a hundred days longer, the letter C denoting that number; and that he would be placed amongst the Gods, as Aesar, which is the remaining part of the word Caesar, signifies, in the Tuscan language, a God. Being, therefore, about dispatching Tiberius to Illyricum, and designing to go with him as far as Beneventum, but being detained by several persons who applied to him respecting causes they had depending, he cried out, (and it was afterwards regarded as an omen of his death), "Not all the business in the world, shall detain me at home one moment longer;" and setting out upon his journey, he went as far as Astura [not far from Terracina, on the road to Naples]; whence, contrary to his custom, he put to sea in the night-time, as there was a favorable wind.
XCVIII. His malady proceeded from diarrhoea; notwithstanding which, he went round the coast of Campania, and the adjacent islands, and spent four days in that of Capri; where he gave himself up entirely to repose and relaxation. Happening to sail by the bay of Puteoli, the passengers and mariners aboard a ship of Alexandria [Alexandria was at that time the seat of an extensive commerce, and not only exported to Rome and other cities of Italy, vast quantities of corn and other products of Egypt, but was the mart for spices and other commodities, the fruits of the traffic with the east], just then arrived, clad all in white, with chaplets upon their heads, and offering incense, loaded him with praises and joyful acclamations, crying out, "By you we live, by you we sail securely, by you enjoy our liberty and our fortunes." At which being greatly pleased, he distributed to each of those who attended him, forty gold pieces, requiring from them an assurance on oath, not to employ the sum given them in any other way, than the purchase of Alexandrian merchandize.
And during several days afterwards, he distributed Togae [the Toga has been already described; the Pallium was a cloak, generally worn by the Greeks, both men and women, freemen and slaves, but particularly by philosophers] and Pallia, among other gifts, on condition that the Romans should use the Greek, and the Greeks the Roman dress and language. He likewise constantly attended to see the boys perform their exercises, according to an ancient custom still continued at Capri. He gave them likewise an entertainment in his presence, and not only permitted, but required from them the utmost freedom in jesting, and scrambling for fruit, victuals, and other things which he threw amongst them. In a word, he indulged himself in all the ways of amusement he could contrive.
He called an island near Capri, Apragopolis, "The City of the Do-littles," from the indolent life which several of his party led there. A favorite of his, one Masgabas [Masgabas seems, by his name, to have been of African origin], he used to call Ktistaes. as if he had been the planter of the island. And observing from his room a great company of people with torches, assembled at the tomb of this Masgabas, who died the year before, he uttered very distinctly this verse, which he made extempore.
Ktistou de tumbo, eisoro pyroumenon.
Then turning to Thrasyllus, a companion of Tiberius, who reclined on the other side of the table, he asked him, who knew nothing about the matter, what poet he thought was the author of that verse; and on his hesitating to reply, he added another:
Oras phaessi Masgaban timomenon.
and put the same question to him concerning that likewise. The latter replying, that, whoever might be the author, they were excellent verses [a courtly answer from the Professor of Science, in which character he attended Tiberius], he set up a great laugh, and fell into an extraordinary vein of jesting upon it. Soon afterwards, passing over to Naples, although at that time greatly disordered in his bowels by the frequent returns of his disease, he sat out the exhibition of the gymnastic games which were performed in his honor every five years, and proceeded with Tiberius to the place intended. But on his return, his disorder increasing, he stopped at Nola, sent for Tiberius back again, and had a long discourse with him in private; after which, he gave no further attention to business of any importance.
XCIX. Upon the day of his death, he now and then enquired, if there was any disturbance in the town on his account; and calling for a mirror, he ordered his hair to be combed, and his shrunk cheeks to be adjusted. Then asking his friends who were admitted into the room, "Do ye think that I have acted my part on the stage of life well?" he immediately subjoined,
Ei de pan echei kalos, to paignio
If all be right, with joy your voices raise,
After which, having dismissed them all, whilst he was inquiring of some persons who were just arrived from Rome, concerning Drusus's daughter, who was in a bad state of health, he expired suddenly, amidst the kisses of Livia, and with these words: "Livia! live mindful of our union; and now, farewell!" dying a very easy death, and such as he himself had always wished for. For as often as he heard that any person had died quickly and without pain, he wished for himself and his friends the like euthanasian (an easy death), for that was the word he made use of. He betrayed but one symptom, before he breathed his last, of being delirious, which was this: he was all on a sudden much frightened, and complained that he was carried away by forty men. But this was rather a presage, than any delirium: for precisely that number of soldiers belonging to the pretorian cohort, carried out his corpse.
C. He expired in the same room in which his father Octavius had died, when the two Sextus's, Pompey and Apuleius, were consuls, upon the fourteenth of the calends of September [the 19th August], at the ninth hour of the day, being seventy-six years of age, wanting only thirty-five days [Augustus was born A.U.C. 691, and died A.U.C. 766]. His remains were carried by the magistrates of the municipal [municipia were towns which had obtained the rights of Roman citizens. The municipia retained their own laws and customs; nor were they obliged to receive the Roman laws unless they chose it] towns and colonies, from Nola to Bovillae [a small place on the Appian Way, about nineteen miles from Rome], and in the nighttime, because of the season of the year. During the intervals, the body lay in some basilica, or great temple, of each town. At Bovillae it was met by the Equestrian Order, who carried it to the city, and deposited it in the vestibule of his own house.
The senate proceeded with so much zeal in the arrangement of his funeral, and paying honor to his memory, that, amongst several other proposals, some were for having the funeral procession made through the triumphal gate, preceded by the image of Victory which is in the senate-house, and the children of highest rank and of both sexes singing the funeral dirge. Others proposed, that on the day of the funeral, they should lay aside their gold rings, and wear rings of iron; and others, that his bones should be collected by the priests of the principal colleges. One likewise proposed to transfer the name of August to September, because he was born in the latter, but died in the former. Another moved, that the whole period of time, from his birth to his death, should be called the Augustan age, and be inserted in the calendar under that title. But at last it was judged proper to be moderate in the honors paid to his memory.
Two funeral orations were pronounced in his praise, one before the temple of Julius, by Tiberius; and the other before the rostra, under the old shops, by Drusus, Tiberius's son. The body was then carried upon the shoulders of senators into the Campus Martius, and there burnt. A man of pretorian rank affirmed upon oath, that he saw his spirit ascend from the funeral pile to heaven. The most distinguished persons of the equestrian order, bare-footed, and with their tunics loose, gathered up his relics [Dio tells us that the devoted Livia joined with the knights in this pious office, which occupied them during five days], and deposited them in the mausoleum, which had been built in his sixth consulship between the Flaminian Way and the bank of the Tiber [the superb monument erected by Augustus over the sepulchre of the imperial family was of white marble, rising in stages to a great height, and crowned by a dome, on which stood a statue of Augustus]; at which time likewise he gave the groves and walks about it for the use of the people.
CI. He had made a will a year and four months before his death, upon the third of the nones of April [the 11th of April], in the consulship of Lucius Plancus, and Caius Silius. It consisted of two skins of parchment, written partly in his own hand, and partly by his freedmen Polybius and Hilarian; and had been committed to the custody of the Vestal Virgins, by whom it was now produced, with three codicils under seal, as well as the will: all these were opened and read in the senate. He appointed as his direct heirs, Tiberius for two thirds of his estate, and Livia for the other third, both of whom he desired to assume his name. The heirs in remainder were Drusus, Tiberius's son, for one third, and Germanicus with his three sons for the residue. In the third place, failing them, were his relations, and several of his friends.
He left in legacies to the Roman people forty millions of sesterces; to the tribes [the distinction between the Roman people and the tribes, is also observed by Tacitus, who substitutes the word plebs, meaning, the lowest class of the populace] three millions five hundred thousand; to the pretorian troops a thousand each man; to the city cohorts five hundred; and to the legions and soldiers three hundred each; which several sums he ordered to be paid immediately after his death, having taken due care that the money should be ready in his exchequer. For the rest he ordered different times of payment. In some of his bequests he went as far as twenty thousand sesterces, for the payment of which he allowed a twelve-month; alleging for this procrastination the scantiness of his estate; and declaring that not more than a hundred and fifty millions of sesterces would come to his heirs: notwithstanding that during the twenty preceding years, he had received, in legacies from his friends, the sum of fourteen hundred millions; almost the whole of which, with his two paternal estates [those of his father Octavius, and his father by adoption, Julius Caesar], and others which had been left him, he had spent in the service of the state.
He left orders that the two Julias, his daughter and grand-daughter, if anything happened to them, should not be buried in his tomb [but he bequeathed a legacy to his daughter, Livia]. With regard to the three codicils before-mentioned, in one of them he gave orders about his funeral; another contained a summary of his acts, which he intended should be inscribed on brazen plates, and placed in front of his mausoleum; in the third he had drawn up a concise account of the state of the empire; the number of troops enrolled, what money there was in the treasury, the revenue, and arrears of taxes; to which were added the names of the freedmen and slaves from whom the several accounts might be taken.
I. The patrician family of the Claudii (for there was a plebeian family of the same name, no way inferior to the other either in power or dignity) came originally from Regilli, a town of the Sabines. They removed thence to Rome soon after the building of the city, with a great body of their dependants, under Titus Tatius, who reigned jointly with Romulus in the kingdom; or, perhaps, what is related upon better authority, under Atta Claudius, the head of the family, who was admitted by the senate into the patrician order six years after the expulsion of the Tarquins.
They likewise received from the state, lands beyond the Anio for their followers, and a burying-place for themselves near the capitol [intramural interments were prohibited at Rome by the laws of the Twelve Tables, notwithstanding the practice of reducing to ashes the bodies of the dead. It was only by special privilege that individuals who had deserved well of the state, and certain distinguished families were permitted to have tombs within the city]. After this period, in process of time, the family had the honor of twenty-eight consulships, five dictatorships, seven censorships, seven triumphs, and two ovations. Their descendants were distinguished by various praenomina and cognomina [among the Romans, all the descendants from one common stock were called Gentiles, being of the same race or kindred, however remote. The Gens, as they termed this general relation or clanship, was subdivided into families; to mark the different gentes and familiae, and to distinguish the individuals of the same family, the Romans had commonly three names, the Praenomen, Nomen, and Cognomen. The praenomen was put first, and marked the individual. The Nomen was put after the Praenomen, and marked the gens. The Cognomen was put last, and marked the familia. Sometimes there was a fourth name, properly called the Agnomen, but sometimes likewise Cognomen, which was added on account of some illustrious action or remarkable event. Thus Scipio was named Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, from the conquest of Carthage], but rejected by common consent the praenomen of Lucius, when, of the two races who bore it, one individual had been convicted of robbery, and another of murder. Amongst other cognomina, they assumed that of Nero, which in the Sabine language signifies strong and valiant.
II. It appears from record, that many of the Claudii have performed signal services to the state, as well as committed acts of delinquency. To mention the most remarkable only, Appius Caecus dissuaded the senate from agreeing to an alliance with Pyrrhus, as prejudicial to the republic [A.U.C. 474]. Claudius Candex first passed the straits of Sicily with a fleet, and drove the Carthaginians out of the island [A.U.C. 490]. Claudius Nero cut off Hasdrubal with a vast army upon his arrival in Italy from Spain, before he could form a junction with his brother Hannibal [A.U.C. 547].
On the other hand, Claudius Appius Regillanus, one of the Decemvirs, made a violent attempt to have a free virgin, of whom he was enamored, adjudged a slave; which caused the people to secede a second time from the senate [A.U.C. 304]. Claudius Drusus erected a statue of himself wearing a crown at Appii Forum [an ancient Latin town on the Via Appia, the present road to Naples], and endeavored, by means of his dependants, to make himself master of Italy. Claudius Pulcher, when, off the coast of Sicily [A.U.C. 505], the pullets used for taking augury would not eat, in contempt of the omen threw them overboard, as if they should drink at least, if they would not eat; and then engaging the enemy, was routed. After his defeat, when he was ordered by the senate to name a dictator, making a sort of jest of the public disaster, he named Glycias, his apparitor.
The women of this family, likewise, exhibited characters equally opposed to each other. For both the Claudias belonged to it; she, who, when the ship freighted with things sacred to the Idaean Mother of the Gods [Cybele; first worshipped in Phrygia, about Mount Ida, from whence a sacred stone, the symbol of her divinity, probably an aerolite, was transported to Rome, in consequence of the panic occasioned by Hannibal's invasion], stuck fast in the shallows of the Tiber, got it off, by praying to the Goddess with a loud voice, "Follow me, if I am chaste;" and she also, who, contrary to the usual practice in the case of women, was brought to trial by the people for treason; because, when her litter was stopped by a great crowd in the streets, she openly exclaimed, "I wish my brother Pulcher was alive now, to lose another fleet, that Rome might be less thronged."
Besides, it is well known, that all the Claudii, except Publius Claudius, who, to effect the banishment of Cicero, procured himself to be adopted by a plebeian [A.U.C. 695], and one younger than himself, were always of the patrician party, as well as great sticklers for the honor and power of that order; and so violent and obstinate in their opposition to the plebeians, that not one of them, even in the case of a trial for life by the people, would ever condescend to put on mourning, according to custom, or make any supplication to them for favor; and some of them in their contests, have even proceeded to lay hands on the tribunes of the people. A Vestal Virgin likewise of the family, when her brother was resolved to have the honor of a triumph contrary to the will of the people, mounted the chariot with him, and attended him into the Capitol, that it might not be lawful for any of the tribunes to interfere and forbid it. [A.U.C. 611]
III. From this family Tiberius Caesar is descended; indeed both by the father and mother's side; by the former from Tiberius Nero, and by the latter from Appius Pulcher, who were both sons of Appius Caecus. He likewise belonged to the family of the Livii, by the adoption of his mother's grandfather into it; which family, although plebeian, made a distinguished figure, having had the honor of eight consulships, two censorships, three triumphs, one dictatorship, and the office of master of the horse; and was famous for eminent men, particularly, Salinator and the Drusi.
Salinator, in his censorship [A.U.C. 550], branded all the tribes, for their inconstancy in having made him consul a second time, as well as censor, although they had condemned him to a heavy fine after his first consulship. Drusus procured for himself and his posterity a new surname, by killing in single combat Drausus, the enemy's chief. He is likewise said to have recovered, when pro-praetor in the province of Gaul, the gold which was formerly given to the Senones, at the siege of the Capitol, and had not, as is reported, been forced from them by Camillus. His great-great-grandson, who, for his extraordinary services against the Gracchi, was styled the "Patron of the Senate," left a son, who, while plotting in a sedition of the same description, was treacherously murdered by the opposite party [A.U.C. 663].
IV. But the father of Tiberius Caesar, being quaestor to Caius Caesar, and commander of his fleet in the war of Alexandria, contributed greatly to its success. He was therefore made one of the high-priests in the room of Publius Scipio [A.U.C. 707]; and was sent to settle some colonies in Gaul, and amongst the rest, those of Narbonne and Arles [these, and other towns in the south of France, became, and long continued, the chief seats of Roman civilization among the Gauls]. After the assassination of Caesar, however, when the rest of the senators, for fear of public disturbances; were for having the affair buried in oblivion, he proposed a resolution for rewarding those who had killed the tyrant.
Having filled the office of praetor [A.U.C. 710], and at the end of the year a disturbance breaking out amongst the triumviri, he kept the badges of his office beyond the legal time; and following Lucius Antonius the consul, brother of the triumvir, to Perusia [A.U.C. 713], though the rest submitted, yet he himself continued firm to the party, and escaped first to Praeneste, and then to Naples; whence, having in vain invited the slaves to liberty, he fled over to Sicily. But resenting his not being immediately admitted into the presence of Sextus Pompey, and being also prohibited the use of the fasces, he went over into Achaia to Mark Antony; with whom, upon a reconciliation soon after brought about amongst the several contending parties, he returned to Rome; and, at the request of Augustus, gave up to him his wife Livia Drusilla, although she was then big with child, and had before borne him a son. He died not long after; leaving behind him two sons, Tiberius and Drusus Nero.
V. Some have imagined that Tiberius was born at Fundi, but there is only this trifling foundation for the conjecture, that his mother's grandmother was of Fundi, and that the image of Good Fortune was, by a decree of the senate, erected in a public place in that town. But according to the greatest number of writers, and those too of the best authority, he was born at Rome, in the Palatine quarter, upon the sixteenth of the calends of December [16th Nov.], when Marcus Aemilius Lepidus was second time consul, with Lucius Munatius Plancus [A.U.C. 712. Before Christ about 39], after the battle of Philippi; for so it is registered in the calendar, and the public acts. According to some, however, he was born the preceding year, in the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa; and others say, in the year following, during the consulship of Servilius Isauricus and Antony.
VI. His infancy and childhood were spent in the midst of danger and trouble; for he accompanied his parents everywhere in their flight, and twice at Naples nearly betrayed them by his crying, when they were privately hastening to a ship, as the enemy rushed into the town; once, when he was snatched from his nurse's breast, and again, from his mother's bosom, by some of the company, who on the sudden emergency wished to relieve the women of their burden. Being carried through Sicily and Achaia, and entrusted for some time to the care of the Lacedaemonians, who were under the protection of the Claudian family, upon his departure thence when travelling by night, he ran the hazard of his life, by a fire which, suddenly bursting out of a wood on all sides, surrounded the whole party so closely, that part of Livia's dress and hair was burnt.
The presents which were made him by Pompeia, sister to Sextus Pompey, in Sicily, namely, a cloak, with a clasp, and bullae of gold, are still in existence, and shown at Baiae to this day. After his return to the city, being adopted by Marcus Gallius, a senator, in his will, he took possession of the estate; but soon afterwards declined the use of his name, because Gallius had been of the party opposed to Augustus. When only nine years of age, he pronounced a funeral oration in praise of his father upon the rostra; and afterwards, when he had nearly attained the age of manhood, he attended the chariot of Augustus, in his triumph for the victory at Actium, riding on the left-hand horse, whilst Marcellus, Octavia's son, rode that on the right.
He likewise presided at the games celebrated on account of that victory; and in the Trojan games intermixed with the Circensian, he commanded a troop of the biggest boys.
VII. After assuming the manly habit, he spent his youth, and the rest of his life until he succeeded to the government, in the following manner: he gave the people an entertainment of gladiators, in memory of his father, and another for his grandfather Drusus, at different times and in different places: the first in the forum, the second in the amphitheatre; some gladiators who had been honorably discharged, being induced to engage again, by a reward of a hundred thousand sesterces. He likewise exhibited public sports, at which he was not present himself. All these he performed with great magnificence, at the expense of his mother and father-in-law. He married Agrippina, the daughter of Marcus Agrippa, and grand-daughter of Caecilius Atticus, a Roman knight, the same person to whom Cicero has addressed so many epistles.
After having by her his son Drusus, he was obliged to part with her [A.U.C. 744], though she retained his affection, and was again pregnant, to make way for marrying Augustus's daughter Julia. But this he did with extreme reluctance; for, besides having the warmest attachment to Agrippina, he was disgusted with the conduct of Julia, who had made indecent advances to him during the lifetime of her former husband; and that she was a woman of loose character, was the general opinion. At divorcing Agrippina he felt the deepest regret; and upon meeting her afterwards, he looked after her with eyes so passionately expressive of affection, that care was taken she should never again come in his sight. At first, however, he lived quietly and happily with Julia; but a rupture soon ensued, which became so violent, that after the loss of their son, the pledge of their union, who was born at Aquileia and died in infancy [A.U.C. 735], he never would sleep with her more. He lost his brother Drusus in Germany, and brought his body to Rome, travelling all the way on foot before it.
VIII. When he first applied himself to civil affairs, he defended the several causes of king Archelaus, the Trallians, and the Thessalians, before Augustus, who sat as judge at the trials. He addressed the senate on behalf of the Laodiceans, the Thyatireans, and Chians, who had suffered greatly by an earthquake, and implored relief from Rome. He prosecuted Fannius Caepio, who had been engaged in a conspiracy with Varro Muraena against Augustus, and procured sentence of condemnation against him. Amidst all this, he had besides to superintend two departments of the administration, that of supplying the city with corn, which was then very scarce, and that of clearing the houses of correction throughout Italy, the masters of which had fallen under the odious suspicion of seizing and keeping confined, not only travellers, but those whom the fear of being obliged to serve in the army had driven to seek refuge in such places.
IX. He made his first campaign, as a military tribune, in the Cantabrian war [A.U.C. 728]. Afterwards he led an army into the East [A.U.C. 734], where he restored the kingdom of Armenia to Tigranes; and seated on a tribunal, put a crown upon his head. He likewise recovered from the Parthians the standards which they had taken from Crassus. He next governed, for nearly a year, the province of Gallia Comata, which was then in great disorder, on account of the incursions of the barbarians, and the feuds of the chiefs. He afterwards commanded in the several wars against the Rhaetians, Vindelicians, Pannonians, and Germans. In the Rhaetian and Vindelician wars, he subdued the nations in the Alps; and in the Pannonian wars the Bruci, and the Dalmatians.
In the German war, he transplanted into Gaul forty thousand of the enemy who had submitted, and assigned them lands near the banks of the Rhine. For these actions, he entered the city with an ovation, but riding in a chariot, and is said by some to have been the first that ever was honored with this distinction. He filled early the principal offices of state; and passed through the quaestorship [A.U.C. 737], praetorship [A.U.C. 741], and consulate [A.U.C. 747] almost successively. After some interval, he was chosen consul a second time, and held the tribunitian authority during five years.
X. Surrounded by all this prosperity, in the prime of life and in excellent health, he suddenly formed the resolution of withdrawing to a greater distance from Rome [A.U.C. 748]. It is uncertain whether this was the result of disgust for his wife, whom he neither durst accuse nor divorce, and the connection with whom became every day more intolerable; or to prevent that indifference towards him, which his constant residence in the city might produce; or in the hope of supporting and improving by absence his authority in the state, if the public should have occasion for his service. Some are of opinion, that as Augustus's sons were now grown up to years of maturity, he voluntarily relinquished the possession he had long enjoyed of the second place in the government, as Agrippa had done before him; who, when M. Marcellus was advanced to public offices, retired to Mitylene, that he might not seem to stand in the way of his promotion, or in any respect lessen him by his presence.
The same reason likewise Tiberius gave afterwards for his retirement; but his pretext at this time was, that he was satiated with honors, and desirous of being relieved from the fatigue of business; requesting therefore that he might have leave to withdraw. And neither the earnest entreaties of his mother, nor the complaint of his father-in-law made even in the senate, that he was deserted by him, could prevail upon him to alter his resolution. Upon their persisting in the design of detaining him, he refused to take any sustenance for four days together. At last, having obtained permission, leaving his wife and son at Rome, he proceeded to Ostia [Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, about thirteen miles from the city, was founded by Ancus Martius. Being the port of a city like Rome, it could not fail to become opulent], without exchanging a word with those who attended him, and having embraced but very few persons at parting.
XI. From Ostia, journeying along the coast of Campania, he halted awhile on receiving intelligence of Augustus's being taken ill, but this giving rise to a rumor that he stayed with a view to something extraordinary, he sailed with the wind almost full against him, and arrived at Rhodes, having been struck with the pleasantness and healthiness of the island at the time of his landing therein his return from Armenia. Here contenting himself with a small house, and a villa not much larger, near the town, he led entirely a private life, taking his walks sometimes about the Gymnasia [the Gymnasia were places of exercise, and received their name from the Greek word signifying naked], without any lictor or other attendant, and returning the civilities of the Greeks with almost as much complaisance as if he had been upon a level with them.
One morning, in settling the course of his daily excursion, he happened to say, that he should visit all the sick people in the town. This being not rightly understood by those about him, the sick were brought into a public portico, and ranged in order, according to their several distempers. Being extremely embarrassed by this unexpected occurrence, he was for some time irresolute how he should act; but at last he determined to go round them all, and make an apology for the mistake even to the meanest amongst them, and such as were entirely unknown to him. One instance only is mentioned, in which he appeared to exercise his tribunitian authority. Being a constant attendant upon the schools and lecture-rooms of the professors of the liberal arts, on occasion of a quarrel amongst the wrangling sophists, in which he interposed to reconcile them, some person took the liberty to abuse him as an intruder, and partial in the affair. Upon this, withdrawing privately home, he suddenly returned attended by his officers, and summoning his accuser before his tribunal, by a public crier, ordered him to be taken to prison.
Afterwards he received tidings that his wife Julia had been condemned for her lewdness and adultery, and that a bill of divorce had been sent to her in his name, by the authority of Augustus. Though he secretly rejoiced at this intelligence, he thought it incumbent upon him, in point of decency, to interpose in her behalf by frequent letters to Augustus, and to allow her to retain the presents which he had made her, notwithstanding the little regard she merited from him. When the period of his tribunitian authority expired [A.U.C. 752], declaring at last that he had no other object in his retirement than to avoid all suspicion of rivalship with Caius and Lucius, he petitioned that, since he was now secure in that respect, as they were come to the age of manhood, and would easily maintain themselves in possession of the second place in the state, he might be permitted to visit his friends, whom he was very desirous of seeing. But his request was denied; and he was advised to lay aside all concern for his friends, whom he had been so eager to greet.
XII. He therefore continued at Rhodes much against his will, obtaining, with difficulty, through his mother, the title of Augustus's lieutenant, to cover his disgrace. He thenceforth lived, however, not only as a private person, but as one suspected and under apprehension, retiring into the interior of the country, and avoiding the visits of those who sailed that way, which were very frequent; for no one passed to take command of an army, or the government of a province, without touching at Rhodes. But there were fresh reasons for increased anxiety. For crossing over to Samos, on a visit to his step-son Caius, who had been appointed governor of the East, he found him prepossessed against him, by the insinuations of Marcus Lollius, his companion and director. He likewise fell under suspicion of sending by some centurions who had been promoted by himself, upon their return to the camp after a furlough, mysterious messages to several persons there, intended, apparently, to tamper with them for a revolt. This jealousy respecting his designs being intimated to him by Augustus, he begged repeatedly that some person of any of the three Orders might be placed as a spy upon him in every thing he either said or did.
XIII. He laid aside likewise his usual exercises of riding and arms; and quitting the Roman habit, made use of the Pallium and Crepida [the cloak and slippers, as distinguished from the Roman toga and shoes]. In this condition he continued almost two years, becoming daily an object of increasing contempt and odium; insomuch that the people of Nismes pulled down all the images and statues of him in their town; and upon mention being made of him at table one of the company said to Caius, "I will sail over to Rhodes immediately, if you desire me, and bring you the head of the exile;" for that was the appellation now given him. Thus alarmed not only by apprehensions, but real danger, he renewed his solicitations for leave to return; and, seconded by the most urgent supplications of his mother, he at last obtained his request; to which an accident somewhat contributed. Augustus had resolved to determine nothing in the affair, but with the consent of his eldest son. The latter was at that time out of humor with Marcus Lollius, and therefore easily disposed to be favorable to his father-in-law. Caius thus acquiescing, he was recalled, but upon condition that he should take no concern whatever in the administration of affairs.
XIV. He returned to Rome after an absence of nearly eight years [A.U.C. 755], with great and confident hopes of his future elevation, which he had entertained from his youth, in consequence of various prodigies and predictions. For Livia, when pregnant with him, being anxious to discover, by different modes of divination, whether her offspring would be a son, amongst others, took an egg from a hen that was sitting, and kept it warm with her own hands, and those of her maids, by turns, until a fine cock-chicken, with a large comb, was hatched. Scribonius, the astrologer, predicted great things of him when he was a mere child. "He will come in time," said the prophet, "to be even a king, but without the usual badge of royal dignity;" the rule of the Caesars being as yet unknown. When he was making his first expedition, and leading his army through Macedonia into Syria, the altars which had been formerly consecrated at Philippi by the victorious legions, blazed suddenly with spontaneous fires.
Soon after, as he was marching to Illyricum, he stopped to consult the oracle of Geryon, near Padua; and having drawn a lot by which he was desired to throw golden tali into the fountain of Aponus [this fountain, in the Euganian hills, near Padua, famous for its mineral waters, is celebrated by Claudian in one of his elegies], for an answer to his inquiries, he did so, and the highest numbers came up. And those very tali are still to be seen at the bottom of the fountain. A few days before his leaving Rhodes, an eagle, a bird never before seen in that island, perched on the top of his house. And the day before he received intelligence of the permission granted him to return, as he was changing his dress, his tunic appeared to be all on fire. He then likewise had a remarkable proof of the skill of Thrasyllus, the astrologer, whom, for his proficiency in philosophical researches, he had taken into his family. For, upon sight of the ship which brought the intelligence, he said, good news was coming whereas every thing going wrong before, and quite contrary to his predictions, Tiberius had intended that very moment, when they were walking together, to throw him into the sea, as an impostor, and one to whom he had too hastily entrusted his secrets.
XV. Upon his return to Rome, having introduced his son Drusus into the forum, he immediately removed from Pompey's house, in the Carinae, to the gardens of Mecaenas, on the Esquiline [the street called Carinae, at Rome, has been mentioned before; and also Mecaenas' house on the Esquiline. The gardens were formed on ground without the walls, and before used as a cemetery for malefactors, and the lower classes], and resigned himself entirely to his ease, performing only the common offices of civility in private life, without any preferment in the government. But Caius and Lucius being both carried off in the space of three years, he was adopted by Augustus, along with their brother Agrippa; being obliged in the first place to adopt Germanicus, his brother's son. After his adoption, he never more acted as master of a family, nor exercised, in the smallest degree, the rights which he had lost by it. For he neither disposed of anything in the way of gift, nor manumitted a slave; nor so much as received any estate left him by will, nor any legacy, without reckoning it as a part of his peculium or property held under his father. From that day forward, nothing was omitted that might contribute to the advancement of his grandeur, and much more, when, upon Agrippa being discarded and banished, it was evident that the hope of succession rested upon him alone.
XVI. The tribunitian authority was again conferred upon him for five years [A.U.C. 757], and a commission given him to settle the affairs of Germany. The ambassadors of the Parthians, after having had an audience of Augustus, were ordered to apply to him likewise in his province. But on receiving intelligence of an insurrection in Illyricum [A.U.C. 760], he went over to superintend the management of that new war, which proved the most serious of all the foreign wars since the Carthaginian. This he conducted during three years, with fifteen legions and an equal number of auxiliary forces, under great difficulties, and an extreme scarcity of corn. And though he was several times recalled, he nevertheless persisted; fearing lest an enemy so powerful, and so near, should fall upon the army in their retreat. This resolution was attended with good success; for he at last reduced to complete subjection all Illyricum, lying between Italy and the kingdom of Noricum, Thrace, Macedonia, the river Danube, and the Adriatic gulf.
XVII. The glory he acquired by these successes received an increase from the conjuncture in which they happened. For almost about that very time [A.U.C. 762] Quintilius Varus was cut off with three legions in Germany; and it was generally believed that the victorious Germans would have joined the Pannonians, had not the war of Illyricum been previously concluded. A triumph, therefore, besides many other great honors, was decreed him. Some proposed that the surname of "Pannonicus," others that of "Invincible," and others, of "O Pius," should be conferred on him; but Augustus interposed, engaging for him that he would be satisfied with that to which he would succeed at his death.
He postponed his triumph, because the state was at that time under great affliction for the disaster of Varus and his army. Nevertheless, he entered the city in a triumphal robe, crowned with laurel, and mounting a tribunal in the Septa, sat with Augustus between the two consuls, whilst the senate gave their attendance standing; whence, after he had saluted the people, he was attended by them in procession to the several temples.
XVIII. Next year he went again to Germany, where finding that the defeat of Varus was occasioned by the rashness and negligence of the commander, he thought proper to be guided in everything by the advice of a council of war; whereas, at other times, he used to follow the dictates of his own judgment, and considered himself alone as sufficiently qualified for the direction of affairs. He likewise used more cautions than usual. Having to pass the Rhine, he restricted the whole convoy within certain limits, and stationing himself on the bank of the river, would not suffer the waggons to cross the river, until he had searched them at the water-side, to see that they carried nothing but what was allowed or necessary. Beyond the Rhine, such was his way of living, that he took his meals sitting on the bare ground [reviving the simple habits of the times of the republic], and often passed the night without a tent; and his regular orders for the day, as well as those upon sudden emergencies, he gave in writing, with this injunction, that in case of any doubt as to the meaning of them, they should apply to him for satisfaction, even at any hour of the night.
XIX. He maintained the strictest discipline amongst the troops; reviving many old customs relative to punishing and degrading offenders; setting a mark of disgrace even upon the commander of a legion, for sending a few soldiers with one of his freedmen across the river for the purpose of hunting. Though it was his desire to leave as little as possible in the power of fortune or accident, yet he always engaged the enemy with more confidence when, in his night-watches, the lamp failed and went out of itself; trusting, as he said, in an omen which had never failed him and his ancestors in all their commands. But, in the midst of victory, he was very near being assassinated by some Bructerian, who mixing with those about him, and being discovered by his trepidation, was put to the torture, and confessed his intended crime.
XX. After two years, he returned from Germany to the city, and celebrated the triumph which he had deferred, attended by his lieutenants, for whom he had procured the honor of triumphal ornaments [A.U.C. 765]. Before he turned to ascend the Capitol, he alighted from his chariot, and knelt before his father, who sat by, to superintend the solemnity. Bato, the Pannonian chief, he sent to Ravenna, loaded with rich presents, in gratitude for his having suffered him and his army to retire from a position in which he had so enclosed them, that they were entirely at his mercy. He afterwards gave the people a dinner at a thousand tables, besides thirty sesterces to each man. He likewise dedicated the temple of Concord [still standing on the side of the Forum nearest the Capitol], and that of Castor and Pollux, which had been erected out of the spoils of the war, in his own and his brother's name.
XXI. A law having been not long after carried by the consuls [A.U.C. 766] for his being appointed a colleague with Augustus in the administration of the provinces, and in taking the census, when that was finished he went into Illyricum [A.U.C. 767]. But being hastily recalled during his journey, he found Augustus alive indeed, but past all hopes of recovery, and was with him in private a whole day. I know, it is generally believed, that upon Tiberius's quitting the room, after their private conference, those who were in waiting overheard Augustus say, "Ah! unhappy Roman people, to be ground by the jaws of such a slow devourer!" Nor am I ignorant of its being reported by some, that Augustus so openly and undisguisedly condemned the sourness of his temper, that sometimes, upon his coming in, he would break off any jocular conversation in which he was engaged; and that he was only prevailed upon by the importunity of his wife to adopt him; or actuated by the ambitious view of recommending his own memory from a comparison with such a successor.
Yet I must hold to this opinion, that a prince so extremely circumspect and prudent as he was, did nothing rashly, especially in an affair of so great importance; but that, upon weighing the vices and virtues of Tiberius with each other, he judged the latter to preponderate; and this the rather since he swore publicly, in an assembly of the people, that "he adopted him for the public good." Besides, in several of his letters, he extols him as a consummate general, and the only security of the Roman people. Of such declarations I subjoin the following instances: "Farewell, my dear Tiberius, and may success attend you, whilst you are warring for me and the Muses [Augustus interlards this epistle, and that subsequently quoted, with Greek sentences and phrases, of which this is one]. Farewell, my most dear, and (as I hope to prosper) most gallant man, and accomplished general."
Again. "The disposition of your summer quarters? In truth, my dear Tiberius, I do not think, that amidst so many difficulties, and with an army so little disposed for action, any one could have behaved more prudently than you have done. All those likewise who were with you, acknowledge that this verse is applicable to you:"
Unus homo nobis _vigilando_ restituit rem.
"Whenever," he says, "anything happens that requires more than ordinary consideration, or I am out of humor upon any occasion, I still, by Hercules! long for my dear Tiberius; and those lines of Homer frequently occur to my thoughts:"
Toutou d' espomenoio kai ek pyros aithomenoio
Bold from his prudence, I could even aspire
"When I hear and read that you are much impaired by the continued fatigues you undergo, may the gods confound me if my whole frame does not tremble! So I beg you to spare yourself, lest, if we should hear of your being ill, the news prove fatal both to me and your mother, and the Roman people should be in peril for the safety of the empire. It matters nothing whether I be well or no, if you be not well. I pray heaven preserve you for us, and bless you with health both now and ever, if the gods have any regard for the Roman people."
XXII. He did not make the death of Augustus public, until he had taken off young Agrippa. He was slain by a tribune who commanded his guard, upon reading a written order for that purpose: respecting which order, it was then a doubt, whether Augustus left it in his last moments, to prevent any occasion of public disturbance after his decease, or Livia issued it, in the name of Augustus; and whether with the knowledge of Tiberius or not. When the tribune came to inform him that he had executed his command, he replied, "I commanded you no such thing, and you must answer for it to the senate;" avoiding, as it seems, the odium of the act for that time. And the affair was soon buried in silence.
XXIII. Having summoned the senate to meet by virtue of his tribunitian authority, and begun a mournful speech, he drew a deep sigh, as if unable to support himself under his affliction; and wishing that not his voice only, but his very breath of life, might fail him, gave his speech to his son Drusus to read. Augustus's will was then brought in, and read by a freedman; none of the witnesses to it being admitted, but such as were of the senatorian order, the rest owning their hand-writing without doors. The will began thus: "Since my ill-fortune has deprived me of my two sons, Caius and Lucius, let Tiberius Caesar be heir to two-thirds of my estate." These words countenanced the suspicion of those who were of opinion, that Tiberius was appointed successor more out of necessity than choice, since Augustus could not refrain from prefacing his will in that manner.
XXIV. Though he made no scruple to assume and exercise immediately the imperial authority, by giving orders that he should be attended by the guards, who were the security and badge of the supreme power; yet he affected, by a most impudent piece of acting, to refuse it for a long time; one while sharply reprehending his friends who entreated him to accept it, as little knowing what a monster the government was; another while keeping in suspense the senate, when they implored him and threw themselves at his feet, by ambiguous answers, and a crafty kind of dissimulation; insomuch that some were out of patience, and one cried out, during the confusion, "Either let him accept it, or decline it at once;" and a second told him to his face, "Others are slow to perform what they promise, but you are slow to promise what you actually perform."
At last, as if forced to it, and complaining of the miserable and burdensome service imposed upon him, he accepted the government; not, however, without giving hopes of his resigning it some time or other. The exact words he used were these: "Until the time shall come, when ye may think it reasonable to give some rest to my old age."
XXV. The cause of his long demur was fear of the dangers which threatened him on all hands; insomuch that he said, "I have got a wolf by the ears." For a slave of Agrippa's, Clemens by name, had drawn together a considerable force to revenge his master's death; Lucius Scribonius Libo, a senator of the first distinction, was secretly fomenting a rebellion; and the troops both in Illyricum and Germany were mutinous. Both armies insisted upon high demands, particularly that their pay should be made equal to that of the pretorian guards. The army in Germany absolutely refused to acknowledge a prince who was not their own choice; and urged, with all possible importunity, Germanicus [Tiberius had adopted Germanicus], who commanded them, to take the government on himself, though he obstinately refused it. It was Tiberius's apprehension from this quarter, which made him request the senate to assign him some part only in the administration, such as they should judge proper, since no man could be sufficient for the whole, without one or more to assist him. He pretended likewise to be in a bad state of health, that Germanicus might the more patiently wait in hopes of speedily succeeding him, or at least of being admitted to be a colleague in the government.
When the mutinies in the armies were suppressed, he got Clemens into his hands by stratagem. That he might not begin his reign by an act of severity, he did not call Libo to an account before the senate until his second year, being content, in the mean time, with taking proper precautions for his own security. For upon Libo's attending a sacrifice amongst the high-priests, instead of the usual knife, he ordered one of lead to be given him; and when he desired a private conference with him, he would not grant his request, but on condition that his son Drusus should be present; and as they walked together, he held him fast by the right hand, under the pretence of leaning upon him, until the conversation was over.
XXVI. When he was delivered from his apprehensions, his behavior at first was unassuming, and he did not carry himself much above the level of a private person; and of the many and great honors offered him, he accepted but few, and such as were very moderate. His birth-day, which happened to fall at the time of the Plebeian Circensian games, he with difficulty suffered to be honored with the addition of only a single chariot, drawn by two horses.
He forbade temples, flamens, or priests to be appointed for him, as likewise the erection of any statues or effigies for him, without his permission; and this he granted only on condition that they should not be placed amongst the images of the gods, but only amongst the ornaments of houses. He also interposed to prevent the senate from swearing to maintain his acts; and the month of September from being called Tiberius, and October being named after Livia. The praenomen likewise of EMPEROR, with the cognomen of FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY, and a civic crown in the vestibule of his house, he would not accept. He never used the name of AUGUSTUS, although he inherited it, in any of his letters, excepting those addressed to kings and princes. Nor had he more than three consulships; one for a few days, another for three months, and a third, during his absence from the city, until the ides [fifteenth] of May.
XXVII. He had such an aversion to flattery, that he would never suffer any senator to approach his litter, as he passed the streets in it, either to pay him a civility, or upon business. And when a man of consular rank, in begging his pardon for some offence he had given him, attempted to fall at his feet, he started from him in such haste, that he stumbled and fell. If any compliment was paid him, either in conversation or a set speech, he would not scruple to interrupt and reprimand the party, and alter what he had said. Being once called "lord," [in this he imitated Augustus] by some person, he desired that he might no more be affronted in that manner. When another, to excite veneration, called his occupations "sacred," and a third had expressed himself thus: "By your authority I have waited upon the senate," he obliged them to change their phrases; in one of them adopting persuasion, instead of "authority," and in the other, laborious, instead of "sacred."
XXVIII. He remained unmoved at all the aspersions, scandalous reports, and lampoons, which were spread against him or his relations; declaring, "In a free state, both the tongue and the mind ought to be free." Upon the senate's desiring that some notice might be taken of those offences, and the persons charged with them, he replied, "We have not so much time upon our hands, that we ought to involve ourselves in more business. If you once make an opening [si hanc fenestram aperueritis, if you open that window, equivalent to our phrase, "if you open the door"] for such proceedings, you will soon have nothing else to do. All private quarrels will be brought before you under that pretence." There is also on record another sentence used by him in the senate, which is far from assuming: "If he speaks otherwise of me, I shall take care to behave in such a manner, as to be able to give a good account both of my words and actions; and if he persists, I shall hate him in my turn."
XXIX. These things were so much the more remarkable in him, because, in the respect he paid to individuals, or the whole body of the senate, he went beyond all bounds. Upon his differing with Quintus Haterius in the senate-house, "Pardon me, sir," he said, "I beseech you, if I shall, as a senator, speak my mind very freely in opposition to you." Afterwards, addressing the senate in general, he said: "Conscript Fathers, I have often said it both now and at other times, that a good and useful prince, whom you have invested with so great and absolute power, ought to be a slave to the senate, to the whole body of the people, and often to individuals likewise: nor am I sorry that I have said it. I have always found you good, kind, and indulgent masters, and still find you so."
XXX. He likewise introduced a certain show of liberty, by preserving to the senate and magistrates their former majesty and power. All affairs, whether of great or small importance, public or private, were laid before the senate. Taxes and monopolies, the erecting or repairing edifices, levying and disbanding soldiers, the disposal of the legions and auxiliary forces in the provinces, the appointment of generals for the management of extraordinary wars, and the answers to letters from foreign princes, were all submitted to the senate. He compelled the commander of a troop of horse, who was accused of robbery attended with violence, to plead his cause before the senate. He never entered the senate-house but unattended; and being once brought thither in a litter, because he was indisposed, he dismissed his attendants at the door.
XXXI. When some decrees were made contrary to his opinion, he did not even make any complaint. And though he thought that no magistrates after their nomination should be allowed to absent themselves from the city, but reside in it constantly, to receive their honors in person, a praetor-elect obtained liberty to depart under the honorary title of a legate at large. Again, when he proposed to the senate, that the Trebians might have leave granted them to divert some money which had been left them by will for the purpose of building a new theatre, to that of making a road, he could not prevail to have the will of the testator set aside. And when, upon a division of the house, he went over to the minority, nobody followed him. All other things of a public nature were likewise transacted by the magistrates, and in the usual forms; the authority of the consuls remaining so great, that some ambassadors from Africa applied to them, and complained, that they could not have their business dispatched by Caesar, to whom they had been sent. And no wonder; since it was observed that he used to rise up as the consuls approached, and give them the way.
XXXII. He reprimanded some persons of consular rank in command of armies, for not writing to the senate an account of their proceedings, and for consulting him about the distribution of military rewards; as if they themselves had not a right to bestow them as they judged proper. He commended a praetor, who, on entering office, revived an old custom of celebrating the memory of his ancestors, in a speech to the people. He attended the corpses of some persons of distinction to the funeral pile. He displayed the same moderation with regard to persons and things of inferior consideration. The magistrates of Rhodes, having dispatched to him a letter on public business, which was not subscribed, he sent for them, and without giving them so much as one harsh word, desired them to subscribe it, and so dismissed them.
Diogenes, the grammarian, who used to hold public disquisitions, at Rhodes every sabbath-day, once refused him admittance upon his coming to hear him out of course, and sent him a message by a servant, postponing his admission until the next seventh day. Diogenes afterwards coming to Rome, and waiting at his door to be allowed to pay his respects to him, he sent him word to come again at the end of seven years. To some governors, who advised him to load the provinces with taxes, he answered, "It is the part of a good shepherd to shear, not flay, his sheep."
XXXIII. He assumed the sovereignty [princeps, principatus, are the terms generally used by Suetonius to describe the supreme authority vested in the Caesars] by slow degrees, and exercised it for a long time with great variety of conduct, though generally with a due regard to the public good. At first he only interposed to prevent ill management. Accordingly, he rescinded some decrees of the senate; and when the magistrates sat for the administration of justice, he frequently offered his service as assessor, either taking his place promiscuously amongst them, or seating himself in a corner of the tribunal. If a rumor prevailed, that any person under prosecution was likely to be acquitted by his interest, he would suddenly make his appearance, and from the floor of the court, or the praetor's bench, remind the judges of the laws, and of their oaths, and the nature of the charge brought before them, he likewise took upon himself the correction of public morals, where they tended to decay, either through neglect, or evil custom.
XXXIV. He reduced the expense of the plays and public spectacles, by diminishing the allowances to actors, and curtailing the number of gladiators. He made grievous complaints to the senate, that the price of Corinthian vessels was become enormous, and that three mullets had been sold for thirty thousand sesterces: upon which he proposed that a new sumptuary law should be enacted; that the butchers and other dealers in viands should be subject to an assize, fixed by the senate yearly; and the aediles commissioned to restrain eating-houses and taverns, so far as not even to permit the sale of any kind of pastry.
And to encourage frugality in the public by his own example, he would often, at his solemn feasts, have at his tables victuals which had been served up the day before, and were partly eaten, and half a boar, affirming, "It has all the same good bits that the whole had." He published an edict against the practice of people's kissing each other when they met; and would not allow new-year's gifts to be presented after the calends [the first] of January was passed. He had been in the habit of returning these offerings four-fold, and making them with his own hand; but being annoyed by the continual interruption to which he was exposed during the whole month, by those who had not the opportunity of attending him on the festival, he returned none after that day.
XXXV. Married women guilty of adultery, though not prosecuted publicly, he authorized the nearest relations to punish by agreement among themselves, according to ancient custom. He discharged a Roman knight from the obligation of an oath he had taken, never to turn away his wife; and allowed him to divorce her, upon her being caught in criminal intercourse with her son-in-law. Women of ill-fame, divesting themselves of the rights and dignity of matrons, had now begun a practice of professing themselves prostitutes, to avoid the punishment of the laws; and the most profligate young men of the senatorian and equestrian orders, to secure themselves against a decree of the senate, which prohibited their performing on the stage, or in the amphitheatre, voluntarily subjected themselves to an infamous sentence, by which they were degraded. All those he banished, that none for the future might evade by such artifices the intention and efficacy of the law. He stripped a senator of the broad stripes on his robe, upon information of his having removed to his gardens before the calends [the first] of July, in order that he might afterwards hire a house cheaper in the city. He likewise dismissed another from the office of quaestor, for repudiating, the day after he had been lucky in drawing his lot, a wife whom he had married only the day before.
XXXVI. He suppressed all foreign religions, and the Egyptian ["Tiberius pulled down the temple of Isis, caused her image to be thrown into the Tiber, and crucified her priests."--Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 4] and Jewish rites, obliging those who practiced that kind of superstition, to burn their vestments, and all their sacred utensils. He distributed the Jewish youths, under the pretence of military service, among the provinces noted for an unhealthy climate; and dismissed from the city all the rest of that nation as well as those who were proselytes to that religion [similia sectantes. We are strongly inclined to think that the words might be rendered "similar sects," conveying an allusion to the small and obscure body of Christians, who were at this period generally confounded with the Jews, and supposed only to differ from them in some peculiarities of their institutions, which Roman historians and magistrates did not trouble themselves to distinguish. All the commentators, however, give the passage the turn retained in the text. Josephus informs us of the particular occurrence which led to the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by Tiberius.--Ant. xviii. 5], under pain of slavery for life, unless they complied. He also expelled the astrologers; but upon their suing for pardon, and promising to renounce their profession, he revoked his decree.
XXXVII. But, above all things, he was careful to keep the public peace against robbers, burglars, and those who were disaffected to the government. He therefore increased the number of military stations throughout Italy; and formed a camp at Rome for the pretorian cohorts, which, till then, had been quartered in the city. He suppressed with great severity all tumults of the people on their first breaking out; and took every precaution to prevent them. Some persons having been killed in a quarrel which happened in the theatre, he banished the leaders of the parties, and the players about whom the disturbance had arisen; nor could all the entreaties of the people afterwards prevail upon him to recall them [Varro tells us that the Roman people "were more actively employed (manus movere) in the theatre and circus, than in the corn-fields and vineyards."--De Re Rustic. ii].
The people of Pollentia having refused to permit the removal of the corpse of a centurion of the first rank from the forum, until they had extorted from his heirs a sum of money for a public exhibition of gladiators, he detached a cohort from the city, and another from the kingdom of Cottius [the Cottian Alps derived their name from this king]; who concealing the cause of their march, entered the town by different gates, with their arms suddenly displayed, and trumpets sounding; and having seized the greatest part of the people, and the magistrates, they were imprisoned for life.
He abolished every where the privileges of all places of refuge. The Cyzicenians having committed an outrage upon some Romans, he deprived them of the liberty they had obtained for their good services in the Mithridatic war. Disturbances from foreign enemies he quelled by his lieutenants, without ever going against them in person; nor would he even employ his lieutenants, but with much reluctance, and when it was absolutely necessary. Princes who were ill-affected towards him, he kept in subjection, more by menaces and remonstrances, than by force of arms. Some whom he induced to come to him by fair words and promises, he never would permit to return home; as Maraboduus the German, Thrascypolis the Thracian, and Archelaus the Cappadocian, whose kingdom he even reduced into the form of a province.
XXXVIII. He never set foot outside the gates of Rome, for two years together, from the time he assumed the supreme power; and after that period, went no farther from the city than to some of the neighboring towns; his farthest excursion being to Antium [Antium, mentioned before, once a flourishing city of the Volscians, standing on the sea-coast, about thirty-eight miles from Rome, was a favorite resort of the emperors and persons of wealth], and that but very seldom, and for a few days; though he often gave out that he would visit the provinces and armies, and made preparations for it almost every year, by taking up carriages, and ordering provisions for his retinue in the municipia and colonies. At last he suffered vows to be put up for his good journey and safe return, insomuch that he was called jocosely by the name of Callipides, who is famous in a Greek proverb, for being in a great hurry to go forward, but without ever advancing a cubit.
XXXIX. But after the loss of his two sons, of whom Germanicus died in Syria, and Drusus at Rome, he withdrew into Campania [A.U.C. 779]; at which time opinion and conversation were almost general, that he never would return, and would die soon. And both nearly turned out to be true. For indeed he never more came to Rome; and a few days after leaving it, when he was at a villa of his called the Cave, near Terracina [Terracina, standing at the southern extremity of the Pontine Marshes, on the shore of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by high calcareous cliffs, in which there are caverns, affording, as Strabo informs us, cool retreats, attached to the Roman villas built round], during supper a great many huge stones fell from above, which killed several of the guests and attendants; but he almost hopelessly escaped.
XL. After he had gone round Campania, and dedicated the capitol at Capua, and a temple to Augustus at Nola [Augustus died at Nola, a city in Campania], which he made the pretext of his journey, he retired to Capri; being greatly delighted with the island, because it was accessible only by a narrow beach, being on all sides surrounded with rugged cliffs, of a stupendous height, and by a deep sea. But immediately, the people of Rome being extremely clamorous for his return, on account of a disaster at Fidenae [Fidenae stood in a bend of the Tiber, near its junction with the Anio], where upwards of twenty thousand persons had been killed by the fall of the amphitheatre, during a public spectacle of gladiators, he crossed over again to the continent, and gave all people free access to him; so much the more, because, at his departure from the city, he had caused it to be proclaimed that no one should address him, and had declined admitting any persons to his presence, on the journey.
XLI. Returning to the island, he so far abandoned all care of the government, that he never filled up the decuriae of the knights, never changed any military tribunes or prefects, or governors of provinces, and kept Spain and Syria for several years without any consular lieutenants. He likewise suffered Armenia to be seized by the Parthians, Moesia by the Dacians and Sarmatians, and Gaul to be ravaged by the Germans; to the great disgrace, and no less danger, of the empire.
XLII. But having now the advantage of privacy, and being remote from the observation of the people of Rome, he abandoned himself to all the vicious propensities which he had long but imperfectly concealed, and of which I shall here give a particular account from the beginning. While a young soldier in the camp, he was so remarkable for his excessive inclination to wine, that, for Tiberius, they called him Biberius; for Claudius, Caldius; and for Nero, Mero. And after he succeeded to the empire, and was invested with the office of reforming the morality of the people, he spent a whole night and two days together in feasting and drinking with Pomponius Flaccus and Lucius Piso; to one of whom he immediately gave the province of Syria, and to the other the prefecture of the city; declaring them, in his letters-patent, to be "very pleasant companions, and friends fit for all occasions."
He made an appointment to sup with Sestius Gallus, a lewd and prodigal old fellow, who had been disgraced by Augustus, and reprimanded by himself but a few days before in the senate-house; upon condition that he should not recede in the least from his usual method of entertainment, and that they should be attended at table by naked girls. He preferred a very obscure candidate for the quaestorship, before the most noble competitors, only for taking off, in pledging him at table, an amphora of wine at a draught. He presented Asellius Sabinus with two hundred thousand sesterces, for writing a dialogue, in the way of dispute, betwixt the truffle and the fig-pecker, the oyster and the thrush. He likewise instituted a new office to administer to his voluptuousness, to which he appointed Titus Caesonius Priscus, a Roman knight.
XLIII. In his retreat at Capri [Capri, the luxurious retreat and scene of the debaucheries of the Roman emperors, is an island off the southern point of the bay of Naples, about twelve miles in circumference], he also contrived an apartment containing couches, and adapted to the secret practice of abominable lewdness, where he entertained companies of girls and catamites, and assembled from all quarters inventors of unnatural copulations, whom he called Spintriae, who defiled one another in his presence, to inflame by the exhibition the languid appetite. He had several chambers set round with pictures and statues in the most lascivious attitudes, and furnished with the books of Elephantis, that none might want a pattern for the execution of any lewd project that was prescribed him. He likewise contrived recesses in woods and groves for the gratification of lust, where young persons of both sexes prostituted themselves in caves and hollow rocks, in the disguise of little Pans and Nymphs [Pan, the god of the shepherds, and inventor of the flute, was said to be the son of Mercury and Penelope. He was worshipped chiefly in Arcadia, and represented with the horns and feet of a goat. The Nymphs, as well as the Graces, were represented naked]. So that he was publicly and commonly called, by an abuse of the name of the island, Caprineus [the name of the island having a double meaning, and signifying also a goat].
XLIV. But he was still more infamous, if possible, for an abomination not fit to be mentioned or heard, much less credited. ["Quasi pueros primae teneritudinis, quos 'pisciculos' vocabat, institueret, ut natanti sibi inter femina versarentur, ac luderent: lingua morsuque sensim appetentes; atque etiam quasi infantes firmiores, necdum tamen lacte depulsos, inguini ceu papillae admoveret: pronior sane ad id genus libidinis, et natura et aetate."] When a picture, painted by Parrhasius, in which the artist had represented Atalanta in the act of submitting to Meleager's lust in a most unnatural way, was bequeathed to him, with this proviso, that if the subject was offensive to him, he might receive in lieu of it a million of sesterces, he not only chose the picture, but hung it up in his bed-chamber. It is also reported that, during a sacrifice, he was so captivated with the form of a youth who held a censer, that, before the religious rites were well over, he took him aside and abused him; as also a brother of his who had been playing the flute; and soon afterwards broke the legs of both of them, for upbraiding one another with their shame.
XLV. How much he was guilty of a most foul intercourse with women even of the first quality ["foeminarum capitibus solitus illudere"], appeared very plainly by the death of one Mallonia, who, being brought to his bed, but resolutely refusing to comply with his lust, he gave her up to the common informers. Even when she was upon her trial, he frequently called out to her, and asked her, "Do you repent?" until she, quitting the court, went home, and stabbed herself; openly upbraiding the vile old lecher for his gross obscenity ["obscoenitate oris hirsuto atque olido"]. Hence there was an allusion to him in a farce, which was acted at the next public sports, and was received with great applause, and became a common topic of ridicule ["hircum vetulum capreis naturam ligurire"]: that the old goat ****.
XLVI. He was so niggardly and covetous, that he never allowed to his attendants, in his travels and expeditions, any salary, but their diet only. Once, indeed, he treated them liberally, at the instigation of his step-father, when, dividing them into three classes, according to their rank, he gave the first six, the second four, and the third two, hundred thousand sesterces, which last class he called not friends, but Greeks.
XLVII. During the whole time of his government, he never erected any noble edifice; for the only things he did undertake, namely, building the temple of Augustus, and restoring Pompey's Theatre, he left at last, after many years, unfinished. Nor did he ever entertain the people with public spectacles; and he was seldom present at those which were given by others, lest any thing of that kind should be requested of him; especially after he was obliged to give freedom to the comedian Actius. Having relieved the poverty of a few senators, to avoid further demands, he declared that he should for the future assist none, but those who gave the senate full satisfaction as to the cause of their necessity. Upon this, most of the needy senators, from modesty and shame, declined troubling him. Amongst these was Hortalus, grandson to the celebrated orator Quintus Hortensius, who [marrying], by the persuasion of Augustus, had brought up four children upon a very small estate.
XLVIII. He displayed only two instances of public munificence. One was an offer to lend gratis, for three years, a hundred millions of sesterces to those who wanted to borrow; and the other, when, some large houses being burnt down upon Mount Caelius, he indemnified the owners. To the former of these he was compelled by the clamors of the people, in a great scarcity of money, when he had ratified a decree of the senate obliging all money-lenders to advance two-thirds of their capital on land, and the debtors to pay off at once the same proportion of their debts, and it was found insufficient to remedy the grievance. The other he did to alleviate in some degree the pressure of the times. But his benefaction to the sufferers by fire, he estimated at so high a rate, that he ordered the Caelian Hill to be called, in future, the Augustan.
To the soldiery, after doubling the legacy left them by Augustus, he never gave any thing, except a thousand denarii a man to the pretorian guards, for not joining the party of Sejanus; and some presents to the legions in Syria, because they alone had not paid reverence to the effigies of Sejanus among their standards. He seldom gave discharges to the veteran soldiers, calculating on their deaths from advanced age, and on what would be saved by thus getting rid of them, in the way of rewards or pensions. Nor did he ever relieve the provinces by any act of generosity, excepting Asia, where some cities had been destroyed by an earthquake.
XLIX. In the course of a very short time, he turned his mind to sheer robbery. It is certain that Cneius Lentulus, the augur, a man of vast estate, was so terrified and worried by his threats and importunities, that he was obliged to make him his heir; and that Lepida, a lady of a very noble family, was condemned by him, in order to gratify Quirinus, a man of consular rank, extremely rich, and childless, who had divorced her twenty years before, and now charged her with an old design to poison him.
Several persons, likewise, of the first distinction in Gaul, Spain, Syria, and Greece, had their estates confiscated upon such despicably trifling and shameless pretences, that against some of them no other charge was preferred, than that they held large sums of ready money as part of their property. Old immunities, the rights of mining, and of levying tolls, were taken from several cities and private persons. And Vonones, king of the Parthians, who had been driven out of his dominions by his own subjects, and fled to Antioch with a vast treasure, claiming the protection of the Roman people, his allies, was treacherously robbed of all his money, and afterwards murdered.
L. He first manifested hatred towards his own relations in the case of his brother Drusus, betraying him by the production of a letter to himself, in which Drusus proposed that Augustus should be forced to restore the public liberty. In course of time, he showed the same disposition with regard to the rest of his family. So far was he from performing any office of kindness or humanity to his wife, when she was banished, and, by her father's order, confined to one town, that he forbade her to stir out of the house, or converse with any men. He even wronged her of the dowry given her by her father, and of her yearly allowance, by a quibble of law, because Augustus had made no provision for them on her behalf in his will.
Being harassed by his mother, Livia, who claimed an equal share in the government with him, he frequently avoided seeing her, and all long and private conferences with her, lest it should be thought that he was governed by her counsels, which, notwithstanding, he sometimes sought, and was in the habit of adopting. He was much offended at the senate, when they proposed to add to his other titles that of the Son of Livia, as well as Augustus. He, therefore, would not suffer her to be called "the Mother of her Country," nor to receive any extraordinary public distinction. Nay, he frequently admonished her "not to meddle with weighty affairs, and such as did not suit her sex;" especially when he found her present at a fire which broke out near the Temple of Vesta [the Temple of Vesta, like that dedicated to the same goddess at Tivoli, is round. There was probably one on the same site, and in the same circular form, erected by Numa Pompilius], and encouraging the people and soldiers to use their utmost exertions, as she had been used to do in the time of her husband.
LI. He afterwards proceeded to an open rupture with her, and, as is said, upon this occasion. She having frequently urged him to place among the judges a person who had been made free of the city, he refused her request, unless she would allow it to be inscribed on the roll, "That the appointment had been extorted from him by his mother." Enraged at this, Livia brought forth from her chapel some letters from Augustus to her, complaining of the sourness and insolence of Tiberius's temper, and these she read. So much was he offended at these letters having been kept so long, and now produced with so much bitterness against him, that some considered this incident as one of the causes of his going into seclusion, if not the principal reason for his so doing.
In the whole years she lived during his retirement, he saw her but once, and that for a few hours only. When she fell sick shortly afterwards, he was quite unconcerned about visiting her in her illness; and when she died, after promising to attend her funeral, he deferred his coming for several days, so that the corpse was in a state of decay and putrefaction before the interment; and he then forbade divine honors being paid to her, pretending that he acted according to her own directions. He likewise annulled her will, and in a short time ruined all her friends and acquaintance; not even sparing those to whom, on her death-bed, she had recommended the care of her funeral, but condemning one of them, a man of equestrian rank, to the treadmill [antlia; a machine for drawing up water in a series of connected buckets, which was worked by the feet].
LII. He entertained no paternal affection either for his own son Drusus, or his adopted son Germanicus. Offended at the vices of the former, who was of a loose disposition and led a dissolute life, he was not much affected at his death; but, almost immediately after the funeral, resumed his attention to business, and prevented the courts from being longer closed. The ambassadors from the people of Ilium coming rather late to offer their condolence, he said to them by way of banter, as if the affair had already faded from his memory, "And I heartily condole with you on the loss of your renowned countryman, Hector."
He so much affected to depreciate Germanicus, that he spoke of his achievements as utterly insignificant, and railed at his most glorious victories as ruinous to the state; complaining of him also to the senate for going to Alexandria without his knowledge, upon occasion of a great and sudden famine at Rome. It was believed that he took care to have him dispatched by Cneius Piso, his lieutenant in Syria. This person was afterwards tried for the murder, and would, as was supposed, have produced his orders, had they not been contained in a private and confidential dispatch. The following words therefore were posted up in many places, and frequently shouted in the night: "Give us back our Germanicus." This suspicion was afterwards confirmed by the barbarous treatment of his wife and children.
LIII. His daughter-in-law Agrippina, after the death of her husband, complaining upon some occasion with more than ordinary freedom, he took her by the hand, and addressed her in a Greek verse to this effect: "My dear child, do you think yourself injured, because you are not empress?" Nor did he ever vouchsafe to speak to her again. Upon her refusing once at supper to taste some fruit which he presented to her, he declined inviting her to his table, pretending that she in effect charged him with a design to poison her; whereas the whole was a contrivance of his own. He was to offer the fruit, and she to be privately cautioned against eating what would infallibly cause her death.
At last, having her accused of intending to flee for refuge to the statue of Augustus, or to the army, he banished her to the island of Pandataria [the elder Livia was banished to this island by Augustus]. Upon her reviling him for it, he caused a centurion to beat out one of her eyes; and when she resolved to starve herself to death, he ordered her mouth to be forced open, and meat to be crammed down her throat. But she persisting in her resolution, and dying soon afterwards, he persecuted her memory with the basest aspersions, and persuaded the senate to put her birth-day amongst the number of unlucky days in the calendar. He likewise took credit for not having caused her to be strangled and her body cast upon the Gemonian Steps, and suffered a decree of the senate to pass, thanking him for his clemency, and an offering of gold to be made to Jupiter Capitolinus on the occasion.
LIV. He had by Germanicus three grandsons, Nero, Drusus, and Caius; and by his son Drusus one, named Tiberius. Of these, after the loss of his sons, he commended Nero and Drusus, the two eldest sons of Germanicus, to the senate; and at their being solemnly introduced into the forum, distributed money among the people. But when he found that on entering upon the new year they were included in the public vows for his own welfare, he told the senate, "that such honors ought not to be conferred but upon those who had been proved, and were of more advanced years."
By thus betraying his private feelings towards them, he exposed them to all sorts of accusations; and after practicing many artifices to provoke them to rail at and abuse him, that he might be furnished with a pretence to destroy them, he charged them with it in a letter to the senate; at the same time accusing them, in the bitterest terms, of the most scandalous vices. Upon their being declared enemies by the senate, he starved them to death; Nero in the island of Ponza, and Drusus in the vaults of the Palatium. It is thought by some, that Nero was driven to a voluntary death by the executioner's showing him some halters and hooks, as if he had been sent to him by order of the senate. Drusus, it is said, was so rabid with hunger, that he attempted to eat the chaff with which his mattress was stuffed. The relics of both were so scattered, that it was with difficulty they were collected.
LV. Besides his old friends and intimate acquaintance, he required the assistance of twenty of the most eminent persons in the city, as counsellors in the administration of public affairs. Out of all this number, scarcely two or three escaped the fury of his savage disposition. All the rest he destroyed upon one pretence or another; and among them Aelius Sejanus, whose fall was attended with the ruin of many others. He had advanced this minister to the highest pitch of grandeur, not so much from any real regard for him, as that by his base and sinister contrivances he might ruin the children of Germanicus, and thereby secure the succession to his own grandson by Drusus.
LVI. He treated with no greater leniency the Greeks in his family, even those with whom he was most pleased. Having asked one Zeno, upon his using some far-fetched phrases, "What uncouth dialect is that?" he replied, "The Doric." For this answer he banished him to Cinara [an island in the Archipelago], suspecting that he taunted him with his former residence at Rhodes, where the Doric dialect is spoken. It being his custom to start questions at supper, arising out of what he had been reading in the day, and finding that Seleucus, the grammarian, used to inquire of his attendants what authors he was then studying, and so came prepared for his enquiries—he first turned him out of his family, and then drove him to the extremity of laying violent hands upon himself.
LVII. His cruel and sullen temper appeared when he was still a boy; which Theodorus of Gadara [this Theodore is noticed by Quintilian, Instit. iii. 1. Gadara was in Syria], his master in rhetoric, first discovered, and expressed by a very apposite simile, calling him sometimes, when he chid him, "Mud mixed with blood." But his disposition showed itself still more clearly on his attaining the imperial power, and even in the beginning of his administration, when he was endeavoring to gain the popular favor, by affecting moderation. Upon a funeral passing by, a wag called out to the dead man, "Tell Augustus, that the legacies he bequeathed to the people are not yet paid." The man being brought before him, he ordered that he should receive what was due to him, and then be led to execution, that he might deliver the message to his father himself. Not long afterwards, when one Pompey, a Roman knight, persisted in his opposition to something he proposed in the senate, he threatened to put him in prison, and told him, "Of a Pompey I shall make a Pompeian of you;" by a bitter kind of pun playing upon the man's name, and the ill-fortune of his party.
LVIII. About the same time, when the praetor consulted him, whether it was his pleasure that the tribunals should take cognizance of accusations of treason, he replied, "The laws ought to be put in execution;" and he did put them in execution most severely. Some person had taken off the head of Augustus from one of his statues, and replaced it by another [it mattered not that the head substituted was Tiberius's own]. The matter was brought before the senate, and because the case was not clear, the witnesses were put to the torture. The party accused being found guilty, and condemned, this kind of proceeding was carried so far, that it became capital for a man to beat his slave, or change his clothes, near the statue of Augustus; to carry his head stamped upon the coin, or cut in the stone of a ring, into a necessary house, or the stews; or to reflect upon anything that had been either said or done by him. In fine, a person was condemned to death, for suffering some honors to be decreed to him in the colony where he lived, upon the same day on which they had formerly been decreed to Augustus.
LIX. He was besides guilty of many barbarous actions, under the pretence of strictness and reformation of manners, but more to gratify his own savage disposition. Some verses were published, which displayed the present calamities of his reign, and anticipated the future [the verses were probably anonymous].
Asper et immitis, breviter vis omnia dicam?
Obdurate wretch! too fierce, too fell to move
At first he would have it understood, that these satirical verses were drawn forth by the resentment of those who were impatient under the discipline of reformation, rather than that they spoke their real sentiments; and he would frequently say, "Let them hate me, so long as they do but approve my conduct" [oderint dum probent: Caligula used a similar expression; oderint dum metuant]. At length, however, his behavior showed that he was sensible they were too well founded.
LX. A few days after his arrival at Capri, a fisherman coming up to him unexpectedly, when he was desirous of privacy, and presenting him with a large mullet, he ordered the man's face to be scrubbed with the fish; being terrified at the thought of his having been able to creep upon him from the back of the island, over such rugged and steep rocks. The man, while undergoing the punishment, expressing his joy that he had not likewise offered him a large crab which he had also taken, he ordered his face to be farther lacerated with its claws. He put to death one of the pretorian guards, for having stolen a peacock out of his orchard. In one of his journeys, his litter being obstructed by some bushes, he ordered the officer whose duty it was to ride on and examine the road, a centurion of the first cohorts, to be laid on his face upon the ground, and scourged almost to death.
LXI. Soon afterwards, he abandoned himself to every species of cruelty, never wanting occasions of one kind or another, to serve as a pretext. He first fell upon the friends and acquaintance of his mother, then those of his grandsons, and his daughter-in-law, and lastly those of Sejanus; after whose death he became cruel in the extreme. From this it appeared, that he had not been so much instigated by Sejanus, as supplied with occasions of gratifying his savage temper, when he wanted them. Though in a short memoir which he composed of his own life, he had the effrontery to write, "I have punished Sejanus, because I found him bent upon the destruction of the children of my son Germanicus," one of these he put to death, when he began to suspect Sejanus; and another, after he was taken off.
It would be tedious to relate all the numerous instances of his cruelty: suffice it to give a few examples, in their different kinds. Not a day passed without the punishment of some person or other, not excepting holidays, or those appropriated to the worship of the gods. Some were tried even on New-Year's-Day. Of many who were condemned, their wives and children shared the same fate; and for those who were sentenced to death, the relations were forbid to put on mourning. Considerable rewards were voted for the prosecutors, and sometimes for the witnesses also. The information of any person, without exception, was taken; and all offences were capital, even speaking a few words, though without any ill intention. A poet was charged with abusing Agamemnon; and a historian [A.U.C. 778. Tacit. Annal. iv. The historian's name was A. Cremutius Cordo. Dio has preserved the passage, xlvii. p. 619], for calling Brutus and Cassius "the last of the Romans." The two authors were immediately called to account, and their writings suppressed; though they had been well received some years before, and read in the hearing of Augustus.
Some, who were thrown into prison, were not only denied the solace of study, but debarred from all company and conversation. Many persons, when summoned to trial, stabbed themselves at home, to avoid the distress and ignominy of a public condemnation, which they were certain would ensue. Others took poison in the senate house. The wounds were bound up, and all who had not expired, were carried, half-dead, and panting for life, to prison.
Those who were put to death, were thrown down the Gemonian stairs, and then dragged into the Tiber. In one day, twenty were treated in this manner; and amongst them women and boys. Because, according to an ancient custom, it was not lawful to strangle virgins, the young girls were first deflowered by the executioner, and afterwards strangled. Those who were desirous to die, were forced to live. For he thought death so slight a punishment, that upon hearing that Carnulius, one of the accused, who was under prosecution, had killed himself, he exclaimed, "Carnulius has escaped me." In calling over his prisoners, when one of them requested the favor of a speedy death, he replied, "You are not yet restored to favor."
A man of consular rank writes in his annals, that at table, where he himself was present with a large company, he was suddenly asked aloud by a dwarf who stood by amongst the buffoons, why Paconius, who was under a prosecution for treason, lived so long. Tiberius immediately reprimanded him for his pertness; but wrote to the senate a few days after, to proceed without delay to the punishment of Paconius.
LXII. Exasperated by information he received respecting the death of his son Drusus, he carried his cruelty still farther. He imagined that he had died of a disease occasioned by his intemperance; but finding that he had been poisoned by the contrivance of his wife Livilla [she was the sister of Germanicus, and Tacitus calls her Livia] and Sejanus, he spared no one from torture and death. He was so entirely occupied with the examination of this affair, for whole days together, that, upon being informed that the person in whose house he had lodged at Rhodes, and whom he had by a friendly letter invited to Rome, was arrived, he ordered him immediately to be put to the torture, as a party concerned in the enquiry. Upon finding his mistake, he commanded him to be put to death, that he might not publish the injury done him.
The place of execution is still shown at Capri, where he ordered those who were condemned to die, after long and exquisite tortures, to be thrown, before his eyes, from a precipice into the sea. There a party of soldiers belonging to the fleet waited for them, and broke their bones with poles and oars, lest they should have any life left in them. Among various kinds of torture invented by him, one was, to induce people to drink a large quantity of wine, and then to tie up their members with harp-strings, thus tormenting them at once by the tightness of the ligature, and the stoppage of their urine. Had not death prevented him, and Thrasyllus, designedly, as some say, prevailed with him to defer some of his cruelties, in hopes of longer life, it is believed that he would have destroyed many more: and not have spared even the rest of his grandchildren: for he was jealous of Caius, and hated Tiberius as having been conceived in adultery. This conjecture is indeed highly probable; for he used often to say, "Happy Priam, who survived all his children!" [Priam is said to have had no less than fifty sons and daughters; some of the latter, however, survived him, as Hecuba, Helena, Polyxena, and others.]
LXIII. Amidst these enormities, in how much fear and apprehension, as well as odium and detestation, he lived, is evident from many indications. He forbade the soothsayers to be consulted in private, and without some witnesses being present. He attempted to suppress the oracles in the neighborhood of the city; but being terrified by the divine authority of the Praenestine Lots [there were oracles at Antium and Tibur. The "Praenestine Lots" are described by Cicero, De Divin. xi. 41], he abandoned the design. For though they were sealed up in a box, and carried to home, yet they were not to be found in it, until it was returned to the temple. More than one person of consular rank, appointed governors of provinces, he never ventured to dismiss to their respective destinations, but kept them until several years after, when he nominated their successors, while they still remained present with him. In the meantime, they bore the title of their office; and he frequently gave them orders, which they took care to have executed by their deputies and assistants.
LXIV. He never removed his daughter-in-law, or grandsons [Agrippina, and Nero and Drusus], after their condemnation, to any place, but in fetters and in a covered litter, with a guard to hinder all who met them on the road, and travellers, from stopping to gaze at them.
LXV. After Sejanus had plotted against him, though he saw that his birth-day was solemnly kept by the public, and divine honors paid to golden images of him in every quarter, yet it was with difficulty at last, and more by artifice than his imperial power, that he accomplished his death. In the first place, to remove him from about his person, under the pretext of doing him honor, he made him his colleague in his fifth consulship; which, although then absent from the city, he took upon him for that purpose, long after his preceding consulship. Then, having flattered him with the hope of an alliance by marriage with one of his own kindred, and the prospect of the tribunitian authority, he suddenly, while Sejanus little expected it, charged him with treason, in an abject and pitiful address to the senate; in which, among other things, he begged them "to send one of the consuls, to conduct himself, a poor solitary old man, with a guard of soldiers, into their presence."
Still distrustful, however, and apprehensive of an insurrection, he ordered his grandson, Drusus, whom he still kept in confinement at Rome, to be set at liberty, and if occasion required, to head the troops. He had likewise ships in readiness to transport him to any of the legions to which he might consider it expedient to make his escape. Meanwhile, he was upon the watch, from the summit of a lofty cliff, for the signals which he had ordered to be made if any thing occurred, lest the messengers should be tardy. Even when he had quite foiled the conspiracy of Sejanus, he was still haunted as much as ever with fears and apprehensions, insomuch that he never once stirred out of the Villa Jovis for nine months after.
LXVI. To the extreme anxiety of mind which he now experienced, he had the mortification to find superadded the most poignant reproaches from all quarters. Those who were condemned to die, heaped upon him the most opprobrious language in his presence, or by hand-bills scattered in the senators' seats in the theatre. These produced different effects: sometimes he wished, out of shame, to have all smothered and concealed; at other times he would disregard what was said, and publish it himself. To this accumulation of scandal and open sarcasm, there is to be subjoined a letter from Artabanus, king of the Parthians, in which he upbraids him with his parricides, murders, cowardice, and lewdness, and advises him to satisfy the furious rage of his own people, which he had so justly excited, by putting an end to his life without delay.
LXVII. At last, being quite weary of himself, he acknowledged his extreme misery, in a letter to the senate, which begun thus: "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 vengeance than that under which I feel myself daily sinking, if I can tell." Some are of opinion that he had a foreknowledge of those things, from his skill in the science of divination, and perceived long before what misery and infamy would at last come upon him; and that for this reason, at the beginning of his reign, he had absolutely refused the title of the "Father of his Country," and the proposal of the senate to swear to his acts; lest he should afterwards, to his greater shame, be found unequal to such extraordinary honors.
This, indeed, may be justly inferred from the speeches which he made upon both those occasions; as when he says, "I shall ever be the same, and shall never change my conduct, so long as I retain my senses; but to avoid giving a bad precedent to posterity, the senate ought to beware of binding themselves to the acts of any person whatever, who might by some accident or other be induced to alter them." And again: "If ye should at any time entertain a jealousy of my conduct, and my entire affection for you, which heaven prevent by putting a period to my days, rather than I should live to see such an alteration in your opinion of me, the title of Father will add no honor to me, but be a reproach to you, for your rashness in conferring it upon me, or inconstancy in altering your opinion of me."
LXVIII. In person he was large and robust; of a stature somewhat above the common size; broad in the shoulders and chest, and proportionable in the rest of his frame. He used his left hand more readily and with more force than his right; and his joints were so strong, that he could bore a fresh, sound apple through with his finger, and wound the head of a boy, or even a young man, with a fillip. He was of a fair complexion, and wore his hair so long behind, that it covered his neck, which was observed to be a mark of distinction affected by the family. He had a handsome face, but it was often full of pimples.
His eyes, which were large, had a wonderful faculty of seeing in the night-time, and in the dark, for a short time only, and immediately after awaking from sleep; but they soon grew dim again. He walked with his neck stiff and upright: generally with a frowning countenance, being for the most part silent: when he spoke to those about him, it was very slowly, and usually accompanied with a slight gesticulation of his fingers. All which, being repulsive habits and signs of arrogance, were remarked by Augustus, who often endeavored to excuse them to the senate and people, declaring that "they were natural defects, which proceeded from no viciousness of mind." He enjoyed a good state of health, without interruption, almost during the whole period of his rule; though, from the thirtieth year of his age, he treated it himself according to his own discretion, without any medical assistance.
LXIX. In regard to the gods, and matters of religion, he discovered much indifference; being greatly addicted to astrology, and fully persuaded that all things were governed by fate. Yet he was extremely afraid of lightning, and when the sky was in a disturbed state, always wore a laurel crown on his head; because it is supposed that the leaf of that tree is never touched by the lightning.
LXX. He applied himself with great diligence to the liberal arts, both Greek and Latin. In his Latin style, he affected to imitate Messala Corvinus [mentioned also by Horace, Cicero, and Tacitus], a venerable man, to whom he had paid much respect in his own early years. But he rendered his style obscure by excessive affectation and abstruseness, so that he was thought to speak better extempore, than in a premeditated discourse. He composed likewise a lyric ode, under the title of "A Lamentation upon the death of Lucius Caesar;" and also some Greek poems, in imitation of Euphorion, Rhianus, and Parthenius [obscure Greek poets]. These poets he greatly admired, and placed their works and statues in the public libraries, amongst the eminent authors of antiquity. On this account, most of the learned men of the time vied with each other in publishing observations upon them, which they addressed to him.
His principal study, however, was the history of the fabulous ages, inquiring even into its trifling details in a ridiculous manner; for he used to try the grammarians, a class of men which, as I have already observed, he much affected, with such questions as these: "Who was Hecuba's mother? What name did Achilles assume among the virgins? What was it that the Sirens used to sing?" And the first day that he entered the senate-house, after the death of Augustus, as if he intended to pay respect at once to his father's memory and to the gods, he made an offering of frankincense and wine, but without any music, in imitation of Minos, upon the death of his son.
LXXI. Though he was ready and conversant with the Greek tongue, yet he did not use it everywhere; but chiefly he avoided it in the senate-house, insomuch that having occasion to employ the word monopolium (monopoly), he first begged pardon for being obliged to adopt a foreign word. And when, in a decree of the senate, the word emblaema (emblem) was read, he proposed to have it changed, and that a Latin word should be substituted in its room; or, if no proper one could be found, to express the thing by circumlocution. A soldier who was examined as a witness upon a trial, in Greek, he would not allow to reply, except in Latin.
LXXII. During the whole time of his seclusion at Capri, twice only he made an effort to visit Rome. Once he came in a galley as far as the gardens near the Naumachia, but placed guards along the banks of the Tiber, to keep off all who should offer to come to meet him. The second time he travelled on the Appian Way [so called from Appius Claudius, the Censor, one of Tiberius's ancestors, who constructed it. It took a direction southward of Rome, through Campania to Brundusium], as far as the seventh mile-stone from the city, but he immediately returned, without entering it, having only taken a view of the walls at a distance. For what reason he did not disembark in his first excursion, is uncertain; but in the last, he was deterred from entering the city by a prodigy. He was in the habit of diverting himself with a snake, and upon going to feed it with his own hand, according to custom, he found it devoured by ants: from which he was advised to beware of the fury of the mob.
On this account, returning in all haste to Campania, he fell ill at Astura [a small town on the coast of Latium, not far from Antium]; but recovering a little, went on to Circeii [a town on a promontory of the same dreary coast, between Antium and Terracina, built on a promontory surrounded by the sea and the marsh]. And to obviate any suspicion of his being in a bad state of health, he was not only present at the sports in the camp, but encountered, with javelins, a wild boar, which was let loose in the arena. Being immediately seized with a pain in the side, and catching cold upon his over-heating himself in the exercise, he relapsed into a worse condition than he was before. He held out, however, for some time; and sailing as far as Misenum [a promontory to which Aeneas is said to have given its name from one of his followers. (Aen. ii. 234)], omitted nothing in his usual mode of life, not even in his entertainments, and other gratifications, partly from an ungovernable appetite, and partly to conceal his condition. For Charicles, a physician, having obtained leave of absence, on his rising from table, took his hand to kiss it; upon which Tiberius, supposing he did it to feel his pulse, desired him to stay and resume his place, and continued the entertainment longer than usual. Nor did he omit his usual custom of taking his station in the center of the apartment, a lictor standing by him, while he took leave of each of the party by name.
LXXIII. Meanwhile, finding, upon looking over the acts of the senate, "that some person under prosecution had been discharged, without being brought to a hearing," for he had only written cursorily that they had been denounced by an informer; he complained in a great rage that he was treated with contempt, and resolved at all hazards to return to Capri; not daring to attempt any thing until he found himself in a place of security. But being detained by storms, and the increasing violence of his disorder, he died shortly afterwards, at a villa formerly belonging to Lucullus, in the seventy-eighth year of his age [Tacitus agrees with Suetonius as to the age of Tiberius at the time of his death. Dio states it more precisely, as being seventy-seven years, four months, and nine days], and the twenty-third of his reign, upon the seventeenth of the calends of April (16th March), in the consulship of Cneius Acerronius Proculus and Caius Pontius Niger.
Some think that a slow-consuming poison was given him by Caius [Caius Caligula, who became his successor]. Others say that during the interval of the intermittent fever with which he happened to be seized, upon asking for food, it was denied him. Others report, that he was stifled by a pillow thrown upon him [Tacitus and Dio add that he was smothered under a heap of heavy clothes], when, on his recovering from a swoon, he called for his ring, which had been taken from him in the fit. Seneca writes, "That finding himself dying, he took his signet ring off his finger, and held it a while, as if he would deliver it to somebody; but put it again upon his finger, and lay for some time, with his left hand clenched, and without stirring; when suddenly summoning his attendants, and no one answering the call, he rose; but his strength failing him, he fell down at a short distance from his bed."
LXXIV. Upon his last birth-day, he had brought a full-sized statue of the Timenian Apollo from Syracuse, a work of exquisite art, intending to place it in the library of the new temple [in the temple of the Palatine Apollo]; but he dreamt that the god appeared to him in the night, and assured him "that his statue could not be erected by him." A few days before he died, the Pharos at Capri was thrown down by an earthquake. And at Misenum, some embers and live coals, which were brought in to warm his apartment, went out, and after being quite cold, burst out into a flame again towards evening, and continued burning very brightly for several hours.
LXXV. The people were so much elated at his death, that when they first heard the news, they ran up and down the city, some crying out, "Away with Tiberius to the Tiber;" others exclaiming, "May the earth, the common mother of mankind, and the infernal gods, allow him no abode in death, but amongst the wicked." Others threatened his body with the hook and the Gemonian stairs, their indignation at his former cruelty being increased by a recent atrocity.
It had been provided by an act of the senate, that the execution of condemned criminals should always be deferred until the tenth day after the sentence. Now this fell on the very day when the news of Tiberius's death arrived, and in consequence of which the unhappy men implored a reprieve, for mercy's sake; but, as Caius had not yet arrived, and there was no one else to whom application could be made on their behalf, their guards, apprehensive of violating the law, strangled them, and threw them down the Gemonian stairs. This roused the people to a still greater abhorrence of the tyrant's memory, since his cruelty continued in use even after he was dead. As soon as his corpse was begun to be moved from Misenum, many cried out for its being carried to Atella [a town between Capua and Naples, where there was an amphitheatre], and being half burnt there in the amphitheatre. It was, however, brought to Rome, and burnt with the usual ceremony.
LXXVI. He had made about two years before, duplicates of his will, one written by his own hand, and the other by that of one of his freedmen; and both were witnessed by some persons of very mean rank. He appointed his two grandsons, Caius by Germanicus, and Tiberius by Drusus, joint heirs to his estate; and upon the death of one of them, the other was to inherit the whole. He gave likewise many legacies; amongst which were bequests to the Vestal Virgins, to all the soldiers, and each one of the people of Rome, and to the magistrates of the several quarters of the city.