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lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of CHOCOLATE!!!!
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What would it take to get you not to destroy his thread?
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hah you lied it wasn't your one and only!
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Prove it.
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and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of Chocolate in mail*
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Derrell
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[No No] [Razz] [Razz]
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Rhaegar The Fool
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Sound like enough chocloate Eruve?
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PSI Teleport
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You just couldn't stand the thought of someone else controlling the thread.

*disapparates*

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Eruve Nandiriel
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[ROFL]
*clutches sides*
"AAAAhahahaha!!!"
[Evil Laugh]

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kaioshin00
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[ROFL]
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Eruve Nandiriel
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I was joking from the start.
I can't believe they fell for it!

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Rhaegar The Fool
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PSI the dissapearing into the mist was cooler.
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Rhaegar The Fool
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Well Lisa, you are physcotic enough.
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PSI Teleport
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That was an accident. One didn't post for a long time, so I assumed it was a glitch and posted the second one. Disapparates is faster to type.

Then they both showed up and I just deleted the closest one.

*returns to the shadows*

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Eruve Nandiriel
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[Evil Laugh]
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Chaeron
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OK, I'm ending this thread.
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Rhaegar The Fool
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*Reveals himself as Van Helsing*

*Slays the demon*

*Forgets past as in every film I do*

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kaioshin00
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How do you end it?
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Eruve Nandiriel
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No you're not.

*sings* "I've got the power!"

[Evil Laugh]

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Chaeron
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"Another damned thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble!
Eh! Mr. Gibbon?" -- William Henry, Duke of Gloucester

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Chaeron
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History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

Edward Gibbon, Esq.

Vol. 1

Preface Of The Author.

It is not my intention to detain the reader by expa??iating
on the variety or the importance of the subject, which I have
undertaken to treat; since the merit of the choice would serve to
render the weakness of the execution still more apparent, and
still less excusable. But as I have presumed to lay before the
public a first volume only ^1 of the History of the Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire, it will, perhaps, be expected that I
should explain, in a few words, the nature and limits of my
general plan.

[Footnote 1: The first volume of the quarto, which contained the
sixteen first chapters.]

The memorable series of revolutions, which in the course of
about thirteen centuries gradually undermined, and at length
destroyed, the solid fabric of human greatness, may, with some
propriety, be divided into the three following periods:

I. The first of these periods may be traced from the age of
Trajan and the Antonines, when the Roman monarchy, having
attained its full strength and maturity, began to verge towards
its decline; and will extend to the subversion of the Western
Empire, by the barbarians of Germany and Scythia, the rude
ancestors of the most polished nations of modern Europe. This
extraordinary revolution, which subjected Rome to the power of a
Gothic conqueror, was completed about the beginning of the sixth
century.

II. The second period of the Decline and Fall of Rome may
be supposed to commence with the reign of Justinian, who, by his
laws, as well as by his victories, restored a transient splendor
to the Eastern Empire. It will comprehend the invasion of Italy
by the Lombards; the conquest of the Asiatic and African
provinces by the Arabs, who embraced the religion of Mahomet; the
revolt of the Roman people against the feeble princes of
Constantinople; and the elevation of Charlemagne, who, in the
year eight hundred, established the second, or German Empire of
the West

III. The last and longest of these periods includes about
six centuries and a half; from the revival of the Western Empire,
till the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, and the
extinction of a degenerate race of princes, who continued to
assume the titles of Caesar and Augustus, after their dominions
were contracted to the limits of a single city; in which the
language, as well as manners, of the ancient Romans, had been
long since forgotten. The writer who should undertake to relate
the events of this period, would find himself obliged to enter
into the general history of the Crusades, as far as they
contributed to the ruin of the Greek Empire; and he would
scarcely be able to restrain his curiosity from making some
inquiry into the state of the city of Rome, during the darkness
and confusion of the middle ages.

As I have ventured, perhaps too hastily, to commit to the
press a work which in every sense of the word, deserves the
epithet of imperfect. I consider myself as contracting an
engagement to finish, most probably in a second volume, ^2 the
first of these memorable periods; and to deliver to the Public
the complete History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, from the
age of the Antonines to the subversion of the Western Empire.
With regard to the subsequent periods, though I may entertain
some hopes, I dare not presume to give any assurances. The
execution of the extensive plan which I have described, would
connect the ancient and modern history of the world; but it would
require many years of health, of leisure, and of perseverance.
[Footnote 2: The Author, as it frequently happens, took an
inadequate measure of his growing work. The remainder of the
first period has filled two volumes in quarto, being the third,
fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes of the octavo edition.]

Bentinck Street, February 1, 1776.

P. S. The entire History, which is now published, of the
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, abundantly
discharges my engagements with the Public. Perhaps their
favorable opinion may encourage me to prosecute a work, which,
however laborious it may seem, is the most agreeable occupation
of my leisure hours.

Bentinck Street, March 1, 1781.

An Author easily persuades himself that the public opinion
is still favorable to his labors; and I have now embraced the
serious resolution of proceeding to the last period of my
original design, and of the Roman Empire, the taking of
Constantinople by the Turks, in the year one thousand four
hundred and fifty-three. The most patient Reader, who computes
that three ponderous ^3 volumes have been already employed on the
events of four centuries, may, perhaps, be alarmed at the long
prospect of nine hundred years. But it is not my intention to
expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the
Byzantine history. At our entrance into this period, the reign
of Justinian, and the conquests of the Mahometans, will deserve
and detain our attention, and the last age of Constantinople (the
Crusades and the Turks) is connected with the revolutions of
Modern Europe. From the seventh to the eleventh century, the
obscure interval will be supplied by a concise narrative of such
facts as may still appear either interesting or important.
[Footnote 3: The first six volumes of the octavo edition.]
Bentinck Street, March 1, 1782.

Preface To The First Volume.

Diligence and accuracy are the only merits which an
historical writer may ascribe to himself; if any merit, indeed,
can be assumed from the performance of an indispensable duty. I
may therefore be allowed to say, that I have carefully examined
all the original materials that could illustrate the subject
which I had undertaken to treat. Should I ever complete the
extensive design which has been sketched out in the Preface, I
might perhaps conclude it with a critical account of the authors
consulted during the progress of the whole work; and however such
an attempt might incur the censure of ostentation, I am persuaded
that it would be susceptible of entertainment, as well as
information.

At present I shall content myself with a single observation.

The biographers, who, under the reigns of Diocletian and
Constantine, composed, or rather compiled, the lives of the
Emperors, from Hadrian to the sons of Carus, are usually
mentioned under the names of Aelius Spartianus, Julius
Capitolinus, Aelius Lampridius, Vulcatius Gallicanus, Trebellius
Pollio and Flavius Vopiscus. But there is so much perplexity in
the titles of the MSS., and so many disputes have arisen among
the critics (see Fabricius, Biblioth. Latin. l. iii. c. 6)
concerning their number, their names, and their respective
property, that for the most part I have quoted them without
distinction, under the general and well-known title of the
Augustan History.

Preface To The Fourth Volume Of The Original Quarto Edition.

I now discharge my promise, and complete my design, of writing
the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, both in
the West and the East. The whole period extends from the age of
Trajan and the Antonines, to the taking of Constantinople by
Mahomet the Second; and includes a review of the Crusades, and
the state of Rome during the middle ages. Since the publication
of the first volume, twelve years have elapsed; twelve years,
according to my wish, "of health, of leisure, and of
perseverance." I may now congratulate my deliverance from a long
and laborious service, and my satisfaction will be pure and
perfect, if the public favor should be extended to the conclusion
of my work.

It was my first intention to have collected, under one view,
the numerous authors, of every age and language, from whom I have
derived the materials of this history; and I am still convinced
that the apparent ostentation would be more than compensated by
real use. If I have renounced this idea, if I have declined an
undertaking which had obtained the approbation of a
master-artist, ^* my excuse may be found in the extreme
difficulty of assigning a proper measure to such a catalogue. A
naked list of names and editions would not be satisfactory either
to myself or my readers: the characters of the principal Authors
of the Roman and Byzantine History have been occasionally
connected with the events which they describe; a more copious and
critical inquiry might indeed deserve, but it would demand, an
elaborate volume, which might swell by degrees into a general
library of historical writers. For the present, I shall content
myself with renewing my serious protestation, that I have always
endeavored to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as
well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the
originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I
have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a
passage or a fact were reduced to depend.

[Footnote *: See Dr. Robertson's Preface to his History of
America.]

I shall soon revisit the banks of the Lake of Lausanne, a
country which I have known and loved from my early youth. Under
a mild government, amidst a beauteous landscape, in a life of
leisure and independence, and among a people of easy and elegant
manners, I have enjoyed, and may again hope to enjoy, the varied
pleasures of retirement and society. But I shall ever glory in
the name and character of an Englishman: I am proud of my birth
in a free and enlightened country; and the approbation of that
country is the best and most honorable reward of my labors. Were
I ambitious of any other Patron than the Public, I would inscribe
this work to a Statesman, who, in a long, a stormy, and at length
an unfortunate administration, had many political opponents,
almost without a personal enemy; who has retained, in his fall
from power, many faithful and disinterested friends; and who,
under the pressure of severe infirmity, enjoys the lively vigor
of his mind, and the felicity of his incomparable temper. Lord
North will permit me to express the feelings of friendship in the
language of truth: but even truth and friendship should be
silent, if he still dispensed the favors of the crown.

In a remote solitude, vanity may still whisper in my ear,
that my readers, perhaps, may inquire whether, in the conclusion
of the present work, I am now taking an everlasting farewell.
They shall hear all that I know myself, and all that I could
reveal to the most intimate friend. The motives of action or
silence are now equally balanced; nor can I pronounce, in my most
secret thoughts, on which side the scale will preponderate. I
cannot dissemble that six quartos must have tried, and may have
exhausted, the indulgence of the Public; that, in the repetition
of similar attempts, a successful Author has much more to lose
than he can hope to gain; that I am now descending into the vale
of years; and that the most respectable of my countrymen, the men
whom I aspire to imitate, have resigned the pen of history about
the same period of their lives. Yet I consider that the annals
of ancient and modern times may afford many rich and interesting
subjects; that I am still possessed of health and leisure; that
by the practice of writing, some skill and facility must be
acquired; and that, in the ardent pursuit of truth and knowledge,
I am not conscious of decay. To an active mind, indolence is
more painful than labor; and the first months of my liberty will
be occupied and amused in the excursions of curiosity and taste.
By such temptations, I have been sometimes seduced from the rigid
duty even of a pleasing and voluntary task: but my time will now
be my own; and in the use or abuse of independence, I shall no
longer fear my own reproaches or those of my friends. I am
fairly entitled to a year of jubilee: next summer and the
following winter will rapidly pass away; and experience only can
determine whether I shall still prefer the freedom and variety of
study to the design and composition of a regular work, which
animates, while it confines, the daily application of the Author.

Caprice and accident may influence my choice; but the dexterity
of self-love will contrive to applaud either active industry or
philosophic repose.

Downing Street, May 1, 1788.

P. S. I shall embrace this opportunity of introducing two
verbal remarks, which have not conveniently offered themselves to
my notice. 1. As often as I use the definitions of beyond the
Alps, the Rhine, the Danube, &c., I generally suppose myself at
Rome, and afterwards at Constantinople; without observing whether
this relative geography may agree with the local, but variable,
situation of the reader, or the historian. 2. In proper names
of foreign, and especially of Oriental origin, it should be
always our aim to express, in our English version, a faithful
copy of the original. But this rule, which is founded on a just
regard to uniformity and truth, must often be relaxed; and the
exceptions will be limited or enlarged by the custom of the
language and the taste of the interpreter. Our alphabets may be
often defective; a harsh sound, an uncouth spelling, might offend
the ear or the eye of our countrymen; and some words, notoriously
corrupt, are fixed, and, as it were, naturalized in the vulgar
tongue. The prophet Mohammed can no longer be stripped of the
famous, though improper, appellation of Mahomet: the well-known
cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Cairo, would almost be lost in
the strange descriptions of Haleb, Demashk, and Al Cahira: the
titles and offices of the Ottoman empire are fashioned by the
practice of three hundred years; and we are pleased to blend the
three Chinese monosyllables, Con-fu- tzee, in the respectable
name of Confucius, or even to adopt the Portuguese corruption of
Mandarin. But I would vary the use of Zoroaster and Zerdusht, as
I drew my information from Greece or Persia: since our connection
with India, the genuine Timour is restored to the throne of
Tamerlane: our most correct writers have retrenched the Al, the
superfluous article, from the Koran; and we escape an ambiguous
termination, by adopting Moslem instead of Musulman, in the
plural number. In these, and in a thousand examples, the shades
of distinction are often minute; and I can feel, where I cannot
explain, the motives of my choice.

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Chapter I: The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines.

Antoninies.
Part I.

Introduction.

The Extent And Military Force Of The Empire In The Age Of The
Antonines.

In the second century of the Christian Aera, the empire of
Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most
civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive
monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valor.
The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had
gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful
inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and
luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with
decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the
sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the
executive powers of government. During a happy period of more
than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by
the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two
Antonines. It is the design of this, and of the two succeeding
chapters, to describe the prosperous condition of their empire;
and after wards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce
the most important circumstances of its decline and fall; a
revolution which will ever be remembered, and is still felt by
the nations of the earth.

The principal conquests of the Romans were achieved under
the republic; and the emperors, for the most part, were satisfied
with preserving those dominions which had been acquired by the
policy of the senate, the active emulations of the consuls, and
the martial enthusiasm of the people. The seven first centuries
were filled with a rapid succession of triumphs; but it was
reserved for Augustus to relinquish the ambitious design of
subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation
into the public councils. Inclined to peace by his temper and
situation, it was easy for him to discover that Rome, in her
present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear
from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote
wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event
more doubtful, and the possession more precarious, and less
beneficial. The experience of Augustus added weight to these
salutary reflections, and effectually convinced him that, by the
prudent vigor of his counsels, it would be easy to secure every
concession which the safety or the dignity of Rome might require
from the most formidable barbarians. Instead of exposing his
person and his legions to the arrows of the Parthians, he
obtained, by an honorable treaty, the restitution of the
standards and prisoners which had been taken in the defeat of
Crassus. ^1

[Footnote 1: Dion Cassius, (l. liv. p. 736,) with the annotations
of Reimar, who has collected all that Roman vanity has left upon
the subject. The marble of Ancyra, on which Augustus recorded
his own exploits, asserted that he compelled the Parthians to
restore the ensigns of Crassus.]

His generals, in the early part of his reign, attempted the
reduction of Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. They marched near a
thousand miles to the south of the tropic; but the heat of the
climate soon repelled the invaders, and protected the un-warlike
natives of those sequestered regions. ^2 The northern countries
of Europe scarcely deserved the expense and labor of conquest.
The forests and morasses of Germany were filled with a hardy race
of barbarians, who despised life when it was separated from
freedom; and though, on the first attack, they seemed to yield to
the weight of the Roman power, they soon, by a signal act of
despair, regained their independence, and reminded Augustus of
the vicissitude of fortune. ^3 On the death of that emperor, his
testament was publicly read in the senate. He bequeathed, as a
valuable legacy to his successors, the advice of confining the
empire within those limits which nature seemed to have placed as
its permanent bulwarks and boundaries: on the west, the Atlantic
Ocean; the Rhine and Danube on the north; the Euphrates on the
east; and towards the south, the sandy deserts of Arabia and
Africa. ^4

[Footnote 2: Strabo, (l. xvi. p. 780,) Pliny the elder, (Hist.
Natur. l. vi. c. 32, 35, [28, 29,] and Dion Cassius, (l. liii. p.
723, and l. liv. p. 734,) have left us very curious details
concerning these wars. The Romans made themselves masters of
Mariaba, or Merab, a city of Arabia Felix, well known to the
Orientals. (See Abulfeda and the Nubian geography, p. 52) They
were arrived within three days' journey of the spice country, the
rich object of their invasion.

Note: It is the city of Merab that the Arabs say was the
residence of Belkis, queen of Saba, who desired to see Solomon.
A dam, by which the waters collected in its neighborhood were
kept back, having been swept away, the sudden inundation
destroyed this city, of which, nevertheless, vestiges remain. It
bordered on a country called Adramout, where a particular
aromatic plant grows: it is for this reason that we real in the
history of the Roman expedition, that they were arrived within
three days' journey of the spice country. - G. Compare
Malte-Brun, Geogr. Eng. trans. vol. ii. p. 215. The period of
this flood has been copiously discussed by Reiske, (Program. de
vetusta Epocha Arabum, ruptura cataractae Merabensis.) Add.
Johannsen, Hist. Yemanae, p. 282. Bonn, 1828; and see Gibbon,
note 16. to Chap. L. - M.

Note: Two, according to Strabo. The detailed account of
Strabo makes the invaders fail before Marsuabae: this cannot be
the same place as Mariaba. Ukert observes, that Aelius Gallus
would not have failed for want of water before Mariaba. (See M.
Guizot's note above.) "Either, therefore, they were different
places, or Strabo is mistaken." (Ukert, Geographic der Griechen
und Romer, vol. i. p. 181.) Strabo, indeed, mentions Mariaba
distinct from Marsuabae. Gibbon has followed Pliny in reckoning
Mariaba among the conquests of Gallus. There can be little doubt
that he is wrong, as Gallus did not approach the capital of
Sabaea. Compare the note of the Oxford editor of Strabo. - M.]
[Footnote 3: By the slaughter of Varus and his three legions.
See the first book of the Annals of Tacitus. Sueton. in August.
c. 23, and Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 117, &c. Augustus did
not receive the melancholy news with all the temper and firmness
that might have been expected from his character.]

[Footnote 4: Tacit. Annal. l. ii. Dion Cassius, l. lvi. p. 833,
and the speech of Augustus himself, in Julian's Caesars. It
receives great light from the learned notes of his French
translator, M. Spanheim.]

Happily for the repose of mankind, the moderate system
recommended by the wisdom of Augustus, was adopted by the fears
and vices of his immediate successors. Engaged in the pursuit of
pleasure, or in the exercise of tyranny, the first Caesars seldom
showed themselves to the armies, or to the provinces; nor were
they disposed to suffer, that those triumphs which their
indolence neglected, should be usurped by the conduct and valor
of their lieutenants. The military fame of a subject was
considered as an insolent invasion of the Imperial prerogative;
and it became the duty, as well as interest, of every Roman
general, to guard the frontiers intrusted to his care, without
aspiring to conquests which might have proved no less fatal to
himself than to the vanquished barbarians. ^5

[Footnote 5: Germanicus, Suetonius Paulinus, and Agricola were
checked and recalled in the course of their victories. Corbulo
was put to death. Military merit, as it is admirably expressed by
Tacitus, was, in the strictest sense of the word, imperatoria
virtus.]

The only accession which the Roman empire received, during
the first century of the Christian Aera, was the province of
Britain. In this single instance, the successors of Caesar and
Augustus were persuaded to follow the example of the former,
rather than the precept of the latter. The proximity of its
situation to the coast of Gaul seemed to invite their arms; the
pleasing though doubtful intelligence of a pearl fishery,
attracted their avarice; ^6 and as Britain was viewed in the
light of a distinct and insulated world, the conquest scarcely
formed any exception to the general system of continental
measures. After a war of about forty years, undertaken by the
most stupid, ^7 maintained by the most dissolute, and terminated
by the most timid of all the emperors, the far greater part of
the island submitted to the Roman yoke. ^8 The various tribes of
Britain possessed valor without conduct, and the love of freedom
without the spirit of union. They took up arms with savage
fierceness; they laid them down, or turned them against each
other, with wild inconsistency; and while they fought singly,
they were successively subdued. Neither the fortitude of
Caractacus, nor the despair of Boadicea, nor the fanaticism of
the Druids, could avert the slavery of their country, or resist
the steady progress of the Imperial generals, who maintained the
national glory, when the throne was disgraced by the weakest, or
the most vicious of mankind. At the very time when Domitian,
confined to his palace, felt the terrors which he inspired, his
legions, under the command of the virtuous Agricola, defeated the
collected force of the Caledonians, at the foot of the Grampian
Hills; and his fleets, venturing to explore an unknown and
dangerous navigation, displayed the Roman arms round every part
of the island. The conquest of Britain was considered as already
achieved; and it was the design of Agricola to complete and
insure his success, by the easy reduction of Ireland, for which,
in his opinion, one legion and a few auxiliaries were sufficient.
^9 The western isle might be improved into a valuable possession,
and the Britons would wear their chains with the less reluctance,
if the prospect and example of freedom were on every side removed
from before their eyes.

[Footnote 6: Caesar himself conceals that ignoble motive; but it
is mentioned by Suetonius, c. 47. The British pearls proved,
however, of little value, on account of their dark and livid
color. Tacitus observes, with reason, (in Agricola, c. 12,) that
it was an inherent defect. "Ego facilius crediderim, naturam
margaritis deesse quam nobis avaritiam."]

[Footnote 7: Claudius, Nero, and Domitian. A hope is expressed
by Pomponius Mela, l. iii. c. 6, (he wrote under Claudius,) that,
by the success of the Roman arms, the island and its savage
inhabitants would soon be better known. It is amusing enough to
peruse such passages in the midst of London.]
[Footnote 8: See the admirable abridgment given by Tacitus, in
the life of Agricola, and copiously, though perhaps not
completely, illustrated by our own antiquarians, Camden and
Horsley.]

[Footnote 9: The Irish writers, jealous of their national honor,
are extremely provoked on this occasion, both with Tacitus and
with Agricola.]

But the superior merit of Agricola soon occasioned his
removal from the government of Britain; and forever disappointed
this rational, though extensive scheme of conquest. Before his
departure, the prudent general had provided for security as well
as for dominion. He had observed, that the island is almost
divided into two unequal parts by the opposite gulfs, or, as they
are now called, the Friths of Scotland. Across the narrow
interval of about forty miles, he had drawn a line of military
stations, which was afterwards fortified, in the reign of
Antoninus Pius, by a turf rampart, erected on foundations of
stone. ^10 This wall of Antoninus, at a small distance beyond the
modern cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, was fixed as the limit of
the Roman province. The native Caledonians preserved, in the
northern extremity of the island, their wild independence, for
which they were not less indebted to their poverty than to their
valor. Their incursions were frequently repelled and chastised;
but their country was never subdued. ^11 The masters of the
fairest and most wealthy climates of the globe turned with
contempt from gloomy hills, assailed by the winter tempest, from
lakes concealed in a blue mist, and from cold and lonely heaths,
over which the deer of the forest were chased by a troop of naked
barbarians. ^12

[Footnote 10: See Horsley's Britannia Romana, l. i. c. 10.
Note: Agricola fortified the line from Dumbarton to
Edinburgh, consequently within Scotland. The emperor Hadrian,
during his residence in Britain, about the year 121, caused a
rampart of earth to be raised between Newcastle and Carlisle.
Antoninus Pius, having gained new victories over the Caledonians,
by the ability of his general, Lollius, Urbicus, caused a new
rampart of earth to be constructed between Edinburgh and
Dumbarton. Lastly, Septimius Severus caused a wall of stone to
be built parallel to the rampart of Hadrian, and on the same
locality. See John Warburton's Vallum Romanum, or the History
and Antiquities of the Roman Wall. London, 1754, 4to. - W. See
likewise a good note on the Roman wall in Lingard's History of
England, vol. i. p. 40, 4to edit - M.]

[Footnote 11: The poet Buchanan celebrates with elegance and
spirit (see his Sylvae, v.) the unviolated independence of his
native country. But, if the single testimony of Richard of
Cirencester was sufficient to create a Roman province of
Vespasiana to the north of the wall, that independence would be
reduced within very narrow limits.]

[Footnote 12: See Appian (in Prooem.) and the uniform imagery of
Ossian's Poems, which, according to every hypothesis, were
composed by a native Caledonian.]

Such was the state of the Roman frontiers, and such the
maxims of Imperial policy, from the death of Augustus to the
accession of Trajan. That virtuous and active prince had
received the education of a soldier, and possessed the talents of
a general. ^13 The peaceful system of his predecessors was
interrupted by scenes of war and conquest; and the legions, after
a long interval, beheld a military emperor at their head. The
first exploits of Trajan were against the Dacians, the most
warlike of men, who dwelt beyond the Danube, and who, during the
reign of Domitian, had insulted, with impunity, the Majesty of
Rome. ^14 To the strength and fierceness of barbarians they added
a contempt for life, which was derived from a warm persuasion of
the immortality and transmigration of the soul. ^15 Decebalus,
the Dacian king, approved himself a rival not unworthy of Trajan;
nor did he despair of his own and the public fortune, till, by
the confession of his enemies, he had exhausted every resource
both of valor and policy. ^16 This memorable war, with a very
short suspension of hostilities, lasted five years; and as the
emperor could exert, without control, the whole force of the
state, it was terminated by an absolute submission of the
barbarians. ^17 The new province of Dacia, which formed a second
exception to the precept of Augustus, was about thirteen hundred
miles in circumference. Its natural boundaries were the Niester,
the Teyss or Tibiscus, the Lower Danube, and the Euxine Sea. The
vestiges of a military road may still be traced from the banks of
the Danube to the neighborhood of Bender, a place famous in
modern history, and the actual frontier of the Turkish and
Russian empires. ^18

[Footnote 13: See Pliny's Panegyric, which seems founded on
facts.]

[Footnote 14: Dion Cassius, l. lxvii.]

[Footnote 15: Herodotus, l. iv. c. 94. Julian in the Caesars,
with Spanheims observations.]

[Footnote 16: Plin. Epist. viii. 9.]

[Footnote 17: Dion Cassius, l. lxviii. p. 1123, 1131. Julian in
Caesaribus Eutropius, viii. 2, 6. Aurelius Victor in Epitome.]
[Footnote 18: See a Memoir of M. d'Anville, on the Province of
Dacia, in the Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 444 -
468.]

Trajan was ambitious of fame; and as long as mankind shall
continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than
on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be
the vice of the most exalted characters. The praises of
Alexander, transmitted by a succession of poets and historians,
had kindled a dangerous emulation in the mind of Trajan. Like
him, the Roman emperor undertook an expedition against the
nations of the East; but he lamented with a sigh, that his
advanced age scarcely left him any hopes of equalling the renown
of the son of Philip. ^19 Yet the success of Trajan, however
transient, was rapid and specious. The degenerate Parthians,
broken by intestine discord, fled before his arms. He descended
the River Tigris in triumph, from the mountains of Armenia to the
Persian Gulf. He enjoyed the honor of being the first, as he was
the last, of the Roman generals, who ever navigated that remote
sea. His fleets ravaged the coast of Arabia; and Trajan vainly
flattered himself that he was approaching towards the confines of
India. ^20 Every day the astonished senate received the
intelligence of new names and new nations, that acknowledged his
sway. They were informed that the kings of Bosphorus, Colchos,
Iberia, Albania, Osrhoene, and even the Parthian monarch himself,
had accepted their diadems from the hands of the emperor; that
the independent tribes of the Median and Carduchian hills had
implored his protection; and that the rich countries of Armenia,
Mesopotamia, and Assyria, were reduced into the state of
provinces. ^21 But the death of Trajan soon clouded the splendid
prospect; and it was justly to be dreaded, that so many distant
nations would throw off the unaccustomed yoke, when they were no
longer restrained by the powerful hand which had imposed it.
[Footnote 19: Trajan's sentiments are represented in a very just
and lively manner in the Caesars of Julian.]

[Footnote 20: Eutropius and Sextus Rufus have endeavored to
perpetuate the illusion. See a very sensible dissertation of M.
Freret in the Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxi. p. 55.]
[Footnote 21: Dion Cassius, l. lxviii.; and the Abbreviators.]

Chapter I: The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines.

Part II.

It was an ancient tradition, that when the Capitol was
founded by one of the Roman kings, the god Terminus (who presided
over boundaries, and was represented, according to the fashion of
that age, by a large stone) alone, among all the inferior
deities, refused to yield his place to Jupiter himself. A
favorable inference was drawn from his obstinacy, which was
interpreted by the augurs as a sure presage that the boundaries
of the Roman power would never recede. ^22 During many ages, the
prediction, as it is usual, contributed to its own
accomplishment. But though Terminus had resisted the Majesty of
Jupiter, he submitted to the authority of the emperor Hadrian.
^23 The resignation of all the eastern conquests of Trajan was
the first measure of his reign. He restored to the Parthians the
election of an independent sovereign; withdrew the Roman
garrisons from the provinces of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and
Assyria; and, in compliance with the precept of Augustus, once
more established the Euphrates as the frontier of the empire. ^24
Censure, which arraigns the public actions and the private
motives of princes, has ascribed to envy, a conduct which might
be attributed to the prudence and moderation of Hadrian. The
various character of that emperor, capable, by turns, of the
meanest and the most generous sentiments, may afford some color
to the suspicion. It was, however, scarcely in his power to
place the superiority of his predecessor in a more conspicuous
light, than by thus confessing himself unequal to the task of
defending the conquests of Trajan.

[Footnote 22: Ovid. Fast. l. ii. ver. 667. See Livy, and
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, under the reign of Tarquin.]

[Footnote 23: St. Augustin is highly delighted with the proof of
the weakness of Terminus, and the vanity of the Augurs. See De
Civitate Dei, iv. 29.

Note *: The turn of Gibbon's sentence is Augustin's: "Plus
Hadrianum regem bominum, quam regem Deorum timuisse videatur." -
M]

[Footnote 24: See the Augustan History, p. 5, Jerome's Chronicle,
and all the Epitomizers. It is somewhat surprising, that this
memorable event should be omitted by Dion, or rather by
Xiphilin.]

The martial and ambitious of spirit Trajan formed a very
singular contrast with the moderation of his successor. The
restless activity of Hadrian was not less remarkable when
compared with the gentle repose of Antoninus Pius. The life of
the former was almost a perpetual journey; and as he possessed
the various talents of the soldier, the statesman, and the
scholar, he gratified his curiosity in the discharge of his duty.

Careless of the difference of seasons and of climates, he marched
on foot, and bare- headed, over the snows of Caledonia, and the
sultry plains of the Upper Egypt; nor was there a province of the
empire which, in the course of his reign, was not honored with
the presence of the monarch. ^25 But the tranquil life of
Antoninus Pius was spent in the bosom of Italy, and, during the
twenty-three years that he directed the public administration,
the longest journeys of that amiable prince extended no farther
than from his palace in Rome to the retirement of his Lanuvian
villa. ^26

[Footnote 25: Dion, l. lxix. p. 1158. Hist. August. p. 5, 8. If
all our historians were lost, medals, inscriptions, and other
monuments, would be sufficient to record the travels of Hadrian.
Note: The journeys of Hadrian are traced in a note on
Solvet's translation of Hegewisch, Essai sur l'Epoque de Histoire
Romaine la plus heureuse pour Genre Humain Paris, 1834, p. 123. -
M.]

[Footnote 26: See the Augustan History and the Epitomes.]

Notwithstanding this difference in their personal conduct,
the general system of Augustus was equally adopted and uniformly
pursued by Hadrian and by the two Antonines. They persisted in
the design of maintaining the dignity of the empire, without
attempting to enlarge its limits. By every honorable expedient
they invited the friendship of the barbarians; and endeavored to
convince mankind that the Roman power, raised above the
temptation of conquest, was actuated only by the love of order
and justice. During a long period of forty-three years, their
virtuous labors were crowned with success; and if we except a few
slight hostilities, that served to exercise the legions of the
frontier, the reigns of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius offer the fair
prospect of universal peace. ^27 The Roman name was revered among
the most remote nations of the earth. The fiercest barbarians
frequently submitted their differences to the arbitration of the
emperor; and we are informed by a contemporary historian that he
had seen ambassadors who were refused the honor which they came
to solicit of being admitted into the rank of subjects. ^28
[Footnote 27: We must, however, remember, that in the time of
Hadrian, a rebellion of the Jews raged with religious fury,
though only in a single province. Pausanias (l. viii. c. 43)
mentions two necessary and successful wars, conducted by the
generals of Pius: 1st. Against the wandering Moors, who were
driven into the solitudes of Atlas. 2d. Against the Brigantes
of Britain, who had invaded the Roman province. Both these wars
(with several other hostilities) are mentioned in the Augustan
History, p. 19.]

[Footnote 28: Appian of Alexandria, in the preface to his History
of the Roman Wars.]

Part II.

The terror of the Roman arms added weight and dignity to the
moderation of the emperors. They preserved peace by a constant
preparation for war; and while justice regulated their conduct,
they announced to the nations on their confines, that they were
as little disposed to endure, as to offer an injury. The military
strength, which it had been sufficient for Hadrian and the elder
Antoninus to display, was exerted against the Parthians and the
Germans by the emperor Marcus. The hostilities of the barbarians
provoked the resentment of that philosophic monarch, and, in the
prosecution of a just defence, Marcus and his generals obtained
many signal victories, both on the Euphrates and on the Danube.
^29 The military establishment of the Roman empire, which thus
assured either its tranquillity or success, will now become the
proper and important object of our attention.

[Footnote 29: Dion, l. lxxi. Hist. August. in Marco. The
Parthian victories gave birth to a crowd of contemptible
historians, whose memory has been rescued from oblivion and
exposed to ridicule, in a very lively piece of criticism of
Lucian.]

In the purer ages of the commonwealth, the use of arms was
reserved for those ranks of citizens who had a country to love, a
property to defend, and some share in enacting those laws, which
it was their interest as well as duty to maintain. But in
proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest,
war was gradually improved into an art, and degraded into a
trade. ^30 The legions themselves, even at the time when they
were recruited in the most distant provinces, were supposed to
consist of Roman citizens. That distinction was generally
considered, either as a legal qualification or as a proper
recompense for the soldier; but a more serious regard was paid to
the essential merit of age, strength, and military stature. ^31
In all levies, a just preference was given to the climates of the
North over those of the South: the race of men born to the
exercise of arms was sought for in the country rather than in
cities; and it was very reasonably presumed, that the hardy
occupations of smiths, carpenters, and huntsmen, would supply
more vigor and resolution than the sedentary trades which are
employed in the service of luxury. ^32 After every qualification
of property had been laid aside, the armies of the Roman emperors
were still commanded, for the most part, by officers of liberal
birth and education; but the common soldiers, like the mercenary
troops of modern Europe, were drawn from the meanest, and very
frequently from the most profligate, of mankind.

[Footnote 30: The poorest rank of soldiers possessed above forty
pounds sterling, (Dionys. Halicarn. iv. 17,) a very high
qualification at a time when money was so scarce, that an ounce
of silver was equivalent to seventy pounds weight of brass. The
populace, excluded by the ancient constitution, were
indiscriminately admitted by Marius. See Sallust. de Bell.
Jugurth. c. 91.

Note: On the uncertainty of all these estimates, and the
difficulty of fixing the relative value of brass and silver,
compare Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 473, &c. Eng. trans. p. 452.
According to Niebuhr, the relative disproportion in value,
between the two metals, arose, in a great degree from the
abundance of brass or copper. - M. Compare also Dureau 'de la
Malle Economie Politique des Romains especially L. l. c. ix. - M.
1845.]

[Footnote 31: Caesar formed his legion Alauda of Gauls and
strangers; but it was during the license of civil war; and after
the victory, he gave them the freedom of the city for their
reward.]

[Footnote 32: See Vegetius, de Re Militari, l. i. c. 2 - 7.]
That public virtue, which among the ancients was denominated
patriotism, is derived from a strong sense of our own interest in
the preservation and prosperity of the free government of which
we are members. Such a sentiment, which had rendered the legions
of the republic almost invincible, could make but a very feeble
impression on the mercenary servants of a despotic prince; and it
became necessary to supply that defect by other motives, of a
different, but not less forcible nature - honor and religion.
The peasant, or mechanic, imbibed the useful prejudice that he
was advanced to the more dignified profession of arms, in which
his rank and reputation would depend on his own valor; and that,
although the prowess of a private soldier must often escape the
notice of fame, his own behavior might sometimes confer glory or
disgrace on the company, the legion, or even the army, to whose
honors he was associated. On his first entrance into the
service, an oath was administered to him with every circumstance
of solemnity. He promised never to desert his standard, to
submit his own will to the commands of his leaders, and to
sacrifice his life for the safety of the emperor and the empire.
^33 The attachment of the Roman troops to their standards was
inspired by the united influence of religion and of honor. The
golden eagle, which glittered in the front of the legion, was the
object of their fondest devotion; nor was it esteemed less
impious than it was ignominious, to abandon that sacred ensign in
the hour of danger. ^34 These motives, which derived their
strength from the imagination, were enforced by fears and hopes
of a more substantial kind. Regular pay, occasional donatives,
and a stated recompense, after the appointed time of service,
alleviated the hardships of the military life, ^35 whilst, on the
other hand, it was impossible for cowardice or disobedience to
escape the severest punishment. The centurions were authorized
to chastise with blows, the generals had a right to punish with
death; and it was an inflexible maxim of Roman discipline, that a
good soldier should dread his officers far more than the enemy.
From such laudable arts did the valor of the Imperial troops
receive a degree of firmness and docility unattainable by the
impetuous and irregular passions of barbarians.

[Footnote 33: The oath of service and fidelity to the emperor was
annually renewed by the troops on the first of January.]

[Footnote 34: Tacitus calls the Roman eagles, Bellorum Deos.
They were placed in a chapel in the camp, and with the other
deities received the religious worship of the troops.

Note: See also Dio. Cass. xl. c. 18. - M.]

[Footnote 35: See Gronovius de Pecunia vetere, l. iii. p. 120,
&c. The emperor Domitian raised the annual stipend of the
legionaries to twelve pieces of gold, which, in his time, was
equivalent to about ten of our guineas. This pay, somewhat
higher than our own, had been, and was afterwards, gradually
increased, according to the progress of wealth and military
government. After twenty years' service, the veteran received
three thousand denarii, (about one hundred pounds sterling,) or a
proportionable allowance of land. The pay and advantages of the
guards were, in general, about double those of the legions.]
And yet so sensible were the Romans of the imperfection of
valor without skill and practice, that, in their language, the
name of an army was borrowed from the word which signified
exercise. ^36 Military exercises were the important and
unremitted object of their discipline. The recruits and young
soldiers were constantly trained, both in the morning and in the
evening, nor was age or knowledge allowed to excuse the veterans
from the daily repetition of what they had completely learnt.
Large sheds were erected in the winter- quarters of the troops,
that their useful labors might not receive any interruption from
the most tempestuous weather; and it was carefully observed, that
the arms destined to this imitation of war, should be of double
the weight which was required in real action. ^37 It is not the
purpose of this work to enter into any minute description of the
Roman exercises. We shall only remark, that they comprehended
whatever could add strength to the body, activity to the limbs,
or grace to the motions. The soldiers were diligently instructed
to march, to run, to leap, to swim, to carry heavy burdens, to
handle every species of arms that was used either for offence or
for defence, either in distant engagement or in a closer onset;
to form a variety of evolutions; and to move to the sound of
flutes in the Pyrrhic or martial dance. ^38 In the midst of
peace, the Roman troops familiarized themselves with the practice
of war; and it is prettily remarked by an ancient historian who
had fought against them, that the effusion of blood was the only
circumstance which distinguished a field of battle from a field
of exercise. ^39 It was the policy of the ablest generals, and
even of the emperors themselves, to encourage these military
studies by their presence and example; and we are informed that
Hadrian, as well as Trajan, frequently condescended to instruct
the unexperienced soldiers, to reward the diligent, and sometimes
to dispute with them the prize of superior strength or dexterity.
^40 Under the reigns of those princes, the science of tactics was
cultivated with success; and as long as the empire retained any
vigor, their military instructions were respected as the most
perfect model of Roman discipline.

[Footnote 36: Exercitus ab exercitando, Varro de Lingua Latina,
l. iv. Cicero in Tusculan. l. ii. 37. [15.] There is room for a
very interesting work, which should lay open the connection
between the languages and manners of nations.

Note I am not aware of the existence, at present, of such a
work; but the profound observations of the late William von
Humboldt, in the introduction to his posthumously published Essay
on the Language of the Island of Java, (uber die Kawi-sprache,
Berlin, 1836,) may cause regret that this task was not completed
by that accomplished and universal scholar. - M.]

[Footnote 37: Vegatius, l. ii. and the rest of his first book.]
[Footnote 38: The Pyrrhic dance is extremely well illustrated by
M. le Beau, in the Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxxv. p. 262,
&c. That learned academician, in a series of memoirs, has
collected all the passages of the ancients that relate to the
Roman legion.]

[Footnote 39: Joseph. de Bell. Judaico, l. iii. c. 5. We are
indebted to this Jew for some very curious details of Roman
discipline.]

[Footnote 40: Plin. Panegyr. c. 13. Life of Hadrian, in the
Augustan History.]

Nine centuries of war had gradually introduced into the
service many alterations and improvements. The legions, as they
are described by Polybius, ^41 in the time of the Punic wars,
differed very materially from those which achieved the victories
of Caesar, or defended the monarchy of Hadrian and the Antonines.

The constitution of the Imperial legion may be described in a few
words. ^42 The heavy-armed infantry, which composed its principal
strength, ^43 was divided into ten cohorts, and fifty-five
companies, under the orders of a correspondent number of tribunes
and centurions. The first cohort, which always claimed the post
of honor and the custody of the eagle, was formed of eleven
hundred and five soldiers, the most approved for valor and
fidelity. The remaining nine cohorts consisted each of five
hundred and fifty-five; and the whole body of legionary infantry
amounted to six thousand one hundred men. Their arms were
uniform, and admirably adapted to the nature of their service: an
open helmet, with a lofty crest; a breastplate, or coat of mail;
greaves on their legs, and an ample buckler on their left arm.
The buckler was of an oblong and concave figure, four feet in
length, and two and a half in breadth, framed of a light wood,
covered with a bull's hide, and strongly guarded with plates of
brass. Besides a lighter spear, the legionary soldier grasped in
his right hand the formidable pilum, a ponderous javelin, whose
utmost length was about six feet, and which was terminated by a
massy triangular point of steel of eighteen inches. ^44 This
instrument was indeed much inferior to our modern fire-arms;
since it was exhausted by a single discharge, at the distance of
only ten or twelve paces. Yet when it was launched by a firm and
skilful hand, there was not any cavalry that durst venture within
its reach, nor any shield or corselet that could sustain the
impetuosity of its weight. As soon as the Roman had darted his
pilum, he drew his sword, and rushed forwards to close with the
enemy. His sword was a short well-tempered Spanish blade, that
carried a double edge, and was alike suited to the purpose of
striking or of pushing; but the soldier was always instructed to
prefer the latter use of his weapon, as his own body remained
less exposed, whilst he inflicted a more dangerous wound on his
adversary. ^45 The legion was usually drawn up eight deep; and
the regular distance of three feet was left between the files as
well as ranks. ^46 A body of troops, habituated to preserve this
open order, in a long front and a rapid charge, found themselves
prepared to execute every disposition which the circumstances of
war, or the skill of their leader, might suggest. The soldier
possessed a free space for his arms and motions, and sufficient
intervals were allowed, through which seasonable reenforcements
might be introduced to the relief of the exhausted combatants.
^47 The tactics of the Greeks and Macedonians were formed on very
different principles. The strength of the phalanx depended on
sixteen ranks of long pikes, wedged together in the closest
array. ^48 But it was soon discovered by reflection, as well as
by the event, that the strength of the phalanx was unable to
contend with the activity of the legion. ^49

[Footnote 41: See an admirable digression on the Roman
discipline, in the sixth book of his History.]

[Footnote 42: Vegetius de Re Militari, l. ii. c. 4, &c.

Considerable part of his very perplexed abridgment was taken from
the regulations of Trajan and Hadrian; and the legion, as he
describes it, cannot suit any other age of the Roman empire.]
[Footnote 43: Vegetius de Re Militari, l. ii. c. 1. In the purer
age of Caesar and Cicero, the word miles was almost confined to
the infantry. Under the lower empire, and the times of chivalry,
it was appropriated almost as exclusively to the men at arms, who
fought on horseback.]

[Footnote 44: In the time of Polybius and Dionysius of
Halicarnassus, (l. v. c. 45,) the steel point of the pilum seems
to have been much longer. In the time of Vegetius, it was
reduced to a foot, or even nine inches. I have chosen a medium.]

[Footnote 45: For the legionary arms, see Lipsius de Militia
Romana, l. iii. c. 2 - 7.]

[Footnote 46: See the beautiful comparison of Virgil, Georgic ii.
v. 279.]

[Footnote 47: M. Guichard, Memoires Militaires, tom. i. c. 4, and
Nouveaux Memoires, tom. i. p. 293 - 311, has treated the subject
like a scholar and an officer.]

[Footnote 48: See Arrian's Tactics. With the true partiality of
a Greek, Arrian rather chose to describe the phalanx, of which he
had read, than the legions which he had commanded.]

[Footnote 49: Polyb. l. xvii. (xviii. 9.)]

The cavalry, without which the force of the legion would
have remained imperfect, was divided into ten troops or
squadrons; the first, as the companion of the first cohort,
consisted of a hundred and thirty-two men; whilst each of the
other nine amounted only to sixty-six. The entire establishment
formed a regiment, if we may use the modern expression, of seven
hundred and twenty-six horse, naturally connected with its
respective legion, but occasionally separated to act in the line,
and to compose a part of the wings of the army. ^50 The cavalry
of the emperors was no longer composed, like that of the ancient
republic, of the noblest youths of Rome and Italy, who, by
performing their military service on horseback, prepared
themselves for the offices of senator and consul; and solicited,
by deeds of valor, the future suffrages of their countrymen. ^51
Since the alteration of manners and government, the most wealthy
of the equestrian order were engaged in the administration of
justice, and of the revenue; ^52 and whenever they embraced the
profession of arms, they were immediately intrusted with a troop
of horse, or a cohort of foot. ^53 Trajan and Hadrian formed
their cavalry from the same provinces, and the same class of
their subjects, which recruited the ranks of the legion. The
horses were bred, for the most part, in Spain or Cappadocia. The
Roman troopers despised the complete armor with which the cavalry
of the East was encumbered. Their more useful arms consisted in
a helmet, an oblong shield, light boots, and a coat of mail. A
javelin, and a long broad sword, were their principal weapons of
offence. The use of lances and of iron maces they seem to have
borrowed from the barbarians. ^54

[Footnote 50: Veget. de Re Militari, l. ii. c. 6. His positive
testimony, which might be supported by circumstantial evidence,
ought surely to silence those critics who refuse the Imperial
legion its proper body of cavalry.
Note: See also Joseph. B. J. iii. vi. 2. - M.]

[Footnote 51: See Livy almost throughout, particularly xlii. 61.]

[Footnote 52: Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 2. The true sense of
that very curious passage was first discovered and illustrated by
M. de Beaufort, Republique Romaine, l. ii. c. 2.]

[Footnote 53: As in the instance of Horace and Agricola. This
appears to have been a defect in the Roman discipline; which
Hadrian endeavored to remedy by ascertaining the legal age of a
tribune.

Note: These details are not altogether accurate. Although,
in the latter days of the republic, and under the first emperors,
the young Roman nobles obtained the command of a squadron or a
cohort with greater facility than in the former times, they never
obtained it without passing through a tolerably long military
service. Usually they served first in the praetorian cohort,
which was intrusted with the guard of the general: they were
received into the companionship (contubernium) of some superior
officer, and were there formed for duty. Thus Julius Caesar,
though sprung from a great family, served first as contubernalis
under the praetor, M. Thermus, and later under Servilius the
Isaurian. (Suet. Jul. 2, 5. Plut. in Par. p. 516. Ed. Froben.)
The example of Horace, which Gibbon adduces to prove that young
knights were made tribunes immediately on entering the service,
proves nothing. In the first place, Horace was not a knight; he
was the son of a freedman of Venusia, in Apulia, who exercised
the humble office of coactor exauctionum, (collector of payments
at auctions.) (Sat. i. vi. 45, or 86.) Moreover, when the poet
was made tribune, Brutus, whose army was nearly entirely composed
of Orientals, gave this title to all the Romans of consideration
who joined him. The emperors were still less difficult in their
choice; the number of tribunes was augmented; the title and
honors were conferred on persons whom they wished to attack to
the court. Augustus conferred on the sons of senators, sometimes
the tribunate, sometimes the command of a squadron. Claudius
gave to the knights who entered into the service, first the
command of a cohort of auxiliaries, later that of a squadron, and
at length, for the first time, the tribunate. (Suet in Claud.
with the notes of Ernesti.) The abuses that arose caused by the
edict of Hadrian, which fixed the age at which that honor could
be attained. (Spart. in Had. &c.) This edict was subsequently
obeyed; for the emperor Valerian, in a letter addressed to
Mulvius Gallinnus, praetorian praefect, excuses himself for
having violated it in favor of the young Probus afterwards
emperor, on whom he had conferred the tribunate at an earlier age
on account of his rare talents. (Vopisc. in Prob. iv.) - W. and
G. Agricola, though already invested with the title of tribune,
was contubernalis in Britain with Suetonius Paulinus. Tac. Agr.
v. - M.]

[Footnote 54: See Arrian's Tactics.]

The safety and honor of the empire was principally intrusted
to the legions, but the policy of Rome condescended to adopt
every useful instrument of war. Considerable levies were
regularly made among the provincials, who had not yet deserved
the honorable distinction of Romans. Many dependent princes and
communities, dispersed round the frontiers, were permitted, for a
while, to hold their freedom and security by the tenure of
military service. ^55 Even select troops of hostile barbarians
were frequently compelled or persuaded to consume their dangerous
valor in remote climates, and for the benefit of the state. ^56
All these were included under the general name of auxiliaries;
and howsoever they might vary according to the difference of
times and circumstances, their numbers were seldom much inferior
to those of the legions themselves. ^57 Among the auxiliaries,
the bravest and most faithful bands were placed under the command
of praefects and centurions, and severely trained in the arts of
Roman discipline; but the far greater part retained those arms,
to which the nature of their country, or their early habits of
life, more peculiarly adapted them. By this institution, each
legion, to whom a certain proportion of auxiliaries was allotted,
contained within itself every species of lighter troops, and of
missile weapons; and was capable of encountering every nation,
with the advantages of its respective arms and discipline. ^58
Nor was the legion destitute of what, in modern language, would
be styled a train of artillery. It consisted in ten military
engines of the largest, and fifty-five of a smaller size; but all
of which, either in an oblique or horizontal manner, discharged
stones and darts with irresistible violence. ^59
[Footnote 55: Such, in particular, was the state of the
Batavians. Tacit. Germania, c. 29.]

[Footnote 56: Marcus Antoninus obliged the vanquished Quadi and
Marcomanni to supply him with a large body of troops, which he
immediately sent into Britain. Dion Cassius, l. lxxi. (c. 16.)]
[Footnote 57: Tacit. Annal. iv. 5. Those who fix a regular
proportion of as many foot, and twice as many horse, confound the
auxiliaries of the emperors with the Italian allies of the
republic.]

[Footnote 58: Vegetius, ii. 2. Arrian, in his order of march and
battle against the Alani.]

[Footnote 59: The subject of the ancient machines is treated with
great knowledge and ingenuity by the Chevalier Folard, (Polybe,
tom. ii. p. 233- 290.) He prefers them in many respects to our
modern cannon and mortars. We may observe, that the use of them
in the field gradually became more prevalent, in proportion as
personal valor and military skill declined with the Roman empire.

When men were no longer found, their place was supplied by
machines. See Vegetius, ii. 25. Arrian.]

Chapter I: The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines.

Part III.

The camp of a Roman legion presented the appearance of a
fortified city. ^60 As soon as the space was marked out, the
pioneers carefully levelled the ground, and removed every
impediment that might interrupt its perfect regularity. Its form
was an exact quadrangle; and we may calculate, that a square of
about seven hundred yards was sufficient for the encampment of
twenty thousand Romans; though a similar number of our own troops
would expose to the enemy a front of more than treble that
extent. In the midst of the camp, the praetorium, or general's
quarters, rose above the others; the cavalry, the infantry, and
the auxiliaries occupied their respective stations; the streets
were broad and perfectly straight, and a vacant space of two
hundred feet was left on all sides between the tents and the
rampart. The rampart itself was usually twelve feet high, armed
with a line of strong and intricate palisades, and defended by a
ditch of twelve feet in depth as well as in breadth. This
important labor was performed by the hands of the legionaries
themselves; to whom the use of the spade and the pickaxe was no
less familiar than that of the sword or pilum. Active valor may
often be the present of nature; but such patient diligence can be
the fruit only of habit and discipline. ^61

[Footnote 60: Vegetius finishes his second book, and the
description of the legion, with the following emphatic words: -
"Universa quae ix quoque belli genere necessaria esse creduntur,
secum Jegio debet ubique portare, ut in quovis loco fixerit
castra, arma'am faciat civitatem."]

[Footnote 61: For the Roman Castrametation, see Polybius, l. vi.
with Lipsius de Militia Romana, Joseph. de Bell. Jud. l. iii. c.
5. Vegetius, i. 21 - 25, iii. 9, and Memoires de Guichard, tom.
i. c. 1.]

Whenever the trumpet gave the signal of departure, the camp
was almost instantly broke up, and the troops fell into their
ranks without delay or confusion. Besides their arms, which the
legendaries scarcely considered as an encumbrance, they were
laden with their kitchen furniture, the instruments of
fortification, and the provision of many days. ^62 Under this
weight, which would oppress the delicacy of a modern soldier,
they were trained by a regular step to advance, in about six
hours, near twenty miles. ^63 On the appearance of an enemy, they
threw aside their baggage, and by easy and rapid evolutions
converted the column of march into an order of battle. ^64 The
slingers and archers skirmished in the front; the auxiliaries
formed the first line, and were seconded or sustained by the
strength of the legions; the cavalry covered the flanks, and the
military engines were placed in the rear.

[Footnote 62: Cicero in Tusculan. ii. 37, [15.] - Joseph. de
Bell. Jud. l. iii. 5, Frontinus, iv. 1.]

[Footnote 63: Vegetius, i. 9. See Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. xxv. p. 187.]

[Footnote 64: See those evolutions admirably well explained by M.
Guichard Nouveaux Memoires, tom. i. p. 141 - 234.]

Such were the arts of war, by which the Roman emperors
defended their extensive conquests, and preserved a military
spirit, at a time when every other virtue was oppressed by luxury
and despotism. If, in the consideration of their armies, we pass
from their discipline to their numbers, we shall not find it easy
to define them with any tolerable accuracy. We may compute,
however, that the legion, which was itself a body of six thousand
eight hundred and thirty-one Romans, might, with its attendant
auxiliaries, amount to about twelve thousand five hundred men.
The peace establishment of Hadrian and his successors was
composed of no less than thirty of these formidable brigades; and
most probably formed a standing force of three hundred and
seventy-five thousand men. Instead of being confined within the
walls of fortified cities, which the Romans considered as the
refuge of weakness or pusillanimity, the legions were encamped on
the banks of the great rivers, and along the frontiers of the
barbarians. As their stations, for the most part, remained fixed
and permanent, we may venture to describe the distribution of the
troops. Three legions were sufficient for Britain. The principal
strength lay upon the Rhine and Danube, and consisted of sixteen
legions, in the following proportions: two in the Lower, and
three in the Upper Germany; one in Rhaetia, one in Noricum, four
in Pannonia, three in Maesia, and two in Dacia. The defence of
the Euphrates was intrusted to eight legions, six of whom were
planted in Syria, and the other two in Cappadocia. With regard
to Egypt, Africa, and Spain, as they were far removed from any
important scene of war, a single legion maintained the domestic
tranquillity of each of those great provinces. Even Italy was
not left destitute of a military force. Above twenty thousand
chosen soldiers, distinguished by the titles of City Cohorts and
Praetorian Guards, watched over the safety of the monarch and the
capital. As the authors of almost every revolution that
distracted the empire, the Praetorians will, very soon, and very
loudly, demand our attention; but, in their arms and
institutions, we cannot find any circumstance which discriminated
them from the legions, unless it were a more splendid appearance,
and a less rigid discipline. ^65

[Footnote 65: Tacitus (Annal. iv. 5) has given us a state of the
legions under Tiberius; and Dion Cassius (l. lv. p. 794) under
Alexander Severus. I have endeavored to fix on the proper medium
between these two periods. See likewise Lipsius de Magnitudine
Romana, l. i. c. 4, 5.]

The navy maintained by the emperors might seem inadequate to
their greatness; but it was fully sufficient for every useful
purpose of government. The ambition of the Romans was confined
to the land; nor was that warlike people ever actuated by the
enterprising spirit which had prompted the navigators of Tyre, of
Carthage, and even of Marseilles, to enlarge the bounds of the
world, and to explore the most remote coasts of the ocean. To
the Romans the ocean remained an object of terror rather than of
curiosity; ^66 the whole extent of the Mediterranean, after the
destruction of Carthage, and the extirpation of the pirates, was
included within their provinces. The policy of the emperors was
directed only to preserve the peaceful dominion of that sea, and
to protect the commerce of their subjects. With these moderate
views, Augustus stationed two permanent fleets in the most
convenient ports of Italy, the one at Ravenna, on the Adriatic,
the other at Misenum, in the Bay of Naples. Experience seems at
length to have convinced the ancients, that as soon as their
galleys exceeded two, or at the most three ranks of oars, they
were suited rather for vain pomp than for real service. Augustus
himself, in the victory of Actium, had seen the superiority of
his own light frigates (they were called Liburnians) over the
lofty but unwieldy castles of his rival. ^67 Of these Liburnians
he composed the two fleets of Ravenna and Misenum, destined to
command, the one the eastern, the other the western division of
the Mediterranean; and to each of the squadrons he attached a
body of several thousand marines. Besides these two ports, which
may be considered as the principal seats of the Roman navy, a
very considerable force was stationed at Frejus, on the coast of
Provence, and the Euxine was guarded by forty ships, and three
thousand soldiers. To all these we add the fleet which preserved
the communication between Gaul and Britain, and a great number of
vessels constantly maintained on the Rhine and Danube, to harass
the country, or to intercept the passage of the barbarians. ^68
If we review this general state of the Imperial forces; of the
cavalry as well as infantry; of the legions, the auxiliaries, the
guards, and the navy; the most liberal computation will not allow
us to fix the entire establishment by sea and by land at more
than four hundred and fifty thousand men: a military power,
which, however formidable it may seem, was equalled by a monarch
of the last century, whose kingdom was confined within a single
province of the Roman empire. ^69

[Footnote 66: The Romans tried to disguise, by the pretence of
religious awe their ignorance and terror. See Tacit. Germania,
c. 34.]

[Footnote 67: Plutarch, in Marc. Anton. [c. 67.] And yet, if we
may credit Orosius, these monstrous castles were no more than ten
feet above the water, vi. 19.]

[Footnote 68: See Lipsius, de Magnitud. Rom. l. i. c. 5. The
sixteen last chapters of Vegetius relate to naval affairs.]
[Footnote 69: Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XIV. c. 29. It must,
however, be remembered, that France still feels that
extraordinary effort.]

We have attempted to explain the spirit which moderated, and
the strength which supported, the power of Hadrian and the
Antonines. We shall now endeavor, with clearness and precision,
to describe the provinces once united under their sway, but, at
present, divided into so many independent and hostile states.
Spain, the western extremity of the empire, of Europe, and
of the ancient world, has, in every age, invariably preserved the
same natural limits; the Pyrenaean Mountains, the Mediterranean,
and the Atlantic Ocean. That great peninsula, at present so
unequally divided between two sovereigns, was distributed by
Augustus into three provinces, Lusitania, Baetica, and
Tarraconensis. The kingdom of Portugal now fills the place of
the warlike country of the Lusitanians; and the loss sustained by
the former on the side of the East, is compensated by an
accession of territory towards the North. The confines of Grenada
and Andalusia correspond with those of ancient Baetica. The
remainder of Spain, Gallicia, and the Asturias, Biscay, and
Navarre, Leon, and the two Castiles, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia,
and Arragon, all contributed to form the third and most
considerable of the Roman governments, which, from the name of
its capital, was styled the province of Tarragona. ^70 Of the
native barbarians, the Celtiberians were the most powerful, as
the Cantabrians and Asturians proved the most obstinate.
Confident in the strength of their mountains, they were the last
who submitted to the arms of Rome, and the first who threw off
the yoke of the Arabs.

[Footnote 70: See Strabo, l. ii. It is natural enough to
suppose, that Arragon is derived from Tarraconensis, and several
moderns who have written in Latin use those words as synonymous.
It is, however, certain, that the Arragon, a little stream which
falls from the Pyrenees into the Ebro, first gave its name to a
country, and gradually to a kingdom. See d'Anville, Geographie
du Moyen Age, p. 181.]

Ancient Gaul, as it contained the whole country between the
Pyrenees, the Alps, the Rhine, and the Ocean, was of greater
extent than modern France. To the dominions of that powerful
monarchy, with its recent acquisitions of Alsace and Lorraine, we
must add the duchy of Savoy, the cantons of Switzerland, the four
electorates of the Rhine, and the territories of Liege,
Luxemburgh, Hainault, Flanders, and Brabant. When Augustus gave
laws to the conquests of his father, he introduced a division of
Gaul, equally adapted to the progress of the legions, to the
course of the rivers, and to the principal national distinctions,
which had comprehended above a hundred independent states. ^71
The sea-coast of the Mediterranean, Languedoc, Provence, and
Dauphine, received their provincial appellation from the colony
of Narbonne. The government of Aquitaine was extended from the
Pyrenees to the Loire. The country between the Loire and the
Seine was styled the Celtic Gaul, and soon borrowed a new
denomination from the celebrated colony of Lugdunum, or Lyons.
The Belgic lay beyond the Seine, and in more ancient times had
been bounded only by the Rhine; but a little before the age of
Caesar, the Germans, abusing their superiority of valor, had
occupied a considerable portion of the Belgic territory. The
Roman conquerors very eagerly embraced so flattering a
circumstance, and the Gallic frontier of the Rhine, from Basil to
Leyden, received the pompous names of the Upper and the Lower
Germany. ^72 Such, under the reign of the Antonines, were the six
provinces of Gaul; the Narbonnese, Aquitaine, the Celtic, or
Lyonnese, the Belgic, and the two Germanies.

[Footnote 71: One hundred and fifteen cities appear in the
Notitia of Gaul; and it is well known that this appellation was
applied not only to the capital town, but to the whole territory
of each state. But Plutarch and Appian increase the number of
tribes to three or four hundred.]
[Footnote 72: D'Anville. Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule.]

We have already had occasion to mention the conquest of
Britain, and to fix the boundary of the Roman Province in this
island. It comprehended all England, Wales, and the Lowlands of
Scotland, as far as the Friths of Dumbarton and Edinburgh.
Before Britain lost her freedom, the country was irregularly
divided between thirty tribes of barbarians, of whom the most
considerable were the Belgae in the West, the Brigantes in the
North, the Silures in South Wales, and the Iceni in Norfolk and
Suffolk. ^73 As far as we can either trace or credit the
resemblance of manners and language, Spain, Gaul, and Britain
were peopled by the same hardy race of savages. Before they
yielded to the Roman arms, they often disputed the field, and
often renewed the contest. After their submission, they
constituted the western division of the European provinces, which
extended from the columns of Hercules to the wall of Antoninus,
and from the mouth of the Tagus to the sources of the Rhine and
Danube.

[Footnote 73: Whittaker's History of Manchester, vol. i. c. 3.]
Before the Roman conquest, the country which is now called
Lombardy, was not considered as a part of Italy. It had been
occupied by a powerful colony of Gauls, who, settling themselves
along the banks of the Po, from Piedmont to Romagna, carried
their arms and diffused their name from the Alps to the Apennine.

The Ligurians dwelt on the rocky coast which now forms the
republic of Genoa. Venice was yet unborn; but the territories of
that state, which lie to the east of the Adige, were inhabited by
the Venetians. ^74 The middle part of the peninsula, that now
composes the duchy of Tuscany and the ecclesiastical state, was
the ancient seat of the Etruscans and Umbrians; to the former of
whom Italy was indebted for the first rudiments of civilized
life. ^75 The Tyber rolled at the foot of the seven hills of
Rome, and the country of the Sabines, the Latins, and the Volsci,
from that river to the frontiers of Naples, was the theatre of
her infant victories. On that celebrated ground the first
consuls deserved triumphs, their successors adorned villas, and
their posterity have erected convents. ^76 Capua and Campania
possessed the immediate territory of Naples; the rest of the
kingdom was inhabited by many warlike nations, the Marsi, the
Samnites, the Apulians, and the Lucanians; and the sea-coasts had
been covered by the flourishing colonies of the Greeks. We may
remark, that when Augustus divided Italy into eleven regions, the
little province of Istria was annexed to that seat of Roman
sovereignty. ^77

[Footnote 74: The Italian Veneti, though often confounded with
the Gauls, were more probably of Illyrian origin. See M. Freret,
Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xviii.

Note: Or Liburnian, according to Niebuhr. Vol. i. p. 172. -
M.]
[Footnote 75: See Maffei Verona illustrata, l. i.

Note: Add Niebuhr, vol. i., and Otfried Muller, die
Etrusker, which contains much that is known, and much that is
conjectured, about this remarkable people. Also Micali, Storia
degli antichi popoli Italiani. Florence, 1832 - M.]

[Footnote 76: The first contrast was observed by the ancients.
See Florus, i. 11. The second must strike every modern
traveller.]

[Footnote 77: Pliny (Hist. Natur. l. iii.) follows the division
of Italy by Augustus.]

The European provinces of Rome were protected by the course
of the Rhine and the Danube. The latter of those mighty streams,
which rises at the distance of only thirty miles from the former,
flows above thirteen hundred miles, for the most part to the
south-east, collects the tribute of sixty navigable rivers, and
is, at length, through six mouths, received into the Euxine,
which appears scarcely equal to such an accession of waters. ^78
The provinces of the Danube soon acquired the general appellation
of Illyricum, or the Illyrian frontier, ^79 and were esteemed the
most warlike of the empire; but they deserve to be more
particularly considered under the names of Rhaetia, Noricum,
Pannonia, Dalmatia, Dacia, Maesia, Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece.

[Footnote 78: Tournefort, Voyages en Grece et Asie Mineure,
lettre xviii.]

[Footnote 79: The name of Illyricum originally belonged to the
sea-coast of the Adriatic, and was gradually extended by the
Romans from the Alps to the Euxine Sea. See Severini Pannonia,
l. i. c. 3.]

The province of Rhaetia, which soon extinguished the name of
the Vindelicians, extended from the summit of the Alps to the
banks of the Danube; from its source, as far as its conflux with
the Inn. The greatest part of the flat country is subject to the
elector of Bavaria; the city of Augsburg is protected by the
constitution of the German empire; the Grisons are safe in their
mountains, and the country of Tirol is ranked among the numerous
provinces of the house of Austria.

The wide extent of territory which is included between the
Inn, the Danube, and the Save, - Austria, Styria, Carinthia,
Carniola, the Lower Hungary, and Sclavonia, - was known to the
ancients under the names of Noricum and Pannonia. In their
original state of independence, their fierce inhabitants were
intimately connected. Under the Roman government they were
frequently united, and they still remain the patrimony of a
single family. They now contain the residence of a German prince,
who styles himself Emperor of the Romans, and form the centre, as
well as strength, of the Austrian power. It may not be improper
to observe, that if we except Bohemia, Moravia, the northern
skirts of Austria, and a part of Hungary between the Teyss and
the Danube, all the other dominions of the House of Austria were
comprised within the limits of the Roman Empire.

Dalmatia, to which the name of Illyricum more properly
belonged, was a long, but narrow tract, between the Save and the
Adriatic. The best part of the sea-coast, which still retains
its ancient appellation, is a province of the Venetian state, and
the seat of the little republic of Ragusa. The inland parts have
assumed the Sclavonian names of Croatia and Bosnia; the former
obeys an Austrian governor, the latter a Turkish pacha; but the
whole country is still infested by tribes of barbarians, whose
savage independence irregularly marks the doubtful limit of the
Christian and Mahometan power. ^80

[Footnote 80: A Venetian traveller, the Abbate Fortis, has lately
given us some account of those very obscure countries. But the
geography and antiquities of the western Illyricum can be
expected only from the munificence of the emperor, its
sovereign.]

After the Danube had received the waters of the Teyss and
the Save, it acquired, at least among the Greeks, the name of
Ister. ^81 It formerly divided Maesia and Dacia, the latter of
which, as we have already seen, was a conquest of Trajan, and the
only province beyond the river. If we inquire into the present
state of those countries, we shall find that, on the left hand of
the Danube, Temeswar and Transylvania have been annexed, after
many revolutions, to the crown of Hungary; whilst the
principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia acknowledge the
supremacy of the Ottoman Porte. On the right hand of the Danube,
Maesia, which, during the middle ages, was broken into the
barbarian kingdoms of Servia and Bulgaria, is again united in
Turkish slavery.

[Footnote 81: The Save rises near the confines of Istria, and was
considered by the more early Greeks as the principal stream of
the Danube.]

The appellation of Roumelia, which is still bestowed by the
Turks on the extensive countries of Thrace, Macedonia, and
Greece, preserves the memory of their ancient state under the
Roman empire. In the time of the Antonines, the martial regions
of Thrace, from the mountains of Haemus and Rhodope, to the
Bosphorus and the Hellespont, had assumed the form of a province.
Notwithstanding the change of masters and of religion, the new
city of Rome, founded by Constantine on the banks of the
Bosphorus, has ever since remained the capital of a great
monarchy. The kingdom of Macedonia, which, under the reign of
Alexander, gave laws to Asia, derived more solid advantages from
the policy of the two Philips; and with its dependencies of
Epirus and Thessaly, extended from the Aegean to the Ionian Sea.
When we reflect on the fame of Thebes and Argos, of Sparta and
Athens, we can scarcely persuade ourselves, that so many immortal
republics of ancient Greece were lost in a single province of the
Roman empire, which, from the superior influence of the Achaean
league, was usually denominated the province of Achaia.

Such was the state of Europe under the Roman emperors. The
provinces of Asia, without excepting the transient conquests of
Trajan, are all comprehended within the limits of the Turkish
power. But, instead of following the arbitrary divisions of
despotism and ignorance, it will be safer for us, as well as more
agreeable, to observe the indelible characters of nature. The
name of Asia Minor is attributed with some propriety to the
peninsula, which, confined betwixt the Euxine and the
Mediterranean, advances from the Euphrates towards Europe. The
most extensive and flourishing district, westward of Mount Taurus
and the River Halys, was dignified by the Romans with the
exclusive title of Asia. The jurisdiction of that province
extended over the ancient monarchies of Troy, Lydia, and Phrygia,
the maritime countries of the Pamphylians, Lycians, and Carians,
and the Grecian colonies of Ionia, which equalled in arts, though
not in arms, the glory of their parent. The kingdoms of Bithynia
and Pontus possessed the northern side of the peninsula from
Constantinople to Trebizond. On the opposite side, the province
of Cilicia was terminated by the mountains of Syria: the inland
country, separated from the Roman Asia by the River Halys, and
from Armenia by the Euphrates, had once formed the independent
kingdom of Cappadocia. In this place we may observe, that the
northern shores of the Euxine, beyond Trebizond in Asia, and
beyond the Danube in Europe, acknowledged the sovereignty of the
emperors, and received at their hands either tributary princes or
Roman garrisons. Budzak, Crim Tartary, Circassia, and Mingrelia,
are the modern appellations of those savage countries. ^82
[Footnote 82: See the Periplus of Arrian. He examined the coasts
of the Euxine, when he was governor of Cappadocia.]

Under the successors of Alexander, Syria was the seat of the
Seleucidae, who reigned over Upper Asia, till the successful
revolt of the Parthians confined their dominions between the
Euphrates and the Mediterranean. When Syria became subject to
the Romans, it formed the eastern frontier of their empire: nor
did that province, in its utmost latitude, know any other bounds
than the mountains of Cappadocia to the north, and towards the
south, the confines of Egypt, and the Red Sea. Phoenicia and
Palestine were sometimes annexed to, and sometimes separated
from, the jurisdiction of Syria. The former of these was a
narrow and rocky coast; the latter was a territory scarcely
superior to Wales, either in fertility or extent. ^* Yet
Phoenicia and Palestine will forever live in the memory of
mankind; since America, as well as Europe, has received letters
from the one, and religion from the other. ^83 A sandy desert,
alike destitute of wood and water, skirts along the doubtful
confine of Syria, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. The
wandering life of the Arabs was inseparably connected with their
independence; and wherever, on some spots less barren than the
rest, they ventured to for many settled habitations, they soon
became subjects to the Roman empire. ^84

[Footnote *: This comparison is exaggerated, with the intention,
no doubt, of attacking the authority of the Bible, which boasts
of the fertility of Palestine. Gibbon's only authorities were
that of Strabo (l. xvi. 1104) and the present state of the
country. But Strabo only speaks of the neighborhood of
Jerusalem, which he calls barren and arid to the extent of sixty
stadia round the city: in other parts he gives a favorable
testimony to the fertility of many parts of Palestine: thus he
says, "Near Jericho there is a grove of palms, and a country of a
hundred stadia, full of springs, and well peopled." Moreover,
Strabo had never seen Palestine; he spoke only after reports,
which may be as inaccurate as those according to which he has
composed that description of Germany, in which Gluverius has
detected so many errors. (Gluv. Germ. iii. 1.) Finally, his
testimony is contradicted and refuted by that of other ancient
authors, and by medals. Tacitus says, in speaking of Palestine,
"The inhabitants are healthy and robust; the rains moderate; the
soil fertile." (Hist. v. 6.) Ammianus Macellinus says also, "The
last of the Syrias is Palestine, a country of considerable
extent, abounding in clean and well-cultivated land, and
containing some fine cities, none of which yields to the other;
but, as it were, being on a parallel, are rivals." - xiv. 8. See
also the historian Josephus, Hist. vi. 1. Procopius of Caeserea,
who lived in the sixth century, says that Chosroes, king of
Persia, had a great desire to make himself master of Palestine,
on account of its extraordinary fertility, its opulence, and the
great number of its inhabitants. The Saracens thought the same,
and were afraid that Omar. when he went to Jerusalem, charmed
with the fertility of the soil and the purity of the air, would
never return to Medina. (Ockley, Hist. of Sarac. i. 232.) The
importance attached by the Romans to the conquest of Palestine,
and the obstacles they encountered, prove also the richness and
population of the country. Vespasian and Titus caused medals to
be struck with trophies, in which Palestine is represented by a
female under a palm-tree, to signify the richness of he country,
with this legend: Judea capta. Other medals also indicate this
fertility; for instance, that of Herod holding a bunch of grapes,
and that of the young Agrippa displaying fruit. As to the
present state of he country, one perceives that it is not fair to
draw any inference against its ancient fertility: the disasters
through which it has passed, the government to which it is
subject, the disposition of the inhabitants, explain sufficiently
the wild and uncultivated appearance of the land, where,
nevertheless, fertile and cultivated districts are still found,
according to the testimony of travellers; among others, of Shaw,
Maundrel, La Rocque, &c. - G. The Abbe Guenee, in his Lettres de
quelques Juifs a Mons. de Voltaire, has exhausted the subject of
the fertility of Palestine; for Voltaire had likewise indulged in
sarcasm on this subject. Gibbon was assailed on this point, not,
indeed, by Mr. Davis, who, he slyly insinuates,was prevented by
his patriotism as a Welshman from resenting the comparison with
Wales, but by other writers. In his Vindication, he first
established the correctness of his measurement of Palestine,
which he estimates as 7600 square English miles, while Wales is
about 7011. As to fertility, he proceeds in the following
dexterously composed and splendid passage: "The emperor Frederick
II., the enemy and the victim of the clergy, is accused of
saying, after his return from his crusade, that the God of the
Jews would have despised his promised land, if he had once seen
the fruitful realms of Sicily and Naples." (See Giannone, Istor.
Civ. del R. di Napoli, ii. 245.) This raillery, which malice has,
perhaps, falsely imputed to Frederick, is inconsistent with truth
and piety; yet it must be confessed that the soil of Palestine
does not contain that inexhaustible, and, as it were, spontaneous
principle of fertility, which, under the most unfavorable
circumstances, has covered with rich harvests the banks of the
Nile, the fields of Sicily, or the plains of Poland. The Jordan
is the only navigable river of Palestine: a considerable part of
the narrow space is occupied, or rather lost, in the Dead Sea
whose horrid aspect inspires every sensation of disgust, and
countenances every tale of horror. The districts which border on
Arabia partake of the sandy quality of the adjacent desert. The
face of the country, except the sea- coast, and the valley of the
Jordan, is covered with mountains, which appear, for the most
part, as naked and barren rocks; and in the neighborhood of
Jerusalem, there is a real scarcity of the two elements of earth
and water. (See Maundrel's Travels, p. 65, and Reland's Palestin.
i. 238, 395.) These disadvantages, which now operate in their
fullest extent, were formerly corrected by the labors of a
numerous people, and the active protection of a wise government.
The hills were clothed with rich beds of artificial mould, the
rain was collected in vast cisterns, a supply of fresh water was
conveyed by pipes and aqueducts to the dry lands. The breed of
cattle was encouraged in those parts which were not adapted for
tillage, and almost every spot was compelled to yield some
production for the use of the inhabitants.

Pater ispe colendi
Haud facilem esse viam voluit, primusque par artem
Movit agros; curis acuens mortalia corda,
Nec torpere gravi passus sua Regna veterno.

Gibbon, Misc. Works, iv. 540.

But Gibbon has here eluded the question about the land "flowing
with milk and honey." He is describing Judaea only, without
comprehending Galilee, or the rich pastures beyond the Jordan,
even now proverbial for their flocks and herds. (See
Burckhardt's Travels, and Hist of Jews, i. 178.) The following is
believed to be a fair statement: "The extraordinary fertility of
the whole country must be taken into the account. No part was
waste; very little was occupied by unprofitable wood; the more
fertile hills were cultivated in artificial terraces, others were
hung with orchards of fruit trees the more rocky and barren
districts were covered with vineyards." Even in the present day,
the wars and misgovernment of ages have not exhausted the natural
richness of the soil. "Galilee," says Malte Brun, "would be a
paradise were it inhabited by an industrious people under an
enlightened government. No land could be less dependent on
foreign importation; it bore within itself every thing that could
be necessary for the subsistence and comfort of a simple
agricultural people. The climate was healthy, the seasons
regular; the former rains, which fell about October, after the
vintage, prepared the ground for the seed; that latter, which
prevailed during March and the beginning of April, made it grow
rapidly. Directly the rains ceased, the grain ripened with still
greater rapidity, and was gathered in before the end of May. The
summer months were dry and very hot, but the nights cool and
refreshed by copious dews. In September, the vintage was
gathered. Grain of all kinds, wheat, barley, millet, zea, and
other sorts, grew in abundance; the wheat commonly yielded thirty
for one. Besides the vine and the olive, the almond, the date,
figs of many kinds, the orange, the pomegranate, and many other
fruit trees, flourished in the greatest luxuriance. Great
quantity of honey was collected. The balm-tree, which produced
the opobalsamum,a great object of trade, was probably introduced
from Arabia, in the time of Solomon. It flourished about Jericho
and in Gilead." - Milman's Hist. of Jews. i. 177. - M.]

[Footnote 83: The progress of religion is well known. The use of
letter was introduced among the savages of Europe about fifteen
hundred years before Christ; and the Europeans carried them to
America about fifteen centuries after the Christian Aera. But in
a period of three thousand years, the Phoenician alphabet
received considerable alterations, as it passed through the hands
of the Greeks and Romans.]

[Footnote 84: Dion Cassius, lib. lxviii. p. 1131.]

The geographers of antiquity have frequently hesitated to
what portion of the globe they should ascribe Egypt. ^85 By its
situation that celebrated kingdom is included within the immense
peninsula of Africa; but it is accessible only on the side of
Asia, whose revolutions, in almost every period of history, Egypt
has humbly obeyed. A Roman praefect was seated on the splendid
throne of the Ptolemies; and the iron sceptre of the Mamelukes is
now in the hands of a Turkish pacha. The Nile flows down the
country, above five hundred miles from the tropic of Cancer to
the Mediterranean, and marks on either side of the extent of
fertility by the measure of its inundations. Cyrene, situate
towards the west, and along the sea-coast, was first a Greek
colony, afterwards a province of Egypt, and is now lost in the
desert of Barca. ^*

[Footnote 85: Ptolemy and Strabo, with the modern geographers,
fix the Isthmus of Suez as the boundary of Asia and Africa.
Dionysius, Mela, Pliny, Sallust, Hirtius, and Solinus, have
preferred for that purpose the western branch of the Nile, or
even the great Catabathmus, or descent, which last would assign
to Asia, not only Egypt, but part of Libya.]

[Footnote *: The French editor has a long and unnecessary note on
the History of Cyrene. For the present state of that coast and
country, the volume of Captain Beechey is full of interesting
details. Egypt, now an independent and improving kingdom,
appears, under the enterprising rule of Mahommed Ali, likely to
revenge its former oppression upon the decrepit power of the
Turkish empire. - M. - This note was written in 1838. The future
destiny of Egypt is an important problem, only to be solved by
time. This observation will also apply to the new French colony
in Algiers. - M. 1845.]

From Cyrene to the ocean, the coast of Africa extends above
fifteen hundred miles; yet so closely is it pressed between the
Mediterranean and the Sahara, or sandy desert, that its breadth
seldom exceeds fourscore or a hundred miles. The eastern
division was considered by the Romans as the more peculiar and
proper province of Africa. Till the arrival of the Phoenician
colonies, that fertile country was inhabited by the Libyans, the
most savage of mankind. Under the immediate jurisdiction of
Carthage, it became the centre of commerce and empire; but the
republic of Carthage is now degenerated into the feeble and
disorderly states of Tripoli and Tunis. The military government
of Algiers oppresses the wide extent of Numidia, as it was once
united under Massinissa and Jugurtha; but in the time of
Augustus, the limits of Numidia were contracted; and, at least,
two thirds of the country acquiesced in the name of Mauritania,
with the epithet of Caesariensis. The genuine Mauritania, or
country of the Moors, which, from the ancient city of Tingi, or
Tangier, was distinguished by the appellation of Tingitana, is
represented by the modern kingdom of Fez. Salle, on the Ocean,
so infamous at present for its piratical depredations, was
noticed by the Romans, as the extreme object of their power, and
almost of their geography. A city of their foundation may still
be discovered near Mequinez, the residence of the barbarian whom
we condescend to style the Emperor of Morocco; but it does not
appear, that his more southern dominions, Morocco itself, and
Segelmessa, were ever comprehended within the Roman province. The
western parts of Africa are intersected by the branches of Mount
Atlas, a name so idly celebrated by the fancy of poets; ^86 but
which is now diffused over the immense ocean that rolls between
the ancient and the new continent. ^87

[Footnote 86: The long range, moderate height, and gentle
declivity of Mount Atlas, (see Shaw's Travels, p. 5,) are very
unlike a solitary mountain which rears its head into the clouds,
and seems to support the heavens. The peak of Teneriff, on the
contrary, rises a league and a half above the surface of the sea;
and, as it was frequently visited by the Phoenicians, might
engage the notice of the Greek poets. See Buffon, Histoire
Naturelle, tom. i. p. 312. Histoire des Voyages, tom. ii.]
[Footnote 87: M. de Voltaire, tom. xiv. p. 297, unsupported by
either fact or probability, has generously bestowed the Canary
Islands on the Roman empire.]

Having now finished the circuit of the Roman empire, we may
observe, that Africa is divided from Spain by a narrow strait of
about twelve miles, through which the Atlantic flows into the
Mediterranean. The columns of Hercules, so famous among the
ancients, were two mountains which seemed to have been torn
asunder by some convulsion of the elements; and at the foot of
the European mountain, the fortress of Gibraltar is now seated.
The whole extent of the Mediterranean Sea, its coasts and its
islands, were comprised within the Roman dominion. Of the larger
islands, the two Baleares, which derive their name of Majorca and
Minorca from their respective size, are subject at present, the
former to Spain, the latter to Great Britain. ^* It is easier to
deplore the fate, than to describe the actual condition, of
Corsica. ^! Two Italian sovereigns assume a regal title from
Sardinia and Sicily. Crete, or Candia, with Cyprus, and most of
the smaller islands of Greece and Asia, have been subdued by the
Turkish arms, whilst the little rock of Malta defies their power,
and has emerged, under the government of its military Order, into
fame and opulence. ^!!

[Footnote *: Minorca was lost to Great Britain in 1782. Ann.
Register for that year. - M.]

[Footnote !: The gallant struggles of the Corsicans for their
independence, under Paoli, were brought to a close in the year
1769. This volume was published in 1776. See Botta, Storia
d'Italia, vol. xiv. - M.]

[Footnote !!: Malta, it need scarcely be said, is now in the
possession of the English. We have not, however, thought it
necessary to notice every change in the political state of the
world, since the time of Gibbon. - M]

This long enumeration of provinces, whose broken fragments
have formed so many powerful kingdoms, might almost induce us to
forgive the vanity or ignorance of the ancients. Dazzled with
the extensive sway, the irresistible strength, and the real or
affected moderation of the emperors, they permitted themselves to
despise, and sometimes to forget, the outlying countries which
had been left in the enjoyment of a barbarous independence; and
they gradually usurped the license of confounding the Roman
monarchy with the globe of the earth. ^88 But the temper, as well
as knowledge, of a modern historian, require a more sober and
accurate language. He may impress a juster image of the
greatness of Rome, by observing that the empire was above two
thousand miles in breadth, from the wall of Antoninus and the
northern limits of Dacia, to Mount Atlas and the tropic of
Cancer; that it extended in length more than three thousand miles
from the Western Ocean to the Euphrates; that it was situated in
the finest part of the Temperate Zone, between the twenty-fourth
and fifty-sixth degrees of northern latitude; and that it was
supposed to contain above sixteen hundred thousand square miles,
for the most part of fertile and well-cultivated land. ^89
[Footnote 88: Bergier, Hist. des Grands Chemins, l. iii. c. 1, 2,
3, 4, a very useful collection.]

[Footnote 89: See Templeman's Survey of the Globe; but I distrust
both the Doctor's learning and his maps.]

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That is quite interesting.
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Derrell
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[Wave]
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Chaeron
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But wait! There's MORE!
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kaioshin00
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I wish they would take away that smiley! Then I could defeat Derrell in the pursuit of the last post!
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Chaeron
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Chapter II: The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines.
Part IV.

All these cities were connected with each other, and with
the capital, by the public highways, which, issuing from the
Forum of Rome, traversed Italy, pervaded the provinces, and were
terminated only by the frontiers of the empire. If we carefully
trace the distance from the wall of Antoninus to Rome, and from
thence to Jerusalem, it will be found that the great chain of
communication, from the north-west to the south-east point of the
empire, was drawn out to the length if four thousand and eighty
Roman miles. ^85 The public roads were accurately divided by
mile-stones, and ran in a direct line from one city to another,
with very little respect for the obstacles either of nature or
private property. Mountains were perforated, and bold arches
thrown over the broadest and most rapid streams. ^86 The middle
part of the road was raised into a terrace which commanded the
adjacent country, consisted of several strata of sand, gravel,
and cement, and was paved with large stones, or, in some places
near the capital, with granite. ^87 Such was the solid
construction of the Roman highways, whose firmness has not
entirely yielded to the effort of fifteen centuries. They united
the subjects of the most distant provinces by an easy and
familiar intercourse; out their primary object had been to
facilitate the marches of the legions; nor was any country
considered as completely subdued, till it had been rendered, in
all its parts, pervious to the arms and authority of the
conqueror. The advantage of receiving the earliest intelligence,
and of conveying their orders with celerity, induced the emperors
to establish, throughout their extensive dominions, the regular
institution of posts. ^88 Houses were every where erected at the
distance only of five or six miles; each of them was constantly
provided with forty horses, and by the help of these relays, it
was easy to travel a hundred miles in a day along the Roman
roads. ^89 ^* The use of posts was allowed to those who claimed
it by an Imperial mandate; but though originally intended for the
public service, it was sometimes indulged to the business or
conveniency of private citizens. ^90 Nor was the communication of
the Roman empire less free and open by sea than it was by land.
The provinces surrounded and enclosed the Mediterranean: and
Italy, in the shape of an immense promontory, advanced into the
midst of that great lake. The coasts of Italy are, in general,
destitute of safe harbors; but human industry had corrected the
deficiencies of nature; and the artificial port of Ostia, in
particular, situate at the mouth of the Tyber, and formed by the
emperor Claudius, was a useful monument of Roman greatness. ^91
From this port, which was only sixteen miles from the capital, a
favorable breeze frequently carried vessels in seven days to the
columns of Hercules, and in nine or ten, to Alexandria in Egypt.
^92

[See Remains Of Claudian Aquaduct]

[Footnote 85: The following Itinerary may serve to convey some
idea of the direction of the road, and of the distance between
the principal towns. I. From the wall of Antoninus to York, 222
Roman miles. II. London, 227. III. Rhutupiae or Sandwich, 67.
IV. The navigation to Boulogne, 45. V. Rheims, 174. VI.
Lyons, 330. VII. Milan, 324. VIII. Rome, 426. IX.
Brundusium, 360. X. The navigation to Dyrrachium, 40. XI.
Byzantium, 711. XII. Ancyra, 283. XIII. Tarsus, 301. XIV.
Antioch, 141. XV. Tyre, 252. XVI. Jerusalem, 168. In all 4080
Roman, or 3740 English miles. See the Itineraries published by
Wesseling, his annotations; Gale and Stukeley for Britain, and M.
d'Anville for Gaul and Italy.]

[Footnote 86: Montfaucon, l'Antiquite Expliquee, (tom. 4, p. 2,
l. i. c. 5,) has described the bridges of Narni, Alcantara,
Nismes, &c.]
[Footnote 87: Bergier, Histoire des grands Chemins de l'Empire
Romain, l. ii. c. l. l - 28.]

[Footnote 88: Procopius in Hist. Arcana, c. 30. Bergier, Hist.
des grands Chemins, l. iv. Codex Theodosian. l. viii. tit. v.
vol. ii. p. 506 - 563 with Godefroy's learned commentary.]

[Footnote 89: In the time of Theodosius, Caesarius, a magistrate
of high rank, went post from Antioch to Constantinople. He began
his journey at night, was in Cappadocia (165 miles from Antioch)
the ensuing evening, and arrived at Constantinople the sixth day
about noon. The whole distance was 725 Roman, or 665 English
miles. See Libanius, Orat. xxii., and the Itineria, p. 572 -
581.
Note: A courier is mentioned in Walpole's Travels, ii. 335,
who was to travel from Aleppo to Constantinople, more than 700
miles, in eight days, an unusually short journey. - M.]

[Footnote *: Posts for the conveyance of intelligence were
established by Augustus. Suet. Aug. 49. The couriers travelled
with amazing speed. Blair on Roman Slavery, note, p. 261. It is
probable that the posts, from the time of Augustus, were confined
to the public service, and supplied by impressment Nerva, as it
appears from a coin of his reign, made an important change; "he
established posts upon all the public roads of Italy, and made
the service chargeable upon his own exchequer. * * Hadrian,
perceiving the advantage of this improvement, extended it to all
the provinces of the empire." Cardwell on Coins, p. 220. - M.]

[Footnote 90: Pliny, though a favorite and a minister, made an
apology for granting post-horses to his wife on the most urgent
business. Epist. x. 121, 122.]

[Footnote 91: Bergier, Hist. des grands Chemins, l. iv. c. 49.]
[Footnote 92: Plin. Hist. Natur. xix. i. [In Prooem.]

Note: Pliny says Puteoli, which seems to have been the usual
landing place from the East. See the voyages of St. Paul, Acts
xxviii. 13, and of Josephus, Vita, c. 3 - M.]

Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to
extensive empire, the power of Rome was attended with some
beneficial consequences to mankind; and the same freedom of
intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise the
improvements, of social life. In the more remote ages of
antiquity, the world was unequally divided. The East was in the
immemorial possession of arts and luxury; whilst the West was
inhabited by rude and warlike barbarians, who either disdained
agriculture, or to whom it was totally unknown. Under the
protection of an established government, the productions of
happier climates, and the industry of more civilized nations,
were gradually introduced into the western countries of Europe;
and the natives were encouraged, by an open and profitable
commerce, to multiply the former, as well as to improve the
latter. It would be almost impossible to enumerate all the
articles, either of the animal or the vegetable reign, which were
successively imported into Europe from Asia and Egypt: ^93 but it
will not be unworthy of the dignity, and much less of the
utility, of an historical work, slightly to touch on a few of the
principal heads. 1. Almost all the flowers, the herbs, and the
fruits, that grow in our European gardens, are of foreign
extraction, which, in many cases, is betrayed even by their
names: the apple was a native of Italy, and when the Romans had
tasted the richer flavor of the apricot, the peach, the
pomegranate, the citron, and the orange, they contented
themselves with applying to all these new fruits the common
denomination of apple, discriminating them from each other by the
additional epithet of their country. 2. In the time of Homer,
the vine grew wild in the island of Sicily, and most probably in
the adjacent continent; but it was not improved by the skill, nor
did it afford a liquor grateful to the taste, of the savage
inhabitants. ^94 A thousand years afterwards, Italy could boast,
that of the fourscore most generous and celebrated wines, more
than two thirds were produced from her soil. ^95 The blessing was
soon communicated to the Narbonnese province of Gaul; but so
intense was the cold to the north of the Cevennes, that, in the
time of Strabo, it was thought impossible to ripen the grapes in
those parts of Gaul. ^96 This difficulty, however, was gradually
vanquished; and there is some reason to believe, that the
vineyards of Burgundy are as old as the age of the Antonines. ^97
3. The olive, in the western world, followed the progress of
peace, of which it was considered as the symbol. Two centuries
after the foundation of Rome, both Italy and Africa were
strangers to that useful plant: it was naturalized in those
countries; and at length carried into the heart of Spain and
Gaul. The timid errors of the ancients, that it required a
certain degree of heat, and could only flourish in the
neighborhood of the sea, were insensibly exploded by industry and
experience. ^98 4. The cultivation of flax was transported from
Egypt to Gaul, and enriched the whole country, however it might
impoverish the particular lands on which it was sown. ^99 5. The
use of artificial grasses became familiar to the farmers both of
Italy and the provinces, particularly the Lucerne, which derived
its name and origin from Media. ^100 The assured supply of
wholesome and plentiful food for the cattle during winter,
multiplied the number of the docks and herds, which in their turn
contributed to the fertility of the soil. To all these
improvements may be added an assiduous attention to mines and
fisheries, which, by employing a multitude of laborious hands,
serve to increase the pleasures of the rich and the subsistence
of the poor. The elegant treatise of Columella describes the
advanced state of the Spanish husbandry under the reign of
Tiberius; and it may be observed, that those famines, which so
frequently afflicted the infant republic, were seldom or never
experienced by the extensive empire of Rome. The accidental
scarcity, in any single province, was immediately relieved by the
plenty of its more fortunate neighbors.

[Footnote 93: It is not improbable that the Greeks and
Phoenicians introduced some new arts and productions into the
neighborhood of Marseilles and Gades.]
[Footnote 94: See Homer, Odyss. l. ix. v. 358.]

[Footnote 95: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xiv.]

[Footnote 96: Strab. Geograph. l. iv. p. 269. The intense cold
of a Gallic winter was almost proverbial among the ancients.

Note: Strabo only says that the grape does not ripen.
Attempts had been made in the time of Augustus to naturalize the
vine in the north of Gaul; but the cold was too great. Diod.
Sic. edit. Rhodom. p. 304. - W. Diodorus (lib. v. 26) gives a
curious picture of the Italian traders bartering, with the
savages of Gaul, a cask of wine for a slave. - M.

It appears from the newly discovered treatise of Cicero de
Republica, that there was a law of the republic prohibiting the
culture of the vine and olive beyond the Alps, in order to keep
up the value of those in Italy. Nos justissimi homines, qui
transalpinas gentes oleam et vitem serere non sinimus, quo pluris
sint nostra oliveta nostraeque vineae. Lib. iii. 9. The
restrictive law of Domitian was veiled under the decent pretext
of encouraging the cultivation of grain. Suet. Dom. vii. It was
repealed by Probus Vopis Strobus, 18. - M.]

[Footnote 97: In the beginning of the fourth century, the orator
Eumenius (Panegyr. Veter. viii. 6, edit. Delphin.) speaks of the
vines in the territory of Autun, which were decayed through age,
and the first plantation of which was totally unknown. The Pagus
Arebrignus is supposed by M. d'Anville to be the district of
Beaune, celebrated, even at present for one of the first growths
of Burgundy.

Note: This is proved by a passage of Pliny the Elder, where
he speaks of a certain kind of grape (vitis picata. vinum
picatum) which grows naturally to the district of Vienne, and had
recently been transplanted into the country of the Arverni,
(Auvergne,) of the Helvii, (the Vivarias.) and the Burgundy and
Franche Compte. Pliny wrote A.D. 77. Hist. Nat. xiv. 1. - W.]
[Footnote 98: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xv.]

[Footnote 99: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xix.]

[Footnote 100: See the agreeable Essays on Agriculture by Mr.
Harte, in which he has collected all that the ancients and
moderns have said of Lucerne.]
Agriculture is the foundation of manufactures; since the
productions of nature are the materials of art. Under the Roman
empire, the labor of an industrious and ingenious people was
variously, but incessantly, employed in the service of the rich.
In their dress, their table, their houses, and their furniture,
the favorites of fortune united every refinement of conveniency,
of elegance, and of splendor, whatever could soothe their pride
or gratify their sensuality. Such refinements, under the odious
name of luxury, have been severely arraigned by the moralists of
every age; and it might perhaps be more conducive to the virtue,
as well as happiness, of mankind, if all possessed the
necessaries, and none the superfluities, of life. But in the
present imperfect condition of society, luxury, though it may
proceed from vice or folly, seems to be the only means that can
correct the unequal distribution of property. The diligent
mechanic, and the skilful artist, who have obtained no share in
the division of the earth, receive a voluntary tax from the
possessors of land; and the latter are prompted, by a sense of
interest, to improve those estates, with whose produce they may
purchase additional pleasures. This operation, the particular
effects of which are felt in every society, acted with much more
diffusive energy in the Roman world. The provinces would soon
have been exhausted of their wealth, if the manufactures and
commerce of luxury had not insensibly restored to the industrious
subjects the sums which were exacted from them by the arms and
authority of Rome. As long as the circulation was confined
within the bounds of the empire, it impressed the political
machine with a new degree of activity, and its consequences,
sometimes beneficial, could never become pernicious.

But it is no easy task to confine luxury within the limits
of an empire. The most remote countries of the ancient world were
ransacked to supply the pomp and delicacy of Rome. The forests
of Scythia afforded some valuable furs. Amber was brought over
land from the shores of the Baltic to the Danube; and the
barbarians were astonished at the price which they received in
exchange for so useless a commodity. ^101 There was a
considerable demand for Babylonian carpets, and other
manufactures of the East; but the most important and unpopular
branch of foreign trade was carried on with Arabia and India.
Every year, about the time of the summer solstice, a fleet of a
hundred and twenty vessels sailed from Myos-hormos, a port of
Egypt, on the Red Sea. By the periodical assistance of the
monsoons, they traversed the ocean in about forty days. The
coast of Malabar, or the island of Ceylon, ^102 was the usual
term of their navigation, and it was in those markets that the
merchants from the more remote countries of Asia expected their
arrival. The return of the fleet of Egypt was fixed to the months
of December or January; and as soon as their rich cargo had been
transported on the backs of camels, from the Red Sea to the Nile,
and had descended that river as far as Alexandria, it was poured,
without delay, into the capital of the empire. ^103 The objects
of oriental traffic were splendid and trifling; silk, a pound of
which was esteemed not inferior in value to a pound of gold; ^104
precious stones, among which the pearl claimed the first rank
after the diamond; ^105 and a variety of aromatics, that were
consumed in religious worship and the pomp of funerals. The
labor and risk of the voyage was rewarded with almost incredible
profit; but the profit was made upon Roman subjects, and a few
individuals were enriched at the expense of the public. As the
natives of Arabia and India were contented with the productions
and manufactures of their own country, silver, on the side of the
Romans, was the principal, if not the only ^* instrument of
commerce. It was a complaint worthy of the gravity of the
senate, that, in the purchase of female ornaments, the wealth of
the state was irrecoverably given away to foreign and hostile
nations. ^106 The annual loss is computed, by a writer of an
inquisitive but censorious temper, at upwards of eight hundred
thousand pounds sterling. ^107 Such was the style of discontent,
brooding over the dark prospect of approaching poverty. And yet,
if we compare the proportion between gold and silver, as it stood
in the time of Pliny, and as it was fixed in the reign of
Constantine, we shall discover within that period a very
considerable increase. ^108 There is not the least reason to
suppose that gold was become more scarce; it is therefore evident
that silver was grown more common; that whatever might be the
amount of the Indian and Arabian exports, they were far from
exhausting the wealth of the Roman world; and that the produce of
the mines abundantly supplied the demands of commerce.

[Footnote 101: Tacit. Germania, c. 45. Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxvii.
13. The latter observed, with some humor, that even fashion had
not yet found out the use of amber. Nero sent a Roman knight to
purchase great quantities on the spot where it was produced, the
coast of modern Prussia.]

[Footnote 102: Called Taprobana by the Romans, and Serindib by
the Arabs. It was discovered under the reign of Claudius, and
gradually became the principal mart of the East.]

[Footnote 103: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. vi. Strabo, l. xvii.]
[Footnote 104: Hist. August. p. 224. A silk garment was
considered as an ornament to a woman, but as a disgrace to a
man.]

[Footnote 105: The two great pearl fisheries were the same as at
present, Ormuz and Cape Comorin. As well as we can compare
ancient with modern geography, Rome was supplied with diamonds
from the mine of Jumelpur, in Bengal, which is described in the
Voyages de Tavernier, tom. ii. p. 281.]
[Footnote *: Certainly not the only one. The Indians were not so
contented with regard to foreign productions. Arrian has a long
list of European wares, which they received in exchange for their
own; Italian and other wines, brass, tin, lead, coral,
chrysolith, storax, glass, dresses of one or many colors, zones,
&c. See Periplus Maris Erythraei in Hudson, Geogr. Min. i. p.
27. - W. The German translator observes that Gibbon has confined
the use of aromatics to religious worship and funerals. His
error seems the omission of other spices, of which the Romans
must have consumed great quantities in their cookery. Wenck,
however, admits that silver was the chief article of exchange. -
M.

In 1787, a peasant (near Nellore in the Carnatic) struck, in
digging, on the remains of a Hindu temple; he found, also, a pot
which contained Roman coins and medals of the second century,
mostly Trajans, Adrians, and Faustinas, all of gold, many of them
fresh and beautiful, others defaced or perforated, as if they had
been worn as ornaments. (Asiatic Researches, ii. 19.) - M.]

[Footnote 106: Tacit. Annal. iii. 53. In a speech of Tiberius.]
[Footnote 107: Plin. Hist. Natur. xii. 18. In another place he
computes half that sum; Quingenties H. S. for India exclusive of
Arabia.]
[Footnote 108: The proportion, which was 1 to 10, and 12 1/2,
rose to 14 2/5, the legal regulation of Constantine. See
Arbuthnot's Tables of ancient Coins, c. 5.]

Notwithstanding the propensity of mankind to exalt the past,
and to depreciate the present, the tranquil and prosperous state
of the empire was warmly felt, and honestly confessed, by the
provincials as well as Romans. "They acknowledged that the true
principles of social life, laws, agriculture, and science, which
had been first invented by the wisdom of Athens, were now firmly
established by the power of Rome, under whose auspicious
influence the fiercest barbarians were united by an equal
government and common language. They affirm, that with the
improvement of arts, the human species were visibly multiplied.
They celebrate the increasing splendor of the cities, the
beautiful face of the country, cultivated and adorned like an
immense garden; and the long festival of peace which was enjoyed
by so many nations, forgetful of the ancient animosities, and
delivered from the apprehension of future danger." ^109 Whatever
suspicions may be suggested by the air of rhetoric and
declamation, which seems to prevail in these passages, the
substance of them is perfectly agreeable to historic truth.

[Footnote 109: Among many other passages, see Pliny, (Hist.
Natur. iii. 5.) Aristides, (de Urbe Roma,) and Tertullian, (de
Anima, c. 30.)]
It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries
should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay
and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of
the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals
of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the
same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the
military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and
robust. Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum supplied the legions
with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the
monarchy. Their personal valor remained, but they no longer
possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of
independence, the sense of national honor, the presence of
danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and
governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their
defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest
leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects.
The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of
the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political
strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference
of private life.

The love of letters, almost inseparable from peace and
refinement, was fashionable among the subjects of Hadrian and the
Antonines, who were themselves men of learning and curiosity. It
was diffused over the whole extent of their empire; the most
northern tribes of Britons had acquired a taste for rhetoric;
Homer as well as Virgil were transcribed and studied on the banks
of the Rhine and Danube; and the most liberal rewards sought out
the faintest glimmerings of literary merit. ^110 The sciences of
physic and astronomy were successfully cultivated by the Greeks;
the observations of Ptolemy and the writings of Galen are studied
by those who have improved their discoveries and corrected their
errors; but if we except the inimitable Lucian, this age of
indolence passed away without having produced a single writer of
original genius, or who excelled in the arts of elegant
composition. ^! The authority of Plato and Aristotle, of Zeno and
Epicurus, still reigned in the schools; and their systems,
transmitted with blind deference from one generation of disciples
to another, precluded every generous attempt to exercise the
powers, or enlarge the limits, of the human mind. The beauties
of the poets and orators, instead of kindling a fire like their
own, inspired only cold and servile mitations: or if any ventured
to deviate from those models, they deviated at the same time from
good sense and propriety. On the revival of letters, the
youthful vigor of the imagination, after a long repose, national
emulation, a new religion, new languages, and a new world, called
forth the genius of Europe. But the provincials of Rome, trained
by a uniform artificial foreign education, were engaged in a very
unequal competition with those bold ancients, who, by expressing
their genuine feelings in their native tongue, had already
occupied every place of honor. The name of Poet was almost
forgotten; that of Orator was usurped by the sophists. A cloud
of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of
learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the
corruption of taste.

[Footnote 110: Herodes Atticus gave the sophist Polemo above
eight thousand pounds for three declamations. See Philostrat. l.
i. p. 538. The Antonines founded a school at Athens, in which
professors of grammar, rhetoric, politics, and the four great
sects of philosophy were maintained at the public expense for the
instruction of youth. The salary of a philosopher was ten
thousand drachmae, between three and four hundred pounds a year.
Similar establishments were formed in the other great cities of
the empire. See Lucian in Eunuch. tom. ii. p. 352, edit. Reitz.
Philostrat. l. ii. p. 566. Hist. August. p. 21. Dion Cassius,
l. lxxi. p. 1195. Juvenal himself, in a morose satire, which in
every line betrays his own disappointment and envy, is obliged,
however, to say, -

" - O Juvenes, circumspicit et stimulat vos.
Materiamque sibi Ducis indulgentia quaerit." - Satir. vii.
20.
Note: Vespasian first gave a salary to professors: he
assigned to each professor of rhetoric, Greek and Roman, centena
sestertia. (Sueton. in Vesp. 18. Hadrian and the Antonines,
though still liberal, were less profuse. - G. from W. Suetonius
wrote annua centena L. 807, 5, 10. - M.]
[Footnote !: This judgment is rather severe: besides the
physicians, astronomers, and grammarians, among whom there were
some very distinguished men, there were still, under Hadrian,
Suetonius, Florus, Plutarch; under the Antonines, Arrian,
Pausanias, Appian, Marcus Aurelius himself, Sextus Empiricus, &c.

Jurisprudence gained much by the labors of Salvius Julianus,
Julius Celsus, Sex. Pomponius, Caius, and others. - G. from W.
Yet where, among these, is the writer of original genius, unless,
perhaps Plutarch? or even of a style really elegant? - M.]

The sublime Longinus, who, in somewhat a later period, and
in the court of a Syrian queen, preserved the spirit of ancient
Athens, observes and laments this degeneracy of his
contemporaries, which debased their sentiments, enervated their
courage, and depressed their talents. "In the same manner," says
he, "as some children always remain pygmies, whose infant limbs
have been too closely confined, thus our tender minds, fettered
by the prejudices and habits of a just servitude, are unable to
expand themselves, or to attain that well-proportioned greatness
which we admire in the ancients; who, living under a popular
government, wrote with the same freedom as they acted." ^111 This
diminutive stature of mankind, if we pursue the metaphor, was
daily sinking below the old standard, and the Roman world was
indeed peopled by a race of pygmies; when the fierce giants of
the north broke in, and mended the puny breed. They restored a
manly spirit of freedom; and after the revolution of ten
centuries, freedom became the happy parent of taste and science.

[Footnote 111: Longin. de Sublim. c. 44, p. 229, edit. Toll.
Here, too, we may say of Longinus, "his own example strengthens
all his laws." Instead of proposing his sentiments with a manly
boldness, he insinuates them with the most guarded caution; puts
them into the mouth of a friend, and as far as we can collect
from a corrupted text, makes a show of refuting them himself.]

Chapter III: The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines.

Part I.

Of The Constitution Of The Roman Empire, In The Age Of The
Antonines.

The obvious definition of a monarchy seems to be that of a
state, in which a single person, by whatsoever name he may be
distinguished, is intrusted with the execution of the laws, the
management of the revenue, and the command of the army. But,
unless public liberty is protected by intrepid and vigilant
guardians, the authority of so formidable a magistrate will soon
degenerate into despotism. The influence of the clergy, in an
age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the
rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the
throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very
seldom been seen on the side of the people. ^* A martial nobility
and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property,
and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only
balance capable of preserving a free constitution against
enterprises of an aspiring prince.

[Footnote *: Often enough in the ages of superstition, but not in
the interest of the people or the state, but in that of the
church to which all others were subordinate. Yet the power of
the pope has often been of great service in repressing the
excesses of sovereigns, and in softening manners. - W. The
history of the Italian republics proves the error of Gibbon, and
the justice of his German translator's comment. - M.]

Every barrier of the Roman constitution had been levelled by
the vast ambition of the dictator; every fence had been
extirpated by the cruel hand of the triumvir. After the victory
of Actium, the fate of the Roman world depended on the will of
Octavianus, surnamed Caesar, by his uncle's adoption, and
afterwards Augustus, by the flattery of the senate. The
conqueror was at the head of forty-four veteran legions, ^1
conscious of their own strength, and of the weakness of the
constitution, habituated, during twenty years' civil war, to
every act of blood and violence, and passionately devoted to the
house of Caesar, from whence alone they had received, and
expected the most lavish rewards. The provinces, long oppressed
by the ministers of the republic, sighed for the government of a
single person, who would be the master, not the accomplice, of
those petty tyrants. The people of Rome, viewing, with a secret
pleasure, the humiliation of the aristocracy, demanded only bread
and public shows; and were supplied with both by the liberal hand
of Augustus. The rich and polite Italians, who had almost
universally embraced the philosophy of Epicurus, enjoyed the
present blessings of ease and tranquillity, and suffered not the
pleasing dream to be interrupted by the memory of their old
tumultuous freedom. With its power, the senate had lost its
dignity; many of the most noble families were extinct. The
republicans of spirit and ability had perished in the field of
battle, or in the proscription . The door of the assembly had
been designedly left open, for a mixed multitude of more than a
thousand persons, who reflected disgrace upon their rank, instead
of deriving honor from it. ^2

[Footnote 1: Orosius, vi. 18.

Note: Dion says twenty-five, (or three,) (lv. 23.) The
united triumvirs had but forty-three. (Appian. Bell. Civ. iv.
3.) The testimony of Orosius is of little value when more certain
may be had. - W. But all the legions, doubtless, submitted to
Augustus after the battle of Actium. - M.]
[Footnote 2: Julius Caesar introduced soldiers, strangers, and
half- barbarians into the senate (Sueton. in Caesar. c. 77, 80.)
The abuse became still more scandalous after his death.]

The reformation of the senate was one of the first steps in
which Augustus laid aside the tyrant, and professed himself the
father of his country. He was elected censor; and, in concert
with his faithful Agrippa, he examined the list of the senators,
expelled a few members, ^* whose vices or whose obstinacy
required a public example, persuaded near two hundred to prevent
the shame of an expulsion by a voluntary retreat, raised the
qualification of a senator to about ten thousand pounds, created
a sufficient number of patrician families, and accepted for
himself the honorable title of Prince of the Senate, ^! which had
always been bestowed, by the censors, on the citizen the most
eminent for his honors and services. ^3 But whilst he thus
restored the dignity, he destroyed the independence, of the
senate. The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably
lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.

[Footnote *: Of these Dion and Suetonius knew nothing. - W. Dion
says the contrary. - M.]

[Footnote !: But Augustus, then Octavius, was censor, and in
virtue of that office, even according to the constitution of the
free republic, could reform the senate, expel unworthy members,
name the Princeps Senatus, &c. That was called, as is well known,
Senatum legere. It was customary, during the free republic, for
the censor to be named Princeps Senatus, (S. Liv. l. xxvii. c.
11, l. xl. c. 51;) and Dion expressly says, that this was done
according to ancient usage. He was empowered by a decree of the
senate to admit a number of families among the patricians.
Finally, the senate was not the legislative power. - W]

[Footnote 3: Dion Cassius, l. liii. p. 693. Suetonius in August.
c. 35.]
Before an assembly thus modelled and prepared, Augustus
pronounced a studied oration, which displayed his patriotism, and
disguised his ambition. "He lamented, yet excused, his past
conduct. Filial piety had required at his hands the revenge of
his father's murder; the humanity of his own nature had sometimes
given way to the stern laws of necessity, and to a forced
connection with two unworthy colleagues: as long as Antony lived,
the republic forbade him to abandon her to a degenerate Roman,
and a barbarian queen. He was now at liberty to satisfy his duty
and his inclination. He solemnly restored the senate and people
to all their ancient rights; and wished only to mingle with the
crowd of his fellow-citizens, and to share the blessings which he
had obtained for his country." ^4

[Footnote 4: Dion (l. liii. p. 698) gives us a prolix and bombast
speech on this great occasion. I have borrowed from Suetonius
and Tacitus the general language of Augustus.]

It would require the pen of Tacitus (if Tacitus had assisted
at this assembly) to describe the various emotions of the senate,
those that were suppressed, and those that were affected. It was
dangerous to trust the sincerity of Augustus; to seem to distrust
it was still more dangerous. The respective advantages of
monarchy and a republic have often divided speculative inquirers;
the present greatness of the Roman state, the corruption of
manners, and the license of the soldiers, supplied new arguments
to the advocates of monarchy; and these general views of
government were again warped by the hopes and fears of each
individual. Amidst this confusion of sentiments, the answer of
the senate was unanimous and decisive. They refused to accept the
resignation of Augustus; they conjured him not to desert the
republic, which he had saved. After a decent resistance, the
crafty tyrant submitted to the orders of the senate; and
consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the
general command of the Roman armies, under the well-known names
of Proconsul and Imperator. ^5 But he would receive them only for
ten years. Even before the expiration of that period, he hope
that the wounds of civil discord would be completely healed, and
that the republic, restored to its pristine health and vigor,
would no longer require the dangerous interposition of so
extraordinary a magistrate. The memory of this comedy, repeated
several times during the life of Augustus, was preserved to the
last ages of the empire, by the peculiar pomp with which the
perpetual monarchs of Rome always solemnized the tenth years of
their reign. ^6

[Footnote 5: Imperator (from which we have derived Emperor)
signified under her republic no more than general, and was
emphatically bestowed by the soldiers, when on the field of
battle they proclaimed their victorious leader worthy of that
title. When the Roman emperors assumed it in that sense, they
placed it after their name, and marked how often they had taken
it.]
[Footnote 6: Dion. l. liii. p. 703, &c.]

Without any violation of the principles of the constitution,
the general of the Roman armies might receive and exercise an
authority almost despotic over the soldiers, the enemies, and the
subjects of the republic. With regard to the soldiers, the
jealousy of freedom had, even from the earliest ages of Rome,
given way to the hopes of conquest, and a just sense of military
discipline. The dictator, or consul, had a right to command the
service of the Roman youth; and to punish an obstinate or
cowardly disobedience by the most severe and ignominious
penalties, by striking the offender out of the list of citizens,
by confiscating his property, and by selling his person into
slavery. ^7 The most sacred rights of freedom, confirmed by the
Porcian and Sempronian laws, were suspended by the military
engagement. In his camp the general exercise an absolute power
of life and death; his jurisdiction was not confined by any forms
of trial, or rules of proceeding, and the execution of the
sentence was immediate and without appeal. ^8 The choice of the
enemies of Rome was regularly decided by the legislative
authority. The most important resolutions of peace and war were
seriously debated in the senate, and solemnly ratified by the
people. But when the arms of the legions were carried to a great
distance from Italy, the general assumed the liberty of directing
them against whatever people, and in whatever manner, they judged
most advantageous for the public service. It was from the
success, not from the justice, of their enterprises, that they
expected the honors of a triumph. In the use of victory,
especially after they were no longer controlled by the
commissioners of the senate, they exercised the most unbounded
despotism. When Pompey commanded in the East, he rewarded his
soldiers and allies, dethroned princes, divided kingdoms, founded
colonies, and distributed the treasures of Mithridates. On his
return to Rome, he obtained, by a single act of the senate and
people, the universal ratification of all his proceedings. ^9
Such was the power over the soldiers, and over the enemies of
Rome, which was either granted to, or assumed by, the generals of
the republic. They were, at the same time, the governors, or
rather monarchs, of the conquered provinces, united the civil
with the military character, administered justice as well as the
finances, and exercised both the executive and legislative power
of the state.
[Footnote 7: Livy Epitom. l. xiv. [c. 27.] Valer. Maxim. vi. 3.]
[Footnote 8: See, in the viiith book of Livy, the conduct of
Manlius Torquatus and Papirius Cursor. They violated the laws of
nature and humanity, but they asserted those of military
discipline; and the people, who abhorred the action, was obliged
to respect the principle.]
[Footnote 9: By the lavish but unconstrained suffrages of the
people, Pompey had obtained a military command scarcely inferior
to that of Augustus. Among the extraordinary acts of power
executed by the former we may remark the foundation of
twenty-nine cities, and the distribution of three or four
millions sterling to his troops. The ratification of his acts
met with some opposition and delays in the senate See Plutarch,
Appian, Dion Cassius, and the first book of the epistles to
Atticus.]

From what has already been observed in the first chapter of
this work, some notion may be formed of the armies and provinces
thus intrusted to the ruling hand of Augustus. But as it was
impossible that he could personally command the regions of so
many distant frontiers, he was indulged by the senate, as Pompey
had already been, in the permission of devolving the execution of
his great office on a sufficient number of lieutenants. In rank
and authority these officers seemed not inferior to the ancient
proconsuls; but their station was dependent and precarious. They
received and held their commissions at the will of a superior, to
whose auspicious influence the merit of their action was legally
attributed. ^10 They were the representatives of the emperor.
The emperor alone was the general of the republic, and his
jurisdiction, civil as well as military, extended over all the
conquests of Rome. It was some satisfaction, however, to the
senate, that he always delegated his power to the members of
their body. The imperial lieutenants were of consular or
praetorian dignity; the legions were commanded by senators, and
the praefecture of Egypt was the only important trust committed
to a Roman knight.

[Footnote 10: Under the commonwealth, a triumph could only be
claimed by the general, who was authorized to take the Auspices
in the name of the people. By an exact consequence, drawn from
this principle of policy and religion, the triumph was reserved
to the emperor; and his most successful lieutenants were
satisfied with some marks of distinction, which, under the name
of triumphal honors, were invented in their favor.]

Within six days after Augustus had been compelled to accept
so very liberal a grant, he resolved to gratify the pride of the
senate by an easy sacrifice. He represented to them, that they
had enlarged his powers, even beyond that degree which might be
required by the melancholy condition of the times. They had not
permitted him to refuse the laborious command of the armies and
the frontiers; but he must insist on being allowed to restore the
more peaceful and secure provinces to the mild administration of
the civil magistrate. In the division of the provinces, Augustus
provided for his own power and for the dignity of the republic.
The proconsuls of the senate, particularly those of Asia, Greece,
and Africa, enjoyed a more honorable character than the
lieutenants of the emperor, who commanded in Gaul or Syria. The
former were attended by lictors, the latter by soldiers. ^* A law
was passed, that wherever the emperor was present, his
extraordinary commission should supersede the ordinary
jurisdiction of the governor; a custom was introduced, that the
new conquests belonged to the imperial portion; and it was soon
discovered that the authority of the Prtnce, the favorite epithet
of Augustus, was the same in every part of the empire.
[Footnote *: This distinction is without foundation. The
lieutenants of the emperor, who were called Propraetors, whether
they had been praetors or consuls, were attended by six lictors;
those who had the right of the sword, (of life and death over the
soldiers. - M.) bore the military habit (paludamentum) and the
sword. The provincial governors commissioned by the senate, who,
whether they had been consuls or not, were called Pronconsuls,
had twelve lictors when they had been consuls, and six only when
they had but been praetors. The provinces of Africa and Asia
were only given to ex- consuls. See, on the Organization of the
Provinces, Dion, liii. 12, 16 Strabo, xvii 840.- W]

In return for this imaginary concession, Augustus obtained
an important privilege, which rendered him master of Rome and
Italy. By a dangerous exception to the ancient maxims, he was
authorized to preserve his military command, supported by a
numerous body of guards, even in time of peace, and in the heart
of the capital. His command, indeed, was confined to those
citizens who were engaged in the service by the military oath;
but such was the propensity of the Romans to servitude, that the
oath was voluntarily taken by the magistrates, the senators, and
the equestrian order, till the homage of flattery was insensibly
converted into an annual and solemn protestation of fidelity.

Although Augustus considered a military force as the firmest
foundation, he wisely rejected it, as a very odious instrument of
government. It was more agreeable to his temper, as well as to
his policy, to reign under the venerable names of ancient
magistracy, and artfully to collect, in his own person, all the
scattered rays of civil jurisdiction. With this view, he
permitted the senate to confer upon him, for his life, the powers
of the consular ^11 and tribunitian offices, ^12 which were, in
the same manner, continued to all his successors. The consuls
had succeeded to the kings of Rome, and represented the dignity
of the state. They superintended the ceremonies of religion,
levied and commanded the legions, gave audience to foreign
ambassadors, and presided in the assemblies both of the senate
and people. The general control of the finances was intrusted to
their care; and though they seldom had leisure to administer
justice in person, they were considered as the supreme guardians
of law, equity, and the public peace. Such was their ordinary
jurisdiction; but whenever the senate empowered the first
magistrate to consult the safety of the commonwealth, he was
raised by that decree above the laws, and exercised, in the
defence of liberty, a temporary despotism. ^13 The character of
the tribunes was, in every respect, different from that of the
consuls. The appearance of the former was modest and humble; but
their persons were sacred and inviolable. Their force was suited
rather for opposition than for action. They were instituted to
defend the oppressed, to pardon offences, to arraign the enemies
of the people, and, when they judged it necessary, to stop, by a
single word, the whole machine of government. As long as the
republic subsisted, the dangerous influence, which either the
consul or the tribune might derive from their respective
jurisdiction, was diminished by several important restrictions.
Their authority expired with the year in which they were elected;
the former office was divided between two, the latter among ten
persons; and, as both in their private and public interest they
were averse to each other, their mutual conflicts contributed,
for the most part, to strengthen rather than to destroy the
balance of the constitution. ^* But when the consular and
tribunitian powers were united, when they were vested for life in
a single person, when the general of the army was, at the same
time, the minister of the senate and the representative of the
Roman people, it was impossible to resist the exercise, nor was
it easy to define the limits, of his imperial prerogative.

[Footnote 11: Cicero (de Legibus, iii. 3) gives the consular
office the name of egia potestas; and Polybius (l. vi. c. 3)
observes three powers in the Roman constitution. The monarchical
was represented and exercised by the consuls.]

[Footnote 12: As the tribunitian power (distinct from the annual
office) was first invented by the dictator Caesar, (Dion, l.
xliv. p. 384,) we may easily conceive, that it was given as a
reward for having so nobly asserted, by arms, the sacred rights
of the tribunes and people. See his own Commentaries, de Bell.
Civil. l. i.]

[Footnote 13: Augustus exercised nine annual consulships without
interruption. He then most artfully refused the magistracy, as
well as the dictatorship, absented himself from Rome, and waited
till the fatal effects of tumult and faction forced the senate to
invest him with a perpetual consulship. Augustus, as well as his
successors, affected, however, to conceal so invidious a title.]

[Footnote *: The note of M. Guizot on the tribunitian power
applies to the French translation rather than to the original.
The former has, maintenir la balance toujours egale, which
implies much more than Gibbon's general expression. The note
belongs rather to the history of the Republic than that of the
Empire. - M]

To these accumulated honors, the policy of Augustus soon
added the splendid as well as important dignities of supreme
pontiff, and of censor. By the former he acquired the management
of the religion, and by the latter a legal inspection over the
manners and fortunes, of the Roman people. If so many distinct
and independent powers did not exactly unite with each other, the
complaisance of the senate was prepared to supply every
deficiency by the most ample and extraordinary concessions. The
emperors, as the first ministers of the republic, were exempted
from the obligation and penalty of many inconvenient laws: they
were authorized to convoke the senate, to make several motions in
the same day, to recommend candidates for the honors of the
state, to enlarge the bounds of the city, to employ the revenue
at their discretion, to declare peace and war, to ratify
treaties; and by a most comprehensive clause, they were empowered
to execute whatsoever they should judge advantageous to the
empire, and agreeable to the majesty of things private or public,
human of divine. ^14

[Footnote 14: See a fragment of a Decree of the Senate,
conferring on the emperor Vespasian all the powers granted to his
predecessors, Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius. This curious and
important monument is published in Gruter's Inscriptions, No.
ccxlii.

Note: It is also in the editions of Tacitus by Ryck, (Annal.
p. 420, 421,) and Ernesti, (Excurs. ad lib. iv. 6;) but this
fragment contains so many inconsistencies, both in matter and
form, that its authenticity may be doubted - W.]

When all the various powers of executive government were
committed to the Imperial magistrate, the ordinary magistrates of
the commonwealth languished in obscurity, without vigor, and
almost without business. The names and forms of the ancient
administration were preserved by Augustus with the most anxious
care. The usual number of consuls, praetors, and tribunes, ^15
were annually invested with their respective ensigns of office,
and continued to discharge some of their least important
functions. Those honors still attracted the vain ambition of the
Romans; and the emperors themselves, though invested for life
with the powers of the consul ship, frequently aspired to the
title of that annual dignity, which they condescended to share
with the most illustrious of their fellow-citizens. ^16 In the
election of these magistrates, the people, during the reign of
Augustus, were permitted to expose all the inconveniences of a
wild democracy. That artful prince, instead of discovering the
least symptom of impatience, humbly solicited their suffrages for
himself or his friends, and scrupulously practised all the duties
of an ordinary candidate. ^17 But we may venture to ascribe to
his councils the first measure of the succeeding reign, by which
the elections were transferred to the senate. ^18 The assemblies
of the people were forever abolished, and the emperors were
delivered from a dangerous multitude, who, without restoring
liberty, might have disturbed, and perhaps endangered, the
established government.

[Footnote 15: Two consuls were created on the Calends of January;
but in the course of the year others were substituted in their
places, till the annual number seems to have amounted to no less
than twelve. The praetors were usually sixteen or eighteen,
(Lipsius in Excurs. D. ad Tacit. Annal. l. i.) I have not
mentioned the Aediles or Quaestors Officers of the police or
revenue easily adapt themselves to any form of government. In
the time of Nero, the tribunes legally possessed the right of
intercession, though it might be dangerous to exercise it (Tacit.
Annal. xvi. 26.) In the time of Trajan, it was doubtful whether
the tribuneship was an office or a name, (Plin. Epist. i. 23.)]

[Footnote 16: The tyrants themselves were ambitious of the
consulship. The virtuous princes were moderate in the pursuit,
and exact in the discharge of it. Trajan revived the ancient
oath, and swore before the consul's tribunal that he would
observe the laws, (Plin. Panegyric c. 64.)]

[Footnote 17: Quoties Magistratuum Comitiis interesset. Tribus
cum candidatis suis circunbat: supplicabatque more solemni.
Ferebat et ipse suffragium in tribubus, ut unus e populo.
Suetonius in August c. 56.]
[Footnote 18: Tum primum Comitia e campo ad patres translata
sunt. Tacit. Annal. i. 15. The word primum seems to allude to
some faint and unsuccessful efforts which were made towards
restoring them to the people.
Note: The emperor Caligula made the attempt: he rest red the
Comitia to the people, but, in a short time, took them away
again. Suet. in Caio. c. 16. Dion. lix. 9, 20. Nevertheless, at
the time of Dion, they preserved still the form of the Comitia.
Dion. lviii. 20. - W.]

By declaring themselves the protectors of the people, Marius
and Caesar had subverted the constitution of their country. But
as soon as the senate had been humbled and disarmed, such an
assembly, consisting of five or six hundred persons, was found a
much more tractable and useful instrument of dominion. It was on
the dignity of the senate that Augustus and his successors
founded their new empire; and they affected, on every occasion,
to adopt the language and principles of Patricians. In the
administration of their own powers, they frequently consulted the
great national council, and seemed to refer to its decision the
most important concerns of peace and war. Rome, Italy, and the
internal provinces, were subject to the immediate jurisdiction of
the senate. With regard to civil objects, it was the supreme
court of appeal; with regard to criminal matters, a tribunal,
constituted for the trial of all offences that were committed by
men in any public station, or that affected the peace and majesty
of the Roman people. The exercise of the judicial power became
the most frequent and serious occupation of the senate; and the
important causes that were pleaded before them afforded a last
refuge to the spirit of ancient eloquence. As a council of
state, and as a court of justice, the senate possessed very
considerable prerogatives; but in its legislative capacity, in
which it was supposed virtually to represent the people, the
rights of sovereignty were acknowledged to reside in that
assembly. Every power was derived from their authority, every
law was ratified by their sanction. Their regular meetings were
held on three stated days in every month, the Calends, the Nones,
and the Ides. The debates were conducted with decent freedom;
and the emperors themselves, who gloried in the name of senators,
sat, voted, and divided with their equals.
To resume, in a few words, the system of the Imperial
government; as it was instituted by Augustus, and maintained by
those princes who understood their own interest and that of the
people, it may be defined an absolute monarchy disguised by the
forms of a commonwealth. The masters of the Roman world
surrounded their throne with darkness, concealed their
irresistible strength, and humbly professed themselves the
accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they
dictated and obeyed. ^19
[Footnote 19: Dion Cassius (l. liii. p. 703 - 714) has given a
very loose and partial sketch of the Imperial system. To
illustrate and often to correct him, I have meditated Tacitus,
examined Suetonius, and consulted the following moderns: the Abbe
de la Bleterie, in the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions,
tom. xix. xxi. xxiv. xxv. xxvii. Beaufort Republique Romaine,
tom. i. p. 255 - 275. The Dissertations of Noodt aad Gronovius
de lege Regia, printed at Leyden, in the year 1731 Gravina de
Imperio Romano, p. 479 - 544 of his Opuscula. Maffei, Verona
Illustrata, p. i. p. 245, &c.]
The face of the court corresponded with the forms of the
administration. The emperors, if we except those tyrants whose
capricious folly violated every law of nature and decency,
disdained that pomp and ceremony which might offend their
countrymen, but could add nothing to their real power. In all
the offices of life, they affected to confound themselves with
their subjects, and maintained with them an equal intercourse of
visits and entertainments. Their habit, their palace, their
table, were suited only to the rank of an opulent senator. Their
family, however numerous or splendid, was composed entirely of
their domestic slaves and freedmen. ^20 Augustus or Trajan would
have blushed at employing the meanest of the Romans in those
menial offices, which, in the household and bedchamber of a
limited monarch, are so eagerly solicited by the proudest nobles
of Britain.
[Footnote 20: A weak prince will always be governed by his
domestics. The power of slaves aggravated the shame of the
Romans; and the senate paid court to a Pallas or a Narcissus.
There is a chance that a modern favorite may be a gentleman.]

The deification of the emperors ^21 is the only instance in
which they departed from their accustomed prudence and modesty.
The Asiatic Greeks were the first inventors, the successors of
Alexander the first objects, of this servile and impious mode of
adulation. ^* It was easily transferred from the kings to the
governors of Asia; and the Roman magistrates very frequently were
adored as provincial deities, with the pomp of altars and
temples, of festivals and sacrifices. ^22 It was natural that the
emperors should not refuse what the proconsuls had accepted; and
the divine honors which both the one and the other received from
the provinces, attested rather the despotism than the servitude
of Rome. But the conquerors soon imitated the vanquished nations
in the arts of flattery; and the imperious spirit of the first
Caesar too easily consented to assume, during his lifetime, a
place among the tutelar deities of Rome. The milder temper of
his successor declined so dangerous an ambition, which was never
afterwards revived, except by the madness of Caligula and
Domitian. Augustus permitted indeed some of the provincial
cities to erect temples to his honor, on condition that they
should associate the worship of Rome with that of the sovereign;
he tolerated private superstition, of which he might be the
object; ^23 but he contented himself with being revered by the
senate and the people in his human character, and wisely left to
his successor the care of his public deification. A regular
custom was introduced, that on the decease of every emperor who
had neither lived nor died like a tyrant, the senate by a solemn
decree should place him in the number of the gods: and the
ceremonies of his apotheosis were blended with those of his
funeral. ^! This legal, and, as it should seem, injudicious
profanation, so abhorrent to our stricter principles, was
received with a very faint murmur, ^24 by the easy nature of
Polytheism; but it was received as an institution, not of
religion, but of policy. We should disgrace the virtues of the
Antonines by comparing them with the vices of Hercules or
Jupiter. Even the characters of Caesar or Augustus were far
superior to those of the popular deities. But it was the
misfortune of the former to live in an enlightened age, and their
actions were too faithfully recorded to admit of such a mixture
of fable and mystery, as the devotion of the vulgar requires. As
soon as their divinity was established by law, it sunk into
oblivion, without contributing either to their own fame, or to
the dignity of succeeding princes.

[Footnote 21: See a treatise of Vandale de Consecratione
Principium. It would be easier for me to copy, than it has been
to verify, the quotations of that learned Dutchman.]

[Footnote *: This is inaccurate. The successors of Alexander
were not the first deified sovereigns; the Egyptians had deified
and worshipped many of their kings; the Olympus of the Greeks was
peopled with divinities who had reigned on earth; finally,
Romulus himself had received the honors of an apotheosis (Tit.
Liv. i. 16) a long time before Alexander and his successors. It
is also an inaccuracy to confound the honors offered in the
provinces to the Roman governors, by temples and altars, with the
true apotheosis of the emperors; it was not a religious worship,
for it had neither priests nor sacrifices. Augustus was severely
blamed for having permitted himself to be worshipped as a god in
the provinces, (Tac. Ann. i. 10: ) he would not have incurred
that blame if he had only done what the governors were accustomed
to do. - G. from W. M. Guizot has been guilty of a still greater
inaccuracy in confounding the deification of the living with the
apotheosis of the dead emperors. The nature of the king-worship
of Egypt is still very obscure; the hero-worship of the Greeks
very different from the adoration of the "praesens numen" in the
reigning sovereign. - M.]

[Footnote 22: See a dissertation of the Abbe Mongault in the
first volume of the Academy of Inscriptions.]

[Footnote 23: Jurandasque tuum per nomen ponimus aras, says
Horace to the emperor himself, and Horace was well acquainted
with the court of Augustus.
Note: The good princes were not those who alone obtained the
honors of an apotheosis: it was conferred on many tyrants. See
an excellent treatise of Schaepflin, de Consecratione Imperatorum
Romanorum, in his Commentationes historicae et criticae. Bale,
1741, p. 184. - W.]

[Footnote !: The curious satire in the works of Seneca, is the
strongest remonstrance of profaned religion. - M.]

[Footnote 24: See Cicero in Philippic. i. 6. Julian in
Caesaribus. Inque Deum templis jurabit Roma per umbras, is the
indignant expression of Lucan; but it is a patriotic rather than
a devout indignation.]

In the consideration of the Imperial government, we have
frequently mentioned the artful founder, under his well-known
title of Augustus, which was not, however, conferred upon him
till the edifice was almost completed. The obscure name of
Octavianus he derived from a mean family, in the little town of
Aricia. ^! It was stained with the blood of the proscription; and
he was desirous, had it been possible, to erase all memory of his
former life. The illustrious surname of Caesar he had assumed, as
the adopted son of the dictator: but he had too much good sense,
either to hope to be confounded, or to wish to be compared with
that extraordinary man. It was proposed in the senate to dignify
their minister with a new appellation; and after a serious
discussion, that of Augustus was chosen, among several others, as
being the most expressive of the character of peace and sanctity,
which he uniformly affected. ^25 Augustus was therefore a
personal, Caesar a family distinction. The former should
naturally have expired with the prince on whom it was bestowed;
and however the latter was diffused by adoption and female
alliance, Nero was the last prince who could allege any
hereditary claim to the honors of the Julian line. But, at the
time of his death, the practice of a century had inseparably
connected those appellations with the Imperial dignity, and they
have been preserved by a long succession of emperors, Romans,
Greeks, Franks, and Germans, from the fall of the republic to the
present time. A distinction was, however, soon introduced. The
sacred title of Augustus was always reserved for the monarch,
whilst the name of Caesar was more freely communicated to his
relations; and, from the reign of Hadrian, at least, was
appropriated to the second person in the state, who was
considered as the presumptive heir of the empire. ^*

[Footnote !: Octavius was not of an obscure family, but of a
considerable one of the equestrian order. His father, C.
Octavius, who possessed great property, had been praetor,
governor of Macedonia, adorned with the title of Imperator, and
was on the point of becoming consul when he died. His mother
Attia, was daughter of M. Attius Balbus, who had also been
praetor. M. Anthony reproached Octavius with having been born in
Aricia, which, nevertheless, was a considerable municipal city:
he was vigorously refuted by Cicero. Philip. iii. c. 6. - W.
Gibbon probably meant that the family had but recently emerged
into notice. - M.]

[Footnote 25: Dion. Cassius, l. liii. p. 710, with the curious
Annotations of Reimar.]

[Footnote *: The princes who by their birth or their adoption
belonged to the family of the Caesars, took the name of Caesar.
After the death of Nero, this name designated the Imperial
dignity itself, and afterwards the appointed successor. The time
at which it was employed in the latter sense, cannot be fixed
with certainty. Bach (Hist. Jurisprud. Rom. 304) affirms from
Tacitus, H. i. 15, and Suetonius, Galba, 17, that Galba conferred
on Piso Lucinianus the title of Caesar, and from that time the
term had this meaning: but these two historians simply say that
he appointed Piso his successor, and do not mention the word
Caesar. Aurelius Victor (in Traj. 348, ed. Artzen) says that
Hadrian first received this title on his adoption; but as the
adoption of Hadrian is still doubtful, and besides this, as
Trajan, on his death-bed, was not likely to have created a new
title for his successor, it is more probable that Aelius Verus
was the first who was called Caesar when adopted by Hadrian.
Spart. in Aelio Vero, 102.- W.]

Chapter III: The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines.

Part II.

The tender respect of Augustus for a free constitution which
he had destroyed, can only be explained by an attentive
consideration of the character of that subtle tyrant. A cool
head, an unfeeling heart, and a cowardly disposition, prompted
him at the age of nineteen to assume the mask of hypocrisy, which
he never afterwards laid aside. With the same hand, and probably
with the same temper, he signed the proscription of Cicero, and
the pardon of Cinna. His virtues, and even his vices, were
artificial; and according to the various dictates of his
interest, he was at first the enemy, and at last the father, of
the Roman world. ^26 When he framed the artful system of the
Imperial authority, his moderation was inspired by his fears. He
wished to deceive the people by an image of civil liberty, and
the armies by an image of civil government.

[Footnote 26: As Octavianus advanced to the banquet of the
Caesars, his color changed like that of the chameleon; pale at
first, then red, afterwards black, he at last assumed the mild
livery of Venus and the Graces, (Caesars, p. 309.) This image,
employed by Julian in his ingenious fiction, is just and elegant;
but when he considers this change of character as real and
ascribes it to the power of philosophy, he does too much honor to
philosophy and to Octavianus.]

I. The death of Caesar was ever before his eyes. He had
lavished wealth and honors on his adherents; but the most favored
friends of his uncle were in the number of the conspirators. The
fidelity of the legions might defend his authority against open
rebellion; but their vigilance could not secure his person from
the dagger of a determined republican; and the Romans, who
revered the memory of Brutus, ^27 would applaud the imitation of
his virtue. Caesar had provoked his fate, as much as by the
ostentation of his power, as by his power itself. The consul or
the tribune might have reigned in peace. The title of king had
armed the Romans against his life. Augustus was sensible that
mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery,
provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed
their ancient freedom. A feeble senate and enervated people
cheerfully acquiesced in the pleasing illusion, as long as it was
supported by the virtue, or even by the prudence, of the
successors of Augustus. It was a motive of self-preservation,
not a principle of liberty, that animated the conspirators
against Caligula, Nero, and Domitian. They attacked the person
of the tyrant, without aiming their blow at the authority of the
emperor.

[Footnote 27: Two centuries after the establishment of monarchy,
the emperor Marcus Antoninus recommends the character of Brutus
as a perfect model of Roman virtue.

Note: In a very ingenious essay, Gibbon has ventured to call
in question the preeminent virtue of Brutus. Misc Works, iv. 95.
- M.]
There appears, indeed, one memorable occasion, in which the
senate, after seventy years of patience, made an ineffectual
attempt to re-assume its long-forgotten rights. When the throne
was vacant by the murder of Caligula, the consuls convoked that
assembly in the Capitol, condemned the memory of the Caesars,
gave the watchword liberty to the few cohorts who faintly adhered
to their standard, and during eight-and-forty hours acted as the
independent chiefs of a free commonwealth. But while they
deliberated, the praetorian guards had resolved. The stupid
Claudius, brother of Germanicus, was already in their camp,
invested with the Imperial purple, and prepared to support his
election by arms. The dream of liberty was at an end; and the
senate awoke to all the horrors of inevitable servitude.
Deserted by the people, and threatened by a military force, that
feeble assembly was compelled to ratify the choice of the
praetorians, and to embrace the benefit of an amnesty, which
Claudius had the prudence to offer, and the generosity to
observe. ^28

[See The Capitol: When the throne was vacant by the murder of
Caligula, the consuls convoked that assembly in the Capitol.]

[Footnote 28: It is much to be regretted that we have lost the
part of Tacitus which treated of that transaction. We are forced
to content ourselves with the popular rumors of Josephus, and the
imperfect hints of Dion and Suetonius.]

II. The insolence of the armies inspired Augustus with
fears of a still more alarming nature. The despair of the
citizens could only attempt, what the power of the soldiers was,
at any time, able to execute. How precarious was his own
authority over men whom he had taught to violate every social
duty! He had heard their seditious clamors; he dreaded their
calmer moments of reflection. One revolution had been purchased
by immense rewards; but a second revolution might double those
rewards. The troops professed the fondest attachment to the
house of Caesar; but the attachments of the multitude are
capricious and inconstant. Augustus summoned to his aid whatever
remained in those fierce minds of Roman prejudices; enforced the
rigor of discipline by the sanction of law; and, interposing the
majesty of the senate between the emperor and the army, boldly
claimed their allegiance, as the first magistrate of the
republic.

During a long period of two hundred and twenty years from
the establishment of this artful system to the death of Commodus,
the dangers inherent to a military government were, in a great
measure, suspended. The soldiers were seldom roused to that
fatal sense of their own strength, and of the weakness of the
civil authority, which was, before and afterwards, productive of
such dreadful calamities. Caligula and Domitian were
assassinated in their palace by their own domestics: ^* the
convulsions which agitated Rome on the death of the former, were
confined to the walls of the city. But Nero involved the whole
empire in his ruin. In the space of eighteen months, four
princes perished by the sword; and the Roman world was shaken by
the fury of the contending armies. Excepting only this short,
though violent eruption of military license, the two centuries
from Augustus ^29 to Commodus passed away unstained with civil
blood, and undisturbed by revolutions. The emperor was elected
by the authority of the senate, and the consent of the soldiers.
^30 The legions respected their oath of fidelity; and it requires
a minute inspection of the Roman annals to discover three
inconsiderable rebellions, which were all suppressed in a few
months, and without even the hazard of a battle. ^31

[Footnote *: Caligula perished by a conspiracy formed by the
officers of the praetorian troops, and Domitian would not,
perhaps, have been assassinated without the participation of the
two chiefs of that guard in his death. - W.]
[Footnote 29: Augustus restored the ancient severity of
discipline. After the civil wars, he dropped the endearing name
of Fellow-Soldiers, and called them only Soldiers, (Sueton. in
August. c. 25.) See the use Tiberius made of the Senate in the
mutiny of the Pannonian legions, (Tacit. Annal. i.)]
[Footnote 30: These words seem to have been the constitutional
language. See Tacit. Annal. xiii. 4.

Note: This panegyric on the soldiery is rather too liberal.
Claudius was obliged to purchase their consent to his coronation:
the presents which he made, and those which the praetorians
received on other occasions, considerably embarrassed the
finances. Moreover, this formidable guard favored, in general,
the cruelties of the tyrants. The distant revolts were more
frequent than Gibbon thinks: already, under Tiberius, the legions
of Germany would have seditiously constrained Germanicus to
assume the Imperial purple. On the revolt of Claudius Civilis,
under Vespasian, the legions of Gaul murdered their general, and
offered their assistance to the Gauls who were in insurrection.
Julius Sabinus made himself be proclaimed emperor, &c. The wars,
the merit, and the severe discipline of Trajan, Hadrian, and the
two Antonines, established, for some time, a greater degree of
subordination. - W]
[Footnote 31: The first was Camillus Scribonianus, who took up
arms in Dalmatia against Claudius, and was deserted by his own
troops in five days, the second, L. Antonius, in Germany, who
rebelled against Domitian; and the third, Avidius Cassius, in the
reign of M. Antoninus. The two last reigned but a few months,
and were cut off by their own adherents. We may observe, that
both Camillus and Cassius colored their ambition with the design
of restoring the republic; a task, said Cassius peculiarly
reserved for his name and family.]

In elective monarchies, the vacancy of the throne is a
moment big with danger and mischief. The Roman emperors,
desirous to spare the legions that interval of suspense, and the
temptation of an irregular choice, invested their designed
successor with so large a share of present power, as should
enable him, after their decease, to assume the remainder, without
suffering the empire to perceive the change of masters. Thus
Augustus, after all his fairer prospects had been snatched from
him by untimely deaths, rested his last hopes on Tiberius,
obtained for his adopted son the censorial and tribunitian
powers, and dictated a law, by which the future prince was
invested with an authority equal to his own, over the provinces
and the armies. ^32 Thus Vespasian subdued the generous mind of
his eldest son. Titus was adored by the eastern legions, which,
under his command, had recently achieved the conquest of Judaea.
His power was dreaded, and, as his virtues were clouded by the
intemperance of youth, his designs were suspected. Instead of
listening to such unworthy suspicions, the prudent monarch
associated Titus to the full powers of the Imperial dignity; and
the grateful son ever approved himself the humble and faithful
minister of so indulgent a father. ^33

[Footnote 32: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 121. Sueton. in
Tiber. c. 26.]
[Footnote 33: Sueton. in Tit. c. 6. Plin. in Praefat. Hist.
Natur.]
The good sense of Vespasian engaged him indeed to embrace
every measure that might confirm his recent and precarious
elevation. The military oath, and the fidelity of the troops,
had been consecrated, by the habits of a hundred years, to the
name and family of the Caesars; and although that family had been
continued only by the fictitious rite of adoption, the Romans
still revered, in the person of Nero, the grandson of Germanicus,
and the lineal successor of Augustus. It was not without
reluctance and remorse, that the praetorian guards had been
persuaded to abandon the cause of the tyrant. ^34 The rapid
downfall of Galba, Otho, and Vitellus, taught the armies to
consider the emperors as the creatures of their will, and the
instruments of their license. The birth of Vespasian was mean:
his grandfather had been a private soldier, his father a petty
officer of the revenue; ^35 his own merit had raised him, in an
advanced age, to the empire; but his merit was rather useful than
shining, and his virtues were disgraced by a strict and even
sordid parsimony. Such a prince consulted his true interest by
the association of a son, whose more splendid and amiable
character might turn the public attention from the obscure
origin, to the future glories, of the Flavian house. Under the
mild administration of Titus, the Roman world enjoyed a transient
felicity, and his beloved memory served to protect, above fifteen
years, the vices of his brother Domitian.
[Footnote 34: This idea is frequently and strongly inculcated by
Tacitus. See Hist. i. 5, 16, ii. 76.]

[Footnote 35: The emperor Vespasian, with his usual good sense,
laughed at the genealogists, who deduced his family from Flavius,
the founder of Reate, (his native country,) and one of the
companions of Hercules Suet in Vespasian, c. 12.]

Nerva had scarcely accepted the purple from the assassins of
Domitian, before he discovered that his feeble age was unable to
stem the torrent of public disorders, which had multiplied under
the long tyranny of his predecessor. His mild disposition was
respected by the good; but the degenerate Romans required a more
vigorous character, whose justice should strike terror into the
guilty. Though he had several relations, he fixed his choice on
a stranger. He adopted Trajan, then about forty years of age,
and who commanded a powerful army in the Lower Germany; and
immediately, by a decree of the senate, declared him his
colleague and successor in the empire. ^36 It is sincerely to be
lamented, that whilst we are fatigued with the disgustful
relation of Nero's crimes and follies, we are reduced to collect
the actions of Trajan from the glimmerings of an abridgment, or
the doubtful light of a panegyric. There remains, however, one
panegyric far removed beyond the suspicion of flattery. Above
two hundred and fifty years after the death of Trajan, the
senate, in pouring out the customary acclamations on the
accession of a new emperor, wished that he might surpass the
felicity of Augustus, and the virtue of Trajan. ^37

[Footnote 36: Dion, l. lxviii. p. 1121. Plin. Secund. in
Panegyric.]
[Footnote 37: Felicior Augusto, Melior Trajano. Eutrop. viii.
5.]
We may readily believe, that the father of his country
hesitated whether he ought to intrust the various and doubtful
character of his kinsman Hadrian with sovereign power. In his
last moments the arts of the empress Plotina either fixed the
irresolution of Trajan, or boldly supposed a fictitious adoption;
^38 the truth of which could not be safely disputed, and Hadrian
was peaceably acknowledged as his lawful successor. Under his
reign, as has been already mentioned, the empire flourished in
peace and prosperity. He encouraged the arts, reformed the laws,
asserted military discipline, and visited all his provinces in
person. His vast and active genius was equally suited to the
most enlarged views, and the minute details of civil policy. But
the ruling passions of his soul were curiosity and vanity. As
they prevailed, and as they were attracted by different objects,
Hadrian was, by turns, an excellent prince, a ridiculous sophist,
and a jealous tyrant. The general tenor of his conduct deserved
praise for its equity and moderation. Yet in the first days of
his reign, he put to death four consular senators, his personal
enemies, and men who had been judged worthy of empire; and the
tediousness of a painful illness rendered him, at last, peevish
and cruel. The senate doubted whether they should pronounce him a
god or a tyrant; and the honors decreed to his memory were
granted to the prayers of the pious Antoninus. ^39

[Footnote 38: Dion (l. lxix. p. 1249) affirms the whole to have
been a fiction, on the authority of his father, who, being
governor of the province where Trajan died, had very good
opportunities of sifting this mysterious transaction. Yet
Dodwell (Praelect. Camden. xvii.) has maintained that Hadrian was
called to the certain hope of the empire, during the lifetime of
Trajan.]

[Footnote 39: Dion, (l. lxx. p. 1171.) Aurel. Victor.]

The caprice of Hadrian influenced his choice of a successor.

After revolving in his mind several men of distinguished merit,
whom he esteemed and hated, he adopted Aelius Verus a gay and
voluptuous nobleman, recommended by uncommon beauty to the lover
of Antinous. ^40 But whilst Hadrian was delighting himself with
his own applause, and the acclamations of the soldiers, whose
consent had been secured by an immense donative, the new Caesar
^41 was ravished from his embraces by an untimely death. He left
only one son. Hadrian commended the boy to the gratitude of the
Antonines. He was adopted by Pius; and, on the accession of
Marcus, was invested with an equal share of sovereign power.
Among the many vices of this younger Verus, he possessed one
virtue; a dutiful reverence for his wiser colleague, to whom he
willingly abandoned the ruder cares of empire. The philosophic
emperor dissembled his follies, lamented his early death, and
cast a decent veil over his memory.

[Footnote 40: The deification of Antinous, his medals, his
statues, temples, city, oracles, and constellation, are well
known, and still dishonor the memory of Hadrian. Yet we may
remark, that of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only
one whose taste in love was entirely correct. For the honors of
Antinous, see Spanheim, Commentaire sui les Caesars de Julien, p.
80.]

[Footnote 41: Hist. August. p. 13. Aurelius Victor in Epitom.]
As soon as Hadrian's passion was either gratified or
disappointed, he resolved to deserve the thanks of posterity, by
placing the most exalted merit on the Roman throne. His
discerning eye easily discovered a senator about fifty years of
age, clameless in all the offices of life; and a youth of about
seventeen, whose riper years opened a fair prospect of every
virtue: the elder of these was declared the son and successor of
Hadrian, on condition, however, that he himself should
immediately adopt the younger. The two Antonines (for it is of
them that we are now peaking,) governed the Roman world forty-two
years, with the same invariable spirit of wisdom and virtue.
Although Pius had two sons, ^42 he preferred the welfare of Rome
to the interest of his family, gave his daughter Faustina, in
marriage to young Marcus, obtained from the senate the
tribunitian and proconsular powers, and, with a noble disdain, or
rather ignorance of jealousy, associated him to all the labors of
government. Marcus, on the other hand, revered the character of
his benefactor, loved him as a parent, obeyed him as his
sovereign, ^43 and, after he was no more, regulated his own
administration by the example and maxims of his predecessor.
Their united reigns are possibly the only period of history in
which the happiness of a great people was the sole object of
government.

[Footnote 42: Without the help of medals and inscriptions, we
should be ignorant of this fact, so honorable to the memory of
Pius.
Note: Gibbon attributes to Antoninus Pius a merit which he
either did not possess, or was not in a situation to display.

1. He was adopted only on the condition that he would adopt, in
his turn, Marcus Aurelius and L. Verus.

2. His two sons died children, and one of them, M. Galerius,
alone, appears to have survived, for a few years, his father's
coronation. Gibbon is also mistaken when he says (note 42) that
"without the help of medals and inscriptions, we should be
ignorant that Antoninus had two sons."
Capitolinus says expressly, (c. 1,) Filii mares duo,
duae-foeminae; we only owe their names to he medals. Pagi. Cont.
Baron, i. 33, edit Paris. - W.]
[Footnote 43: During the twenty-three years of Pius's reign,
Marcus was only two nights absent from the palace, and even those
were at different times. Hist. August. p. 25.]

Titus Antoninus Pius has been justly denominated a second
Numa. The same love of religion, justice, and peace, was the
distinguishing characteristic of both princes. But the situation
of the latter opened a much larger field for the exercise of
those virtues. Numa could only prevent a few neighboring
villages from plundering each other's harvests. Antoninus
diffused order and tranquillity over the greatest part of the
earth. His reign is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing
very few materials for history; which is, indeed, little more
than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of
mankind. In private life, he was an amiable, as well as a good
man. The native simplicity of his virtue was a stranger to
vanity or affectation. He enjoyed with moderation the
conveniences of his fortune, and the innocent pleasures of
society; ^44 and the benevolence of his soul displayed itself in
a cheerful serenity of temper.
[Footnote 44: He was fond of the theatre, and not insensible to
the charms of the fair sex. Marcus Antoninus, i. 16. Hist.
August. p. 20, 21. Julian in Caesar.]

The virtue of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was of severer and
more laborious kind. ^45 It was the well-earned harvest of many a
learned conference, of many a patient lecture, and many a
midnight lucubration. At the age of twelve years he embraced the
rigid system of the Stoics, which taught him to submit his body
to his mind, his passions to his reason; to consider virtue as
the only good, vice as the only evil, all things external as
things indifferent. ^46 His meditations, composed in the tumult
of the camp, are still extant; and he even condescended to give
lessons of philosophy, in a more public manner than was perhaps
consistent with the modesty of sage, or the dignity of an
emperor. ^47 But his life was the noblest commentary on the
precepts of Zeno. He was severe to himself, indulgent to the
imperfections of others, just and beneficent to all mankind. He
regretted that Avidius Cassius, who excited a rebellion in Syria,
had disappointed him, by a voluntary death, ^* of the pleasure of
converting an enemy into a friend;; and he justified the
sincerity of that sentiment, by moderating the zeal of the senate
against the adherents of the traitor. ^48 War he detested, as the
disgrace and calamity of human nature; ^!! but when the necessity
of a just defence called upon him to take up arms, he readily
exposed his person to eight winter campaigns, on the frozen banks
of the Danube, the severity of which was at last fatal to the
weakness of his constitution. His memory was revered by a
grateful posterity, and above a century after his death, many
persons preserved the image of Marcus Antoninus among those of
their household gods. ^49

[Footnote 45: The enemies of Marcus charged him with hypocrisy,
and with a want of that simplicity which distinguished Pius and
even Verus. (Hist. August. 6, 34.) This suspicions, unjust as it
was, may serve to account for the superior applause bestowed upon
personal qualifications, in preference to the social virtues.
Even Marcus Antoninus has been called a hypocrite; but the
wildest scepticism never insinuated that Caesar might probably be
a coward, or Tully a fool. Wit and valor are qualifications more
easily ascertained than humanity or the love of justice.]

[Footnote 46: Tacitus has characterized, in a few words, the
principles of the portico: Doctores sapientiae secutus est, qui
sola bona quae honesta, main tantum quae turpia; potentiam,
nobilitatem, aeteraque extra... bonis neque malis adnumerant.
Tacit. Hist. iv. 5.]

[Footnote 47: Before he went on the second expedition against the
Germans, he read lectures of philosophy to the Roman people,
during three days. He had already done the same in the cities of
Greece and Asia. Hist. August. in Cassio, c. 3.]

[Footnote *: Cassius was murdered by his own partisans. Vulcat.
Gallic. in Cassio, c. 7. Dion, lxxi. c. 27. - W.]

[Footnote 48: Dion, l. lxxi. p. 1190. Hist. August. in Avid.
Cassio.
Note: See one of the newly discovered passages of Dion
Cassius. Marcus wrote to the senate, who urged the execution of
the partisans of Cassius, in these words: "I entreat and beseech
you to preserve my reign unstained by senatorial blood. None of
your order must perish either by your desire or mine." Mai.
Fragm. Vatican. ii. p. 224. - M.]

[Footnote !!: Marcus would not accept the services of any of the
barbarian allies who crowded to his standard in the war against
Avidius Cassius. "Barbarians," he said, with wise but vain
sagacity, "must not become acquainted with the dissensions of the
Roman people." Mai. Fragm Vatican l. 224. - M.]

[Footnote 49: Hist. August. in Marc. Antonin. c. 18.]

If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the
world, during which the condition of the human race was most
happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that
which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of
Commodus. The vast extent of the Roman empire was governed by
absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The
armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four
successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded
involuntary respect. The forms of the civil administration were
carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines,
who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with
considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws.
Such princes deserved the honor of restoring the republic, had
the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational
freedom.

The labors of these monarchs were overpaid by the immense
reward that inseparably waited on their success; by the honest
pride of virtue, and by the exquisite delight of beholding the
general happiness of which they were the authors. A just but
melancholy reflection imbittered, however, the noblest of human
enjoyments. They must often have recollected the instability of
a happiness which depended on the character of single man. The
fatal moment was perhaps approaching, when some licentious youth,
or some jealous tyrant, would abuse, to the destruction, that
absolute power, which they had exerted for the benefit of their
people. The ideal restraints of the senate and the laws might
serve to display the virtues, but could never correct the vices,
of the emperor. The military force was a blind and irresistible
instrument of oppression; and the corruption of Roman manners
would always supply flatterers eager to applaud, and ministers
prepared to serve, the fear or the avarice, the lust or the
cruelty, of their master.
These gloomy apprehensions had been already justified by the
experience of the Romans. The annals of the emperors exhibit a
strong and various picture of human nature, which we should
vainly seek among the mixed and doubtful characters of modern
history. In the conduct of those monarchs we may trace the
utmost lines of vice and virtue; the most exalted perfection, and
the meanest degeneracy of our own species. The golden age of
Trajan and the Antonines had been preceded by an age of iron. It
is almost superfluous to enumerate the unworthy successors of
Augustus. Their unparalleled vices, and the splendid theatre on
which they were acted, have saved them from oblivion. The dark,
unrelenting Tiberius, the furious Caligula, the feeble Claudius,
the profligate and cruel Nero, the beastly Vitellius, ^50 and the
timid, inhuman Domitian, are condemned to everlasting infamy.
During fourscore years (excepting only the short and doubtful
respite of Vespasian's reign) ^51 Rome groaned beneath an
unremitting tyranny, which exterminated the ancient families of
the republic, and was fatal to almost every virtue and every
talent that arose in that unhappy period.

[Footnote 50: Vitellius consumed in mere eating at least six
millions of our money in about seven months. It is not easy to
express his vices with dignity, or even decency. Tacitus fairly
calls him a hog, but it is by substituting for a coarse word a
very fine image. "At Vitellius, umbraculis hortorum abditus, ut
ignava animalia, quibus si cibum suggeras, jacent torpentque,
praeterita, instantia, futura, pari oblivione dimiserat. Atque
illum nemore Aricino desidem et marcentum," &c. Tacit. Hist.
iii. 36, ii. 95. Sueton. in Vitell. c. 13. Dion. Cassius, l xv.
p. 1062.]
[Footnote 51: The execution of Helvidius Priscus, and of the
virtuous Eponina, disgraced the reign of Vespasian.]

Under the reign of these monsters, the slavery of the Romans
was accompanied with two peculiar circumstances, the one
occasioned by their former liberty, the other by their extensive
conquests, which rendered their condition more completely
wretched than that of the victims of tyranny in any other age or
country. From these causes were derived, 1. The exquisite
sensibility of the sufferers; and, 2. The impossibility of
escaping from the hand of the oppressor.

I. When Persia was governed by the descendants of Sefi, a
race of princes whose wanton cruelty often stained their divan,
their table, and their bed, with the blood of their favorites,
there is a saying recorded of a young nobleman, that he never
departed from the sultan's presence, without satisfying himself
whether his head was still on his shoulders. The experience of
every day might almost justify the scepticism of Rustan. ^52 Yet
the fatal sword, suspended above him by a single thread, seems
not to have disturbed the slumbers, or interrupted the
tranquillity, of the Persian. The monarch's frown, he well knew,
could level him with the dust; but the stroke of lightning or
apoplexy might be equally fatal; and it was the part of a wise
man to forget the inevitable calamities of human life in the
enjoyment of the fleeting hour. He was dignified with the
appellation of the king's slave; had, perhaps, been purchased
from obscure parents, in a country which he had never known; and
was trained up from his infancy in the severe discipline of the
seraglio. ^53 His name, his wealth,his honors, were the gift of a
master, who might, without injustice, resume what he had
bestowed. Rustan's knowledge, if he possessed any, could only
serve to confirm his habits by prejudices. His language afforded
not words for any form of government, except absolute monarchy.
The history of the East informed him, that such had ever been the
condition of mankind. ^54 The Koran, and the interpreters of that
divine book, inculcated to him, that the sultan was the
descendant of the prophet, and the vicegerent of heaven; that
patience was the first virtue of a Mussulman, and unlimited
obedience the great duty of a subject.

[Footnote 52: Voyage de Chardin en Perse, vol. iii. p. 293.]
[Footnote 53: The practice of raising slaves to the great offices
of state is still more common among the Turks than among the
Persians. The miserable countries of Georgia and Circassia
supply rulers to the greatest part of the East.]

[Footnote 54: Chardin says, that European travellers have
diffused among the Persians some ideas of the freedom and
mildness of our governments. They have done them a very ill
office.]

The minds of the Romans were very differently prepared for
slavery. Oppressed beneath the weight of their own corruption and
of military violence, they for a long while preserved the
sentiments, or at least the ideas, of their free-born ancestors.
The education of Helvidius and Thrasea, of Tacitus and Pliny, was
the same as that of Cato and Cicero. From Grecian philosophy,
they had imbibed the justest and most liberal notions of the
dignity of human nature, and the origin of civil society. The
history of their own country had taught them to revere a free, a
virtuous, and a victorious commonwealth; to abhor the successful
crimes of Caesar and Augustus; and inwardly to despise those
tyrants whom they adored with the most abject flattery. As
magistrates and senators they were admitted into the great
council, which had once dictated laws to the earth, whose
authority was so often prostituted to the vilest purposes of
tyranny. Tiberius, and those emperors who adopted his maxims,
attempted to disguise their murders by the formalities of
justice, and perhaps enjoyed a secret pleasure in rendering the
senate their accomplice as well as their victim. By this
assembly, the last of the Romans were condemned for imaginary
crimes and real virtues. Their infamous accusers assumed the
language of independent patriots, who arraigned a dangerous
citizen before the tribunal of his country; and the public
service was rewarded by riches and honors. ^55 The servile judges
professed to assert the majesty of the commonwealth, violated in
the person of its first magistrate, ^56 whose clemency they most
applauded when they trembled the most at his inexorable and
impending cruelty. ^57 The tyrant beheld their baseness with just
contempt, and encountered their secret sentiments of detestation
with sincere and avowed hatred for the whole body of the senate.

[Footnote 55: They alleged the example of Scipio and Cato,
(Tacit. Annal. iii. 66.) Marcellus Epirus and Crispus Vibius had
acquired two millions and a half under Nero. Their wealth, which
aggravated their crimes, protected them under Vespasian. See
Tacit. Hist. iv. 43. Dialog. de Orator. c. 8. For one
accusation, Regulus, the just object of Pliny's satire, received
from the senate the consular ornaments, and a present of sixty
thousand pounds.]
[Footnote 56: The crime of majesty was formerly a treasonable
offence against the Roman people. As tribunes of the people,
Augustus and Tiberius applied tit to their own persons, and
extended it to an infinite latitude.
Note: It was Tiberius, not Augustus, who first took in this
sense the words crimen laesae majestatis. Bachii Trajanus, 27. -
W.]
[Footnote 57: After the virtuous and unfortunate widow of
Germanicus had been put to death, Tiberius received the thanks of
the senate for his clemency. she had not been publicly strangled;
nor was the body drawn with a hook to the Gemoniae, where those
of common male factors were exposed. See Tacit. Annal. vi. 25.
Sueton. in Tiberio c. 53.]

II. The division of Europe into a number of independent
states, connected, however, with each other by the general
resemblance of religion, language, and manners, is productive of
the most beneficial consequences to the liberty of mankind. A
modern tyrant, who should find no resistance either in his own
breast, or in his people, would soon experience a gentle restrain
form the example of his equals, the dread of present censure,d
the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies.
The object of his displeasure, escaping from the narrow limits of
his dominions, would easily obtain, in a happier climate, a
secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, the freedom
of complaint, and perhaps the means of revenge. But the empire
of the Romans filled the world, and when the empire fell into the
hands of a single person, he wold became a safe and dreary prison
for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism, whether he was
condemned to drags his gilded chain in rome and the senate, or to
were out a life of exile on the barren rock of Seriphus, or the
frozen bank of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair.
^58 To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every
side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which
he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized,
and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his
anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean,
inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians, of fierce
manners and unknown language, or dependent kings, who would
gladly purchase the emperor's protection by the sacrifice of an
obnoxious fugitive. ^59 "Wherever you are," said Cicero to the
exiled Marcellus, "remember that you are equally within the power
of the conqueror." ^60

[Footnote 58: Seriphus was a small rocky island in the Aegean
Sea, the inhabitants of which were despised for their ignorance
and obscurity. The place of Ovid's exile is well known, by his
just, but unmanly lamentations. It should seem, that he only
received an order to leave rome in so many days, and to transport
himself to Tomi. Guards and jailers were unnecessary.]
[Footnote 59: Under Tiberius, a Roman knight attempted to fly to
the Parthians. He was stopped in the straits of Sicily; but so
little danger did there appear in the example, that the most
jealous of tyrants disdained to punish it. Tacit. Annal. vi.
14.]

[Footnote 60: Cicero ad Familiares, iv. 7.]

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Comming next:

Chapter IV: The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus.

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Chapter IV: The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus.

Part I.

The Cruelty, Follies, And Murder Of Commodus - Election Of
Pertinax - His Attempts To Reform The State - His Assassination
By The Praetorian Guards.

The mildness of Marcus, which the rigid discipline of the
Stoics was unable to eradicate, formed, at the same time, the
most amiable, and the only defective part of his character. His
excellent understanding was often deceived by the unsuspecting
goodness of his heart. Artful men, who study the passions of
princes, and conceal their own, approached his person in the
disguise of philosophic sanctity, and acquired riches and honors
by affecting to despise them. ^1 His excessive indulgence to his
brother, ^* his wife, and his son, exceeded the bounds of private
virtue, and became a public injury, by the example and
consequences of their vices.

[Footnote 1: See the complaints of Avidius Cassius, Hist. August.
p. 45. These are, it is true, the complaints of faction; but even
faction exaggerates, rather than invents.]

[Footnote *: His brother by adoption, and his colleague, L.
Verus. Marcus Aurelius had no other brother. - W.]

Faustina, the daughter of Pius and the wife of Marcus, has
been as much celebrated for her gallantries as for her beauty.
The grave simplicity of the philosopher was ill calculated to
engage her wanton levity, or to fix that unbounded passion for
variety, which often discovered personal merit in the meanest of
mankind. ^2 The Cupid of the ancients was, in general, a very
sensual deity; and the amours of an empress, as they exact on her
side the plainest advances, are seldom susceptible of much
sentimental delicacy. Marcus was the only man in the empire who
seemed ignorant or insensible of the irregularities of Faustina;
which, according to the prejudices of every age, reflected some
disgrace on the injured husband. He promoted several of her
lovers to posts of honor and profit, ^3 and during a connection
of thirty years, invariably gave her proofs of the most tender
confidence, and of a respect which ended not with her life. In
his Meditations, he thanks the gods, who had bestowed on him a
wife so faithful, so gentle, and of such a wonderful simplicity
of manners. ^4 The obsequious senate, at his earnest request,
declared her a goddess. She was represented in her temples, with
the attributes of Juno, Venus, and Ceres; and it was decreed,
that, on the day of their nuptials, the youth of either sex
should pay their vows before the altar of their chaste patroness.
^5

[Footnote 2: Faustinam satis constat apud Cajetam conditiones
sibi et nauticas et gladiatorias, elegisse. Hist. August. p. 30.

Lampridius explains the sort of merit which Faustina chose, and
the conditions which she exacted. Hist. August. p. 102.]

[Footnote 3: Hist. August. p. 34.]

[Footnote 4: Meditat. l. i. The world has laughed at the
credulity of Marcus but Madam Dacier assures us, (and we may
credit a lady,) that the husband will always be deceived, if the
wife condescends to dissemble.]
[Footnote 5: Dion Cassius, l. lxxi. [c. 31,] p. 1195. Hist.
August. p. 33. Commentaire de Spanheim sur les Caesars de Julien,
p. 289. The deification of Faustina is the only defect which
Julian's criticism is able to discover in the all-accomplished
character of Marcus.]

The monstrous vices of the son have cast a shade on the
purity of the father's virtues. It has been objected to Marcus,
that he sacrificed the happiness of millions to a fond partiality
for a worthless boy; and that he chose a successor in his own
family, rather than in the republic. Nothing however, was
neglected by the anxious father, and by the men of virtue and
learning whom he summoned to his assistance, to expand the narrow
mind of young Commodus, to correct his growing vices, and to
render him worthy of the throne for which he was designed. But
the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in
those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous. The
distasteful lesson of a grave philosopher was, in a moment,
obliterated by the whisper of a profligate favorite; and Marcus
himself blasted the fruits of this labored education, by
admitting his son, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, to a full
participation of the Imperial power. He lived but four years
afterwards: but he lived long enough to repent a rash measure,
which raised the impetuous youth above the restraint of reason
and authority.

Most of the crimes which disturb the internal peace of
society, are produced by the restraints which the necessary but
unequal laws of property have imposed on the appetites of
mankind, by confining to a few the possession of those objects
that are coveted by many. Of all our passions and appetites, the
love of power is of the most imperious and unsociable nature,
since the pride of one man requires the submission of the
multitude. In the tumult of civil discord, the laws of society
lose their force, and their place is seldom supplied by those of
humanity. The ardor of contention, the pride of victory, the
despair of success, the memory of past injuries, and the fear of
future dangers, all contribute to inflame the mind, and to
silence the voice of pity. From such motives almost every page
of history has been stained with civil blood; but these motives
will not account for the unprovoked cruelties of Commodus, who
had nothing to wish and every thing to enjoy. The beloved son of
Marcus succeeded to his father, amidst the acclamations of the
senate and armies; ^6 and when he ascended the throne, the happy
youth saw round him neither competitor to remove, nor enemies to
punish. In this calm, elevated station, it was surely natural
that he should prefer the love of mankind to their detestation,
the mild glories of his five predecessors to the ignominious fate
of Nero and Domitian.

[Footnote 6: Commodus was the first Porphyrogenitus, (born since
his father's accession to the throne.) By a new strain of
flattery, the Egyptian medals date by the years of his life; as
if they were synonymous to those of his reign. Tillemont, Hist.
des Empereurs, tom. ii. p. 752.]

Yet Commodus was not, as he has been represented, a tiger
born with an insatiate thirst of human blood, and capable, from
his infancy, of the most inhuman actions. ^7 Nature had formed
him of a weak rather than a wicked disposition. His simplicity
and timidity rendered him the slave of his attendants, who
gradually corrupted his mind. His cruelty, which at first obeyed
the dictates of others, degenerated into habit, and at length
became the ruling passion of his soul. ^8

[Footnote 7: Hist. August. p. 46.]

[Footnote 8: Dion Cassius, l. lxxii. p. 1203.]

Upon the death of his father, Commodus found himself
embarrassed with the command of a great army, and the conduct of
a difficult war against the Quadi and Marcomanni. ^9 The servile
and profligate youths whom Marcus had banished, soon regained
their station and influence about the new emperor. They
exaggerated the hardships and dangers of a campaign in the wild
countries beyond the Danube; and they assured the indolent prince
that the terror of his name, and the arms of his lieutenants,
would be sufficient to complete the conquest of the dismayed
barbarians, or to impose such conditions as were more
advantageous than any conquest. By a dexterous application to
his sensual appetites, they compared the tranquillity, the
splendor, the refined pleasures of Rome, with the tumult of a
Pannonian camp, which afforded neither leisure nor materials for
luxury. ^10 Commodus listened to the pleasing advice; but whilst
he hesitated between his own inclination and the awe which he
still retained for his father's counsellors, the summer
insensibly elapsed, and his triumphal entry into the capital was
deferred till the autumn. His graceful person, ^11 popular
address, and imagined virtues, attracted the public favor; the
honorable peace which he had recently granted to the barbarians,
diffused a universal joy; ^12 his impatience to revisit Rome was
fondly ascribed to the love of his country; and his dissolute
course of amusements was faintly condemned in a prince of
nineteen years of age.

[Footnote 9: According to Tertullian, Apolog. c. 25,) he died at
Sirmium. But the situation of Vindobona, or Vienna, where both
the Victors place his death, is better adapted to the operations
of the war against the Marcomanni and Quadi.]

[Footnote 10: Herodian, l. i. p. 12.]

[Footnote 11: Herodian, l. i. p. 16.]

[Footnote 12: This universal joy is well described (from the
medals as well as historians) by Mr. Wotton, Hist. of Rome, p.
192, 193.]
During the three first years of his reign, the forms, and
even the spirit, of the old administration, were maintained by
those faithful counsellors, to whom Marcus had recommended his
son, and for whose wisdom and integrity Commodus still
entertained a reluctant esteem. The young prince and his
profligate favorites revelled in all the license of sovereign
power; but his hands were yet unstained with blood; and he had
even displayed a generosity of sentiment, which might perhaps
have ripened into solid virtue. ^13 A fatal incident decided his
fluctuating character.

[Footnote 13: Manilius, the confidential secretary of Avidius
Cassius, was discovered after he had lain concealed several
years. The emperor nobly relieved the public anxiety by refusing
to see him, and burning his papers without opening them. Dion
Cassius, l. lxxii. p. 1209.]

One evening, as the emperor was returning to the palace,
through a dark and narrow portico in the amphitheatre, ^14 an
assassin, who waited his passage, rushed upon him with a drawn
sword, loudly exclaiming, "The senate sends you this." The menace
prevented the deed; the assassin was seized by the guards, and
immediately revealed the authors of the conspiracy. It had been
formed, not in the state, but within the walls of the palace.
Lucilla, the emperor's sister, and widow of Lucius Verus,
impatient of the second rank, and jealous of the reigning
empress, had armed the murderer against her brother's life. She
had not ventured to communicate the black design to her second
husband, Claudius Pompeiarus, a senator of distinguished merit
and unshaken loyalty; but among the crowd of her lovers (for she
imitated the manners of Faustina) she found men of desperate
fortunes and wild ambition, who were prepared to serve her more
violent, as well as her tender passions. The conspirators
experienced the rigor of justice, and the abandoned princess was
punished, first with exile, and afterwards with death. ^15
[Footnote 14: See Maffei degli Amphitheatri, p. 126.]

[Footnote 15: Dion, l. lxxi. p. 1205 Herodian, l. i. p. 16 Hist.
August p. 46.]

But the words of the assassin sunk deep into the mind of
Commodus, and left an indelible impression of fear and hatred
against the whole body of the senate. ^* Those whom he had
dreaded as importunate ministers, he now suspected as secret
enemies. The Delators, a race of men discouraged, and almost
extinguished, under the former reigns, again became formidable,
as soon as they discovered that the emperor was desirous of
finding disaffection and treason in the senate. That assembly,
whom Marcus had ever considered as the great council of the
nation, was composed of the most distinguished of the Romans; and
distinction of every kind soon became criminal. The possession
of wealth stimulated the diligence of the informers; rigid virtue
implied a tacit censure of the irregularities of Commodus;
important services implied a dangerous superiority of merit; and
the friendship of the father always insured the aversion of the
son. Suspicion was equivalent to proof; trial to condemnation.
The execution of a considerable senator was attended with the
death of all who might lament or revenge his fate; and when
Commodus had once tasted human blood, he became incapable of pity
or remorse.
[Footnote *: The conspirators were senators, even the assassin
himself. Herod. 81. - G.]

Of these innocent victims of tyranny, none died more
lamented than the two brothers of the Quintilian family, Maximus
and Condianus; whose fraternal love has saved their names from
oblivion, and endeared their memory to posterity. Their studies
and their occupations, their pursuits and their pleasures, were
still the same. In the enjoyment of a great estate, they never
admitted the idea of a separate interest: some fragments are now
extant of a treatise which they composed in common; ^* and in
every action of life it was observed that their two bodies were
animated by one soul. The Antonines, who valued their virtues,
and delighted in their union, raised them, in the same year, to
the consulship; and Marcus afterwards intrusted to their joint
care the civil administration of Greece, and a great military
command, in which they obtained a signal victory over the
Germans. The kind cruelty of Commodus united them in death. ^16

[Footnote *: This work was on agriculture, and is often quoted by
later writers. See P. Needham, Proleg. ad Geoponic. Camb. 1704.
- W.]
[Footnote 16: In a note upon the Augustan History, Casaubon has
collected a number of particulars concerning these celebrated
brothers. See p. 96 of his learned commentary.]

The tyrant's rage, after having shed the noblest blood of
the senate, at length recoiled on the principal instrument of his
cruelty. Whilst Commodus was immersed in blood and luxury, he
devolved the detail of the public business on Perennis, a servile
and ambitious minister, who had obtained his post by the murder
of his predecessor, but who possessed a considerable share of
vigor and ability. By acts of extortion, and the forfeited
estates of the nobles sacrificed to his avarice, he had
accumulated an immense treasure. The Praetorian guards were under
his immediate command; and his son, who already discovered a
military genius, was at the head of the Illyrian legions.
Perennis aspired to the empire; or what, in the eyes of Commodus,
amounted to the same crime, he was capable of aspiring to it, had
he not been prevented, surprised, and put to death. The fall of
a minister is a very trifling incident in the general history of
the empire; but it was hastened by an extraordinary circumstance,
which proved how much the nerves of discipline were already
relaxed. The legions of Britain, discontented with the
administration of Perennis, formed a deputation of fifteen
hundred select men, with instructions to march to Rome, and lay
their complaints before the emperor. These military petitioners,
by their own determined behaviour, by inflaming the divisions of
the guards, by exaggerating the strength of the British army, and
by alarming the fears of Commodus, exacted and obtained the
minister's death, as the only redress of their grievances. ^17
This presumption of a distant army, and their discovery of the
weakness of government, was a sure presage of the most dreadful
convulsions.
[Footnote 17: Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1210. Herodian, l. i. p. 22.
Hist. August. p. 48. Dion gives a much less odious character of
Perennis, than the other historians. His moderation is almost a
pledge of his veracity.
Note: Gibbon praises Dion for the moderation with which he
speaks of Perennis: he follows, nevertheless, in his own
narrative, Herodian and Lampridius. Dion speaks of Perennis not
only with moderation, but with admiration; he represents him as a
great man, virtuous in his life, and blameless in his death:
perhaps he may be suspected of partiality; but it is singular
that Gibbon, having adopted, from Herodian and Lampridius, their
judgment on this minister, follows Dion's improbable account of
his death. What likelihood, in fact, that fifteen hundred men
should have traversed Gaul and Italy, and have arrived at Rome
without any understanding with the Praetorians, or without
detection or opposition from Perennis, the Praetorian praefect?
Gibbon, foreseeing, perhaps, this difficulty, has added, that the
military deputation inflamed the divisions of the guards; but
Dion says expressly that they did not reach Rome, but that the
emperor went out to meet them: he even reproaches him for not
having opposed them with the guards, who were superior in number.

Herodian relates that Commodus, having learned, from a soldier,
the ambitious designs of Perennis and his son, caused them to be
attacked and massacred by night. - G. from W. Dion's narrative
is remarkably circumstantial, and his authority higher than
either of the other writers. He hints that Cleander, a new
favorite, had already undermined the influence of Perennis. - M.]

The negligence of the public administration was betrayed,
soon afterwards, by a new disorder, which arose from the smallest
beginnings. A spirit of desertion began to prevail among the
troops: and the deserters, instead of seeking their safety in
flight or concealment, infested the highways. Maternus, a
private soldier, of a daring boldness above his station,
collected these bands of robbers into a little army, set open the
prisons, invited the slaves to assert their freedom, and
plundered with impunity the rich and defenceless cities of Gaul
and Spain. The governors of the provinces, who had long been the
spectators, and perhaps the partners, of his depredations, were,
at length, roused from their supine indolence by the threatening
commands of the emperor. Maternus found that he was encompassed,
and foresaw that he must be overpowered. A great effort of
despair was his last resource. He ordered his followers to
disperse, to pass the Alps in small parties and various
disguises, and to assemble at Rome, during the licentious tumult
of the festival of Cybele. ^18 To murder Commodus, and to ascend
the vacant throne, was the ambition of no vulgar robber. His
measures were so ably concerted that his concealed troops already
filled the streets of Rome. The envy of an accomplice discovered
and ruined this singular enterprise, in a moment when it was ripe
for execution. ^19
[Footnote 18: During the second Punic war, the Romans imported
from Asia the worship of the mother of the gods. Her festival,
the Megalesia, began on the fourth of April, and lasted six days.

The streets were crowded with mad processions, the theatres with
spectators, and the public tables with unbidden guests. Order
and police were suspended, and pleasure was the only serious
business of the city. See Ovid. de Fastis, l. iv. 189, &c.]
[Footnote 19: Herodian, l. i. p. 23, 23.]

Suspicious princes often promote the last of mankind, from a
vain persuasion, that those who have no dependence, except on
their favor, will have no attachment, except to the person of
their benefactor. Cleander, the successor of Perennis, was a
Phrygian by birth; of a nation over whose stubborn, but servile
temper, blows only could prevail. ^20 He had been sent from his
native country to Rome, in the capacity of a slave. As a slave
he entered the Imperial palace, rendered himself useful to his
master's passions, and rapidly ascended to the most exalted
station which a subject could enjoy. His influence over the mind
of Commodus was much greater than that of his predecessor; for
Cleander was devoid of any ability or virtue which could inspire
the emperor with envy or distrust. Avarice was the reigning
passion of his soul, and the great principle of his
administration. The rank of Consul, of Patrician, of Senator, was
exposed to public sale; and it would have been considered as
disaffection, if any one had refused to purchase these empty and
disgraceful honors with the greatest part of his fortune. ^21 In
the lucrative provincial employments, the minister shared with
the governor the spoils of the people. The execution of the laws
was penal and arbitrary. A wealthy criminal might obtain, not
only the reversal of the sentence by which he was justly
condemned, but might likewise inflict whatever punishment he
pleased on the accuser, the witnesses, and the judge.
[Footnote 20: Cicero pro Flacco, c. 27.]

[Footnote 21: One of these dear-bought promotions occasioned a
current... that Julius Solon was banished into the senate.]

By these means, Cleander, in the space of three years, had
accumulated more wealth than had ever yet been possessed by any
freedman. ^22 Commodus was perfectly satisfied with the
magnificent presents which the artful courtier laid at his feet
in the most seasonable moments. To divert the public envy,
Cleander, under the emperor's name, erected baths, porticos, and
places of exercise, for the use of the people. ^23 He flattered
himself that the Romans, dazzled and amused by this apparent
liberality, would be less affected by the bloody scenes which
were daily exhibited; that they would forget the death of
Byrrhus, a senator to whose superior merit the late emperor had
granted one of his daughters; and that they would forgive the
execution of Arrius Antoninus, the last representative of the
name and virtues of the Antonines. The former, with more
integrity than prudence, had attempted to disclose, to his
brother-in-law, the true character of Cleander. An equitable
sentence pronounced by the latter, when proconsul of Asia,
against a worthless creature of the favorite, proved fatal to
him. ^24 After the fall of Perennis, the terrors of Commodus had,
for a short time, assumed the appearance of a return to virtue.
He repealed the most odious of his acts; loaded his memory with
the public execration, and ascribed to the pernicious counsels of
that wicked minister all the errors of his inexperienced youth.
But his repentance lasted only thirty days; and, under Cleander's
tyranny, the administration of Perennis was often regretted.
[Footnote 22: Dion (l. lxxii. p. 12, 13) observes, that no
freedman had possessed riches equal to those of Cleander. The
fortune of Pallas amounted, however, to upwards of five and
twenty hundred thousand pounds; Ter millies.]
[Footnote 23: Dion, l. lxxii. p. 12, 13. Herodian, l. i. p. 29.
Hist. August. p. 52. These baths were situated near the Porta
Capena. See Nardini Roma Antica, p. 79.]

[Footnote 24: Hist. August. p. 79.]

Chapter IV: The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus.

Part II.

Pestilence and famine contributed to fill up the measure of
the calamities of Rome. ^25 The first could be only imputed to
the just indignation of the gods; but a monopoly of corn,
supported by the riches and power of the minister, was considered
as the immediate cause of the second. The popular discontent,
after it had long circulated in whispers, broke out in the
assembled circus. The people quitted their favorite amusements
for the more delicious pleasure of revenge, rushed in crowds
towards a palace in the suburbs, one of the emperor's
retirements, and demanded, with angry clamors, the head of the
public enemy. Cleander, who commanded the Praetorian guards, ^26
ordered a body of cavalry to sally forth, and disperse the
seditious multitude. The multitude fled with precipitation
towards the city; several were slain, and many more were trampled
to death; but when the cavalry entered the streets, their pursuit
was checked by a shower of stones and darts from the roofs and
windows of the houses. The foot guards, ^27 who had been long
jealous of the prerogatives and insolence of the Praetorian
cavalry, embraced the party of the people. The tumult became a
regular engagement, and threatened a general massacre. The
Praetorians, at length, gave way, oppressed with numbers; and the
tide of popular fury returned with redoubled violence against the
gates of the palace, where Commodus lay, dissolved in luxury, and
alone unconscious of the civil war. It was death to approach his
person with the unwelcome news. He would have perished in this
supine security, had not two women, his eldest sister Fadilla,
and Marcia, the most favored of his concubines, ventured to break
into his presence. Bathed in tears, and with dishevelled hair,
they threw themselves at his feet; and with all the pressing
eloquence of fear, discovered to the affrighted emperor the
crimes of the minister, the rage of the people, and the impending
ruin, which, in a few minutes, would burst over his palace and
person. Commodus started from his dream of pleasure, and
commanded that the head of Cleander should be thrown out to the
people. The desired spectacle instantly appeased the tumult; and
the son of Marcus might even yet have regained the affection and
confidence of his subjects. ^28

[Footnote 25: Herodian, l. i. p. 28. Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1215.
The latter says that two thousand persons died every day at Rome,
during a considerable length of time.]

[Footnote 26: Tuneque primum tres praefecti praetorio fuere:
inter quos libertinus. From some remains of modesty, Cleander
declined the title, whilst he assumed the powers, of Praetorian
praefect. As the other freedmen were styled, from their several
departments, a rationibus, ab epistolis, Cleander called himself
a pugione, as intrusted with the defence of his master's person.
Salmasius and Casaubon seem to have talked very idly upon this
passage.

Note: M. Guizot denies that Lampridius means Cleander as
praefect a pugione. The Libertinus seems to me to mean him. -
M.]

[Footnote 27: Herodian, l. i. p. 31. It is doubtful whether he
means the Praetorian infantry, or the cohortes urbanae, a body of
six thousand men, but whose rank and discipline were not equal to
their numbers. Neither Tillemont nor Wotton choose to decide this
question.]

[Footnote 28: Dion Cassius, l. lxxii. p. 1215. Herodian, l. i.
p. 32. Hist. August. p. 48.]

But every sentiment of virtue and humanity was extinct in
the mind of Commodus. Whilst he thus abandoned the reins of
empire to these unworthy favorites, he valued nothing in
sovereign power, except the unbounded license of indulging his
sensual appetites. His hours were spent in a seraglio of three
hundred beautiful women, and as many boys, of every rank, and of
every province; and, wherever the arts of seduction proved
ineffectual, the brutal lover had recourse to violence. The
ancient historians ^29 have expatiated on these abandoned scenes
of prostitution, which scorned every restraint of nature or
modesty; but it would not be easy to translate their too faithful
descriptions into the decency of modern language. The intervals
of lust were filled up with the basest amusements. The influence
of a polite age, and the labor of an attentive education, had
never been able to infuse into his rude and brutish mind the
least tincture of learning; and he was the first of the Roman
emperors totally devoid of taste for the pleasures of the
understanding. Nero himself excelled, or affected to excel, in
the elegant arts of music and poetry: nor should we despise his
pursuits, had he not converted the pleasing relaxation of a
leisure hour into the serious business and ambition of his life.
But Commodus, from his earliest infancy, discovered an aversion
to whatever was rational or liberal, and a fond attachment to the
amusements of the populace; the sports of the circus and
amphitheatre, the combats of gladiators, and the hunting of wild
beasts. The masters in every branch of learning, whom Marcus
provided for his son, were heard with inattention and disgust;
whilst the Moors and Parthians, who taught him to dart the
javelin and to shoot with the bow, found a disciple who delighted
in his application, and soon equalled the most skilful of his
instructors in the steadiness of the eye and the dexterity of the
hand.
[Footnote 29: Sororibus suis constupratis. Ipsas concubinas suas
sub oculis ...stuprari jubebat. Nec irruentium in se juvenum
carebat infamia, omni parte corporis atque ore in sexum utrumque
pollutus. Hist. Aug. p. 47.]
The servile crowd, whose fortune depended on their master's
vices, applauded these ignoble pursuits. The perfidious voice of
flattery reminded him, that by exploits of the same nature, by
the defeat of the Nemaean lion, and the slaughter of the wild
boar of Erymanthus, the Grecian Hercules had acquired a place
among the gods, and an immortal memory among men. They only
forgot to observe, that, in the first ages of society, when the
fiercer animals often dispute with man the possession of an
unsettled country, a successful war against those savages is one
of the most innocent and beneficial labors of heroism. In the
civilized state of the Roman empire, the wild beasts had long
since retired from the face of man, and the neighborhood of
populous cities. To surprise them in their solitary haunts, and
to transport them to Rome, that they might be slain in pomp by
the hand of an emperor, was an enterprise equally ridiculous for
the prince and oppressive for the people. ^30 Ignorant of these
distinctions, Commodus eagerly embraced the glorious resemblance,
and styled himself (as we still read on his medals ^31) the Roman
Hercules. ^* The club and the lion's hide were placed by the side
of the throne, amongst the ensigns of sovereignty; and statues
were erected, in which Commodus was represented in the character,
and with the attributes, of the god, whose valor and dexterity he
endeavored to emulate in the daily course of his ferocious
amusements. ^32
[Footnote 30: The African lions, when pressed by hunger, infested
the open villages and cultivated country; and they infested them
with impunity. The royal beast was reserved for the pleasures of
the emperor and the capital; and the unfortunate peasant who
killed one of them though in his own defence, incurred a very
heavy penalty. This extraordinary game-law was mitigated by
Honorius, and finally repealed by Justinian. Codex Theodos. tom.
v. p. 92, et Comment Gothofred.]

[Footnote 31: Spanheim de Numismat. Dissertat. xii. tom. ii. p.
493.]
[Footnote *: Commodus placed his own head on the colossal statue
of Hercules with the inscription, Lucius Commodus Hercules. The
wits of Rome, according to a new fragment of Dion, published an
epigram, of which, like many other ancient jests, the point is
not very clear. It seems to be a protest of the god against being
confounded with the emperor. Mai Fragm. Vatican. ii. 225. - M.]

[Footnote 32: Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1216. Hist. August. p. 49.]
Elated with these praises, which gradually extinguished the
innate sense of shame, Commodus resolved to exhibit before the
eyes of the Roman people those exercises, which till then he had
decently confined within the walls of his palace, and to the
presence of a few favorites. On the appointed day, the various
motives of flattery, fear, and curiosity, attracted to the
amphitheatre an innumerable multitude of spectators; and some
degree of applause was deservedly bestowed on the uncommon skill
of the Imperial performer. Whether he aimed at the head or heart
of the animal, the wound was alike certain and mortal. With
arrows whose point was shaped into the form of crescent, Commodus
often intercepted the rapid career, and cut asunder the long,
bony neck of the ostrich. ^33 A panther was let loose; and the
archer waited till he had leaped upon a trembling malefactor. In
the same instant the shaft flew, the beast dropped dead, and the
man remained unhurt. The dens of the amphitheatre disgorged at
once a hundred lions: a hundred darts from the unerring hand of
Commodus laid them dead as they run raging round the Arena.
Neither the huge bulk of the elephant, nor the scaly hide of the
rhinoceros, could defend them from his stroke. Aethiopia and
India yielded their most extraordinary productions; and several
animals were slain in the amphitheatre, which had been seen only
in the representations of art, or perhaps of fancy. ^34 In all
these exhibitions, the securest precautions were used to protect
the person of the Roman Hercules from the desperate spring of any
savage, who might possibly disregard the dignity of the emperor
and the sanctity of the god. ^35

[Footnote 33: The ostrich's neck is three feet long, and composed
of seventeen vertebrae. See Buffon, Hist. Naturelle.]

[Footnote 34: Commodus killed a camelopardalis or Giraffe, (Dion,
l. lxxii. p. 1211,) the tallest, the most gentle, and the most
useless of the large quadrupeds. This singular animal, a native
only of the interior parts of Africa, has not been seen in Europe
since the revival of letters; and though M. de Buffon (Hist.
Naturelle, tom. xiii.) has endeavored to describe, he has not
ventured to delineate, the Giraffe.

Note: The naturalists of our days have been more fortunate.
London probably now contains more specimens of this animal than
have been seen in Europe since the fall of the Roman empire,
unless in the pleasure gardens of the emperor Frederic II., in
Sicily, which possessed several. Frederic's collections of wild
beasts were exhibited, for the popular amusement, in many parts
of Italy. Raumer, Geschichte der Hohenstaufen, v. iii. p. 571.
Gibbon, moreover, is mistaken; as a giraffe was presented to
Lorenzo de Medici, either by the sultan of Egypt or the king of
Tunis. Contemporary authorities are quoted in the old work,
Gesner de Quadrupedibum p. 162. - M.]
[Footnote 35: Herodian, l. i. p. 37. Hist. August. p. 50.]
But the meanest of the populace were affected with shame and
indignation when they beheld their sovereign enter the lists as a
gladiator, and glory in a profession which the laws and manners
of the Romans had branded with the justest note of infamy. ^36 He
chose the habit and arms of the Secutor, whose combat with the
Retiarius formed one of the most lively scenes in the bloody
sports of the amphitheatre. The Secutor was armed with a helmet,
sword, and buckler; his naked antagonist had only a large net and
a trident; with the one he endeavored to entangle, with the other
to despatch his enemy. If he missed the first throw, he was
obliged to fly from the pursuit of the Secutor, till he had
prepared his net for a second cast. ^37 The emperor fought in
this character seven hundred and thirty-five several times.
These glorious achievements were carefully recorded in the public
acts of the empire; and that he might omit no circumstance of
infamy, he received from the common fund of gladiators a stipend
so exorbitant that it became a new and most ignominious tax upon
the Roman people. ^38 It may be easily supposed, that in these
engagements the master of the world was always successful; in the
amphitheatre, his victories were not often sanguinary; but when
he exercised his skill in the school of gladiators, or his own
palace, his wretched antagonists were frequently honored with a
mortal wound from the hand of Commodus, and obliged to seal their
flattery with their blood. ^39 He now disdained the appellation
of Hercules. The name of Paulus, a celebrated Secutor, was the
only one which delighted his ear. It was inscribed on his
colossal statues, and repeated in the redoubled acclamations ^40
of the mournful and applauding senate. ^41 Claudius Pompeianus,
the virtuous husband of Lucilla, was the only senator who
asserted the honor of his rank. As a father, he permitted his
sons to consult their safety by attending the amphitheatre. As a
Roman, he declared, that his own life was in the emperor's hands,
but that he would never behold the son of Marcus prostituting his
person and dignity. Notwithstanding his manly resolution
Pompeianus escaped the resentment of the tyrant, and, with his
honor, had the good fortune to preserve his life. ^42

[Footnote 36: The virtuous and even the wise princes forbade the
senators and knights to embrace this scandalous profession, under
pain of infamy, or, what was more dreaded by those profligate
wretches, of exile. The tyrants allured them to dishonor by
threats and rewards. Nero once produced in the arena forty
senators and sixty knights. See Lipsius, Saturnalia, l. ii. c.
2. He has happily corrected a passage of Suetonius in Nerone, c.
12.]
[Footnote 37: Lipsius, l. ii. c. 7, 8. Juvenal, in the eighth
satire, gives a picturesque description of this combat.]

[Footnote 38: Hist. August. p. 50. Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1220. He
received, for each time, decies, about 8000l. sterling.]

[Footnote 39: Victor tells us, that Commodus only allowed his
antagonists a ...weapon, dreading most probably the consequences
of their despair.]
[Footnote 40: They were obliged to repeat, six hundred and
twenty-six times, Paolus first of the Secutors, &c.]

[Footnote 41: Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1221. He speaks of his own
baseness and danger.]

[Footnote 42: He mixed, however, some prudence with his courage,
and passed the greatest part of his time in a country retirement;
alleging his advanced age, and the weakness of his eyes. "I
never saw him in the senate," says Dion, "except during the short
reign of Pertinax." All his infirmities had suddenly left him,
and they returned as suddenly upon the murder of that excellent
prince. Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1227.]

Commodus had now attained the summit of vice and infamy.
Amidst the acclamations of a flattering court, he was unable to
disguise from himself, that he had deserved the contempt and
hatred of every man of sense and virtue in his empire. His
ferocious spirit was irritated by the consciousness of that
hatred, by the envy of every kind of merit, by the just
apprehension of danger, and by the habit of slaughter, which he
contracted in his daily amusements. History has preserved a long
list of consular senators sacrificed to his wanton suspicion,
which sought out, with peculiar anxiety, those unfortunate
persons connected, however remotely, with the family of the
Antonines, without sparing even the ministers of his crimes or
pleasures. ^43 His cruelty proved at last fatal to himself. He
had shed with impunity the noblest blood of Rome: he perished as
soon as he was dreaded by his own domestics. Marcia, his
favorite concubine, Eclectus, his chamberlain, and Laetus, his
Praetorian praefect, alarmed by the fate of their companions and
predecessors, resolved to prevent the destruction which every
hour hung over their heads, either from the mad caprice of the
tyrant, ^* or the sudden indignation of the people. Marcia
seized the occasion of presenting a draught of wine to her lover,
after he had fatigued himself with hunting some wild beasts.
Commodus retired to sleep; but whilst he was laboring with the
effects of poison and drunkenness, a robust youth, by profession
a wrestler, entered his chamber, and strangled him without
resistance. The body was secretly conveyed out of the palace,
before the least suspicion was entertained in the city, or even
in the court, of the emperor's death. Such was the fate of the
son of Marcus, and so easy was it to destroy a hated tyrant, who,
by the artificial powers of government, had oppressed, during
thirteen years, so many millions of subjects, each of whom was
equal to their master in personal strength and personal
abilities. ^44

[Footnote 43: The prefects were changed almost hourly or daily;
and the caprice of Commodus was often fatal to his most favored
chamberlains. Hist. August. p. 46, 51.]

[Footnote *: Commodus had already resolved to massacre them the
following night they determined o anticipate his design. Herod.
i. 17. - W.]
[Footnote 44: Dion, l. lxxii. p. 1222. Herodian, l. i. p. 43.
Hist. August. p. 52.]

The measures of he conspirators were conducted with the
deliberate coolness and celerity which the greatness of the
occasion required. They resolved instantly to fill the vacant
throne with an emperor whose character would justify and maintain
the action that had been committed. They fixed on Pertinax,
praefect of the city, an ancient senator of consular rank, whose
conspicuous merit had broke through the obscurity of his birth,
and raised him to the first honors of the state. He had
successively governed most of the provinces of the empire; and in
all his great employments, military as well as civil, he had
uniformly distinguished himself by the firmness, the prudence,
and the integrity of his conduct. ^45 He now remained almost
alone of the friends and ministers of Marcus; and when, at a late
hour of the night, he was awakened with the news, that the
chamberlain and the praefect were at his door, he received them
with intrepid resignation, and desired they would execute their
master's orders. Instead of death, they offered him the throne
of the Roman world. During some moments he distrusted their
intentions and assurances. Convinced at length of the death of
Commodus, he accepted the purple with a sincere reluctance, the
natural effect of his knowledge both of the duties and of the
dangers of the supreme rank. ^46
[Footnote 45: Pertinax was a native of Alba Pompeia, in Piedmont,
and son of a timber merchant. The order of his employments (it
is marked by Capitolinus) well deserves to be set down, as
expressive of the form of government and manners of the age. 1.
He was a centurion. 2. Praefect of a cohort in Syria, in the
Parthian war, and in Britain. 3. He obtained an Ala, or squadron
of horse, in Maesia. 4. He was commissary of provisions on the
Aemilian way. 5. He commanded the fleet upon the Rhine. 6. He
was procurator of Dacia, with a salary of about 1600l. a year.
7. He commanded the veterans of a legion. 8. He obtained the
rank of senator. 9. Of praetor. 10. With the command of the
first legion in Rhaetia and Noricum. 11. He was consul about the
year 175. 12. He attended Marcus into the East. 13. He commanded
an army on the Danube. 14. He was consular legate of Maesia.
15. Of Dacia. 16. Of Syria. 17. Of Britain. 18. He had the
care of the public provisions at Rome. 19. He was proconsul of
Africa. 20. Praefect of the city. Herodian (l. i. p. 48) does
justice to his disinterested spirit; but Capitolinus, who
collected every popular rumor, charges him with a great fortune
acquired by bribery and corruption.]
[Footnote 46: Julian, in the Caesars, taxes him with being
accessory to the death of Commodus.]

Laetus conducted without delay his new emperor to the camp
of the Praetorians, diffusing at the same time through the city a
seasonable report that Commodus died suddenly of an apoplexy; and
that the virtuous Pertinax had already succeeded to the throne.
The guards were rather surprised than pleased with the suspicious
death of a prince, whose indulgence and liberality they alone had
experienced; but the emergency of the occasion, the authority of
their praefect, the reputation of Pertinax, and the clamors of
the people, obliged them to stifle their secret discontents, to
accept the donative promised by the new emperor, to swear
allegiance to him, and with joyful acclamations and laurels in
their hands to conduct him to the senate house, that the military
consent might be ratified by the civil authority.
This important night was now far spent; with the dawn of
day, and the commencement of the new year, the senators expected
a summons to attend an ignominious ceremony. ^* In spite of all
remonstrances, even of those of his creatures who yet preserved
any regard for prudence or decency, Commodus had resolved to pass
the night in the gladiators' school, and from thence to take
possession of the consulship, in the habit and with the
attendance of that infamous crew. On a sudden, before the break
of day, the senate was called together in the temple of Concord,
to meet the guards, and to ratify the election of a new emperor.
For a few minutes they sat in silent suspense, doubtful of their
unexpected deliverance, and suspicious of the cruel artifices of
Commodus: but when at length they were assured that the tyrant
was no more, they resigned themselves to all the transports of
joy and indignation. Pertinax, who modestly represented the
meanness of his extraction, and pointed out several noble
senators more deserving than himself of the empire, was
constrained by their dutiful violence to ascend the throne, and
received all the titles of Imperial power, confirmed by the most
sincere vows of fidelity. The memory of Commodus was branded
with eternal infamy. The names of tyrant, of gladiator, of
public enemy resounded in every corner of the house. They
decreed in tumultuous votes, ^* that his honors should be
reversed, his titles erased from the public monuments, his
statues thrown down, his body dragged with a hook into the
stripping room of the gladiators, to satiate the public fury; and
they expressed some indignation against those officious servants
who had already presumed to screen his remains from the justice
of the senate. But Pertinax could not refuse those last rites to
the memory of Marcus, and the tears of his first protector
Claudius Pompeianus, who lamented the cruel fate of his
brother-in- law, and lamented still more that he had deserved it.
^47

[Footnote *: The senate always assembled at the beginning of the
year, on the night of the 1st January, (see Savaron on Sid.
Apoll. viii. 6,) and this happened the present year, as usual,
without any particular order. - G from W.]

[Footnote *: What Gibbon improperly calls, both here and in the
note, tumultuous decrees, were no more than the applauses and
acclamations which recur so often in the history of the emperors.

The custom passed from the theatre to the forum, from the forum
to the senate. Applauses on the adoption of the Imperial decrees
were first introduced under Trajan. (Plin. jun. Panegyr. 75.)
One senator read the form of the decree, and all the rest
answered by acclamations, accompanied with a kind of chant or
rhythm. These were some of the acclamations addressed to
Pertinax, and against the memory of Commodus. Hosti patriae
honores detrahantur. Parricidae honores detrahantur. Ut salvi
simus, Jupiter, optime, maxime, serva nobis Pertinacem. This
custom prevailed not only in the councils of state, but in all
the meetings of the senate. However inconsistent it may appear
with the solemnity of a religious assembly, the early Christians
adopted and introduced it into their synods, notwithstanding the
opposition of some of the Fathers, particularly of St.
Chrysostom. See the Coll. of Franc. Bern. Ferrarius de veterum
acclamatione in Graevii Thesaur. Antiq. Rom. i. 6. - W.
This note is rather hypercritical, as regards Gibbon, but
appears to be worthy of preservation. - M.]

[Footnote 47: Capitolinus gives us the particulars of these
tumultuary votes, which were moved by one senator, and repeated,
or rather chanted by the whole body. Hist. August. p. 52.]

These effusions of impotent rage against a dead emperor,
whom the senate had flattered when alive with the most abject
servility, betrayed a just but ungenerous spirit of revenge.

The legality of these decrees was, however, supported by the
principles of the Imperial constitution. To censure, to depose,
or to punish with death, the first magistrate of the republic,
who had abused his delegated trust, was the ancient and undoubted
prerogative of the Roman senate; ^48 but the feeble assembly was
obliged to content itself with inflicting on a fallen tyrant that
public justice, from which, during his life and reign, he had
been shielded by the strong arm of military despotism. ^*

[Footnote 48: The senate condemned Nero to be put to death more
majorum. Sueton. c. 49.]

[Footnote *: No particular law assigned this right to the senate:
it was deduced from the ancient principles of the republic.
Gibbon appears to infer, from the passage of Suetonius, that the
senate, according to its ancient right, punished Nero with death.

The words, however, more majerum refer not to the decree of the
senate, but to the kind of death, which was taken from an old law
of Romulus. (See Victor. Epit. Ed. Artzen p. 484, n. 7. - W.]

Pertinax found a nobler way of condemning his predecessor's
memory; by the contrast of his own virtues with the vices of
Commodus. On the day of his accession, he resigned over to his
wife and son his whole private fortune; that they might have no
pretence to solicit favors at the expense of the state. He
refused to flatter the vanity of the former with the title of
Augusta; or to corrupt the inexperienced youth of the latter by
the rank of Caesar. Accurately distinguishing between the duties
of a parent and those of a sovereign, he educated his son with a
severe simplicity, which, while it gave him no assured prospect
of the throne, might in time have rendered him worthy of it. In
public, the behavior of Pertinax was grave and affable. He lived
with the virtuous part of the senate, (and, in a private station,
he had been acquainted with the true character of each
individual,) without either pride or jealousy; considered them as
friends and companions, with whom he had shared the danger of the
tyranny, and with whom he wished to enjoy the security of the
present time. He very frequently invited them to familiar
entertainments, the frugality of which was ridiculed by those who
remembered and regretted the luxurious prodigality of Commodus.
^49
[Footnote 49: Dion (l. lxxiii. p. 1223) speaks of these
entertainments, as a senator who had supped with the emperor;
Capitolinus, (Hist. August. p. 58,) like a slave, who had
received his intelligence from one the scullions.]
To heal, as far as I was possible, the wounds inflicted by
the hand of tyranny, was the pleasing, but melancholy, task of
Pertinax. The innocent victims, who yet survived, were recalled
from exile, released from prison, and restored to the full
possession of their honors and fortunes. The unburied bodies of
murdered senators (for the cruelty of Commodus endeavored to
extend itself beyond death) were deposited in the sepulchres of
their ancestors; their memory was justified and every consolation
was bestowed on their ruined and afflicted families. Among these
consolations, one of the most grateful was the punishment of the
Delators; the common enemies of their master, of virtue, and of
their country. Yet even in the inquisition of these legal
assassins, Pertinax proceeded with a steady temper, which gave
every thing to justice, and nothing to popular prejudice and
resentment.
The finances of the state demanded the most vigilant care of
the emperor. Though every measure of injustice and extortion had
been adopted, which could collect the property of the subject
into the coffers of the prince, the rapaciousness of Commodus had
been so very inadequate to his extravagance, that, upon his
death, no more than eight thousand pounds were found in the
exhausted treasury, ^50 to defray the current expenses of
government, and to discharge the pressing demand of a liberal
donative, which the new emperor had been obliged to promise to
the Praetorian guards. Yet under these distressed circumstances,
Pertinax had the generous firmness to remit all the oppressive
taxes invented by Commodus, and to cancel all the unjust claims
of the treasury; declaring, in a decree of the senate, "that he
was better satisfied to administer a poor republic with
innocence, than to acquire riches by the ways of tyranny and
dishonor. "Economy and industry he considered as the pure and
genuine sources of wealth; and from them he soon derived a
copious supply for the public necessities. The expense of the
household was immediately reduced to one half. All the
instruments of luxury Pertinax exposed to public auction, ^51
gold and silver plate, chariots of a singular construction, a
superfluous wardrobe of silk and embroidery, and a great number
of beautiful slaves of both sexes; excepting only, with attentive
humanity, those who were born in a state of freedom, and had been
ravished from the arms of their weeping parents. At the same
time that he obliged the worthless favorites of the tyrant to
resign a part of their ill- gotten wealth, he satisfied the just
creditors of the state, and unexpectedly discharged the long
arrears of honest services. He removed the oppressive
restrictions which had been laid upon commerce, and granted all
the uncultivated lands in Italy and the provinces to those who
would improve them; with an exemption from tribute during the
term of ten years. ^52
[Footnote 50: Decies. The blameless economy of Pius left his
successors a treasure of vicies septies millies, above two and
twenty millions sterling. Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1231.]

[Footnote 51: Besides the design of converting these useless
ornaments into money, Dion (l. lxxiii. p. 1229) assigns two
secret motives of Pertinax. He wished to expose the vices of
Commodus, and to discover by the purchasers those who most
resembled him.]

[Footnote 52: Though Capitolinus has picked up many idle tales of
the private life of Pertinax, he joins with Dion and Herodian in
admiring his public conduct.]

Such a uniform conduct had already secured to Pertinax the
noblest reward of a sovereign, the love and esteem of his people.

Those who remembered the virtues of Marcus were happy to
contemplate in their new emperor the features of that bright
original; and flattered themselves, that they should long enjoy
the benign influence of his administration. A hasty zeal to
reform the corrupted state, accompanied with less prudence than
might have been expected from the years and experience of
Pertinax, proved fatal to himself and to his country. His honest
indiscretion united against him the servile crowd, who found
their private benefit in the public disorders, and who preferred
the favor of a tyrant to the inexorable equality of the laws. ^53

[Footnote 53: Leges, rem surdam, inexorabilem esse. T. Liv. ii.
3.]
Amidst the general joy, the sullen and angry countenance of
the Praetorian guards betrayed their inward dissatisfaction.
They had reluctantly submitted to Pertinax; they dreaded the
strictness of the ancient discipline, which he was preparing to
restore; and they regretted the license of the former reign.
Their discontents were secretly fomented by Laetus, their
praefect, who found, when it was too late, that his new emperor
would reward a servant, but would not be ruled by a favorite. On
the third day of his reign, the soldiers seized on a noble
senator, with a design to carry him to the camp, and to invest
him with the Imperial purple. Instead of being dazzled by the
dangerous honor, the affrighted victim escaped from their
violence, and took refuge at the feet of Pertinax. A short time
afterwards, Sosius Falco, one of the consuls of the year, a rash
youth, ^54 but of an ancient and opulent family, listened to the
voice of ambition; and a conspiracy was formed during a short
absence of Pertinax, which was crushed by his sudden return to
Rome, and his resolute behavior. Falco was on the point of being
justly condemned to death as a public enemy had he not been saved
by the earnest and sincere entreaties of the injured emperor, who
conjured the senate, that the purity of his reign might not be
stained by the blood even of a guilty senator.

[Footnote 54: If we credit Capitolinus, (which is rather
difficult,) Falco behaved with the most petulant indecency to
Pertinax, on the day of his accession. The wise emperor only
admonished him of his youth and in experience. Hist. August. p.
55.]

These disappointments served only to irritate the rage of
the Praetorian guards. On the twenty-eighth of March, eighty-six
days only after the death of Commodus, a general sedition broke
out in the camp, which the officers wanted either power or
inclination to suppress. Two or three hundred of the most
desperate soldiers marched at noonday, with arms in their hands
and fury in their looks, towards the Imperial palace. The gates
were thrown open by their companions upon guard, and by the
domestics of the old court, who had already formed a secret
conspiracy against the life of the too virtuous emperor. On the
news of their approach, Pertinax, disdaining either flight or
concealment, advanced to meet his assassins; and recalled to
their minds his own innocence, and the sanctity of their recent
oath. For a few moments they stood in silent suspense, ashamed
of their atrocious design, and awed by the venerable aspect and
majestic firmness of their sovereign, till at length, the despair
of pardon reviving their fury, a barbarian of the country of
Tongress ^55 levelled the first blow against Pertinax, who was
instantly despatched with a multitude of wounds. His head,
separated from his body, and placed on a lance, was carried in
triumph to the Praetorian camp, in the sight of a mournful and
indignant people, who lamented the unworthy fate of that
excellent prince, and the transient blessings of a reign, the
memory of which could serve only to aggravate their approaching
misfortunes. ^56

[Footnote 55: The modern bishopric of Liege. This soldier
probably belonged to the Batavian horse-guards, who were mostly
raised in the duchy of Gueldres and the neighborhood, and were
distinguished by their valor, and by the boldness with which they
swam their horses across the broadest and most rapid rivers.
Tacit. Hist. iv. 12 Dion, l. lv p. 797 Lipsius de magnitudine
Romana, l. i. c. 4.]

[Footnote 56: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1232. Herodian, l. ii. p. 60.
Hist. August. p. 58. Victor in Epitom. et in Caesarib.
Eutropius, viii. 16.]

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Comming Soon: Chapters V & VI
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Chapter V: Sale Of The Empire To Didius Julianus.

Part I.

Public Sale Of The Empire To Didius Julianus By The Praetorian
Guards - Clodius Albinus In Britain, Pescennius Niger In Syria,
And Septimius Severus In Pannonia, Declare Against The Murderers
Of Pertinax - Civil Wars And Victory Of Severus Over His Three
Rivals - Relaxation Of Discipline - New Maxims Of Government.

The power of the sword is more sensibly felt in an extensive
monarchy, than in a small community. It has been calculated by
the ablest politicians, that no state, without being soon
exhausted, can maintain above the hundredth part of its members
in arms and idleness. But although this relative proportion may
be uniform, the influence of the army over the rest of the
society will vary according to the degree of its positive
strength. The advantages of military science and discipline
cannot be exerted, unless a proper number of soldiers are united
into one body, and actuated by one soul. With a handful of men,
such a union would be ineffectual; with an unwieldy host, it
would be impracticable; and the powers of the machine would be
alike destroyed by the extreme minuteness or the excessive weight
of its springs. To illustrate this observation, we need only
reflect, that there is no superiority of natural strength,
artificial weapons, or acquired skill, which could enable one man
to keep in constant subjection one hundred of his
fellow-creatures: the tyrant of a single town, or a small
district, would soon discover that a hundred armed followers were
a weak defence against ten thousand peasants or citizens; but a
hundred thousand well-disciplined soldiers will command, with
despotic sway, ten millions of subjects; and a body of ten or
fifteen thousand guards will strike terror into the most numerous
populace that ever crowded the streets of an immense capital.
The Praetorian bands, whose licentious fury was the first
symptom and cause of the decline of the Roman empire, scarcely
amounted to the last- mentioned number ^1 They derived their
institution from Augustus. That crafty tyrant, sensible that
laws might color, but that arms alone could maintain, his usurped
dominion, had gradually formed this powerful body of guards, in
constant readiness to protect his person, to awe the senate, and
either to prevent or to crush the first motions of rebellion. He
distinguished these favored troops by a double pay and superior
privileges; but, as their formidable aspect would at once have
alarmed and irritated the Roman people, three cohorts only were
stationed in the capital, whilst the remainder was dispersed in
the adjacent towns of Italy. ^2 But after fifty years of peace
and servitude, Tiberius ventured on a decisive measure, which
forever rivetted the fetters of his country. Under the fair
pretences of relieving Italy from the heavy burden of military
quarters, and of introducing a stricter discipline among the
guards, he assembled them at Rome, in a permanent camp, ^3 which
was fortified with skilful care, ^4 and placed on a commanding
situation. ^5

[Footnote 1: They were originally nine or ten thousand men, (for
Tacitus and son are not agreed upon the subject,) divided into as
many cohorts. Vitellius increased them to sixteen thousand, and
as far as we can learn from inscriptions, they never afterwards
sunk much below that number. See Lipsius de magnitudine Romana,
i. 4.]

[Footnote 2: Sueton. in August. c. 49.]

[Footnote 3: Tacit. Annal. iv. 2. Sueton. in Tiber. c. 37. Dion
Cassius, l. lvii. p. 867.]

[Footnote 4: In the civil war between Vitellius and Vespasian,
the Praetorian camp was attacked and defended with all the
machines used in the siege of the best fortified cities. Tacit.
Hist. iii. 84.]

[Footnote 5: Close to the walls of the city, on the broad summit
of the Quirinal and Viminal hills. See Nardini Roma Antica, p.
174. Donatus de Roma Antiqua, p. 46.

Note: Not on both these hills: neither Donatus nor Nardini
justify this position. (Whitaker's Review. p. 13.) At the
northern extremity of this hill (the Viminal) are some
considerable remains of a walled enclosure which bears all the
appearance of a Roman camp, and therefore is generally thought to
correspond with the Castra Praetoria. Cramer's Italy 390. - M.]
Such formidable servants are always necessary, but often
fatal to the throne of despotism. By thus introducing the
Praetorian guards as it were into the palace and the senate, the
emperors taught them to perceive their own strength, and the
weakness of the civil government; to view the vices of their
masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential
awe, which distance only, and mystery, can preserve towards an
imaginary power. In the luxurious idleness of an opulent city,
their pride was nourished by the sense of their irresistible
weight; nor was it possible to conceal from them, that the person
of the sovereign, the authority of the senate, the public
treasure, and the seat of empire, were all in their hands. To
divert the Praetorian bands from these dangerous reflections, the
firmest and best established princes were obliged to mix
blandishments with commands, rewards with punishments, to flatter
their pride, indulge their pleasures, connive at their
irregularities, and to purchase their precarious faith by a
liberal donative; which, since the elevation of Claudius, was
enacted as a legal claim, on the accession of every new emperor.
^6

[Footnote 6: Claudius, raised by the soldiers to the empire, was
the first who gave a donative. He gave quina dena, 120l.
(Sueton. in Claud. c. 10: ) when Marcus, with his colleague
Lucius Versus, took quiet possession of the throne, he gave
vicena, 160l. to each of the guards. Hist. August. p. 25, (Dion,
l. lxxiii. p. 1231.) We may form some idea of the amount of these
sums, by Hadrian's complaint that the promotion of a Caesar had
cost him ter millies, two millions and a half sterling.]

The advocate of the guards endeavored to justify by
arguments the power which they asserted by arms; and to maintain
that, according to the purest principles of the constitution,
their consent was essentially necessary in the appointment of an
emperor. The election of consuls, of generals, and of
magistrates, however it had been recently usurped by the senate,
was the ancient and undoubted right of the Roman people. ^7 But
where was the Roman people to be found? Not surely amongst the
mixed multitude of slaves and strangers that filled the streets
of Rome; a servile populace, as devoid of spirit as destitute of
property. The defenders of the state, selected from the flower
of the Italian youth, ^8 and trained in the exercise of arms and
virtue, were the genuine representatives of the people, and the
best entitled to elect the military chief of the republic. These
assertions, however defective in reason, became unanswerable when
the fierce Praetorians increased their weight, by throwing, like
the barbarian conqueror of Rome, their swords into the scale. ^9

[Footnote 7: Cicero de Legibus, iii. 3. The first book of Livy,
and the second of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, show the authority
of the people, even in the election of the kings.]

[Footnote 8: They were originally recruited in Latium, Etruria,
and the old colonies, (Tacit. Annal. iv. 5.) The emperor Otho
compliments their vanity with the flattering titles of Italiae,
Alumni, Romana were juventus. Tacit. Hist. i. 84.]

[Footnote 9: In the siege of Rome by the Gauls. See Livy, v. 48.

Plutarch. in Camill. p. 143.]
The Praetorians had violated the sanctity of the throne by
the atrocious murder of Pertinax; they dishonored the majesty of
it by their subsequent conduct. The camp was without a leader,
for even the praefect Laetus, who had excited the tempest,
prudently declined the public indignation. Amidst the wild
disorder, Sulpicianus, the emperor's father-in-law, and governor
of the city, who had been sent to the camp on the first alarm of
mutiny, was endeavoring to calm the fury of the multitude, when
he was silenced by the clamorous return of the murderers, bearing
on a lance the head of Pertinax. Though history has accustomed us
to observe every principle and every passion yielding to the
imperious dictates of ambition, it is scarcely credible that, in
these moments of horror, Sulpicianus should have aspired to
ascend a throne polluted with the recent blood of so near a
relation and so excellent a prince. He had already begun to use
the only effectual argument, and to treat for the Imperial
dignity; but the more prudent of the Praetorians, apprehensive
that, in this private contract, they should not obtain a just
price for so valuable a commodity, ran out upon the ramparts;
and, with a loud voice, proclaimed that the Roman world was to be
disposed of to the best bidder by public auction. ^10

[Footnote 10: Dion, L. lxxiii. p. 1234. Herodian, l. ii. p. 63.
Hist. August p. 60. Though the three historians agree that it
was in fact an auction, Herodian alone affirms that it was
proclaimed as such by the soldiers.]

This infamous offer, the most insolent excess of military
license, diffused a universal grief, shame, and indignation
throughout the city. It reached at length the ears of Didius
Julianus, a wealthy senator, who, regardless of the public
calamities, was indulging himself in the luxury of the table. ^11
His wife and his daughter, his freedmen and his parasites, easily
convinced him that he deserved the throne, and earnestly conjured
him to embrace so fortunate an opportunity. The vain old man
hastened to the Praetorian camp, where Sulpicianus was still in
treaty with the guards, and began to bid against him from the
foot of the rampart. The unworthy negotiation was transacted by
faithful emissaries, who passed alternately from one candidate to
the other, and acquainted each of them with the offers of his
rival. Sulpicianus had already promised a donative of five
thousand drachms (above one hundred and sixty pounds) to each
soldier; when Julian, eager for the prize, rose at once to the
sum of six thousand two hundred and fifty drachms, or upwards of
two hundred pounds sterling. The gates of the camp were
instantly thrown open to the purchaser; he was declared emperor,
and received an oath of allegiance from the soldiers, who
retained humanity enough to stipulate that he should pardon and
forget the competition of Sulpicianus. ^*

[Footnote 11: Spartianus softens the most odious parts of the
character and elevation of Julian.]

[Footnote *: One of the principal causes of the preference of
Julianus by the soldiers, was the dexterty dexterity with which
he reminded them that Sulpicianus would not fail to revenge on
them the death of his son-in-law. (See Dion, p. 1234, 1234. c.
11. Herod. ii. 6.) - W.]

It was now incumbent on the Praetorians to fulfil the
conditions of the sale. They placed their new sovereign, whom
they served and despised, in the centre of their ranks,
surrounded him on every side with their shields, and conducted
him in close order of battle through the deserted streets of the
city. The senate was commanded to assemble; and those who had
been the distinguished friends of Pertinax, or the personal
enemies of Julian, found it necessary to affect a more than
common share of satisfaction at this happy revolution. ^12 After
Julian had filled the senate house with armed soldiers, he
expatiated on the freedom of his election, his own eminent
virtues, and his full assurance of the affections of the senate.
The obsequious assembly congratulated their own and the public
felicity; engaged their allegiance, and conferred on him all the
several branches of the Imperial power. ^13 From the senate
Julian was conducted, by the same military procession, to take
possession of the palace. The first objects that struck his
eyes, were the abandoned trunk of Pertinax, and the frugal
entertainment prepared for his supper. The one he viewed with
indifference, the other with contempt. A magnificent feast was
prepared by his order, and he amused himself, till a very late
hour, with dice, and the performances of Pylades, a celebrated
dancer. Yet it was observed, that after the crowd of flatterers
dispersed, and left him to darkness, solitude, and terrible
reflection, he passed a sleepless night; revolving most probably
in his mind his own rash folly, the fate of his virtuous
predecessor, and the doubtful and dangerous tenure of an empire
which had not been acquired by merit, but purchased by money. ^14

[Footnote 12: Dion Cassius, at that time praetor, had been a
personal enemy to Julian, i. lxxiii. p. 1235.]

[Footnote 13: Hist. August. p. 61. We learn from thence one
curious circumstance, that the new emperor, whatever had been his
birth, was immediately aggregated to the number of patrician
families.
Note: A new fragment of Dion shows some shrewdness in the
character of Julian. When the senate voted him a golden statue,
he preferred one of brass, as more lasting. He "had always
observed," he said, "that the statues of former emperors were
soon destroyed. Those of brass alone remained." The indignant
historian adds that he was wrong. The virtue of sovereigns alone
preserves their images: the brazen statue of Julian was broken to
pieces at his death. Mai. Fragm. Vatican. p. 226. - M.]

[Footnote 14: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1235. Hist. August. p. 61. I
have endeavored to blend into one consistent story the seeming
contradictions of the two writers.

Note: The contradiction as M. Guizot observed, is
irreconcilable. He quotes both passages: in one Julianus is
represented as a miser, in the other as a voluptuary. In the one
he refuses to eat till the body of Pertinax has been buried; in
the other he gluts himself with every luxury almost in the sight
of his headless remains. - M.]

He had reason to tremble. On the throne of the world he
found himself without a friend, and even without an adherent.
The guards themselves were ashamed of the prince whom their
avarice had persuaded them to accept; nor was there a citizen who
did not consider his elevation with horror, as the last insult on
the Roman name. The nobility, whose conspicuous station, and
ample possessions, exacted the strictest caution, dissembled
their sentiments, and met the affected civility of the emperor
with smiles of complacency and professions of duty. But the
people, secure in their numbers and obscurity, gave a free vent
to their passions. The streets and public places of Rome
resounded with clamors and imprecations. The enraged multitude
affronted the person of Julian, rejected his liberality, and,
conscious of the impotence of their own resentment, they called
aloud on the legions of the frontiers to assert the violated
majesty of the Roman empire.
The public discontent was soon diffused from the centre to
the frontiers of the empire. The armies of Britain, of Syria,
and of Illyricum, lamented the death of Pertinax, in whose
company, or under whose command, they had so often fought and
conquered. They received with surprise, with indignation, and
perhaps with envy, the extraordinary intelligence, that the
Praetorians had disposed of the empire by public auction; and
they sternly refused to ratify the ignominious bargain. Their
immediate and unanimous revolt was fatal to Julian, but it was
fatal at the same time to the public peace, as the generals of
the respective armies, Clodius Albinus, Pescennius Niger, and
Septimius Severus, were still more anxious to succeed than to
revenge the murdered Pertinax. Their forces were exactly
balanced. Each of them was at the head of three legions, ^15
with a numerous train of auxiliaries; and however different in
their characters, they were all soldiers of experience and
capacity.

[Footnote 15: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1235.]

Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, surpassed both his
competitors in the nobility of his extraction, which he derived
from some of the most illustrious names of the old republic. ^16
But the branch from which he claimed his descent was sunk into
mean circumstances, and transplanted into a remote province. It
is difficult to form a just idea of his true character. Under
the philosophic cloak of austerity, he stands accused of
concealing most of the vices which degrade human nature. ^17 But
his accusers are those venal writers who adored the fortune of
Severus, and trampled on the ashes of an unsuccessful rival.
Virtue, or the appearances of virtue, recommended Albinus to the
confidence and good opinion of Marcus; and his preserving with
the son the same interest which he had acquired with the father,
is a proof at least that he was possessed of a very flexible
disposition. The favor of a tyrant does not always suppose a
want of merit in the object of it; he may, without intending it,
reward a man of worth and ability, or he may find such a man
useful to his own service. It does not appear that Albinus
served the son of Marcus, either as the minister of his
cruelties, or even as the associate of his pleasures. He was
employed in a distant honorable command, when he received a
confidential letter from the emperor, acquainting him of the
treasonable designs of some discontented generals, and
authorizing him to declare himself the guardian and successor of
the throne, by assuming the title and ensigns of Caesar. ^18 The
governor of Britain wisely declined the dangerous honor, which
would have marked him for the jealousy, or involved him in the
approaching ruin, of Commodus. He courted power by nobler, or,
at least, by more specious arts. On a premature report of the
death of the emperor, he assembled his troops; and, in an
eloquent discourse, deplored the inevitable mischiefs of
despotism, described the happiness and glory which their
ancestors had enjoyed under the consular government, and declared
his firm resolution to reinstate the senate and people in their
legal authority. This popular harangue was answered by the loud
acclamations of the British legions, and received at Rome with a
secret murmur of applause. Safe in the possession of his little
world, and in the command of an army less distinguished indeed
for discipline than for numbers and valor, ^19 Albinus braved the
menaces of Commodus, maintained towards Pertinax a stately
ambiguous reserve, and instantly declared against the usurpation
of Julian. The convulsions of the capital added new weight to
his sentiments, or rather to his professions of patriotism. A
regard to decency induced him to decline the lofty titles of
Augustus and Emperor; and he imitated perhaps the example of
Galba, who, on a similar occasion, had styled himself the
Lieutenant of the senate and people. ^20

[Footnote 16: The Posthumian and the Ce'onian; the former of whom
was raised to the consulship in the fifth year after its
institution.]
[Footnote 17: Spartianus, in his undigested collections, mixes up
all the virtues and all the vices that enter into the human
composition, and bestows them on the same object. Such, indeed
are many of the characters in the Augustan History.]

[Footnote 18: Hist. August. p. 80, 84.]

[Footnote 19: Pertinax, who governed Britain a few years before,
had been left for dead, in a mutiny of the soldiers. Hist.
August. p 54. Yet they loved and regretted him; admirantibus eam
virtutem cui irascebantur.]
[Footnote 20: Sueton. in Galb. c. 10.]

Personal merit alone had raised Pescennius Niger, from an
obscure birth and station, to the government of Syria; a
lucrative and important command, which in times of civil
confusion gave him a near prospect of the throne. Yet his parts
seem to have been better suited to the second than to the first
rank; he was an unequal rival, though he might have approved
himself an excellent lieutenant, to Severus, who afterwards
displayed the greatness of his mind by adopting several useful
institutions from a vanquished enemy. ^21 In his government Niger
acquired the esteem of the soldiers and the love of the
provincials. His rigid discipline foritfied the valor and
confirmed the obedience of the former, whilst the voluptuous
Syrians were less delighted with the mild firmness of his
administration, than with the affability of his manners, and the
apparent pleasure with which he attended their frequent and
pompous festivals. ^22 As soon as the intelligence of the
atrocious murder of Pertinax had reached Antioch, the wishes of
Asia invited Niger to assume the Imperial purple and revenge his
death. The legions of the eastern frontier embraced his cause;
the opulent but unarmed provinces, from the frontiers of
Aethiopia ^23 to the Hadriatic, cheerfully submitted to his
power; and the kings beyond the Tigris and the Euphrates
congratulated his election, and offered him their homage and
services. The mind of Niger was not capable of receiving this
sudden tide of fortune: he flattered himself that his accession
would be undisturbed by competition and unstained by civil blood;
and whilst he enjoyed the vain pomp of triumph, he neglected to
secure the means of victory. Instead of entering into an
effectual negotiation with the powerful armies of the West, whose
resolution might decide, or at least must balance, the mighty
contest; instead of advancing without delay towards Rome and
Italy, where his presence was impatiently expected, ^24 Niger
trifled away in the luxury of Antioch those irretrievable moments
which were diligently improved by the decisive activity of
Severus. ^25 [Footnote 21: Hist. August. p. 76.]

[Footnote 22: Herod. l. ii. p. 68. The Chronicle of John Malala,
of Antioch, shows the zealous attachment of his countrymen to
these festivals, which at once gratified their superstition, and
their love of pleasure.]
[Footnote 23: A king of Thebes, in Egypt, is mentioned, in the
Augustan History, as an ally, and, indeed, as a personal friend
of Niger. If Spartianus is not, as I strongly suspect, mistaken,
he has brought to light a dynasty of tributary princes totally
unknown to history.]
[Footnote 24: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1238. Herod. l. ii. p. 67. A
verse in every one's mouth at that time, seems to express the
general opinion of the three rivals; Optimus est Niger, [Fuscus,
which preserves the quantity. - M.] bonus After, pessimus Albus.
Hist. August. p. 75.]

[Footnote 25: Herodian, l. ii. p. 71.]

The country of Pannonia and Dalmatia, which occupied the
space between the Danube and the Hadriatic, was one of the last
and most difficult conquests of the Romans. In the defence of
national freedom, two hundred thousand of these barbarians had
once appeared in the field, alarmed the declining age of
Augustus, and exercised the vigilant prudence of Tiberius at the
head of the collected force of the empire. ^26 The Pannonians
yielded at length to the arms and institutions of Rome. Their
recent subjection, however, the neighborhood, and even the
mixture, of the unconquered tribes, and perhaps the climate,
adapted, as it has been observed, to the production of great
bodies and slow minds, ^27 all contributed to preserve some
remains of their original ferocity, and under the tame and
uniform countenance of Roman provincials, the hardy features of
the natives were still to be discerned. Their warlike youth
afforded an inexhaustible supply of recruits to the legions
stationed on the banks of the Danube, and which, from a perpetual
warfare against the Germans and Sarmazans, were deservedly
esteemed the best troops in the service.

[Footnote 26: See an account of that memorable war in Velleius
Paterculus, is 110, &c., who served in the army of Tiberius.]

[Footnote 27: Such is the reflection of Herodian, l. ii. p. 74.
Will the modern Austrians allow the influence?]

The Pannonian army was at this time commanded by Septimius
Severus, a native of Africa, who, in the gradual ascent of
private honors, had concealed his daring ambition, which was
never diverted from its steady course by the allurements of
pleasure, the apprehension of danger, or the feelings of
humanity. ^28 On the first news of the murder of Pertinax, he
assembled his troops, painted in the most lively colors the
crime, the insolence, and the weakness of the Praetorian guards,
and animated the legions to arms and to revenge. He concluded
(and the peroration was thought extremely eloquent) with
promising every soldier about four hundred pounds; an honorable
donative, double in value to the infamous bribe with which Julian
had purchased the empire. ^29 The acclamations of the army
immediately saluted Severus with the names of Augustus, Pertinax,
and Emperor; and he thus attained the lofty station to which he
was invited, by conscious merit and a long train of dreams and
omens, the fruitful offsprings either of his superstition or
policy. ^30

[Footnote 28: In the letter to Albinus, already mentioned,
Commodus accuses Severus, as one of the ambitious generals who
censured his conduct, and wished to occupy his place. Hist.
August. p. 80.]

[Footnote 29: Pannonia was too poor to supply such a sum. It was
probably promised in the camp, and paid at Rome, after the
victory. In fixing the sum, I have adopted the conjecture of
Casaubon. See Hist. August. p. 66. Comment. p. 115.]

[Footnote 30: Herodian, l. ii. p. 78. Severus was declared
emperor on the banks of the Danube, either at Carnuntum,
according to Spartianus, (Hist. August. p. 65,) or else at
Sabaria, according to Victor. Mr. Hume, in supposing that the
birth and dignity of Severus were too much inferior to the
Imperial crown, and that he marched into Italy as general only,
has not considered this transaction with his usual accuracy,
(Essay on the original contract.)

Note: Carnuntum, opposite to the mouth of the Morava: its
position is doubtful, either Petronel or Haimburg. A little
intermediate village seems to indicate by its name (Altenburg)
the site of an old town. D'Anville Geogr. Anc. Sabaria, now
Sarvar. - G. Compare note 37. - M.]

The new candidate for empire saw and improved the peculiar
advantage of his situation. His province extended to the Julian
Alps, which gave an easy access into Italy; and he remembered the
saying of Augustus, That a Pannonian army might in ten days
appear in sight of Rome. ^31 By a celerity proportioned to the
greatness of the occasion, he might reasonably hope to revenge
Pertinax, punish Julian, and receive the homage of the senate and
people, as their lawful emperor, before his competitors,
separated from Italy by an immense tract of sea and land, were
apprised of his success, or even of his election. During the
whole expedition, he scarcely allowed himself any moments for
sleep or food; marching on foot, and in complete armor, at the
head of his columns, he insinuated himself into the confidence
and affection of his troops, pressed their diligence, revived
their spirits, animated their hopes, and was well satisfied to
share the hardships of the meanest soldier, whilst he kept in
view the infinite superiority of his reward.
[Footnote 31: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 3. We must reckon
the march from the nearest verge of Pannonia, and extend the
sight of the city as far as two hundred miles.]

The wretched Julian had expected, and thought himself
prepared, to dispute the empire with the governor of Syria; but
in the invincible and rapid approach of the Pannonian legions, he
saw his inevitable ruin. The hasty arrival of every messenger
increased his just apprehensions. He was successively informed,
that Severus had passed the Alps; that the Italian cities,
unwilling or unable to oppose his progress, had received him with
the warmest professions of joy and duty; that the important place
of Ravenna had surrendered without resistance, and that the
Hadriatic fleet was in the hands of the conqueror. The enemy was
now within two hundred and fifty miles of Rome; and every moment
diminished the narrow span of life and empire allotted to Julian.

He attempted, however, to prevent, or at least to protract,
his ruin. He implored the venal faith of the Praetorians, filled
the city with unavailing preparations for war, drew lines round
the suburbs, and even strengthened the fortifications of the
palace; as if those last intrenchments could be defended, without
hope of relief, against a victorious invader. Fear and shame
prevented the guards from deserting his standard; but they
trembled at the name of the Pannonian legions, commanded by an
experienced general, and accustomed to vanquish the barbarians on
the frozen Danube. ^32 They quitted, with a sigh, the pleasures
of the baths and theatres, to put on arms, whose use they had
almost forgotten, and beneath the weight of which they were
oppressed. The unpractised elephants, whose uncouth appearance,
it was hoped, would strike terror into the army of the north,
threw their unskilful riders; and the awkward evolutions of the
marines, drawn from the fleet of Misenum, were an object of
ridicule to the populace; whilst the senate enjoyed, with secret
pleasure, the distress and weakness of the usurper. ^33

[Footnote 32: This is not a puerile figure of rhetoric, but an
allusion to a real fact recorded by Dion, l. lxxi. p. 1181. It
probably happened more than once.]

[Footnote 33: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1233. Herodian, l. ii. p. 81.
There is no surer proof of the military skill of the Romans, than
their first surmounting the idle terror, and afterwards
disdaining the dangerous use, of elephants in war.

Note: These elephants were kept for processions, perhaps for
the games. Se Herod. in loc. - M.]

Every motion of Julian betrayed his trembling perplexity.
He insisted that Severus should be declared a public enemy by the
senate. He entreated that the Pannonian general might be
associated to the empire. He sent public ambassadors of consular
rank to negotiate with his rival; he despatched private assassins
to take away his life. He designed that the Vestal virgins, and
all the colleges of priests, in their sacerdotal habits, and
bearing before them the sacred pledges of the Roman religion,
should advance in solemn procession to meet the Pannonian
legions; and, at the same time, he vainly tried to interrogate,
or to appease, the fates, by magic ceremonies and unlawful
sacrifices. ^34

[Footnote 34: Hist. August. p. 62, 63.

Note: Quae ad speculum dicunt fieri in quo pueri praeligatis
oculis, incantate..., respicere dicuntur. * * * Tuncque puer
vidisse dicitur et adventun Severi et Juliani decessionem. This
seems to have been a practice somewhat similar to that of which
our recent Egyptian travellers relate such extraordinary
circumstances. See also Apulius, Orat. de Magia. - M.]

Chapter V: Sale Of The Empire To Didius Julianus.

Part II.

Severus, who dreaded neither his arms nor his enchantments,
guarded himself from the only danger of secret conspiracy, by the
faithful attendance of six hundred chosen men, who never quitted
his person or their cuirasses, either by night or by day, during
the whole march. Advancing with a steady and rapid course, he
passed, without difficulty, the defiles of the Apennine, received
into his party the troops and ambassadors sent to retard his
progress, and made a short halt at Interamnia, about seventy
miles from Rome. His victory was already secure, but the despair
of the Praetorians might have rendered it bloody; and Severus had
the laudable ambition of ascending the throne without drawing the
sword. ^35 His emissaries, dispersed in the capital, assured the
guards, that provided they would abandon their worthless prince,
and the perpetrators of the murder of Pertinax, to the justice of
the conqueror, he would no longer consider that melancholy event
as the act of the whole body. The faithless Praetorians, whose
resistance was supported only by sullen obstinacy, gladly
complied with the easy conditions, seized the greatest part of
the assassins, and signified to the senate, that they no longer
defended the cause of Julian. That assembly, convoked by the
consul, unanimously acknowledged Severus as lawful emperor,
decreed divine honors to Pertinax, and pronounced a sentence of
deposition and death against his unfortunate successor. Julian
was conducted into a private apartment of the baths of the
palace, and beheaded as a common criminal, after having
purchased, with an immense treasure, an anxious and precarious
reign of only sixty-six days. ^36 The almost incredible
expedition of Severus, who, in so short a space of time,
conducted a numerous army from the banks of the Danube to those
of the Tyber, proves at once the plenty of provisions produced by
agriculture and commerce, the goodness of the roads, the
discipline of the legions, and the indolent, subdued temper of
the provinces. ^37
[Footnote 35: Victor and Eutropius, viii. 17, mention a combat
near the Milvian bridge, the Ponte Molle, unknown to the better
and more ancient writers.]

[Footnote 36: Dion, l. lxxiii. p. 1240. Herodian, l. ii. p. 83.
Hist. August. p. 63.]

[Footnote 37: From these sixty-six days, we must first deduct
sixteen, as Pertinax was murdered on the 28th of March, and
Severus most probably elected on the 13th of April, (see Hist.
August. p. 65, and Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. iii. p.
393, note 7.) We cannot allow less than ten days after his
election, to put a numerous army in motion. Forty days remain
for this rapid march; and as we may compute about eight hundred
miles from Rome to the neighborhood of Vienna, the army of
Severus marched twenty miles every day, without halt or
intermission.]

The first cares of Severus were bestowed on two measures the
one dictated by policy, the other by decency; the revenge, and
the honors, due to the memory of Pertinax. Before the new
emperor entered Rome, he issued his commands to the Praetorian
guards, directing them to wait his arrival on a large plain near
the city, without arms, but in the habits of ceremony, in which
they were accustomed to attend their sovereign. He was obeyed by
those haughty troops, whose contrition was the effect of their
just terrors. A chosen part of the Illyrian army encompassed
them with levelled spears. Incapable of flight or resistance,
they expected their fate in silent consternation. Severus
mounted the tribunal, sternly reproached them with perfidy and
cowardice, dismissed them with ignominy from the trust which they
had betrayed, despoiled them of their splendid ornaments, and
banished them, on pain of death, to the distance of a hundred
miles from the capital. During the transaction, another
detachment had been sent to seize their arms, occupy their camp,
and prevent the hasty consequences of their despair. ^38
[Footnote 38: Dion, l. lxxiv. p. 1241. Herodian, l. ii. p. 84.]
The funeral and consecration of Pertinax was next solemnized
with every circumstance of sad magnificence. ^39 The senate, with
a melancholy pleasure, performed the last rites to that excellent
prince, whom they had loved, and still regretted. The concern of
his successor was probably less sincere; he esteemed the virtues
of Pertinax, but those virtues would forever have confined his
ambition to a private station. Severus pronounced his funeral
oration with studied eloquence, inward satisfaction, and
well-acted sorrow; and by this pious regard to his memory,
convinced the credulous multitude, that he alone was worthy to
supply his place. Sensible, however, that arms, not ceremonies,
must assert his claim to the empire, he left Rome at the end of
thirty days, and without suffering himself to be elated by this
easy victory, prepared to encounter his more formidable rivals.
[Footnote 39: Dion, (l. lxxiv. p. 1244,) who assisted at the
ceremony as a senator, gives a most pompous description of it.]

The uncommon abilities and fortune of Severus have induced
an elegant historian to compare him with the first and greatest
of the Caesars. ^40 The parallel is, at least, imperfect. Where
shall we find, in the character of Severus, the commanding
superiority of soul, the generous clemency, and the various
genius, which could reconcile and unite the love of pleasure, the
thirst of knowledge, and the fire of ambition? ^41 In one
instance only, they may be compared, with some degree of
propriety, in the celerity of their motions, and their civil
victories. In less than four years, ^42 Severus subdued the
riches of the East, and the valor of the West. He vanquished two
competitors of reputation and ability, and defeated numerous
armies, provided with weapons and discipline equal to his own.
In that age, the art of fortification, and the principles of
tactics, were well understood by all the Roman generals; and the
constant superiority of Severus was that of an artist, who uses
the same instruments with more skill and industry than his
rivals. I shall not, however, enter into a minute narrative of
these military operations; but as the two civil wars against
Niger and against Albinus were almost the same in their conduct,
event, and consequences, I shall collect into one point of view
the most striking circumstances, tending to develop the character
of the conqueror and the state of the empire.
[Footnote 40: Herodian, l. iii. p. 112]

[Footnote 41: Though it is not, most assuredly, the intention of
Lucan to exalt the character of Caesar, yet the idea he gives of
that hero, in the tenth book of the Pharsalia, where he describes
him, at the same time, making love to Cleopatra, sustaining a
siege against the power of Egypt, and conversing with the sages
of the country, is, in reality, the noblest panegyric.

Note: Lord Byron wrote, no doubt, from a reminiscence of
that passage - "It is possible to be a very great man, and to be
still very inferior to Julius Caesar, the most complete
character, so Lord Bacon thought, of all antiquity. Nature seems
incapable of such extraordinary combinations as composed his
versatile capacity, which was the wonder even of the Romans
themselves. The first general; the only triumphant politician;
inferior to none in point of eloquence; comparable to any in the
attainments of wisdom, in an age made up of the greatest
commanders, statesmen, orators, and philosophers, that ever
appeared in the world; an author who composed a perfect specimen
of military annals in his travelling carriage; at one time in a
controversy with Cato, at another writing a treatise on punuing,
and collecting a set of good sayings; fighting and making love at
the same moment, and willing to abandon both his empire and his
mistress for a sight of the fountains of the Nile. Such did
Julius Caesar appear to his contemporaries, and to those of the
subsequent ages who were the most inclined to deplore and
execrate his fatal genius." Note 47 to Canto iv. of Childe
Harold. - M.]
[Footnote 42: Reckoning from his election, April 13, 193, to the
death of Albinus, February 19, 197. See Tillemont's Chronology.]

Falsehood and insincerity, unsuitable as they seem to the
dignity of public transactions, offend us with a less degrading
idea of meanness, than when they are found in the intercourse of
private life. In the latter, they discover a want of courage; in
the other, only a defect of power: and, as it is impossible for
the most able statesmen to subdue millions of followers and
enemies by their own personal strength, the world, under the name
of policy, seems to have granted them a very liberal indulgence
of craft and dissimulation. Yet the arts of Severus cannot be
justified by the most ample privileges of state reason. He
promised only to betray, he flattered only to ruin; and however
he might occasionally bind himself by oaths and treaties, his
conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from
the inconvenient obligation. ^43

[Footnote 43: Herodian, l. ii. p. 85.]

If his two competitors, reconciled by their common danger,
had advanced upon him without delay, perhaps Severus would have
sunk under their united effort. Had they even attacked him, at
the same time, with separate views and separate armies, the
contest might have been long and doubtful. But they fell, singly
and successively, an easy prey to the arts as well as arms of
their subtle enemy, lulled into security by the moderation of his
professions, and overwhelmed by the rapidity of his action. He
first marched against Niger, whose reputation and power he the
most dreaded: but he declined any hostile declarations,
suppressed the name of his antagonist, and only signified to the
senate and people his intention of regulating the eastern
provinces. In private, he spoke of Niger, his old friend and
intended successor, ^44 with the most affectionate regard, and
highly applauded his generous design of revenging the murder of
Pertinax. To punish the vile usurper of the throne, was the duty
of every Roman general. To persevere in arms, and to resist a
lawful emperor, acknowledged by the senate, would alone render
him criminal. ^45 The sons of Niger had fallen into his hands
among the children of the provincial governors, detained at Rome
as pledges for the loyalty of their parents. ^46 As long as the
power of Niger inspired terror, or even respect, they were
educated with the most tender care, with the children of Severus
himself; but they were soon involved in their father's ruin, and
removed first by exile, and afterwards by death, from the eye of
public compassion. ^47
[Footnote 44: Whilst Severus was very dangerously ill, it was
industriously given out, that he intended to appoint Niger and
Albinus his successors. As he could not be sincere with respect
to both, he might not be so with regard to either. Yet Severus
carried his hypocrisy so far, as to profess that intention in the
memoirs of his own life.]

[Footnote 45: Hist. August. p. 65.]

[Footnote 46: This practice, invented by Commodus, proved very
useful to Severus. He found at Rome the children of many of the
principal adherents of his rivals; and he employed them more than
once to intimidate, or seduce, the parents.]

[Footnote 47: Herodian, l. iii. p. 95. Hist. August. p. 67, 68.]

Whilst Severus was engaged in his eastern war, he had reason
to apprehend that the governor of Britain might pass the sea and
the Alps, occupy the vacant seat of empire, and oppose his return
with the authority of the senate and the forces of the West. The
ambiguous conduct of Albinus, in not assuming the Imperial title,
left room for negotiation. Forgetting, at once, his professions
of patriotism, and the jealousy of sovereign power, he accepted
the precarious rank of Caesar, as a reward for his fatal
neutrality. Till the first contest was decided, Severus treated
the man, whom he had doomed to destruction, with every mark of
esteem and regard. Even in the letter, in which he announced his
victory over Niger, he styles Albinus the brother of his soul and
empire, sends him the affectionate salutations of his wife Julia,
and his young family, and entreats him to preserve the armies and
the republic faithful to their common interest. The messengers
charged with this letter were instructed to accost the Caesar
with respect, to desire a private audience, and to plunge their
daggers into his heart. ^48 The conspiracy was discovered, and
the too credulous Albinus, at length, passed over to the
continent, and prepared for an unequal contest with his rival,
who rushed upon him at the head of a veteran and victorious army.

[Footnote 48: Hist. August. p. 84. Spartianus has inserted this
curious letter at full length.]

The military labors of Severus seem inadequate to the
importance of his conquests. Two engagements, ^* the one near
the Hellespont, the other in the narrow defiles of Cilicia,
decided the fate of his Syrian competitor; and the troops of
Europe asserted their usual ascendant over the effeminate natives
of Asia. ^49 The battle of Lyons, where one hundred and fifty
thousand Romans ^50 were engaged, was equally fatal to Albinus.
The valor of the British army maintained, indeed, a sharp and
doubtful contest, with the hardy discipline of the Illyrian
legions. The fame and person of Severus appeared, during a few
moments, irrecoverably lost, till that warlike prince rallied his
fainting troops, and led them on to a decisive victory. ^51 The
war was finished by that memorable day. ^*

[Footnote *: There were three actions; one near Cyzicus, on the
Hellespont, one near Nice, in Bithynia, the third near the Issus,
in Cilicia, where Alexander conquered Darius. (Dion, lxiv. c. 6.

Herodian, iii. 2, 4.) - W Herodian represents the second battle
as of less importance than Dion - M.]
[Footnote 49: Consult the third book of Herodian, and the
seventy-fourth book of Dion Cassius.]

[Footnote 50: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1260.]

[Footnote 51: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1261. Herodian, l. iii. p. 110.
Hist. August. p. 68. The battle was fought in the plain of
Trevoux, three or four leagues from Lyons. See Tillemont, tom.
iii. p. 406, note 18.]
[Footnote *: According to Herodian, it was his lieutenant Laetus
who led back the troops to the battle, and gained the day, which
Severus had almost lost. Dion also attributes to Laetus a great
share in the victory. Severus afterwards put him to death,
either from fear or jealousy. - W. and G. Wenck and M. Guizot
have not given the real statement of Herodian or of Dion.
According to the former, Laetus appeared with his own army
entire, which he was suspected of having designedly kept
disengaged when the battle was still doudtful, or rather after
the rout of severus. Dion says that he did not move till Severus
had won the victory. - M.]

The civil wars of modern Europe have been distinguished, not
only by the fierce animosity, but likewise by the obstinate
perseverance, of the contending factions. They have generally
been justified by some principle, or, at least, colored by some
pretext, of religion, freedom, or loyalty. The leaders were
nobles of independent property and hereditary influence. The
troops fought like men interested in the decision of the quarrel;
and as military spirit and party zeal were strongly diffused
throughout the whole community, a vanquished chief was
immediately supplied with new adherents, eager to shed their
blood in the same cause. But the Romans, after the fall of the
republic, combated only for the choice of masters. Under the
standard of a popular candidate for empire, a few enlisted from
affection, some from fear, many from interest, none from
principle. The legions, uninflamed by party zeal, were allured
into civil war by liberal donatives, and still more liberal
promises. A defeat, by disabling the chief from the performance
of his engagements, dissolved the mercenary allegiance of his
followers, and left them to consult their own safety by a timely
desertion of an unsuccessful cause. It was of little moment to
the provinces, under whose name they were oppressed or governed;
they were driven by the impulsion of the present power, and as
soon as that power yielded to a superior force, they hastened to
implore the clemency of the conqueror, who, as he had an immense
debt to discharge, was obliged to sacrifice the most guilty
countries to the avarice of his soldiers. In the vast extent of
the Roman empire, there were few fortified cities capable of
protecting a routed army; nor was there any person, or family, or
order of men, whose natural interest, unsupported by the powers
of government, was capable of restoring the cause of a sinking
party. ^52

[Footnote 52: Montesquieu, Considerations sur la Grandeur et la
Decadence des Romains, c. xiii.]

Yet, in the contest between Niger and Severus, a single city
deserves an honorable exception. As Byzantium was one of the
greatest passages from Europe into Asia, it had been provided
with a strong garrison, and a fleet of five hundred vessels was
anchored in the harbor. ^53 The impetuosity of Severus
disappointed this prudent scheme of defence; he left to his
generals the siege of Byzantium, forced the less guarded passage
of the Hellespont, and, impatient of a meaner enemy, pressed
forward to encounter his rival. Byzantium, attacked by a numerous
and increasing army, and afterwards by the whole naval power of
the empire, sustained a siege of three years, and remained
faithful to the name and memory of Niger. The citizens and
soldiers (we know not from what cause) were animated with equal
fury; several of the principal officers of Niger, who despaired
of, or who disdained, a pardon, had thrown themselves into this
last refuge: the fortifications were esteemed impregnable, and,
in the defence of the place, a celebrated engineer displayed all
the mechanic powers known to the ancients. ^54 Byzantium, at
length, surrendered to famine. The magistrates and soldiers were
put to the sword, the walls demolished, the privileges
suppressed, and the destined capital of the East subsisted only
as an open village, subject to the insulting jurisdiction of
Perinthus. The historian Dion, who had admired the flourishing,
and lamented the desolate, state of Byzantium, accused the
revenge of Severus, for depriving the Roman people of the
strongest bulwark against the barbarians of Pontus and Asia ^55
The truth of this observation was but too well justified in the
succeeding age, when the Gothic fleets covered the Euxine, and
passed through the undefined Bosphorus into the centre of the
Mediterranean.

[Footnote 53: Most of these, as may be supposed, were small open
vessels; some, however, were galleys of two, and a few of three
ranks of oars.]
[Footnote 54: The engineer's name was Priscus. His skill saved
his life, and he was taken into the service of the conqueror.
For the particular facts of the siege, consult Dion Cassius (l.
lxxv. p. 1251) and Herodian, (l. iii. p. 95;) for the theory of
it, the fanciful chevalier de Folard may be looked into. See
Polybe, tom. i. p. 76.]

[Footnote 55 : Notwithstanding the authority of Spartianus, and
some modern Greeks, we may be assured, from Dion and Herodian,
that Byzantium, many years after the death of Severus, lay in
ruins.

Footnote *: There is no contradiction between the relation
of Dion and that of Spartianus and the modern Greeks. Dion does
not say that Severus destroyed Byzantium, but that he deprived it
of its franchises and privileges, stripped the inhabitants of
their property, razed the fortifications, and subjected the city
to the jurisdiction of Perinthus. Therefore, when Spartian,
Suidas, Cedrenus, say that Severus and his son Antoninus restored
to Byzantium its rights and franchises, ordered temples to be
built, &c., this is easily reconciled with the relation of Dion.
Perhaps the latter mentioned it in some of the fragments of his
history which have been lost. As to Herodian, his expressions
are evidently exaggerated, and he has been guilty of so many
inaccuracies in the history of Severus, that we have a right to
suppose one in this passage. - G. from W Wenck and M. Guizot have
omitted to cite Zosimus, who mentions a particular portico built
by Severus, and called, apparently, by his name. Zosim. Hist.
ii. c. xxx. p. 151, 153, edit Heyne. - M.]
Both Niger and Albinus were discovered and put to death in
their flight from the field of battle. Their fate excited
neither surprise nor compassion. They had staked their lives
against the chance of empire, and suffered what they would have
inflicted; nor did Severus claim the arrogant superiority of
suffering his rivals to live in a private station. But his
unforgiving temper, stimulated by avarice, indulged a spirit of
revenge, where there was no room for apprehension. The most
considerable of the provincials, who, without any dislike to the
fortunate candidate, had obeyed the governor under whose
authority they were accidentally placed, were punished by death,
exile, and especially by the confiscation of their estates. Many
cities of the East were stripped of their ancient honors, and
obliged to pay, into the treasury of Severus, four times the
amount of the sums contributed by them for the service of Niger.
^56

[Footnote 56: Dion, l. lxxiv. p. 1250.]

Till the final decision of the war, the cruelty of Severus
was, in some measure, restrained by the uncertainty of the event,
and his pretended reverence for the senate. The head of Albinus,
accompanied with a menacing letter, announced to the Romans that
he was resolved to spare none of the adherents of his unfortunate
competitors. He was irritated by the just auspicion that he had
never possessed the affections of the senate, and he concealed
his old malevolence under the recent discovery of some
treasonable correspondences. Thirty-five senators, however,
accused of having favored the party of Albinus, he freely
pardoned, and, by his subsequent behavior, endeavored to convince
them, that he had forgotten, as well as forgiven, their supposed
offences. But, at the same time, he condemned forty-one ^57
other senators, whose names history has recorded; their wives,
children, and clients attended them in death, ^* and the noblest
provincials of Spain and Gaul were involved in the same ruin. ^!
Such rigid justice - for so he termed it - was, in the opinion of
Severus, the only conduct capable of insuring peace to the people
or stability to the prince; and he condescended slightly to
lament, that to be mild, it was necessary that he should first be
cruel. ^58
[Footnote 57: Dion, (l. lxxv. p. 1264;) only twenty-nine senators
are mentioned by him, but forty-one are named in the Augustan
History, p. 69, among whom were six of the name of Pescennius.
Herodian (l. iii. p. 115) speaks in general of the cruelties of
Severus.]

[Footnote *: Wenck denies that there is any authority for this
massacre of the wives of the senators. He adds, that only the
children and relatives of Niger and Albinus were put to death.
This is true of the family of Albinus, whose bodies were thrown
into the Rhone; those of Niger, according to Lampridius, were
sent into exile, but afterwards put to death. Among the
partisans of Albinus who were put to death were many women of
rank, multae foeminae illustres. Lamprid. in Sever. - M.]

[Footnote !: A new fragment of Dion describes the state of Rome
during this contest. All pretended to be on the side of Severus;
but their secret sentiments were often betrayed by a change of
countenance on the arrival of some sudden report. Some were
detected by overacting their loyalty, Mai. Fragm. Vatican. p. 227
Severus told the senate he would rather have their hearts than
their votes. - Ibid. - M.]

[Footnote 58: Aurelius Victor.]

The true interest of an absolute monarch generally coincides
with that of his people. Their numbers, their wealth, their
order, and their security, are the best and only foundations of
his real greatness; and were he totally devoid of virtue,
prudence might supply its place, and would dictate the same rule
of conduct. Severus considered the Roman empire as his property,
and had no sooner secured the possession, than he bestowed his
care on the cultivation and improvement of so valuable an
acquisition. Salutary laws, executed with inflexible firmness,
soon corrected most of the abuses with which, since the death of
Marcus, every part of the government had been infected. In the
administration of justice, the judgments of the emperor were
characterized by attention, discernment, and impartiality; and
whenever he deviated from the strict line of equity, it was
generally in favor of the poor and oppressed; not so much indeed
from any sense of humanity, as from the natural propensity of a
despot to humble the pride of greatness, and to sink all his
subjects to the same common level of absolute dependence. His
expensive taste for building, magnificent shows, and above all a
constant and liberal distribution of corn and provisions, were
the surest means of captivating the affection of the Roman
people. ^59 The misfortunes of civil discord were obliterated.
The clam of peace and prosperity was once more experienced in the
provinces; and many cities, restored by the munificence of
Severus, assumed the title of his colonies, and attested by
public monuments their gratitude and felicity. ^60 The fame of
the Roman arms was revived by that warlike and successful
emperor, ^61 and he boasted, with a just pride, that, having
received the empire oppressed with foreign and domestic wars, he
left it established in profound, universal, and honorable peace.
^62
[Footnote 59: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1272. Hist. August. p. 67.
Severus celebrated the secular games with extraordinary
magnificence, and he left in the public granaries a provision of
corn for seven years, at the rate of 75,000 modii, or about 2500
quarters per day. I am persuaded that the granaries of Severus
were supplied for a long term, but I am not less persuaded, that
policy on one hand, and admiration on the other, magnified the
hoard far beyond its true contents.]

[Footnote 60: See Spanheim's treatise of ancient medals, the
inscriptions, and our learned travellers Spon and Wheeler, Shaw,
Pocock, &c, who, in Africa, Greece, and Asia, have found more
monuments of Severus than of any other Roman emperor whatsoever.]

[Footnote 61: He carried his victorious arms to Seleucia and
Ctesiphon, the capitals of the Parthian monarchy. I shall have
occasion to mention this war in its proper place.]

[Footnote 62: Etiam in Britannis, was his own just and emphatic
expression Hist. August. 73.]

Although the wounds of civil war appeared completely healed,
its mortal poison still lurked in the vitals of the constitution.

Severus possessed a considerable share of vigor and ability; but
the daring soul of the first Caesar, or the deep policy of
Augustus, were scarcely equal to the task of curbing the
insolence of the victorious legions. By gratitude, by misguided
policy, by seeming necessity, Severus was reduced to relax the
nerves of discipline. ^63 The vanity of his soldiers was
flattered with the honor of wearing gold rings their ease was
indulged in the permission of living with their wives in the
idleness of quarters. He increased their pay beyond the example
of former times, and taught them to expect, and soon to claim,
extraordinary donatives on every public occasion of danger or
festivity. Elated by success, enervated by luxury, and raised
above the level of subjects by their dangerous privileges, ^64
they soon became incapable of military fatigue, oppressive to the
country, and impatient of a just subordination. Their officers
asserted the superiority of rank by a more profuse and elegant
luxury. There is still extant a letter of Severus, lamenting the
licentious stage of the army, ^* and exhorting one of his
generals to begin the necessary reformation from the tribunes
themselves; since, as he justly observes, the officer who has
forfeited the esteem, will never command the obedience, of his
soldiers. ^65 Had the emperor pursued the train of reflection, he
would have discovered, that the primary cause of this general
corruption might be ascribed, not indeed to the example, but to
the pernicious indulgence, however, of the commander-in-chief.
[Footnote 63: Herodian, l. iii. p. 115. Hist. August. p. 68.]
[Footnote 64: Upon the insolence and privileges of the soldier,
the 16th satire, falsely ascribed to Juvenal, may be consulted;
the style and circumstances of it would induce me to believe,
that it was composed under the reign of Severus, or that of his
son.]

[Footnote *: Not of the army, but of the troops in Gaul. The
contents of this letter seem to prove that Severus was really
anxious to restore discipline Herodian is the only historian who
accuses him of being the first cause of its relaxation. - G. from
W Spartian mentions his increase of the pays. - M.]

[Footnote 65: Hist. August. p. 73.]

The Praetorians, who murdered their emperor and sold the
empire, had received the just punishment of their treason; but
the necessary, though dangerous, institution of guards was soon
restored on a new model by Severus, and increased to four times
the ancient number. ^66 Formerly these troops had been recruited
in Italy; and as the adjacent provinces gradually imbibed the
softer manners of Rome, the levies were extended to Macedonia,
Noricum, and Spain. In the room of these elegant troops, better
adapted to the pomp of courts than to the uses of war, it was
established by Severus, that from all the legions of the
frontiers, the soldiers most distinguished for strength, valor,
and fidelity, should be occasionally draughted; and promoted, as
an honor and reward, into the more eligible service of the
guards. ^67 By this new institution, the Italian youth were
diverted from the exercise of arms, and the capital was terrified
by the strange aspect and manners of a multitude of barbarians.
But Severus flattered himself, that the legions would consider
these chosen Praetorians as the representatives of the whole
military order; and that the present aid of fifty thousand men,
superior in arms and appointments to any force that could be
brought into the field against them, would forever crush the
hopes of rebellion, and secure the empire to himself and his
posterity.

[Footnote 66: Herodian, l. iii. p. 131.]

[Footnote 67: Dion, l. lxxiv. p. 1243.]

The command of these favored and formidable troops soon
became the first office of the empire. As the government
degenerated into military despotism, the Praetorian Praefect, who
in his origin had been a simple captain of the guards, ^* was
placed not only at the head of the army, but of the finances, and
even of the law. In every department of administration, he
represented the person, and exercised the authority, of the
emperor. The first praefect who enjoyed and abused this immense
power was Plautianus, the favorite minister of Severus. His
reign lasted above then years, till the marriage of his daughter
with the eldest son of the emperor, which seemed to assure his
fortune, proved the occasion of his ruin. ^68 The animosities of
the palace, by irritating the ambition and alarming the fears of
Plautianus, ^* threatened to produce a revolution, and obliged
the emperor, who still loved him, to consent with reluctance to
his death. ^69 After the fall of Plautianus, an eminent lawyer,
the celebrated Papinian, was appointed to execute the motley
office of Praetorian Praefect.

[Footnote *: The Praetorian Praefect had never been a simple
captain of the guards; from the first creation of this office,
under Augustus, it possessed great power. That emperor,
therefore, decreed that there should be always two Praetorian
Praefects, who could only be taken from the equestrian order
Tiberius first departed from the former clause of this edict;
Alexander Severus violated the second by naming senators
praefects. It appears that it was under Commodus that the
Praetorian Praefects obtained the province of civil jurisdiction.

it extended only to Italy, with the exception of Rome and its
district, which was governed by the Praefectus urbi. As to the
control of the finances, and the levying of taxes, it was not
intrusted to them till after the great change that Constantine I.
made in the organization of the empire at least, I know no
passage which assigns it to them before that time; and
Drakenborch, who has treated this question in his Dissertation de
official praefectorum praetorio, vi., does not quote one. - W.]
[Footnote 68: One of his most daring and wanton acts of power,
was the castration of a hundred free Romans, some of them married
men, and even fathers of families; merely that his daughter, on
her marriage with the young emperor, might be attended by a train
of eunuchs worthy of an eastern queen. Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1271.]

[Footnote *: Plautianus was compatriot, relative, and the old
friend, of Severus; he had so completely shut up all access to
the emperor, that the latter was ignorant how far he abused his
powers: at length, being informed of it, he began to limit his
authority. The marriage of Plautilla with Caracalla was
unfortunate; and the prince who had been forced to consent to it,
menaced the father and the daughter with death when he should
come to the throne. It was feared, after that, that Plautianus
would avail himself of the power which he still possessed,
against the Imperial family; and Severus caused him to be
assassinated in his presence, upon the pretext of a conspiracy,
which Dion considers fictitious. - W. This note is not, perhaps,
very necessary and does not contain the whole facts. Dion
considers the conspiracy the invention of Caracalla, by whose
command, almost by whose hand, Plautianus was slain in the
presence of Severus. - M.]
[Footnote 69: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1274. Herodian, l. iii. p. 122,
129. The grammarian of Alexander seems, as is not unusual, much
better acquainted with this mysterious transaction, and more
assured of the guilt of Plautianus than the Roman senator
ventures to be.]

Till the reign of Severus, the virtue and even the good
sense of the emperors had been distinguished by their zeal or
affected reverence for the senate, and by a tender regard to the
nice frame of civil policy instituted by Augustus. But the youth
of Severus had been trained in the implicit obedience of camps,
and his riper years spent in the despotism of military command.
His haughty and inflexible spirit cou' not discover, or would not
acknowledge, the advantage of preserving an intermediate power,
however imaginary, between the emperor and the army. He
disdained to profess himself the servant of an assembly that
detested his person and trembled at his frown; he issued his
commands, where his requests would have proved as effectual;
assumed the conduct and style of a sovereign and a conqueror, and
exercised, without disguise, the whole legislative, as well as
the executive power.

The victory over the senate was easy and inglorious. Every
eye and every passion were directed to the supreme magistrate,
who possessed the arms and treasure of the state; whilst the
senate, neither elected by the people, nor guarded by military
force, nor animated by public spirit, rested its declining
authority on the frail and crumbling basis of ancient opinion.
The fine theory of a republic insensibly vanished, and made way
for the more natural and substantial feelings of monarchy. As
the freedom and honors of Rome were successively communicated to
the provinces, in which the old government had been either
unknown, or was remembered with abhorrence, the tradition of
republican maxims was gradually obliterated. The Greek
historians of the age of the Antonines ^70 observe, with a
malicious pleasure, that although the sovereign of Rome, in
compliance with an obsolete prejudice, abstained from the name of
king, he possessed the full measure of regal power. In the reign
of Severus, the senate was filled with polished and eloquent
slaves from the eastern provinces, who justified personal
flattery by speculative principles of servitude. These new
advocates of prerogative were heard with pleasure by the court,
and with patience by the people, when they inculcated the duty of
passive obedience, and descanted on the inevitable mischiefs of
freedom. The lawyers and historians concurred in teaching, that
the Imperial authority was held, not by the delegated commission,
but by the irrevocable resignation of the senate; that the
emperor was freed from the restraint of civil laws, could command
by his arbitrary will the lives and fortunes of his subjects, and
might dispose of the empire as of his private patrimony. ^71 The
most eminent of the civil lawyers, and particularly Papinian,
Paulus, and Ulpian, flourished under the house of Severus; and
the Roman jurisprudence, having closely united itself with the
system of monarchy, was supposed to have attained its full
majority and perfection.

[Footnote 70: Appian in Prooem.]

[Footnote 71: Dion Cassius seems to have written with no other
view than to form these opinions into an historical system. The
Pandea's will how how assiduously the lawyers, on their side,
laboree in the cause of prerogative.]

The contemporaries of Severus in the enjoyment of the peace
and glory of his reign, forgave the cruelties by which it had
been introduced. Posterity, who experienced the fatal effects of
his maxims and example, justly considered him as the principal
author of the decline of the Roman empire.

Chapter VI: Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of
Marcinus.

Part I.

The Death Of Severus. - Tyranny Of Caracalla. - Usurpation Of
Macrinus. - Follies Of Elagabalus. - Virtues Of Alexander
Severus. - Licentiousness Of The Army. - General State Of The
Roman Finances.

The ascent to greatness, however steep and dangerous, may
entertain an active spirit with the consciousness and exercise of
its own powers: but the possession of a throne could never yet
afford a lasting satisfaction to an ambitious mind. This
melancholy truth was felt and acknowledged by Severus. Fortune
and merit had, from an humble station, elevated him to the first
place among mankind. "He had been all things," as he said
himself, "and all was of little value" ^1 Distracted with the
care, not of acquiring, but of preserving an empire, oppressed
with age and infirmities, careless of fame, ^2 and satiated with
power, all his prospects of life were closed. The desire of
perpetuating the greatness of his family was the only remaining
wish of his ambition and paternal tenderness.

[Footnote 1: Hist. August. p. 71. "Omnia fui, et nihil
expedit."]
[Footnote 2: Dion Cassius, l. lxxvi. p. 1284.]

Like most of the Africans, Severus was passionately addicted
to the vain studies of magic and divination, deeply versed in the
interpretation of dreams and omens, and perfectly acquainted with
the science of judicial astrology; which, in almost every age
except the present, has maintained its dominion over the mind of
man. He had lost his first wife, while he was governor of the
Lionnese Gaul. ^3 In the choice of a second, he sought only to
connect himself with some favorite of fortune; and as soon as he
had discovered that the young lady of Emesa in Syria had a royal
nativity, he solicited and obtained her hand. ^4 Julia Domna (for
that was her name) deserved all that the stars could promise her.

She possessed, even in advanced age, the attractions of beauty,
^5 and united to a lively imagination a firmness of mind, and
strength of judgment, seldom bestowed on her sex. Her amiable
qualities never made any deep impression on the dark and jealous
temper of her husband; but in her son's reign, she administered
the principal affairs of the empire, with a prudence that
supported his authority, and with a moderation that sometimes
corrected his wild extravagancies. ^6 Julia applied herself to
letters and philosophy, with some success, and with the most
splendid reputation. She was the patroness of every art, and the
friend of every man of genius. ^7 The grateful flattery of the
learned has celebrated her virtues; but, if we may credit the
scandal of ancient history, chastity was very far from being the
most conspicuous virtue of the empress Julia. ^8

[Footnote 3: About the year 186. M. de Tillemont is miserably
embarrassed with a passage of Dion, in which the empress
Faustina, who died in the year 175, is introduced as having
contributed to the marriage of Severus and Julia, (l. lxxiv. p.
1243.) The learned compiler forgot that Dion is relating not a
real fact, but a dream of Severus; and dreams are circumscribed
to no limits of time or space. Did M. de Tillemont imagine that
marriages were consummated in the temple of Venus at Rome? Hist.
des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 389. Note 6.]

[Footnote 4: Hist. August. p. 65.]

[Footnote 5: Hist. August. p. 5.]

[Footnote 6: Dion Cassius, l. lxxvii. p. 1304, 1314.]

[Footnote 7: See a dissertation of Menage, at the end of his
edition of Diogenes Laertius, de Foeminis Philosophis.]

[Footnote 8: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1285. Aurelius Victor.]

Two sons, Caracalla ^9 and Geta, were the fruit of this
marriage, and the destined heirs of the empire. The fond hopes
of the father, and of the Roman world, were soon disappointed by
these vain youths, who displayed the indolent security of
hereditary princes; and a presumption that fortune would supply
the place of merit and application. Without any emulation of
virtue or talents, they discovered, almost from their infancy, a
fixed and implacable antipathy for each other.

[Footnote 9: Bassianus was his first name, as it had been that of
his maternal grandfather. During his reign, he assumed the
appellation of Antoninus, which is employed by lawyers and
ancient historians. After his death, the public indignation
loaded him with the nicknames of Tarantus and Caracalla. The
first was borrowed from a celebrated Gladiator, the second from a
long Gallic gown which he distributed to the people of Rome.]
Their aversion, confirmed by years, and fomented by the arts
of their interested favorites, broke out in childish, and
gradually in more serious competitions; and, at length, divided
the theatre, the circus, and the court, into two factions,
actuated by the hopes and fears of their respective leaders. The
prudent emperor endeavored, by every expedient of advice and
authority, to allay this growing animosity. The unhappy discord
of his sons clouded all his prospects, and threatened to overturn
a throne raised with so much labor, cemented with so much blood,
and guarded with every defence of arms and treasure. With an
impartial hand he maintained between them an exact balance of
favor, conferred on both the rank of Augustus, with the revered
name of Antoninus; and for the first time the Roman world beheld
three emperors. ^10 Yet even this equal conduct served only to
inflame the contest, whilst the fierce Caracalla asserted the
right of primogeniture, and the milder Geta courted the
affections of the people and the soldiers. In the anguish of a
disappointed father, Severus foretold that the weaker of his sons
would fall a sacrifice to the stronger; who, in his turn, would
be ruined by his own vices. ^11

[Footnote 10: The elevation of Caracalla is fixed by the accurate
M. de Tillemont to the year 198; the association of Geta to the
year 208.]
[Footnote 11: Herodian, l. iii. p. 130. The lives of Caracalla
and Geta, in the Augustan History.]

In these circumstances the intelligence of a war in Britain,
and of an invasion of the province by the barbarians of the
North, was received with pleasure by Severus. Though the
vigilance of his lieutenants might have been sufficient to repel
the distant enemy, he resolved to embrace the honorable pretext
of withdrawing his sons from the luxury of Rome, which enervated
their minds and irritated their passions; and of inuring their
youth to the toils of war and government. Notwithstanding his
advanced age, (for he was above threescore,) and his gout, which
obliged him to be carried in a litter, he transported himself in
person into that remote island, attended by his two sons, his
whole court, and a formidable army. He immediately passed the
walls of Hadrian and Antoninus, and entered the enemy's country,
with a design of completing the long attempted conquest of
Britain. He penetrated to the northern extremity of the island,
without meeting an enemy. But the concealed ambuscades of the
Caledonians, who hung unseen on the rear and flanks of his army,
the coldness of the climate and the severity of a winter march
across the hills and morasses of Scotland, are reported to have
cost the Romans above fifty thousand men. The Caledonians at
length yielded to the powerful and obstinate attack, sued for
peace, and surrendered a part of their arms, and a large tract of
territory. But their apparent submission lasted no longer than
the present terror. As soon as the Roman legions had retired,
they resumed their hostile independence. Their restless spirit
provoked Severus to send a new army into Caledonia, with the most
bloody orders, not to subdue, but to extirpate the natives. They
were saved by the death of their haughty enemy. ^12

[Footnote 12: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1280, &c. Herodian, l. iii. p.
132, &c.]
This Caledonian war, neither marked by decisive events, nor
attended with any important consequences, would ill deserve our
attention; but it is supposed, not without a considerable degree
of probability, that the invasion of Severus is connected with
the most shining period of the British history or fable. Fingal,
whose fame, with that of his heroes and bards, has been revived
in our language by a recent publication, is said to have
commanded the Caledonians in that memorable juncture, to have
eluded the power of Severus, and to have obtained a signal
victory on the banks of the Carun, in which the son of the King
of the World, Caracul, fled from his arms along the fields of his
pride. ^13 Something of a doubtful mist still hangs over these
Highland traditions; nor can it be entirely dispelled by the most
ingenious researches of modern criticism; ^14 but if we could,
with safety, indulge the pleasing supposition, that Fingal lived,
and that Ossian sung, the striking contrast of the situation and
manners of the contending nations might amuse a philosophic mind.

The parallel would be little to the advantage of the more
civilized people, if we compared the unrelenting revenge of
Severus with the generous clemency of Fingal; the timid and
brutal cruelty of Caracalla with the bravery, the tenderness, the
elegant genius of Ossian; the mercenary chiefs, who, from motives
of fear or interest, served under the imperial standard, with the
free-born warriors who started to arms at the voice of the king
of Morven; if, in a word, we contemplated the untutored
Caledonians, glowing with the warm virtues of nature, and the
degenerate Romans, polluted with the mean vices of wealth and
slavery.

[Footnote 13: Ossian's Poems, vol. i. p. 175.]

[Footnote 14: That the Caracul of Ossian is the Caracalla of the
Roman History, is, perhaps, the only point of British antiquity
in which Mr. Macpherson and Mr. Whitaker are of the same opinion;
and yet the opinion is not without difficulty. In the Caledonian
war, the son of Severus was known only by the appellation of
Antoninus, and it may seem strange that the Highland bard should
describe him by a nickname, invented four years afterwards,
scarcely used by the Romans till after the death of that emperor,
and seldom employed by the most ancient historians. See Dion, l.
lxxvii. p. 1317. Hist. August. p. 89 Aurel. Victor. Euseb. in
Chron. ad ann. 214.
Note: The historical authority of Macpherson's Ossian has
not increased since Gibbon wrote. We may, indeed, consider it
exploded. Mr. Whitaker, in a letter to Gibbon (Misc. Works, vol.
ii. p. 100,) attempts, not very successfully, to weaken this
objection of the historian. - M.]
The declining health and last illness of Severus inflamed
the wild ambition and black passions of Caracalla's soul.
Impatient of any delay or division of empire, he attempted, more
than once, to shorten the small remainder of his father's days,
and endeavored, but without success, to excite a mutiny among the
troops. ^15 The old emperor had often censured the misguided
lenity of Marcus, who, by a single act of justice, might have
saved the Romans from the tyranny of his worthless son. Placed
in the same situation, he experienced how easily the rigor of a
judge dissolves away in the tenderness of a parent. He
deliberated, he threatened, but he could not punish; and this
last and only instance of mercy was more fatal to the empire than
a long series of cruelty. ^16 The disorder of his mind irritated
the pains of his body; he wished impatiently for death, and
hastened the instant of it by his impatience. He expired at York
in the sixty-fifth year of his life, and in the eighteenth of a
glorious and successful reign. In his last moments he
recommended concord to his sons, and his sons to the army. The
salutary advice never reached the heart, or even the
understanding, of the impetuous youths; but the more obedient
troops, mindful of their oath of allegiance, and of the authority
of their deceased master, resisted the solicitations of
Caracalla, and proclaimed both brothers emperors of Rome. The new
princes soon left the Caledonians in peace, returned to the
capital, celebrated their father's funeral with divine honors,
and were cheerfully acknowledged as lawful sovereigns, by the
senate, the people, and the provinces. Some preeminence of rank
seems to have been allowed to the elder brother; but they both
administered the empire with equal and independent power. ^17

[Footnote 15: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1282. Hist. August. p. 71.
Aurel. Victor.]
[Footnote 16: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1283. Hist. August. p. 89]
[Footnote 17: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1284. Herodian, l. iii. p.
135.]
Such a divided form of government would have proved a source
of discord between the most affectionate brothers. It was
impossible that it could long subsist between two implacable
enemies, who neither desired nor could trust a reconciliation.
It was visible that one only could reign, and that the other must
fall; and each of them, judging of his rival's designs by his
own, guarded his life with the most jealous vigilance from the
repeated attacks of poison or the sword. Their rapid journey
through Gaul and Italy, during which they never ate at the same
table, or slept in the same house, displayed to the provinces the
odious spectacle of fraternal discord. On their arrival at Rome,
they immediately divided the vast extent of the imperial palace.
^18 No communication was allowed between their apartments; the
doors and passages were diligently fortified, and guards posted
and relieved with the same strictness as in a besieged place.
The emperors met only in public, in the presence of their
afflicted mother; and each surrounded by a numerous train of
armed followers. Even on these occasions of ceremony, the
dissimulation of courts could ill disguise the rancor of their
hearts. ^19
[Footnote 18: Mr. Hume is justly surprised at a passage of
Herodian, (l. iv. p. 139,) who, on this occasion, represents the
Imperial palace as equal in extent to the rest of Rome. The
whole region of the Palatine Mount, on which it was built,
occupied, at most, a circumference of eleven or twelve thousand
feet, (see the Notitia and Victor, in Nardini's Roma Antica.) But
we should recollect that the opulent senators had almost
surrounded the city with their extensive gardens and suburb
palaces, the greatest part of which had been gradually
confiscated by the emperors. If Geta resided in the gardens that
bore his name on the Janiculum, and if Caracalla inhabited the
gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline, the rival brothers were
separated from each other by the distance of several miles; and
yet the intermediate space was filled by the Imperial gardens of
Sallust, of Lucullus, of Agrippa, of Domitian, of Caius, &c., all
skirting round the city, and all connected with each other, and
with the palace, by bridges thrown over the Tiber and the
streets. But this explanation of Herodian would require, though
it ill deserves, a particular dissertation, illustrated by a map
of ancient Rome. (Hume, Essay on Populousness of Ancient
Nations. - M.)]

[Footnote 19: Herodian, l. iv. p. 139]

This latent civil war already distracted the whole
government, when a scheme was suggested that seemed of mutual
benefit to the hostile brothers. It was proposed, that since it
was impossible to reconcile their minds, they should separate
their interest, and divide the empire between them. The
conditions of the treaty were already drawn with some accuracy.
It was agreed that Caracalla, as the elder brother should remain
in possession of Europe and the western Africa; and that he
should relinquish the sovereignty of Asia and Egypt to Geta, who
might fix his residence at Alexandria or Antioch, cities little
inferior to Rome itself in wealth and greatness; that numerous
armies should be constantly encamped on either side of the
Thracian Bosphorus, to guard the frontiers of the rival
monarchies; and that the senators of European extraction should
acknowledge the sovereign of Rome, whilst the natives of Asia
followed the emperor of the East. The tears of the empress Julia
interrupted the negotiation, the first idea of which had filled
every Roman breast with surprise and indignation. The mighty
mass of conquest was so intimately united by the hand of time and
policy, that it required the most forcible violence to rend it
asunder. The Romans had reason to dread, that the disjointed
members would soon be reduced by a civil war under the dominion
of one master; but if the separation was permanent, the division
of the provinces must terminate in the dissolution of an empire
whose unity had hitherto remained inviolate. ^20

[Footnote 20: Herodian, l. iv. p. 144.]

Had the treaty been carried into execution, the sovereign of
Europe might soon have been the conqueror of Asia; but Caracalla
obtained an easier, though a more guilty, victory. He artfully
listened to his mother's entreaties, and consented to meet his
brother in her apartment, on terms of peace and reconciliation.
In the midst of their conversation, some centurions, who had
contrived to conceal themselves, rushed with drawn swords upon
the unfortunate Geta. His distracted mother strove to protect
him in her arms; but, in the unavailing struggle, she was wounded
in the hand, and covered with the blood of her younger son, while
she saw the elder animating and assisting ^21 the fury of the
assassins. As soon as the deed was perpetrated, Caracalla, with
hasty steps, and horror in his countenance, ran towards the
Praetorian camp, as his only refuge, and threw himself on the
ground before the statues of the tutelar deities. ^22 The
soldiers attempted to raise and comfort him. In broken and
disordered words he informed them of his imminent danger, and
fortunate escape; insinuating that he had prevented the designs
of his enemy, and declared his resolution to live and die with
his faithful troops. Geta had been the favorite of the soldiers;
but complaint was useless, revenge was dangerous, and they still
reverenced the son of Severus. Their discontent died away in
idle murmurs, and Caracalla soon convinced them of the justice of
his cause, by distributing in one lavish donative the accumulated
treasures of his father's reign. ^23 The real sentiments of the
soldiers alone were of importance to his power or safety. Their
declaration in his favor commanded the dutiful professions of the
senate. The obsequious assembly was always prepared to ratify
the decision of fortune; ^* but as Caracalla wished to assuage
the first emotions of public indignation, the name of Geta was
mentioned with decency, and he received the funeral honors of a
Roman emperor. ^24 Posterity, in pity to his misfortune, has cast
a veil over his vices. We consider that young prince as the
innocent victim of his brother's ambition, without recollecting
that he himself wanted power, rather than inclination, to
consummate the same attempts of revenge and murder. ^!

[Footnote 21: Caracalla consecrated, in the temple of Serapis,
the sword with which, as he boasted, he had slain his brother
Geta. Dion, l. lxxvii p. 1307.]

[Footnote 22: Herodian, l. iv. p. 147. In every Roman camp there
was a small chapel near the head-quarters, in which the statues
of the tutelar deities were preserved and adored; and we may
remark that the eagles, and other military ensigns, were in the
first rank of these deities; an excellent institution, which
confirmed discipline by the sanction of religion. See Lipsius de
Militia Romana, iv. 5, v. 2.]

[Footnote 23: Herodian, l. iv. p. 148. Dion, l. lxxvii. p.
1289.]
[Footnote *: The account of this transaction, in a new passage of
Dion, varies in some degree from this statement. It adds that
the next morning, in the senate, Antoninus requested their
indulgence, not because he had killed his brother, but because he
was hoarse, and could not address them. Mai. Fragm. p. 228. -
M.]

[Footnote 24: Geta was placed among the gods. Sit divus, dum non
sit vivus said his brother. Hist. August. p. 91. Some marks of
Geta's consecration are still found upon medals.]

[Footnote !: The favorable judgment which history has given of
Geta is not founded solely on a feeling of pity; it is supported
by the testimony of contemporary historians: he was too fond of
the pleasures of the table, and showed great mistrust of his
brother; but he was humane, well instructed; he often endeavored
to mitigate the rigorous decrees of Severus and Caracalla. Herod
iv. 3. Spartian in Geta. - W.]

The crime went not unpunished. Neither business, nor
pleasure, nor flattery, could defend Caracalla from the stings of
a guilty conscience; and he confessed, in the anguish of a
tortured mind, that his disordered fancy often beheld the angry
forms of his father and his brother rising into life, to threaten
and upbraid him. ^25 The consciousness of his crime should have
induced him to convince mankind, by the virtues of his reign,
that the bloody deed had been the involuntary effect of fatal
necessity. But the repentance of Caracalla only prompted him to
remove from the world whatever could remind him of his guilt, or
recall the memory of his murdered brother. On his return from
the senate to the palace, he found his mother in the company of
several noble matrons, weeping over the untimely fate of her
younger son. The jealous emperor threatened them with instant
death; the sentence was executed against Fadilla, the last
remaining daughter of the emperor Marcus; ^* and even the
afflicted Julia was obliged to silence her lamentations, to
suppress her sighs, and to receive the assassin with smiles of
joy and approbation. It was computed that, under the vague
appellation of the friends of Geta, above twenty thousand persons
of both sexes suffered death. His guards and freedmen, the
ministers of his serious business, and the companions of his
looser hours, those who by his interest had been promoted to any
commands in the army or provinces, with the long connected chain
of their dependants, were included in the proscription; which
endeavored to reach every one who had maintained the smallest
correspondence with Geta, who lamented his death, or who even
mentioned his name. ^26 Helvius Pertinax, son to the prince of
that name, lost his life by an unseasonable witticism. ^27 It was
a sufficient crime of Thrasea Priscus to be descended from a
family in which the love of liberty seemed an hereditary quality.
^28 The particular causes of calumny and suspicion were at length
exhausted; and when a senator was accused of being a secret enemy
to the government, the emperor was satisfied with the general
proof that he was a man of property and virtue. From this
well-grounded principle he frequently drew the most bloody
inferences. ^!
[Footnote 25: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1307]

[Footnote *: The most valuable paragraph of dion, which the
industry of M. Manas recovered, relates to this daughter of
Marcus, executed by Caracalla. Her name, as appears from Fronto,
as well as from Dion, was Cornificia. When commanded to choose
the kind of death she was to suffer, she burst into womanish
tears; but remembering her father Marcus, she thus spoke: - "O my
hapless soul, (... animula,) now imprisoned in the body, burst
forth! be free! show them, however reluctant to believe it, that
thou art the daughter of Marcus." She then laid aside all her
ornaments, and preparing herself for death, ordered her veins to
be opened. Mai. Fragm. Vatican ii p. 220. - M.]
[Footnote 26: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1290. Herodian, l. iv. p. 150.

Dion (p. 2298) says, that the comic poets no longer durst employ
the name of Geta in their plays, and that the estates of those
who mentioned it in their testaments were confiscated.]

[Footnote 27: Caracalla had assumed the names of several
conquered nations; Pertinax observed, that the name of Geticus
(he had obtained some advantage over the Goths, or Getae) would
be a proper addition to Parthieus, Alemannicus, &c. Hist.
August. p. 89.]

[Footnote 28: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1291. He was probably
descended from Helvidius Priscus, and Thrasea Paetus, those
patriots, whose firm, but useless and unseasonable, virtue has
been immortalized by Tacitus.
Note: M. Guizot is indignant at this "cold" observation of
Gibbon on the noble character of Thrasea; but he admits that his
virtue was useless to the public, and unseasonable amidst the
vices of his age. - M.]
[Footnote !: Caracalla reproached all those who demanded no
favors of him. "It is clear that if you make me no requests, you
do not trust me; if you do not trust me, you suspect me; if you
suspect me, you fear me; if you fear me, you hate me." And
forthwith he condemned them as conspirators, a good specimen of
the sorites in a tyrant's logic. See Fragm. Vatican p. - M.]

Chapter VI: Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of
Marcinus.

Part II.

The execution of so many innocent citizens was bewailed by
the secret tears of their friends and families. The death of
Papinian, the Praetorian Praefect, was lamented as a public
calamity. ^!! During the last seven years of Severus, he had
exercised the most important offices of the state, and, by his
salutary influence, guided the emperor's steps in the paths of
justice and moderation. In full assurance of his virtue and
abilities, Severus, on his death-bed, had conjured him to watch
over the prosperity and union of the Imperial family. ^29 The
honest labors of Papinian served only to inflame the hatred which
Caracalla had already conceived against his father's minister.
After the murder of Geta, the Praefect was commanded to exert the
powers of his skill and eloquence in a studied apology for that
atrocious deed. The philosophic Seneca had condescended to
compose a similar epistle to the senate, in the name of the son
and assassin of Agrippina. ^30 "That it was easier to commit than
to justify a parricide," was the glorious reply of Papinian; ^31
who did not hesitate between the loss of life and that of honor.
Such intrepid virtue, which had escaped pure and unsullied from
the intrigues courts, the habits of business, and the arts of his
profession, reflects more lustre on the memory of Papinian, than
all his great employments, his numerous writings, and the
superior reputation as a lawyer, which he has preserved through
every age of the Roman jurisprudence. ^32

[Footnote !!: Papinian was no longer Praetorian Praefect.
Caracalla had deprived him of that office immediately after the
death of Severus. Such is the statement of Dion; and the
testimony of Spartian, who gives Papinian the Praetorian
praefecture till his death, is of little weight opposed to that
of a senator then living at Rome. - W.]

[Footnote 29: It is said that Papinian was himself a relation of
the empress Julia.]

[Footnote 30: Tacit. Annal. xiv. 2.]
[Footnote 31: Hist. August. p. 88.]

[Footnote 32: With regard to Papinian, see Heineccius's Historia
Juris Roma ni, l. 330, &c.]

It had hitherto been the peculiar felicity of the Romans,
and in the worst of times the consolation, that the virtue of the
emperors was active, and their vice indolent. Augustus, Trajan,
Hadrian, and Marcus visited their extensive dominions in person,
and their progress was marked by acts of wisdom and beneficence.
The tyranny of Tiberius, Nero, and Domitian, who resided almost
constantly at Rome, or in the adjacent was confined to the
senatorial and equestrian orders. ^33 But Caracalla was the
common enemy of mankind. He left capital (and he never returned
to it) about a year after the murder of Geta. The rest of his
reign was spent in the several provinces of the empire,
particularly those of the East, and province was by turns the
scene of his rapine and cruelty. The senators, compelled by fear
to attend his capricious motions,were obliged to provide daily
entertainments at an immense expense, which he abandoned with
contempt to his guards; and to erect, in every city, magnificent
palaces and theatres, which he either disdained to visit, or
ordered immediately thrown down. The most wealthy families
ruined by partial fines and confiscations, and the great body of
his subjects oppressed by ingenious and aggravated taxes. ^34 In
the midst of peace, and upon the slightest provocation, he issued
his commands, at Alexandria, in Egypt for a general massacre.
From a secure post in the temple of Serapis, he viewed and
directed the slaughter of many thousand citizens, as well as
strangers, without distinguishing the number or the crime of the
sufferers; since as he coolly informed the senate, all the
Alexandrians, those who perished, and those who had escaped, were
alike guilty. ^35

[Footnote 33: Tiberius and Domitian never moved from the
neighborhood of Rome. Nero made a short journey into Greece.
"Et laudatorum Principum usus ex aequo, quamvis procul agentibus.

Saevi proximis ingruunt." Tacit. Hist. iv. 74.]

[Footnote 34: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1294.]

[Footnote 35: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1307. Herodian, l. iv. p. 158.

The former represents it as a cruel massacre, the latter as a
perfidious one too. It seems probable that the Alexandrians has
irritated the tyrant by their railleries, and perhaps by their
tumults.

Note: After these massacres, Caracalla also deprived the
Alexandrians of their spectacles and public feasts; he divided
the city into two parts by a wall with towers at intervals, to
prevent the peaceful communications of the citizens. Thus was
treated the unhappy Alexandria, says Dion, by the savage beast of
Ausonia. This, in fact, was the epithet which the oracle had
applied to him; it is said, indeed, that he was much pleased with
the name and often boasted of it. Dion, lxxvii. p. 1307. - G.]

The wise instructions of Severus never made any lasting
impression on the mind of his son, who, although not destitute of
imagination and eloquence, was equally devoid of judgment and
humanity. ^36 One dangerous maxim, worthy of a tyrant, was
remembered and abused by Caracalla. "To secure the affections of
the army, and to esteem the rest of his subjects as of little
moment." ^37 But the liberality of the father had been restrained
by prudence, and his indulgence to the troops was tempered by
firmness and authority. The careless profusion of the son was
the policy of one reign, and the inevitable ruin both of the army
and of the empire. The vigor of the soldiers, instead of being
confirmed by the severe discipline of camps, melted away in the
luxury of cities. The excessive increase of their pay and
donatives ^38 exhausted the state to enrich the military order,
whose modesty in peace, and service in war, is best secured by an
honorable poverty. The demeanor of Caracalla was haughty and
full of pride; but with the troops he forgot even the proper
dignity of his rank, encouraged their insolent familiarity, and,
neglecting the essential duties of a general, affected to imitate
the dress and manners of a common soldier.

[Footnote 36: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1296.]

[Footnote 37: Dion, l. lxxvi. p. 1284. Mr. Wotton (Hist. of
Rome, p. 330) suspects that this maxim was invented by Caracalla
himself, and attributed to his father.]

[Footnote 38: Dion (l. lxxviii. p. 1343) informs us that the
extraordinary gifts of Caracalla to the army amounted annually to
seventy millions of drachmae (about two millions three hundred
and fifty thousand pounds.) There is another passage in Dion,
concerning the military pay, infinitely curious, were it not
obscure, imperfect, and probably corrupt. The best sense seems
to be, that the Praetorian guards received twelve hundred and
fifty drachmae, (forty pounds a year,) (Dion, l. lxxvii. p.
1307.) Under the reign of Augustus, they were paid at the rate of
two drachmae, or denarii, per day, 720 a year, (Tacit. Annal. i.
17.) Domitian, who increased the soldiers' pay one fourth, must
have raised the Praetorians to 960 drachmae, (Gronoviue de
Pecunia Veteri, l. iii. c. 2.) These successive augmentations
ruined the empire; for, with the soldiers' pay, their numbers too
were increased. We have seen the Praetorians alone increased
from 10,000 to 50,000 men.
Note: Valois and Reimar have explained in a very simple and
probable manner this passage of Dion, which Gibbon seems to me
not to have understood. He ordered that the soldiers should
receive, as the reward of their services the Praetorians 1250
drachms, the other 5000 drachms. Valois thinks that the numbers
have been transposed, and that Caracalla added 5000 drachms to
the donations made to the Praetorians, 1250 to those of the
legionaries. The Praetorians, in fact, always received more than
the others. The error of Gibbon arose from his considering that
this referred to the annual pay of the soldiers, while it relates
to the sum they received as a reward for their services on their
discharge: donatives means recompense for service. Augustus had
settled that the Praetorians, after sixteen campaigns, should
receive 5000 drachms: the legionaries received only 3000 after
twenty years. Caracalla added 5000 drachms to the donative of
the Praetorians, 1250 to that of the legionaries. Gibbon appears
to have been mistaken both in confounding this donative on
discharge with the annual pay, and in not paying attention to the
remark of Valois on the transposition of the numbers in the text.
- G]
It was impossible that such a character, and such conduct as
that of Caracalla, could inspire either love or esteem; but as
long as his vices were beneficial to the armies, he was secure
from the danger of rebellion. A secret conspiracy, provoked by
his own jealousy, was fatal to the tyrant. The Praetorian
praefecture was divided between two ministers. The military
department was intrusted to Adventus, an experienced rather than
able soldier; and the civil affairs were transacted by Opilius
Macrinus, who, by his dexterity in business, had raised himself,
with a fair character, to that high office. But his favor varied
with the caprice of the emperor, and his life might depend on the
slightest suspicion, or the most casual circumstance. Malice or
fanaticism had suggested to an African, deeply skilled in the
knowledge of futurity, a very dangerous prediction, that Macrinus
and his son were destined to reign over the empire. The report
was soon diffused through the province; and when the man was sent
in chains to Rome, he still asserted, in the presence of the
praefect of the city, the faith of his prophecy. That
magistrate, who had received the most pressing instructions to
inform himself of the successors of Caracalla, immediately
communicated the examination of the African to the Imperial
court, which at that time resided in Syria. But, notwithstanding
the diligence of the public messengers, a friend of Macrinus
found means to apprise him of the approaching danger. The
emperor received the letters from Rome; and as he was then
engaged in the conduct of a chariot race, he delivered them
unopened to the Praetorian Praefect, directing him to despatch
the ordinary affairs, and to report the more important business
that might be contained in them. Macrinus read his fate, and
resolved to prevent it. He inflamed the discontents of some
inferior officers, and employed the hand of Martialis, a
desperate soldier, who had been refused the rank of centurion.
The devotion of Caracalla prompted him to make a pilgrimage from
Edessa to the celebrated temple of the Moon at Carrhae. ^* He was
attended by a body of cavalry: but having stopped on the road for
some necessary occasion, his guards preserved a respectful
distance, and Martialis, approaching his person under a presence
of duty, stabbed him with a dagger. The bold assassin was
instantly killed by a Scythian archer of the Imperial guard.
Such was the end of a monster whose life disgraced human nature,
and whose reign accused the patience of the Romans. ^39 The
grateful soldiers forgot his vices, remembered only his partial
liberality, and obliged the senate to prostitute their own
dignity and that of religion, by granting him a place among the
gods. Whilst he was upon earth, Alexander the Great was the only
hero whom this god deemed worthy his admiration. He assumed the
name and ensigns of Alexander, formed a Macedonian phalanx of
guards, persecuted the disciples of Aristotle, and displayed,
with a puerile enthusiasm, the only sentiment by which he
discovered any regard for virtue or glory. We can easily
conceive, that after the battle of Narva, and the conquest of
Poland, Charles XII. (though he still wanted the more elegant
accomplishments of the son of Philip) might boast of having
rivalled his valor and magnanimity; but in no one action of his
life did Caracalla express the faintest resemblance of the
Macedonian hero, except in the murder of a great number of his
own and of his father's friends. ^40

[Footnote *: Carrhae, now Harran, between Edessan and Nisibis,
famous for the defeat of Crassus - the Haran from whence Abraham
set out for the land of Canaan. This city has always been
remarkable for its attachment to Sabaism - G]

[Footnote 39: Dion, l. lxxviii. p. 1312. Herodian, l. iv. p.
168.]
[Footnote 40: The fondness of Caracalla for the name and ensigns
of Alexander is still preserved on the medals of that emperor.
See Spanheim, de Usu Numismatum, Dissertat. xii. Herodian (l.
iv. p. 154) had seen very ridiculous pictures, in which a figure
was drawn with one side of the face like Alexander, and the other
like Caracalla.]

After the extinction of the house of Severus, the Roman
world remained three days without a master. The choice of the
army (for the authority of a distant and feeble senate was little
regarded) hung in anxious suspense, as no candidate presented
himself whose distinguished birth and merit could engage their
attachment and unite their suffrages. The decisive weight of the
Praetorian guards elevated the hopes of their praefects, and
these powerful ministers began to assert their legal claim to
fill the vacancy of the Imperial throne. Adventus, however, the
senior praefect, conscious of his age and infirmities, of his
small reputation, and his smaller abilities, resigned the
dangerous honor to the crafty ambition of his colleague Macrinus,
whose well-dissembled grief removed all suspicion of his being
accessary to his master's death. ^41 The troops neither loved nor
esteemed his character. They cast their eyes around in search of
a competitor, and at last yielded with reluctance to his promises
of unbounded liberality and indulgence. A short time after his
accession, he conferred on his son Diadumenianus, at the age of
only ten years, the Imperial title, and the popular name of
Antoninus. The beautiful figure of the youth, assisted by an
additional donative, for which the ceremony furnished a pretext,
might attract, it was hoped, the favor of the army, and secure
the doubtful throne of Macrinus.

[Footnote 41: Herodian, l. iv. p. 169. Hist. August. p. 94.]
The authority of the new sovereign had been ratified by the
cheerful submission of the senate and provinces. They exulted in
their unexpected deliverance from a hated tyrant, and it seemed
of little consequence to examine into the virtues of the
successor of Caracalla. But as soon as the first transports of
joy and surprise had subsided, they began to scrutinize the
merits of Macrinus with a critical severity, and to arraign the
nasty choice of the army. It had hitherto been considered as a
fundamental maxim of the constitution, that the emperor must be
always chosen in the senate, and the sovereign power, no longer
exercised by the whole body, was always delegated to one of its
members. But Macrinus was not a senator. ^42 The sudden
elevation of the Praetorian praefects betrayed the meanness of
their origin; and the equestrian order was still in possession of
that great office, which commanded with arbitrary sway the lives
and fortunes of the senate. A murmur of indignation was heard,
that a man, whose obscure ^43 extraction had never been
illustrated by any signal service, should dare to invest himself
with the purple, instead of bestowing it on some distinguished
senator, equal in birth and dignity to the splendor of the
Imperial station. As soon as the character of Macrinus was
surveyed by the sharp eye of discontent, some vices, and many
defects, were easily discovered. The choice of his ministers was
in many instances justly censured, and the dissastified
dissatisfied people, with their usual candor, accused at once his
indolent tameness and his excessive severity. ^44

[Footnote 42: Dion, l. lxxxviii. p. 1350. Elagabalus reproached
his predecessor with daring to seat himself on the throne;
though, as Praetorian praefect, he could not have been admitted
into the senate after the voice of the crier had cleared the
house. The personal favor of Plautianus and Sejanus had broke
through the established rule. They rose, indeed, from the
equestrian order; but they preserved the praefecture, with the
rank of senator and even with the annulship.]

[Footnote 43: He was a native of Caesarea, in Numidia, and began
his fortune by serving in the household of Plautian, from whose
ruin he narrowly escaped. His enemies asserted that he was born a
slave, and had exercised, among other infamous professions, that
of Gladiator. The fashion of aspersing the birth and condition
of an adversary seems to have lasted from the time of the Greek
orators to the learned grammarians of the last age.]

[Footnote 44: Both Dion and Herodian speak of the virtues and
vices of Macrinus with candor and impartiality; but the author of
his life, in the Augustan History, seems to have implicitly
copied some of the venal writers, employed by Elagabalus, to
blacken the memory of his predecessor.]
His rash ambition had climbed a height where it was
difficult to stand with firmness, and impossible to fall without
instant destruction. Trained in the arts of courts and the forms
of civil business, he trembled in the presence of the fierce and
undisciplined multitude, over whom he had assumed the command;
his military talents were despised, and his personal courage
suspected; a whisper that circulated in the camp, disclosed the
fatal secret of the conspiracy against the late emperor,
aggravated the guilt of murder by the baseness of hypocrisy, and
heightened contempt by detestation. To alienate the soldiers,
and to provoke inevitable ruin, the character of a reformer was
only wanting; and such was the peculiar hardship of his fate,
that Macrinus was compelled to exercise that invidious office.
The prodigality of Caracalla had left behind it a long train of
ruin and disorder; and if that worthless tyrant had been capable
of reflecting on the sure consequences of his own conduct, he
would perhaps have enjoyed the dark prospect of the distress and
calamities which he bequeathed to his successors.

In the management of this necessary reformation, Macrinus
proceeded with a cautious prudence, which would have restored
health and vigor to the Roman army in an easy and almost
imperceptible manner. To the soldiers already engaged in the
service, he was constrained to leave the dangerous privileges and
extravagant pay given by Caracalla; but the new recruits were
received on the more moderate though liberal establishment of
Severus, and gradually formed to modesty and obedience. ^45 One
fatal error destroyed the salutary effects of this judicious
plan. The numerous army, assembled in the East by the late
emperor, instead of being immediately dispersed by Macrinus
through the several provinces, was suffered to remain united in
Syria, during the winter that followed his elevation. In the
luxurious idleness of their quarters, the troops viewed their
strength and numbers, communicated their complaints, and revolved
in their minds the advantages of another revolution. The
veterans, instead of being flattered by the advantageous
distinction, were alarmed by the first steps of the emperor,
which they considered as the presage of his future intentions.
The recruits, with sullen reluctance, entered on a service, whose
labors were increased while its rewards were diminished by a
covetous and unwarlike sovereign. The murmurs of the army
swelled with impunity into seditious clamors; and the partial
mutinies betrayed a spirit of discontent and disaffection that
waited only for the slightest occasion to break out on every side
into a general rebellion. To minds thus disposed, the occasion
soon presented itself.

[Footnote 45: Dion, l. lxxxiii. p. 1336. The sense of the author
is as the intention of the emperor; but Mr. Wotton has mistaken
both, by understanding the distinction, not of veterans and
recruits, but of old and new legions. History of Rome, p. 347.]

The empress Julia had experienced all the vicissitudes of
fortune. From an humble station she had been raised to
greatness, only to taste the superior bitterness of an exalted
rank. She was doomed to weep over the death of one of her sons,
and over the life of the other. The cruel fate of Caracalla,
though her good sense must have long taught' er to expect it,
awakened the feelings of a mother and of an empress.
Notwithstanding the respectful civility expressed by the usurper
towards the widow of Severus, she descended with a painful
struggle into the condition of a subject, and soon withdrew
herself, by a voluntary death, from the anxious and humiliating
dependence. ^46 ^* Julia Maesa, her sister, was ordered to leave
the court and Antioch. She retired to Emesa with an immense
fortune, the fruit of twenty years' favor accompanied by her two
daughters, Soaemias and Mamae, each of whom was a widow, and each
had an only son. Bassianus, ^! for that was the name of the son
of Soaemias, was consecrated to the honorable ministry of high
priest of the Sun; and this holy vocation, embraced either from
prudence or superstition, contributed to raise the Syrian youth
to the empire of Rome. A numerous body of troops was stationed
at Emesa; and as the severe discipline of Macrinus had
constrained them to pass the winter encamped, they were eager to
revenge the cruelty of such unaccustomed hardships. The
soldiers, who resorted in crowds to the temple of the Sun, beheld
with veneration and delight the elegant dress and figure of the
young pontiff; they recognized, or they thought that they
recognized, the features of Caracalla, whose memory they now
adored. The artful Maesa saw and cherished their rising
partiality, and readily sacrificing her daughter's reputation to
the fortune of her grandson, she insinuated that Bassianus was
the natural son of their murdered sovereign. The sums
distributed by her emissaries with a lavish hand silenced every
objection, and the profusion sufficiently proved the affinity, or
at least the resemblance, of Bassianus with the great original.
The young Antoninus (for he had assumed and polluted that
respectable name) was declared emperor by the troops of Emesa,
asserted his hereditary right, and called aloud on the armies to
follow the standard of a young and liberal prince, who had taken
up arms to revenge his father's death and the oppression of the
military order. ^47
[Footnote 46: Dion, l. lxxviii. p. 1330. The abridgment of
Xiphilin, though less particular, is in this place clearer than
the original.]
[Footnote *: As soon as this princess heard of the death of
Caracalla, she wished to starve herself to death: the respect
shown to her by Macrinus, in making no change in her attendants
or her court, induced her to prolong her life. But it appears,
as far as the mutilated text of Dion and the imperfect epitome of
Xiphilin permit us to judge, that she conceived projects of
ambition, and endeavored to raise herself to the empire. She
wished to tread in the steps of Semiramis and Nitocris, whose
country bordered on her own. Macrinus sent her an order
immediately to leave Antioch, and to retire wherever she chose.
She returned to her former purpose, and starved herself to death.
- G.]

[Footnote !: He inherited this name from his great-grandfather of
the mother's side, Bassianus, father of Julia Maesa, his
grandmother, and of Julia Domna, wife of Severus. Victor (in his
epitome) is perhaps the only historian who has given the key to
this genealogy, when speaking of Caracalla. His Bassianus ex avi
materni nomine dictus. Caracalla, Elagabalus, and Alexander
Seyerus, bore successively this name. - G.]

[Footnote 47: According to Lampridius, (Hist. August. p. 135,)
Alexander Severus lived twenty-nine years three months and seven
days. As he was killed March 19, 235, he was born December 12,
205 and was consequently about this time thirteen years old, as
his elder cousin might be about seventeen. This computation suits
much better the history of the young princes than that of
Herodian, (l. v. p. 181,) who represents them as three years
younger; whilst, by an opposite error of chronology, he lengthens
the reign of Elagabalus two years beyond its real duration. For
the particulars of the conspiracy, see Dion, l. lxxviii. p. 1339.

Herodian, l. v. p. 184.]
Whilst a conspiracy of women and eunuchs was concerted with
prudence, and conducted with rapid vigor, Macrinus, who, by a
decisive motion, might have crushed his infant enemy, floated
between the opposite extremes of terror and security, which alike
fixed him inactive at Antioch. A spirit of rebellion diffused
itself through all the camps and garrisons of Syria, successive
detachments murdered their officers, ^48 and joined the party of
the rebels; and the tardy restitution of military pay and
privileges was imputed to the acknowledged weakness of Macrinus.
At length he marched out of Antioch, to meet the increasing and
zealous army of the young pretender. His own troops seemed to
take the field with faintness and reluctance; but, in the heat of
the battle, ^49 the Praetorian guards, almost by an involuntary
impulse, asserted the superiority of their valor and discipline.
The rebel ranks were broken; when the mother and grandmother of
the Syrian prince, who, according to their eastern custom, had
attended the army, threw themselves from their covered chariots,
and, by exciting the compassion of the soldiers, endeavored to
animate their drooping courage. Antoninus himself, who, in the
rest of his life, never acted like a man, in this important
crisis of his fate, approved himself a hero, mounted his horse,
and, at the head of his rallied troops, charged sword in hand
among the thickest of the enemy; whilst the eunuch Gannys, ^*
whose occupations had been confined to female cares and the soft
luxury of Asia, displayed the talents of an able and experienced
general. The battle still raged with doubtful violence, and
Macrinus might have obtained the victory, had he not betrayed his
own cause by a shameful and precipitate flight. His cowardice
served only to protract his life a few days, and to stamp
deserved ignominy on his misfortunes. It is scarcely necessary
to add, that his son Diadumenianus was involved in the same fate.

As soon as the stubborn Praetorians could be convinced that they
fought for a prince who had basely deserted them, they
surrendered to the conqueror: the contending parties of the Roman
army, mingling tears of joy and tenderness, united under the
banners of the imagined son of Caracalla, and the East
acknowledged with pleasure the first emperor of Asiatic
extraction.

[Footnote 48: By a most dangerous proclamation of the pretended
Antoninus, every soldier who brought in his officer's head became
entitled to his private estate, as well as to his military
commission.]

[Footnote 49: Dion, l. lxxviii. p. 1345. Herodian, l. v. p. 186.

The battle was fought near the village of Immae, about
two-and-twenty miles from Antioch.]

[Footnote *: Gannys was not a eunuch. Dion, p. 1355. - W]
The letters of Macrinus had condescended to inform the
senate of the slight disturbance occasioned by an impostor in
Syria, and a decree immediately passed, declaring the rebel and
his family public enemies; with a promise of pardon, however, to
such of his deluded adherents as should merit it by an immediate
return to their duty. During the twenty days that elapsed from
the declaration of the victory of Antoninus, (for in so short an
interval was the fate of the Roman world decided,) the capital
and the provinces, more especially those of the East, were
distracted with hopes and fears, agitated with tumult, and
stained with a useless effusion of civil blood, since whosoever
of the rivals prevailed in Syria must reign over the empire. The
specious letters in which the young conqueror announced his
victory to the obedient senate were filled with professions of
virtue and moderation; the shining examples of Marcus and
Augustus, he should ever consider as the great rule of his
administration; and he affected to dwell with pride on the
striking resemblance of his own age and fortunes with those of
Augustus, who in the earliest youth had revenged, by a successful
war, the murder of his father. By adopting the style of Marcus
Aurelius Antoninus, son of Antoninus and grandson of Severus, he
tacitly asserted his hereditary claim to the empire; but, by
assuming the tribunitian and proconsular powers before they had
been conferred on him by a decree of the senate, he offended the
delicacy of Roman prejudice. This new and injudicious violation
of the constitution was probably dictated either by the ignorance
of his Syrian courtiers, or the fierce disdain of his military
followers. ^50
[Footnote 50: Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1353.]

As the attention of the new emperor was diverted by the most
trifling amusements, he wasted many months in his luxurious
progress from Syria to Italy, passed at Nicomedia his first
winter after his victory, and deferred till the ensuing summer
his triumphal entry into the capital. A faithful picture,
however, which preceded his arrival, and was placed by his
immediate order over the altar of Victory in the senate house,
conveyed to the Romans the just but unworthy resemblance of his
person and manners. He was drawn in his sacerdotal robes of silk
and gold, after the loose flowing fashion of the Medes and
Phoenicians; his head was covered with a lofty tiara, his
numerous collars and bracelets were adorned with gems of an
inestimable value. His eyebrows were tinged with black, and his
cheeks painted with an artificial red and white. ^51 The grave
senators confessed with a sigh, that, after having long
experienced the stern tyranny of their own countrymen, Rome was
at length humbled beneath the effeminate luxury of Oriental
despotism.
[Footnote 51: Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1363. Herodian, l. v. p. 189.]
The Sun was worshipped at Emesa, under the name of
Elagabalus, ^52 and under the form of a black conical stone,
which, as it was universally believed, had fallen from heaven on
that sacred place. To this protecting deity, Antoninus, not
without some reason, ascribed his elevation to the throne. The
display of superstitious gratitude was the only serious business
of his reign. The triumph of the god of Emesa over all the
religions of the earth, was the great object of his zeal and
vanity; and the appellation of Elagabalus (for he presumed as
pontiff and favorite to adopt that sacred name) was dearer to him
than all the titles of Imperial greatness. In a solemn
procession through the streets of Rome, the way was strewed with
gold dust; the black stone, set in precious gems, was placed on a
chariot drawn by six milk-white horses richly caparisoned. The
pious emperor held the reins, and, supported by his ministers,
moved slowly backwards, that he might perpetually enjoy the
felicity of the divine presence. In a magnificent temple raised
on the Palatine Mount, the sacrifices of the god Elagabalus were
celebrated with every circumstance of cost and solemnity. The
richest wines, the most extraordinary victims, and the rarest
aromatics, were profusely consumed on his altar. Around the
altar, a chorus of Syrian damsels performed their lascivious
dances to the sound of barbarian music, whilst the gravest
personages of the state and army, clothed in long Phoenician
tunics, officiated in the meanest functions, with affected zeal
and secret indignation. ^53

[Footnote 52: This name is derived by the learned from two Syrian
words, Ela a God, and Gabal, to form, the forming or plastic god,
a proper, and even happy epithet for the sun. Wotton's History of
Rome, p. 378
Note: The name of Elagabalus has been disfigured in various
ways. Herodian calls him; Lampridius, and the more modern
writers, make him Heliogabalus. Dion calls him Elegabalus; but
Elegabalus was the true name, as it appears on the medals.
(Eckhel. de Doct. num. vet. t. vii. p. 250.) As to its etymology,
that which Gibbon adduces is given by Bochart, Chan. ii. 5; but
Salmasius, on better grounds. (not. in Lamprid. in Elagab.,)
derives the name of Elagabalus from the idol of that god,
represented by Herodian and the medals in the form of a mountain,
(gibel in Hebrew,) or great stone cut to a point, with marks
which represent the sun. As it was not permitted, at Hierapolis,
in Syria, to make statues of the sun and moon, because, it was
said, they are themselves sufficiently visible, the sun was
represented at Emesa in the form of a great stone, which, as it
appeared, had fallen from heaven. Spanheim, Caesar. notes, p.
46. - G. The name of Elagabalus, in "nummis rarius legetur."
Rasche, Lex. Univ. Ref. Numm. Rasche quotes two. - M]

[Footnote 53: Herodian, l. v. p. 190.]

Chapter VI: Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of
Marcinus.

Part III.

To this temple, as to the common centre of religious
worship, the Imperial fanatic attempted to remove the Ancilia,
the Palladium, ^54 and all the sacred pledges of the faith of
Numa. A crowd of inferior deities attended in various stations
the majesty of the god of Emesa; but his court was still
imperfect, till a female of distinguished rank was admitted to
his bed. Pallas had been first chosen for his consort; but as it
was dreaded lest her warlike terrors might affright the soft
delicacy of a Syrian deity, the Moon, adorned by the Africans
under the name of Astarte, was deemed a more suitable companion
for the Sun. Her image, with the rich offerings of her temple as
a marriage portion, was transported with solemn pomp from
Carthage to Rome, and the day of these mystic nuptials was a
general festival in the capital and throughout the empire. ^55

[Footnote 54: He broke into the sanctuary of Vesta, and carried
away a statue, which he supposed to be the palladium; but the
vestals boasted that, by a pious fraud, they had imposed a
counterfeit image on the profane intruder. Hist. August., p.
103.]

[Footnote 55: Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1360. Herodian, l. v. p. 193.
The subjects of the empire were obliged to make liberal presents
to the new married couple; and whatever they had promised during
the life of Elagabalus was carefully exacted under the
administration of Mamaea.]

A rational voluptuary adheres with invariable respect to the
temperate dictates of nature, and improves the gratifications of
sense by social intercourse, endearing connections, and the soft
coloring of taste and the imagination. But Elagabalus, (I speak
of the emperor of that name,) corrupted by his youth, his
country, and his fortune, abandoned himself to the grossest
pleasures with ungoverned fury, and soon found disgust and
satiety in the midst of his enjoyments. The inflammatory powers
of art were summoned to his aid: the confused multitude of women,
of wines, and of dishes, and the studied variety of attitude and
sauces, served to revive his languid appetites. New terms and
new inventions in these sciences, the only ones cultivated and
patronized by the monarch, ^56 signalized his reign, and
transmitted his infamy to succeeding times. A capricious
prodigality supplied the want of taste and elegance; and whilst
Elagabalus lavished away the treasures of his people in the
wildest extravagance, his own voice and that of his flatterers
applauded a spirit of magnificence unknown to the tameness of his
predecessors. To confound the order of seasons and climates, ^57
to sport with the passions and prejudices of his subjects, and to
subvert every law of nature and decency, were in the number of
his most delicious amusements. A long train of concubines, and a
rapid succession of wives, among whom was a vestal virgin,
ravished by force from her sacred asylum, ^58 were insufficient
to satisfy the impotence of his passions. The master of the
Roman world affected to copy the dress and manners of the female
sex, preferred the distaff to the sceptre, and dishonored the
principal dignities of the empire by distributing them among his
numerous lovers; one of whom was publicly invested with the title
and authority of the emperor's, or, as he more properly styled
himself, of the empress's husband. ^59
[Footnote 56: The invention of a new sauce was liberally
rewarded; but if it was not relished, the inventor was confined
to eat of nothing else till he had discoveredanother more
agreeable to the Imperial palate Hist. August. p. 111.]

[Footnote 57: He never would eat sea-fish except at a great
distance from the sea; he then would distribute vast quantities
of the rarest sorts, brought at an immense expense, to the
peasants of the inland country. Hist. August. p. 109.]

[Footnote 58: Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1358. Herodian, l. v. p. 192.]
[Footnote 59: Hierocles enjoyed that honor; but he would have
been supplanted by one Zoticus, had he not contrived, by a
potion, to enervate the powers of his rival, who, being found on
trial unequal to his reputation, was driven with ignominy from
the palace. Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1363, 1364. A dancer was made
praefect of the city, a charioteer praefect of the watch, a
barber praefect of the provisions. These three ministers, with
many inferior officers, were all recommended enormitate
membrorum. Hist. August. p. 105.]
It may seem probable, the vices and follies of Elagabalus
have been adorned by fancy, and blackened by prejudice. ^60 Yet,
confining ourselves to the public scenes displayed before the
Roman people, and attested by grave and contemporary historians,
their inexpressible infamy surpasses that of any other age or
country. The license of an eastern monarch is secluded from the
eye of curiosity by the inaccessible walls of his seraglio. The
sentiments of honor and gallantry have introduced a refinement of
pleasure, a regard for decency, and a respect for the public
opinion, into the modern courts of Europe; ^* but the corrupt and
opulent nobles of Rome gratified every vice that could be
collected from the mighty conflux of nations and manners. Secure
of impunity, careless of censure, they lived without restraint in
the patient and humble society of their slaves and parasites.
The emperor, in his turn, viewing every rank of his subjects with
the same contemptuous indifference, asserted without control his
sovereign privilege of lust and luxury.

[Footnote 60: Even the credulous compiler of his life, in the
Augustan History (p. 111) is inclined to suspect that his vices
may have been exaggerated.]

[Footnote *: Wenck has justly observed that Gibbon should have
reckoned the influence of Christianity in this great change. In
the most savage times, and the most corrupt courts, since the
introduction of Christianity there have been no Neros or
Domitians, no Commodus or Elagabalus. - M.]
The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in
others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can
readily discover some nice difference of age, character, or
station, to justify the partial distinction. The licentious
soldiers, who had raised to the throne the dissolute son of
Caracalla, blushed at their ignominious choice, and turned with
disgust from that monster, to contemplate with pleasure the
opening virtues of his cousin Alexander, the son of Mamaea. The
crafty Maesa, sensible that her grandson Elagabalus must
inevitably destroy himself by his own vices, had provided another
and surer support of her family. Embracing a favorable moment of
fondness and devotion, she had persuaded the young emperor to
adopt Alexander, and to invest him with the title of Caesar, that
his own divine occupations might be no longer interrupted by the
care of the earth. In the second rank that amiable prince soon
acquired the affections of the public, and excited the tyrant's
jealousy, who resolved to terminate the dangerous competition,
either by corrupting the manners, or by taking away the life, of
his rival. His arts proved unsuccessful; his vain designs were
constantly discovered by his own loquacious folly, and
disappointed by those virtuous and faithful servants whom the
prudence of Mamaea had placed about the person of her son. In a
hasty sally of passion, Elagabalus resolved to execute by force
what he had been unable to compass by fraud, and by a despotic
sentence degraded his cousin from the rank and honors of Caesar.
The message was received in the senate with silence, and in the
camp with fury. The Praetorian guards swore to protect
Alexander, and to revenge the dishonored majesty of the throne.
The tears and promises of the trembling Elagabalus, who only
begged them to spare his life, and to leave him in the possession
of his beloved Hierocles, diverted their just indignation; and
they contented themselves with empowering their praefects to
watch over the safety of Alexander, and the conduct of the
emperor. ^61
[Footnote 61: Dion, l. lxxix. p. 1365. Herodian, l. v. p. 195 -
201. Hist. August. p. 105. The last of the three historians
seems to have followed the best authors in his account of the
revolution.]

It was impossible that such a reconciliation should last, or
that even the mean soul of Elagabalus could hold an empire on
such humiliating terms of dependence. He soon attempted, by a
dangerous experiment, to try the temper of the soldiers. The
report of the death of Alexander, and the natural suspicion that
he had been murdered, inflamed their passions into fury, and the
tempest of the camp could only be appeased by the presence and
authority of the popular youth. Provoked at this new instance of
their affection for his cousin, and their contempt for his
person, the emperor ventured to punish some of the leaders of the
mutiny. His unseasonable severity proved instantly fatal to his
minions, his mother, and himself. Elagabalus was massacred by
the indignant Praetorians, his mutilated corpse dragged through
the streets of the city, and thrown into the Tiber. His memory
was branded with eternal infamy by the senate; the justice of
whose decree has been ratified by posterity. ^62

[See Island In The Tiber: Elagabalus was thrown into the Tiber
[Footnote 62: The aera of the death of Elagabalus, and of the
accession of Alexander, has employed the learning and ingenuity
of Pagi, Tillemont, Valsecchi, Vignoli, and Torre, bishop of
Adria. The question is most assuredly intricate; but I still
adhere to the authority of Dion, the truth of whose calculations
is undeniable, and the purity of whose text is justified by the
agreement of Xiphilin, Zonaras, and Cedrenus. Elagabalus reigned
three years nine months and four days, from his victory over
Macrinus, and was killed March 10, 222. But what shall we reply
to the medals, undoubtedly genuine, which reckon the fifth year
of his tribunitian power? We shall reply, with the learned
Valsecchi, that the usurpation of Macrinus was annihilated, and
that the son of Caracalla dated his reign from his father's
death? After resolving this great difficulty, the smaller knots
of this question may be easily untied, or cut asunder. Note:
This opinion of Valsecchi has been triumphantly contested by
Eckhel, who has shown the impossibility of reconciling it with
the medals of Elagabalus, and has given the most satisfactory
explanation of the five tribunates of that emperor. He ascended
the throne and received the tribunitian power the 16th of May, in
the year of Rome 971; and on the 1st January of the next year,
972, he began a new tribunate, according to the custom
established by preceding emperors. During the years 972, 973,
974, he enjoyed the tribunate, and commenced his fifth in the
year 975, during which be was killed on the 10th March. Eckhel de
Doct. Num. viii. 430 &c. - G.] In the room of Elagabalus, his
cousin Alexander was raised to the throne by the Praetorian
guards. His relation to the family of Severus, whose name he
assumed, was the same as that of his predecessor; his virtue and
his danger had already endeared him to the Romans, and the eager
liberality of the senate conferred upon him, in one day, the
various titles and powers of the Imperial dignity. ^63 But as
Alexander was a modest and dutiful youth, of only seventeen years
of age, the reins of government were in the hands of two women,
of his mother, Mamaea, and of Maesa, his grandmother. After the
death of the latter, who survived but a short time the elevation
of Alexander, Mamaea remained the sole regent of her son and of
the empire. [Footnote 63: Hist. August. p. 114. By this unusual
precipitation, the senate meant to confound the hopes of
pretenders, and prevent the factions of the armies.] In every age
and country, the wiser, or at least the stronger, of the two
sexes, has usurped the powers of the state, and confined the
other to the cares and pleasures of domestic life. In hereditary
monarchies, however, and especially in those of modern Europe,
the gallant spirit of chivalry, and the law of succession, have
accustomed us to allow a singular exception; and a woman is often
acknowledged the absolute sovereign of a great kingdom, in which
she would be deemed incapable of exercising the smallest
employment, civil or military. But as the Roman emperors were
still considered as the generals and magistrates of the republic,
their wives and mothers, although distinguished by the name of
Augusta were never associated to their personal honors; and a
female reign would have appeared an inexpiable prodigy in the
eyes of those primitive Romans, who married without love, or
loved without delicacy and respect. ^64 The haughty Agripina
aspired, indeed, to share the honors of the empire which she had
conferred on her son; but her mad ambition, detested by every
citizen who felt for the dignity of Rome, was disappointed by the
artful firmness of Seneca and Burrhus. ^65 The good sense, or the
indifference, of succeeding princes, restrained them from
offending the prejudices of their subjects; and it was reserved
for the profligate Elagabalus to discharge the acts of the senate
with the name of his mother Soaemias, who was placed by the side
of the consuls, and subscribed, as a regular member, the decrees
of the legislative assembly. Her more prudent sister, Mamaea,
declined the useless and odious prerogative, and a solemn law was
enacted, excluding women forever from the senate, and devoting to
the infernal gods the head of the wretch by whom this sanction
should be violated. ^66 The substance, not the pageantry, of
power. was the object of Mamaea's manly ambition. She maintained
an absolute and lasting empire over the mind of her son, and in
his affection the mother could not brook a rival. Alexander, with
her consent, married the daughter of a patrician; but his respect
for his father-in-law, and love for the empress, were
inconsistent with the tenderness of interest of Mamaea. The
patrician was executed on the ready accusation of treason, and
the wife of Alexander driven with ignominy from the palace, and
banished into Africa. ^67 [Footnote 64: Metellus Numidicus, the
censor, acknowledged to the Roman people, in a public oration,
that had kind nature allowed us to exist without the help of
women, we should be delivered from a very troublesome companion;
and he could recommend matrimony only as the sacrifice of private
pleasure to public duty. Aulus Gellius, i. 6.] [Footnote 65:
Tacit. Annal. xiii. 5.] [Footnote 66: Hist. August. p. 102,
107.] [Footnote 67: Dion, l. lxxx. p. 1369. Herodian, l. vi. p.
206. Hist. August. p. 131. Herodian represents the patrician as
innocent. The Augustian History, on the authority of Dexippus,
condemns him, as guilty of a conspiracy against the life of
Alexander. It is impossible to pronounce between them; but Dion
is an irreproachable witness of the jealousy and cruelty of
Mamaea towards the young empress, whose hard fate Alexander
lamented, but durst not oppose.] Notwithstanding this act of
jealous cruelty, as well as some instances of avarice, with which
Mamaea is charged, the general tenor of her administration was
equally for the benefit of her son and of the empire. With the
approbation of the senate, she chose sixteen of the wisest and
most virtuous senators as a perpetual council of state, before
whom every public business of moment was debated and determined.
The celebrated Ulpian, equally distinguished by his knowledge of,
and his respect for, the laws of Rome, was at their head; and the
prudent firmness of this aristocracy restored order and authority
to the government. As soon as they had purged the city from
foreign superstition and luxury, the remains of the capricious
tyranny of Elagabalus, they applied themselves to remove his
worthless creatures from every department of the public
administration, and to supply their places with men of virtue and
ability. Learning, and the love of justice, became the only
recommendations for civil offices; valor, and the love of
discipline, the only qualifications for military employments. ^68

[Footnote 68: Herodian, l. vi. p. 203. Hist. August. p. 119. The
latter insinuates, that when any law was to be passed, the
council was assisted by a number of able lawyers and experienced
senators, whose opinions were separately given, and taken down in
writing.] But the most important care of Mamaea and her wise
counsellors, was to form the character of the young emperor, on
whose personal qualities the happiness or misery of the Roman
world must ultimately depend. The fortunate soil assisted, and
even prevented, the hand of cultivation. An excellent
understanding soon convinced Alexander of the advantages of
virtue, the pleasure of knowledge, and the necessity of labor. A
natural mildness and moderation of temper preserved him from the
assaults of passion, and the allurements of vice. His unalterable
regard for his mother, and his esteem for the wise Ulpian,
guarded his unexperienced youth from the poison of flattery. ^*
[Footnote *: Alexander received into his chapel all the religions
which prevailed in the empire; he admitted Jesus Christ, Abraham,
Orpheus, Apollonius of Tyana, &c. It was almost certain that his
mother Mamaea had instructed him in the morality of Christianity.
Historians in general agree in calling her a Christian; there is
reason to believe that she had begun to have a taste for the
principles of Christianity. (See Tillemont, Alexander Severus)
Gibbon has not noticed this circumstance; he appears to have
wished to lower the character of this empress; he has throughout
followed the narrative of Herodian, who, by the acknowledgment of
Capitolinus himself, detested Alexander. Without believing the
exaggerated praises of Lampridius, he ought not to have followed
the unjust severity of Herodian, and, above all, not to have
forgotten to say that the virtuous Alexander Severus had insured
to the Jews the preservation of their privileges, and permitted
the exercise of Christianity. Hist. Aug. p. 121. The Christians
had established their worship in a public place, of which the
victuallers (cauponarii) claimed, not the property, but
possession by custom. Alexander answered, that it was better that
the place should be used for the service of God, in any form,
than for victuallers. - G. I have scrupled to omit this note, as
it contains some points worthy of notice; but it is very unjust
to Gibbon, who mentions almost all the circumstances, which he is
accused of omitting, in another, and, according to his plan, a
better place, and, perhaps, in stronger terms than M. Guizot. See
Chap. xvi. - M.] The simple journal of his ordinary occupations
exhibits a pleasing picture of an accomplished emperor, ^69 and,
with some allowance for the difference of manners, might well
deserve the imitation of modern princes. Alexander rose early:
the first moments of the day were consecrated to private
devotion, and his domestic chapel was filled with the images of
those heroes, who, by improving or reforming human life, had
deserved the grateful reverence of posterity. But as he deemed
the service of mankind the most acceptable worship of the gods,
the greatest part of his morning hours was employed in his
council, where he discussed public affairs, and determined
private causes, with a patience and discretion above his years.
The dryness of business was relieved by the charms of literature;
and a portion of time was always set apart for his favorite
studies of poetry, history, and philosophy. The works of Virgil
and Horace, the republics of Plato and Cicero, formed his taste,
enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man
and government. The exercises of the body succeeded to those of
the mind; and Alexander, who was tall, active, and robust,
surpassed most of his equals in the gymnastic arts. Refreshed by
the use of the bath and a slight dinner, he resumed, with new
vigor, the business of the day; and, till the hour of supper, the
principal meal of the Romans, he was attended by his secretaries,
with whom he read and answered the multitude of letters,
memorials, and petitions, that must have been addressed to the
master of the greatest part of the world. His table was served
with the most frugal simplicity, and whenever he was at liberty
to consult his own inclination, the company consisted of a few
select friends, men of learning and virtue, amongst whom Ulpian
was constantly invited. Their conversation was familiar and
instructive; and the pauses were occasionally enlivened by the
recital of some pleasing composition, which supplied the place of
the dancers, comedians, and even gladiators, so frequently
summoned to the tables of the rich and luxurious Romans. ^70 The
dress of Alexander was plain and modest, his demeanor courteous
and affable: at the proper hours his palace was open to all his
subjects, but the voice of a crier was heard, as in the
Eleusinian mysteries, pronouncing the same salutary admonition:
"Let none enter these holy walls, unless he is conscious of a
pure and innocent mind." ^71 [Footnote 69: See his life in the
Augustan History. The undistinguishing compiler has buried these
interesting anecdotes under a load of trivial unmeaning
circumstances.] [Footnote 70: See the 13th Satire of Juvenal.]
[Footnote 71: Hist. August. p. 119.] Such a uniform tenor of
life, which left not a moment for vice or folly, is a better
proof of the wisdom and justice of Alexander's government, than
all the trifling details preserved in the compilation of
Lampridius. Since the accession of Commodus, the Roman world had
experienced, during the term of forty years, the successive and
various vices of four tyrants. From the death of Elagabalus, it
enjoyed an auspicious calm of thirteen years. ^* The provinces,
relieved from the oppressive taxes invented by Caracalla and his
pretended son, flourished in peace and prosperity, under the
administration of magistrates, who were convinced by experience
that to deserve the love of the subjects, was their best and only
method of obtaining the favor of their sovereign. While some
gentle restraints were imposed on the innocent luxury of the
Roman people, the price of provisions and the interest of money,
were reduced by the paternal care of Alexander, whose prudent
liberality, without distressing the industrious, supplied the
wants and amusements of the populace. The dignity, the freedom,
the authority of the senate was restored; and every virtuous
senator might approach the person of the emperor without a fear
and without a blush. [Footnote *: Wenck observes that Gibbon,
enchanted with the virtue of Alexander has heightened,
particularly in this sentence, its effect on the state of the
world. His own account, which follows, of the insurrections and
foreign wars, is not in harmony with this beautiful picture. -
M.] The name of Antoninus, ennobled by the virtues of Pius and
Marcus, had been communicated by adoption to the dissolute Verus,
and by descent to the cruel Commodus. It became the honorable
appellation of the sons of Severus, was bestowed on young
Diadumenianus, and at length prostituted to the infamy of the
high priest of Emesa. Alexander, though pressed by the studied,
and, perhaps, sincere importunity of the senate, nobly refused
the borrowed lustre of a name; whilst in his whole conduct he
labored to restore the glories and felicity of the age of the
genuine Antonines. ^72 [Footnote 72: See, in the Hist. August.
p. 116, 117, the whole contest between Alexander and the senate,
extracted from the journals of that assembly. It happened on the
sixth of March, probably of the year 223, when the Romans had
enjoyed, almost a twelvemonth, the blessings of his reign. Before
the appellation of Antoninus was offered him as a title of honor,
the senate waited to see whether Alexander would not assume it as
a family name.] In the civil administration of Alexander,
wisdom was enforced by power, and the people, sensible of the
public felicity, repaid their benefactor with their love and
gratitude. There still remained a greater, a more necessary, but
a more difficult enterprise; the reformation of the military
order, whose interest and temper, confirmed by long impunity,
rendered them impatient of the restraints of discipline, and
careless of the blessings of public tranquillity. In the
execution of his design, the emperor affected to display his
love, and to conceal his fear of the army. The most rigid economy
in every other branch of the administration supplied a fund of
gold and silver for the ordinary pay and the extraordinary
rewards of the troops. In their marches he relaxed the severe
obligation of carrying seventeen days' provision on their
shoulders. Ample magazines were formed along the public roads,
and as soon as they entered the enemy's country, a numerous train
of mules and camels waited on their haughty laziness. As
Alexander despaired of correcting the luxury of his soldiers, he
attempted, at least, to direct it to objects of martial pomp and
ornament, fine horses, splendid armor, and shields enriched with
silver and gold. He shared whatever fatigues he was obliged to
impose, visited, in person, the sick and wounded, preserved an
exact register of their services and his own gratitude, and
expressed on every occasion, the warmest regard for a body of
men, whose welfare, as he affected to declare, was so closely
connected with that of the state. ^73 By the most gentle arts he
labored to inspire the fierce multitude with a sense of duty, and
to restore at least a faint image of that discipline to which the
Romans owed their empire over so many other nations, as warlike
and more powerful than themselves. But his prudence was vain, his
courage fatal, and the attempt towards a reformation served only
to inflame the ills it was meant to cure. [Footnote 73: It was a
favorite saying of the emperor's Se milites magis servare, quam
seipsum, quod salus publica in his esset. Hist. Aug. p. 130.]
The Praetorian guards were attached to the youth of Alexander.
They loved him as a tender pupil, whom they had saved from a
tyrant's fury, and placed on the Imperial throne. That amiable
prince was sensible of the obligation; but as his gratitude was
restrained within the limits of reason and justice, they soon
were more dissatisfied with the virtues of Alexander, than they
had ever been with the vices of Elagabalus. Their praefect, the
wise Ulpian, was the friend of the laws and of the people; he was
considered as the enemy of the soldiers, and to his pernicious
counsels every scheme of reformation was imputed. Some trifling
accident blew up their discontent into a furious mutiny; and the
civil war raged, during three days, in Rome, whilst the life of
that excellent minister was defended by the grateful people.
Terrified, at length, by the sight of some houses in flames, and
by the threats of a general conflagration, the people yielded
with a sigh, and left the virtuous but unfortunate Ulpian to his
fate. He was pursued into the Imperial palace, and massacred at
the feet of his master, who vainly strove to cover him with the
purple, and to obtain his pardon from the inexorable soldiers. ^*
Such was the deplorable weakness of government, that the emperor
was unable to revenge his murdered friend and his insulted
dignity, without stooping to the arts of patience and
dissimulation. Epagathus, the principal leader of the mutiny, was
removed from Rome, by the honorable employment of praefect of
Egypt: from that high rank he was gently degraded to the
government of Crete; and when at length, his popularity among the
guards was effaced by time and absence, Alexander ventured to
inflict the tardy but deserved punishment of his crimes. ^74
Under the reign of a just and virtuous prince, the tyranny of the
army threatened with instant death his most faithful ministers,
who were suspected of an intention to correct their intolerable
disorders. The historian Dion Cassius had commanded the Pannonian
legions with the spirit of ancient discipline. Their brethren of
Rome, embracing the common cause of military license, demanded
the head of the reformer. Alexander, however, instead of yielding
to their seditious clamors, showed a just sense of his merit and
services, by appointing him his colleague in the consulship, and
defraying from his own treasury the expense of that vain dignity:
but as was justly apprehended, that if the soldiers beheld him
with the ensigns of his office, they would revenge the insult in
his blood, the nominal first magistrate of the state retired, by
the emperor's advice, from the city, and spent the greatest part
of his consulship at his villas in Campania. ^75 ^* [Footnote *:
Gibbon has confounded two events altogether different - the
quarrel of the people with the Praetorians, which lasted three
days, and the assassination of Ulpian by the latter. Dion relates
first the death of Ulpian, afterwards, reverting back according
to a manner which is usual with him, he says that during the life
of Ulpian, there had been a war of three days between the
Praetorians and the people. But Ulpian was not the cause. Dion
says, on the contrary, that it was occasioned by some unimportant
circumstance; whilst he assigns a weighty reason for the murder
of Ulpian, the judgment by which that Praetorian praefect had
condemned his predecessors, Chrestus and Flavian, to death, whom
the soldiers wished to revenge. Zosimus (l. 1, c. xi.) attributes
this sentence to Mamaera; but, even then, the troops might have
imputed it to Ulpian, who had reaped all the advantage and was
otherwise odious to them. - W.] [Footnote 74: Though the author
of the life of Alexander (Hist. August. p. 182) mentions the
sedition raised against Ulpian by the soldiers, he conceals the
catastrophe, as it might discover a weakness in the
administration of his hero. From this designed omission, we may
judge of the weight and candor of that author.] [Footnote 75:
For an account of Ulpian's fate and his own danger, see the
mutilated conclusion of Dion's History, l. lxxx. p. 1371.]
[Footnote *: Dion possessed no estates in Campania, and was not
rich. He only says that the emperor advised him to reside, during
his consulate, in some place out of Rome; that he returned to
Rome after the end of his consulate, and had an interview with
the emperor in Campania. He asked and obtained leave to pass the
rest of his life in his native city, (Nice, in Bithynia: ) it was
there that he finished his history, which closes with his second
consulship. - W.]]

Chapter VI: Death Of Severus, Tyranny Of Caracalla, Usurpation Of
Marcinus.

Part IV.

The lenity of the emperor confirmed the insolence of the
troops; the legions imitated the example of the guards, and
defended their prerogative of licentiousness with the same
furious obstinacy. The administration of Alexander was an
unavailing struggle against the corruption of his age. In
llyricum, in Mauritania, in Armenia, in Mesopotamia, in Germany,
fresh mutinies perpetually broke out; his officers were murdered,
his authority was insulted, and his life at last sacrificed to
the fierce discontents of the army. ^76 One particular fact well
deserves to be recorded, as it illustrates the manners of the
troops, and exhibits a singular instance of their return to a
sense of duty and obedience. Whilst the emperor lay at Antioch,
in his Persian expedition, the particulars of which we shall
hereafter relate, the punishment of some soldiers, who had been
discovered in the baths of women, excited a sedition in the
legion to which they belonged. Alexander ascended his tribunal,
and with a modest firmness represented to the armed multitude the
absolute necessity, as well as his inflexible resolution, of
correcting the vices introduced by his impure predecessor, and of
maintaining the discipline, which could not be relaxed without
the ruin of the Roman name and empire. Their clamors interrupted
his mild expostulation. "Reserve your shout," said the undaunted
emperor, "till you take the field against the Persians, the
Germans, and the Sarmatians. Be silent in the presence of your
sovereign and benefactor, who bestows upon you the corn, the
clothing, and the money of the provinces. Be silent, or I shall
no longer style you solders, but citizens, ^77 if those indeed
who disclaim the laws of Rome deserve to be ranked among the
meanest of the people." His menaces inflamed the fury of the
legion, and their brandished arms already threatened his person.
"Your courage," resumed the intrepid Alexander, "would be more
nobly displayed in the field of battle; me you may destroy, you
cannot intimidate; and the severe justice of the republic would
punish your crime and revenge my death." The legion still
persisted in clamorous sedition, when the emperor pronounced,
with a cud voice, the decisive sentence, "Citizens! lay down
your arms, and depart in peace to your respective habitations."
The tempest was instantly appeased: the soldiers, filled with
grief and shame, silently confessed the justice of their
punishment, and the power of discipline, yielded up their arms
and military ensigns, and retired in confusion, not to their
camp, but to the several inns of the city. Alexander enjoyed,
during thirty days, the edifying spectacle of their repentance;
nor did he restore them to their former rank in the army, till he
had punished with death those tribunes whose connivance had
occasioned the mutiny. The grateful legion served the emperor
whilst living, and revenged him when dead. ^78
[Footnote 76: Annot. Reimar. ad Dion Cassius, l. lxxx. p. 1369.]
[Footnote 77: Julius Caesar had appeased a sedition with the same
word, Quirites; which, thus opposed to soldiers, was used in a
sense of contempt, and reduced the offenders to the less
honorable condition of mere citizens. Tacit. Annal. i. 43.]

[Footnote 78: Hist. August. p. 132.]

The resolutions of the multitude generally depend on a
moment; and the caprice of passion might equally determine the
seditious legion to lay down their arms at the emperor's feet, or
to plunge them into his breast. Perhaps, if this singular
transaction had been investigated by the penetration of a
philosopher, we should discover the secret causes which on that
occasion authorized the boldness of the prince, and commanded the
obedience of the troops; and perhaps, if it had been related by a
judicious historian, we should find this action, worthy of Caesar
himself, reduced nearer to the level of probability and the
common standard of the character of Alexander Severus. The
abilities of that amiable prince seem to have been inadequate to
the difficulties of his situation, the firmness of his conduct
inferior to the purity of his intentions. His virtues, as well
as the vices of Elagabalus, contracted a tincture of weakness and
effeminacy from the soft climate of Syria, of which he was a
native; though he blushed at his foreign origin, and listened
with a vain complacency to the flattering genealogists, who
derived his race from the ancient stock of Roman nobility. ^79
The pride and avarice of his mother cast a shade on the glories
of his reign; an by exacting from his riper years the same
dutiful obedience which she had justly claimed from his
unexperienced youth, Mamaea exposed to public ridicule both her
son's character and her own. ^80 The fatigues of the Persian war
irritated the military discontent; the unsuccessful event ^*
degraded the reputation of the emperor as a general, and even as
a soldier. Every cause prepared, and every circumstance
hastened, a revolution, which distracted the Roman empire with a
long series of intestine calamities.

[Footnote 79: From the Metelli. Hist. August. p. 119. The
choice was judicious. In one short period of twelve years, the
Metelli could reckon seven consulships and five triumphs. See
Velleius Paterculus, ii. 11, and the Fasti.]

[Footnote 80: The life of Alexander, in the Augustan History, is
the mere idea of a perfect prince, an awkward imitation of the
Cyropaedia. The account of his reign, as given by Herodian, is
rational and moderate, consistent with the general history of the
age; and, in some of the most invidious particulars, confirmed by
the decisive fragments of Dion. Yet from a very paltry
prejudice, the greater number of our modern writers abuse
Herodian, and copy the Augustan History. See Mess de Tillemont
and Wotton. From the opposite prejudice, the emperor Julian (in
Caesarib. p. 315) dwells with a visible satisfaction on the
effeminate weakness of the Syrian, and the ridiculous avarice of
his mother.]

[Footnote *: Historians are divided as to the success of the
campaign against the Persians; Herodian alone speaks of defeat.
Lampridius, Eutropius, Victor, and others, say that it was very
glorious to Alexander; that he beat Artaxerxes in a great battle,
and repelled him from the frontiers of the empire. This much is
certain, that Alexander, on his return to Rome, (Lamp. Hist. Aug.
c. 56, 133, 134,) received the honors of a triumph, and that he
said, in his oration to the people. Quirites, vicimus Persas,
milites divites reduximus, vobis congiarium pollicemur, cras
ludos circenses Persicos donabimus. Alexander, says Eckhel, had
too much modesty and wisdom to permit himself to receive honors
which ought only to be the reward of victory, if he had not
deserved them; he would have contented himself with dissembling
his losses. Eckhel, Doct. Num. vet. vii. 276. The medals
represent him as in triumph; one, among others, displays him
crowned by Victory between two rivers, the Euphrates and the
Tigris. P. M. TR. P. xii. Cos. iii. PP. Imperator paludatus D.
hastam. S. parazonium, stat inter duos fluvios humi jacentes, et
ab accedente retro Victoria coronatur. Ae. max. mod. (Mus. Reg.
Gall.) Although Gibbon treats this question more in detail when
he speaks of the Persian monarchy, I have thought fit to place
here what contradicts his opinion. - G]

The dissolute tyranny of Commodus, the civil wars occasioned
by his death, and the new maxims of policy introduced by the
house of Severus, had all contributed to increase the dangerous
power of the army, and to obliterate the faint image of laws and
liberty that was still impressed on the minds of the Romans. The
internal change, which undermined the foundations of the empire,
we have endeavored to explain with some degree of order and
perspicuity. The personal characters of the emperors, their
victories, laws, follies, and fortunes, can interest us no
farther than as they are connected with the general history of
the Decline and Fall of the monarchy. Our constant attention to
that great object will not suffer us to overlook a most important
edict of Antoninus Caracalla, which communicated to all the free
inhabitants of the empire the name and privileges of Roman
citizens. His unbounded liberality flowed not, however, from the
sentiments of a generous mind; it was the sordid result of
avarice, and will naturally be illustrated by some observations
on the finances of that state, from the victorious ages of the
commonwealth to the reign of Alexander Severus.
The siege of Veii in Tuscany, the first considerable
enterprise of the Romans, was protracted to the tenth year, much
less by the strength of the place than by the unskillfulness of
the besiegers. The unaccustomed hardships of so many winter
campaigns, at the distance of near twenty miles from home, ^81
required more than common encouragements; aud the senate wisely
prevented the clamors of the people, by the institution of a
regular pay for the soldiers, which was levied by a general
tribute, assessed according to an equitable proportion on the
property of the citizens. ^82 During more than two hundred years
after the conquest of Veii, the victories of the republic added
less to the wealth than to the power of Rome. The states of
Italy paid their tribute in military service only, and the vast
force, both by sea and land, which was exerted in the Punic wars,
was maintained at the expense of the Romans themselves. That
high-spirited people (such is often the generous enthusiasm of
freedom) cheerfully submitted to the most excessive but voluntary
burdens, in the just confidence that they should speedily enjoy
the rich harvest of their labors. Their expectations were not
disappointed. In the course of a few years, the riches of
Syracuse, of Carthage, of Macedonia, and of Asia, were brought in
triumph to Rome. The treasures of Perseus alone amounted to near
two millions sterling, and the Roman people, the sovereign of so
many nations, was forever delivered from the weight of taxes. ^83
The increasing revenue of the provinces was found sufficient to
defray the ordinary establishment of war and government, and the
superfluous mass of gold and silver was deposited in the temple
of Saturn, and reserved for any unforeseen emergency of the
state. ^84

[Footnote 81: According to the more accurate Dionysius, the city
itself was only a hundred stadia, or twelve miles and a half,
from Rome, though some out-posts might be advanced farther on the
side of Etruria. Nardini, in a professed treatise, has combated
the popular opinion and the authority of two popes, and has
removed Veii from Civita Castellana, to a little spot called
Isola, in the midway between Rome and the Lake Bracianno.

Note: See the interesting account of the site and ruins of
Veii in Sir W Gell's topography of Rome and its Vicinity. v. ii.
p. 303. - M.]
[Footnote 82: See the 4th and 5th books of Livy. In the Roman
census, property, power, and taxation were commensurate with each
other.]
[Footnote 83: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xxxiii. c. 3. Cicero de
Offic. ii. 22. Plutarch, P. Aemil. p. 275.]

[Footnote 84: See a fine description of this accumulated wealth
of ages in Phars. l. iii. v. 155, &c.]

History has never, perhaps, suffered a greater or more
irreparable injury than in the loss of the curious register ^*
bequeathed by Augustus to the senate, in which that experienced
prince so accurately balanced the revenues and expenses of the
Roman empire. ^85 Deprived of this clear and comprehensive
estimate, we are reduced to collect a few imperfect hints from
such of the ancients as have accidentally turned aside from the
splendid to the more useful parts of history. We are informed
that, by the conquests of Pompey, the tributes of Asia were
raised from fifty to one hundred and thirty-five millions of
drachms; or about four millions and a half sterling. ^86 ^! Under
the last and most indolent of the Ptolemies, the revenue of Egypt
is said to have amounted to twelve thousand five hundred talents;
a sum equivalent to more than two millions and a half of our
money, but which was afterwards considerably improved by the more
exact economy of the Romans, and the increase of the trade of
Aethiopia and India. ^87 Gaul was enriched by rapine, as Egypt
was by commerce, and the tributes of those two great provinces
have been compared as nearly equal to each other in value. ^88
The ten thousand Euboic or Phoenician talents, about four
millions sterling, ^89 which vanquished Carthage was condemned to
pay within the term of fifty years, were a slight acknowledgment
of the superiority of Rome, ^90 and cannot bear the least
proportion with the taxes afterwards raised both on the lands and
on the persons of the inhabitants, when the fertile coast of
Africa was reduced into a province. ^91

[Footnote *: See Rationarium imperii. Compare besides Tacitus,
Suet. Aug. c. ult. Dion, p. 832. Other emperors kept and
published similar registers. See a dissertation of Dr. Wolle, de
Rationario imperii Rom. Leipsig, 1773. The last book of Appian
also contained the statistics of the Roman empire, but it is
lost. - W.]

[Footnote 85: Tacit. in Annal. i. ll. It seems to have existed
in the time of Appian.]

[Footnote 86: Plutarch, in Pompeio, p. 642.]

[Footnote !: Wenck contests the accuracy of Gibbon's version of
Plutarch, and supposes that Pompey only raised the revenue from
50,000,000 to 85,000,000 of drachms; but the text of Plutarch
seems clearly to mean that his conquests added 85,000,000 to the
ordinary revenue. Wenck adds, "Plutarch says in another part,
that Antony made Asia pay, at one time, 200,000 talents, that is
to say, 38,875,000l. sterling." But Appian explains this by
saying that it was the revenue of ten years, which brings the
annual revenue, at the time of Antonv, to 3,875 000l. sterling. -
M.]

[Footnote 87: Strabo, l. xvii. p. 798.]

[Footnote 88: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 39. He seems to
give the preference to the revenue of Gaul.]

[Footnote 89: The Euboic, the Phoenician, and the Alexandrian
talents were double in weight to the Attic. See Hooper on
ancient weights and measures, p. iv. c. 5. It is very probable
that the same talent was carried from Tyre to Carthage.]

[Footnote 90: Polyb. l. xv. c. 2.]

[Footnote 91: Appian in Punicis, p. 84.]

Spain, by a very singular fatality, was the Peru and Mexico
of the old world. The discovery of the rich western continent by
the Phoenicians, and the oppression of the simple natives, who
were compelled to labor in their own mines for the benefit of
strangers, form an exact type of the more recent history of
Spanish America. ^92 The Phoenicians were acquainted only with
the sea-coast of Spain; avarice, as well as ambition, carried the
arms of Rome and Carthage into the heart of the country, and
almost every part of the soil was found pregnant with copper,
silver, and gold. ^* Mention is made of a mine near Carthagena
which yielded every day twenty-five thousand drachmns of silver,
or about three hundred thousand pounds a year. ^93 Twenty
thousand pound weight of gold was annually received from the
provinces of Asturia, Gallicia, and Lusitania. ^94

[Footnote 92: Diodorus Siculus, l. 5. Oadiz was built by the
Phoenicians a little more than a thousand years before Christ.
See Vell. Pa ter. i.2.]
[Footnote *: Compare Heeren's Researches vol. i. part ii. p.]
[Footnote 93: Strabo, l. iii. p. 148.]

[Footnote 94: Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xxxiii. c. 3. He mentions
likewise a silver mine in Dalmatia, that yielded every day fifty
pounds to the state.]
We want both leisure and materials to pursue this curious
inquiry through the many potent states that were annihilated in
the Roman empire. Some notion, however, may be formed of the
revenue of the provinces where considerable wealth had been
deposited by nature, or collected by man, if we observe the
severe attention that was directed to the abodes of solitude and
sterility. Augustus once received a petition from the
inhabitants of Gyarus, humbly praying that they might be relieved
from one third of their excessive impositions. Their whole tax
amounted indeed to no more than one hundred and fifty drachms, or
about five pounds: but Gyarus was a little island, or rather a
rock, of the Aegean Sea, destitute of fresh water and every
necessary of life, and inhabited only by a few wretched
fishermen. ^95
[Footnote 95: Strabo, l. x. p. 485. Tacit. Annal. iu. 69, and
iv. 30. See Tournefort (Voyages au Levant, Lettre viii.) a very
lively picture of the actual misery of Gyarus.]

From the faint glimmerings of such doubtful and scattered
lights, we should be inclined to believe, 1st, That (with every
fair allowance for the differences of times and circumstances)
the general income of the Roman provinces could seldom amount to
less than fifteen or twenty millions of our money; ^96 and, 2dly,
That so ample a revenue must have been fully adequate to all the
expenses of the moderate government instituted by Augustus, whose
court was the modest family of a private senator, and whose
military establishment was calculated for the defence of the
frontiers, without any aspiring views of conquest, or any serious
apprehension of a foreign invasion.

[Footnote 96: Lipsius de magnitudine Romana (l. ii. c. 3)
computes the revenue at one hundred and fifty millions of gold
crowns; but his whole book, though learned and ingenious, betrays
a very heated imagination.
Note: If Justus Lipsius has exaggerated the revenue of the
Roman empire Gibbon, on the other hand, has underrated it. He
fixes it at fifteen or twenty millions of our money. But if we
take only, on a moderate calculation, the taxes in the provinces
which he has already cited, they will amount, considering the
augmentations made by Augustus, to nearly that sum. There remain
also the provinces of Italy, of Rhaetia, of Noricum, Pannonia,
and Greece, &c., &c. Let us pay attention, besides, to the
prodigious expenditure of some emperors, (Suet. Vesp. 16;) we
shall see that such a revenue could not be sufficient. The
authors of the Universal History, part xii., assign forty
millions sterling as the sum to about which the public revenue
might amount. - G. from W.]

Notwithstanding the seeming probability of both these
conclusions, the latter of them at least is positively disowned
by the language and conduct of Augustus. It is not easy to
determine whether, on this occasion, he acted as the common
father of the Roman world, or as the oppressor of liberty;
whether he wished to relieve the provinces, or to impoverish the
senate and the equestrian order. But no sooner had he assumed
the reins of government, than he frequently intimated the
insufficiency of the tributes, and the necessity of throwing an
equitable proportion of the public burden upon Rome and Italy. ^!
In the prosecution of this unpopular design, he advanced,
however, by cautious and well-weighed steps. The introduction of
customs was followed by the establishment of an excise, and the
scheme of taxation was completed by an artful assessment on the
real and personal property of the Roman citizens, who had been
exempted from any kind of contribution above a century and a
half.
[Footnote !: It is not astonishing that Augustus held this
language. The senate declared also under Nero, that the state
could not exist without the imposts as well augmented as founded
by Augustus. Tac. Ann. xiii. 50. After the abolition of the
different tributes paid by Italy, an abolition which took place
A. U. 646, 694, and 695, the state derived no revenues from that
great country, but the twentieth part of the manumissions,
(vicesima manumissionum,) and Ciero laments this in many places,
particularly in his epistles to ii. 15. - G. from W.]

I. In a great empire like that of Rome, a natural balance
of money must have gradually established itself. It has been
already observed, that as the wealth of the provinces was
attracted to the capital by the strong hand of conquest and
power, so a considerable part of it was restored to the
industrious provinces by the gentle influence of commerce and
arts. In the reign of Augustus and his successors, duties were
imposed on every kind of merchandise, which through a thousand
channels flowed to the great centre of opulence and luxury; and
in whatsoever manner the law was expressed, it was the Roman
purchaser, and not the provincial merchant, who paid the tax. ^97
The rate of the customs varied from the eighth to the fortieth
part of the value of the commodity; and we have a right to
suppose that the variation was directed by the unalterable maxims
of policy; that a higher duty was fixed on the articles of luxury
than on those of necessity, and that the productions raised or
manufactured by the labor of the subjects of the empire were
treated with more indulgence than was shown to the pernicious, or
at least the unpopular commerce of Arabia and India. ^98 There is
still extant a long but imperfect catalogue of eastern
commodities, which about the time of Alexander Severus were
subject to the payment of duties; cinnamon, myrrh, pepper,
ginger, and the whole tribe of aromatics a great variety of
precious stones, among which the diamond was the most remarkable
for its price, and the emerald for its beauty; ^99 Parthian and
Babylonian leather, cottons, silks, both raw and manufactured,
ebony ivory, and eunuchs. ^100 We may observe that the use and
value of those effeminate slaves gradually rose with the decline
of the empire.

[Footnote 97: Tacit. Annal. xiii. 31.

Note: The customs (portoria) existed in the times of the
ancient kings of Rome. They were suppressed in Italy, A. U. 694,
by the Praetor, Cecilius Matellus Nepos. Augustus only
reestablished them. See note above. - W.]
[Footnote 98: See Pliny, (Hist. Natur. l. vi. c. 23, lxii. c.
18.) His observation that the Indian commodities were sold at
Rome at a hundred times their original price, may give us some
notion of the produce of the customs, since that original price
amounted to more than eight hundred thousand pounds.]

[Footnote 99: The ancients were unacquainted with the art of
cutting diamonds.]

[Footnote 100: M. Bouchaud, in his treatise de l'Impot chez les
Romains, has transcribed this catalogue from the Digest, and
attempts to illustrate it by a very prolix commentary.

Note: In the Pandects, l. 39, t. 14, de Publican. Compare
Cicero in Verrem. c. 72 - 74. - W.]

II. The excise, introduced by Augustus after the civil
wars, was extremely moderate, but it was general. It seldom
exceeded one per cent.; but it comprehended whatever was sold in
the markets or by public auction, from the most considerable
purchases of lands and houses, to those minute objects which can
only derive a value from their infinite multitude and daily
consumption. Such a tax, as it affects the body of the people,
has ever been the occasion of clamor and discontent. An emperor
well acquainted with the wants and resources of the state was
obliged to declare, by a public edict, that the support of the
army depended in a great measure on the produce of the excise.
^101

[Footnote 101: Tacit. Annal. i. 78. Two years afterwards, the
reduction of the poor kingdom of Cappadocia gave Tiberius a
pretence for diminishing the excise of one half, but the relief
was of very short duration.]
III. When Augustus resolved to establish a permanent
military force for the defence of his government against foreign
and domestic enemies, he instituted a peculiar treasury for the
pay of the soldiers, the rewards of the veterans, and the
extra-ordinary expenses of war. The ample revenue of the excise,
though peculiarly appropriated to those uses, was found
inadequate. To supply the deficiency, the emperor suggested a
new tax of five per cent. on all legacies and inheritances. But
the nobles of Rome were more tenacious of property than of
freedom. Their indignant murmurs were received by Augustus with
his usual temper. He candidly referred the whole business to the
senate, and exhorted them to provide for the public service by
some other expedient of a less odious nature. They were divided
and perplexed. He insinuated to them, that their obstinacy would
oblige him to propose a general land tax and capitation. They
acquiesced in silence. ^102. The new imposition on legacies and
inheritances was, however, mitigated by some restrictions. It
did not take place unless the object was of a certain value, most
probably of fifty or a hundred pieces of gold; ^103 nor could it
be exacted from the nearest of kin on the father's side. ^104
When the rights of nature and poverty were thus secured, it
seemed reasonable, that a stranger, or a distant relation, who
acquired an unexpected accession of fortune, should cheerfully
resign a twentieth part of it, for the benefit of the state. ^105

[Footnote 102: Dion Cassius, l. lv. p. 794, l. lvi. p. 825.
Note: Dion neither mentions this proposition nor the
capitation. He only says that the emperor imposed a tax upon
landed property, and sent every where men employed to make a
survey, without fixing how much, and for how much each was to
pay. The senators then preferred giving the tax on legacies and
inheritances. - W.]

[Footnote 103: The sum is only fixed by conjecture.]

[Footnote 104: As the Roman law subsisted for many ages, the
Cognati, or relations on the mother's side, were not called to
the succession. This harsh institution was gradually undermined
by humanity, and finally abolished by Justinian.]

[Footnote 105: Plin. Panegyric. c. 37.]

Such a tax, plentiful as it must prove in every wealthy
community, was most happily suited to the situation of the
Romans, who could frame their arbitrary wills, according to the
dictates of reason or caprice, without any restraint from the
modern fetters of entails and settlements. From various causes,
the partiality of paternal affection often lost its influence
over the stern patriots of the commonwealth, and the dissolute
nobles of the empire; and if the father bequeathed to his son the
fourth part of his estate, he removed all ground of legal
complaint. ^106 But a rich childish old man was a domestic
tyrant, and his power increased with his years and infirmities.
A servile crowd, in which he frequently reckoned praetors and
consuls, courted his smiles, pampered his avarice, applauded his
follies, served his passions, and waited with impatience for his
death. The arts of attendance and flattery were formed into a
most lucrative science; those who professed it acquired a
peculiar appellation; and the whole city, according to the lively
descriptions of satire, was divided between two parties, the
hunters and their game. ^107 Yet, while so many unjust and
extravagant wills were every day dictated by cunning and
subscribed by folly, a few were the result of rational esteem and
virtuous gratitude. Cicero, who had so often defended the lives
and fortunes of his fellow-citizens, was rewarded with legacies
to the amount of a hundred and seventy thousand pounds; ^108 nor
do the friends of the younger Pliny seem to have been less
generous to that amiable orator. ^109 Whatever was the motive of
the testator, the treasury claimed, without distinction, the
twentieth part of his estate: and in the course of two or three
generations, the whole property of the subject must have
gradually passed through the coffers of the state.

[Footnote 106: See Heineccius in the Antiquit. Juris Romani, l.
ii.]
[Footnote 107: Horat. l. ii. Sat. v. Potron. c. 116, &c. Plin.
l. ii. Epist. 20.]

[Footnote 108: Cicero in Philip. ii. c. 16.]

[Footnote 109: See his epistles. Every such will gave him an
occasion of displaying his reverence to the dead, and his justice
to the living. He reconciled both in his behavior to a son who
had been disinherited by his mother, (v.l.)]

In the first and golden years of the reign of Nero, that
prince, from a desire of popularity, and perhaps from a blind
impulse of benevolence, conceived a wish of abolishing the
oppression of the customs and excise. The wisest senators
applauded his magnanimity: but they diverted him from the
execution of a design which would have dissolved the strength and
resources of the republic. ^110 Had it indeed been possible to
realize this dream of fancy, such princes as Trajan and the
Antonines would surely have embraced with ardor the glorious
opportunity of conferring so signal an obligation on mankind.
Satisfied, however, with alleviating the public burden, they
attempted not to remove it. The mildness and precision of their
laws ascertained the rule and measure of taxation, and protected
the subject of every rank against arbitrary interpretations,
antiquated claims, and the insolent vexation of the farmers of
the revenue. ^111 For it is somewhat singular, that, in every
age, the best and wisest of the Roman governors persevered in
this pernicious method of collecting the principal branches at
least of the excise and customs. ^112

[Footnote 110: Tacit. Annal. xiii. 50. Esprit des Loix, l. xii.
c. 19.]
[Footnote 111: See Pliny's Panegyric, the Augustan History, and
Burman de Vectigal. passim.]

[Footnote 112: The tributes (properly so called) were not farmed;
since the good princes often remitted many millions of arrears.]

The sentiments, and, indeed, the situation, of Caracalla
were very different from those of the Antonines. Inattentive, or
rather averse, to the welfare of his people, he found himself
under the necessity of gratifying the insatiate avarice which he
had excited in the army. Of the several impositions introduced
by Augustus, the twentieth on inheritances and legacies was the
most fruitful, as well as the most comprehensive. As its
influence was not confined to Rome or Italy, the produce
continually increased with the gradual extension of the Roman
City. The new citizens, though charged, on equal terms, ^113
with the payment of new taxes, which had not affected them as
subjects, derived an ample compensation from the rank they
obtained, the privileges they acquired, and the fair prospect of
honors and fortune that was thrown open to their ambition. But
the favor which implied a distinction was lost in the prodigality
of Caracalla, and the reluctant provincials were compelled to
assume the vain title, and the real obligations, of Roman
citizens. ^* Nor was the rapacious son of Severus contented with
such a measure of taxation as had appeared sufficient to his
moderate predecessors. Instead of a twentieth, he exacted a
tenth of all legacies and inheritances; and during his reign (for
the ancient proportion was restored after his death) he crushed
alike every part of the empire under the weight of his iron
sceptre. ^114

[Footnote 113: The situation of the new citizens is minutely
described by Pliny, (Panegyric, c. 37, 38, 39). Trajan published
a law very much in their favor.]

[Footnote *: Gibbon has adopted the opinion of Spanheim and of
Burman, which attributes to Caracalla this edict, which gave the
right of the city to all the inhabitants of the provinces. This
opinion may be disputed. Several passages of Spartianus, of
Aurelius Victor, and of Aristides, attribute this edict to Marc.
Aurelius. See a learned essay, entitled Joh. P. Mahneri Comm. de
Marc. Aur. Antonino Constitutionis de Civitate Universo Orbi
Romano data auctore. Halae, 1772, 8vo. It appears that Marc.
Aurelius made some modifications of this edict, which released
the provincials from some of the charges imposed by the right of
the city, and deprived them of some of the advantages which it
conferred. Caracalla annulled these modifications. - W.]
[Footnote 114: Dion, l. lxxvii. p. 1295.]

When all the provincials became liable to the peculiar
impositions of Roman citizens, they seemed to acquire a legal
exemption from the tributes which they had paid in their former
condition of subjects. Such were not the maxims of government
adopted by Caracalla and his pretended son. The old as well as
the new taxes were, at the same time, levied in the provinces.
It was reserved for the virtue of Alexander to relieve them in a
great measure from this intolerable grievance, by reducing the
tributes to a thirteenth part of the sum exacted at the time of
his accession. ^115 It is impossible to conjecture the motive
that engaged him to spare so trifling a remnant of the public
evil; but the noxious weed, which had not been totally
eradicated, again sprang up with the most luxuriant growth, and
in the succeeding age darkened the Roman world with its deadly
shade. In the course of this history, we shall be too often
summoned to explain the land tax, the capitation, and the heavy
contributions of corn, wine, oil, and meat, which were exacted
from the provinces for the use of the court, the army, and the
capital.

[Footnote 115: He who paid ten aurei, the usual tribute, was
charged with no more than the third part of an aureus, and
proportional pieces of gold were coined by Alexander's order.
Hist. August. p. 127, with the commentary of Salmasius.]

As long as Rome and Italy were respected as the centre of
government, a national spirit was preserved by the ancient, and
insensibly imbibed by the adopted, citizens. The principal
commands of the army were filled by men who had received a
liberal education, were well instructed in the advantages of laws
and letters, and who had risen, by equal steps, through the
regular succession of civil and military honors. ^116 To their
influence and example we may partly ascribe the modest obedience
of the legions during the two first centuries of the Imperial
history.

[Footnote 116: See the lives of Agricola, Vespasian, Trajan,
Severus, and his three competitors; and indeed of all the eminent
men of those times.]
But when the last enclosure of the Roman constitution was
trampled down by Caracalla, the separation of professions
gradually succeeded to the distinction of ranks. The more
polished citizens of the internal provinces were alone qualified
to act as lawyers and magistrates. The rougher trade of arms was
abandoned to the peasants and barbarians of the frontiers, who
knew no country but their camp, no science but that of war no
civil laws, and scarcely those of military discipline. With
bloody hands, savage manners, and desperate resolutions, they
sometimes guarded, but much oftener subverted, the throne of the
emperors.

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Rhaegar The Fool
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Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1 AKA Do you bite you thumb at me sir?

Narrator: Sampson and Gregory are joking together in a public place. They are boasting that they are better than the Montagues

Sampson: A dog of the house of Montague moves me

Gregory: If thou art moved thou runn’st away

Sampson: A dog of that house shall move me to stand

Gregory: The quarrel is between our masters and us there men

Sampson: I will show myself a tyrant when I have fought with the men

Narrator: Abraham enters with a friend

Sampson: My sword is out, quarrel, I will back thee

Gregory: How, turn thy back and run

Narrator: Sampson and Gregory begin a quarrel

Sampson: Fear me not. Let us take the law of our sides, let them begin

Gregory: I will frown as I pass by

Sampson: I will bite my thumb at them which is a disgrace to them if they accept it

Abraham: Do you bite your thumb sir

Sampson: Is the law on our side if I say nay

Gregory: No

Sampson: No sir I do bite my thumb at you sir, but I bite my thumb

Gregory: Do you quarrel sir

Abraham: Quarrel sir, no sir

Sampson: If you do, I am for you, I am as good a man as you

Abraham: No better

Sampson: Well sir

Narrator: Enter Benvolio

Gregory: Here is one of our men

Sampson: Yes, better sir

Abraham: You lie

Sampson: Draw if you be men

Narrator: They begin to fight

Benvolio: Part fools, put up your swords

Narrator: Tybalt now enters

Tybalt: Turn thee Benvolio, look upon thy death

Benvolio: I do but keep the peace

Tybalt: I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues and thee

Narrator: They all begin to fight
Then Capulet enters along with Montague

Capulet: What noise is this? Give me a sword, old Montague is here.

Montague: Thou Capulet, hold me not, let me go

Narrator:
The Prince now enters and stops the fight

Prince: Throw your weapons to the ground.Three brawls by thee old Capulet and Montague have disturbed the quiet of our streets.
If you disturb our street again, your lives will pay the forfeit of our street.
Once more on pain of death, all men depart.

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Goody Scrivener
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<cuts the red wire>
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Chaeron
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Don't miss the exciting new chapter VII, followed immediately by chapter VIII, IX and X.
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Chaeron
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Chapter VII: Tyranny Of Maximin, Rebellion, Civil Wars, Death Of
Maximin.

Part II.

The virtues and the reputation of the new emperors justified
the most sanguine hopes of the Romans. The various nature of
their talents seemed to appropriate to each his peculiar
department of peace and war, without leaving room for jealous
emulation. Balbinus was an admired orator, a poet of
distinguished fame, and a wise magistrate, who had exercised with
innocence and applause the civil jurisdiction in almost all the
interior provinces of the empire. His birth was noble, ^28 his
fortune affluent, his manners liberal and affable. In him the
love of pleasure was corrected by a sense of dignity, nor had the
habits of ease deprived him of a capacity for business. The mind
of Maximus was formed in a rougher mould. By his valor and
abilities he had raised himself from the meanest origin to the
first employments of the state and army. His victories over the
Sarmatians and the Germans, the austerity of his life, and the
rigid impartiality of his justice, while he was a Praefect of the
city, commanded the esteem of a people whose affections were
engaged in favor of the more amiable Balbinus. The two colleagues
had both been consuls, (Balbinus had twice enjoyed that honorable
office,) both had been named among the twenty lieutenants of the
senate; and since the one was sixty and the other seventy-four
years old, ^29 they had both attained the full maturity of age
and experience.
[Footnote 28: He was descended from Cornelius Balbus, a noble
Spaniard, and the adopted son of Theophanes, the Greek historian.

Balbus obtained the freedom of Rome by the favor of Pompey, and
preserved it by the eloquence of Cicero. (See Orat. pro Cornel.
Balbo.) The friendship of Caesar, (to whom he rendered the most
important secret services in the civil war) raised him to the
consulship and the pontificate, honors never yet possessed by a
stranger. The nephew of this Balbus triumphed over the
Garamantes. See Dictionnaire de Bayle, au mot Balbus, where he
distinguishes the several persons of that name, and rectifies,
with his usual accuracy, the mistakes of former writers
concerning them.]

[Footnote 29: Zonaras, l. xii. p. 622. But little dependence is
to be had on the authority of a modern Greek, so grossly ignorant
of the history of the third century, that he creates several
imaginary emperors, and confounds those who really existed.]

After the senate had conferred on Maximus and Balbinus an
equal portion of the consular and tribunitian powers, the title
of Fathers of their country, and the joint office of Supreme
Pontiff, they ascended to the Capitol to return thanks to the
gods, protectors of Rome. ^30 The solemn rites of sacrifice were
disturbed by a sedition of the people. The licentious multitude
neither loved the rigid Maximus, nor did they sufficiently fear
the mild and humane Balbinus. Their increasing numbers
surrounded the temple of Jupiter; with obstinate clamors they
asserted their inherent right of consenting to the election of
their sovereign; and demanded, with an apparent moderation, that,
besides the two emperors, chosen by the senate, a third should be
added of the family of the Gordians, as a just return of
gratitude to those princes who had sacrificed their lives for the
republic. At the head of the city-guards, and the youth of the
equestrian order, Maximus and Balbinus attempted to cut their way
through the seditious multitude. The multitude, armed with
sticks and stones, drove them back into the Capitol. It is
prudent to yield when the contest, whatever may be the issue of
it, must be fatal to both parties. A boy, only thirteen years of
age, the grandson of the elder, and nephew ^* of the younger
Gordian, was produced to the people, invested with the ornaments
and title of Caesar. The tumult was appeased by this easy
condescension; and the two emperors, as soon as they had been
peaceably acknowledged in Rome, prepared to defend Italy against
the common enemy.

[Footnote 30: Herodian, l. vii. p. 256, supposes that the senate
was at first convoked in the Capitol, and is very eloquent on the
occasion. The Augustar History p. 116, seems much more
authentic.]

[Footnote *: According to some, the son. - G.]

Whilst in Rome and Africa, revolutions succeeded each other
with such amazing rapidity, that the mind of Maximin was agitated
by the most furious passions. He is said to have received the
news of the rebellion of the Gordians, and of the decree of the
senate against him, not with the temper of a man, but the rage of
a wild beast; which, as it could not discharge itself on the
distant senate, threatened the life of his son, of his friends,
and of all who ventured to approach his person. The grateful
intelligence of the death of the Gordians was quickly followed by
the assurance that the senate, laying aside all hopes of pardon
or accommodation, had substituted in their room two emperors,
with whose merit he could not be unacquainted. Revenge was the
only consolation left to Maximin, and revenge could only be
obtained by arms. The strength of the legions had been assembled
by Alexander from all parts of the empire. Three successful
campaigns against the Germans and the Sarmatians, had raised
their fame, confirmed their discipline, and even increased their
numbers, by filling the ranks with the flower of the barbarian
youth. The life of Maximin had been spent in war, and the candid
severity of history cannot refuse him the valor of a soldier, or
even the abilities of an experienced general. ^31 It might
naturally be expected, that a prince of such a character, instead
of suffering the rebellion to gain stability by delay, should
immediately have marched from the banks of the Danube to those of
the Tyber, and that his victorious army, instigated by contempt
for the senate, and eager to gather the spoils of Italy, should
have burned with impatience to finish the easy and lucrative
conquest. Yet as far as we can trust to the obscure chronology
of that period, ^32 it appears that the operations of some
foreign war deferred the Italian expedition till the ensuing
spring. From the prudent conduct of Maximin, we may learn that
the savage features of his character have been exaggerated by the
pencil of party, that his passions, however impetuous, submitted
to the force of reason, and that the barbarian possessed
something of the generous spirit of Sylla, who subdued the
enemies of Rome before he suffered himself to revenge his private
injuries. ^33

[Footnote 31: In Herodian, l. vii. p. 249, and in the Augustan
History, we have three several orations of Maximin to his army,
on the rebellion of Africa and Rome: M. de Tillemont has very
justly observed that they neither agree with each other nor with
truth. Histoire des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 799.]

[Footnote 32: The carelessness of the writers of that age, leaves
us in a singular perplexity. 1. We know that Maximus and
Balbinus were killed during the Capitoline games. Herodian, l.
viii. p. 285. The authority of Censorinus (de Die Natali, c. 18)
enables us to fix those games with certainty to the year 238, but
leaves us in ignorance of the month or day. 2. The election of
Gordian by the senate is fixed with equal certainty to the 27th
of May; but we are at a loss to discover whether it was in the
same or the preceding year. Tillemont and Muratori, who maintain
the two opposite opinions, bring into the field a desultory troop
of authorities, conjectures and probabilities. The one seems to
draw out, the other to contract the series of events between
those periods, more than can be well reconciled to reason and
history. Yet it is necessary to choose between them.
Note: Eckhel has more recently treated these chronological
questions with a perspicuity which gives great probability to his
conclusions. Setting aside all the historians, whose
contradictions are irreconcilable, he has only consulted the
medals, and has arranged the events before us in the following
order: -

Maximin, A. U. 990, after having conquered the Germans,
reenters Pannonia, establishes his winter quarters at Sirmium,
and prepares himself to make war against the people of the North.

In the year 991, in the cal ends of January, commences his fourth
tribunate. The Gordians are chosen emperors in Africa, probably
at the beginning of the month of March. The senate confirms this
election with joy, and declares Maximin the enemy of Rome. Five
days after he had heard of this revolt, Maximin sets out from
Sirmium on his march to Italy. These events took place about the
beginning of April; a little after, the Gordians are slain in
Africa by Capellianus, procurator of Mauritania. The senate, in
its alarm, names as emperors Balbus and Maximus Pupianus, and
intrusts the latter with the war against Maximin. Maximin is
stopped on his road near Aquileia, by the want of provisions, and
by the melting of the snows: he begins the siege of Aquileia at
the end of April. Pupianus assembles his army at Ravenna.
Maximin and his son are assassinated by the soldiers enraged at
the resistance of Aquileia: and this was probably in the middle
of May. Pupianus returns to Rome, and assumes the government
with Balbinus; they are assassinated towards the end of July
Gordian the younger ascends the throne. Eckhel de Doct. Vol vii
295. - G.]
[Footnote 33: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 24. The president
de Montesquieu (in his dialogue between Sylla and Eucrates)
expresses the sentiments of the dictator in a spirited, and even
a sublime manner.]

When the troops of Maximin, advancing in excellent order,
arrived at the foot of the Julian Alps, they were terrified by
the silence and desolation that reigned on the frontiers of
Italy. The villages and open towns had been abandoned on their
approach by the inhabitants, the cattle was driven away, the
provisions removed or destroyed, the bridges broken down, nor was
any thing left which could afford either shelter or subsistence
to an invader. Such had been the wise orders of the generals of
the senate: whose design was to protract the war, to ruin the
army of Maximin by the slow operation of famine, and to consume
his strength in the sieges of the principal cities of Italy,
which they had plentifully stored with men and provisions from
the deserted country. Aquileia received and withstood the first
shock of the invasion. The streams that issue from the head of
the Hadriatic Gulf, swelled by the melting of the winter snows,
^34 opposed an unexpected obstacle to the arms of Maximin. At
length, on a singular bridge, constructed with art and
difficulty, of large hogsheads, he transported his army to the
opposite bank, rooted up the beautiful vineyards in the
neighborhood of Aquileia, demolished the suburbs, and employed
the timber of the buildings in the engines and towers, with which
on every side he attacked the city. The walls, fallen to decay
during the security of a long peace, had been hastily repaired on
this sudden emergency: but the firmest defence of Aquileia
consisted in the constancy of the citizens; all ranks of whom,
instead of being dismayed, were animated by the extreme danger,
and their knowledge of the tyrant's unrelenting temper. Their
courage was supported and directed by Crispinus and Menophilus,
two of the twenty lieutenants of the senate, who, with a small
body of regular troops, had thrown themselves into the besieged
place. The army of Maximin was repulsed in repeated attacks, his
machines destroyed by showers of artificial fire; and the
generous enthusiasm of the Aquileians was exalted into a
confidence of success, by the opinion that Belenus, their tutelar
deity, combated in person in the defence of his distressed
worshippers. ^35

[Footnote 34: Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. ii. p. 294) thinks
the melting of the snows suits better with the months of June or
July, than with those of February. The opinion of a man who
passed his life between the Alps and the Apennines, is
undoubtedly of great weight; yet I observe, 1. That the long
winter, of which Muratori takes advantage, is to be found only in
the Latin version, and not in the Greek text of Herodian. 2.
That the vicissitudes of suns and rains, to which the soldiers of
Maximin were exposed, (Herodian, l. viii. p. 277,) denote the
spring rather than the summer. We may observe, likewise, that
these several streams, as they melted into one, composed the
Timavus, so poetically (in every sense of the word) described by
Virgil. They are about twelve miles to the east of Aquileia. See
Cluver. Italia Antiqua, tom. i. p. 189, &c.]

[Footnote 35: Herodian, l. viii. p. 272. The Celtic deity was
supposed to be Apollo, and received under that name the thanks of
the senate. A temple was likewise built to Venus the Bald, in
honor of the women of Aquileia, who had given up their hair to
make ropes for the military engines.]
The emperor Maximus, who had advanced as far as Ravenna, to
secure that important place, and to hasten the military
preparations, beheld the event of the war in the more faithful
mirror of reason and policy. He was too sensible, that a single
town could not resist the persevering efforts of a great army;
and he dreaded, lest the enemy, tired with the obstinate
resistance of Aquileia, should on a sudden relinquish the
fruitless siege, and march directly towards Rome. The fate of
the empire and the cause of freedom must then be committed to the
chance of a battle; and what arms could he oppose to the veteran
legions of the Rhine and Danube? Some troops newly levied among
the generous but enervated youth of Italy; and a body of German
auxiliaries, on whose firmness, in the hour of trial, it was
dangerous to depend. In the midst of these just alarms, the
stroke of domestic conspiracy punished the crimes of Maximin, and
delivered Rome and the senate from the calamities that would
surely have attended the victory of an enraged barbarian.

The people of Aquileia had scarcely experienced any of the
common miseries of a siege; their magazines were plentifully
supplied, and several fountains within the walls assured them of
an inexhaustible resource of fresh water. The soldiers of
Maximin were, on the contrary, exposed to the inclemency of the
season, the contagion of disease, and the horrors of famine. The
open country was ruined, the rivers filled with the slain, and
polluted with blood. A spirit of despair and disaffection began
to diffuse itself among the troops; and as they were cut off from
all intelligence, they easily believed that the whole empire had
embraced the cause of the senate, and that they were left as
devoted victims to perish under the impregnable walls of
Aquileia. The fierce temper of the tyrant was exasperated by
disappointments, which he imputed to the cowardice of his army;
and his wanton and ill-timed cruelty, instead of striking terror,
inspired hatred, and a just desire of revenge. A party of
Praetorian guards, who trembled for their wives and children in
the camp of Alba, near Rome, executed the sentence of the senate.

Maximin, abandoned by his guards, was slain in his tent, with his
son, (whom he had associated to the honors of the purple,)
Anulinus the praefect, and the principal ministers of his
tyranny. ^36 The sight of their heads, borne on the point of
spears, convinced the citizens of Aquileia that the siege was at
an end; the gates of the city were thrown open, a liberal market
was provided for the hungry troops of Maximin, and the whole army
joined in solemn protestations of fidelity to the senate and the
people of Rome, and to their lawful emperors Maximus and
Balbinus. Such was the deserved fate of a brutal savage,
destitute, as he has generally been represented, of every
sentiment that distinguishes a civilized, or even a human being.
The body was suited to the soul. The stature of Maximin exceeded
the measure of eight feet, and circumstances almost incredible
are related of his matchless strength and appetite. ^37 Had he
lived in a less enlightened age, tradition and poetry might well
have described him as one of those monstrous giants, whose
supernatural power was constantly exerted for the destruction of
mankind.

[Footnote 36: Herodian, l. viii. p. 279. Hist. August. p. 146.
The duration of Maximin's reign has not been defined with much
accuracy, except by Eutropius, who allows him three years and a
few days, (l. ix. 1;) we may depend on the integrity of the text,
as the Latin original is checked by the Greek version of
Paeanius.]

[Footnote 37: Eight Roman feet and one third, which are equal to
above eight English feet, as the two measures are to each other
in the proportion of 967 to 1000. See Graves's discourse on the
Roman foot. We are told that Maximin could drink in a day an
amphora (or about seven gallons) of wine, and eat thirty or forty
pounds of meat. He could move a loaded wagon, break a horse's
leg with his fist, crumble stones in his hand, and tear up small
trees by the roots. See his life in the Augustan History.]
It is easier to conceive than to describe the universal joy
of the Roman world on the fall of the tyrant, the news of which
is said to have been carried in four days from Aquileia to Rome.
The return of Maximus was a triumphal procession; his colleague
and young Gordian went out to meet him, and the three princes
made their entry into the capital, attended by the ambassadors of
almost all the cities of Italy, saluted with the splendid
offerings of gratitude and superstition, and received with the
unfeigned acclamations of the senate and people, who persuaded
themselves that a golden age would succeed to an age of iron. ^38
The conduct of the two emperors corresponded with these
expectations. They administered justice in person; and the rigor
of the one was tempered by the other's clemency. The oppressive
taxes with which Maximin had loaded the rights of inheritance and
succession, were repealed, or at least moderated. Discipline was
revived, and with the advice of the senate many wise laws were
enacted by their imperial ministers, who endeavored to restore a
civil constitution on the ruins of military tyranny. "What
reward may we expect for delivering Rome from a monster?" was the
question asked by Maximus, in a moment of freedom and confidence.

Balbinus answered it without hesitation - "The love of the
senate, of the people, and of all mankind." "Alas!" replied his
more penetrating colleague - "alas! I dread the hatred of the
soldiers, and the fatal effects of their resentment." ^39 His
apprehensions were but too well justified by the event.

[Footnote 38: See the congratulatory letter of Claudius Julianus,
the consul to the two emperors, in the Augustan History.]

[Footnote 39: Hist. August. p. 171.]

Whilst Maximus was preparing to defend Italy against the
common foe, Balbinus, who remained at Rome, had been engaged in
scenes of blood and intestine discord. Distrust and jealousy
reigned in the senate; and even in the temples where they
assembled, every senator carried either open or concealed arms.
In the midst of their deliberations, two veterans of the guards,
actuated either by curiosity or a sinister motive, audaciously
thrust themselves into the house, and advanced by degrees beyond
the altar of Victory. Gallicanus, a consular, and Maecenas, a
Praetorian senator, viewed with indignation their insolent
intrusion: drawing their daggers, they laid the spies (for such
they deemed them) dead at the foot of the altar, and then,
advancing to the door of the senate, imprudently exhorted the
multitude to massacre the Praetorians, as the secret adherents of
the tyrant. Those who escaped the first fury of the tumult took
refuge in the camp, which they defended with superior advantage
against the reiterated attacks of the people, assisted by the
numerous bands of gladiators, the property of opulent nobles.
The civil war lasted many days, with infinite loss and confusion
on both sides. When the pipes were broken that supplied the camp
with water, the Praetorians were reduced to intolerable distress;
but in their turn they made desperate sallies into the city, set
fire to a great number of houses, and filled the streets with the
blood of the inhabitants. The emperor Balbinus attempted, by
ineffectual edicts and precarious truces, to reconcile the
factions at Rome. But their animosity, though smothered for a
while, burnt with redoubled violence. The soldiers, detesting
the senate and the people, despised the weakness of a prince, who
wanted either the spirit or the power to command the obedience of
his subjects. ^40

[Footnote 40: Herodian, l. viii. p. 258.]

After the tyrant's death, his formidable army had
acknowledged, from necessity rather than from choice, the
authority of Maximus, who transported himself without delay to
the camp before Aquileia. As soon as he had received their oath
of fidelity, he addressed them in terms full of mildness and
moderation; lamented, rather than arraigned the wild disorders of
the times, and assured the soldiers, that of all their past
conduct the senate would remember only their generous desertion
of the tyrant, and their voluntary return to their duty. Maximus
enforced his exhortations by a liberal donative, purified the
camp by a solemn sacrifice of expiation, and then dismissed the
legions to their several provinces, impressed, as he hoped, with
a lively sense of gratitude and obedience. ^41 But nothing could
reconcile the haughty spirit of the Praetorians. They attended
the emperors on the memorable day of their public entry into
Rome; but amidst the general acclamations, the sullen, dejected
countenance of the guards sufficiently declared that they
considered themselves as the object, rather than the partners, of
the triumph. When the whole body was united in their camp, those
who had served under Maximin, and those who had remained at Rome,
insensibly communicated to each other their complaints and
apprehensions. The emperors chosen by the army had perished with
ignominy; those elected by the senate were seated on the throne.
^42 The long discord between the civil and military powers was
decided by a war, in which the former had obtained a complete
victory. The soldiers must now learn a new doctrine of
submission to the senate; and whatever clemency was affected by
that politic assembly, they dreaded a slow revenge, colored by
the name of discipline, and justified by fair pretences of the
public good. But their fate was still in their own hands; and if
they had courage to despise the vain terrors of an impotent
republic, it was easy to convince the world, that those who were
masters of the arms, were masters of the authority, of the state.

[Footnote 41: Herodian, l. viii. p. 213.]

[Footnote 42: The observation had been made imprudently enough in
the acclamations of the senate, and with regard to the soldiers
it carried the appearance of a wanton insult. Hist. August. p.
170.]

When the senate elected two princes, it is probable that,
besides the declared reason of providing for the various
emergencies of peace and war, they were actuated by the secret
desire of weakening by division the despotism of the supreme
magistrate. Their policy was effectual, but it proved fatal both
to their emperors and to themselves. The jealousy of power was
soon exasperated by the difference of character. Maximus
despised Balbinus as a luxurious noble, and was in his turn
disdained by his colleague as an obscure soldier. Their silent
discord was understood rather than seen; ^43 but the mutual
consciousness prevented them from uniting in any vigorous
measures of defence against their common enemies of the
Praetorian camp. The whole city was employed in the Capitoline
games, and the emperors were left almost alone in the palace. On
a sudden, they were alarmed by the approach of a troop of
desperate assassins. Ignorant of each other's situation or
designs, (for they already occupied very distant apartments,)
afraid to give or to receive assistance, they wasted the
important moments in idle debates and fruitless recriminations.
The arrival of the guards put an end to the vain strife. They
seized on these emperors of the senate, for such they called them
with malicious contempt, stripped them of their garments, and
dragged them in insolent triumph through the streets of Rome,
with the design of inflicting a slow and cruel death on these
unfortunate princes. The fear of a rescue from the faithful
Germans of the Imperial guards, shortened their tortures; and
their bodies, mangled with a thousand wounds, were left exposed
to the insults or to the pity of the populace. ^44

[Footnote 43: Discordiae tacitae, et quae intelligerentur potius
quam viderentur. Hist. August. p. 170. This well-chosen
expression is probably stolen from some better writer.]

[Footnote 44: Herodian, l. viii. p. 287, 288.]

In the space of a few months, six princes had been cut off
by the sword. Gordian, who had already received the title of
Caesar, was the only person that occurred to the soldiers as
proper to fill the vacant throne. ^45 They carried him to the
camp, and unanimously saluted him Augustus and Emperor. His name
was dear to the senate and people; his tender age promised a long
impunity of military license; and the submission of Rome and the
provinces to the choice of the Praetorian guards, saved the
republic, at the expense indeed of its freedom and dignity, from
the horrors of a new civil war in the heart of the capital. ^46

[Footnote 45: Quia non alius erat in praesenti, is the expression
of the Augustan History.]

[Footnote 46: Quintus Curtius (l. x. c. 9,) pays an elegant
compliment to the emperor of the day, for having, by his happy
accession, extinguished so many firebrands, sheathed so many
swords, and put an end to the evils of a divided government.
After weighing with attention every word of the passage, I am of
opinion, that it suits better with the elevation of Gordian, than
with any other period of the Roman history. In that case, it may
serve to decide the age of Quintus Curtius. Those who place him
under the first Caesars, argue from the purity of his style but
are embarrassed by the silence of Quintilian, in his accurate
list of Roman historians.

Note: This conjecture of Gibbon is without foundation. Many
passages in the work of Quintus Curtius clearly place him at an
earlier period. Thus, in speaking of the Parthians, he says,
Hinc in Parthicum perventum est, tunc ignobilem gentem: nunc
caput omnium qui post Euphratem et Tigrim amnes siti Rubro mari
terminantur. The Parthian empire had this extent only in the
first age of the vulgar aera: to that age, therefore, must be
assigned the date of Quintus Curtius. Although the critics (says
M. de Sainte Croix) have multiplied conjectures on this subject,
most of them have ended by adopting the opinion which places
Quintus Curtius under the reign of Claudius. See Just. Lips. ad
Ann. Tac. ii. 20. Michel le Tellier Praef. in Curt. Tillemont
Hist. des Emp. i. p. 251. Du Bos Reflections sur la Poesie, 2d
Partie. Tiraboschi Storia della, Lett. Ital. ii. 149. Examen.
crit. des Historiens d'Alexandre, 2d ed. p. 104, 849, 850. - G.

This interminable question seems as much perplexed as ever.
The first argument of M. Guizot is a strong one, except that
Parthian is often used by later writers for Persian. Cunzius, in
his preface to an edition published at Helmstadt, (1802,)
maintains the opinion of Bagnolo, which assigns Q. Curtius to the
time of Constantine the Great. Schmieder, in his edit. Gotting.
1803, sums up in this sentence, aetatem Curtii ignorari pala
mest. - M.]
As the third Gordian was only nineteen years of age at the
time of his death, the history of his life, were it known to us
with greater accuracy than it really is, would contain little
more than the account of his education, and the conduct of the
ministers, who by turns abused or guided the simplicity of his
unexperienced youth. Immediately after his accession, he fell
into the hands of his mother's eunuchs, that pernicious vermin of
the East, who, since the days of Elagabalus, had infested the
Roman palace. By the artful conspiracy of these wretches, an
impenetrable veil was drawn between an innocent prince and his
oppressed subjects, the virtuous disposition of Gordian was
deceived, and the honors of the empire sold without his
knowledge, though in a very public manner, to the most worthless
of mankind. We are ignorant by what fortunate accident the
emperor escaped from this ignominious slavery, and devolved his
confidence on a minister, whose wise counsels had no object
except the glory of his sovereign and the happiness of the
people. It should seem that love and learning introduced
Misitheus to the favor of Gordian. The young prince married the
daughter of his master of rhetoric, and promoted his
father-in-law to the first offices of the empire. Two admirable
letters that passed between them are still extant. The minister,
with the conscious dignity of virtue, congratulates Gordian that
he is delivered from the tyranny of the eunuchs, ^47 and still
more that he is sensible of his deliverance. The emperor
acknowledges, with an amiable confusion, the errors of his past
conduct; and laments, with singular propriety, the misfortune of
a monarch, from whom a venal tribe of courtiers perpetually labor
to conceal the truth. ^48

[Footnote 47: Hist. August. p. 161. From some hints in the two
letters, I should expect that the eunuchs were not expelled the
palace without some degree of gentle violence, and that the young
Gordian rather approved of, than consented to, their disgrace.]

[Footnote 48: Duxit uxorem filiam Misithei, quem causa
eloquentiae dignum parentela sua putavit; et praefectum statim
fecit; post quod, non puerile jam et contemptibile videbatur
imperium.]

The life of Misitheus had been spent in the profession of
letters, not of arms; yet such was the versatile genius of that
great man, that, when he was appointed Praetorian Praefect, he
discharged the military duties of his place with vigor and
ability. The Persians had invaded Mesopotamia, and threatened
Antioch. By the persuasion of his father-in-law, the young
emperor quitted the luxury of Rome, opened, for the last time
recorded in history, the temple of Janus, and marched in person
into the East. On his approach, with a great army, the Persians
withdrew their garrisons from the cities which they had already
taken, and retired from the Euphrates to the Tigris. Gordian
enjoyed the pleasure of announcing to the senate the first
success of his arms, which he ascribed, with a becoming modesty
and gratitude, to the wisdom of his father and Praefect. During
the whole expedition, Misitheus watched over the safety and
discipline of the army; whilst he prevented their dangerous
murmurs by maintaining a regular plenty in the camp, and by
establishing ample magazines of vinegar, bacon, straw, barley,
and wheat in all the cities of the frontier. ^49 But the
prosperity of Gordian expired with Misitheus, who died of a flux,
not with out very strong suspicions of poison. Philip, his
successor in the praefecture, was an Arab by birth, and
consequently, in the earlier part of his life, a robber by
profession. His rise from so obscure a station to the first
dignities of the empire, seems to prove that he was a bold and
able leader. But his boldness prompted him to aspire to the
throne, and his abilities were employed to supplant, not to
serve, his indulgent master. The minds of the soldiers were
irritated by an artificial scarcity, created by his contrivance
in the camp; and the distress of the army was attributed to the
youth and incapacity of the prince. It is not in our power to
trace the successive steps of the secret conspiracy and open
sedition, which were at length fatal to Gordian. A sepulchral
monument was erected to his memory on the spot ^50 where he was
killed, near the conflux of the Euphrates with the little river
Aboras. ^51 The fortunate Philip, raised to the empire by the
votes of the soldiers, found a ready obedience from the senate
and the provinces. ^52
[Footnote 49: Hist. August. p. 162. Aurelius Victor. Porphyrius
in Vit Plotin. ap. Fabricium, Biblioth. Graec. l. iv. c. 36.
The philosopher Plotinus accompanied the army, prompted by the
love of knowledge, and by the hope of penetrating as far as
India.]

[Footnote 50: About twenty miles from the little town of
Circesium, on the frontier of the two empires.

Note: Now Kerkesia; placed in the angle formed by the
juncture of the Chaboras, or al Khabour, with the Euphrates.
This situation appeared advantageous to Diocletian, that he
raised fortifications to make it the but wark of the empire on
the side of Mesopotamia. D'Anville. Geog. Anc. ii. 196. - G. It
is the Carchemish of the Old Testament, 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. ler.
xlvi. 2. - M.]

[Footnote 51: The inscription (which contained a very singular
pun) was erased by the order of Licinius, who claimed some degree
of relationship to Philip, (Hist. August. p. 166;) but the
tumulus, or mound of earth which formed the sepulchre, still
subsisted in the time of Julian. See Ammian Marcellin. xxiii.
5.]

[Footnote 52: Aurelius Victor. Eutrop. ix. 2. Orosius, vii. 20.

Ammianus Marcellinus, xxiii. 5. Zosimus, l. i. p. 19. Philip,
who was a native of Bostra, was about forty years of age.

Note: Now Bosra. It was once the metropolis of a province
named Arabia, and the chief city of Auranitis, of which the name
is preserved in Beled Hauran, the limits of which meet the
desert. D'Anville. Geog. Anc. ii. 188. According to Victor, (in
Caesar.,) Philip was a native of Tracbonitis another province of
Arabia. - G.]

We cannot forbear transcribing the ingenious, though
somewhat fanciful description, which a celebrated writer of our
own times has traced of the military government of the Roman
empire. "What in that age was called the Roman empire, was only
an irregular republic, not unlike the aristocracy ^53 of Algiers,
^54 where the militia, possessed of the sovereignty, creates and
deposes a magistrate, who is styled a Dey. Perhaps, indeed, it
may be laid down as a general rule, that a military government
is, in some respects, more republican than monarchical. Nor can
it be said that the soldiers only partook of the government by
their disobedience and rebellions. The speeches made to them by
the emperors, were they not at length of the same nature as those
formerly pronounced to the people by the consuls and the
tribunes? And although the armies had no regular place or forms
of assembly; though their debates were short, their action
sudden, and their resolves seldom the result of cool reflection,
did they not dispose, with absolute sway, of the public fortune?
What was the emperor, except the minister of a violent
government, elected for the private benefit of the soldiers?

[Footnote 53: Can the epithet of Aristocracy be applied, with any
propriety, to the government of Algiers? Every military
government floats between two extremes of absolute monarchy and
wild democracy.]

[Footnote 54: The military republic of the Mamelukes in Egypt
would have afforded M. de Montesquieu (see Considerations sur la
Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c. 16) a juster and more
noble parallel.]
"When the army had elected Philip, who was Praetorian
praefect to the third Gordian, the latter demanded that he might
remain sole emperor; he was unable to obtain it. He requested
that the power might be equally divided between them; the army
would not listen to his speech. He consented to be degraded to
the rank of Caesar; the favor was refused him. He desired, at
least, he might be appointed Praetorian praefect; his prayer was
rejected. Finally, he pleaded for his life. The army, in these
several judgments, exercised the supreme magistracy." According
to the historian, whose doubtful narrative the President De
Montesquieu has adopted, Philip, who, during the whole
transaction, had preserved a sullen silence, was inclined to
spare the innocent life of his benefactor; till, recollecting
that his innocence might excite a dangerous compassion in the
Roman world, he commanded, without regard to his suppliant cries,
that he should be seized, stripped, and led away to instant
death. After a moment's pause, the inhuman sentence was
executed. ^55

[Footnote 55: The Augustan History (p. 163, 164) cannot, in this
instance, be reconciled with itself or with probability. How
could Philip condemn his predecessor, and yet consecrate his
memory? How could he order his public execution, and yet, in his
letters to the senate, exculpate himself from the guilt of his
death? Philip, though an ambitious usurper, was by no means a
mad tyrant. Some chronological difficulties have likewise been
discovered by the nice eyes of Tillemont and Muratori, in this
supposed association of Philip to the empire.

Note: Wenck endeavors to reconcile these discrepancies. He
supposes that Gordian was led away, and died a natural death in
prison. This is directly contrary to the statement of
Capitolinus and of Zosimus, whom he adduces in support of his
theory. He is more successful in his precedents of usurpers
deifying the victims of their ambition. Sit divus, dummodo non
sit vivus. - M.]

Chapter VII: Tyranny Of Maximin, Rebellion, Civil Wars, Death Of
Maximin.

Part III.

On his return from the East to Rome, Philip, desirous of
obliterating the memory of his crimes, and of captivating the
affections of the people, solemnized the secular games with
infinite pomp and magnificence. Since their institution or
revival by Augustus, ^56 they had been celebrated by Claudius, by
Domitian, and by Severus, and were now renewed the fifth time, on
the accomplishment of the full period of a thousand years from
the foundation of Rome. Every circumstance of the secular games
was skillfully adapted to inspire the superstitious mind with
deep and solemn reverence. The long interval between them ^57
exceeded the term of human life; and as none of the spectators
had already seen them, none could flatter themselves with the
expectation of beholding them a second time. The mystic
sacrifices were performed, during three nights, on the banks of
the Tyber; and the Campus Martius resounded with music and
dances, and was illuminated with innumerable lamps and torches.
Slaves and strangers were excluded from any participation in
these national ceremonies. A chorus of twenty-seven youths, and
as many virgins, of noble families, and whose parents were both
alive, implored the propitious gods in favor of the present, and
for the hope of the rising generation; requesting, in religious
hymns, that according to the faith of their ancient oracles, they
would still maintain the virtue, the felicity, and the empire of
the Roman people. ^58 The magnificence of Philip's shows and
entertainments dazzled the eyes of the multitude. The devout
were employed in the rites of superstition, whilst the reflecting
few revolved in their anxious minds the past history and the
future fate of the empire.

[Footnote 56: The account of the last supposed celebration,
though in an enlightened period of history, was so very doubtful
and obscure, that the alternative seems not doubtful. When the
popish jubilees, the copy of the secular games, were invented by
Boniface VII., the crafty pope pretended that he only revived an
ancient institution. See M. le Chais, Lettres sur les Jubiles.]

[Footnote 57: Either of a hundred or a hundred and ten years.
Varro and Livy adopted the former opinion, but the infallible
authority of the Sybil consecrated the latter, (Censorinus de Die
Natal. c. 17.) The emperors Claudius and Philip, however, did not
treat the oracle with implicit respect.]

[Footnote 58: The idea of the secular games is best understood
from the poem of Horace, and the description of Zosimus, 1. l.
ii. p. 167, &c.]
Since Romulus, with a small band of shepherds and outlaws,
fortified himself on the hills near the Tyber, ten centuries had
already elapsed. ^59 During the four first ages, the Romans, in
the laborious school of poverty, had acquired the virtues of war
and government: by the vigorous exertion of those virtues, and by
the assistance of fortune, they had obtained, in the course of
the three succeeding centuries, an absolute empire over many
countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The last three hundred
years had been consumed in apparent prosperity and internal
decline. The nation of soldiers, magistrates, and legislators,
who composed the thirty-five tribes of the Roman people, were
dissolved into the common mass of mankind, and confounded with
the millions of servile provincials, who had received the name,
without adopting the spirit, of Romans. A mercenary army, levied
among the subjects and barbarians of the frontier, was the only
order of men who preserved and abused their independence. By
their tumultuary election, a Syrian, a Goth, or an Arab, was
exalted to the throne of Rome, and invested with despotic power
over the conquests and over the country of the Scipios.
[Footnote 59: The received calculation of Varro assigns to the
foundation of Rome an aera that corresponds with the 754th year
before Christ. But so little is the chronology of Rome to be
depended on, in the more early ages, that Sir Isaac Newton has
brought the same event as low as the year 627 (Compare Niebuhr
vol. i. p. 271. - M.)]

The limits of the Roman empire still extended from the
Western Ocean to the Tigris, and from Mount Atlas to the Rhine
and the Danube. To the undiscerning eye of the vulgar, Philip
appeared a monarch no less powerful than Hadrian or Augustus had
formerly been. The form was still the same, but the animating
health and vigor were fled. The industry of the people was
discouraged and exhausted by a long series of oppression. The
discipline of the legions, which alone, after the extinction of
every other virtue, had propped the greatness of the state, was
corrupted by the ambition, or relaxed by the weakness, of the
emperors. The strength of the frontiers, which had always
consisted in arms rather than in fortifications, was insensibly
undermined; and the fairest provinces were left exposed to the
rapaciousness or ambition of the barbarians, who soon discovered
the decline of the Roman empire.

Chapter VIII: State Of Persion And Restoration Of The Monarchy.

Part I.

Of The State Of Persia After The Restoration Of The Monarchy By
Artaxerxes.

Whenever Tacitus indulges himself in those beautiful
episodes, in which he relates some domestic transaction of the
Germans or of the Parthians, his principal object is to relieve
the attention of the reader from a uniform scene of vice and
misery. From the reign of Augustus to the time of Alexander
Severus, the enemies of Rome were in her bosom - the tyrants and
the soldiers; and her prosperity had a very distant and feeble
interest in the revolutions that might happen beyond the Rhine
and the Euphrates. But when the military order had levelled, in
wild anarchy, the power of the prince, the laws of the senate,
and even the discipline of the camp, the barbarians of the North
and of the East, who had long hovered on the frontier, boldly
attacked the provinces of a declining monarchy. Their vexatious
inroads were changed into formidable irruptions, and, after a
long vicissitude of mutual calamities, many tribes of the
victorious invaders established themselves in the provinces of
the Roman Empire. To obtain a clearer knowledge of these great
events, we shall endeavor to form a previous idea of the
character, forces, and designs of those nations who avenged the
cause of Hannibal and Mithridates.

In the more early ages of the world, whilst the forest that
covered Europe afforded a retreat to a few wandering savages, the
inhabitants of Asia were already collected into populous cities,
and reduced under extensive empires, the seat of the arts, of
luxury, and of despotism. The Assyrians reigned over the East,
^1 till the sceptre of Ninus and Semiramis dropped from the hands
of their enervated successors. The Medes and the Babylonians
divided their power, and were themselves swallowed up in the
monarchy of the Persians, whose arms could not be confined within
the narrow limits of Asia. Followed, as it is said, by two
millions of men, Xerxes, the descendant of Cyrus, invaded Greece.

Thirty thousand soldiers, under the command of Alexander, the son
of Philip, who was intrusted by the Greeks with their glory and
revenge, were sufficient to subdue Persia. The princes of the
house of Seleucus usurped and lost the Macedonian command over
the East. About the same time, that, by an ignominious treaty,
they resigned to the Romans the country on this side Mount Tarus,
they were driven by the Parthians, ^* an obscure horde of
Scythian origin, from all the provinces of Upper Asia. The
formidable power of the Parthians, which spread from India to the
frontiers of Syria, was in its turn subverted by Ardshir, or
Artaxerxes; the founder of a new dynasty, which, under the name
of Sassanides, governed Persia till the invasion of the Arabs.
This great revolution, whose fatal influence was soon experienced
by the Romans, happened in the fourth year of Alexander Severus,
two hundred and twenty-six years after the Christian era. ^2 ^!
[Footnote 1: An ancient chronologist, quoted by Valleius
Paterculus, (l. i. c. 6,) observes, that the Assyrians, the
Medes, the Persians, and the Macedonians, reigned over Asia one
thousand nine hundred and ninety-five years, from the accession
of Ninus to the defeat of Antiochus by the Romans. As the latter
of these great events happened 289 years before Christ, the
former may be placed 2184 years before the same aera. The
Astronomical Observations, found at Babylon, by Alexander, went
fifty years higher.]
[Footnote *: The Parthians were a tribe of the Indo-Germanic
branch which dwelt on the south-east of the Caspian, and belonged
to the same race as the Getae, the Massagetae, and other nations,
confounded by the ancients under the vague denomination of
Scythians. Klaproth, Tableaux Hist. d l'Asie, p. 40. Strabo (p.
747) calls the Parthians Carduchi, i.e., the inhabitants of
Curdistan. - M.]

[Footnote 2: In the five hundred and thirty-eighth year of the
aera of Seleucus. See Agathias, l. ii. p. 63. This great event
(such is the carelessness of the Orientals) is placed by
Eutychius as high as the tenth year of Commodus, and by Moses of
Chorene as low as the reign of Philip. Ammianus Marcellinus has
so servilely copied (xxiii. 6) his ancient materials, which are
indeed very good, that he describes the family of the Arsacides
as still seated on the Persian throne in the middle of the fourth
century.]

[Footnote !: The Persian History, if the poetry of the Shah
Nameh, the Book of Kings, may deserve that name mentions four
dynasties from the earliest ages to the invasion of the Saracens.

The Shah Nameh was composed with the view of perpetuating the
remains of the original Persian records or traditions which had
survived the Saracenic invasion. The task was undertaken by the
poet Dukiki, and afterwards, under the patronage of Mahmood of
Ghazni, completed by Ferdusi. The first of these dynasties is
that of Kaiomors, as Sir W. Jones observes, the dark and fabulous
period; the second, that of the Kaianian, the heroic and
poetical, in which the earned have discovered some curious, and
imagined some fanciful, analogies with the Jewish, the Greek, and
the Roman accounts of the eastern world. See, on the Shah Nameh,
Translation by Goerres, with Von Hammer's Review, Vienna Jahrbuch
von Lit. 17, 75, 77. Malcolm's Persia, 8vo. ed. i. 503. Macan's
Preface to his Critical Edition of the Shah Nameh. On the early
Persian History, a very sensible abstract of various opinions in
Malcolm's Hist. of Persian. - M.]

Artaxerxes had served with great reputation in the armies of
Artaban, the last king of the Parthians, and it appears that he
was driven into exile and rebellion by royal ingratitude, the
customary reward for superior merit. His birth was obscure, and
the obscurity equally gave room to the aspersions of his enemies,
and the flattery of his adherents. If we credit the scandal of
the former, Artaxerxes sprang from the illegitimate commerce of a
tanner's wife with a common soldier. ^3 The latter represent him
as descended from a branch of the ancient kings of Persian,
though time and misfortune had gradually reduced his ancestors to
the humble station of private citizens. ^4 As the lineal heir of
the monarchy, he asserted his right to the throne, and challenged
the noble task of delivering the Persians from the oppression
under which they groaned above five centuries since the death of
Darius. The Parthians were defeated in three great battles. ^*
In the last of these their king Artaban was slain, and the spirit
of the nation was forever broken. ^5 The authority of Artaxerxes
was solemnly acknowledged in a great assembly held at Balch in
Khorasan. ^! Two younger branches of the royal house of Arsaces
were confounded among the prostrate satraps. A third, more
mindful of ancient grandeur than of present necessity, attempted
to retire, with a numerous train of vessels, towards their
kinsman, the king of Armenia; but this little army of deserters
was intercepted, and cut off, by the vigilance of the conqueror,
^6 who boldly assumed the double diadem, and the title of King of
Kings, which had been enjoyed by his predecessor. But these
pompous titles, instead of gratifying the vanity of the Persian,
served only to admonish him of his duty, and to inflame in his
soul and should the ambition of restoring in their full splendor,
the religion and empire of Cyrus.

[Footnote 3: The tanner's name was Babec; the soldier's, Sassan:
from the former Artaxerxes obtained the surname of Babegan, from
the latter all his descendants have been styled Sassanides.]

[Footnote 4: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, Ardshir.]
[Footnote *: In the plain of Hoormuz, the son of Babek was hailed
in the field with the proud title of Shahan Shah, king of kings -
a name ever since assumed by the sovereigns of Persia. Malcolm,
i. 71. - M.]
[Footnote 5: Dion Cassius, l. lxxx. Herodian, l. vi. p. 207.
Abulpharagins Dynast. p. 80.]

[Footnote !: See the Persian account of the rise of Ardeschir
Babegan in Malcolm l 69. - M.]

[Footnote 6: See Moses Chorenensis, l. ii. c. 65 - 71.]

I. During the long servitude of Persia under the Macedonian
and the Parthian yoke, the nations of Europe and Asia had
mutually adopted and corrupted each other's superstitions. The
Arsacides, indeed, practised the worship of the Magi; but they
disgraced and polluted it with a various mixture of foreign
idolatry. ^* The memory of Zoroaster, the ancient prophet and
philosopher of the Persians, ^7 was still revered in the East;
but the obsolete and mysterious language, in which the Zendavesta
was composed, ^8 opened a field of dispute to seventy sects, who
variously explained the fundamental doctrines of their religion,
and were all indifferently devided by a crowd of infidels, who
rejected the divine mission and miracles of the prophet. To
suppress the idolaters, reunite the schismatics, and confute the
unbelievers, by the infallible decision of a general council, the
pious Artaxerxes summoned the Magi from all parts of his
dominions. These priests, who had so long sighed in contempt and
obscurity obeyed the welcome summons; and, on the appointed day,
appeared, to the number of about eighty thousand. But as the
debates of so tumultuous an assembly could not have been directed
by the authority of reason, or influenced by the art of policy,
the Persian synod was reduced, by successive operations, to forty
thousand, to four thousand, to four hundred, to forty, and at
last to seven Magi, the most respected for their learning and
piety. One of these, Erdaviraph, a young but holy prelate,
received from the hands of his brethren three cups of
soporiferous wine. He drank them off, and instantly fell into a
long and profound sleep. As soon as he waked, he related to the
king and to the believing multitude, his journey to heaven, and
his intimate conferences with the Deity. Every doubt was
silenced by this supernatural evidence; and the articles of the
faith of Zoroaster were fixed with equal authority and precision.
^9 A short delineation of that celebrated system will be found
useful, not only to display the character of the Persian nation,
but to illustrate many of their most important transactions, both
in peace and war, with the Roman empire. ^10

[Footnote *: Silvestre de Sacy (Antiquites de la Perse) had
proved the neglect of the Zoroastrian religion under the Parthian
kings. - M.]
[Footnote 7: Hyde and Prideaux, working up the Persian legends
and their own conjectures into a very agreeable story, represent
Zoroaster as a contemporary of Darius Hystaspes. But it is
sufficient to observe, that the Greek writers, who lived almost
in the age of Darius, agree in placing the aera of Zoroaster many
hundred, or even thousand, years before their own time. The
judicious criticisms of Mr. Moyle perceived, and maintained
against his uncle, Dr. Prideaux, the antiquity of the Persian
prophet. See his work, vol. ii.

Note: There are three leading theories concerning the age of
Zoroaster: 1. That which assigns him to an age of great and
almost indefinite antiquity - it is that of Moyle, adopted by
Gibbon, Volney, Recherches sur l'Histoire, ii. 2. Rhode, also,
(die Heilige Sage, &c.,) in a very ingenious and ably-developed
theory, throws the Bactrian prophet far back into antiquity 2.
Foucher, (Mem. de l'Acad. xxvii. 253,) Tychsen, (in Com. Soc.
Gott. ii. 112), Heeren, (ldeen. i. 459,) and recently Holty,
identify the Gushtasp of the Persian mythological history with
Cyaxares the First, the king of the Medes, and consider the
religion to be Median in its origin. M. Guizot considers this
opinion most probable, note in loc. 3. Hyde, Prideaux, Anquetil
du Perron, Kleuker, Herder, Goerres, (Mythen-Geschichte,) Von
Hammer. (Wien. Jahrbuch, vol. ix.,) Malcolm, (i. 528,) De
Guigniaut, (Relig. de l'Antiq. 2d part, vol. iii.,) Klaproth,
(Tableaux de l'Asie, p. 21,) make Gushtasp Darius Hystaspes, and
Zoroaster his contemporary. The silence of Herodotus appears the
great objection to this theory. Some writers, as M. Foucher
(resting, as M. Guizot observes, on the doubtful authority of
Pliny,) make more than one Zoroaster, and so attempt to reconcile
the conflicting theories. - M.]
[Footnote 8: That ancient idiom was called the Zend. The
language of the commentary, the Pehlvi, though much more modern,
has ceased many ages ago to be a living tongue. This fact alone
(if it is allowed as authentic) sufficiently warrants the
antiquity of those writings which M d'Anquetil has brought into
Europe, and translated into French.

Note: Zend signifies life, living. The word means, either
the collection of the canonical books of the followers of
Zoroaster, or the language itself in which they are written.
They are the books that contain the word of life whether the
language was originally called Zend, or whether it was so called
from the contents of the books. Avesta means word, oracle,
revelation: this term is not the title of a particular work, but
of the collection of the books of Zoroaster, as the revelation of
Ormuzd. This collection is sometimes called Zendavesta,
sometimes briefly Zend.

The Zend was the ancient language of Media, as is proved by
its affinity with the dialects of Armenia and Georgia; it was
already a dead language under the Arsacides in the country which
was the scene of the events recorded in the Zendavesta. Some
critics, among others Richardson and Sir W. Jones, have called in
question the antiquity of these books. The former pretended that
Zend had never been a written or spoken language, but had been
invented in the later times by the Magi, for the purposes of
their art; but Kleuker, in the dissertations which he added to
those of Anquetil and the Abbe Foucher, has proved that the Zend
was a living and spoken language. - G. Sir W. Jones appears to
have abandoned his doubts, on discovering the affinity between
the Zend and the Sanskrit. Since the time of Kleuker, this
question has been investigated by many learned scholars. Sir W.
Jones, Leyden, (Asiat. Research. x. 283,) and Mr. Erskine,
(Bombay Trans. ii. 299,) consider it a derivative from the
Sanskrit. The antiquity of the Zendavesta has likewise been
asserted by Rask, the great Danish linguist, who, according to
Malcolm, brought back from the East fresh transcripts and
additions to those published by Anquetil. According to Rask, the
Zend and Sanskrit are sister dialects; the one the parent of the
Persian, the other of the Indian family of languages. - G. and M.

But the subject is more satisfactorily illustrated in Bopp's
comparative Grammar of the Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin,
Lithuanian, Gothic, and German languages. Berlin. 1833-5.
According to Bopp, the Zend is, in some respects, of a more
remarkable structure than the Sanskrit. Parts of the Zendavesta
have been published in the original, by M. Bournouf, at Paris,
and M. Ol. shausen, in Hamburg. - M.

The Pehlvi was the language of the countries bordering on
Assyria, and probably of Assyria itself. Pehlvi signifies valor,
heroism; the Pehlvi, therefore, was the language of the ancient
heroes and kings of Persia, the valiant. (Mr. Erskine prefers
the derivation from Pehla, a border. - M.) It contains a number
of Aramaic roots. Anquetil considered it formed from the Zend.
Kleuker does not adopt this opinion. The Pehlvi, he says, is
much more flowing, and less overcharged with vowels, than the
Zend. The books of Zoroaster, first written in Zend, were
afterwards translated into Pehlvi and Parsi. The Pehlvi had
fallen into disuse under the dynasty of the Sassanides, but the
learned still wrote it. The Parsi, the dialect of Pars or
Farristan, was then prevailing dialect. Kleuker, Anhang zum Zend
Avesta, 2, ii. part i. p. 158, part ii. 31. - G.

Mr. Erskine (Bombay Transactions) considers the existing
Zendavesta to have been compiled in the time of Ardeschir
Babegan. - M.]
[Footnote 9: Hyde de Religione veterum Pers. c. 21.]

[Footnote 10: I have principally drawn this account from the
Zendavesta of M. d'Anquetil, and the Sadder, subjoined to Dr.
Hyde's treatise. It must, however, be confessed, that the
studied obscurity of a prophet, the figurative style of the East,
and the deceitful medium of a French or Latin version may have
betrayed us into error and heresy, in this abridgment of Persian
theology.

Note: It is to be regretted that Gibbon followed the post-
Mahometan Sadder of Hyde. - M.]

The great and fundamental article of the system, was the
celebrated doctrine of the two principles; a bold and injudicious
attempt of Eastern philosophy to reconcile the existence of moral
and physical evil with the attributes of a beneficent Creator and
Governor of the world. The first and original Being, in whom, or
by whom, the universe exists, is denominated in the writings of
Zoroaster, Time without bounds; ^! but it must be confessed, that
this infinite substance seems rather a metaphysical, abstraction
of the mind, than a real object endowed with self-consciousness,
or possessed of moral perfections. From either the blind or the
intelligent operation of this infinite Time, which bears but too
near an affinity with the chaos of the Greeks, the two secondary
but active principles of the universe, were from all eternity
produced, Ormusd and Ahriman, each of them possessed of the
powers of creation, but each disposed, by his invariable nature,
to exercise them with different designs. ^* The principle of good
is eternally aborbed in light; the principle of evil eternally
buried in darkness. The wise benevolence of Ormusd formed man
capable of virtue, and abundantly provided his fair habitation
with the materials of happiness. By his vigilant providence, the
motion of the planets, the order of the seasons, and the
temperate mixture of the elements, are preserved. But the malice
of Ahriman has long since pierced Ormusd's egg; or, in other
words, has violated the harmony of his works. Since that fatal
eruption, the most minute articles of good and evil are
intimately intermingled and agitated together; the rankest
poisons spring up amidst the most salutary plants; deluges,
earthquakes, and conflagrations attest the conflict of Nature,
and the little world of man is perpetually shaken by vice and
misfortune. Whilst the rest of human kind are led away captives
in the chains of their infernal enemy, the faithful Persian alone
reserves his religious adoration for his friend and protector
Ormusd, and fights under his banner of light, in the full
confidence that he shall, in the last day, share the glory of his
triumph. At that decisive period, the enlightened wisdom of
goodness will render the power of Ormusd superior to the furious
malice of his rival. Ahriman and his followers, disarmed and
subdued, will sink into their native darkness; and virtue will
maintain the eternal peace and harmony of the universe. ^11 ^!!

[Footnote !: Zeruane Akerene, so translated by Anquetil and
Kleuker. There is a dissertation of Foucher on this subject, Mem.
de l'Acad. des Inscr. t. xxix. According to Bohlen (das alte
Indien) it is the Sanskrit Sarvan Akaranam, the Uncreated Whole;
or, according to Fred. Schlegel, Sarvan Akharyam the Uncreate
Indivisible. - M.]

[Footnote *: This is an error. Ahriman was not forced by his
invariable nature to do evil; the Zendavesta expressly recognizes
(see the Izeschne) that he was born good, that in his origin he
was light; envy rendered him evil; he became jealous of the power
and attributes of Ormuzd; then light was changed into darkness,
and Ahriman was precipitated into the abyss. See the Abridgment
of the Doctrine of the Ancient Persians, by Anquetil, c. ii
Section 2. - G.]

[Footnote 11: The modern Parsees (and in some degree the Sadder)
exalt Ormusd into the first and omnipotent cause, whilst they
degrade Ahriman into an inferior but rebellious spirit. Their
desire of pleasing the Mahometans may have contributed to refine
their theological systems.]

[Footnote !!: According to the Zendavesta, Ahriman will not be
annihilated or precipitated forever into darkness: at the
resurrection of the dead he will be entirely defeated by Ormuzd,
his power will be destroyed, his kingdom overthrown to its
foundations, he will himself be purified in torrents of melting
metal; he will change his heart and his will, become holy,
heavenly establish in his dominions the law and word of Ormuzd,
unite himself with him in everlasting friendship, and both will
sing hymns in honor of the Great Eternal. See Anquetil's
Abridgment. Kleuker, Anhang part iii. p 85, 36; and the
Izeschne, one of the books of the Zendavesta. According to the
Sadder Bun-Dehesch, a more modern work, Ahriman is to be
annihilated: but this is contrary to the text itself of the
Zendavesta, and to the idea its author gives of the kingdom of
Eternity, after the twelve thousand years assigned to the contest
between Good and Evil. - G.]

Chapter VIII: State Of Persion And Restoration Of The Monarchy.

Part II.

The theology of Zoroaster was darkly comprehended by
foreigners, and even by the far greater number of his disciples;
but the most careless observers were struck with the philosophic
simplicity of the Persian worship. "That people," said Herodotus,
^12 "rejects the use of temples, of altars, and of statues, and
smiles at the folly of those nations who imagine that the gods
are sprung from, or bear any affinity with, the human nature.
The tops of the highest mountains are the places chosen for
sacrifices. Hymns and prayers are the principal worship; the
Supreme God, who fills the wide circle of heaven, is the object
to whom they are addressed." Yet, at the same time, in the true
spirit of a polytheist, he accuseth them of adoring Earth, Water,
Fire, the Winds, and the Sun and Moon. But the Persians of every
age have denied the charge, and explained the equivocal conduct,
which might appear to give a color to it. The elements, and more
particularly Fire, Light, and the Sun, whom they called Mithra,
^! were the objects of their religious reverence, because they
considered them as the purest symbols, the noblest productions,
and the most powerful agents of the Divine Power and Nature. ^13
[Footnote 12: Herodotus, l. i. c. 131. But Dr. Prideaux thinks,
with reason, that the use of temples was afterwards permitted in
the Magian religion.
Note: The Pyraea, or fire temples of the Zoroastrians,
(observes Kleuker, Persica, p. 16,) were only to be found in
Media or Aderbidjan, provinces into which Herodotus did not
penetrate. - M.]

[Footnote !: Among the Persians Mithra is not the Sun: Anquetil
has contested and triumphantly refuted the opinion of those who
confound them, and it is evidently contrary to the text of the
Zendavesta. Mithra is the first of the genii, or jzeds, created
by Ormuzd; it is he who watches over all nature. Hence arose the
misapprehension of some of the Greeks, who have said that Mithra
was the summus deus of the Persians: he has a thousand ears and
ten thousand eyes. The Chaldeans appear to have assigned him a
higher rank than the Persians. It is he who bestows upon the
earth the light of the sun. The sun. named Khor, (brightness,)
is thus an inferior genius, who, with many other genii, bears a
part in the functions of Mithra. These assistant genii to
another genius are called his kamkars; but in the Zendavesta they
are never confounded. On the days sacred to a particular genius,
the Persian ought to recite, not only the prayers addressed to
him, but those also which are addressed to his kamkars; thus the
hymn or iescht of Mithra is recited on the day of the sun,
(Khor,) and vice versa. It is probably this which has sometimes
caused them to be confounded; but Anquetil had himself exposed
this error, which Kleuker, and all who have studied the
Zendavesta, have noticed. See viii. Diss. of Anquetil. Kleuker's
Anhang, part iii. p. 132. - G.
M. Guizot is unquestionably right, according to the pure and
original doctrine of the Zend. The Mithriac worship, which was
so extensively propagated in the West, and in which Mithra and
the sun were perpetually confounded, seems to have been formed
from a fusion of Zoroastrianism and Chaldaism, or the Syrian
worship of the sun. An excellent abstract of the question, with
references to the works of the chief modern writers on his
curious subject, De Sacy, Kleuker, Von Hammer, &c., may be found
in De Guigniaut's translation of Kreuzer. Relig. d'Antiquite,
notes viii. ix. to book ii. vol. i. 2d part, page 728. - M.]

[Footnote 13: Hyde de Relig. Pers. c. 8. Notwithstanding all
their distinctions and protestations, which seem sincere enough,
their tyrants, the Mahometans, have constantly stigmatized them
as idolatrous worshippers of the fire.]

Every mode of religion, to make a deep and lasting
impression on the human mind, must exercise our obedience, by
enjoining practices of devotion, for which we can assign no
reason; and must acquire our esteem, by inculcating moral duties
analogous to the dictates of our own hearts. The religion of
Zoroaster was abundantly provided with the former and possessed a
sufficient portion of the latter. At the age of puberty, the
faithful Persian was invested with a mysterious girdle, the badge
of the divine protection; and from that moment all the actions of
his life, even the most indifferent, or the most necessary, were
sanctified by their peculiar prayers, ejaculations, or
genuflections; the omission of which, under any circumstances,
was a grievous sin, not inferior in guilt to the violation of the
moral duties. The moral duties, however, of justice, mercy,
liberality, &c., were in their turn required of the disciple of
Zoroaster, who wished to escape the persecution of Ahriman, and
to live with Ormusd in a blissful eternity, where the degree of
felicity will be exactly proportioned to the degree of virtue and
piety. ^14

[Footnote 14: See the Sadder, the smallest part of which consists
of moral precepts. The ceremonies enjoined are infinite and
trifling. Fifteen genuflections, prayers, &c., were required
whenever the devout Persian cut his nails or made water; or as
often as he put on the sacred girdle Sadder, Art. 14, 50, 60.

Note: Zoroaster exacted much less ceremonial observance,
than at a later period, the priests of his doctrines. This is
the progress of all religions the worship, simple in its origin,
is gradually overloaded with minute superstitions. The maxim of
the Zendavesta, on the relative merit of sowing the earth and of
prayers, quoted below by Gibbon, proves that Zoroaster did not
attach too much importance to these observances. Thus it is not
from the Zendavesta that Gibbon derives the proof of his
allegation, but from the Sadder, a much later work. - G]

But there are some remarkable instances in which Zoroaster
lays aside the prophet, assumes the legislator, and discovers a
liberal concern for private and public happiness, seldom to be
found among the grovelling or visionary schemes of superstition.
Fasting and celibacy, the common means of purchasing the divine
favor, he condemns with abhorrence, as a criminal rejection of
the best gifts of Providence. The saint, in the Magian religion,
is obliged to beget children, to plant useful trees, to destroy
noxious animals, to convey water to the dry lands of Persia, and
to work out his salvation by pursuing all the labors of
agriculture. ^* We may quote from the Zendavesta a wise and
benevolent maxim, which compensates for many an absurdity. "He
who sows the ground with care and diligence acquires a greater
stock of religious merit than he could gain by the repetition of
ten thousand prayers." ^15 In the spring of every year a festival
was celebrated, destined to represent the primitive equality, and
the present connection, of mankind. The stately kings of Persia,
exchanging their vain pomp for more genuine greatness, freely
mingled with the humblest but most useful of their subjects. On
that day the husbandmen were admitted, without distinction, to
the table of the king and his satraps. The monarch accepted
their petitions, inquired into their grievances, and conversed
with them on the most equal terms. "From your labors," was he
accustomed to say, (and to say with truth, if not with
sincerity,) "from your labors we receive our subsistence; you
derive your tranquillity from our vigilance: since, therefore, we
are mutually necessary to each other, let us live together like
brothers in concord and love." ^16 Such a festival must indeed
have degenerated, in a wealthy and despotic empire, into a
theatrical representation; but it was at least a comedy well
worthy of a royal audience, and which might sometimes imprint a
salutary lesson on the mind of a young prince.

[Footnote *: See, on Zoroaster's encouragement of agriculture,
the ingenious remarks of Heeren, Ideen, vol. i. p. 449, &c., and
Rhode, Heilige Sage, p. 517 - M.]

[Footnote 15: Zendavesta, tom. i. p. 224, and Precis du Systeme
de Zoroastre, tom. iii.]

[Footnote 16: Hyde de Religione Persarum, c. 19.]

Had Zoroaster, in all his institutions, invariably supported
this exalted character, his name would deserve a place with those
of Numa and Confucius, and his system would be justly entitled to
all the applause, which it has pleased some of our divines, and
even some of our philosophers, to bestow on it. But in that
motley composition, dictated by reason and passion, by enthusiasm
and by selfish motives, some useful and sublime truths were
disgraced by a mixture of the most abject and dangerous
superstition. The Magi, or sacerdotal order, were extremely
numerous, since, as we have already seen, fourscore thousand of
them were convened in a general council. Their forces were
multiplied by discipline. A regular hierarchy was diffused
through all the provinces of Persia; and the Archimagus, who
resided at Balch, was respected as the visible head of the
church, and the lawful successor of Zoroaster. ^17 The property
of the Magi was very considerable. Besides the less invidious
possession of a large tract of the most fertile lands of Media,
^18 they levied a general tax on the fortunes and the industry of
the Persians. ^19 "Though your good works," says the interested
prophet, "exceed in number the leaves of the trees, the drops of
rain, the stars in the heaven, or the sands on the sea-shore,
they will all be unprofitable to you, unless they are accepted by
the destour, or priest. To obtain the acceptation of this guide
to salvation, you must faithfully pay him tithes of all you
possess, of your goods, of your lands, and of your money. If the
destour be satisfied, your soul will escape hell tortures; you
will secure praise in this world and happiness in the next. For
the destours are the teachers of religion; they know all things,
and they deliver all men." ^20 ^*

[Footnote 17: Hyde de Religione Persarum, c. 28. Both Hyde and
Prideaux affect to apply to the Magian the terms consecrated to
the Christian hierarchy.]

[Footnote 18: Ammian. Marcellin. xxiii. 6. He informs us (as far
as we may credit him) of two curious particulars: 1. That the
Magi derived some of their most secret doctrines from the Indian
Brachmans; and 2. That they were a tribe, or family, as well as
order.]

[Footnote 19: The divine institution of tithes exhibits a
singular instance of conformity between the law of Zoroaster and
that of Moses. Those who cannot otherwise account for it, may
suppose, if they please that the Magi of the latter times
inserted so useful an interpolation into the writings of their
prophet.]

[Footnote 20: Sadder, Art. viii.]

[Footnote *: The passage quoted by Gibbon is not taken from the
writings of Zoroaster, but from the Sadder, a work, as has been
before said, much later than the books which form the Zendavesta.
and written by a Magus for popular use; what it contains,
therefore, cannot be attributed to Zoroaster. It is remarkable
that Gibbon should fall into this error, for Hyde himself does
not ascribe the Sadder to Zoroaster; he remarks that it is
written inverse, while Zoroaster always wrote in prose. Hyde, i.
p. 27. Whatever may be the case as to the latter assertion, for
which there appears little foundation, it is unquestionable that
the Sadder is of much later date. The Abbe Foucher does not even
believe it to be an extract from the works of Zoroaster. See his
Diss. before quoted. Mem. de l'Acad. des Ins. t. xxvii. - G.
Perhaps it is rash to speak of any part of the Zendavesta as the
writing of Zoroaster, though it may be a genuine representation
of his. As to the Sadder, Hyde (in Praef.) considered it not
above 200 years old. It is manifestly post-Mahometan. See Art.
xxv. on fasting. - M.]

These convenient maxims of reverence and implicit were
doubtless imprinted with care on the tender minds of youth; since
the Magi were the masters of education in Persia, and to their
hands the children even of the royal family were intrusted. ^21
The Persian priests, who were of a speculative genius, preserved
and investigated the secrets of Oriental philosophy; and
acquired, either by superior knowledge, or superior art, the
reputation of being well versed in some occult sciences, which
have derived their appellation from the Magi. ^22 Those of more
active dispositions mixed with the world in courts and cities;
and it is observed, that the administration of Artaxerxes was in
a great measure directed by the counsels of the sacerdotal order,
whose dignity, either from policy or devotion, that prince
restored to its ancient splendor. ^23

[Footnote 21: Plato in Alcibiad.]

[Footnote 22: Pliny (Hist. Natur. l. xxx. c. 1) observes, that
magic held mankind by the triple chain of religion, of physic,
and of astronomy.] [Footnote 23: Agathias, l. iv. p. 134.]

The first counsel of the Magi was agreeable to the
unsociable genius of their faith, ^24 to the practice of ancient
kings, ^25 and even to the example of their legislator, who had a
victim to a religious war, excited by his own intolerant zeal.
^26 By an edict of Artaxerxes, the exercise of every worship,
except that of Zoroaster, was severely prohibited. The temples of
the Parthians, and the statues of their deified monarchs, were
thrown down with ignominy. ^27 The sword of Aristotle (such was
the name given by the Orientals to the polytheism and philosophy
of the Greeks) was easily broken; ^28 the flames of persecution
soon reached the more stubborn Jews and Christians; ^29 nor did
they spare the heretics of their own nation and religion. The
majesty of Ormusd, who was jealous of a rival, was seconded by
the despotism of Artaxerxes, who could not suffer a rebel; and
the schismatics within his vast empire were soon reduced to the
inconsiderable number of eighty thousand. ^30 ^* This spirit of
persecution reflects dishonor on the religion of Zoroaster; but
as it was not productive of any civil commotion, it served to
strengthen the new monarchy, by uniting all the various
inhabitants of Persia in the bands of religious zeal. ^!

[Footnote 24: Mr. Hume, in the Natural History of Religion,
sagaciously remarks, that the most refined and philosophic sects
are constantly the most intolerant.

Note: Hume's comparison is rather between theism and
polytheism. In India, in Greece, and in modern Europe,
philosophic religion has looked down with contemptuous toleration
on the superstitions of the vulgar. - M.]
[Footnote 25: Cicero de Legibus, ii. 10. Xerxes, by the advice
of the Magi, destroyed the temples of Greece.]

[Footnote 26: Hyde de Relig. Persar. c. 23, 24. D'Herbelot,
Bibliotheque Orientale, Zurdusht. Life of Zoroaster in tom. ii.
of the Zendavesta.]
[Footnote 27: Compare Moses of Chorene, l. ii. c. 74, with
Ammian. Marcel lin. xxiii. 6. Hereafter I shall make use of
these passages.]
[Footnote 28: Rabbi Abraham, in the Tarikh Schickard, p. 108,
109.]
[Footnote 29: Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, l. viii. c. 3.
Sozomen, l. ii. c. 1 Manes, who suffered an ignominious death,
may be deemed a Magian as well as a Christian heretic.]

[Footnote 30: Hyde de Religione Persar. c. 21.]

[Footnote *: It is incorrect to attribute these persecutions to
Artaxerxes. The Jews were held in honor by him, and their schools
flourished during his reign. Compare Jost, Geschichte der
Israeliter, b. xv. 5, with Basnage. Sapor was forced by the
people to temporary severities; but their real persecution did
not begin till the reigns of Yezdigerd and Kobad. Hist. of Jews,
iii. 236. According to Sozomen , i. viii., Sapor first
persecuted the Christians. Manes was put to death by Varanes the
First, A. D. 277. Beausobre, Hist. de Man. i. 209. - M.]

[Footnote !: In the testament of Ardischer in Ferdusi, the poet
assigns these sentiments to the dying king, as he addresses his
son: Never forget that as a king, you are at once the protector
of religion and of your country. Consider the altar and the
throne as inseparable; they must always sustain each other.
Malcolm's Persia. i. 74 - M]

II. Artaxerxes, by his valor and conduct, had wrested the
sceptre of the East from the ancient royal family of Parthia.
There still remained the more difficult task of establishing,
throughout the vast extent of Persia, a uniform and vigorous
administration. The weak indulgence of the Arsacides had
resigned to their sons and brothers the principal provinces, and
the greatest offices of the kingdom in the nature of hereditary
possessions. The vitaxoe, or eighteen most powerful satraps,
were permitted to assume the regal title; and the vain pride of
the monarch was delighted with a nominal dominion over so many
vassal kings. Even tribes of barbarians in their mountains, and
the Greek cities of Upper Asia, ^31 within their walls, scarcely
acknowledged, or seldom obeyed. any superior; and the Parthian
empire exhibited, under other names, a lively image of the feudal
system ^32 which has since prevailed in Europe. But the active
victor, at the head of a numerous and disciplined army, visited
in person every province of Persia. The defeat of the boldest
rebels, and the reduction of the strongest fortifications, ^33
diffused the terror of his arms, and prepared the way for the
peaceful reception of his authority. An obstinate resistance was
fatal to the chiefs; but their followers were treated with
lenity. ^34 A cheerful submission was rewarded with honors and
riches, but the prudent Artaxerxes suffering no person except
himself to assume the title of king, abolished every intermediate
power between the throne and the people. His kingdom, nearly
equal in extent to modern Persia, was, on every side, bounded by
the sea, or by great rivers; by the Euphrates, the Tigris, the
Araxes, the Oxus, and the Indus, by the Caspian Sea, and the Gulf
of Persia. ^35 That country was computed to contain, in the last
century, five hundred and fifty-four cities, sixty thousand
villages, and about forty millions of souls. ^36 If we compare
the administration of the house of Sassan with that of the house
of Sefi, the political influence of the Magian with that of the
Mahometan religion, we shall probably infer, that the kingdom of
Artaxerxes contained at least as great a number of cities,
villages, and inhabitants. But it must likewise be confessed,
that in every age the want of harbors on the sea- coast, and the
scarcity of fresh water in the inland provinces, have been very
unfavorable to the commerce and agriculture of the Persians; who,
in the calculation of their numbers, seem to have indulged one of
the nearest, though most common, artifices of national vanity.

[Footnote 31: These colonies were extremely numerous. Seleucus
Nicator founded thirty-nine cities, all named from himself, or
some of his relations, (see Appian in Syriac. p. 124.) The aera
of Seleucus (still in use among the eastern Christians) appears
as late as the year 508, of Christ 196, on the medals of the
Greek cities within the Parthian empire. See Moyle's works, vol.
i. p. 273, &c., and M. Freret, Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xix.]
[Footnote 32: The modern Persians distinguish that period as the
dynasty of the kings of the nations. See Plin. Hist. Nat. vi.
25.]

[Footnote 33: Eutychius (tom. i. p. 367, 371, 375) relates the
siege of the island of Mesene in the Tigris, with some
circumstances not unlike the story of Nysus and Scylla.]

[Footnote 34: Agathias, ii. 64, [and iv. p. 260.] The princes of
Segestan de fended their independence during many years. As
romances generally transport to an ancient period the events of
their own time, it is not impossible that the fabulous exploits
of Rustan, Prince of Segestan, many have been grafted on this
real history.]

[Footnote 35: We can scarcely attribute to the Persian monarchy
the sea-coast of Gedrosia or Macran, which extends along the
Indian Ocean from Cape Jask (the promontory Capella) to Cape
Goadel. In the time of Alexander, and probably many ages
afterwards, it was thinly inhabited by a savage people of
Icthyophagi, or Fishermen, who knew no arts, who acknowledged no
master, and who were divided by in-hospitable deserts from the
rest of the world. (See Arrian de Reb. Indicis.) In the twelfth
century, the little town of Taiz (supposed by M. d'Anville to be
the Teza of Ptolemy) was peopled and enriched by the resort of
the Arabian merchants. (See Geographia Nubiens, p. 58, and
d'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 283.) In the last
age, the whole country was divided between three princes, one
Mahometan and two Idolaters, who maintained their independence
against the successors of Shah Abbas. (Voyages de Tavernier, part
i. l. v. p. 635.]

[Footnote 36: Chardin, tom. iii c 1 2, 3.]

As soon as the ambitious mind of Artaxerxes had triumphed
ever the resistance of his vassals, he began to threaten the
neighboring states, who, during the long slumber of his
predecessors, had insulted Persia with impunity. He obtained
some easy victories over the wild Scythians and the effeminate
Indians; but the Romans were an enemy, who, by their past
injuries and present power, deserved the utmost efforts of his
arms. A forty years' tranquillity, the fruit of valor and
moderation, had succeeded the victories of Trajan. During the
period that elapsed from the accession of Marcus to the reign of
Alexander, the Roman and the Parthian empires were twice engaged
in war; and although the whole strength of the Arsacides
contended with a part only of the forces of Rome, the event was
most commonly in favor of the latter. Macrinus, indeed, prompted
by his precarious situation and pusillanimous temper, purchased a
peace at the expense of near two millions of our money; ^37 but
the generals of Marcus, the emperor Severus, and his son, erected
many trophies in Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria. Among their
exploits, the imperfect relation of which would have unseasonably
interrupted the more important series of domestic revolutions, we
shall only mention the repeated calamities of the two great
cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon.
[Footnote 37: Dion, l. xxviii. p. 1335.]

Seleucia, on the western bank of the Tigris, about
forty-five miles to the north of ancient Babylon, was the capital
of the Macedonian conquests in Upper Asia. ^38 Many ages after
the fall of their empire, Seleucia retained the genuine
characters of a Grecian colony, arts, military virtue, and the
love of freedom. The independent republic was governed by a
senate of three hundred nobles; the people consisted of six
hundred thousand citizens; the walls were strong, and as long as
concord prevailed among the several orders of the state, they
viewed with contempt the power of the Parthian: but the madness
of faction was sometimes provoked to implore the dangerous aid of
the common enemy, who was posted almost at the gates of the
colony. ^39 The Parthian monarchs, like the Mogul sovereigns of
Hindostan, delighted in the pastoral life of their Scythian
ancestors; and the Imperial camp was frequently pitched in the
plain of Ctesiphon, on the eastern bank of the Tigris, at the
distance of only three miles from Seleucia. ^40 The innumerable
attendants on luxury and despotism resorted to the court, and the
little village of Ctesiphon insensibly swelled into a great city.
^41 Under the reign of Marcus, the Roman generals penetrated as
far as Ctesiphon and Seleucia. They were received as friends by
the Greek colony; they attacked as enemies the seat of the
Parthian kings; yet both cities experienced the same treatment.
The sack and conflagration of Seleucia, with the massacre of
three hundred thousand of the inhabitants, tarnished the glory of
the Roman triumph. ^42 Seleucia, already exhausted by the
neighborhood of a too powerful rival, sunk under the fatal blow;
but Ctesiphon, in about thirty- three years, had sufficiently
recovered its strength to maintain an obstinate siege against the
emperor Severus. The city was, however, taken by assault; the
king, who defended it in person, escaped with precipitation; a
hundred thousand captives, and a rich booty, rewarded the
fatigues of the Roman soldiers. ^43 Notwithstanding these
misfortunes, Ctesiphon succeeded to Babylon and to Seleucia, as
one of the great capitals of the East. In summer, the monarch of
Persia enjoyed at Ecbatana the cool breezes of the mountains of
Media; but the mildness of the climate engaged him to prefer
Ctesiphon for his winter residence.

[Footnote 38: For the precise situation of Babylon, Seleucia,
Ctesiphon, Moiain, and Bagdad, cities often confounded with each
other, see an excellent Geographical Tract of M. d'Anville, in
Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xxx.]
[Footnote 39: Tacit. Annal. xi. 42. Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 26.]
[Footnote 40: This may be inferred from Strabo, l. xvi. p. 743.]
[Footnote 41: That most curious traveller, Bernier, who followed
the camp of Aurengzebe from Delhi to Cashmir, describes with
great accuracy the immense moving city. The guard of cavalry
consisted of 35,000 men, that of infantry of 10,000. It was
computed that the camp contained 150,000 horses, mules, and
elephants; 50,000 camels, 50,000 oxen, and between 300,000 and
400,000 persons. Almost all Delhi followed the court, whose
magnificence supported its industry.]

[Footnote 42: Dion, l. lxxi. p. 1178. Hist. August. p. 38.
Eutrop. viii. 10 Euseb. in Chronic. Quadratus (quoted in the
Augustan History) attempted to vindicate the Romans by alleging
that the citizens of Seleucia had first violated their faith.]

[Footnote 43: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1263. Herodian, l. iii. p. 120.
Hist. August. p. 70.]

From these successful inroads the Romans derived no real or
lasting benefit; nor did they attempt to preserve such distant
conquests, separated from the provinces of the empire by a large
tract of intermediate desert. The reduction of the kingdom of
Osrhoene was an acquisition of less splendor indeed, but of a far
more solid advantage. That little state occupied the northern
and most fertile part of Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and
the Tigris. Edessa, its capital, was situated about twenty miles
beyond the former of those rivers; and the inhabitants, since the
time of Alexander, were a mixed race of Greeks, Arabs, Syrians,
and Armenians. ^44 The feeble sovereigns of Osrhoene, placed on
the dangerous verge of two contending empires, were attached from
inclination to the Parthian cause; but the superior power of Rome
exacted from them a reluctant homage, which is still attested by
their medals. After the conclusion of the Parthian war under
Marcus, it was judged prudent to secure some substantia, pledges
of their doubtful fidelity. Forts were constructed in several
parts of the country, and a Roman garrison was fixed in the
strong town of Nisibis. During the troubles that followed the
death of Commodus, the princes of Osrhoene attempted to shake off
the yoke; but the stern policy of Severus confirmed their
dependence, ^45 and the perfidy of Caracalla completed the easy
conquest. Abgarus, the last king of Edessa, was sent in chains
to Rome, his dominions reduced into a province, and his capital
dignified with the rank of colony; and thus the Romans, about ten
years before the fall of the Parthian monarchy, obtained a firm
and permanent establishment beyond the Euphrates. ^46

[Footnote 44: The polished citizens of Antioch called those of
Edessa mixed barbarians. It was, however, some praise, that of
the three dialects of the Syriac, the purest and most elegant
(the Aramaean) was spoken at Edessa. This remark M. Bayer (Hist.
Edess. p 5) has borrowed from George of Malatia, a Syrian
writer.]

[Footnote 45: Dion, l. lxxv. p. 1248, 1249, 1250. M. Bayer has
neglected to use this most important passage.]

[Footnote 46: This kingdom, from Osrhoes, who gave a new name to
the country, to the last Abgarus, had lasted 353 years. See the
learned work of M. Bayer, Historia Osrhoena et Edessena.]

Prudence as well as glory might have justified a war on the
side of Artaxerxes, had his views been confined to the defence or
acquisition of a useful frontier. but the ambitious Persian
openly avowed a far more extensive design of conquest; and he
thought himself able to support his lofty pretensions by the arms
of reason as well as by those of power. Cyrus, he alleged, had
first subdued, and his successors had for a long time possessed,
the whole extent of Asia, as far as the Propontis and the Aegean
Sea; the provinces of Caria and Ionia, under their empire, had
been governed by Persian satraps, and all Egypt, to the confines
of Aethiopia, had acknowledged their sovereignty. ^47 Their
rights had been suspended, but not destroyed, by a long
usurpation; and as soon as he received the Persian diadem, which
birth and successful valor had placed upon his head, the first
great duty of his station called upon him to restore the ancient
limits and splendor of the monarchy. The Great King, therefore,
(such was the haughty style of his embassies to the emperor
Alexander,) commanded the Romans instantly to depart from all the
provinces of his ancestors, and, yielding to the Persians the
empire of Asia, to content themselves with the undisturbed
possession of Europe. This haughty mandate was delivered by four
hundred of the tallest and most beautiful of the Persians; who,
by their fine horses, splendid arms, and rich apparel, displayed
the pride and greatness of their master. ^48 Such an embassy was
much less an offer of negotiation than a declaration of war.
Both Alexander Severus and Artaxerxes, collecting the military
force of the Roman and Persian monarchies, resolved in this
important contest to lead their armies in person.

[Footnote 47: Xenophon, in the preface to the Cyropaedia, gives a
clear and magnificent idea of the extent of the empire of Cyrus.
Herodotus (l. iii. c. 79, &c.) enters into a curious and
particular description of the twenty great Satrapies into which
the Persian empire was divided by Darius Hystaspes.]
[Footnote 48: Herodian, vi. 209, 212.]

If we credit what should seem the most authentic of all
records, an oration, still extant, and delivered by the emperor
himself to the senate, we must allow that the victory of
Alexander Severus was not inferior to any of those formerly
obtained over the Persians by the son of Philip. The army of the
Great King consisted of one hundred and twenty thousand horse,
clothed in complete armor of steel; of seven hundred elephants,
with towers filled with archers on their backs, and of eighteen
hundred chariots armed with scythes. This formidable host, the
like of which is not to be found in eastern history, and has
scarcely been imagined in eastern romance, ^49 was discomfited in
a great battle, in which the Roman Alexander proved himself an
intrepid soldier and a skilful general. The Great King fled
before his valor; an immense booty, and the conquest of
Mesopotamia, were the immediate fruits of this signal victory.
Such are the circumstances of this ostentatious and improbable
relation, dictated, as it too plainly appears, by the vanity of
the monarch, adorned by the unblushing servility of his
flatterers, and received without contradiction by a distant and
obsequious senate. ^50 Far from being inclined to believe that
the arms of Alexander obtained any memorable advantage over the
Persians, we are induced to suspect that all this blaze of
imaginary glory was designed to conceal some real disgrace.

[Footnote 49: There were two hundred scythed chariots at the
battle of Arbela, in the host of Darius. In the vast army of
Tigranes, which was vanquished by Lucullus, seventeen thousand
horse only were completely armed. Antiochus brought fifty-four
elephants into the field against the Romans: by his frequent wars
and negotiations with the princes of India, he had once collected
a hundred and fifty of those great animals; but it may be
questioned whether the most powerful monarch of Hindostan evci
formed a line of battle of seven hundred elephants. Instead of
three or four thousand elephants, which the Great Mogul was
supposed to possess, Tavernier (Voyages, part ii. l. i. p. 198)
discovered, by a more accurate inquiry, that he had only five
hundred for his baggage, and eighty or ninety for the service of
war. The Greeks have varied with regard to the number which
Porus brought into the field; but Quintus Curtius, (viii. 13,) in
this instance judicious and moderate, is contented with
eighty-five elephants, distinguished by their size and strength.
In Siam, where these animals are the most numerous and the most
esteemed, eighteen elephants are allowed as a sufficient
proportion for each of the nine brigades into which a just army
is divided. The whole number, of one hundred and sixty-two
elephants of war, may sometimes be doubled. Hist. des Voyages,
tom. ix. p. 260.

Note: Compare Gibbon's note 10 to ch. lvii - M.]

[Footnote 50: Hist. August. p. 133.

Note: See M. Guizot's note, p. 267. According to the
Persian authorities Ardeschir extended his conquests to the
Euphrates. Malcolm i. 71. - M.]
Our suspicious are confirmed by the authority of a
contemporary historian, who mentions the virtues of Alexander
with respect, and his faults with candor. He describes the
judicious plan which had been formed for the conduct of the war.
Three Roman armies were destined to invade Persia at the same
time, and by different roads. But the operations of the
campaign, though wisely concerted, were not executed either with
ability or success. The first of these armies, as soon as it had
entered the marshy plains of Babylon, towards the artificial
conflux of the Euphrates and the Tigris, ^51 was encompassed by
the superior numbers, and destroyed by the arrows of the enemy.
The alliance of Chosroes, king of Armenia, ^52 and the long tract
of mountainous country, in which the Persian cavalry was of
little service, opened a secure entrance into the heart of Media,
to the second of the Roman armies. These brave troops laid waste
the adjacent provinces, and by several successful actions against
Artaxerxes, gave a faint color to the emperor's vanity. But the
retreat of this victorious army was imprudent, or at least
unfortunate. In repassing the mountains, great numbers of
soldiers perished by the badness of the roads, and the severity
of the winter season. It had been resolved, that whilst these
two great detachments penetrated into the opposite extremes of
the Persian dominions, the main body, under the command of
Alexander himself, should support their attack, by invading the
centre of the kingdom. But the unexperienced youth, influenced
by his mother's counsels, and perhaps by his own fears, deserted
the bravest troops, and the fairest prospect of victory; and
after consuming in Mesopotamia an inactive and inglorious summer,
he led back to Antioch an army diminished by sickness, and
provoked by disappointment. The behavior of Artaxerxes had been
very different. Flying with rapidity from the hills of Media to
the marshes of the Euphrates, he had everywhere opposed the
invaders in person; and in either fortune had united with the
ablest conduct the most undaunted resolution. But in several
obstinate engagements against the veteran legions of Rome, the
Persian monarch had lost the flower of his troops. Even his
victories had weakened his power. The favorable opportunities of
the absence of Alexander, and of the confusions that followed
that emperor's death, presented themselves in vain to his
ambition. Instead of expelling the Romans, as he pretended, from
the continent of Asia, he found himself unable to wrest from
their hands the little province of Mesopotamia. ^53
[Footnote 51: M. de Tillemont has already observed, that
Herodian's geography is somewhat confused.]

[Footnote 52: Moses of Chorene (Hist. Armen. l. ii. c. 71)
illustrates this invasion of Media, by asserting that Chosroes,
king of Armenia, defeated Artaxerxes, and pursued him to the
confines of India. The exploits of Chosroes have been magnified;
and he acted as a dependent ally to the Romans.]

[Footnote 53: For the account of this war, see Herodian, l. vi.
p. 209, 212. The old abbreviators and modern compilers have
blindly followed the Augustan History.]

The reign of Artaxerxes, which, from the last defeat of the
Parthians, lasted only fourteen years, forms a memorable aera in
the history of the East, and even in that of Rome. His character
seems to have been marked by those bold and commanding features,
that generally distinguish the princes who conquer, from those
who inherit an empire. Till the last period of the Persian
monarchy, his code of laws was respected as the groundwork of
their civil and religious policy. ^54 Several of his sayings are
preserved. One of them in particular discovers a deep insight
into the constitution of government. "The authority of the
prince," said Artaxerxes, "must be defended by a military force;
that force can only be maintained by taxes; all taxes must, at
last, fall upon agriculture; and agriculture can never flourish
except under the protection of justice and moderation." ^55
Artaxerxes bequeathed his new empire, and his ambitious designs
against the Romans, to Sapor, a son not unworthy of his great
father; but those designs were too extensive for the power of
Persia, and served only to involve both nations in a long series
of destructive wars and reciprocal calamities.
[Footnote 54: Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 180, vers. Pocock. The
great Chosroes Noushirwan sent the code of Artaxerxes to all his
satraps, as the invariable rule of their conduct.]

[Footnote 55: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, au mot Ardshir.

We may observe, that after an ancient period of fables, and a
long interval of darkness, the modern histories of Persia begin
to assume an air of truth with the dynasty of Sassanides.
[Compare Malcolm, i. 79. - M.]
The Persians, long since civilized and corrupted, were very
far from possessing the martial independence, and the intrepid
hardiness, both of mind and body, which have rendered the
northern barbarians masters of the world. The science of war,
that constituted the more rational force of Greece and Rome, as
it now does of Europe, never made any considerable progress in
the East. Those disciplined evolutions which harmonize and
animate a confused multitude, were unknown to the Persians. They
were equally unskilled in the arts of constructing, besieging, or
defending regular fortifications. They trusted more to their
numbers than to their courage; more to their courage than to
their discipline. The infantry was a half-armed, spiritless
crowd of peasants, levied in haste by the allurements of plunder,
and as easily dispersed by a victory as by a defeat. The monarch
and his nobles transported into the camp the pride and luxury of
the seraglio. Their military operations were impeded by a
useless train of women, eunuchs, horses, and camels; and in the
midst of a successful campaign, the Persian host was often
separated or destroyed by an unexpected famine. ^56
[Footnote 56: Herodian, l. vi. p. 214. Ammianus Marcellinus, l.
xxiii. c. 6. Some differences may be observed between the two
historians, the natural effects of the changes produced by a
century and a half.]

But the nobles of Persia, in the bosom of luxury and
despotism, preserved a strong sense of personal gallantry and
national honor. From the age of seven years they were taught to
speak truth, to shoot with the bow, and to ride; and it was
universally confessed, that in the two last of these arts, they
had made a more than common proficiency. ^57 The most
distinguished youth were educated under the monarch's eye,
practised their exercises in the gate of his palace, and were
severely trained up to the habits of temperance and obedience, in
their long and laborious parties of hunting. In every province,
the satrap maintained a like school of military virtue. The
Persian nobles (so natural is the idea of feudal tenures)
received from the king's bounty lands and houses, on the
condition of their service in war. They were ready on the first
summons to mount on horseback, with a martial and splendid train
of followers, and to join the numerous bodies of guards, who were
carefully selected from among the most robust slaves, and the
bravest adventures of Asia. These armies, both of light and of
heavy cavalry, equally formidable by the impetuosity of their
charge and the rapidity of their motions, threatened, as an
impending cloud, the eastern provinces of the declining empire of
Rome. ^58

[Footnote 57: The Persians are still the most skilful horsemen,
and their horses the finest in the East.]

[Footnote 58: From Herodotus, Xenophon, Herodian, Ammianus,
Chardin, &c., I have extracted such probable accounts of the
Persian nobility, as seem either common to every age, or
particular to that of the Sassanides.]

Chapter IX: State Of Germany Until The Barbarians.

Part I.

The State Of Germany Till The Invasion Of The Barbarians In The
Time Of The Emperor Decius.

The government and religion of Persia have deserved some
notice, from their connection with the decline and fall of the
Roman empire. We shall occasionally mention the Scythian or
Sarmatian tribes, ^* which, with their arms and horses, their
flocks and herds, their wives and families, wandered over the
immense plains which spread themselves from the Caspian Sea to
the Vistula, from the confines of Persia to those of Germany.
But the warlike Germans, who first resisted, then invaded, and at
length overturned the Western monarchy of Rome, will occupy a
much more important place in this history, and possess a
stronger, and, if we may use the expression, a more domestic,
claim to our attention and regard. The most civilized nations of
modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany; and in the rude
institutions of those barbarians we may still distinguish the
original principles of our present laws and manners. In their
primitive state of simplicity and independence, the Germans were
surveyed by the discerning eye, and delineated by the masterly
pencil, of Tacitus, ^* the first of historians who applied the
science of philosophy to the study of facts. The expressive
conciseness of his descriptions has served to exercise the
diligence of innumerable antiquarians, and to excite the genius
and penetration of the philosophic historians of our own times.
The subject, however various and important, has already been so
frequently, so ably, and so successfully discussed, that it is
now grown familiar to the reader, and difficult to the writer.
We shall therefore content ourselves with observing, and indeed
with repeating, some of the most important circumstances of
climate, of manners, and of institutions, which rendered the wild
barbarians of Germany such formidable enemies to the Roman power.

[Footnote *: The Scythians, even according to the ancients, are
not Sarmatians. It may be doubted whether Gibbon intended to
confound them. - M.] The Greeks, after having divided the world
into Greeks and barbarians. divided the barbarians into four
great classes, the Celts, the Scythians, the Indians, and the
Ethiopians. They called Celts all the inhabitants of Gaul.
Scythia extended from the Baltic Sea to the Lake Aral: the people
enclosed in the angle to the north-east, between Celtica and
Scythia, were called Celto- Scythians, and the Sarmatians were
placed in the southern part of that angle. But these names of
Celts, of Scythians, of Celto-Scythians, and Sarmatians, were
invented, says Schlozer, by the profound cosmographical ignorance
of the Greeks, and have no real ground; they are purely
geographical divisions, without any relation to the true
affiliation of the different races. Thus all the inhabitants of
Gaul are called Celts by most of the ancient writers; yet Gaul
contained three totally distinct nations, the Belgae, the
Aquitani, and the Gauls, properly so called. Hi omnes lingua
institutis, legibusque inter se differunt. Caesar. Com. c. i.
It is thus the Turks call all Europeans Franks. Schlozer,
Allgemeine Nordische Geschichte, p. 289. 1771. Bayer (de Origine
et priscis Sedibus Scytharum, in Opusc. p. 64) says, Primus
eorum, de quibus constat, Ephorus, in quarto historiarum libro,
orbem terrarum inter Scythas, Indos, Aethiopas et Celtas divisit.

Fragmentum ejus loci Cosmas Indicopleustes in topographia
Christiana, f. 148, conservavit. Video igitur Ephorum, cum
locorum positus per certa capita distribuere et explicare
constitueret, insigniorum nomina gentium vastioribus spatiis
adhibuisse, nulla mala fraude et successu infelici. Nam Ephoro
quoquomodo dicta pro exploratis habebant Graeci plerique et
Romani: ita gliscebat error posteritate. Igitur tot tamque
diversae stirpis gentes non modo intra communem quandam regionem
definitae, unum omnes Scytharum nomen his auctoribus subierunt,
sed etiam ab illa regionis adpellatione in eandem nationem sunt
conflatae. Sic Cimmeriorum res cum Scythicis, Scytharum cum
Sarmaticis, Russicis, Hunnicis, Tataricis commiscentur. - G.]
[Footnote *: The Germania of Tacitus has been a fruitful source
of hypothesis to the ingenuity of modern writers, who have
endeavored to account for the form of the work and the views of
the author. According to Luden, (Geschichte des T. V. i. 432,
and note,) it contains the unfinished and disarranged for a
larger work. An anonymous writer, supposed by Luden to be M.
Becker, conceives that it was intended as an episode in his
larger history. According to M. Guizot, "Tacite a peint les
Germains comme Montaigne et Rousseau les sauvages, dans un acces
d'humeur contre sa patrie: son livre est une satire des moeurs
Romaines, l'eloquente boutade d'un patriote philosophe qui veut
voir la vertu la, ou il ne rencontre pas la mollesse honteuse et
la depravation savante d'une vielle societe." Hist. de la
Civilisation Moderne, i. 258. - M.]

Ancient Germany, excluding from its independent limits the
province westward of the Rhine, which had submitted to the Roman
yoke, extended itself over a third part of Europe. ^1 Almost the
whole of modern Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland,
Livonia, Prussia, and the greater part of Poland, were peopled by
the various tribes of one great nation, whose complexion,
manners, and language denoted a common origin, and preserved a
striking resemblance. On the west, ancient Germany was divided
by the Rhine from the Gallic, and on the south, by the Danube,
from the Illyrian, provinces of the empire. A ridge of hills,
rising from the Danube, and called the Carpathian Mountains,
covered Germany on the side of Dacia or Hungary. The eastern
frontier was faintly marked by the mutual fears of the Germans
and the Sarmatians, and was often confounded by the mixture of
warring and confederating tribes of the two nations. In the
remote darkness of the north, the ancients imperfectly descried a
frozen ocean that lay beyond the Baltic Sea, and beyond the
Peninsula, or islands ^1 of Scandinavia.

[Footnote 1: Germany was not of such vast extent. It is from
Caesar, and more particularly from Ptolemy, (says Gatterer,) that
we can know what was the state of ancient Germany before the wars
with the Romans had changed the positions of the tribes.
Germany, as changed by these wars, has been described by Strabo,
Pliny, and Tacitus. Germany, properly so called, was bounded on
the west by the Rhine, on the east by the Vistula, on the north
by the southern point of Norway, by Sweden, and Esthonia. On the
south, the Maine and the mountains to the north of Bohemia formed
the limits. Before the time of Caesar, the country between the
Maine and the Danube was partly occupied by the Helvetians and
other Gauls, partly by the Hercynian forest but, from the time of
Caesar to the great migration, these boundaries were advanced as
far as the Danube, or, what is the same thing, to the Suabian
Alps, although the Hercynian forest still occupied, from north to
south, a space of nine days' journey on both banks of the Danube.

"Gatterer, Versuch einer all-gemeinen Welt-Geschichte," p. 424,
edit. de 1792. This vast country was far from being inhabited by
a single nation divided into different tribes of the same origin.

We may reckon three principal races, very distinct in their
language, their origin, and their customs. 1. To the east, the
Slaves or Vandals. 2. To the west, the Cimmerians or Cimbri. 3.
Between the Slaves and Cimbrians, the Germans, properly so
called, the Suevi of Tacitus. The South was inhabited, before
Julius Caesar, by nations of Gaulish origin, afterwards by the
Suevi. - G. On the position of these nations, the German
antiquaries differ. I. The Slaves, or Sclavonians, or Wendish
tribes, according to Schlozer, were originally settled in parts
of Germany unknown to the Romans, Mecklenburgh, Pomerania,
Brandenburgh, Upper Saxony; and Lusatia. According to Gatterer,
they remained to the east of the Theiss, the Niemen, and the
Vistula, till the third century. The Slaves, according to
Procopius and Jornandes, formed three great divisions. 1. The
Venedi or Vandals, who took the latter name, (the Wenden,) having
expelled the Vandals, properly so called, (a Suevian race, the
conquerors of Africa,) from the country between the Memel and the
Vistula. 2. The Antes, who inhabited between the Dneister and
the Dnieper. 3. The Sclavonians, properly so called, in the
north of Dacia. During the great migration, these races advanced
into Germany as far as the Saal and the Elbe. The Sclavonian
language is the stem from which have issued the Russian, the
Polish, the Bohemian, and the dialects of Lusatia, of some parts
of the duchy of Luneburgh, of Carniola, Carinthia, and Styria,
&c.; those of Croatia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria. Schlozer, Nordische
Geschichte, p. 323, 335. II. The Cimbric race. Adelung calls
by this name all who were not Suevi. This race had passed the
Rhine, before the time of Caesar, occupied Belgium, and are the
Belgae of Caesar and Pliny. The Cimbrians also occupied the Isle
of Jutland. The Cymri of Wales and of Britain are of this race.
Many tribes on the right bank of the Rhine, the Guthini in
Jutland, the Usipeti in Westphalia, the Sigambri in the duchy of
Berg, were German Cimbrians. III. The Suevi, known in very
early times by the Romans, for they are mentioned by L. Corn.
Sisenna, who lived 123 years before Christ, (Nonius v. Lancea.)
This race, the real Germans, extended to the Vistula, and from
the Baltic to the Hercynian forest. The name of Suevi was
sometimes confined to a single tribe, as by Caesar to the Catti.
The name of the Suevi has been preserved in Suabia.

These three were the principal races which inhabited
Germany; they moved from east to west, and are the parent stem of
the modern natives. But northern Europe, according to Schlozer,
was not peopled by them alone; other races, of different origin,
and speaking different languages, have inhabited and left
descendants in these countries.

The German tribes called themselves, from very remote times,
by the generic name of Teutons, (Teuten, Deutschen,) which
Tacitus derives from that of one of their gods, Tuisco. It
appears more probable that it means merely men, people. Many
savage nations have given themselves no other name. Thus the
Laplanders call themselves Almag, people; the Samoiedes Nilletz,
Nissetsch, men, &c. As to the name of Germans, (Germani,) Caesar
found it in use in Gaul, and adopted it as a word already known
to the Romans. Many of the learned (from a passage of Tacitus,
de Mor Germ. c. 2) have supposed that it was only applied to the
Teutons after Caesar's time; but Adelung has triumphantly refuted
this opinion. The name of Germans is found in the Fasti
Capitolini. See Gruter, Iscrip. 2899, in which the consul
Marcellus, in the year of Rome 531, is said to have defeated the
Gauls, the Insubrians, and the Germans, commanded by Virdomar.
See Adelung, Aelt. Geschichte der Deutsch, p. 102. - Compressed
from G.]

[Footnote 1: The modern philosophers of Sweden seem agreed that
the waters of the Baltic gradually sink in a regular proportion,
which they have ventured to estimate at half an inch every year.
Twenty centuries ago the flat country of Scandinavia must have
been covered by the sea; while the high lands rose above the
waters, as so many islands of various forms and dimensions.
Such, indeed, is the notion given us by Mela, Pliny, and Tacitus,
of the vast countries round the Baltic. See in the Bibliotheque
Raisonnee, tom. xl. and xlv. a large abstract of Dalin's History
of Sweden, composed in the Swedish language.

Note: Modern geologists have rejected this theory of the
depression of the Baltic, as inconsistent with recent
observation. The considerable changes which have taken place on
its shores, Mr. Lyell, from actual observation now decidedly
attributes to the regular and uniform elevation of the land. -
Lyell's Geology, b. ii. c. 17 - M.]

Some ingenious writers ^2 have suspected that Europe was
much colder formerly than it is at present; and the most ancient
descriptions of the climate of Germany tend exceedingly to
confirm their theory. The general complaints of intense frost
and eternal winter, are perhaps little to be regarded, since we
have no method of reducing to the accurate standard of the
thermometer, the feelings, or the expressions, of an orator born
in the happier regions of Greece or Asia. But I shall select two
remarkable circumstances of a less equivocal nature. 1. The
great rivers which covered the Roman provinces, the Rhine and the
Danube, were frequently frozen over, and capable of supporting
the most enormous weights. The barbarians, who often chose that
severe season for their inroads, transported, without
apprehension or danger, their numerous armies, their cavalry, and
their heavy wagons, over a vast and solid bridge of ice. ^3
Modern ages have not presented an instance of a like phenomenon.
2. The reindeer, that useful animal, from whom the savage of the
North derives the best comforts of his dreary life, is of a
constitution that supports, and even requires, the most intense
cold. He is found on the rock of Spitzberg, within ten degrees
of the Pole; he seems to delight in the snows of Lapland and
Siberia: but at present he cannot subsist, much less multiply, in
any country to the south of the Baltic. ^4 In the time of Caesar
the reindeer, as well as the elk and the wild bull, was a native
of the Hercynian forest, which then overshadowed a great part of
Germany and Poland. ^5 The modern improvements sufficiently
explain the causes of the diminution of the cold. These immense
woods have been gradually cleared, which intercepted from the
earth the rays of the sun. ^6 The morasses have been drained,
and, in proportion as the soil has been cultivated, the air has
become more temperate. Canada, at this day, is an exact picture
of ancient Germany. Although situated in the same parallel with
the finest provinces of France and England, that country
experiences the most rigorous cold. The reindeer are very
numerous, the ground is covered with deep and lasting snow, and
the great river of St. Lawrence is regularly frozen, in a season
when the waters of the Seine and the Thames are usually free from
ice. ^7
[Footnote 2: In particular, Mr. Hume, the Abbe du Bos, and M.
Pelloutier. Hist. des Celtes, tom. i.]

[Footnote 3: Diodorus Siculus, l. v. p. 340, edit. Wessel.
Herodian, l. vi. p. 221. Jornandes, c. 55. On the banks of the
Danube, the wine, when brought to table, was frequently frozen
into great lumps, frusta vini. Ovid. Epist. ex Ponto, l. iv. 7,
9, 10. Virgil. Georgic. l. iii. 355. The fact is confirmed by a
soldier and a philosopher, who had experienced the intense cold
of Thrace. See Xenophon, Anabasis, l. vii. p. 560, edit.
Hutchinson.
Note: The Danube is constantly frozen over. At Pesth the
bridge is usually taken up, and the traffic and communication
between the two banks carried on over the ice. The Rhine is
likewise in many parts passable at least two years out of five.
Winter campaigns are so unusual, in modern warfare, that I
recollect but one instance of an army crossing either river on
the ice. In the thirty years' war, (1635,) Jan van Werth, an
Imperialist partisan, crossed the Rhine from Heidelberg on the
ice with 5000 men, and surprised Spiers. Pichegru's memorable
campaign, (1794-5,) when the freezing of the Meuse and Waal
opened Holland to his conquests, and his cavalry and artillery
attacked the ships frozen in, on the Zuyder Zee, was in a winter
of unprecedented severity. - M. 1845.]

[Footnote 4: Buffon, Histoire Naturelle, tom. xii. p. 79, 116.]
[Footnote 5: Caesar de Bell. Gallic. vi. 23, &c. The most
inquisitive of the Germans were ignorant of its utmost limits,
although some of them had travelled in it more than sixty days'
journey.

Note: The passage of Caesar, "parvis renonum tegumentis
utuntur," is obscure, observes Luden, (Geschichte des Teutschen
Volkes,) and insufficient to prove the reindeer to have existed
in Germany. It is supported however, by a fragment of Sallust.
Germani intectum rhenonibus corpus tegunt. - M. It has been
suggested to me that Caesar (as old Gesner supposed) meant the
reindeer in the following description. Est bos cervi figura
cujus a media fronte inter aures unum cornu existit, excelsius
magisque directum (divaricatum, qu ?) his quae nobis nota sunt
cornibus. At ejus summo, sicut palmae, rami quam late
diffunduntur. Bell. vi. - M. 1845.]
[Footnote 6: Cluverius (Germania Antiqua, l. iii. c. 47)
investigates the small and scattered remains of the Hercynian
wood.]

[Footnote 7: Charlevoix, Histoire du Canada.]

It is difficult to ascertain, and easy to exaggerate, the
influence of the climate of ancient Germany over the minds and
bodies of the natives. Many writers have supposed, and most have
allowed, though, as it should seem, without any adequate proof,
that the rigorous cold of the North was favorable to long life
and generative vigor, that the women were more fruitful, and the
human species more prolific, than in warmer or more temperate
climates. ^8 We may assert, with greater confidence, that the
keen air of Germany formed the large and masculine limbs of the
natives, who were, in general, of a more lofty stature than the
people of the South, ^9 gave them a kind of strength better
adapted to violent exertions than to patient labor, and inspired
them with constitutional bravery, which is the result of nerves
and spirits. The severity of a winter campaign, that chilled the
courage of the Roman troops, was scarcely felt by these hardy
children of the North, ^10 who, in their turn, were unable to
resist the summer heats, and dissolved away in languor and
sickness under the beams of an Italian sun. ^11

[Footnote 8: Olaus Rudbeck asserts that the Swedish women often
bear ten or twelve children, and not uncommonly twenty or thirty;
but the authority of Rudbeck is much to be suspected.]

[Footnote 9: In hos artus, in haec corpora, quae miramur,
excrescunt. Taeit Germania, 3, 20. Cluver. l. i. c. 14.]

[Footnote 10: Plutarch. in Mario. The Cimbri, by way of
amusement, often did down mountains of snow on their broad
shields.]

[Footnote 11: The Romans made war in all climates, and by their
excellent discipline were in a great measure preserved in health
and vigor. It may be remarked, that man is the only animal which
can live and multiply in every country from the equator to the
poles. The hog seems to approach the nearest to our species in
that privilege.]

Chapter IX: State Of Germany Until The Barbarians.

Part II.

There is not any where upon the globe a large tract of
country, which we have discovered destitute of inhabitants, or
whose first population can be fixed with any degree of historical
certainty. And yet, as the most philosophic minds can seldom
refrain from investigating the infancy of great nations, our
curiosity consumes itself in toilsome and disappointed efforts.
When Tacitus considered the purity of the German blood, and the
forbidding aspect of the country, he was disposed to pronounce
those barbarians Indigence, or natives of the soil. We may allow
with safety, and perhaps with truth, that ancient Germany was not
originally peopled by any foreign colonies already formed into a
political society; ^12 but that the name and nation received
their existence from the gradual union of some wandering savages
of the Hercynian woods. To assert those savages to have been the
spontaneous production of the earth which they inhabited would be
a rash inference, condemned by religion, and unwarranted by
reason.
[Footnote 12: Facit. Germ. c. 3. The emigration of the Gauls
followed the course of the Danube, and discharged itself on
Greece and Asia. Tacitus could discover only one inconsiderable
tribe that retained any traces of a Gallic origin.

Note: The Gothini, who must not be confounded with the
Gothi, a Suevian tribe. In the time of Caesar many other tribes
of Gaulish origin dwelt along the course of the Danube, who could
not long resist the attacks of the Suevi. The Helvetians, who
dwelt on the borders of the Black Forest, between the Maine and
the Danube, had been expelled long before the time of Caesar. He
mentions also the Volci Tectosagi, who came from Languedoc and
settled round the Black Forest. The Boii, who had penetrated
into that forest, and also have left traces of their name in
Bohemia, were subdued in the first century by the Marcomanni.
The Boii settled in Noricum, were mingled afterwards with the
Lombards, and received the name of Boio Arii (Bavaria) or
Boiovarii: var, in some German dialects, appearing to mean
remains, descendants. Compare Malte B-m, Geography, vol. i. p.
410, edit 1832 - M.]

Such rational doubt is but ill suited with the genius of
popular vanity. Among the nations who have adopted the Mosaic
history of the world, the ark of Noah has been of the same use,
as was formerly to the Greeks and Romans the siege of Troy. On a
narrow basis of acknowledged truth, an immense but rude
superstructure of fable has been erected; and the wild Irishman,
^13 as well as the wild Tartar, ^14 could point out the
individual son of Japhet, from whose loins his ancestors were
lineally descended. The last century abounded with antiquarians
of profound learning and easy faith, who, by the dim light of
legends and traditions, of conjectures and etymologies, conducted
the great grandchildren of Noah from the Tower of Babel to the
extremities of the globe. Of these judicious critics, one of the
most entertaining was Oaus Rudbeck, professor in the university
of Upsal. ^15 Whatever is celebrated either in history or fable,
this zealous patriot ascribes to his country. From Sweden (which
formed so considerable a part of ancient Germany) the Greeks
themselves derived their alphabetical characters, their
astronomy, and their religion. Of that delightful region (for
such it appeared to the eyes of a native) the Atlantis of Plato,
the country of the Hyperboreans, the gardens of the Hesperides,
the Fortunate Islands, and even the Elysian Fields, were all but
faint and imperfect transcripts. A clime so profusely favored by
Nature could not long remain desert after the flood. The learned
Rudbeck allows the family of Noah a few years to multiply from
eight to about twenty thousand persons. He then disperses them
into small colonies to replenish the earth, and to propagate the
human species. The German or Swedish detachment (which marched,
if I am not mistaken, under the command of Askenaz, the son of
Gomer, the son of Japhet) distinguished itself by a more than
common diligence in the prosecution of this great work. The
northern hive cast its swarms over the greatest part of Europe,
Africa, and Asia; and (to use the author's metaphor) the blood
circulated from the extremities to the heart.

[Footnote 13: According to Dr. Keating, (History of Ireland, p.
13, 14,) the giant Portholanus, who was the son of Seara, the son
of Esra, the son of Sru, the son of Framant, the son of
Fathaclan, the son of Magog, the son of Japhet, the son of Noah,
landed on the coast of Munster the 14th day of May, in the year
of the world one thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight. Though
he succeeded in his great enterprise, the loose behavior of his
wife rendered his domestic life very unhappy, and provoked him to
such a degree, that he killed - her favorite greyhound. This, as
the learned historian very properly observes, was the first
instance of female falsehood and infidelity ever known in
Ireland.]

[Footnote 14: Genealogical History of the Tartars, by Abulghazi
Bahadur Khan.]

[Footnote 15: His work, entitled Atlantica, is uncommonly scarce.

Bayle has given two most curious extracts from it. Republique
des Lettres Janvier et Fevrier, 1685.]

But all this well-labored system of German antiquities is
annihilated by a single fact, too well attested to admit of any
doubt, and of too decisive a nature to leave room for any reply.
The Germans, in the age of Tacitus, were unacquainted with the
use of letters; ^16 and the use of letters is the principal
circumstance that distinguishes a civilized people from a herd of
savages incapable of knowledge or reflection. Without that
artificial help, the human memory soon dissipates or corrupts the
ideas intrusted to her charge; and the nobler faculties of the
mind, no longer supplied with models or with materials, gradually
forget their powers; the judgment becomes feeble and lethargic,
the imagination languid or irregular. Fully to apprehend this
important truth, let us attempt, in an improved society, to
calculate the immense distance between the man of learning and
the illiterate peasant. The former, by reading and reflection,
multiplies his own experience, and lives in distant ages and
remote countries; whilst the latter, rooted to a single spot, and
confined to a few years of existence, surpasses but very little
his fellow-laborer, the ox, in the exercise of his mental
faculties. The same, and even a greater, difference will be
found between nations than between individuals; and we may safely
pronounce, that without some species of writing, no people has
ever preserved the faithful annals of their history, ever made
any considerable progress in the abstract sciences, or ever
possessed, in any tolerable degree of perfection, the useful and
agreeable arts of life.

[Footnote 16: Tacit. Germ. ii. 19. Literarum secreta viri
pariter ac foeminae ignorant. We may rest contented with this
decisive authority, without entering into the obscure disputes
concerning the antiquity of the Runic characters. The learned
Celsius, a Swede, a scholar, and a philosopher, was of opinion,
that they were nothing more than the Roman letters, with the
curves changed into straight lines for the ease of engraving.
See Pelloutier, Histoire des Celtes, l. ii. c. 11. Dictionnaire
Diplomatique, tom. i. p. 223. We may add, that the oldest Runic
inscriptions are supposed to be of the third century, and the
most ancient writer who mentions the Runic characters is Venan
tius Frotunatus, (Carm. vii. 18,) who lived towards the end of
the sixth century.

Barbara fraxineis pingatur Runa tabellis.

Note: The obscure subject of the Runic characters has
exercised the industry and ingenuity of the modern scholars of
the north. There are three distinct theories; one, maintained by
Schlozer, (Nordische Geschichte, p. 481, &c.,) who considers
their sixteen letters to be a corruption of the Roman alphabet,
post-Christian in their date, and Schlozer would attribute their
introduction into the north to the Alemanni. The second, that of
Frederick Schlegel, (Vorlesungen uber alte und neue Literatur,)
supposes that these characters were left on the coasts of the
Mediterranean and Northern Seas by the Phoenicians, preserved by
the priestly castes, and employed for purposes of magic. Their
common origin from the Phoenician would account for heir
similarity to the Roman letters. The last, to which we incline,
claims much higher and more venerable antiquity for the Runic,
and supposes them to have been the original characters of the
Indo-Teutonic tribes, brought from the East, and preserved among
the different races of that stock. See Ueber Deutsche Runen von
W. C. Grimm, 1821. A Memoir by Dr. Legis. Fundgruben des alten
Nordens. Foreign Quarterly Review vol. ix. p. 438. - M.]
Of these arts, the ancient Germans were wretchedly
destitute. They passed their lives in a state of ignorance and
poverty, which it has pleased some declaimers to dignify with the
appellation of virtuous simplicity. Modern Germany is said to
contain about two thousand three hundred walled towns. ^17 In a
much wider extent of country, the geographer Ptolemy could
discover no more than ninety places which he decorates with the
name of cities; ^18 though, according to our ideas, they would
but ill deserve that splendid title. We can only suppose them to
have been rude fortifications, constructed in the centre of the
woods, and designed to secure the women, children, and cattle,
whilst the warriors of the tribe marched out to repel a sudden
invasion. ^19 But Tacitus asserts, as a well-known fact, that the
Germans, in his time, had no cities; ^20 and that they affected
to despise the works of Roman industry, as places of confinement
rather than of security. ^21 Their edifices were not even
contiguous, or formed into regular villas; ^22 each barbarian
fixed his independent dwelling on the spot to which a plain, a
wood, or a stream of fresh water, had induced him to give the
preference. Neither stone, nor brick, nor tiles, were employed
in these slight habitations. ^23 They were indeed no more than
low huts, of a circular figure, built of rough timber, thatched
with straw, and pierced at the top to leave a free passage for
the smoke. In the most inclement winter, the hardy German was
satisfied with a scanty garment made of the skin of some animal.
The nations who dwelt towards the North clothed themselves in
furs; and the women manufactured for their own use a coarse kind
of linen. ^24 The game of various sorts, with which the forests
of Germany were plentifully stocked, supplied its inhabitants
with food and exercise. ^25 Their monstrous herds of cattle, less
remarkable indeed for their beauty than for their utility, ^26
formed the principal object of their wealth. A small quantity of
corn was the only produce exacted from the earth; the use of
orchards or artificial meadows was unknown to the Germans; nor
can we expect any improvements in agriculture from a people,
whose prosperity every year experienced a general change by a new
division of the arable lands, and who, in that strange operation,
avoided disputes, by suffering a great part of their territory to
lie waste and without tillage. ^27

[Footnote *: Luden (the author of the Geschichte des Teutschen
Volkes) has surpassed most writers in his patriotic enthusiasm
for the virtues and noble manners of his ancestors. Even the
cold of the climate, and the want of vines and fruit trees, as
well as the barbarism of the inhabitants, are calumnies of the
luxurious Italians. M. Guizot, on the other side, (in his
Histoire de la Civilisation, vol. i. p. 272, &c.,) has drawn a
curious parallel between the Germans of Tacitus and the North
American Indians. - M.] [Footnote 17: Recherches Philosophiques
sur les Americains, tom. iii. p. 228. The author of that very
curious work is, if I am not misinformed, a German by birth. (De
Pauw.)]

[Footnote 18: The Alexandrian Geographer is often criticized by
the accurate Cluverius.]

[Footnote 19: See Caesar, and the learned Mr. Whitaker in his
History of Manchester, vol. i.]

[Footnote 20: Tacit. Germ. 15.]

[Footnote 21: When the Germans commanded the Ubii of Cologne to
cast off the Roman yoke, and with their new freedom to resume
their ancient manners, they insisted on the immediate demolition
of the walls of the colony. "Postulamus a vobis, muros coloniae,
munimenta servitii, detrahatis; etiam fera animalia, si clausa
teneas, virtutis obliviscuntur." Tacit. Hist. iv. 64.]
[Footnote 22: The straggling villages of Silesia are several
miles in length. See Cluver. l. i. c. 13.]

[Footnote 23: One hundred and forty years after Tacitus, a few
more regular structures were erected near the Rhine and Danube.
Herodian, l. vii. p. 234.]

[Footnote 24: Tacit. Germ. 17.]

[Footnote 25: Tacit. Germ. 5.]

[Footnote 26: Caesar de Bell. Gall. vi. 21.]

[Footnote 27: Tacit. Germ. 26. Caesar, vi. 22.]

Gold, silver, and iron, were extremely scarce in Germany.
Its barbarous inhabitants wanted both skill and patience to
investigate those rich veins of silver, which have so liberally
rewarded the attention of the princes of Brunswick and Saxony.
Sweden, which now supplies Europe with iron, was equally ignorant
of its own riches; and the appearance of the arms of the Germans
furnished a sufficient proof how little iron they were able to
bestow on what they must have deemed the noblest use of that
metal. The various transactions of peace and war had introduced
some Roman coins (chiefly silver) among the borderers of the
Rhine and Danube; but the more distant tribes were absolutely
unacquainted with the use of money, carried on their confined
traffic by the exchange of commodities, and prized their rude
earthen vessels as of equal value with the silver vases, the
presents of Rome to their princes and ambassadors. ^28 To a mind
capable of reflection, such leading facts convey more
instruction, than a tedious detail of subordinate circumstances.
The value of money has been settled by general consent to express
our wants and our property, as letters were invented to express
our ideas; and both these institutions, by giving a more active
energy to the powers and passions of human nature, have
contributed to multiply the objects they were designed to
represent. The use of gold and silver is in a great measure
factitious; but it would be impossible to enumerate the important
and various services which agriculture, and all the arts, have
received from iron, when tempered and fashioned by the operation
of fire, and the dexterous hand of man. Money, in a word, is the
most universal incitement, iron the most powerful instrument, of
human industry; and it is very difficult to conceive by what
means a people, neither actuated by the one, nor seconded by the
other, could emerge from the grossest barbarism. ^29

[Footnote 28: Tacit. Germ. 6.]

[Footnote 29: It is said that the Mexicans and Peruvians, without
the use of either money or iron, had made a very great progress
in the arts. Those arts, and the monuments they produced, have
been strangely magnified. See Recherches sur les Americains,
tom. ii. p. 153, &c]

If we contemplate a savage nation in any part of the globe,
a supine indolence and a carelessness of futurity will be found
to constitute their general character. In a civilized state,
every faculty of man is expanded and exercised; and the great
chain of mutual dependence connects and embraces the several
members of society. The most numerous portion of it is employed
in constant and useful labor. The select few, placed by fortune
above that necessity, can, however, fill up their time by the
pursuits of interest or glory, by the improvement of their estate
or of their understanding, by the duties, the pleasures, and even
the follies of social life. The Germans were not possessed of
these varied resources. The care of the house and family, the
management of the land and cattle, were delegated to the old and
the infirm, to women and slaves. The lazy warrior, destitute of
every art that might employ his leisure hours, consumed his days
and nights in the animal gratifications of sleep and food. And
yet, by a wonderful diversity of nature, (according to the remark
of a writer who had pierced into its darkest recesses,) the same
barbarians are by turns the most indolent and the most restless
of mankind. They delight in sloth, they detest tranquility. ^30
The languid soul, oppressed with its own weight, anxiously
required some new and powerful sensation; and war and danger were
the only amusements adequate to its fierce temper. The sound
that summoned the German to arms was grateful to his ear. It
roused him from his uncomfortable lethargy, gave him an active
pursuit, and, by strong exercise of the body, and violent
emotions of the mind, restored him to a more lively sense of his
existence. In the dull intervals of peace, these barbarians were
immoderately addicted to deep gaming and excessive drinking; both
of which, by different means, the one by inflaming their
passions, the other by extinguishing their reason, alike relieved
them from the pain of thinking. They gloried in passing whole
days and nights at table; and the blood of friends and relations
often stained their numerous and drunken assemblies. ^31 Their
debts of honor (for in that light they have transmitted to us
those of play) they discharged with the most romantic fidelity.
The desperate gamester, who had staked his person and liberty on
a last throw of the dice, patiently submitted to the decision of
fortune, and suffered himself to be bound, chastised, and sold
into remote slavery, by his weaker but more lucky antagonist. ^32

[Footnote 30: Tacit. Germ. 15.]

[Footnote 31: Tacit. Germ. 22, 23.]

[Footnote 32: Id. 24. The Germans might borrow the arts of play
from the Romans, but the passion is wonderfully inherent in the
human species.] Strong beer, a liquor extracted with very
little art from wheat or barley, and corrupted (as it is strongly
expressed by Tacitus) into a certain semblance of wine, was
sufficient for the gross purposes of German debauchery. But
those who had tasted the rich wines of Italy, and afterwards of
Gaul, sighed for that more delicious species of intoxication.
They attempted not, however, (as has since been executed with so
much success,) to naturalize the vine on the banks of the Rhine
and Danube; nor did they endeavor to procure by industry the
materials of an advantageous commerce. To solicit by labor what
might be ravished by arms, was esteemed unworthy of the German
spirit. ^33 The intemperate thirst of strong liquors often urged
the barbarians to invade the provinces on which art or nature had
bestowed those much envied presents. The Tuscan who betrayed his
country to the Celtic nations, attracted them into Italy by the
prospect of the rich fruits and delicious wines, the productions
of a happier climate. ^34 And in the same manner the German
auxiliaries, invited into France during the civil wars of the
sixteenth century, were allured by the promise of plenteous
quarters in the provinces of Champaigne and Burgundy. ^35
Drunkenness, the most illiberal, but not the most dangerous of
our vices, was sometimes capable, in a less civilized state of
mankind, of occasioning a battle, a war, or a revolution.

[Footnote 33: Tacit. Germ. 14.]

[Footnote 34: Plutarch. in Camillo. T. Liv. v. 33.]

[Footnote 35: Dubos. Hist. de la Monarchie Francoise, tom. i. p.
193.]
The climate of ancient Germany has been modified, and the
soil fertilized, by the labor of ten centuries from the time of
Charlemagne. The same extent of ground which at present
maintains, in ease and plenty, a million of husbandmen and
artificers, was unable to supply a hundred thousand lazy warriors
with the simple necessaries of life. ^36 The Germans abandoned
their immense forests to the exercise of hunting, employed in
pasturage the most considerable part of their lands, bestowed on
the small remainder a rude and careless cultivation, and then
accused the scantiness and sterility of a country that refused to
maintain the multitude of its inhabitants. When the return of
famine severely admonished them of the importance of the arts,
the national distress was sometimes alleviated by the emigration
of a third, perhaps, or a fourth part of their youth. ^37 The
possession and the enjoyment of property are the pledges which
bind a civilized people to an improved country. But the Germans,
who carried with them what they most valued, their arms, their
cattle, and their women, cheerfully abandoned the vast silence of
their woods for the unbounded hopes of plunder and conquest. The
innumerable swarms that issued, or seemed to issue, from the
great storehouse of nations, were multiplied by the fears of the
vanquished, and by the credulity of succeeding ages. And from
facts thus exaggerated, an opinion was gradually established, and
has been supported by writers of distinguished reputation, that,
in the age of Caesar and Tacitus, the inhabitants of the North
were far more numerous than they are in our days. ^38 A more
serious inquiry into the causes of population seems to have
convinced modern philosophers of the falsehood, and indeed the
impossibility, of the supposition. To the names of Mariana and
of Machiavel, ^39 we can oppose the equal names of Robertson and
Hume. ^40

[Footnote 36: The Helvetian nation, which issued from a country
called Switzerland, contained, of every age and sex, 368,000
persons, (Caesar de Bell. Gal. i. 29.) At present, the number of
people in the Pays de Vaud (a small district on the banks of the
Leman Lake, much more distinguished for politeness than for
industry) amounts to 112,591. See an excellent tract of M.
Muret, in the Memoires de la Societe de Born.]

[Footnote 37: Paul Diaconus, c. 1, 2, 3. Machiavel, Davila, and
the rest of Paul's followers, represent these emigrations too
much as regular and concerted measures.]

[Footnote 38: Sir William Temple and Montesquieu have indulged,
on this subject, the usual liveliness of their fancy.]

[Footnote 39: Machiavel, Hist. di Firenze, l. i. Mariana, Hist.
Hispan. l. v. c. 1]

[Footnote 40: Robertson's Charles V. Hume's Political Essays.
Note: It is a wise observation of Malthus, that these
nations "were not populous in proportion to the land they
occupied, but to the food they produced. They were prolific from
their pure morals and constitutions, but their institutions were
not calculated to produce food for those whom they brought into
being. - M - 1845.]

A warlike nation like the Germans, without either cities,
letters, arts, or money, found some compensation for this savage
state in the enjoyment of liberty. Their poverty secured their
freedom, since our desires and our possessions are the strongest
fetters of despotism. "Among the Suiones (says Tacitus) riches
are held in honor. They are therefore subject to an absolute
monarch, who, instead of intrusting his people with the free use
of arms, as is practised in the rest of Germany, commits them to
the safe custody, not of a citizen, or even of a freedman, but of
a slave. The neighbors of the Suiones, the Sitones, are sunk
even below servitude; they obey a woman." ^41 In the mention of
these exceptions, the great historian sufficiently acknowledges
the general theory of government. We are only at a loss to
conceive by what means riches and despotism could penetrate into
a remote corner of the North, and extinguish the generous flame
that blazed with such fierceness on the frontier of the Roman
provinces, or how the ancestors of those Danes and Norwegians, so
distinguished in latter ages by their unconquered spirit, could
thus tamely resign the great character of German liberty. ^42
Some tribes, however, on the coast of the Baltic, acknowledged
the authority of kings, though without relinquishing the rights
of men, ^43 but in the far greater part of Germany, the form of
government was a democracy, tempered, indeed, and controlled, not
so much by general and positive laws, as by the occasional
ascendant of birth or valor, of eloquence or superstition. ^44

[Footnote 41: Tacit. German. 44, 45. Freinshemius (who dedicated
his supplement to Livy to Christina of Sweden) thinks proper to
be very angry with the Roman who expressed so very little
reverence for Northern queens.
Note: The Suiones and the Sitones are the ancient
inhabitants of Scandinavia, their name may be traced in that of
Sweden; they did not belong to the race of the Suevi, but that of
the non-Suevi or Cimbri, whom the Suevi, in very remote times,
drove back part to the west, part to the north; they were
afterwards mingled with Suevian tribes, among others the Goths,
who have traces of their name and power in the isle of Gothland.
- G]
[Footnote 42: May we not suspect that superstition was the parent
of despotism? The descendants of Odin, (whose race was not
extinct till the year 1060) are said to have reigned in Sweden
above a thousand years. The temple of Upsal was the ancient seat
of religion and empire. In the year 1153 I find a singular law,
prohibiting the use and profession of arms to any except the
king's guards. Is it not probable that it was colored by the
pretence of reviving an old institution? See Dalin's History of
Sweden in the Bibliotheque Raisonneo tom. xl. and xlv.]

[Footnote 43: Tacit. Germ. c. 43.]

[Footnote 44: Id. c. 11, 12, 13, & c.]

Civil governments, in their first institution, are voluntary
associations for mutual defence. To obtain the desired end, it
is absolutely necessary that each individual should conceive
himself obliged to submit his private opinions and actions to the
judgment of the greater number of his associates. The German
tribes were contented with this rude but liberal outline of
political society. As soon as a youth, born of free parents, had
attained the age of manhood, he was introduced into the general
council of his countrymen, solemnly invested with a shield and
spear, and adopted as an equal and worthy member of the military
commonwealth. The assembly of the warriors of the tribe was
convened at stated seasons, or on sudden emergencies. The trial
of public offences, the election of magistrates, and the great
business of peace and war, were determined by its independent
voice. Sometimes indeed, these important questions were
previously considered and prepared in a more select council of
the principal chieftains. ^45 The magistrates might deliberate
and persuade, the people only could resolve and execute; and the
resolutions of the Germans were for the most part hasty and
violent. Barbarians accustomed to place their freedom in
gratifying the present passion, and their courage in overlooking
all future consequences, turned away with indignant contempt from
the remonstrances of justice and policy, and it was the practice
to signify by a hollow murmur their dislike of such timid
counsels. But whenever a more popular orator proposed to
vindicate the meanest citizen from either foreign or domestic
injury, whenever he called upon his fellow-countrymen to assert
the national honor, or to pursue some enterprise full of danger
and glory, a loud clashing of shields and spears expressed the
eager applause of the assembly. For the Germans always met in
arms, and it was constantly to be dreaded, lest an irregular
multitude, inflamed with faction and strong liquors, should use
those arms to enforce, as well as to declare, their furious
resolves. We may recollect how often the diets of Poland have
been polluted with blood, and the more numerous party has been
compelled to yield to the more violent and seditious. ^46

[Footnote 45: Grotius changes an expression of Tacitus,
pertractantur into Proetractantur. The correction is equally
just and ingenious.]
[Footnote 46: Even in our ancient parliament, the barons often
carried a question, not so much by the number of votes, as by
that of their armed followers.]

A general of the tribe was elected on occasions of danger;
and, if the danger was pressing and extensive, several tribes
concurred in the choice of the same general. The bravest warrior
was named to lead his countrymen into the field, by his example
rather than by his commands. But this power, however limited,
was still invidious. It expired with the war, and in time of
peace the German tribes acknowledged not any supreme chief. ^47
Princes were, however, appointed, in the general assembly, to
administer justice, or rather to compose differences, ^48 in
their respective districts. In the choice of these magistrates,
as much regard was shown to birth as to merit. ^49 To each was
assigned, by the public, a guard, and a council of a hundred
persons, and the first of the princes appears to have enjoyed a
preeminence of rank and honor which sometimes tempted the Romans
to compliment him with the regal title. ^50

[Footnote 47: Caesar de Bell. Gal. vi. 23.]

[Footnote 48: Minuunt controversias, is a very happy expression
of Caesar's.]
[Footnote 49: Reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt.
Tacit Germ. 7]
[Footnote 50: Cluver. Germ. Ant. l. i. c. 38.]

The comparative view of the powers of the magistrates, in
two remarkable instances, is alone sufficient to represent the
whole system of German manners. The disposal of the landed
property within their district was absolutely vested in their
hands, and they distributed it every year according to a new
division. ^51 At the same time they were not authorized to punish
with death, to imprison, or even to strike a private citizen. ^52
A people thus jealous of their persons, and careless of their
possessions, must have been totally destitute of industry and the
arts, but animated with a high sense of honor and independence.

[Footnote 51: Caesar, vi. 22. Tacit Germ. 26.]

[Footnote 52: Tacit. Germ. 7.]

Chapter IX: State Of Germany Until The Barbarians.

Part III.

The Germans respected only those duties which they imposed
on themselves. The most obscure soldier resisted with disdain
the authority of the magistrates. "The noblest youths blushed
not to be numbered among the faithful companions of some renowned
chief, to whom they devoted their arms and service. A noble
emulation prevailed among the companions, to obtain the first
place in the esteem of their chief; amongst the chiefs, to
acquire the greatest number of valiant companions. To be ever
surrounded by a band of select youths was the pride and strength
of the chiefs, their ornament in peace, their defence in war.
The glory of such distinguished heroes diffused itself beyond the
narrow limits of their own tribe. Presents and embassies
solicited their friendship, and the fame of their arms often
insured victory to the party which they espoused. In the hour of
danger it was shameful for the chief to be surpassed in valor by
his companions; shameful for the companions not to equal the
valor of their chief. To survive his fall in battle, was
indelible infamy. To protect his person, and to adorn his glory
with the trophies of their own exploits, were the most sacred of
their duties. The chiefs combated for victory, the companions
for the chief. The noblest warriors, whenever their native
country was sunk into the laziness of peace, maintained their
numerous bands in some distant scene of action, to exercise their
restless spirit, and to acquire renown by voluntary dangers.
Gifts worthy of soldiers - the warlike steed, the bloody and even
victorious lance - were the rewards which the companions claimed
from the liberality of their chief. The rude plenty of his
hospitable board was the only pay that he could bestow, or they
would accept. War, rapine, and the free-will offerings of his
friends, supplied the materials of this munificence. ^53 This
institution, however it might accidentally weaken the several
republics, invigorated the general character of the Germans, and
even ripened amongst them all the virtues of which barbarians are
susceptible; the faith and valor, the hospitality and the
courtesy, so conspicuous long afterwards in the ages of chivalry.

The honorable gifts, bestowed by the chief on his brave
companions, have been supposed, by an ingenious writer, to
contain the first rudiments of the fiefs, distributed after the
conquest of the Roman provinces, by the barbarian lords among
their vassals, with a similar duty of homage and military
service. ^54 These conditions are, however, very repugnant to the
maxims of the ancient Germans, who delighted in mutual presents;
but without either imposing, or accepting, the weight of
obligations. ^55

[Footnote 53: Tacit. Germ. 13, 14.]

[Footnote 54: Esprit des Loix, l. xxx. c. 3. The brilliant
imagination of Montesquieu is corrected, however, by the dry,
cold reason of the Abbe de Mably. Observations sur l'Histoire de
France, tom. i. p. 356.]
[Footnote 55: Gaudent muneribus, sed nec data imputant, nec
acceptis obligautur. Tacit. Germ. c. 21.]

"In the days of chivalry, or more properly of romance, all
the men were brave, and all the women were chaste;" and
notwithstanding the latter of these virtues is acquired and
preserved with much more difficulty than the former, it is
ascribed, almost without exception, to the wives of the ancient
Germans. Polygamy was not in use, except among the princes, and
among them only for the sake of multiplying their alliances.
Divorces were prohibited by manners rather than by laws.
Adulteries were punished as rare and inexpiable crimes; nor was
seduction justified by example and fashion. ^56 We may easily
discover that Tacitus indulges an honest pleasure in the contrast
of barbarian virtue with the dissolute conduct of the Roman
ladies; yet there are some striking circumstances that give an
air of truth, or at least probability, to the conjugal faith and
chastity of the Germans.
[Footnote 56: The adulteress was whipped through the village.
Neither wealth nor beauty could inspire compassion, or procure
her a second husband. 18, 19.]

Although the progress of civilization has undoubtedly
contributed to assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it

seems to have been less favorable to the virtue of chastity,
whose most dangerous enemy is the softness of the mind. The
refinements of life corrupt while they polish the intercourse of
the sexes. The gross appetite of love becomes most dangerous
when it is elevated, or rather, indeed, disguised by sentimental
passion. The elegance of dress, of motion, and of manners, gives
a lustre to beauty, and inflames the senses through the
imagination. Luxurious entertainments, midnight dances, and
licentious spectacles, present at once temptation and opportunity
to female frailty. ^57 From such dangers the unpolished wives of
the barbarians were secured by poverty, solitude, and the painful
cares of a domestic life. The German huts, open, on every side,
to the eye of indiscretion or jealousy, were a better safeguard
of conjugal fidelity, than the walls, the bolts, and the eunuchs
of a Persian haram. To this reason another may be added, of a
more honorable nature. The Germans treated their women with
esteem and confidence, consulted them on every occasion of
importance, and fondly believed, that in their breasts resided a
sanctity and wisdom more than human. Some of the interpreters of
fate, such as Velleda, in the Batavian war, governed, in the name
of the deity, the fiercest nations of Germany. ^58 The rest of
the sex, without being adored as goddesses, were respected as the
free and equal companions of soldiers; associated even by the
marriage ceremony to a life of toil, of danger, and of glory. ^59
In their great invasions, the camps of the barbarians were filled
with a multitude of women, who remained firm and undaunted amidst
the sound of arms, the various forms of destruction, and the
honorable wounds of their sons and husbands. ^60 Fainting armies
of Germans have, more than once, been driven back upon the enemy,
by the generous despair of the women, who dreaded death much less
than servitude. If the day was irrecoverably lost, they well
knew how to deliver themselves and their children, with their own
hands, from an insulting victor. ^61 Heroines of such a cast may
claim our admiration; but they were most assuredly neither
lovely, nor very susceptible of love. Whilst they affected to
emulate the stern virtues of man, they must have resigned that
attractive softness, in which principally consist the charm and
weakness of woman. Conscious pride taught the German females to
suppress every tender emotion that stood in competition with
honor, and the first honor of the sex has ever been that of
chastity. The sentiments and conduct of these high-spirited
matrons may, at once, be considered as a cause, as an effect, and
as a proof of the general character of the nation. Female
courage, however it may be raised by fanaticism, or confirmed by
habit, can be only a faint and imperfect imitation of the manly
valor that distinguishes the age or country in which it may be
found.

[Footnote 57: Ovid employs two hundred lines in the research of
places the most favorable to love. Above all, he considers the
theatre as the best adapted to collect the beauties of Rome, and
to melt them into tenderness and sensuality,]

[Footnote 58: Tacit. Germ. iv. 61, 65.]

[Footnote 59: The marriage present was a yoke of oxen, horses,
and arms. See Germ. c. 18. Tacitus is somewhat too florid on
the subject.]
[Footnote 60: The change of exigere into exugere is a most
excellent correction.]

[Footnote 61: Tacit. Germ. c. 7. Plutarch in Mario. Before the
wives of the Teutones destroyed themselves and their children,
they had offered to surrender, on condition that they should be
received as the slaves of the vestal virgins.]
The religious system of the Germans (if the wild opinions of
savages can deserve that name) was dictated by their wants, their
fears, and their ignorance. ^62 They adored the great visible
objects and agents of nature, the Sun and the Moon, the Fire and
the Earth; together with those imaginary deities, who were
supposed to preside over the most important occupations of human
life. They were persuaded, that, by some ridiculous arts of
divination, they could discover the will of the superior beings,
and that human sacrifices were the most precious and acceptable
offering to their altars. Some applause has been hastily
bestowed on the sublime notion, entertained by that people, of
the Deity, whom they neither confined within the walls of the
temple, nor represented by any human figure; but when we
recollect, that the Germans were unskilled in architecture, and
totally unacquainted with the art of sculpture, we shall readily
assign the true reason of a scruple, which arose not so much from
a superiority of reason, as from a want of ingenuity. The only
temples in Germany were dark and ancient groves, consecrated by
the reverence of succeeding generations. Their secret gloom, the
imagined residence of an invisible power, by presenting no
distinct object of fear or worship, impressed the mind with a
still deeper sense of religious horror; ^63 and the priests, rude
and illiterate as they were, had been taught by experience the
use of every artifice that could preserve and fortify impressions
so well suited to their own interest.
[Footnote 62: Tacitus has employed a few lines, and Cluverius one
hundred and twenty-four pages, on this obscure subject. The
former discovers in Germany the gods of Greece and Rome. The
latter is positive, that, under the emblems of the sun, the moon,
and the fire, his pious ancestors worshipped the Trinity in
unity]

[Footnote 63: The sacred wood, described with such sublime horror
by Lucan, was in the neighborhood of Marseilles; but there were
many of the same kind in Germany.

Note: The ancient Germans had shapeless idols, and, when
they began to build more settled habitations, they raised also
temples, such as that to the goddess Teufana, who presided over
divination. See Adelung, Hist. of Ane Germans, p 296 - G]

The same ignorance, which renders barbarians incapable of
conceiving or embracing the useful restraints of laws, exposes
them naked and unarmed to the blind terrors of superstition. The
German priests, improving this favorable temper of their
countrymen, had assumed a jurisdiction even in temporal concerns,
which the magistrate could not venture to exercise; and the
haughty warrior patiently submitted to the lash of correction,
when it was inflicted, not by any human power, but by the
immediate order of the god of war. ^64 The defects of civil
policy were sometimes supplied by the interposition of
ecclesiastical authority. The latter was constantly exerted to
maintain silence and decency in the popular assemblies; and was
sometimes extended to a more enlarged concern for the national
welfare. A solemn procession was occasionally celebrated in the
present countries of Mecklenburgh and Pomerania. The unknown
symbol of the Earth, covered with a thick veil, was placed on a
carriage drawn by cows; and in this manner the goddess, whose
common residence was in the Isles of Rugen, visited several
adjacent tribes of her worshippers. During her progress the
sound of war was hushed, quarrels were suspended, arms laid
aside, and the restless Germans had an opportunity of tasting the
blessings of peace and harmony. ^65 The truce of God, so often
and so ineffectually proclaimed by the clergy of the eleventh
century, was an obvious imitation of this ancient custom. ^66
[Footnote 64: Tacit. Germania, c. 7.]

[Footnote 65: Tacit. Germania, c. 40.]

[Footnote 66: See Dr. Robertson's History of Charles V. vol. i.
note 10.]
But the influence of religion was far more powerful to
inflame, than to moderate, the fierce passions of the Germans.
Interest and fanaticism often prompted its ministers to sanctify
the most daring and the most unjust enterprises, by the
approbation of Heaven, and full assurances of success. The
consecrated standards, long revered in the groves of
superstition, were placed in the front of the battle; ^67 and the
hostile army was devoted with dire execrations to the gods of war
and of thunder. ^68 In the faith of soldiers (and such were the
Germans) cowardice is the most unpardonable of sins. A brave man
was the worthy favorite of their martial deities; the wretch who
had lost his shield was alike banished from the religious and
civil assemblies of his countrymen. Some tribes of the north
seem to have embraced the doctrine of transmigration, ^69 others
imagined a gross paradise of immortal drunkenness. ^70 All
agreed, that a life spent in arms, and a glorious death in
battle, were the best preparations for a happy futurity, either
in this or in another world.

[Footnote 67: Tacit. Germania, c. 7. These standards were only
the heads of wild beasts.]

[Footnote 68: See an instance of this custom, Tacit. Annal. xiii.
57.]
[Footnote 69: Caesar Diodorus, and Lucan, seem to ascribe this
doctrine to the Gauls, but M. Pelloutier (Histoire des Celtes, l.
iii. c. 18) labors to reduce their expressions to a more orthodox
sense.]

[Footnote 70: Concerning this gross but alluring doctrine of the
Edda, see Fable xx. in the curious version of that book,
published by M. Mallet, in his Introduction to the History of
Denmark.]

The immortality so vainly promised by the priests, was, in
some degree, conferred by the bards. That singular order of men
has most deservedly attracted the notice of all who have
attempted to investigate the antiquities of the Celts, the
Scandinavians, and the Germans. Their genius and character, as
well as the reverence paid to that important office, have been
sufficiently illustrated. But we cannot so easily express, or
even conceive, the enthusiasm of arms and glory which they
kindled in the breast of their audience. Among a polished
people, a taste for poetry is rather an amusement of the fancy,
than a passion of the soul. And yet, when in calm retirement we
peruse the combats described by Homer or Tasso, we are insensibly
seduced by the fiction, and feel a momentary glow of martial
ardor. But how faint, how cold is the sensation which a peaceful
mind can receive from solitary study! It was in the hour of
battle, or in the feast of victory, that the bards celebrated the
glory of the heroes of ancient days, the ancestors of those
warlike chieftains, who listened with transport to their artless
but animated strains. The view of arms and of danger heightened
the effect of the military song; and the passions which it tended
to excite, the desire of fame, and the contempt of death, were
the habitual sentiments of a German mind. ^71 ^*

[Footnote 71: See Tacit. Germ. c. 3. Diod. Sicul. l. v. Strabo,
l. iv. p. 197. The classical reader may remember the rank of
Demodocus in the Phaeacian court, and the ardor infused by
Tyrtaeus into the fainting Spartans. Yet there is little
probability that the Greeks and the Germans were the same people.

Much learned trifling might be spared, if our antiquarians would
condescend to reflect, that similar manners will naturally be
produced by similar situations.]

[Footnote *: Besides these battle songs, the Germans sang at
their festival banquets, (Tac. Ann. i. 65,) and around the bodies
of their slain heroes. King Theodoric, of the tribe of the Goths,
killed in a battle against Attila, was honored by songs while he
was borne from the field of battle. Jornandes, c. 41. The same
honor was paid to the remains of Attila. Ibid. c. 49. According
to some historians, the Germans had songs also at their weddings;
but this appears to me inconsistent with their customs, in which
marriage was no more than the purchase of a wife. Besides, there
is but one instance of this, that of the Gothic king, Ataulph,
who sang himself the nuptial hymn when he espoused Placidia,
sister of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius, (Olympiodor. p. 8.)
But this marriage was celebrated according to the Roman rites, of
which the nuptial songs formed a part. Adelung, p. 382. - G.
Charlemagne is said to have collected the national songs of
the ancient Germans. Eginhard, Vit. Car. Mag. - M.]

Such was the situation, and such were the manners of the
ancient Germans. Their climate, their want of learning, of arts,
and of laws, their notions of honor, of gallantry, and of
religion, their sense of freedom, impatience of peace, and thirst
of enterprise, all contributed to form a people of military
heroes. And yet we find, that during more than two hundred and
fifty years that elapsed from the defeat of Varus to the reign of
Decius, these formidable barbarians made few considerable
attempts, and not any material impression on the luxurious and
enslaved provinces of the empire. Their progress was checked by
their want of arms and discipline, and their fury was diverted by
the intestine divisions of ancient Germany.
I. It has been observed, with ingenuity, and not without
truth, that the command of iron soon gives a nation the command
of gold. But the rude tribes of Germany, alike destitute of both
those valuable metals, were reduced slowly to acquire, by their
unassisted stre