The finest building outside of the city, in the Campus Martius, was the PANTHEON, built by Agrippa, and now used as a Christian church. Here are buried many distinguished men. Near by, Augustus erected a mausoleum for himself. Here too was a theatre, built by Pompey,—the first stone theatre of Rome.
CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE JULIAN AND CLAUDIAN EMPERORS.
TIBERIUS (14-37 A.D.)
Augustus was succeeded by TIBERIUS CLAUDIUS NERO CAESAR (born 42 B. C.), the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia. His mother obtained a divorce from Tiberius, and married Augustus.
Tiberius had great military talent. He was a severe disciplinarian, and commanded the full confidence of his soldiers. As commander in Cantabria, Armenia, Rhaetia, Dalmatia, and Germany, he conducted his campaigns with success, and honor to himself. Returning to Rome in 7 B. C., he celebrated a triumph, and afterwards married Julia, the dissolute daughter of Augustus. This marriage proved to be the ruin of Tiberius, developing everything that was bad in his character, and making him jealous, suspicious, and hypocritical.
Augustus, not relishing the changes in his character, sent him to Rhodes, where he lived seven years in retirement. Through his mother's influence, however, he was recalled in 2 A. D., and was afterwards appointed the Emperor's successor. He ascended the throne at the age of fifty-six. A silent man, "all his feelings, desires, and ambitions were locked behind an impenetrable barrier." He is said but once to have taken counsel with his officers. He was a master of dissimulation, and on this account an object of dislike and suspicion. But until his later years, his intellect was clear and far-seeing, penetrating all disguises.
Throughout his reign Tiberius strove to do his duty to the Empire at large, and maintained with great care the constitutional forms which had been established by Augustus. Only two changes of importance were made. First, the IMPERIAL GUARD, hitherto seen in the city only in small bodies, was permanently encamped in full force close to the walls. By this course the danger of riots was much lessened. Secondly, the old COMITIAS were practically abolished. But the Senate was treated with great deference.
Tiberius expended great care on the provinces. His favorite maxim was, that a good shepherd should shear, and not flay, his sheep. Soldiers, governors, and officials of all kinds were kept in a wholesome dread of punishment, if they oppressed those under them. Strict economy in public expenses kept the taxes down. Commerce was cherished, and his reign on the whole was one of prosperity for the Empire.
Tiberius was noted especially for prosecutions for MAJESTAS, on the slightest pretext. Majestas nearly corresponds to treason; but it is more comprehensive. One of the offences included in the word was effecting, aiding in, or planning the death of a magistrate, or of one who had the imperium or potestas. Tiberius stretched the application of this offence even to words or conduct which could in any way be considered dangerous to the Emperor. A hateful class of informers (delatores) sprung up, and the lives of all were rendered unsafe. The dark side of this ruler's character is made specially prominent by ancient historians; but their statements are beginning to be taken with much allowance.
After a reign of twenty-three years, Tiberius died, either in a fainting fit or from violence, at the age of seventy-nine.
LIVIA, the mother of Tiberius, deserves more than a passing notice. She exercised almost a boundless influence on her husband, Augustus. She had great ambition, and was very cruel and unscrupulous. She managed to ruin, one after another, the large circle of relatives of Augustus, until finally the aged Emperor found himself alone in the palace with Livia and her son, Tiberius. All Rome execrated the Empress, and her son feared and hated her. She survived Augustus fifteen years, and died in 29. Tiberius refused to visit her on her death-bed, and was not present at her funeral.
SEJANUS was the commander of the Praetorian Guard of Tiberius. He was trusted fully by the Emperor, but proved to be a deep-dyed rascal. He persuaded Livilla, the daughter-in-law of the Emperor, to poison her husband, the heir apparent, and then he divorced his own wife to marry her. He so maligned Agrippina, the widow of Germanicus and daughter of Agrippa and Julia, that Tiberius banished her, with her sons Nero and Drusus. In 26 he induced the Emperor to retire to the island of Capreae, and he himself became the real master of Rome.
Tiberius at last finding out his true character, Sejanus was arrested and executed in 31. His body was dragged through the streets, torn in pieces by the mob, and thrown into the Tiber.
Tiberius having left no son, the Senate recognized Gaius Caesar, son of Germanicus and Agrippina, grandson of Julia, and great-grandson of Augustus, as Emperor. He is better known as CALIGULA,—a nickname given him by the soldiers from the buskins he wore. He was twenty-five years of age when he began to reign, of weak constitution, and subject to fits. After squandering his own wealth, he killed rich citizens, and confiscated their property. He seemed to revel in bloodshed, and is said to have expressed a wish that the Roman people had but one neck, that he might slay them all at a blow. He was passionately fond of adulation, and often repaired to the Capitoline temple in the guise of a god, and demanded worship. Four years of such a tyrant was enough. He was murdered by a Tribune of his Praetorian Guard.
THE CLAUDIAN EMPERORS.
A strong party was now in favor of returning to a republican form of government; but while the Senate was considering this question, the Praetorian Guard settled it by proclaiming CLAUDIUS Emperor.
Claudius was the uncle of Caligula and the nephew of Tiberius. He was a man of learning and good parts, but a glutton, and the slave of his two wives, who were both bad women. His first wife, MESSALINA, was so notorious that her name has became almost a synonym for wickedness. His second wife, his niece AGRIPPINA, sister of Caligula, was nearly as bad. This woman had by her former husband, Domitius, a son, whom she induced the Emperor to adopt under the name of NERO. The faithless wife then caused her husband to be poisoned, and her son to be proclaimed Emperor.
At Rome the rule of Claudius was mild, and on the whole beneficial. In the government of the provinces he was rigorous and severe. He undertook the CONQUEST OF BRITAIN, and in a campaign of sixteen days he laid the foundation of its final subjugation, which occurred about forty years later, under the noted general AGRICOLA: It remained a Roman province for four hundred years, but the people never assimilated Roman customs, as did the Gauls, and when the Roman garrisons were withdrawn, they quickly returned to their former condition. However, many remains of Roman buildings in the island show that it was for the time well under subjection.
The public works of Claudius were on a grand scale. He constructed a new harbor at the mouth of the Tiber, and built the great aqueduct called the AQUA CLAUDIA, the ruined arches of which can be seen to this day. He also reclaimed for agriculture a large tract of land by draining the Fucine Lake.
NERO was but sixteen years old when he began to reign. For two or three years he was under the influence of his tutor, SENECA, the author, and BURRHUS, the Praefect of the Praetorian Guard, and his government was during this period the most respectable of any since the time of Augustus. His masters kept the young Emperor amused, and removed from the cares of state. But he soon became infatuated with an unscrupulous woman, POPPAEA SABINA, for whom he neglected and finally killed his wife, Octavia.
It would be useless to follow in detail the crimes of Nero from this time. A freedman, TIGELLINUS, became his adviser, and was the real ruler of the Empire. He encouraged his master in all his vices and wickedness. Poppaea died from a kick administered by Nero in anger; Burrhus was disposed of; Agrippina, and Britannicus, the true heir to the throne, were murdered. The wealthy were plundered, and the feelings of his subjects outraged in every conceivable manner. The Emperor appeared in public, contending first as a musician, and afterwards in the sports of the circus.
The great fire of 18 July, 64, which destroyed a large part of the city, was ascribed to him, but without sufficient evidence; and the stories of his conduct during the conflagration are doubtless pure fictions. It was necessary, however, to fix the guilt on some one; so the CHRISTIANS, then a small sect, made up chiefly of the poorer people, were accused of the crime, and persecuted without mercy. They were often enclosed in fagots covered with pitch, and burned alive.
In rebuilding Rome, Nero took every precaution against the recurrence of a conflagration. Broad regular streets replaced the narrow winding alleys. The new houses were limited in height, built partly of hard stone, and protected by open spaces and colonnades. The water supply was also carefully regulated.
In addition to rebuilding the city, Nero gratified his love for the magnificent by erecting a splendid palace, called the GOLDEN HOUSE. Its walls were adorned with gold, precious stones, and masterpieces of art from Greece. The grounds around were marvellous in their meadows, lakes, groves, and distant views. In front was a colossal statue of Nero himself, one hundred and ten feet high.
Conspiracies having been formed in which Seneca and Lucan were implicated, both men were ordered to take their own lives. Nero's life after this became still more infamous. In a tour made in Greece, he conducted himself so scandalously that even Roman morals were shocked, and Roman patience could endure him no longer. The Governor of Hither Spain, GALBA, proclaimed himself Emperor, and marched upon Rome. Verginius, the Governor of Upper Germany, also lent his aid to the insurrection. The Senate proclaimed Nero a public enemy, and condemned him to death. He fled from the city and put an end to his life, June 9, 68, just in time to escape capture. His statues were broken down, his name everywhere erased, and his Golden House demolished. With him ended the Claudian line of Emperors.
LUCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA (8 B. C.-65 A. D.) was born at Corduba in Spain, of a Spanish Roman family, and was educated at Rome. His father was a teacher of rhetoric, a man of wealth and literary attainments. Seneca began to practise at the bar at Rome, and was gaining considerable reputation, when in 41 he was banished to Corsica. Eight years later he was recalled to be tutor of the young Nero, then eleven years old. He was Consul in 57, and during the first years of Nero's reign he shared the administration of affairs with the worthy Burrhus. His influence over Nero, while it lasted, was salutary, though often maintained by doubtful means. In course of time Nero began to dislike him, and when Burrhus died his fate was sealed. By the Emperor's command he committed suicide. Opening the veins in his feet and arms, he discoursed with his friends on the brevity of life till death ensued.
Seneca is the most eminent of the writers of his age. He wrote moral essays, philosophical letters, physical treatises, and tragedies. Of the last, the best are HERCULES FURENS, PHAEDRA, and MEDEA.
GALBA (68-69).—OTHO (69).—VITELLIUS (69).
GALBA entered the city as a conqueror, without much trouble, but on account of his parsimony and austerity he soon became unpopular, and was murdered by his mutinous soldiers fifteen days after he reached Rome. He belonged to an old patrician family, and his overthrow was sincerely regretted by the better element in the city.
OTHO, the first husband of Poppaea, and the leader in the insurrection against Galba, was now declared Emperor. No sooner did the news of his accession reach Gaul than VITELLIUS, a general of the army of the Rhine, revolted. Otho marched against the rebels, was defeated, and committed suicide after a reign of three months.
VITELLIUS had been a good soldier, but as a ruler he was weak and incapable. He was killed after a reign of less than a year, during which he had distinguished himself by gluttony and vulgar sensuality.
CHAPTER XXXIX. THE FLAVIAN EMPERORS.
The East now made a claim for the Emperor, and on July 1, 69, the soldiers who were engaged in war against the revolted Jews in Judaea proclaimed as Emperor their commander, TITUS FLAVIUS VESPASIANUS. He left the conduct of the war in charge of his son Titus, and arrived at Rome in 70. Here he overthrew and put to death Vitellius. In the course of this struggle the Capitol was burned. This he restored, rebuilding also a large part of the city.
In his own life Vespasian was simple, putting to shame the luxury and extravagance of the nobles, and causing a marked improvement in the general tone of society. He removed from the Senate many improper members, replacing them by able men, among whom was AGRICOLA. In 70 he put down a formidable rebellion in Gaul; and when his son Titus returned from the capture of Jerusalem, (Footnote: Jerusalem was taken in 70, after a siege of several months, the horrors of which have been graphically detailed by the Jewish historian Josephus, who was present in the army of Titus. The city was destroyed, and the inhabitants sold into slavery.) they enjoyed a joint triumph. The Temple of Janus was closed, and peace prevailed during the remainder of his reign.
Much money was spent on public works, and in beautifying the city. A new Forum was built, a Temple of Peace, public baths, and the famous COLOSSEUM was begun, receiving its name from the Colossus, a statue of Nero, which had stood near by.
On the whole, Vespasian was active and prudent in public affairs, frugal and virtuous in private life. The decade of his reign was marked by peace and general prosperity.
One of the ablest men of this age was AGRICOLA (37-93). Born at Forum Julii in Gaul, he was made Governor of Aquitania by Vespasian in 73. Four years later he was Consul, and the next year was sent to Britain, which he conquered, and governed with marked ability and moderation, increasing the prosperity of the people and advancing their civilization. He remained in Britain until 85, when he was recalled. His life was written by his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus.
Vespasian was succeeded by his son TITUS, who emulated the virtues of his father. He finished the Colosseum, begun by Vespasian, and built a triumphal arch to commemorate his victories over the Jews. This arch, called the ARCH OF TITUS, was built on the highest part of the Via Sacra, and on its walls was carved a representation of the sacred candlestick of the Jewish temple, which can still be seen.
It was during this reign that HERCULANEUM and POMPEII were destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius. In this eruption perished PLINY THE ELDER, the most noted writer of his day. His work on Natural History, the only one of his writings that is preserved, shows that he was a true student. His passion for investigation led him to approach too near the volcano, and caused his death.
DOMITIAN was the opposite of his brother Titus,—cruel, passionate, and extravagant. He was murdered after a reign of fifteen years, during which he earned the hatred and contempt of his subjects by his crimes and inconsistencies.
In his foreign policy Domitian showed considerable ability. He added to the Empire that part of Germany which corresponds to modern Baden and Wirtemberg, and built a line of fortifications from Mentz on the Rhine to Ratisbon on the Danube.
With him ended the line of the FLAVIAN EMPERORS, and he was also the last of the so called TWELVE CAESARS, a name given them by the historian Suetonius.
CHAPTER XL. THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS.
NERVA was appointed by the Senate to succeed Domitian, and was the first Emperor who did not owe his advancement to military force or influence. He associated with himself MARCUS ULPIUS TRAJANUS, then in command of the army on the Rhine. Nerva ruled only sixteen months; but during that time he restored tranquillity among the people, conferring happiness and prosperity upon every class.
Nerva was succeeded by TRAJAN, whose character has its surest guaranty in the love and veneration of his subjects; and it is said that, long afterwards, the highest praise that could be bestowed on a ruler was that he was "more fortunate than Augustus, and better than Trajan." Trajan was a soldier, and, if he lacked the refinements of a peaceful life, he was nevertheless a wise and firm master.
He added to the Empire Dacia, the country included between the Danube and the Theiss, the Carpathians and the Pruth. This territory became so thoroughly Romanized that the language of its inhabitants to-day is founded on that of their conquerors nearly eighteen centuries ago. It was in honor of this campaign into Dacia that the famous COLUMN OF TRAJAN, which still remains, was erected.
Trajan also annexed to the Empire Arabia Petraea, which afforded an important route between Egypt and Syria. His invasion of Parthia, however, resulted in no permanent advantage.
During the reign of Trajan the Roman Empire REACHED THE SUMMIT OF ITS POWER; but the first signs of decay were beginning to be seen in the financial distress of all Italy, and the decline of the free peasantry, until in the next century they were reduced to a condition of practical serfdom.
The literature of Trajan's reign was second only to that of the Augustan age. His time has often been called the SILVER AGE. Its prose writers were, however, unlike those of the Augustan age, far superior to its poets. The most famous prose writers were TACITUS, PLINY THE YOUNGER, and QUINTILIAN.
The poets of this period were JUVENAL, PERSIUS, MARTIAL, LUCAN, and STATIUS, of whom the last two were of an inferior order.
Trajan was succeeded by his cousin's son, HADRIAN, a native of Spain. One of the first acts of Hadrian was to relinquish the recent conquests of Trajan, and to restore the old boundaries of the Empire. The reasons for this were that they had reached the utmost limits which could lend strength to the power of Rome, or be held in subjection without constant and expensive military operations. The people occupying the new conquests were hardy and warlike, scattered over a country easy of defence, and certain to strive constantly against a foreign yoke.
Hadrian displayed constant activity in travelling over the Empire, to overlook personally its administration and protection. He visited Britain, where he crushed the inroads of the Caledonians and built a fortified line of works, known as the PICTS' WALL, extending from sea to sea. The remains of this great work are still to be seen, corresponding nearly to the modern boundary between England and Scotland. He also visited the East, where the Jews were making serious trouble, and completed their overthrow.
On his return to the city, the Emperor devoted himself to its adornment. Several of his works, more or less complete, still remain. The most famous of these is the MAUSOLEUM (Tomb) OF HADRIAN, now known as the Castle of San Angelo.
Hadrian was afflicted with bad health, suffering much from diseases from which he could find no relief. On account of this, and to secure a proper succession, he associated with himself in the government TITUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS, and required him to adopt Marcus Annius Verus and Lucius Verus. In 138, soon after this arrangement was made, Hadrian died, leaving the Empire to Titus.
TITUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS PIUS (138-161).
ANTONINUS, a native of Gaul, was fifty-two years old when he succeeded to the throne. The cognomen PIUS was conferred upon him by the Senate on account of the affectionate respect which he had shown for Hadrian. He was a man of noble appearance, firm and prudent, and under him the affairs of state moved smoothly.
MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS (161-180).
On the death of Antoninus, Marcus Annius Verus succeeded him under the title of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
The Moors made an invasion into Spain; the barbarians broke into Gaul; the army in Britain attempted to set up another Emperor; and the Parthians in the East were in an uneasy state. The Eastern war, however, ended favorably, and the Parthian king purchased peace by ceding Mesopotamia to Rome. But the returning army brought with it a pestilence, which spread devastation throughout the West. The Christians were charged with being the cause of the plague, and were cruelly persecuted. Among the victims were Justin Martyr at Rome, and Polycarp at Smyrna.
The death of Lucius Verus in 168 released Aurelius from a colleague who attracted attention only by his unfitness for his position. The Emperor was thus relieved of embarrassments which might well have become his greatest danger. The remainder of his reign, however, was scarcely less unhappy.
The dangers from the troublesome barbarians grew greater and greater. Rome had now passed the age of conquest, and began to show inability even to defend what she had acquired. For fourteen years Aurelius was engaged on the frontiers fighting these barbarians, and endeavoring to check their advance. He died at Vienna while thus occupied, in the fifty-ninth year of his life (180).
Peace was shortly afterwards made with the barbarians, a peace bought with money; an example often followed in later times, when Rome lacked the strength and courage to enforce her wishes by force of arms.
Marcus Aurelius was the PHILOSOPHER of the Empire. His tastes were quiet; he was unassuming, and intent on the good of the people. His faults were amiable weaknesses; his virtues, those of a hero. His Meditations have made him known as an author of fine tastes and thoughts. With him ended the line of the GOOD EMPERORS. After his death, Rome's prosperity and power began rapidly to wane.
The CHRISTIANS, who were gradually increasing in numbers, were persecuted at different times throughout the Empire. One ground for these persecutions was that it was a crime against the state to refuse to worship the gods of the Romans under whom the Empire had flourished. It was also the custom to burn incense in front of the Emperor's statue, as an act of adoration. The Christians not only refused homage to the Roman gods, but denounced the burning of incense as sacrilegious. AURELIUS gave his sanction to the most general persecution this sect had yet suffered. The last combined effort to suppress them was under DIOCLETIAN, in 284, but it ended with the EDICT OF MILAN in 312, which famous decree gave the imperial license to the religion of Christ.
CHAPTER XLI. PERIOD OF MILITARY DESPOTISM.—DECLINE OF THE EMPIRE.
On the death of Aurelius, his son, Commodus, hastened to Rome, and was received by both the Senate and army without opposition. His character was the opposite of that of his good father. In ferocity and vindictiveness he was almost unequalled, even among the Emperors of unhappy Rome. By means of informers, who were well paid, he rid himself of the best members of the Senate. His government became so corrupt, he himself so notorious in crime, that he was unendurable. His proudest boasts were of his triumphs in the amphitheatre, and of his ability to kill a hundred lions with as many arrows. After a reign of twelve years his servants rid the Empire of his presence.
PERTINAX, the Praefect of the city, an old and experienced Senator, followed Commodus. His reign of three months was well meant, but as it was not supported by the military it was of no effect. His attempted reforms were stopped by his murder.
JULIANUS (193).—SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS (193-211).
The Praetorians now offered the crown to the highest bidder, who proved to be DIDIUS JULIANUS, a wealthy Senator. He paid about a thousand dollars to each soldier of the Guard, twelve thousand in number. After enjoying the costly honor two months he was deposed and executed.
In the mean time several soldiers had been declared Emperor by their respective armies. Among them was SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, an African, belonging to the army of the Danube.
Severus was an able soldier. He disarmed the Praetorians, banished them from Rome, and filled their place with fifty thousand legionaries, who acted as his body guard. The person whom he placed in command of this guard was made to rank next to himself, with legislative, judicial, and financial powers. The Senate he reduced to a nonentity.
After securing the capital, Severus carried on a campaign against the Parthians, and was victorious over the rulers of Mesopotamia and Arabia. In 203 he erected, in commemoration of these victories, a magnificent arch, which still stands at the head of the Forum. He died at Eboracum (York), in Britain, while making preparations for a campaign against the Caledonians.
CARACALLA, MACRINUS, AND HELIOGABALUS.
Severus left two sons, both of whom he had associated with himself in the government. No sooner was he dead than they quarrelled, and the elder, CARACALLA, murdered the other with his own hand in the presence of their mother.
Caracalla was blood-thirsty and cruel. After a short reign (211-216) he was murdered by one of his soldiers. By him were begun the famous baths which bore his name, and of which extensive remains still exist. Caracalla was succeeded by MACRINUS, who reigned but one year, and was followed by HELIOGABALUS (218-222), a priest of the sun, a true Oriental, with but few virtues. His end was like that of his predecessors. The Praetorians revolted and murdered him.
FROM ALEXANDER SEVERUS TO THE AGE OF THE THIRTY TYRANTS (222-268).
ALEXANDER SEVERUS was a good man, and well educated. But he endeavored in vain to check the decline of the state. The military had become all powerful, and he could effect nothing against it. During his reign (222-235), the famous baths begun by Caracalla were finished.
Severus was killed in a mutiny led by MAXIMIN, who was Emperor for three years (235-238), and was then murdered by his mutinous soldiers.
GORDIAN, his successor (238-244), was also slain by his own soldiers in his camp on the Euphrates, and PHILIP (244-249) and DECIUS (249-251) both fell in battle. Under Decius was begun a persecution of the Christians severer than any that preceded it.
The next seventeen years (251-268) is a period of great confusion. Several generals in different provinces were declared Emperor. The Empire nearly fell to pieces, but finally rallied without loss of territory. Its weakness, however, was apparent to all. This period is often called the AGE OF THE THIRTY TYRANTS.
FIVE GOOD EMPERORS (268-283).
FIVE GOOD EMPERORS now ruled and revived somewhat the shattered strength of the government: CLAUDIUS (268-270); AURELIAN (270-275); TACITUS (275-276); PROBUS (276-282); and CARUS (282-283). Aurelian undertook a campaign against the famous ZENOBIA, Queen of PALMYRA. In her he found a worthy foe, one whose political ability was rendered more brilliant by her justice and courage. Defeated in the field, she fortified herself in Palmyra, which was taken after a siege and destroyed. Zenobia was carried to Rome, where she graced the triumph of her conqueror, but was afterwards permitted to live in retirement. Aurelian was the first who built the walls of Rome in their present position.
With this ruler, the last vestige of the old republican form of government at Rome disappears. Old Rome was dead. Her Senate had lost the last remnant of its respectability. Seeing the necessity of a more united country and a firmer rule, DIOCLETIAN associated with himself MAXIMIAN, a gigantic soldier, who signalized his accession by subduing a dangerous revolt in Gaul. He also appointed two officers, GALERIUS and CONSTANTIUS, whom he called CAESARS,—one to have charge of the East, and the other of the West. By means of these assistants he crushed all revolts, strengthened the waning power of the Empire, and imposed peace and good order upon the world.
Diocletian and Maximian afterwards resigned, and allowed their two Caesars to assume the rank of AUGUSTI, and they in their turn appointed Caesars as assistants.
Soon after his accession Constantius died, and his son CONSTANTINE was proclaimed Caesar, against the wishes of Galerius. A bitter struggle followed, in which Constantine finally overcame all his opponents, and was declared sole Emperor. For his successes he was named the GREAT.
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT (306-337).
Constantine determined to build for his Empire a new capital, which should be worthy of him. He selected the site of BYZANTIUM as offering the greatest advantages; for, being defended on three sides by the sea and the Golden Horn, it could easily be made almost impregnable, while as a seaport its advantages were unrivalled,—a feature not in the least shared by Rome. The project was entered upon with energy; the city was built, and named CONSTANTINOPLE. To people it, the seat of government was permanently removed thither, and every inducement was offered to immigration. Thus was born the GREEK EMPIRE, destined to drag out a miserable existence for nearly a thousand years after Rome had fallen a prey to the barbarians. Its founder died, after a reign of thirty years, in his sixty-fourth year (337).
Constantine is entitled to great credit for the uniform kindness with which he treated his Christian subjects. It is said that his mother, HELENA, was a Christian, and that it was to her influence that this mildness was due. The sect, notwithstanding many persecutions, had kept on increasing, until now we find them a numerous and quite influential body. It was during his reign that the DECREE OF MILAN was issued, in 313, giving the imperial license to the religion of Christ; and also in this reign the famous COUNCIL OF NICE, in Bithynia (325), met to settle questions of creed.
In person Constantine was tall and majestic: he was dexterous in all warlike accomplishments; intrepid in war, affable in peace; patient and prudent in council, bold and unhesitating in action. Ambition alone led him to attack the East; and the very madness of jealousy marked his course after his success. He was filial in his affection towards his mother; but he can scarcely be called affectionate who put to death his father-in-law, his brother-in-law, his wife, and his son. If he was great in his virtues, in his faults he was contemptible.
DECLINE OF THE EMPIRE.
Constantine was succeeded by his three sons, CONSTANTINE II., CONSTANTIUS, and CONSTANS, who divided the Empire among themselves (337-353). Constantine and Constans almost at once quarrelled over the possession of Italy, and the difficulty was ended only by the death of the former. The other two brothers lived in harmony for some time, because the Persian war in the East occupied Constantius, while Constans was satisfied with a life of indolence and dissipation. Constans was murdered in 350, and his brother was sole Emperor. He died ten years later, and was succeeded by his cousin, Julian (360-363)
JULIAN was a good soldier, and a man calculated to win the love and respect of all. But he attempted to restore the old religion, and thus gained for himself the epithet of APOSTATE. The Christians, however, had too firm a hold on the state to admit of their powers being shaken. The failure of Julian precluded any similar attempt afterward. After a reign of three years, he was killed in an expedition against the Persians. His successor, JOVIAN (363-364), who was chosen by the army, died after a reign of only seven months.
VALENTINIAN and VALENS (364-375). After a brief interregnum, the throne was bestowed on Valentinian, who associated with himself his brother Valens. The Empire was divided. Valens took the East, with Constantinople as his capital. Valentinian took the West, making MILAN the seat of his government. So completely had Rome fallen from her ancient position, that it is very doubtful if this monarch ever visited the city during his reign. (Footnote: Since the building of Constantinople no Emperor had lived in Rome. She had ceased to be mistress even of the West, and rapidly fell to the rank of a provincial city.) He died during a campaign on the Danube. His son GRATIAN (375-383) succeeded him. He discouraged Paganism, and under him Christianity made rapid strides. His uncle Valens was slain in a battle against the Goths; but so completely were the Eastern and Western Empires now separated, that Gratian did not attempt to make himself sole ruler, but appointed THEODOSIUS to the empty throne. Gratian, like so many of his predecessors, was murdered. His successors, MAXIMUS (383-388), VALENTINIAN II. (388-392), and EUGENIUS (392-394), were either deposed or assassinated, and again there was, for a short time, one ruler of the whole Empire, THEODOSIUS, whom Gratian had made Emperor of the East. He was sole Emperor for one year (394-395). On his death his two sons divided the Empire, HONORIUS (395-423) taking the West, and Arcadius the East.
Honorius was only six years old when he began to reign. He was placed under the care of a Vandal named STILICHO, to whom he was allied by marriage. Stilicho was a man of ability. The barbarians were driven from the frontiers on the Rhine and in Britain; a revolt in Africa was suppressed. Honorius himself was weak and jealous. He did not hesitate to murder Stilicho as soon as he was old enough to see the power he was wielding. With Stilicho's death his fortune departed. Rome was besieged, captured, and sacked by the barbarian ALARIC, in 410. When this evil was past, numerous contestants arose in different parts of the Empire, each eager for a portion of the fabric which was now so obviously crumbling to pieces.
Honorius was succeeded, after one of the longest reigns of the imperial line, by VALENTINIAN III. (423-455). The Empire was but a relic of its former self. Gaul, Spain, and Britain were practically lost; Illyria and Pannonia were in the hands of the Goths; and Africa was soon after seized by the barbarians. Valentinian was fortunate in the possession of AETIUS, a Scythian by birth, who for a time upheld the Roman name, winning for himself the title of LAST OF THE ROMANS. He was assassinated by his ungrateful master. A few months later, in 455, the Emperor himself was killed by a Senator, MAXIMUS, who succeeded him, but for only three months, when AVITUS (455-456), a noble of Gaul, became Emperor. He was deposed by RICIMER (457-467), a Sueve, of considerable ability, who for some time managed the affairs of the Empire, making and unmaking its monarchs at pleasure. After the removal of Avitus, ten months were allowed to elapse before a successor was appointed; and then the crown was bestowed upon MAJORIAN (457-461). SEVERUS followed him, a man too weak to interfere with the plans of Ricimer.
After his death, Ricimer ruled under the title of PATRICIAN, until the people demanded an Emperor, and he appointed ANTHEMIUS (467-472), who attempted to strengthen his position by marrying a daughter of Ricimer; but jealousy soon sprang up between them. Ricimer invited a horde of barbarians from across the Alps, with whom he captured and sacked Rome, and killed Anthemius. Shortly after, Ricimer himself died.
Names which appear only as names now follow each other in rapid succession. Finally, in 476, ZENO, Emperor of the East, declared the office of EMPEROR OF THE WEST abolished, and gave the government of the DIOCESE OF ITALY to ODOACER, with the title of Patrician.
CHAPTER XLII. INVASIONS AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE BARBARIANS.
The sieges and captures of Rome by the Barbarians we present in a separate chapter, instead of in the narrative of the Emperors, because by this plan a better idea of the operations can be given; and especially because we can thus obtain a clearer and more comprehensive conception of the rise of the nations, which, tearing in pieces the Roman Empire, have made up Modern Europe.
The HUNS, who originated the movement which overthrew the Western Empire, came, it is supposed, from the eastern part of Asia. As they moved westward, their march was irresistible. In 395 they met and defeated the GOTHS, a powerful tribe that lived to the north of the Danube, and who were ruled by a king named Hermanric.
The Gothic nation consisted of two branches, the OSTROGOTHS, Eastern Goths, and the VISIGOTHS, Western Goths, Of these the Ostrogoths were the more powerful, but on the approach of the Huns they were obliged to submit. The Huns moved on, and found but little trouble in overrunning the country of the Visigoths, who were so terrified by the hideous appearance and wild shouts of the Huns that they fled to the Danube, and besought the Romans to allow them to cross the river and take refuge in their territory. The favor was granted, but the refugees were treated with indignity, and compelled to undergo every privation.
Subsequently a remnant of the Ostrogoths arrived at the Danube, also desiring to cross. To them permission was refused, but they seized shipping and crossed, despite the prohibition of the Romans. They found the condition of their brethren, the Visigoths, so sad, that they united with them in open revolt, defeated a Roman army sent against them, and ravaged Thrace. The Emperor Valens took the field in person, and was defeated (378). The Goths then moved southward and westward into Greece, everywhere pillaging the country.
When Theodosius became Emperor, he acted cautiously, fortifying strong points from which to watch the enemy and select a favorable moment for an attack. At length he surprised their camp and gained a complete victory. The Goths were taken into the service of the Empire, and the first chapter of the barbarian invasion of the Empire was brought to a close.
We now meet two of the great names connected with the fall of Rome, ALARIC and STILICHO.
Theodosius was succeeded by Arcadius, and before the end of the year the Goths broke into open revolt under their leader, Alaric. Athens was compelled to pay a ransom; Corinth, Argos, and Sparta were taken and plundered. No place was strong enough to offer effectual resistance. At this juncture, Stilicho, General of the Western Empire, hastened to the scene, and succeeded in surrounding the Goths, but Alaric burst through his lines and escaped. He then made peace with Constantinople, and the office of Master-General of Illyricum was bestowed upon him. How sincere the barbarian was in his offers of peace may be seen from the fact that in two years he invaded Italy (400).
Honorius, who was then Emperor of the West, was a man so weak that even the genius of Stilicho could not save him. No sooner did he hear of the approach of Alaric, than he hastened to a place of safety for himself, leaving Stilicho to defend Rome. Troops were called from Britain, Gaul, and the other provinces far and near, leaving their places vacant and defenceless. Honorius, who had attempted to escape to Gaul, was surprised by Alaric, and, taking refuge in the fortified town of Asta, was there besieged until the arrival of the brave Stilicho, who attacked the besiegers, and after a bloody fight utterly routed them. In his retreat, Alaric attempted to attack Verona, but he was again defeated, and escaped only by the fleetness of his horse. Honorius returned home (404), and enjoyed a triumph.
Rome had scarcely time to congratulate herself upon her escape from the Goths, when she was threatened by a new enemy.
The Huns, pushing westward, had dislodged the northern tribes of Germany who dwelt on the Baltic. These were the Alans, Sueves, Vandals, and Burgundians. Under the leadership of RADAGAISUS, these tribes invaded Italy with about two hundred thousand men. They were met near Florence by Stilicho, and totally defeated (406). Radagaisus himself was killed. The survivors turned backward, burst into Gaul, ravaged the lower portion of the country, and finally separated. One portion, the Burgundians, remained on the frontier, and from their descendants comes the name of Burgundy.
The Alans, Sueves, and Vandals pushed on into Spain, where they established kingdoms. The Alans occupied the country at the foot of the Pyrenees, but were soon after subdued by the Visigoths. The Sueves settled in the northwest of Spain, but met the same fate as the Alans. The Vandals occupied the southern part, and from there crossed over to Africa, where they maintained themselves for nearly a century, and at one time were powerful enough, as we shall see, to capture Rome itself.
Rome was now for a time delivered from her enemies, and the Emperor, no longer needing Stilicho, was easily persuaded that he was plotting for the throne. He was put to death, with many of his friends.
With Stilicho Rome fell. Scarcely two months after his death, Alaric again appeared before Rome. He sought to starve the city into submission. Famine and pestilence raged within its walls. Finally peace was purchased by a large ransom, and Alaric withdrew, but soon returned. The city was betrayed, and after a lapse of eight centuries became the second time a prey to the barbarians (24 August, 410).
The city was plundered for five days, and then Alaric withdrew to ravage the surrounding country. But the days of this great leader were almost spent. Before the end of the year he died, and shortly after his army marched into France, where they established a kingdom reaching from the Loire and the Rhone to the Straits of Gibraltar.
The GERMANS, under their king, CLODION, prompted by the example of the Burgundians and Visigoths, began, about 425, a series of attempts to enlarge their boundaries. They succeeded in establishing themselves firmly in all the country from the Rhine to the Somme, and under the name of FRANKS founded the present French nation in France (447).
Clodion left two sons, who quarrelled over the succession. The elder appealed to the Huns for support, the younger to Rome.
The Huns at this time were ruled by ATTILA, "the Scourge of God." The portrait of this monster is thus painted. His features bore the mark of his Eastern origin. He had a large head, a swarthy complexion, small deep-seated eyes, a flat nose, a few hairs in the place of a beard, broad shoulders, and a short square body, of nervous strength though disproportioned form. This man wielded at will, it is said, an army of over half a million troops.
At the time he received from the son of Clodion the invitation to interfere in the affairs of Gaul, Attila was already contemplating an invasion of both the Western and Eastern Empires; but the prospect of an ally in Gaul, with an opportunity of afterwards attacking Italy from the west, was too favorable to be neglected.
A march of six hundred miles brought the Huns to the Rhine. Crossing this, they continued their progress, sacking and burning whatever cities lay in their route.
The Visigoths under Theodoric, joining the Romans under Aetius, met the Huns near Orleans. Attila retreated towards Chalons, where, in 451, was fought a great battle, which saved the civilization of Western Europe. Attila began the attack. He was bravely met by the Romans; and a charge of the Visigoths completed the discomfiture of the savages. Aetius did not push his victory, but allowed the Huns to retreat in the direction of Italy. The "Scourge" first attacked, captured, and rased to the ground Aquileia. He then scoured the whole country, sparing only those who preserved their lives by the surrender of their wealth.
It was to this invasion that VENICE owed its rise. The inhabitants, who fled from the approach of the Huns, found on the islands in the lagoons at the head of the Adriatic a harbor of safety.
Attila died shortly after (453) from the bursting of a blood-vessel, and with his death the empire of the Huns ceased to exist. The VANDALS, we have seen, had established themselves in Africa. They were now ruled by GENSERIC. Carthage was their head-quarters, and they were continually ravaging the coasts of the Mediterranean with their fleets.
Maximus, Emperor of Rome (455), had forcibly married Eudoxia, the widow of the previous Emperor, Valentinian, whom he had killed. She in revenge sent to Genseric a secret message to attack Rome. He at once set sail for the mouth of the Tiber. The capital was delivered into his hands on his promise to spare the property of the Church (June, 455), and for fourteen days the Vandals ravaged it at pleasure. Genseric then left Rome, taking with him Eudoxia.
This was the last sack of the city by barbarians. But twenty-one years elapsed before the Roman Empire came to an end (476).
CHAPTER XLIII. ROMAN LITERATURE.
PLAUTUS, the comic poet, was one of the earliest of Roman writers. Born at Sarsina in Umbria, of free parentage, he at first worked on the stage at Rome, but lost his savings in speculation. Then for some time he worked in a treadmill, but finally gained a living by translating Greek comedies into Latin. Twenty of his plays have come down to us. They are lively, graphic, and full of fun, depicting a mixture of Greek and Roman life.
TERENCE was a native of Carthage. He was brought to Rome at an early age as a slave of the Senator Terentius, by whom he was educated and liberated. Six of his comedies are preserved. Like the plays of Plautus, they are free translations from the Greek, and of the same general character.
QUINTUS ENNIUS, a native of Rudiae, was taken to Rome by Cato the Younger. Here he supported himself by teaching Greek. His epic poem, the Annales, relates the traditional Roman history, from the arrival of Aeneas to the poet's own day.
MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO, a native of Arpinum, ranks as the first prose writer in Roman literature. As an orator Cicero had a very happy natural talent. The extreme versatility of his mind, his lively imagination, his great sensitiveness, his inexhaustible richness of expression, which was never at a loss for a word or tone to suit any circumstances or mood, his felicitous memory, his splendid voice and impressive figure, all contributed to render him a powerful speaker. He himself left nothing undone to attain perfection. Not until he had spent a long time in laborious study and preparation did he make his debut as an orator; nor did he ever rest and think himself perfect, but, always working, made the most careful preparation for every case. Each success was to him only a step to another still higher achievement; and by continual meditation and study he kept himself fully equipped for his task. Hence he succeeded, as is universally admitted, in gaining a place beside Demosthenes, or at all events second only to him.
There are extant fifty-seven orations of Cicero, and fragments of twenty more. His famous Philippics against Antony caused his proscription by the Second Triumvirate, and his murder near his villa at Formiae, in December, 43.
His chief writings on rhetoric were De Oratore; Brutus de Claris Oratoribus; and Orator ad M. Brutum. Cicero was a lover of philosophy, and his writings on the subject were numerous. Those most read are De Senectute, De Amicitia, and De Officiis.
Eight hundred and sixty-four of Cicero's letters are extant, and they furnish an inexhaustible treasure of contemporaneous history.
Of CAESAR'S literary works the most important are his Commentarii, containing the history of the first seven years of the Gallic war, and the history of the civil strife down to the Alexandrine war. The account of his last year in Gaul was written probably by Aulus Hirtius; that of the Alexandrine, African, and Spanish wars, by some unknown hand. As an orator, Caesar ranks next to Cicero.
CORNELIUS NEPOS, a native of Northern Italy, was a friend of both Cicero and Atticus. He was a prolific writer, but only his De Viris Illustribus is preserved. It shows neither historical accuracy nor good style.
TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS has left a didactic poem, De Rerum Natura. The tone of the work is sad, and in many places bitter.
GAIUS VALERIUS CATULLUS, of Verona, is the greatest lyric poet of Roman literature. One hundred and sixteen of his poems are extant.
The great epic Roman poet was VIRGIL. His Aeneis, in twelve books, gives an account of the wanderings and adventures of Aeneas, and his struggles to found a city in Italy. The poem was not revised when Virgil died, and it was published contrary to his wishes.
Besides the Aeneis, Virgil wrote the Bucolica, ten Eclogues imitated and partially translated from the Greek poet Theocritus. The Georgica, a poem of four books on agriculture in its different branches, is considered his most finished work, and the most perfect production of Roman art-poetry. (See page 179.)
QUINTUS HORATIUS FLACCUS left four books of Odes, one of Epodes, two of Satires, two of Epistles, and the Ars Poetica. (See page 180.)
ALBIUS TIBULLUS, an elegiac poet, celebrated in exquisitely fine poems the beauty and cruelty of his mistresses.
SEXTUS PROPERTIUS, a native of Umbria, was also an elegiac poet, and wrote mostly on love.
OVID (43 B.C.—18 A.D.)
PUBLIUS OVIDIUS NASO left three books of Amores; one of Heroides; the Ars Amatoria; Remedia Amoris; the Metamorphoses (fifteen books); the Tristia; and the Fasti. (See page 181.)
LIVY (59 B.C.—17 A.D.).
TITUS LIVIUS left a history of Rome, of which thirty-five books have been preserved. (See page 181.)
PHAEDRUS, a writer of fables, flourished in the reign of Tiberius (14-37). He was originally a slave. His fables are ninety-seven in number, and are written in iambic verse.
SENECA (8 B.C.—65 A.D.)
For an account of this writer see the chapter on the Emperor Nero, page 189.
QUINTUS CURTIUS RUFUS was a historian who lived in the reign of Claudius (50 A.D.). He wrote a history of the exploits of Alexander the Great.
PERSIUS, a poet of the reign of Nero, was a native of Volaterrae. He wrote six satires, which are obscure and hard to understand.
LUCAN, a nephew of Seneca, wrote an epic poem (not finished) called Pharsalia, upon the civil war between Caesar and Pompey.
PLINY THE ELDER (23-79).
GAIUS PLINIUS SECUNDUS, of Northern Italy, was a great scholar in history, grammar, rhetoric, and natural science. His work on Natural History has come down to us.
STATIUS, MARTIAL, QUINTILIAN, JUVENAL. STATIUS (45-96), a native of Naples, had considerable poetical talent. He wrote the Thebaid, the Achilleis (unfinished), and the Silvae.
MARTIAL (42-102), wrote sharp and witty epigrams, of which fifteen books are extant. He was a native of Spain.
QUINTILIAN (35-95), was also a native of Spain. He was a teacher of eloquence for many years in Rome. His work On the Training of an Orator, is preserved.
JUVENAL(47-130), of Aquinum, was a great satirist, who described and attacked bitterly the vices of Roman society. Sixteen of his satires are still in existence.
TACITUS (54-119). CORNELIUS TACITUS was the great historian of his age. His birthplace is unknown. His writings are interesting and of a high tone, but often tinged with prejudice, and hence unfair. He wrote,—
1. A dialogue on orators. 2. A biography of his father-in-law, Agricola. 3. A description of the habits of the people of Germany. 4. A history of the reigns of Galba, Otho, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian (Historiae). 5. Annales, a narrative of the events of the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
PLINY THE YOUNGER (62-113). Pliny the Younger was the adopted son of Pliny the Elder. He was a voluminous correspondent. We have nine books of his letters, relating to a large number of subjects, and presenting vivid pictures of the times in which he lived. Their diction is fluent and smooth.
CHAPTER XLIV. ROMAN ROADS.—PROVINCES.
The Romans were famous for their excellent public roads, from thirteen to fifteen feet wide. The roadbed was formed of four distinct layers, placed above the foundation. The upper layer was made of large polygonal blocks of the hardest stone, fitted and joined together so as to make an even surface. On each side of the road were footpaths strewn with gravel. Stone blocks for the use of equestrians were at regular distances, and also milestones telling the distance from Rome.
There were four main public roads:—
1. VIA APPIA, from Rome to Capua, Beneventum, Tarentum, and Brundisium.
2. VIA LATINA, from Rome to Aquinum and Teanum, joining the Via Appia at Beneventum.
3. VIA FLAMINIA, the great northern road. In Umbria, near Ocriculum and Narnia, a branch went east through Spoletium, joining the main line at Fulsinia. It then continued through Fanum, Flaminii, and Nuceria, where it again divided, one branch going to Fanum Fortunae on the Adriatic, the other to Ancona, and from there along the coast to Fanum Fortunae, where the two branches, again uniting, passed on to Ariminum through Pisaurum. From here it was extended, under the name of VIA AEMILIA, into the heart of Cisalpine Gaul, through Bononia, Mutina, Parma, and Placentia, where it crossed the Po, to Mediolanum.
4. VIA AURELIA, the great coast road, reached the west coast at Alsium, following the shore along through Etruria and Liguria, by Genua, as far as Forum Julii, in Gaul.
After the conquest of Italy, all the additional Roman dominions were divided into provinces. Sicily was the first Roman province. At first Praetors were appointed to govern these provinces; but afterwards persons who had been Praetors at Rome were appointed at the expiration of their office, with the title of PROPRAETOR. Later, the Consuls also, at the end of their year of office, were sent to govern provinces, with the title of PROCONSUL. Such provinces were called Provinciae Consulares. The provinces were generally distributed by lot, but their distribution was sometimes arranged by agreement among those entitled to them. The tenure of office was usually a year, but it was frequently prolonged. When a new governor arrived in the province, his predecessor was expected to leave within thirty days.
The governor was assisted by two QUAESTORS, who had charge of the financial duties of the government. Originally the governor was obliged to account at Rome for his administration, from his own books and those of the Quaestors; but after 61 B. C., he was obliged to deposit two copies of his accounts in the two chief cities of his province, and to forward a third to Rome.
If the governor misconducted himself in the performance of his official duties, the provincials might apply for redress to the Senate, and to influential Romans who were their patrons.
The governor received no salary, but was allowed to exact certain contributions from the people of the province for the support of himself and his retinue, which consisted of quaestors, secretary, notary, lictors, augurs, and public criers. His authority was supreme in military and civil matters, and he could not be removed from office. But after his term had ended, he could be tried for mismanagement.
Many of the governors were rascals, and obtained by unfair means vast sums of money from the provincials. One of the most notorious of these was Verres, against whom Cicero delivered his Verrine orations.
At the time of the battle of Actium there were eighteen provinces; viz. Sicilia (227 (Footnote: The figures in parentheses indicate the date at which the province was established.)), Sardinia and Corsica (227), Hispania Citerior (205), Hispania Ulterior (205), Illyricum (167), Macedonia (146), Africa (146), Asia (133), Achaia (146), Gallia Citerior (80), Gallia Narbonensis (118), Cilicia (63), Syria (64), Bithynia and Pontus (63), Cyprus (55), Cyrenaica and Crete (63), Numidia (46), and Mauritania (46).
Under the Emperors the following sixteen were added: Rhoetia, Noricum, Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia, Britannia, Aegyptus, Cappadocia, Galatia, Rhodus, Lycia, Judaea, Arabia, Mesopotamia. Armenia, and Assyria.
(Footnote: Most of the information given in this chapter is scattered in different parts of the history; but it seems well to condense it into one chapter for readier reference.)
ROMAN OFFICERS, ETC.
The magistrates of Rome were of two classes; the Majores, or higher, and the Minores, or lower. The former, except the Censor, had the Imperium; the latter did not. To the former class belonged the Consuls, Praetors, and Censors, who were all elected in the Comitia Centuriata. The magistrates were also divided into two other classes, viz. Curule and Non-Curule. The Curule offices were those of Dictator, Magister Equitum, Consul, Praetor, Censor, and Curule Aedile. These officers had the right to sit in the sella curulis, chair of state. This chair was displayed upon all public occasions, especially in the circus and theatre; and it was the seat of the Praetor when he administered justice. In shape it was plain, resembling a common folding camp-stool, with crooked legs. It was ornamented with ivory, and later overlaid with gold.
The descendants of any one who had held a curule office were nobles, and had the right to place in their halls and to carry at funeral processions a wax mask of this ancestor, as well as of any other deceased members of the family of curule rank.
A person who first held a curule office, and whose ancestors had never held one, was called a novus homo, i. e. a new man. The most famous new men were Marius and Cicero.
The magistrates were chosen only from the patricians in the early republic; but in course of time the plebeians shared these honors. The plebeian magistrates, properly so called, were the plebeian Aediles and the Tribuni Plebis.
All the magistrates, except the Censor, were elected for one year; and all but the Tribunes and Quaestors began their term of office on January 1st. The Tribune's year began December 10th; that of the Quaestor, December 5th.
The offices, except that of Tribune, formed a gradation, through which one must pass if he desired the consulship. The earliest age for holding each was, for the quaestorship, twenty-seven years; for the aedileship, thirty-seven; for the praetorship, forty; and for the consulship, forty-three. No magistrate received any salary, and only the wealthy could afford to hold office.
The two Consuls were the highest magistrates, except when a Dictator was appointed, and were the chiefs of the administration. Their power was equal, and they had the right before all others of summoning the Senate and the Comitia Centuriata, in each of which they presided. "When both Consuls were in the city, they usually took turns in performing the official duties, each acting a month; and during this time the Consul was always accompanied in public by twelve lictors, who preceded him in single file, each carrying on his shoulders a bundle of rods (fasces), to signify the power of the magistrate to scourge criminals. Outside the city, these fasces showed an axe projecting from each bundle, signifying the power of the magistrate to behead criminals."
At the expiration of his year of office, the Consul was sent to govern a province for one year, and was then called the Proconsul. He was chief in his province in all military, civil, and criminal cases.
There were eight Praetors, whose duties were to administer justice (judges). After the expiration of their year of office, they went, as Propraetors, to govern provinces. The most important Praetor was called Praetor Urbanus. He had charge of all civil suits between Roman citizens. In the absence of both Consuls from the city, he acted in their place. Each Praetor was attended by two lictors in the city, and by six outside. The Praetor Peregrinus had charge of civil cases in which one or both parties were aliens. The other six Praetors presided over the permanent criminal courts.
The Aediles were four officers who had the general superintendence of the police of the city, and the care of the public games and buildings. Two of the Aediles were taken from the plebeians, and two, called Curule Aediles, ranked with the higher magistrates, and might be patricians. They were elected in the Comitia Tributa. Their supervision of the public games gave them great opportunities for gaining favor with the populace, who then, as now, delighted in circuses and contests. A small sum was appropriated from the public treasury for these games; but an Aedile usually expended much from his own purse to make the show magnificent, and thus to gain votes for the next office, that of Praetor. Only the very wealthy could afford to hold this office.
There were twenty Quaestors. Two were city treasurers at Rome, having charge also of the archives. The others were assigned to the different governors of the provinces, and acted as quartermasters. Through their clerks, the two city Quaestors kept the accounts, received the taxes, and paid out the city's money, as directed by the Senate. A Quaestor always accompanied every Imperator (general) in the field as his quartermaster. The elections for Quaestors were held in the Comitia Tributa.
There were ten Tribunes, elected in the Comitia Tributa. They were always plebeians, and their chief power lay in their right to veto any decree of the Senate, any law of the Comitia, and any public act of a magistrate. Their persons were considered sacred, and no one could hinder them in the discharge of their official duties under penalty of death. They called together the Comitia Tributa, and they also had authority to convene the Senate and to preside over it. Sulla succeeded in restricting their power; but Pompey restored it. The Tribunes did not possess the imperium.
There were two Censors, chosen from Ex-Consuls, and they held office for eighteen months. They were elected once every five years, this period being called a lustrum. They ranked as higher magistrates without possessing the imperium. Their duties were:
(1) To take the census, i.e. register the citizens and their amount of property, and to fill all vacancies in the Senate. (2) To have a general oversight of the finances, like our Secretary of the Treasury; to contract for the erecting of public buildings, and for the making or repairing of public roads, sewers, etc.; to let out the privilege of collecting the taxes, for five years, to the highest bidder.(Footnote: In the intervals of the censorship, the duties under (2) fell to the Aediles. ) (3) To punish gross immorality by removal of the guilty parties from the Senate, the Equites, or the tribe.
In cases of great danger the Senate called upon the Consuls to appoint a Dictator, who should possess supreme power, but whose tenure of office could never exceed six months. In later times Dictators were not appointed, but Consuls were invested with the authority if it was thought necessary. Sulla and Caesar, however, revived the office, but changed its tenure, the latter holding it for life.
This was an officer appointed by the Dictator, to stand next in authority to him, and act as a sort of Vice-Dictator.
The priests formed a body (collegium) of fifteen members, at the head of whom was the Pontifex Maximus (high priest). Their tenure of office was for life, and they were responsible to no one in the discharge of their duties. Their influence was necessarily very great.
This was a power to command the armies, and to exercise judicial functions conferred upon a magistrate (Dictator, Consul, or Praetor) by a special law passed by the Comitia Curiata. The Imperium could be exercised only outside of the city walls (pomoerium), except by special permission of the Senate for the purpose of celebrating a triumph. The one receiving the Imperium was called IMPERATOR.
This was the power, in general, which all magistrates possessed.
CHAPTER XLVI. HOUSES, CUSTOMS, INSTITUTIONS, ETC.
The private houses of the Romans were poor affairs until after the conquest of the East, when money began to pour into the city. Many houses of immense size were then erected, adorned with columns, paintings, statues, and costly works of art. Some of these houses are said to have cost as much as two million dollars.
The principal parts of a Roman house were the Vestibulum, Ostium, Atrium, Alae, Tablinum, Fauces, and Peristylium. The VESTIBULUM was a court surrounded by the house on three sides, and open on the fourth to the street. The OSTIUM corresponded in general to our front hall. From it a door opened into the ATRIUM, which was a large room with an opening in the centre of its roof, through which the rain-water was carried into a cistern placed in the floor under the opening. To the right and left of the Atrium were side rooms called the ALAE, and the TABLINUM was a balcony attached to it. The passages from the Atrium to the interior of the house were called FAUCES. The PERISTYLIUM, towards which these passages ran, was an open court surrounded by columns, decorated with flowers and shrubs. It was somewhat larger than the Atrium.
The floors were covered with stone, marble, or mosaics. The walls were lined with marble slabs, or frescoed, while the ceilings were either bare, exposing the beams, or, in the finer houses, covered with ivory, gold, and frescoing.
The main rooms were lighted from above; the side rooms received their light from these, and not through windows looking into the street. The windows of rooms in upper stories were not supplied with glass until the time of the Empire. They were merely openings in the wall, covered with lattice-work. To heat a room, portable stoves were generally used, in which charcoal was burned. There were no chimneys, and the smoke passed out through the windows or the openings in the roofs.
The rooms of the wealthy were furnished with great splendor. The walls were frescoed with scenes from Greek mythology, landscapes, etc. In the vestibules were fine sculptures, costly marble walls, and doors ornamented with gold, silver, and rare shells. There were expensive rugs from the East, and, in fact, everything that could be obtained likely to add to the attractiveness of the room.
Candles were used in early times, but later the wealthy used lamps, which were made of terra-cotta or bronze. They were mostly oval, flat on the top, often with figures in relief. In them were one or more round holes to admit the wick. They either rested on tables, or were suspended by chains from the ceiling.
The meals were the JENTACULUM, PRANDIUM, and COENA. The first was our breakfast, though served at an early hour, sometimes as early as four o'clock. It consisted of bread, cheese, and dried fruits. The prandium was a lunch served about noon. The coena, or dinner, served between three and sunset, was usually of three courses. The first course consisted of stimulants, eggs, or lettuce and olives; the second, which was the main course, consisted of meats, fowl, or fish, with condiments; the third course was made up of fruits, nuts, sweetmeats, and cakes.
At elaborate dinners the guests assembled, each with his napkin and full dress of bright colors. The shoes were removed so as not to soil the couches. These couches usually were adapted for three guests, who reclined, resting the head on the left hand, with the elbow supported by pillows. The Romans took the food with their fingers. Dinner was served in a room called the TRICLINIUM. In Nero's "Golden House," the dining-room was constructed like a theatre, with shifting scenes to change with every course.
The Roman men usually wore two garments, the TUNICA and TOGA. The former was a short woollen under garment with short sleeves. To have a long tunic with long sleeves was considered a mark of effeminacy. The tunic was girded round the waist with a belt. The toga was peculiarly a Roman garment, and none but citizens were allowed to wear it. It was also the garment of peace, in distinction from the SAGUM, which was worn by soldiers. The toga was of white wool and was nearly semicircular, but being a cumbrous garment, it became customary in later times to wear it only on state occasions. The poor wore only the tunic, others wore, in place of the toga, the LACERNA, which was an open cloak, fastened to the right shoulder by a buckle. Boys, until about sixteen, wore a toga with a purple hem.
The women wore a TUNIC, STOLA, and PULLA. The stola was a loose garment, gathered in and girdled at the waist with a deep flounce extending to the feet. The pulla was a sort of shawl to throw over the whole figure, and to be worn out of doors. The ladies indulged their fancy for ornaments as freely as their purses would allow.
Foot-gear was mostly of two kinds, the CALCEUS and the SOLEAE. The former was much like our shoe, and was worn in the street. The latter were sandals, strapped to the bare foot, and worn in the house. The poor used wooden shoes.
Bathing was popular among the wealthy. Fine buildings were erected, with elegant decorations, and all conveniences for cold, warm, hot, and vapor baths. These bath-houses were very numerous, and were places of popular resort. Attached to many of them were rooms for exercise, with seats for spectators. The usual time for bathing was just before dinner. Upon leaving the bath, it was customary to anoint the body with oil.
FESTIVALS, GAMES, ETC.
The SATURNALIA was the festival of Saturn, to whom the inhabitants of Latium attributed the introduction of agriculture and the arts of civilized life. It was celebrated near the end of December, corresponding to our Christmas holidays, and under the Empire lasted seven days. During its continuance no public business was transacted, the law courts were closed, the schools had a holiday, and slaves were relieved from all ordinary toil. All classes devoted themselves to pleasure, and presents were interchanged among friends.
The LUPERCALIA; a festival in honor of Lupercus, the god of fertility, was celebrated on the 15th of February. It was one of the most ancient festivals, and was held in the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were said to have been nursed by the she wolf (lupa). The priests of Lupercus were called LUPERCI. They formed a collegium, but their tenure of office is not known. On the day of the festival these priests met at the Lupercal, offered sacrifice of goats, and took a meal, with plenty of wine. They then cut up the skins of the goats which they had sacrificed. With some of these they covered parts of their bodies, and with others, they made thongs, and, holding them in their hands, ran through the streets of Rome, striking with them all whom they met, especially women, as it was believed this would render them fruitful.
The QUIRINALIA was celebrated on the 17th of February, when Quirinus (Romulus) was said to have been carried up to heaven.
Gladiators were men who fought with swords in the amphitheatre and other places, for the amusement of the people. These shows were first exhibited at Rome in 264 B. c., and were confined to public funerals; but afterwards gladiators were to be seen at the funerals of most men of rank. Under the Empire the passion for this kind of amusement increased to such an extent, that gladiators were kept and trained in schools (ludi) and their trainers were called Lanistae. The person who gave an exhibition was called an EDITOR. He published (edere), some time before the show, a list of the combatants. In the show the fights began with wooden swords, but at the sound of the trumpet these were exchanged for steel weapons. When a combatant was wounded, if the spectators wished him spared, they held their thumbs down, but turned them up if they wanted him killed. Gladiators who had served a long time, were often discharged and presented with a wooden sword (rudis), Hence they were called rudiarii.
THE AMPHITHEATRE, THEATRE, AND CIRCUS.
The AMPHITHEATRE was a place for the exhibition of gladiatorial shows, combats of wild beasts, and naval engagements. Its shape was that of an ellipse, surrounded by seats for the spectators. The word Amphitheatre was first applied to a wooden building erected by Caesar. Augustus built one of stone in the Campus Martius, but the most celebrated amphitheatre was built by Vespasian and Titus, and dedicated in 80 A. D. It is still standing, though partly in ruins, covers nearly six acres, and could seat ninety thousand people. The name given to it to-day is the COLOSSEUM. The open space in the centre was called the ARENA, and was surrounded by a wall about fifteen feet high to protect the spectators from the wild beasts. Before the time of Caesar the shows were held in the Forum and in the Circus.
The THEATRE was never as popular with the Romans as with the Greeks. The plays of Plautus and Terence were acted on temporary wooden stages. The first stone theatre was built by Pompey in 55 B. C., near the Campus Martius. It was a fine building, with a seating capacity of forty thousand. The seats were arranged in a semicircle, as at present, the orchestra being reserved for the Senators and other distinguished persons. Then came fourteen rows of seats for the Equites, and behind these sat the ordinary crowd.
The CIRCUS MAXIMUS. between the Palatine and Aventine Hills, was built for chariot races, boxing, and gymnastic contests. It was an immense structure, with galleries three stories high, and a canal called Euripus, and it accommodated one hundred thousand spectators. In the centre Caesar erected an obelisk one hundred and thirty-two feet high, brought from Egypt. The seats were arranged as in the theatre. Six kinds of games were celebrated: 1st, chariot racing; 2d, a sham-fight between young men on horseback; 3d, a sham-fight between infantry and cavalry; 4th, athletic sports of all kinds; 5th, fights with wild beasts, such as lions, boars, etc.; 6th, sea fights. Water was let into the canal to float ships. The combatants were captives, or criminals condemned to death, who fought until one party was killed, unless saved by the kindness of the Emperor.
A TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION.
The Imperator, when he returned from a successful campaign, was sometimes allowed to enjoy a triumphal procession, provided he had been Dictator, Consul, or Praetor. No one desiring a triumph ever entered the city until the Senate decided whether or not he deserved one. When a favorable decision was reached, the temples were all thrown open, garlands of flowers decorated every shrine and image, and incense smoked on every altar. The Imperator ascended the triumphal car and entered a city gate, where he was met by the whole body of the Senate, headed by the magistrates.
The procession then proceeded in the following order:—
1. The Senate, headed by the magistrates. 2. A troop of trumpeters. 3. Carts laden with spoils, often very costly and numerous. 4. A body of flute-players. 5. White bulls and oxen for sacrifice. 6. Elephants and rare animals from the conquered countries. 7. The arms and insignia of the leaders of the conquered enemy. 8. The leaders themselves, with their relatives and other captives. 9. The lictors of the Imperator in single file, their fasces wreathed with laurel. 10. The Imperator himself, in a circular chariot drawn by four horses. He was attired in a gold-embroidered robe, and a flowered tunic; he held a laurel bough in his right hand, a sceptre in his left, and his brow was encircled with a laurel wreath. 11. The grown up sons and officers of the Imperator. 12. The whole body of infantry, with spears adorned with laurel.
The OVATION was a sort of smaller triumph. The commander entered the city on foot, or in later times on horseback. He was clothed in a purple-bordered robe. His head was crowned with laurel, and a sheep (ovis) was sacrificed, instead of a bull as in the case of a triumph.
The Pomoerium was the sacred enclosure of the city, inside of which no person holding the Imperium was allowed to enter. It did not always run parallel to the city walls.
Every man in Rome had three names. The given name (praenomen), as Lucius, Marcus, Gaius. The name of the gens (nomen), as Cornelius, Tullius, Julius. The name of the family (cognomen), as Scipio, Cicero, Caesar. To these names was sometimes added another, the agnomen, given for some exploit, or to show that the person was adopted from some other gens. Thus Scipio the elder was called AFRICANUS, and all his descendants had the right to the name. Africanus the younger was adopted from the Cornelian gens into the Aemilian gens; therefore he added to his other names AEMILIANUS.
The women were called only by the name of their gens. The daughter of Scipio was called, for example, CORNELIA, and to distinguish her from others of the Cornelian gens she was called Cornelia daughter of Scipio. If there were more than one daughter, to the name of the eldest was added prima (first), to that of the next, secunda (second), etc.
Intermarriage (connubium) between patricians and plebeians was forbidden previous to 445, and after that the offspring of such marriages took the rank of the father. After the parties had agreed, to marry, and the consent of the parents or persons in authority was given, the marriage contract was drawn up and signed by both parties. The wedding day was then fixed upon. This could not fall upon the Kalends, Nones, or Ides of any month, or upon any day in May or February. The bride was dressed in a long white robe, with a bridal veil, and shoes of a bright yellow color. She was conducted in the evening to her future husband's home by three boys, one of whom carried before her a torch, the other two supporting her by the arm. They were accompanied by friends of both parties. The groom received the bride at the door, which she entered with distaff and spindle in hand. The keys of the house were then delivered to her. The day ended with a feast given by the husband, after which the bride was conducted to the bridal couch, in the atrium, which was adorned with flowers. On the following day another feast was given by the husband, and the wife performed certain religious rites.
The position of the Roman woman after marriage was very different from that of the Greek. She presided over the whole household, educated her children, watched over and preserved the honor of the house, and shared the honors and respect shown to her husband.
When a Roman was at the point of death, his nearest relative present endeavored to catch the last breath with his mouth. The ring was removed from the dying person's hand, and as soon as he was dead his eyes and mouth were closed by the nearest relative, who called upon the deceased by name, exclaiming "Farewell!" The body was then washed, and anointed with oil and perfumes, by slaves or undertakers. A small coin was placed in the mouth of the body to pay the ferryman (Charon) in Hades, and the body was laid out on a couch in the vestibulum, with its feet toward the door. In early times all funerals were held at night; but in later times only the poor followed this custom, mainly because they could not afford display. The funeral, held the ninth day after the death, was headed by musicians playing mournful strains, and mourning women hired to lament and sing the funeral song. These were sometimes followed by players and buffoons, one of whom represented the character of the deceased, and imitated his words and actions. Then came the slaves whom the deceased had liberated, each wearing the cap of liberty. Before the body were carried the images of the dead and of his ancestors, and also the crown and military rewards which he had gained. The couch on which the body was carried was sometimes made of ivory, and covered with gold and purple. Following it were the relatives in mourning, often uttering loud lamentations, the women beating their breasts and tearing their hair.
The procession of the most illustrious dead passed through the Forum, and stopped before the Rostra, where a funeral oration was delivered. From here the body was carried to its place of burial, which must be outside the city. Bodies were sometimes cremated, and in the later times of the Republic this became quite common.
In early times the education of the Romans was confined to reading, writing, and arithmetic; but as they came in contact with the Greeks a taste for higher education was acquired. Greek slaves (paedagogi) were employed in the wealthy families to watch over the children, and to teach them to converse in Greek.
A full course of instruction included the elementary branches mentioned above, and a careful study of the best Greek and Latin writers, besides a course in philosophy and rhetoric, under some well known professor abroad, usually at Athens or Rhodes.
The most common material on which books were written was the thin rind of the Egyptian papyrus tree. Besides the papyrus, parchment was often used. The paper or parchment was joined together so as to form one sheet, and was rolled on a staff, whence the name volume (from volvere, to roll).
Letter writing was very common among the educated. Letters were usually written with the stylus, an iron instrument like a pencil in size and shape, on thin slips of wood or ivory covered with wax, and folded together with the writing on the inside. The slips were tied together by a string, and the knot was sealed with wax and stamped with a signet ring. Letters were also written on parchment with ink. Special messengers were employed to carry letters, as there was no regular mail service. Roman letters differed from ours chiefly in the opening and close. The writer always began by sending "greeting" to the person addressed, and closed with a simple "farewell," without any signature. Thus "Cicero S. D. Pompeio" (S. D. = sends greeting) would be the usual opening of a letter from Cicero to Pompey.
CHAPTER XLVII. PUBLIC BUILDINGS, SQUARES, ETC.
Rome was built on seven hills,—the Palatine, the Aventine, the Capitoline, the Esquiline (the largest), the Quirinal, the Viminal, and the Coelian.
There were various public squares (forum = square or park). Some were places of resort for public business, and most were adorned with porticos. The most celebrated square was the Forum Romanum, or simply The Forum. There were also the Forum Caesaris and Forum Trajani. Some served as markets; as Forum Boarium, the cattle market; Forum Suarium, the hog market, etc.
Temples were numerous. The Pantheon (temple of all the gods), built by Agrippa and restored by Hadrian, was dedicated to Jupiter. It was situated outside of the city, in the Campus Martius, and is now used as a Christian church. The Temple of Apollo Palatinus, built by Augustus, was on the Palatine Hill. It contained a library, which was founded by Augustus. The Temple of Aesculapius was on an island in the Tiber; that of Concordia, on the slope of the Capitoline Hill, was dedicated in 377 B.C., and restored by Tiberius. The Temple of Janus was an arched passage east of the Forum, the gates of which were open during war. Up to the time of Ovid the gates had been closed but three times, once in Numa's reign, again at the close of the battle of Actium. Janus was one of the oldest Latin divinities, and was represented with a face in front and another on the back of his head. From him is named the month of January.
(Illustration: ROME AND ENVIR.)
There were several temples of Jupiter, the most famous of which was that of Jupiter Optimus, Maximus, or Capitolinus, built during the dynasty of the Tarquins, and splendidly adorned. (See Chapter V.) There were also numerous temples of Juno, of Mars, and of other deities.
The COLOSSEUM was the largest building in Rome.
There were three theatres; that of Pompey, of Marcellus, and of Balbus; and several circuses, the most famous of which was the Circus Maximus.
The BASILICAE were halls of justice (court-houses). The most important was the Basilica Julia, begun by Caesar and finished by Augustus, which was situated on the south side of the Forum, and the foundations of which can still be seen.
The CURIA, or Senate-house, was in the Forum. Each of the thirty curiae had a place of meeting, called also a curia, where were discussed public questions pertaining to politics, finance, or religion.
The PUBLIC BATHS were numerous. There were Thermae (hot baths) of Nero, of Titus, of Trajan, of Caracalla, and of others, ruins of which still exist.
Pure water was brought into the city from the surrounding hills by fourteen different aqueducts, all of which were well built, and three of which are still in use. The first aqueduct (Aqua Appia) was built about 313 B.C., by Appius Claudius.
SEWERS intersected Rome in all directions, and some were of immense size. The CLOACA MAXIMA, built by Tarquin, was the largest, and is still in use. Its innermost arch has a diameter of fourteen feet.
There are said to have been twenty TRIUMPHAL ARCHES, of which five now remain, 1. The ARCH OF DRUSUS, on the Appian Way, erected in honor of Claudius Drusus. 2. The ARCH OF TITUS, at the foot of the Palatine Hill, built by Titus to commemorate his conquest of Judaea, The bas-reliefs on this arch represent the spoils taken from the temple at Jerusalem, carried in triumphal procession. 3. The ARCH OF SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, built by the Senate in 207 A. D., at the end of the Via Sacra, in honor of the Emperor and his two sons for their conquest of the Parthians and Arabians. 4. The ARCH OF GALLIENUS. 5. The ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.
There were two famous MAUSOLEA, that of Augustus, now in ruins, and that of Hadrian, which, stripped of its ornaments, is now the Castle of San Angelo.
The COLUMNS commemorating persons or events were numerous. The most remarkable of these were erected for naval victories, and called COLUMNAE ROSTRATAE. The one of Duilius, in honor of the victory at Mylae (261 B. C.), still stands. It has three ship-beaks attached to each side. Columns were built in honor of several Emperors. That of Trajan is perhaps best known.
The COLUMNA MILLIARIA was a milestone set up by Augustus in the Forum, from which all distances on the different public roads were measured. It was called Milliarium Aureum, or the golden milestone.
CHAPTER XLVIII. COLONIES.—THE CALENDAR.—RELIGION.
Colonies were established by Rome throughout its whole history. They were intended to keep in check a conquered people, and also to repress hostile incursions. Many were founded to provide for veteran soldiers; a practice which was begun by Sulla, and continued under the Emperors.
No colony was established without a lex, plebiscitum, or senatus consultum. Religious ceremonies always accompanied their foundation, and the anniversary was observed.
The colonies were divided into two classes, viz. Roman, and Latin or military. Members of the former class had all the rights of Roman citizens; those of the latter could not vote in the Comitia at Rome. The Latini, who were once Roman citizens, and who always felt equal to them, were uneasy in their subordinate position. But by the Julian law, passed in 90 B. C., they acquired the right of voting at Rome, and were placed on the same footing as Roman colonists.
The Roman year began with March. There were twelve months, and each month had three divisions, the KALENDS, NONES, and IDES. The Kalends fell on the first of the month; the Nones, on the 7th of March, May, July, and October; in other months, on the 5th. The Ides came eight days after the Nones. If an event happened on these divisions, it was said to occur on the Kalends, Nones, or Ides of the month. If it happened between any of these divisions, it was said to occur so many days before the division following the event. The year was reckoned from the foundation of the city (753 B.C.), and often the names of the Consuls of that year were added.
The Romans were religious, and had numerous gods and goddesses: JUPITER and JUNO, the god and goddess of light; SATURN, the god of seed-sowing; TELLUS, the goddess of the nourishing earth; CERES, the goddess of growth; CONSUS and OPS, who presided over the harvest; PALES, the god of the flocks; and LUPERCUS, the god of fertility. Various festivals were celebrated in honor of these, as the Saturnalia, in December; the Tellilia (Tellus), Cerialia (Ceres), and Palilia (Pales), in April; and the Lupercalia, in February.
VESTA was the goddess of the house, and as every family had an altar erected for her worship, so the state, as a combination of families, had a common altar to her in the temple of Vesta. In this temple were also worshipped the Penates and Lares.
The LARES were special guardians of private houses. Some protected fields and cities. Images of Lares of diminutive size, clad often in dog-skins, were ranged along the hearth. The people honored them on the Kalends of May and other festival days by decking them with flowers, and by offering them wine, incense, flour, and portions of their meals upon plates.
The PENATES were kept and worshipped only in the inmost chambers of houses and temples. Their statues, made of wax, wood, or ivory, were also kept in the inner hall.
The priestesses of Vesta were six in number, and were called VESTAL VIRGINS. When a vestal was to be elected, the Pontifex Maximus chose twenty young girls from high families. Of these one was chosen by lot to fill the vacancy, and she was bound to serve for thirty years. The Vestals were preceded by a lictor when in public. They had private seats in the public shows, and had the power of delivering from punishment any condemned person they happened to meet. They wore white dresses and white fillets. Their chief duty was to keep the fire always burning on the hearth (focus publicus) in the temple. They could not marry.
The FLAMINES were priests devoted to the service of some particular god. There were fifteen, and they were chosen first in the Comitia Curiata, and afterwards probably in the Tributa. The most distinguished of all the Flamines was the FLAMEN DIALIS (Jupiter). He had the right to a lictor, to the sella curulis, and to a seat in the Senate. If one in bonds took refuge in his house, the chains were at once removed. This priest, however, could not be away from the city a single night, and was forbidden to sleep out of his own bed for three consecutive nights. He was not allowed to mount a horse, or even to touch one, or to look upon an army outside of the city walls.
THE SALII. These were priests of Mars, twelve in number, and always chosen from the patricians. They celebrated the festival of Mars on the 1st of March, and for several successive days.
This body varied in number, from three, in early times, to sixteen in the time of Caesar. It was composed of men who were believed to interpret the will of the gods, and to declare whether the omens were favorable or otherwise. No public act of any kind could be performed, no election held, no law passed, no war waged, without first consulting the omens. There was no appeal from the decision of the Augurs, and hence their power was great. They held office for life, and were a close corporation, filling their own vacancies until 103 B. C.
This was another body of priests holding office for life, and numbering probably twenty. They were expected, whenever any dispute arose with other nations, to demand satisfaction, to determine whether hostilities should be begun, and to preside at any ratification of peace.
CHAPTER XLIX. THE ROMAN ARMY IN CAESAR'S TIME.
The LEGIO was composed of infantry, and, though larger, corresponded to our regiment. It was divided into ten cohorts (battalions), each cohort into three maniples (companies), and each maniple into two centuries (platoons). In theory the number in each legion was six thousand, in practice about four thousand. The usual order of battle was to draw up each legion in three lines (acies triplex), the first consisting of four cohorts, the second and third of three each. The defensive armor of the legionary soldier was a helmet of metal or leather, a shield (four feet by two and a half), greaves, and corselets of various material. The outer garment was a woollen blanket, fastened to the shoulders by a buckle. Higher officers wore a long purple cloak. The offensive armor was a short, straight two-edged sword (gladius), about two feet long, worn by privates on the right side, so as not to interfere with the shield, but on the left side by officers. The javelin (pilum) was a heavy wooden shaft with an iron head, the whole about seven feet long and weighing fully ten pounds. All legionary soldiers were Roman citizens. The auxiliaries were hired or drafted troops, and were always light-armed. The cavalry in Caesar's time was made up of auxiliaries taken from the different provinces.
The officers were:—1. The IMPERATOR, or commander in chief. 2. The LEGATI, or staff officers, varying in number. Caesar had ten. 3. The QUAESTOR, or quartermaster. 4. The TRIBUNI MILITUM, numbering six in each legion, and assisting the Imperator in his duties. 5. The PRAEFECTI, who held various subordinate commands. 6. The CENTURIONES, who were non-commissioned officers, and rose in rank for good service. There were sixty centurions in each legion, six in each cohort, and one in each century. They were promoted from the ranks, but rarely rose above centurion of the first rank. All the officers, except the centurions, came from either senatorial or equestrian families.
The COHORS PRAETORIA was a body of picked troops that acted as body guard to the Imperator.
The STANDARD (signum) of the legion was an eagle with outstretched wings, perched upon a pole.
The Romans when on the march fortified their camp every night. They made it rectangular in shape, and threw up fortifications always in the same way. It was surrounded by a ditch and rampart. The legionary soldiers encamped next to the wall on the inside of the fortifications, thus surrounding the cavalry, the auxiliaries, the general and his staff. The general's tent was called the Praetorium, and the entrance to the camp in front of his tent was called the Praetorian Gate. The opposite entrance was called the Decuman Gate.
CHAPTER L. LEGENDARY ROME.
AENEAS, son of Anchises and Venus, fled from Troy after its capture by the Greeks (1184?) and came to Italy. He was accompanied by his son IULUS and a number of brave followers. LATINUS, who was king of the district where Aeneas landed, received him kindly, and gave him his daughter, LAVINIA, in marriage. Aeneas founded a city, which he named LAVINIUM, in honor of his wife. After his death, Iulus, also called ASCANIUS, became king. He founded on Mount Albanus a city, which he called ALBA LONGA, and to it transferred the capital.
Here a number of kings ruled in succession, the last of whom was SILVIUS PROCAS, who left two sons, NUMITOR, the older, and AMULIUS. They divided the kingdom, the former choosing the property, the latter the crown. Numitor had two children, a son and a daughter. Amulius, fearing that they might aspire to the throne, murdered the son, and made the daughter, RHEA SILVIA, a Vestal virgin. This he did to prevent her marrying, for this was forbidden to Vestal virgins. She, however, became pregnant by Mars, and had twin sons, whom she named ROMULUS and REMUS. When Amulius was informed of this, he cast their mother into prison, and ordered the boys to be drowned in the Tiber.
At this time the river was swollen by rains, and had overflowed its banks. The boys were thrown into a shallow place, escaped drowning, and, the water subsiding, they were left on dry land. A she wolf, hearing their cries, ran to them and suckled them. FAUSTULUS, a shepherd who was near by, seeing this, took the boys home and reared them. When they grew up and learned who they were, they killed Amulius, and gave the kingdom to their grandfather, Numitor. Then (753) they founded a city on Mount Palatinus, which they called ROME, after Romulus. While they were building a wall around this city, Remus was killed in a quarrel with his brother.
Romulus, first king of Rome, ruled for thirty-seven years (753-716). He found the city needed inhabitants, and to increase their number he opened an asylum, to which many refugees fled. But wives were needed. To supply this want, he celebrated games, and invited the neighboring people, the SABINES, to attend the sports. When all were engaged in looking on, the Romans suddenly made a rush and seized the Sabine virgins. This bold robbery caused a war, which finally ended in a compromise, and a sharing of the city with the Sabines. Romulus then chose one hundred Senators, whom he called PATRES. He also divided the people into thirty wards. In the thirty-seventh year of his reign he disappeared, and was believed to have been taken up into heaven.