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Title: Dio's Rome, Volume 5, Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211) - An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During - The Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, - Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and Now Presented in English - Form By Herbert Baldwin Foster
Author: Dio, Cassius
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dio's Rome, Volume 5, Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211) - An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During - The Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, - Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and Now Presented in English - Form By Herbert Baldwin Foster" ***

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                  DIO'S ROME

     A.B. (Harvard), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins),
Acting Professor of Greek in Lehigh University

_FIFTH VOLUME: Extant Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211)._


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

Book Sixty-one

Book Sixty-two

Book Sixty-three

Book Sixty-four

Book Sixty-five

Book Sixty-six

Book Sixty-seven

Book Sixty-eight

Book Sixty-nine

Book Seventy

Book Seventy-one

Book Seventy-two

Book Seventy-three

Book Seventy-four

Book Seventy-five

Book Seventy-six

Book Seventy-seven


Nero seizes the sovereignty (chapters 1, 2).

At the beginning he is accustomed to yield to the influence of his mother,
whom Seneca and Burrus thrust aside from control of affairs (chapter 3).

Nero's exhibitions of wantonness and his extravagance: the death of
Silanus (chapters 4-6).

Love for Acte: Britannicus slain: discord with Agrippina (chapters 7, 8).

How Nero's mind began to give way (chapter 9).

About the faults and immoralities of the philosopher Seneca (chapter 10).

Sabina an object of love: Agrippina murdered (chapters 11-16).

Domitia put to death: festivities: Nero sings to the accompaniment of his
lyre (chapters 17-21).


M. Asinius Marcellus, Manius Acilius Aviola. (A.D. 54 = a.u. 807 = First
of Nero, from Oct. 13th).

Nero Caesar Aug., L. Antistius Vetus. (A.D. 55 = a.u. 808 = Second of

Q. Volusius Saturninus, P. Cornelius Scipio. (A.D. 56 = a.u. 809 = Third
of Nero).

Nero Caesar Aug. (II), L. Calpurnius Piso. (A.D. 57 = a.u. 810 = Fourth of

Nero Caesar Aug. (III), M. Valerius Messala. (A.D. 58 = a.u. 811 = Fifth
of Nero).

C. Vipsanius Apronianus, L. Fonteius Capito. (A.D. 59 = a.u. 812 = Sixth
of Nero).

Nero Caesar Aug. (IV), Cornelius Lentulus Cossus. (A.D. 60 = a.u. 813 =
Seventh of Nero).

[Sidenote: A.D. 54 (a.u. 807)] [Sidenote:--1--] At the death of Claudius
the leadership on most just principles belonged to Britannicus, who had
been born a legitimate son of Claudius and in physical development was
beyond what would have been expected of his years. Yet by law the power
passed to Nero on account of his adoption. No claim, indeed, is stronger
than that of arms. Every one who possesses superior force has always the
appearance of both saying and doing what is more just. So Nero, having
first disposed of Claudius's will and having succeeded him as master of
the whole empire, put Britannicus and his sisters out of the way. Why,
then, should one stop to lament the misfortunes of other victims?

[Sidenote:--2--] The following signs of dominion had been observed in his
career. At his birth just before dawn rays not cast by any beam of
sunlight yet visible surrounded his form. And a certain astrologer from
this and from the motion of the stars at that time and their relation to
one another divined two things in regard to him,--that he would rule and
that he would murder his mother. Agrippina on hearing this became for the
moment so beside herself as actually to cry out: "Let him kill me, if only
he shall rule." Later she was destined to repent bitterly of her prayer.
Some people become so steeped in folly that if they expect to obtain some
blessing mingled with evil, they at once through their anxiety for the
advantage pay no heed to the detriment. When the time for the latter also
comes, they are cast down and would choose not to have secured even the
greatest good thing. Yet Domitius, the father of Nero, had a sufficient
previous intimation of his son's coming baseness and licentiousness, not
by any oracle but through the nature of his own and Agrippina's
characters. And he declared: "It is impossible for any good man to be born
from me and from her." As time went on, the finding of a serpent skin
around Nero's neck when he was but a boy caused the seers to say: "He
shall acquire great power from the aged man." Serpents are thought to
slough off their old age with their old skin, and so get power.

[Sidenote:--3--] Nero was seventeen years of age when he began to rule. He
first entered the camp, and, after reading to the soldiers all that Seneca
had written, he promised them as much as Claudius had been accustomed to
give. Before the senate he read such a considerable document,--this, too,
written by Seneca,--that it was voted the statements should be inscribed
on a silver tablet and should be read every time the new consuls took up
the duties of their office. Consequently those who heard him made
themselves ready to enjoy a good reign according to the letter of the
compilation. At first Agrippina [in company with Pallas, a vulgar and
tiresome man,] managed all affairs pertaining to the empire, and she and
her son went about together, often reclining in the same litter; usually,
however, she would be carried and he would follow alongside. It was she
who transacted business with embassies and sent letters to peoples and
governors and kings. When this had gone on for a considerable time, it
aroused the displeasure of Seneca and Burrus, who were both the most
sensible and the most influential of the advisers of Nero. The one was his
teacher and the other was prefect of the Pretorians. They took the
following occasion to stop this method of procedure. An embassy of
Armenians had arrived and Agrippina wished to ascend the platform from
which Nero was talking with them. The two men, seeing her approach,
persuaded the young man to go down before she could reach there and meet
his mother, pretending some form of greeting. After that was done they did
not return again, making some excuse to prevent the foreigners from seeing
the flaw in the empire. Subsequently they labored to keep any public
business from being again committed to her hands.

[Sidenote:--4--] When they had accomplished this, they themselves took
charge of the entire empire and gave it the very best and fairest
management that they could. Nero was not in general fond of affairs and
was glad to live at leisure. [The reason, indeed, that he had previously
distrusted his mother and now was fond of her lay in the fact that now he
was free to enjoy himself, and the government was being carried on no less
well. And his advisers after consultation made many changes in existing
customs, abolishing some things altogether and passing a number of new
laws.] They let Nero sow his wild oats with the intention of bringing
about in him through the satisfaction of all his desires a changed
attitude of mind, while in the meantime no great damage should be done to
public interests. Surely they must have known that a young and self-willed
spirit, when reared in unreproved license and in absolute authority, so
far from becoming satiated by the indulgence of its passions is ruined
more and more by these very agencies. Indeed, Nero at first gave but
simple dinners; his revels, his drunkenness, his amours were moderate.
Afterward, as no one reproved him for them and public business was carried
forward none the worse for all of it, he began to believe that what he did
was right and that he could carry his practices to even greater lengths.
[Consequently he began to indulge in each of these pursuits in a more open
and precipitate fashion. And in case his guardians gave him any warning or
his mother any rebuke, he would appear abashed while they were present and
promise to reform; but as soon as they were gone, he would again become
the slave of his desire and yield to those who were dragging him in the
other direction,--a straight course down hill.] Next he came to despise
instruction, inasmuch as he was always hearing from his associates, "Do
_you_ submit to this?" or "Do _you_ fear these people?", "Don't
you know that you are Caesar?", "Have not you the authority over them
rather than they over you?" He was also animated by obstinacy, not wishing
to acknowledge his mother as superior and himself as inferior, nor to
admit the greater good sense of Seneca and Burrus.

[Sidenote:--5--] Finally he passed the possibility of being shamed, dashed
to the ground and trampled under foot all their suggestions, and began to
follow in the steps of Gaius. When he had once felt a desire to emulate
him, he quite outdid him, for he believed that the imperial power must
manifest itself among other ways by allowing no one to surpass it even in
the vilest deeds. [As he was praised for this by the crowds, and received
many pleasant compliments from them, he gave himself no rest. His doings
were at first confined to his home and associates, but were later on
carried abroad. Thus he attached a mighty disgrace to the whole Roman race
and committed many outrages upon the individuals composing it. Innumerable
acts of violence and insult, of rape and murder, were committed both by
the emperor himself and by those who at one time or another had influence
with him. And, as certainly and inevitably follows in all such practices],
great sums of money naturally were spent, great sums unjustly procured,
and great sums seized by force. For under no circumstances was Nero
niggardly. Here is an illustration. He had ordered no less than two
hundred and fifty myriads at one time to be given to Doryphorus, who
attended to the state documents of his empire. Agrippina had it all piled
in a heap, hoping by showing him the money all together to make him change
his mind. Instead, he asked how much the mass before him amounted to, and
when he was informed he doubled it, saying: "I was not aware that I had
allowed him so little." It can clearly be seen, then, that as a result of
the magnitude of his expenditures he would quickly exhaust the treasures
in the royal vaults and quickly need new revenues. Hence unusual taxes
were imposed and the property of the well-to-do was not left intact. Some
lost their possessions to spite him and others destroyed themselves with
their livelihoods. Similarly he hated and made away with some others who
had no considerable wealth; for, if they possessed any excellent trait or
were of a good family, he became suspicious that they disliked him.

[Sidenote:--6--] Such were the general characteristics of Nero. I shall
now proceed to details.

In the matter of horse-races Nero grew so enthusiastic that he adorned
famous race-horses that had passed their prime with the regular street
costume for men and honored them with money for their fodder. The
horsebreeders and charioteers, elated at this enthusiasm of his, proceeded
to abuse unjustifiably even the praetors and consuls. But Aulus Fabricius,
when praetor, finding that they refused to hold contests on fair terms,
dispensed with them entirely. He trained dogs to draw chariots and
introduced them in place of horses. When this was done, the wearers of the
white and of the red immediately entered their chariots: but, as the
Greens and the Blues would not even then participate, Nero at his own cost
gave the prizes to the horses, and the regular program of the circus was
carried out.

Agrippina showed readiness to attack the greatest undertakings, as is
evidenced by her causing the death of Marcus Julius Silanus, to whom she
sent some of the poison with which she had treacherously murdered her

Silanus was governor of Asia, and was in no respect inferior to the
general character of his family. It was for this, more than for anything
else, she said, that she killed him, not wishing to have him preferred
before Nero, by reason of the latter's manner of life. Moreover, she
turned everything into trade and gathered money from the most
insignificant and basest sources.

Laelianus, who was despatched to Armenia in place of Pollio, had been
assigned to the command of the night watch. And he was no better than
Pollio, for, while surpassing him in reputation, he was all the more
insatiable in respect to gain.

[Sidenote: A.D. 55 (a.u. 808)] [Sidenote:--7--] Agrippina found a
grievance in the fact that she was no longer supreme in affairs of the
palace. It was chiefly because of Acte. Acte had been brought as a slave
from Asia. She caught the fancy of Nero, was adopted into the family of
Attalus, and was cherished much more carefully than was Nero's wife
Octavia. Agrippina, indignant at this and at other matters, first
attempted to rebuke him, and set herself to humiliating his associates,
some by beatings and by getting rid of others. But when she accomplished
nothing, she took it greatly to heart and remarked to him: "It was I who
made you emperor," just as if she had the power to take away the authority
from him again. She did not comprehend that every form of independent
power given to any one by a private citizen immediately ceases to be the
property of the giver and belongs to the one who receives it to use
against his benefactor.

Britannicus Nero murdered treacherously by poison, and then, as the skin
was turned livid by the action of the drug, he smeared the body with
gypsum. But as it was being carried through the Forum a heavy rain falling
while the gypsum was still damp washed it all away, so that the horror was
exposed not only to comment but to view. [After Britannicus was dead
Seneca and Burrus ceased to give careful attention to public interests and
were satisfied if they might manage them conservatively and still preserve
their lives. Consequently Nero now made himself conspicuous by giving free
rein to all his desires without fear of retribution. His behavior began to
be absolutely insensate, as is shown, for instance, by his punishing a
certain knight, Antonius, as a seller of poisons and by further burning
the poisons publicly. He took great credit for this action as well as for
prosecuting some persons who had tampered with wills; but other people
only laughed to see him punishing his own acts in the persons of others.]

[Sidenote:--8--] His secret acts of licentiousness were many, both at home
and throughout the City, by night and by day. He used to frequent the
taverns and wandered about everywhere like a private person. Any number of
beatings and insults took place in this connection and the evil spread to
the theatres, so that those who worked as dancers and who had charge of
the horses paid no attention either to praetors or to consuls. They were
disorderly themselves and led others to be the same, while Nero not only
did not restrain them even by words, but stirred them up all the more. He
delighted in their actions and used to be secretly conveyed in a litter
into the theatres, where unseen by the rest he watched the proceedings.
Indeed, he forbade the soldiers who had usually been in attendance at all
public gatherings to appear there any longer. The reason he assigned was
that they ought not to superintend anything but strictly military affairs,
but his true purpose was to afford those who wished to raise a disturbance
the amplest scope. He made use of the same excuse in reference to his not
allowing any soldier to attend his mother, saying that no one except the
emperor ought to be guarded by them. In this way he displayed his enmity
toward the masses, and as for his mother he was already openly at variance
with her. Everything that they said to each other, or that the imperial
pair did each day, was reported outside the palace, yet it did not all
reach the public and hence conjectures were made to supply missing details
and different versions arose. What was conceivable as happening, in view
of the baseness and lewdness of the pair, was noised abroad as having
already taken place, and reports possessing some credibility were believed
as true. The populace, seeing Agrippina now for the first time without
Pretorians, took care not to fall in with her even by accident; and if any
one did chance to meet her he would hastily get out of the way without
saying a word.

[Sidenote:--9--] At one spectacle men on horseback overcame bulls while
riding along beside them, and the knights who served as Nero's personal
guard brought down with their javelins four hundred bears and three
hundred lions. On the same occasion thirty knights belonging to the
military fought in the arena. The emperor sanctioned such proceedings
openly. Secretly, however, he carried on nocturnal revels throughout the
length and breadth of the city, insulting the women, practicing lewdness
on boys, stripping those whom he encountered, striking, wounding,
murdering. He had an idea that his incognito was impenetrable, for he used
all sorts of different costumes and false hair at different times: but he
would be recognized by his retinue and by his deeds. No one else would
have dared to commit so many and such gross outrages so recklessly.
[Sidenote: A.D. 56 (a.u. 809)] It was becoming unsafe even for a person to
stay at home, since he would break into shops and houses. It came about
that a certain Julius Montanus, [Footnote: _C. Iulius Montanus C.F._
(Cp. Suetonius, Life of Nero, chapter 60).] a senator, enraged on his
wife's account, fell upon this reveler and inflicted many blows upon him,
so that he had to remain several days in concealment by reason of the
black eyes he had received. Montanus did not suffer for it, since Nero
thought the violence had been all an accident and was for showing no anger
at the occurrence, had not the other sent him a letter begging his pardon.
Nero on reading the epistle remarked: "So he knew that he was striking
Nero." The suicide of Montanus followed hard after.

[Sidenote: A.D. 57 (a.u. 810)] In the course of producing a spectacle at
one of the theatres, he suddenly filled the place with sea-water so that
the fishes and sea-monsters [Footnote: [Greek: ktaenae] of the MSS. was
changed to [Greek: kaetae] on the conjecture of Sylburgius, who was
followed by Bekker, Dindorf, and Boissevain. (Compare also Suetonius, Life
of Nero, chapter 12).] swam in it, and had a naval battle between
"Persians" and "Athenians." At the close of it he suddenly withdrew the
water, dried the subsoil, and continued land contests, not only between
two men at a time but with crowds pitted against other crowds.

[Sidenote: A.D. 58 (a.u. 811)] [Sidenote:--10--] Subsequent to this,
oratorical contests took place, and as a result even of these numbers were
exiled and put to death.--Seneca also was held to account, one of the
charges against him being that he was intimate with Agrippina. [It had not
been enough for him to debauch Julia, nor had he become better as a result
of exile, but he went on to make advances to such a woman as Agrippina,
with such a son.] Not only in this instance but in others he was convicted
of doing precisely the opposite of what he taught in his philosophical
doctrines. He brought accusations against tyranny, yet he made himself a
teacher of tyrants: he denounced such of his associates as were powerful,
yet he did not hold aloof from the palace himself: he had nothing good to
say of flatterers, yet he had so fawned upon Messalina and Claudius's
freedmen [that he had sent them from the island a book containing eulogies
upon them; this latter caused him such mortification that he erased the
passage.] While finding fault with the rich, he himself possessed a
property of seven thousand five hundred myriads; and though he censured
the extravagances of others, he kept five hundred three-legged tables of
cedar wood, every one of them with identical ivory feet, and he gave
banquets on them. In mentioning these details I have at least given a hint
of their inevitable adjuncts,--the licentiousness in which he indulged at
the very time that he made a most brilliant marriage, and the delight that
he took in boys past their prime (a practice which he also taught Nero to
follow). Nevertheless, his austerity of life had earlier been so severe
that he had asked his pupil neither to kiss him nor to eat at the same
table with him. [For the latter request he had a good reason, namely, that
Nero's absence would enable him to conduct his philosophical studies at
leisure without being hindered by the young man's dinners. But as for the
kiss, I can not conceive how that tradition came about. The only
explanation which one could imagine, namely, his unwillingness to kiss
that sort of mouth, is proved to be false by the facts concerning his
favorites. For this and for his adultery some complaints were lodged
against him, but at this time he was himself released without formal
accusations and succeeded in begging off Pallas and Burrus. Later on he
did not come out so well.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 59 (a.u. 811)] [Sidenote:--11--] There was a certain
Marcus Salvius Otho, who through similarity of character and sharing in
wrongdoing had become so intimate with Nero that he was not even punished
for saying one day to the latter: "Then I hope you may see me Caesar." All
that came of it was the response: "I sha'n't see you even consul." It was
to him that the emperor gave Sabina, of patrician family, after separating
her from her husband, and they both enjoyed her together. Agrippina,
therefore, fearing that Nero would marry the woman (for he was now
beginning to entertain a mad passion for her), ventured upon a most unholy
course. As if it were not enough for her story that she had attracted her
uncle Claudius into love for her by her blandishments and uncontrolled
looks and kisses, she undertook to enslave Nero also in similar fashion.
However, I am not sure whether this actually occurred, or whether it was
invented to fit their characters: but I state here what is admitted by
all, that Nero had a mistress resembling Agrippina of whom he was
especially fond because of this very resemblance. And when he toyed with
the girl herself or threw out hints about it to others, he would say that
he was having intercourse with his mother.

[Sidenote: A.D. 59 (a.u. 812)] Sabina on hearing about this began to
persuade Nero to get rid of his mother in order to forestall her alleged
plots against him. He was likewise incited,--so many trustworthy men have
stated,--by Seneca, whether it was to obscure the complaint against his
own name that the latter was anxious or to lead Nero on to a career of
unholy bloodguiltiness that should bring about most speedily his
destruction by gods and men. But they shrank from doing the deed openly
and were not able to put her out of the way secretly by means of poison,
for she took extreme precautions against all such things. One day they saw
in the theatre a ship that automatically separated in two, let out some
beasts, and came together again so as to be once more seaworthy; and they
at once had another one built like it. By the time the ship was finished
Agrippina had been quite won over by Nero's attentions, for he exhibited
devotion to her in every way to make sure that she should suspect nothing
and be off her guard. He dared, however, do nothing in Rome for fear the
crime should become widely known. Hence he went some distance into
Campania accompanied by his mother, and took a sail on the fatal ship
itself, which was adorned in the most brilliant fashion to the end that
she might feel a desire to use the vessel continually.

[Sidenote:--13--] When they reached Bauli, he gave for several days most
costly dinners at which he showed great solicitude in entertaining his
mother. If she were absent he feigned to miss her sorely, and if she were
present he was lavish of caresses. He bade her ask whatever she desired
and bestowed many gifts without her asking. When he had shaped the
situation to this extent [Footnote: Adopting Reiske's conjecture,
_nv_.], then rising from dinner about midnight he embraced her, and
straining her to his breast kissed her eyes and hands, exclaiming:
"Mother, farewell, and happiness attend you! For you I live and because of
you I rule." He then gave her in charge of Anicetus, a freedman,
supposedly to convey her home on the ship that he had prepared.

But the sea would not endure the tragedy about to be enacted on it nor
would it submit to assume responsibility for the deception wrought by the
monstrous contrivance: therefore, though the ship parted asunder and
Agrippina fell into the water, she did not perish. In spite of the fact
that it was dark and she was full of strong drink and that the sailors
used their oar blades on her, so much so that they killed Acerronia Polla,
her fellow voyager, she nevertheless saved her life and reached home.
Thereupon she affected not to realize that it was a plot and let not a
word of it be known, but sent speedily to her son an account of the
occurrence with the implication that it had happened by accident, and
conveyed to him the good news (as she assumed it to be) that she was safe.
Nero hearing this could not endure the unexpected outcome but punished the
messenger as savagely as if he had come to assassinate him, and at once
despatched Anicetus with the sailors to make an end of his mother. He
would not entrust the killing of her to the Pretorians. When she saw them,
she knew for what they had come, and leaping from her bed tore open her
clothing; exposing her abdomen, and cried out: "Strike here, Anicetus,
strike here, for this bore Nero!"

[Sidenote:--14--] Thus was Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus, grandchild of
Agrippa, descendant of Augustus, slain by the very son to whom she had
given the sovereignty and for whose sake she had killed her uncle and
others. Nero when informed that she was dead would not believe it, for the
monstrousness of his bold deed plunged him in doubts; therefore he desired
to behold the victim with his own eyes. So he laid bare her body, looked
her all over and inspected her wounds, finally uttering a remark far more
abominable even than the crime. What he said was: "I did not know I had so
beautiful a mother."

To the Pretorians he gave money evidently to secure their prayers for many
such occurrences, and he sent to the senate a message in which he
enumerated the offences of which he knew she was guilty, stating also that
she had plotted against him and on being detected had committed suicide.
Yet for all this calm explanation to the governing body he was frequently
subject to agitation at night, so that he would even leap suddenly from
his bed. And by day terror seized him at the sound of trumpets that seemed
to blare forth some horrid din of war from the spot where lay Agrippina's
bones. Therefore he went elsewhere. And when in his new abode he had again
the same experience, he distractedly transferred his residence to some
other place.

Nero, not having a word of truth from any one and seeing that all approved
what he had been doing, thought that either his actions had escaped notice
or that he had conducted himself correctly. Hence he became much worse
also in other respects. He came to think that all that it was in his power
to do was right and gave heed to those whose speech was prompted by fear
or flattery as if they told absolute truth. For a time he was subject to
fears and questionings, but, after the ambassadors had made him a number
of pleasing speeches, he regained courage.

[Sidenote:--15--] The population of Rome, on hearing the report, though
horrified were nevertheless joyful, because they thought that now he would
surely come to ruin. Nearly all of the senators pretended to rejoice at
what had taken place, participated in Nero's pleasure, and voted many
measures of which they thought he would be glad. Publius Thrasea Paetus
had also come to the senate-house and listened to the letter. When,
however, the reading was done, he at once rose without making any comment
and went out. Thus what he would have said he could not, and what he could
have said he would not. He behaved in the same way under all other
conditions. For he used to say: "If it were a matter of Nero's putting
only me to death, I could easily pardon the rest who load him with
flatteries. But since among those even who praise him so excessively he
has gotten rid of some and will yet destroy others, why should one stoop
to indecent behavior and perish like a slave, when like a freeman one may
pay the debt to nature? There shall be talk of me hereafter, but of these
men not a word save for the single fact that they were killed." Such was
the kind of man Thrasea showed himself, and he would always encourage
himself by saying: "Nero can kill me, but he can not harm me."

[Sidenote:--16--] When Nero after his mother's murder reentered Rome,
people paid him reverence in public, but in private so long as any one
could speak frankly with safety they tore his character to very tatters.
And first they hung by night a piece of hide on one of his statues to
signify that he himself ought to have a hiding. Second, they threw down in
the Forum a baby to which was fastened a board, saying: "I will not take
you up for fear you may slay your mother."

At Nero's entrance into Rome they took down the statues of Agrippina. But
there was one which they did not cut loose soon enough, and so they threw
over it a cloth which gave it the appearance of being veiled. Thereupon
somebody at once affixed to the statue the following inscription: "I am
abashed and thou art unashamed."

In many quarters at once, also, might be read the inscription:

  "Nero, Orestes, Alemeon, matricides."

Persons could actually be heard saying in so many words: "Nero put his
mother out of the way." Not a few lodged information that certain persons
had spoken in this way, their object being not so much to destroy those
whom they accused as to bring reproach, on Nero. Hence he would admit no
suit of that kind, either not wishing that the rumor should become more
widespread by such means, or out of utter contempt for what was said.
However, in the midst of the sacrifices offered in memory of Agrippina
according to decree, the sun suffered a total eclipse and the stars could
be seen. Also, the elephants drawing the chariot of Augustus entered the
hippodrome and went as far as the senators' seats, but at that point they
stopped and refused to proceed farther. And the event which one might most
readily conjecture to have taken place through divine means was that a
thunderbolt descended upon his dinner and consumed it all as it was being
brought to him, like some tremendous harpy snatching away his food.

[Sidenote:--17--] [In spite of this he killed by poison also his aunt
Domitia, whom likewise he used to say he revered like a mother. He would
not even wait a few days for her to die a natural death of old age, but
was eager to destroy her also. His haste to do this was inspired by her
possessions at Baiae and Ravenna, which included magnificent amusement
pavilions that she had erected and] are in fine condition even now. In
honor of his mother he celebrated a very great and costly festival, events
taking place for several days in five or six theatres at once. It was then
that an elephant was led to the very top of the vault of the theatre and
walked down from that point on ropes, carrying a rider. There was another
exhibition at once most disgraceful and shocking. Men and women not only
of equestrian but even of senatorial rank appeared in the orchestra, the
hippodrome, and even the hunting-theatre, like the veriest outcasts. Some
of them played the flute and danced or acted tragedies and comedies or
sang to the lyre. They drove horses, killed beasts, fought as gladiators,
some willingly, others with a very bad grace. Men of that day beheld the
great families,--the Furii, the Horatii, the Fabii, Poreii, Valerii, and
all the rest whose trophies, whose temples were to be seen,--standing down
below the level of the spectators and doing some things to which no common
citizen even would stoop. So they would point them out to one another and
make remarks, Macedonians saying: "That is the descendant of Paulus";
Greeks, "Yonder the offspring of Mummius"; Sicilians, "Look at Claudius";
the Epirots, "Look at Appius"; Asiatics, "There's Lucius"; Iberians,
"There's Publius"; Carthaginians, "There's Africanus"; Romans, "There they
all are". Such was the expiation that the emperor chose to offer for his
own indecency.

[Sidenote:--18--] All who had sense, likewise, bewailed the multitude of
expenditures. Every costliest viand that men eat, everything else, indeed,
of the highest value,--horses, slaves, teams, gold, silver, raiment of
varied hues,--was given away by tickets. Nero would throw tiny balls, each
one appropriately inscribed, among the populace and that article
represented by the token received would be presented to the person who had
seized it. The sensible, I say, reflected that, when he spent so much to
prevent molestation in his disgraceful course, he would not be restrained
from any most outrageous proceedings through mere hope of profit.

Some portents had taken place about this time, which the seers declared
imported destruction to him, and they advised him to divert the danger
upon others. So he would have immediately put numbers of men out of the
way, had not Seneca said to him: "No matter how many you may slay, you can
not kill your successor."

It was now that he celebrated a corresponding number of "Preservation
Sacrifices," as he called them, and dedicated the forum for the sale of
dainties, called _Macellum_. [Sidenote:--19--] Somewhat later he
instituted a different kind of feast (called Juvenalia, a word that showed
it belonged in some way to "youth"). The occasion was the shaving of his
beard for the first time. The hairs he cast into a small golden globe and
offered to Jupiter Capitolinus. To furnish amusement members of the
noblest families as well as others did not fail to give exhibitions. For
instance, Aelia Catella danced: he was first of all a man prominent for
family and wealth and also advanced in years,--he was eighty years of age.
Others who on account of old age or disease could not do anything on their
own account sang as chorus. All devoted themselves to practicing as much
as and by whatever way they were able. Regularly appointed "schools" were
frequented by the most distinguished men, women, girls, lads, old women,
old men. In case any one was unable to appear in any other fashion, he
would enter the choruses. And whereas some of them out of shame had put on
masks to avoid being recognized, Nero at the request of the populace had
them taken off and showed these people to those by whom they had once been
ruled. Now most of all it was that these amateur performers and others
deemed the dead happy; for many of the foremost men this year had been
slain. Some of them, charged with conspiracy against Nero, were surrounded
by the soldiers and stoned to death.

[Sidenote:--20--] And, as there needed to be a fitting climax to these
deeds, Nero himself appeared as an actor and Gallio [Footnote: _L.
Iunius Gallio_.] proclaimed him by name. There stood Caesar on the
stage wearing the garb of a singing zither-player. Spoke the emperor: "My
lords, of your kindness give me ear." Then did the Augustus sing to the
zither a thing called "Attis or the Bacchantes," [Footnote: The title of
one of Nero's poems.] whilst many soldiers stood by and all the people
that the seats would hold sat watching. Yet had he (according to the
tradition) but a slight voice and an indistinct, so that he moved all
present to laughter and tears at once. Beside him stood Burrus and Seneca
like teachers prompting a pupil: they would wave their hands and togas at
every utterance and draw others on to do the same. Indeed, Nero had ready
a peculiar corps of about five thousand soldiers, called Augustans; these
would begin the applause, and all the rest, however loath, were obliged to
shout aloud with them,--except Thrasea. He would never stoop to such
conduct. But the rest, and especially the prominent men, gathered with
alacrity even when in grief and joined as if glad in all the shouts of the
Augustans. One could hear them saying: "Excellent Caesar! Apollo!
Augustus! One like unto the Pythian! By thine own self, O Caesar, no one
can surpass thee!" After this performance he entertained the people at a
feast on boats on the site of the naval battle given by Augustus: thence
at midnight he sailed through a canal into the Tiber.

[Sidenote: A.D. 60 (a.u. 813)] [Sidenote:--21--] This, then, he did to
celebrate the shaving of his chin. In behalf of his preservation and the
continuance of his authority,--thus he gave notice,--he instituted
quinquennial games, naming them Neronia. In honor of the event he also
constructed the gymnasium at the dedication of which he made a free
distribution of olive oil to the senators and knights. The crown for
singing to the zither, moreover, he took without a contest, for all others
were debarred on the assumption that they were unworthy of victory. [And
immediately in their garb he was enrolled on the very lists of the
gymnasium.] Thenceforward all other crowns for zither playing at all the
contests were sent to him as the only person competent to win victories of
that sort.


About the disaster to the Romans in Britain, brought upon them by Buduica
(chapters 1-7).

Paulinus, returning from subduing the island of Mona, conquers in battle
(chapters 8-12).

Octavia Augusta and Burrus, likewise Plautus and Pallas, are put to death
by Nero (chapters 13, 14).

Most swinish reveling at the games of Tigillinus (chapter 15).

How Nero set the city on fire (chapters 16-18).

The uprightness of Corbulo: proceedings against Vologaesus and Tiridates
(chapters 19, 20).

Misfortune attends the endeavors of Paetus: Vologaesus forms a compact
with Corbulo (chapters 21-23).

Seneca, Soranus, Thrasea, Sabina are put to death: Musonius and Cornutus
are banished (chapters 24-29).


Nero Aug. (IV), Cornelius Cossus Cossi F. Lentulus. (A.D. 60 = a.u. 813 =
Seventh of Nero, from Oct. 13th).

Caesonius Paetus, P. Petronius Turpilianus. (A.D. 61 = a.u. 814 = Eighth
of Nero).

P. Marius Celsus, L. Asinius Gallus. (A.D. 62 = a.u. 815 = Ninth of Nero).

C. Memmius Regulus, L. Verginius Rufus. (A.D. 63 = a.u. 816 = Tenth of

C. Lecanius Bassus, M. Licinius Crassus Frugi. (A.D. 64 = a.u. 817 =
Eleventh of Nero).

A. Licinius Nerva Silanus, M. Vestinus Atticus. (A.D. 65 = a.u. 818 =
Twelfth of Nero).

[Sidenote: A.D. 61 (a.u. 814)] [Sidenote:--1--] While this sport was going
on at Rome, a terrible disaster had taken place in Britain. Two cities had
been sacked, eight myriads of Romans and of their allies had perished, and
the island had been lost. Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon them by
a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame. Heaven
evidently gave them in advance an indication of the catastrophe. At night
there was heard to issue from the senate-house foreign jargon mingled with
laughter and from the theatre outcries with wailing: yet no mortal man had
uttered the speeches or the groans. Houses under water came to view in the
river Thames, [Footnote: Compare Tacitus, Annals, XIV, 32 ("visamque
speciem in aestuario Tamesae subversae Coloniae").] and the ocean between
the island and Gaul sometimes grew bloody at flood-tide.

[Sidenote:--2--] The _casus belli_ lay in the confiscation of the
money which Claudius had given to the foremost Britons,--Decianus Catus,
governor of the island, announcing that this must now be sent back. This
was one reason [Lacuna] [Footnote: It would seem natural to supply "for the
uprising," as does Reiske.] and another was that Seneca had lent them on
excellent terms as regards interest a thousand myriads that they did not
want, [Footnote: The meaning of this phrase ( [Greek: achousin]) is not
wholly clear. Naber purposes to substitute [Greek: aitousin] ("that they
were asking for").] and had afterward called in this loan all at once and
levied on them for it with severity. But the person who most stirred their
spirits and persuaded them to fight the Romans, who was deemed worthy to
stand at their head and to have the conduct of the entire war, was a
British woman, Buduica, [Footnote: Known commonly as Boadicea.] of the
royal family and possessed of greater judgment than often belongs to
women. It was she who gathered the army to the number of nearly twelve
myriads and ascended a tribunal of marshy soil made after the Roman
fashion. In person she was very tall, with a most sturdy figure and a
piercing glance; her voice was harsh; a great mass of yellow hair fell
below her waist and a large golden necklace clasped her throat; wound
about her was a tunic of every conceivable color and over it a thick
chlamys had been fastened with a brooch. This was her constant attire. She
now grasped a spear to aid her in terrifying all beholders and spoke as

[Sidenote:--3--] "You have had actual experience of the difference between
freedom and slavery. Hence, though some of you previously through
ignorance of which was better may have been deceived by the alluring
announcements of the Romans, yet now that you have tried both you have
learned how great a mistake you made by preferring a self-imposed
despotism to your ancestral mode of life. You have come to recognize how
far superior is the poverty of independence to wealth in servitude. What
treatment have we met with that is not most outrageous, that is not most
grievous, ever since these men insinuated themselves into Britain? Have we
not been deprived of our most numerous and our greatest possessions
entire, while for what remains we must pay taxes? Besides pasturing and
tilling all the various regions for them do we not contribute a yearly sum
for our very bodies? How much better it would have been to be sold to
masters once and for all than to ransom ourselves annually and possess
empty names of freedom! How much better to have been slain and perish
rather than go about with subservient heads! Yet what have I said? Even
dying is not free from expense among them, and you know what fees we
deposit on behalf of the dead. Throughout the rest of mankind death frees
even those who are in slavery; only in the case of the Romans do the very
dead live for their profit. Why is it that though none of us has any
money,--and how or whence should we get it?,--we are stripped and
despoiled like a murderer's victims? How should the Romans grow milder in
process of time, when they have conducted themselves so toward us at the
very start,--a period when all men show consideration for even newly
captured beasts?

[Sidenote:--4--] "But, to tell the truth, it is we who have made ourselves
responsible for all these evils in allowing them so much as to set foot on
the island in the first place instead of expelling them at once as we did
their famous Julius Caesar,--yes, in not making the idea of attempting the
voyage formidable to them, while they were as yet far off, as it was to
Augustus and to Gaius Caligula. So great an island, or rather in one sense
a continent encircled by water, do we inhabit, a veritable world of our
own, and so far are we separated by the ocean from all the rest of mankind
that we have been believed to dwell on a different earth and under a
different sky and some of their wisest men were not previously sure of
even our exact name. Yet for all this we have been scorned and trampled
under foot by men who know naught else than how to secure gain. Still, let
us even at this late day, if not before, fellow-citizens, friends and
relatives,--for I deem you all relatives, in that you inhabit a single
island and are called by [Footnote: Reading [Greek: chechlaemenous](van
Herwerden).] one common name,--let us do our duty while the memory of
freedom still abides within us, that we may leave both the name and the
fact of it to our children. For if we utterly lose sight of the happy
conditions amid which we were born and bred, what pray will they do,
reared in bondage?

[Sidenote:--5--] "This I say not to inspire you with a hatred of present
circumstances,--that hatred is already apparent,--nor with a fear of the
future,--that fear you already have,--but to commend you because of your
own accord you choose to do just what you ought, and to thank you for
cooperating so readily with me and your own selves at once. Be nowise
afraid of the Romans. They are not more numerous than are we nor yet
braver. And the proof is that they have protected themselves with helmets
and breastplates and greaves and furthermore have equipped their camps
with palisades and walls and ditches to make sure that they shall suffer
no harm by any hostile assault. [Footnote: Corruptions in the text emended
by Reiske.] Their fears impel them to choose this method rather than
engage in any active work like us. We enjoy such a superabundance of
bravery that we regard tents as safer than walls and our shields as
affording greater protection than their whole suits of mail. As a
consequence, we when victorious can capture them and when overcome by
force can elude them. And should we ever choose to retreat, we can conceal
ourselves in swamps and mountains so inaccessible that we can be neither
found nor taken. The enemy, however, can neither pursue any one by reason
of their heavy armor nor yet flee. And if they ever should slip away from
us, taking refuge in certain designated spots, there, too, they are sure
to be enclosed as in a trap. These are some of the respects in which they
are vastly inferior to us, and others are their inability to bear up under
hunger, thirst, cold, or heat, as we can; for they require shade and
protection, they require kneaded bread and wine and oil, and if the supply
of any of these things fails them they simply perish. For us, on the other
hand, any root or grass serves as bread, any plant juice as olive oil, any
water as wine, any tree as a house. Indeed, this very region is to us an
acquaintance and ally, but to them unknown and hostile. As for the rivers,
we swim them naked, but they even with boats can not cross easily. Let us
therefore go against them trusting boldly to good fortune. Let us show
them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule dogs and wolves."

[Sidenote:--6--] At these words, employing a species of divination, she
let a hare escape from her bosom, and as it ran in what they considered a
lucky direction, the whole multitude shouted with pleasure, and Buduica
raising her hand to heaven, spoke: "I thank thee, Andraste, [Footnote: Not
much information is preserved regarding this indigenous goddess of
Britain. Reimar asserts that she is practically identical with Boccharte,
Astarte, or Venus.] and call upon thee, who are a woman, being myself also
a woman that rules not burden-bearing Egyptians like Nitocris, nor
merchant Assyrians like Semiramis (of these things we have heard from the
Romans), nor even the Romans themselves, as did Messalina first and later
Agrippina;--at present their chief is Nero, in name a man, in fact a
woman, as is shown by his singing, his playing the cithara, his adorning
himself:--but ruling as I do men of Britain that know not how to till the
soil or ply a trade yet are thoroughly versed in the arts of war and hold
all things common, even children and wives; wherefore the latter possess
the same valor as the males: being therefore queen of such men and such
women I supplicate and pray thee for victory and salvation and liberty
against men insolent, unjust, insatiable, impious,--if, indeed we ought to
term those creatures men who wash in warm water, eat artificial dainties,
drink unmixed wine, anoint themselves with myrrh, sleep on soft couches
with boys for bedfellows (and past their prime at that), are slaves to a
zither-player, yes, an inferior zither-player. Wherefore may this
Domitia-Nero _woman_ reign no more over you or over me: let the wench
sing and play the despot over the Romans. They surely deserve to be in
slavery to such a being whose tyranny they have patiently borne already
this long time. But may we, mistress, ever look to thee alone as our

[Sidenote:--7--] After an harangue of this general nature Buduica led her
army against the Romans. The latter chanced to be without a leader for the
reason that Paulinus their commander had gone on an expedition to Mona, an
island near Britain. This enabled her to sack and plunder two Roman
cities, and, as I said, she wrought indescribable slaughter. Persons
captured by the Britons underwent every form of most frightful treatment.
The conquerors committed the most atrocious and bestial outrages. For
instance, they hung up naked the noblest and most distinguished women, cut
off their breasts and sewed them to their mouths, to make the victims
appear to be eating them. After that they impaled them on sharp skewers
run perpendicularly the whole length of the body. All this they did to the
accompaniment of sacrifices, banquets, and exhibitions of insolence in all
of their sacred places, but chiefly in the grove of Andate,--that being
the name of their personification of Victory, to whom they paid the most
excessive reverence.

[Sidenote:--8--] It happened that Paulinus had already brought Mona to
terms; hence on learning of the disaster in Britain he at once set sail
thither from Mona. He was unwilling to risk a conflict with the barbarians
immediately, for he feared their numbers and their frenzy; therefore he
was for postponing the battle to a more convenient season. But as he grew
short of food and the barbarians did not desist from pressing him hard, he
was compelled, though contrary to his plan, to enter into an engagement
with them. Buduica herself, heading an army of about twenty-three myriads
of men, rode on a chariot and assigned the rest to their several stations.
Now Paulinus could not extend his phalanx the width of her whole line,
for, even if the men had been drawn up only one deep, they would not have
stretched far enough, so inferior were they in numbers: nor did he dare to
join battle with one compact force, for fear he should be surrounded and
cut down. Accordingly, he separated his army into three divisions in order
to fight at several points at once, and he made each of the divisions so
strong that it could not easily be broken through. While ordering and
arranging his men he likewise exhorted them, saying:

[Sidenote:--9--] "Up, fellow-soldiers! Up, men of Rome! Show these pests
how much even in misfortune we surpass them. It is a shame for you now to
lose ingloriously what but a short while ago you gained by your valor.
Often have we ourselves and also our fathers with far fewer numbers than
we have at the present conquered far more numerous antagonists. Fear not
the host of them or their rebellion: their boldness rests on nothing
better than headlong rashness unaided by arms and exercise. Fear not
because they have set on fire a few cities: they took these not by force
nor after a battle, but one was betrayed and the other abandoned. Do you
now exact from them the proper penalty for these deeds, that so they may
learn by actual experience what they undertook when they wronged such men
as us."

[Sidenote:--10--] After speaking these words to some he came to a second
group and said: "Now is the occasion, now, fellow-soldiers, for zeal, for
daring. If to-day you prove yourselves brave men, you will recover what
has slipped from your grasp. If you overcome this enemy, no one else will
any longer withstand us. By one such battle you will both make sure of
your present possessions and subdue whatever is left. All soldiers
stationed anywhere else will emulate you and foes will be terror-stricken.
Therefore, since it is in your own hands either to rule fearlessly all
mankind, both the nations that your fathers left under your control and
those which you yourselves have gained in addition, or else to be bereft
of them utterly, choose rather to be free, to rule, to live in wealth, to
enjoy prosperity, than through indolence to suffer the reverse of these

[Sidenote:--11--] After making an address of this sort to the group in
question, he came up to the third division and said also to them: "You
have heard what sort of acts these wretches have committed against us, nay
more, you have even seen some of them. Therefore choose either yourselves
to suffer the same treatment as previous victims and furthermore to be
driven entirely out of Britain, or else through victory to avenge those
that perished and also to give to the rest of mankind an example of mild
clemency toward the obedient, of necessary severity toward the rebellious.
I entertain the highest hopes of victory for our side, counting on the
following factors: first, the assistance of the gods; they usually
cooperate with the party that has been wronged: second, our inherited
bravery; we are Romans and have shown ourselves superior to all mankind in
various instances of valor: next, our experience; we have defeated and
subdued these very men that are now arrayed against us: last, our good
name; it is not worthy opponents but our slaves with whom we are coming in
conflict, persons who enjoyed freedom and self-government only so far as
we allowed it. Yet even should the outcome prove contrary to our
hope,--and I will not shrink from mentioning even this contingency,--it is
better for us to fall fighting bravely than to be captured and impaled, to
see our own entrails cut out, to be spitted on red hot skewers, to perish
dissolved in boiling water, when we have fallen into the power of
creatures that are very beasts, savage, lawless, godless. Let us therefore
either beat them or die on the spot. Britain shall be a noble memorial to
us, even though all subsequent Romans should be driven from it; for in any
case our bodies shall forever possess the land."

[Sidenote:--12--] At the conclusion of exhortations of this sort and
others like them he raised the signal for battle. Thereupon they
approached each other, the barbarians making a great outcry intermingled
with menacing incantations, but the Romans silently and in order until
they came within a javelin's throw of the enemy. Then, while the foe were
advancing against them at a walk, the Romans started at a given word and
charged them at full speed, and when the clash came easily broke through
the opposing ranks; but, as they were surrounded by the great numbers,
they had to be fighting everywhere at once. Their struggle took many
forms. In the first place, light-armed troops might be in conflict with
light-armed, heavy-armed be arrayed against heavy-armed, cavalry join
issue with cavalry; and against the chariots of the barbarians the Roman
archers would be contending. Again, the barbarians would assail the Romans
with a rush of their chariots, knocking them helter-skelter, but, since
they fought without breastplates, would be themselves repulsed by the
arrows. Horseman would upset foot-soldier, and foot-soldier strike down
horseman; some, forming in close order, would go to meet the chariots, and
others would be scattered by them; some would come to close quarters with
the archers and rout them, whereas others were content to dodge their
shafts at a distance: and all these things went on not at one spot, but in
the three divisions at once. They contended for a long time, both parties
being animated by the same zeal and daring. Finally, though late in the
day, the Romans prevailed, having slain numbers in the battle, beside the
wagons, or in the wood: they also captured many alive. Still, not a few
made their escape and went on to prepare to fight a second time.
Meanwhile, however, Buduica fell sick and died. The Britons mourned her
deeply and gave her a costly burial; but, as they themselves were this
time really defeated, they scattered to their homes.--So far the history
of affairs in Britain.

[Sidenote: A.D. 62 (a.u. 815)] [Sidenote:--13--] In Rome Nero had before
this sent away Octavia Augusta, on account of his concubine Sabina, and
subsequently he put her to death. This he did in spite of the opposition
of Burrus, who tried to prevent his sending her away, and once said to
him: "Well, then, give her back her dowry" (by which he meant the
sovereignty). Indeed, Burrus used such unmitigated frankness that on one
occasion, when he was asked by the emperor a second time for an opinion on
matters regarding which he had already made clear his attitude, he
answered bluntly: "When I have once had my say about anything, don't ask
me again." So Nero disposed of him by poison. He also appointed to command
the Pretorians a certain Ofonius Tigillinus, who outstripped all his
contemporaries in licentiousness and bloodiness. [It was he who won Nero
away from them and made light of his colleague Rufus.] [Footnote:
_Foenius Rufus._] To him the famous sentence of Pythias is said to have
been directed. She had proved the only exception when all the other
attendants of Octavia had joined Sabina in attacking their mistress,
despising the one because she was in misfortune and toadying to the other
because her influence was strong. Pythias alone had refused though cruelly
tortured to utter lies against Octavia, and finally, as Tigillinus
continued to urge her, she spat in his face, saying:

  "My mistress's privy parts are cleaner, Tigillinus, than your mouth."

[Sidenote:--14--] The troubles of his relatives Nero turned into laughter
and jest. For instance, after killing Plautus [Footnote: _Rubellirs
Plautus_.] he took a look at his head when it was brought to him and
remarked: "I didn't know he had such a big nose," as much as to say that
he would have spared him, had he been aware of this fact beforehand. And
though he spent practically his whole existence in tavern life, he forbade
others to sell in taverns anything boiled save vegetables and pea-soup. He
put Pallas out of the way because the latter had accumulated great wealth
that could be counted by the ten thousand myriads. Likewise he was very
liable to peevishness that showed in his behavior, and at such times he
would not speak a word to his servants or freedmen but write on tablets
whatever he wanted as well as any orders that he had to give them.

[Sidenote: A.D. 63 (a.u. 816)] [Sidenote:--15--] Indeed, when many of
those who had gathered at Antium perished, Nero made that, too, an
occasion for a festival.

A certain Thrasea gave his opinion to the effect that for a senator the
extreme penalty should be exile.

[Sidenote: A.D. 64 (a.u. 817)] To such lengths did
Nero's self-indulgence go that he actually drove chariots in public.
Again, one time after the slaughter of beasts he straightway brought water
into the theatre by means of pipes and produced a sea-fight: then he let
the water out again and arranged a gladiatorial combat. Last of all he
flooded the place once more and gave a costly public banquet. The person
who had been appointed director of the banquet was Tigillinus, and a large
and complete equipment had been furnished. The arrangements made were as
follows. In the center and resting on the water were placed the great
wooden wine vessels, over which boards had been fastened. Round about it
had been built taverns and booths. Thus Nero and Tigillinus and their
fellow-banqueters, being in the center, held their feast on purple carpets
and soft mattresses, while all the other people caroused in the taverns.
These also entered the brothels, where unrestrictedly they might enjoy
absolutely any woman to be found there. Now the latter were some of the
most beautiful and distinguished in the city, both slaves and free, some
hetaerae, some virgins, some wives,--not merely, that is to say, public
wenches, but both girls and women of the very noblest families. Every man
was given authority to have whichever one he wished, for the women were
not allowed to refuse any one. Consequently, the multitude being a regular
rabble, they drank greedily and reveled in wanton conduct. So a slave
debauched his mistress in the presence of his master and a gladiator
ravished a girl of noble family while her father looked on. The shoving
and striking and uproar that went on, first on the part of those who were
going in and second on the part of those who stood around outside, was
disgraceful. Many men met their death in these encounters, and of the
women some were strangled and some were seized and carried off.

[Sidenote:--16--] After this Nero had the wish (or rather it had always
been a fixed purpose of his) to make an end of the whole city and
sovereignty during his lifetime. Priam he deemed wonderfully happy in that
he had seen his country perish at the same moment as his authority.
Accordingly he sent in different directions men feigning to be drunk or
engaged in some indifferent species of rascality and at first had one or
two or more blazes quietly kindled in different quarters: people, of
course, fell into the utmost confusion, not being able to find any
beginning of the trouble nor to put any end to it, and meanwhile they
became aware of many strange sights and sounds. For soon there was nothing
to be observed but many fires as in a camp, and no other phrases fell from
men's lips but "This or that is burning "; "Where?"; "How?"; "Who set
it?"; "To the rescue!" An extraordinary perturbation laid hold on all
wherever they might be, and they ran about as if distracted, some in one
direction and some in another. Some men in the midst of assisting their
neighbors would learn that their own premises were on fire. Others
received the first intimation of their own possessions being aflame when
informed that they were destroyed. Persons would run from their houses
into the lanes with some idea of being of assistance from the outside, or
again they would dash into the dwellings from the streets, appearing to
think they could accomplish something inside. The shouting and screaming
of children, women, men, and graybeards all together were incessant, so
that one could have no consciousness nor comprehension of anything by
reason of the smoke and shouting combined. On this account some might be
seen standing speechless, as if dumb. All this time many who were carrying
out their goods and many more who were stealing what belonged to others
kept encountering one another and falling over the merchandise. It was not
possible to get anywhere, nor yet to stand still; but people pushed and
were pushed back, they upset others and were themselves upset, many were
suffocated, many were crushed: in fine, no evil that can possibly happen
to men at such a crisis failed to befall them. They could not with ease
find even any avenue of escape, and, if any one did save himself from some
immediate danger, he usually fell into another one and was lost.

[Sidenote:--17--] This did not all take place on one day, but lasted for
several days and nights together. Many houses were destroyed through lack
of some one to defend them and many were set on fire in still more places
by persons who presumably came to the rescue. For the soldiers (including
the night watch), having an eye upon plunder, instead of extinguishing any
blaze kindled greater conflagrations. While similar scenes were being
enacted at various points a sudden wind caught the fire and swept it over
whatever remained. Consequently no one concerned himself any longer about
goods or houses, but all the survivors, standing in a place of safety,
gazed upon what seemed to be many islands and cities burning. There was no
longer any grief over individual losses, for it was swallowed up in the
public lamentation, as men reminded one another how once before most of
their city had been similarly laid waste by the Gauls. [Sidenote:--18--]
While the whole population was in this state of mind and many crazed by
the disaster were leaping into the blaze itself, Nero mounted to the roof
of the palace, where nearly the whole conflagration could be taken in by a
sweeping glance, and having assumed the lyrist's garb he sang the Taking
(as he said) of Ilium, which, to the ordinary vision, however, appeared to
be the Taking of Rome.

The calamity which the city at this time experienced has no parallel
before or since, except in the Gallic invasion. The whole Palatine hill,
the theatre of Taurus, and nearly two-thirds of the remainder of the city
were burned and countless human beings perished. The populace invoked
curses upon Nero without intermission, not uttering his name but simply
cursing those who had set the city on fire: and this was especially the
case because they were disturbed by the memory of the oracle chanted in
Tiberius's day. These were the words:--

  "Thrice three hundred cycles of tireless years being ended, Civil strife
  shall the Romans destroy." [Footnote: Compare Book Fifty-seven, chapter

And when Nero by way of encouraging them reported that these verses were
nowhere to be found, they changed and went to repeating another oracle,
which they averred to be a genuine Sibylline production, namely:--

  "Last of the sons of Aeneas a matricide shall govern."

And so it proved, whether this was actually revealed beforehand by some
divination or whether the populace now for the first time gave it the form
of a divine saying adapted to existing circumstances. For Nero was indeed
the last emperor of the Julian line descended from Aeneas.

He now began to collect vast sums from both individuals and nations,
sometimes using compulsion, with the conflagration for his excuse, and
sometimes obtaining it by "voluntary" offers; and the mass of the Romans
had the food supply fund withdrawn.

[Sidenote:--19--] While he was so engaged, he received news from Armenia
and soon after a laurel wreath in honor of victory. The scattered bodies
of soldiery in that region had been united by Corbulo, who trained them
sedulously after a period of neglect, and then by the very report of his
coming had terrified both Vologaesus, king of Parthia, and Tiridates,
chief of Armenia. He resembled the primitive Romans in that besides coming
of a brilliant family and besides possessing much strength of body he was
still further gifted with a shrewd intelligence: and he behaved with great
bravery, with great fairness, and with great good faith toward all, both
friends and enemies. For these reasons Nero had despatched him to the
scene of war in his own stead and had entrusted to him a larger force than
to anybody else, being equally assured that the man would subdue the
barbarians and would not revolt against him. And Corbulo proved neither of
these assumptions false.

All other men, however, had it as a particular grievance against him that
he kept faith with Nero. They were very anxious to get him as emperor in
place of the actual despot, and this conduct of his seemed to them his
only defect.

[Sidenote:--20--] Corbulo, accordingly, had taken Artaxata without a
struggle and had razed the city to the ground. This exploit finished, he
marched in the direction of Tigranocerta, sparing all the districts that
yielded themselves but devastating the lands of all such as resisted him.
Tigranocerta submitted to him voluntarily, and he performed other
brilliant and glorious deeds, as a result of which he induced the
formidable Vologaesus to accept terms that accorded with the Roman
reputation. [For Vologaesus, on hearing that Nero had assigned Armenia to
others and that Adiabene was being ravaged by Tigranes, made preparations
himself to go on a campaign into Syria against Corbulo, but sent into
Armenia Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and Monaeses, a Parthian. These two
had shut up Tigranes in Tigranocerta. But since they did not succeed in
harming him at all by their siege and as often as they tried conclusions
with him were repulsed by both the native troops and the Romans that were
in his army, and since Corbulo guarded Syria with extreme care, Vologaesus
recognized the hopelessness of his attempt and disbanded his forces. Then
he sent to Corbulo and obtained peace on condition that he send a new
embassy to Nero, raise the siege, and withdraw his soldiers from Armenia.
Nero made him no immediate nor speedy nor definite reply, but despatched
Lucius Caesennius Paetus to Cappadocia to see to it that there should be
no Armenian uprising.]

[Sidenote:--21--] [So Vologaesus attacked Tigranocerta and drove back
Paetus, who had come to its aid. When the latter fled he pursued him, beat
back the garrison left by Paetus at the Taurus, and shut him up in
Rhandea, near the river Arsanias. Then he was on the point of retiring
without accomplishing anything; for destitute as he was of heavy-armed
soldiers he could not approach close to the wall, and he had no large
stock of provender, particularly as he had come at the head of a vast host
without making arrangements for food supplies. Paetus, however, stood in
terror of his archery, which took effect in the very camp itself, as well
as of the cavalry, which kept appearing at all points. Hence he made peace
proposals to his antagonist, accepted his terms, and took an oath that he
would himself abandon all of Armenia and that Nero should give it to
Tiridates. The Parthian was satisfied enough with this agreement, seeing
that he was to obtain control of the country without a contest and would
be making the Romans his debtors for a very considerable kindness. And, as
he learned that Corbulo (whom Paetus several times sent for before he was
surrounded) was drawing near, he dismissed the beleaguered soldiers,
having first made them agree to build a bridge over the river Arsanias for
him. He was not really in need of a bridge, for he had crossed on foot,
but he wished to give them a practical example of the fact that he was
stronger than they. Indeed, he did not retire by way of the bridge even on
this occasion, but rode across on an elephant, while the rest got over as

[Sidenote:--22--] The capitulation had scarcely been made when Corbulo
with inconceivable swiftness reached the Euphrates and there waited for
the retreating force. When the two armies approached each other you would
have been struck with the difference between them and between their
generals: one set were fairly aglow with delight at their rapidity; the
others were grieved and ashamed of their compact. Vologaesus sent Monaeses
to Corbulo with the demand that the newcomer should give up the fort in
Mesopotamia. So they held a prolonged conference together right at the
bridge crossing the Euphrates, after first destroying the center of the
structure. Corbulo having promised to leave the country if the Parthian
would also abandon Armenia, both of these things were done temporarily
until Nero could learn the outcome of the engagements and begin
negotiations with the envoys of Vologaesus, whom the latter had sent a
second time. The answer given them by the emperor was that he would bestow
Armenia upon Tiridates if this aspirant would come to Rome. Paetus was
deposed from his command and the soldiers that had been with him were sent
somewhere else. Corbulo was again assigned to the war against the same
foes. Nero had intended to accompany the expedition in person, but after
falling down during the ceremony of sacrificing he would not venture to go
abroad but remained where he was.]

[Sidenote:--23--] [Corbulo therefore officially prepared for war upon
Vologaesus and sent a centurion bidding him depart from the country.
Privately, however, he suggested to the king that he send his brother to
Rome, and this advice met with acceptance, since Corbulo seemed to have
the stronger force. Thus it came about that they both, Corbulo and
Tiridates, met at no other place than Rhandea, which suited them both. It
appealed to the Parthian because there his people had cut off the Romans
and had sent them away under a capitulation, a visible proof of the favor
that had been done them. To the Roman it appealed because his men were
going to wipe out the ill repute that had attached to them there before.
For the meeting of the two was not limited merely to conversation; a lofty
platform had been erected on which were set images of Nero, and in the
presence of crowds of Armenians, Parthians, and Romans Tiridates
approached and did them reverence; after sacrificing to them and calling
them by laudatory names he took off the diadem from his head and set it
upon them. Monobazus and Vologaesus also came to Corbulo and gave him
hostages. In honor of this event Nero was a number of times saluted as
imperator and held a triumph, contrary to precedent.] But Corbulo in spite
of the large force that he had and the very considerable reputation that
he enjoyed did not rebel and was never accused of rebellion. He might
easily have been made emperor, since men thoroughly detested Nero but all
admired him in every way. [In addition to the more striking features of
his submissive behavior he voluntarily sent to Rome his son-in-law Annius,
who served as his lieutenant; this was done professedly that Annius might
escort Tiridates back, but in fact this relative stood in the position of
a hostage to Nero. The latter was so firmly persuaded that his general
would not revolt that Corbulo obtained his son-in-law as lieutenant
[Footnote: Reading [Greek: hyparchon] (Boissevain) for [Greek: hypaton].]
before he had been praetor.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 65 (a.u. 818)] [Sidenote:--24--] Seneca, however, and
Rufus the prefect and some other prominent men formed a plot against Nero.
They could no longer endure his ignoble behavior, his licentiousness, and
his cruelty. They desired at one and the same time to be rid of these
evils and to give Nero his release from them. Indeed, Sulpicius Asper, a
centurion, and Subrius Flavius, a military tribune, both belonging to the
body-guards, admitted this to him point blank. Asper, when interrogated by
the emperor as to the reason for his attempt, replied: "I could help you
in no other way." And the response of Flavins was: "I both loved you and
hated you above all men. I loved you, hoping that you would prove a good
emperor: I have hated you because you do so-and-so. I can not be slave to
charioteer or lyre-player."--Information was lodged and these men were
punished, besides many others indirectly associated with them. Everything
in the nature of a complaint that could be entertained against any one for
excessive joy or grief, for words or gestures, was brought forward and was
believed. Not one of these complaints, even if fictitious, could be
refused credence in view of Nero's actual deeds. Hence conscienceless
friends and house servants of some men flourished greatly. Persons guarded
against strangers and foes,--for of these they were suspicious,--but were
bound to expose themselves whether they would or no to their associates.

[Sidenote:--25--] It would be no small task to record details about most
of those that perished, but the fate of Seneca needs a few words by
itself. It was his wish to end the life of his wife Paulina at the same
time with his own, for he declared that he had taught her to despise death
and that she desired to leave the world in company with him. So he opened
her veins as well as his own. As he failed, however, to yield readily to
death, his end was hastened by the soldiers; and his dying so speedily
enabled Paulina to survive. He did not lay hands upon himself, however,
until he had revised the book which he had composed and had deposited with
various persons certain other valued possessions which he feared might
come into Nero's hands and be destroyed. Thus was Seneca forced to part
with life in spite of the fact that he had on the pretext of illness
abandoned the society of the emperor and had bestowed upon him his entire
property, supposedly to help defray the expense of necessary building
operations. His brothers, too, perished after him.

[Sidenote:--26--] Likewise Thrasea and Soranus, who had no superiors in
family, wealth, and every excellence, met their death not because they
were accused of conspiracy but because they were what they were. Against
Soranus Publius Egnatius Celer, a philosopher, gave false evidence. The
victim had had two associates,--Cassius Asclepiodotus of Nicaea and this
Publius of Berytus. Now Asclepiodotus so far from speaking against Soranus
bore witness to his noble qualities; he was at the time exiled for his
pains, but later, under Galba, was restored. Publius in return for his
services as blackmailer received money and honors (as did others of the
same profession), but subsequently he was banished. Soranus was slain on
the charge of having caused his daughter to employ a species of magic, the
foundation for this story being that when he was sick his family had
offered some sacrifices. Thrasea was executed for not appearing regularly
at the senate-house, thus showing that he did not like the measures
passed, for not listening to the emperor's singing and zither-playing, for
not sacrificing to Nero's Divine Voice as did the rest, and for not giving
any public exhibitions: for it was remarked that at Patavium, his native
place, he had acted in a tragedy given in pursuance of some old custom at
a festival held every thirty years. As he made the incision in his artery,
he raised his hand, exclaiming: "To thee, Jupiter, patron of freedom, I
pour this libation of blood."

[Sidenote:--27--] [And Junius Torquatus, a descendant of Augustus, made
himself liable to a most strange indictment. He had squandered his
property in a rather lavish way, whether following his native bent or with
the intention of not being very rich. Nero therefore declared that, as he
lacked many things, he must be covetous of the goods of others, and
consequently caused a fictitious charge to be brought against him of
aspiring to imperial power.]

And why should one be surprised that such complaints
were fastened upon them, [Footnote: A slight gap in the MS. exists here,
filled by a doubtful conjecture of Boissevain's.] seeing that one man
[Footnote: _Salvidienus Orfitus_ (according to Suetonius, Life of
Nero, chap. 37).] was brought to trial and slain for living near the
Forum, for letting out some shops, or for receiving a few friends in them;
and another [Footnote: _C. Cassius Longinus_ (ibid)..] because he
possessed a likeness of Cassius, the murderer of Caesar?

The conduct of a woman named Epicharis also deserves mention. She had been
included in the conspiracy and all its details had been trusted to her
without reserve; yet she revealed none of these though often tortured in
all the ways that the skill of Tigillinus could devise. And why should one
enumerate the sums given to the Pretorians on the occasion of this
conspiracy or the excessive honors voted to Nero and his friends? Let me
say only that it led to the banishment of Rufus Musonius, the philosopher.
Sabina also perished at this time through an act of Nero's. Either
accidentally or intentionally he had given her a violent kick while she
was pregnant.

[Sidenote:--28--] The extremes of luxury indulged in by this Sabina I will
indicate in the briefest possible terms. She had gilded girths put upon
the mules that carried her and caused five hundred asses that had recently
foaled to be milked each day that she might bathe in their milk. She
devoted great thought to making her person appear youthful and lustrously
beautiful,--and with brilliant results; and this is why, not fancying her
appearance in a mirror one day, she prayed that she might die before she
passed her prime. Nero missed her so that [after her death, at first, on
learning that there was a woman resembling her he sent for and kept this
female: later] because a boy of the _liberti_ class, named Sporus,
resembled Sabina, he had him castrated and used him in every way like a
woman; and in due time he formally married him though he [Nero] was
already married to a freedman Pythagoras. He assigned the boy a regular
dowry according to contract, and Romans as well as others held a public
celebration of their wedding.

While Nero had Sporus the eunuch as a wife, one of his associates in Rome,
who had made a specialty of philosophy, on being asked whether the
marriage and cohabitation in question met with his approval replied: "You
do well, Caesar, to seek the company of such wives. If only your father
had had the same ambition and had dwelt with a similar
consort!"--indicating that if this had been the case, Nero would not have
been born, and the government would have been relieved of great evils.

This was, however, later. At the time with which we are immediately
concerned many, as I stated, were put to death and many who purchased
their preservation with Tigillinus with a great price were released.

[Sidenote:--29--] Nero continued to commit many ridiculous acts, among
which may be cited his descending at a kind of popular festival to the
orchestra of the theatre, where he read some Trojan lays of his own: and
in honor of these there were offered numerous sacrifices, as there were
over everything else that he did. He was now making preparations to
compile in verse a narration of all the achievements of the Romans: before
composing any of it, however, he began to consider the proper number of
books, and took as his adviser Annaeus Cornutus, who at this time was
famed for his learning. This man he came very near putting to death and
did deport to an island, because, while some were urging him to write four
hundred books, Cornutus said that was too many and nobody would read them.
And when some one objected: "Yet Chrysippus, whom you praise and imitate,
has composed many more," the savant retorted: "But they are a help to the
conduct of men's lives." So Cornutus was punished with exile for this. And
Lucanus was enjoined from writing poetry because he was securing great
praise for his work.


Nero, receiving Tiridates with imposing state, places a crown upon his
head (chapters 1-7).

He journeys to Greece in order to become Periodonikes (chapters 8-10).

With the help of Tigillinus and Crispinilla he lays Greece waste: Helius
and Polycletus perform the same office for Rome and Italy (chapters 11,

Nero's marriages and abominations with Sporus and Pythagoras (chapter 13).

His victories and proclamation: frenzy against Apollo: hatred toward the
senators (chapters 14, 15).

Digging a canal through the Isthmus (chapter 16).

Demise of the Scribonii, of Corbulo, of Paris, of the Sulpicii (chapters
17, 18).

At the solicitation of Helius, Nero returning conducts an Iselasticum
triumph (chapters 19-21).

Vindex's conspiracy against Nero, and his extinction (chapters 22-24).

Rufus, saluted as Caesar and Augustus, refuses the sovereignty (chapter

Nero's flight and demise (chapters 26-29).


C. Lucius Telesinus, C. Suetonius Paulinus. (A.D. 66 = a.u. 819 =
Thirteenth of Nero, from Oct. 13th).

Fonteius Capito, Iunius Rufus. (A.D. 67 = a.u. 820 = Fourteenth of Nero).

C. Silius Italicus, Galerius Trachalus Turpilianus. (A.D. 68 = a.u. 821,
to June 9th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 66 (a.u. 819)] [Sidenote:--1--] In the consulship
of Gaius Telesinus and Suetonius Paulinus one event of great glory and
another of deep disgrace took place. For one thing Nero contended among
the zither-players, and after Menecrates, [Footnote: This proper name is
the result of an emendation by Reimar.]the teacher of this art, had
celebrated a triumph for him in the hippodrome, he appeared as a
charioteer. For the other, Tiridates presented himself in Rome, bringing
with him not only his own children but those of Vologaesus, of Pacorus,
and of Monobazus. They were the objects of interest in a quasi-triumphal
procession through the whole country west from the Euphrates.
[Sidenote:--2--] Tiridates himself was in the prime of life, a notable
figure by reason of his youth, beauty, family, and intelligence: and his
whole train of servants together with the entourage of a royal court
accompanied the advance. Three thousand Parthian horsemen and besides them
numerous Romans followed his train. They were received by gaily decorated
cities and by peoples who shouted their compliments aloud. Provisions were
furnished them free of cost, an expenditure of twenty myriads for their
daily support being thus charged to the public treasury. This went on
without change for the nine months occupied in their journey. The prince
covered the whole distance to the confines of Italy on horseback and
beside him rode his wife, wearing a golden helmet in place of a veil, so
as not to defy the traditions of her country by letting her face be seen.
In Italy he was conveyed in a two-horse carriage sent by Nero and met the
emperor at Naples, which he reached by way of the Picentes. He refused,
however, to obey the order to put down his dagger when he approached the
Roman monarch, and he nailed it firmly to the scabbard. Yet he knelt upon
the ground, and with arms crossed called him master and did obeisance.
[Sidenote:--3--] Nero manifested his approbation of this act and
entertained him in many ways, one of which was a gladiatorial show at
Puteoli. The person who directed the contests was Patrobius, one of his
freedmen. He managed to make it a brilliant and costly affair, as is shown
by the fact that on one of the days not a person but Ethiopians, men,
women, and children, appeared in the theatre. By way of showing Patrobius
some proper honor Tiridates shot at beasts from his elevated seat. And, if
we may trust the report, he transfixed and killed two bulls together with
one arrow.

[Sidenote:--4--] After this affair Nero took him up to Rome and set the
diadem upon his head. The entire city had been decorated with lights and
garlands, and great crowds of people were to be seen everywhere, the
Forum, however, being especially full. The center was occupied by the
populace, arranged according to rank, clad in white and carrying laurel
branches: everywhere else were the soldiers, arrayed in shining armor,
their weapons and standards reflecting back the sunbeams. The very roof
tiles of the buildings in this vicinity were completely hidden from view
by the spectators who had ascended to these points of vantage. Everything
was in readiness by the time night drew to a close and at daybreak Nero,
wearing the triumphal garb and accompanied by the senate and the
Pretorians, entered the Forum. He ascended the rostra and seated himself
upon the chair of state. Next Tiridates and his suite passed through rows
of heavy-armed men drawn up on each side, took their stand close to the
rostra, and did obeisance to the emperor as they had done before.
[Sidenote:--5--] At this a great roar went up which so alarmed Tiridates
that for some moments he stood speechless, in terror of his life. Then,
silence having been proclaimed, he recovered courage and quelling his
pride made himself subservient to the occasion and to his need, caring
little how humbly he spoke, in view of the prize he hoped to obtain. These
were his words: "Master, I am the descendant of Arsaces, brother of the
princes Vologaesus and Pacorus, and thy slave. And I have come to thee, my
deity, to worship thee as I do Mithra. The destiny thou spinnest for me
shall be mine: for thou art my Fortune and my Fate."

Nero replied to him as follows: "Well hast thou done to come hither in
person, that present in my presence thou mayest enjoy my benefits. For
what neither thy father left thee nor thy brothers gave and preserved for
thee, this do I grant thee. King of Armenia I now declare thee, that both
thou and they may understand that I have power to take away kingdoms and
to bestow them." At the end of these words he bade him come up the
inclined plane built for this very purpose in front of the rostra, and
Tiridates having been made to sit beneath his feet he placed the diadem
upon his head. At this there was no end of shouts of all sorts.
[Sidenote:--6--] According to decree there also took place a celebration
in the theatre. Not merely the stage but the whole interior of the theatre
round about had been gilded, and all properties brought in had been
adorned with gold, so that people came to refer to the very day as
"golden." The curtains stretched across the sky-opening to keep off the
sun were of purple and in the centre of them was an embroidered figure of
Nero driving a chariot, with golden stars gleaming all about him. So much
for the setting: and of course they had a costly banquet.

Afterward Nero sang publicly with zither accompaniment and drove a
chariot, clad in the costume of the Greens and wearing a charioteer's
helmet. This made Tiridates disgusted with him; but for Corbulo the
visitor had only praise and deemed the one thing against him to be that he
would put up with such a master. Indeed, he made no concealment of his
views to Nero's face, but one day said to him: "Master, you have in
Corbulo a good slave." The person addressed, however, did not comprehend
his speech.--In all other matters he flattered the emperor and ingratiated
himself most skillfully, with the result that he received all kinds of
gifts, said to have possessed in the aggregate a value of five thousand
myriads, and obtained permission to rebuild Artaxata. Moreover, he took
with him from Rome many artisans, some of whom he got from Nero, and some
whom he persuaded by offers of high wages. Corbulo, however, would not let
them all cross into Armenia, but only the ones whom Nero had given him.
That caused Tiridates to admire him all the more and to despise his chief.

[Sidenote:--7--] The return was made not by the same route as he followed
in coming,--through Illyricum and north of the Ionian Gulf,--but instead
he sailed from Brundusium to Dyrrachium. He viewed also the cities of
Asia, which helped to increase his amazement at the strength and beauty of
the Roman empire.

Tiridates one day viewed an exhibition of pancratium. One of the
contestants fell to the ground and was being pummeled by his opponent.
When the prince saw it, he exclaimed: "That's an unfair contest. It isn't
fair that a man who has fallen should be beaten."

On rebuilding Artaxata Tiridates named it Neronia. But Vologaesus though
often summoned refused to come to Nero, and finally, when the latter's
invitations became burdensome to him, sent back a despatch to this effect:
"It is far easier for you than for me to traverse so great a body of
water. Therefore, if you will come to Asia, we can then arrange [where we
shall be able] to meet each other." [Such was the message which the
Parthian wrote at last.]

[Sidenote:--8--] Nero though angry at him did not sail against him, nor
yet against the Ethiopians or the Caspian Pylae, as he had intended. [He
saw that the subjugation of these regions demanded time and labor and
hoped that they would submit to him of their own accord:] and he sent
spies to both places. But he did cross over into Greece, not at all as
Flamininus or Mummius or as Agrippa and Augustus his ancestors had done,
but for the purpose of chariot racing, of playing and singing, of making
proclamations, and of acting in tragedies. Rome was not enough for him,
nor Pompey's theatre, nor the great hippodrome, but he desired also a
foreign tour, in order to become, as he said, victor in all the four
contests. [Footnote: Literally "victor of the periodos." This was a name
applied to an athlete who had conquered in the Pythian, Isthmian, Nemean
and Olympian games.] And a multitude not only of Augustans but of other
persons were taken with him, large enough, if it had been a hostile host,
to have subdued both Parthians and all other nations. But they were the
kind you would have expected Nero's soldiers to be, and the arms they
carried were zithers and plectra, masks and buskins. The victories Nero
won were such as befitted that sort of army, and he overcame Terpnus and
Diodorus and Pammenes, instead of Philip or Perseus or Antiochus. It is
probable that his purpose in forcing the Pammenes referred to, who had
been in his prime in the reign of Gaius, to compete in spite of his age,
was that he might overcome him and vent his dislike in abuse of his

[Sidenote: A.D. 67 (?)] [Sidenote:--9--] Had he done only this, he would
have been the subject of ridicule. So how could one endure to hear about,
let alone seeing, an emperor, an Augustus, listed on the program among the
contestants, training his voice, practicing certain songs, wearing long
hair on his head but with his chin shaven, throwing his toga over his
shoulder in the races, walking about with one or two attendants, eyeing
his adversaries suspiciously and ever and anon throwing out a word to them
in the midst of a boxing match; how he dreaded the directors of the games
and the wielders of the whip and spent money on all of them secretly to
avoid being shown up in his true colors and whipped; and how all that he
did to make himself victor in the citharoedic contest only contributed to
his defeat in the Contest of the Caesars? How find words to denounce the
wickedness of this proscription in which it was not [Footnote: [Greek: oi]
supplied by Reiske.] Sulla that bulletined the names of others, but Nero
bulletined his own name? What victory less deserves the name than that by
which one receives the olive, the laurel, the parsley, or the fir-tree
garland, and loses the political crown? And why should one bewail these
acts of his alone, seeing that he also by treading on the high-soled
buskins lowered himself from his eminence of power, and by hiding behind
the mask lost the dignity of his sovereignty to beg in the guise of a
runaway slave, to be led like a blind man, to conceive, to bear children,
to go mad [to drive a chariot], as he acted out time after time the story
of Oedipus, and of Thyestes, of Heracles and Alemeon, and of Orestes? The
masks he wore were sometimes made to resemble the characters and sometimes
had his own likeness. The women's masks were all fashioned to conform to
the features of Sabina [in order that though dead she might still move in
stately procession. All the situations that common actors simulate in
their acting he, too, would undertake to present, by speech, by action, by
being acted upon,--save only that] golden chains were used to bind him:
apparently it was not thought proper for a Roman emperor to be bound in
iron shackles.

[Sidenote:--10--] All this behavior, nevertheless, the soldiers and all
the rest saw, endured, and approved. They entitled him Pythian Victor,
Olympian Victor, National Victor, Absolute Victor, besides all the usual
expressions, and of course added to these names the honorific designations
belonging to his imperial office, so that every one of them had "Caesar"
and "Augustus" as a tag.

He conceived a dislike for a certain man because while he was speaking the
man frowned and was not overlavish of his praises; and so he drove him
away and would not let him come into his presence. He persisted in his
refusal to grant him audience, and when the person asked: "Where shall I
go, then?" Phoebus, Nero's freedman, replied: "To the deuce!"

No one of the people ventured either to pity or to hate the wretched
creature. One of the soldiers, to be sure, on seeing him bound, grew
indignant, ran up, and set him free. Another in reply to a question: "What
is the emperor doing?" had to answer: "He is in labor pains," for Nero was
then acting the part of Canace. Not one of them conducted himself in a way
at all worthy of a Roman. Instead, because so much money fell to their
share, they offered prayers that he might give many such performances and
they in this way get still more.

[Sidenote:--11--] And if things had merely gone on like this, the affair,
while being a source of shame and of ridicule alike, would still have been
deemed free from danger. But as a fact he devastated the whole of Greece
precisely as if he had been despatched to some war and without regard to
the fact that he had declared the country free, also slaying great numbers
[of men, women and children. At first he commanded the children and
freedmen of those who were executed to leave him half their property at
their death, and allowed the original victims to make wills in order to
make it seem less likely that he had killed them for their money; and he
invariably took all that was bequeathed to him, if not more. In case any
one left to him or to Tigillinus less than they were expecting, the wills
were of no avail.--Later he deprived persons of their _entire_
property and banished all their children at once by one decree. Not even
this satisfied him, but he destroyed not a few of the exiles.] For no one
could begin to enumerate all the confiscated possessions of men allowed to
live and all the votive offerings that he stole from the very temples in
Rome. [The despatch-bearers hurried hither and thither with no piece of
news other than "kill this man!" or that that man was dead. No private
messages, only state documents, were delivered; for Nero had taken many of
the foremost men to Greece under pretence of needing some assistance from
them merely in order that they might perish there. [Sidenote:--12--] The
whole population of Rome and Italy he surrendered like captives to a
certain Helius, a Caesarian. The latter had been given absolutely complete
authority, so that he might confiscate, banish, and put to death (even
before notifying Nero) ordinary persons, knights, and senators alike.]

Thus the Roman domain was at that time a slave to two emperors at
once,--Nero and Helius; and I do not feel able to say which was the worse.
In most respects they behaved entirely alike, and the one point of
difference was that the descendant of Augustus was emulating
zither-players, whereas the freedman of Claudius was emulating Caesars. I
consider the acts of Tigillinus as a part of Nero's career because he was
constantly with him: but Polyclitus and Calvia Crispinilla by themselves
plundered, sacked, despoiled all the places they could get at. The former
was associated with Helius at Rome, and the latter with Sabina, born
Sporus. Calvia had been entrusted with the care of the boy and with the
oversight of the wardrobe, though a woman and of high rank; and she saw to
it that all were stripped of their possessions.

[Sidenote:--13--] Now Nero called Sporus Sabina not merely on account of
the fact that by reason of resemblance to her he had been made a eunuch,
but because the boy like the mistress had been solemnly contracted to him
in Greece, with Tigillinus to give the bride away, as the law ordained.
All the Greeks held a festal celebration of their marriage, uttering all
the customary good wishes (as they could not well help) even to the extent
of praying that legitimate children might be born to them. After that Nero
took to himself two bedfellows, Pythagoras to treat as a man and Sporus as
a woman. The latter, in addition to other forms of address, was termed
lady, queen, and mistress.

Yet why should one wonder at this, seeing that this monarch would fasten
naked boys and girls to poles, and then putting on the hide of a wild
beast would approach them and satisfy his brutal lust under the appearance
of devouring parts of their bodies? Such were the indecencies of Nero.

When he received the senators he wore a short flowered tunic with muslin
collar, for he had already begun to transgress precedent in wearing ungirt
tunics in public. It is stated also that knights belonging to the army
used in his reign for the first time saddle-cloths during their public

[Sidenote:--14--] At the Olympic games he fell from the chariot he was
driving and came very near being crushed to death: yet he was crowned
victor. In acknowledgment of this favor he gave to the Hellanodikai the
twenty-five myriads which Galba later demanded back from them. [And to the
Pythia he gave ten myriads for giving some responses to suit him: this
money Galba recovered.] Again, whether from vexation at Apollo for making
some unpleasant predictions to him or because he was merely crazy, he took
away from the god the territory of Cirrha and gave it to the soldiers. In
fact, he abolished the oracle, slaying men and throwing them into the rock
fissure from which the divine _afflatus_ arose. He contended in every
single city that boasted any contest, and in all cases requiring the
services of a herald he employed for that purpose Cluvius Rufus, an
ex-consul. Athens and the Lacedaemonians were exceptions to this rule,
being the only places that he did not visit at all. He avoided the second
because of the laws of Lycurgus, which stood in the way of his designs,
and the former because of the story about the Furies.--The proclamation
ran: "Nero Caesar wins this contest and crowns the Roman people and his
world." Possessing according to his own statement a world, he went on
singing and playing, making proclamations, and acting tragedies.

[Sidenote:--15--] His hatred for the senate was so fierce that he took
particular pleasure in Vatinius, who kept always saying to him: "I hate
you, Caesar, for being of senatorial rank."--I have used the exact
expression that he uttered.--Both the senators and all others were
constantly subjected to the closest scrutiny in their entrances, their
exits, their attitudes, their gestures, their outcries. The men that stuck
constantly by Nero, listened attentively, made their applause distinct,
were commended and honored: the rest were both degraded and punished, so
that some, when they could endure it no longer (for they were frequently
expected to be on the _qui vive_ from early morning until evening),
would feign to swoon and would be carried out of the theatres as if dead.

[Sidenote:--16--] As an incidental labor connected with his sojourn in
Greece he conceived a desire to dig a canal across the isthmus of the
Peloponnesus, and he did begin the task. Men shrank from it, however,
because, when the first workers touched the earth, blood spouted from it,
groans and bellowings were heard, and many phantoms appeared. Nero himself
thereupon grasped a mattock and by throwing up some of the soil fairly
compelled the rest to imitate him. For this work he sent for a large
number of men from other nations as well.

[Sidenote:--17--] For this and other purposes he needed great sums of
money; and as he was a promoter of great enterprises and a liberal giver
and at the same time feared an attack from the persons of most influence
while he was thus engaged, he destroyed many excellent men. Of most of
these I shall omit any mention, merely saying that the stock complaint
under which all of them were brought before him was uprightness, wealth,
and family: all of them either killed themselves or were slaughtered by
others. I shall pause to consider only Corbulo and (of the Sulpicii
Scribonii) Rufus and Proculus. These two deserve attention because they
were in a way brothers and contemporaries, never doing anything separately
but united in purpose and in property as they were in family: they had for
a long time administered the affairs of the Germanies and had come to
Greece at the summons of Nero, who affected to want something from them. A
complaint of the kind which that period so prodigally afforded was lodged
against them. They could obtain no hearing on the matter nor even get
within sight of Nero; and as this caused them to be slighted by all
persons without exception, they began to long for death and so met their
end by slitting open their veins.--And I notice Corbulo, because the
emperor, after giving him also a most courteous summons and invariably
calling him (among other names) "father" and "benefactor," then, as this
general approached Cenchrea, commanded that he be slain before he had even
entered his presence. Some explain this by saying that Nero was about to
sing with zither accompaniment and could not endure the idea of being seen
by Corbulo while he wore the long ungirded tunic. The condemned man, as
soon as he understood the import of the order, seized a sword, and dealing
himself a lusty blow exclaimed: "Your due!" Now for the first time in his
career was he ready to believe that he had done ill both in sparing the
zither-player and in going to him unarmed.

[Sidenote:--18--] This is the substance of what took place in Greece. Does
it add much to mention that Nero ordered Paris the dancer killed because
he wished to learn dancing from him and was disappointed? Or that he
banished Caecina Tuscus, governor of Egypt, for bathing in the tub that
had been specially constructed for his coming visit to Alexandria?

In Rome about this same time Helius committed many acts of outrage. One of
these was his killing of a distinguished man, Sulpicius Camerinus,
together with his son; the complaint against them was that whereas they
were called _Pythici_ after some of their ancestors they would not
abandon possession of this name, thus blaspheming Nero's Pythian victories
by the use of a similar title.--And when the Augustans offered to build a
shrine to the emperor worth a thousand librae, the whole equestrian order
was compelled to help defray the expense they had undertaken.--As for the
doings of the senate, it would be a task to describe them all in detail.
For so many sacrifices and days of thanksgiving were announced that the
whole year would not hold them all.

[Sidenote:--19--] Helius having for some time sent Nero repeated messages
urging him to return as quickly as possible, when he found that no
attention was paid to them, went himself to Greece on the seventh day and
frightened him by saying that a great conspiracy against him was on foot
in Rome. This news made him embark at double quick rate. There was some
hope of his perishing in a storm and many rejoiced, but to no purpose: he
came safely to land. And cause for destroying some few persons was found
in the very fact that they had prayed and hoped that he might perish.

[Sidenote: A.D. 68 (a.u. 821)] [Sidenote:--20--] So, when he marched into
Rome, a portion of the wall was torn down and a section of the gates
broken in, because some asserted that each of these ceremonies was
customary upon the return of garlanded victors from the games. First
entered men wearing the garlands which, had been won, and after them
others with boards borne aloft on spears, upon which were inscribed the
name of the set of games, the kind of contest, and a statement that "Nero
Caesar first of all the Romans from the beginning of the world has
conquered in it." Next came the victor himself on a triumphal car in which
Augustus once had celebrated his many victories: he wore a vesture of
purple sprinkled with gold and a garland of wild olive; he held in his
hand the Pythian laurel. By his side in the vehicle sat Diodorus the
Citharoedist. After passing in this manner through the hippodrome and
through the Forum in company with the soldiers and the knights and the
senate he ascended the Capitol and proceeded thence to the palace.

[Sidenote: A.D. 68 (a.u. 821)] The city was all decked with garlands, was
ablaze with lights and smoky with incense, and the whole population,--the
senators themselves most of all,--kept shouting aloud: "Vah, Olympian
Victor! Vah Pythian Victor! Augustus! Augustus! Hail to Nero the Hercules,
hail to Nero the Apollo!! The one National Victor, the only one from the
beginning of time! Augustus! Augustus! O, Divine Voice! Blessed are they
that hear thee!"--Why should I employ circumlocutions instead of letting
you see their very words? The actual expressions used do not disgrace my
history: no, the concealment of none of them rather lends it distinction.

[Sidenote:--21--] When he had finished these ceremonies, he announced a
series of horse-races, and transferring to the hippodrome these crowns and
all the rest that he had secured by victories in chariot racing, he put
them about the Egyptian obelisk. The number of them was one thousand eight
hundred and eight. After doing this he appeared as charioteer.--A certain
Larcius, a Lydian, approached him with an offer of twenty-five myriads if
he would play and sing for them. Nero would not take the money, disdaining
to do anything for pay; and so Tigillinus collected it, as the price of
not putting Larcius to death. However, the emperor did appear on the stage
with an accompanied song and he also gave a tragedy. In the equestrian
contests he was seldom absent, and sometimes he would voluntarily let
himself be defeated in order to make it more credible that he really won
at other times.

Dio 62nd Book: "And he inflicted uncounted woes on many cities."

[Sidenote:--22--] This was the kind of life Nero led, this was the way he
ruled. I shall narrate also how he was put down and driven from his

While Nero was still in Greece, the Jews revolted openly and he sent
Vespasian against them. The inhabitants of Britain and of Gaul, likewise,
oppressed by the taxes, experienced an even keener distress, which added
fuel to the already kindled fire of their indignation.

--There was a Gaul named Gaius Julius Vindex [an Aquitanian], descended
from the native royal race and on his father's side entitled to rank as a
Roman senator. He was strong of body, had an intelligent mind, was skilled
in warfare and was full of daring for every enterprise. [He was to the
greatest degree a lover of freedom and was ambitious; and he stood at the
head of the Gauls.] Now this Vindex made an assembly of the Gauls, who had
suffered much during the numerous forced levies of money, and were still
suffering at Nero's hands. And ascending a tribunal he delivered a long
and detailed speech against Nero, saying that they ought to revolt from
the emperor and join him in an attack [upon him],--"because," said he, "he
has despoiled the whole Roman world, because he has destroyed all the
flower of their senate, because he debauched and likewise killed his
mother, and does not preserve even the semblance of sovereignty. Murders,
seizures and outrages have often been committed and by many other persons:
but how may one find words to describe the remainder of his conduct as it
deserves? I have seen, my friends and allies,--believe me,--I have seen
that man (if he is a man, who married Sporus and was given in marriage to
Pythagoras) in the arena of the theatre and in the orchestra, sometimes
with the zither, the loose tunic, the cothurnus, [Footnote: The two kinds
of footwear mentioned here appear in the Greek as _chothornos_ and
_embates_ respectively. These words are often synonymous, and both
may refer, as a rule, to _high_ boots. In the present passage,
however, some kind of contrast is evidently intended, and the most
acceptable solution of the question is that given by Sturz, in his
edition, who says that the _chothornos_ seems to have been used by
Nero only in singing, whereas he wore the _embates_ (as also the
mask) while acting.] sometimes with wooden shoes [Footnote: see previous
footnote] and mask. I have often heard him sing, I have heard him make
proclamations, I have heard him perform tragedy. I have seen him in
chains, I have seen him dragged about, pregnant, bearing children, going
through all the situations of mythology, by speech, by being addressed, by
being acted upon, by acting. Who, then, will call such a person Caesar and
emperor and Augustus? Let no one for any consideration so abuse those
sacred titles. They were held by Augustus and by Claudius. This fellow
might most properly be termed Thyestes and Oedipus, Alcmeon and Orestes.
These are the persons he represents on the stage and it is these titles
that he has assumed rather than the others. Therefore now at length rise
against him: come to the succor of yourselves and of the Romans; liberate
the entire world!"

[Sidenote:--23--] Such words falling from the lips of Vindex met with
entire approval from all. Vindex was not working to get the imperial
office for himself but chose Servius Sulpicius Galba for that position:
this man was distinguished for his upright behavior and knowledge of war,
was governor of Spain, and had a not inconsiderable force. He was also
nominated by the soldiers as emperor.

It is stated that Nero having offered by proclamation
two hundred and fifty myriads to the person who should kill Vindex, the
latter when he heard of it remarked: "The person who kills Nero and brings
his head to me may take mine in return." That was the sort of man Vindex

[Sidenote:--24--] Rufus, governor of Germany, set out to make war on
Vindex; but when he reached Vesontio he sat down to besiege the city, for
the alleged reason that it had not received him. Vindex came against him
to the aid of the city and encamped not far off. They then sent messages
back and forth to each other and finally held a conference together at
which no one else was present and made a mutual agreement,--against Nero,
as it was thought. After this Vindex set his army in motion for the
apparent purpose of occupying the town: and the soldiers of Rufus,
becoming aware of their approach, and thinking the force was marching
straight against them, set out without being ordered to oppose their
progress. They fell upon the advancing troop while the men were off their
guard and in disarray, and so cut down great numbers of them. Vindex
seeing this was afflicted with so great grief that he slew himself. For he
felt, besides, at odds with Heaven itself, in that he had not been able to
attain his goal in an undertaking of so great magnitude, involving the
overthrow of Nero and the liberation of the Romans.

This is the truth of the matter. Many afterwards inflicted wounds on his
body, and so gave currency to the erroneous supposition that they had
themselves killed him.

[Sidenote:--25--] Rufus mourned deeply his demise, but refused to accept
the office of emperor, although his soldiers frequently obtained it. He
was an energetic man and had a large, wide-awake body of troops. His
soldiers tore down and shattered the image of Nero and called their
general Caesar and Augustus. When he would not heed them, one of the
soldiers thereupon quickly inscribed these words on one of his standards.
He erased the terms, however, and after a great deal of trouble brought
the men to order and persuaded them to submit the question [Footnote:
[Greek: ta pragmata] supplied by Polak.] to the senate and the people. It
is hard to say whether this was merely because he did not deem it right
for the soldiers to bestow the supreme authority upon any one (for he
declared this to be the prerogative of the senate and the people), or
because he was entirely highminded and felt no personal desire for the
imperial power, to secure which others were willing to do everything.

[Sidenote:--26--] [Nero was informed of the Vindex episode as he was in
Naples viewing the gymnastic contest just after luncheon. He was naturally
far from sorry, and leaping from his seat vied in prowess with some
athlete. He did not hurry back to Rome but merely sent a letter to the
senate, in which he asked them to regard leniently his non-arrival,
because he had a sore throat, implying that when he did come he wanted to
sing to them. And he continued to devote the same care and attention to
his voice, to his songs, and to the zither tunes, not only just then but
also subsequently: so he would not try a tone of his intended program. If
he was at any time compelled by circumstances to make some exclamation,
yet somebody, reminding him that he was to appear as citharoedist, would
straightway check and control him.

In general he still behaved in his accustomed manner and
he was pleased with the news brought him because he had been expecting in
any event to overcome Vindex and because he thought he had now secured a
justifiable ground for money-getting and murders. He enjoyed the same
degree of luxury; and upon the completion and adornment of the heroum of
Sabina he gave it a brilliant dedication, taking care to have inscribed
upon it: "The Women have built This to Sabina, the Goddess Venus." And the
writing told the truth: for the building had been constructed with money
of which a great part had been stolen from women. Also he had his numerous
little jokes, of which I shall mention only one, omitting the rest.] One
night he suddenly summoned in haste the foremost senators and knights,
apparently to make some communication to them regarding the political
situation. When they were assembled, he said: "I have discovered a way by
which the water organ"--I must write exactly what he said--"will produce a
greater and more harmonious volume of sound." Such were his jokes about
this period. And little did he reck that both sets of doors, those of the
monument and those of the bedchamber of Augustus, opened of their own
accord in one and the same night, or that at Albanum it rained so much
blood that rivers of it flowed over the land, or that the sea retreated a
good distance from Egypt and covered a large portion of Lycia.
[Sidenote:--27--] But when he heard about Galba's being proclaimed emperor
by the soldiers and about the desertion of Rufus, he fell into great fear:
he made preparations in person at Rome and he sent against the rebels
Rubrius Gallus and some others.

On learning that Petronius, [Footnote: _P. Petronius Turpilianus_.]
whom he had sent ahead against the rebels with the larger portion of the
army, also favored the cause of Galba, Nero reposed no further hope in

Being abandoned by all without exception he began forming plans to kill
the senators, burn the city to the ground, and sail to Alexandria. He
dropped this hint in regard to his future course: "Even though we be
driven from our empire, yet this little artistic gift of ours shall
support us there." To such a pitch of folly had he come as to believe that
he could live for a moment as a private citizen and would be able to
appear as a musician.

He was on the point of putting those measures into effect when the senate
first withdrew the guard that surrounded Nero, then entered the camp, and
declared Nero an enemy but chose Galba in his place as emperor.

But when he perceived that he had been deserted also by his body-guards
(he happened to be asleep in some garden), he undertook to make his
escape. Accordingly, he assumed shabby clothing and mounted a horse no
better than his attire. Closely veiled he rode while it was yet night
towards an estate of Phao, a Caesarian, in company with the owner of the
place, and Epaphroditus and Sporus. [Sidenote:--28--] While he was on the
way an extraordinary earthquake occurred, so that one might have thought
the whole world was breaking apart and all the spirits of those murdered
by him were leaping up to assail him. Being recognized, they say, in spite
of his disguise by some one who met him he was saluted as emperor;
consequently he turned aside from the road and hid himself in a kind of
reedy place. There he waited till daylight, lying flat on the ground so as
to run the least risk of being seen. Every one who passed he suspected had
come for him; he started at every voice, thinking it to be that of some
one searching for him: if a dog barked anywhere or a bird chirped, or a
bush or twig was shaken by the breeze, he was thrown into a violent
tremor. These sounds would not let him have rest, yet he dared not speak a
word to any one of those that were with him for fear some one else might
hear: but he wept and bewailed his fortune, considering among other things
how he had once stood resplendent in the midst of so vast a retinue and
was now dodging from sight in company with three freedmen. Such was the
drama that Fate had now prepared for him, to the end that he should no
longer represent all other matricides and beggars, but only himself at
last. Now he repented of his haughty insolence, as if he could make one of
his acts undone. Such was the tragedy in which Nero found himself
involved, and this verse constantly ran through his mind:

  "Both spouse and father bid me pitiably die."

After a long time, as no one was seen to be searching for him, he went
over into the cave, where in his hunger he ate such bread as he had never
before tasted and in his thirst drank water such as he had never drunk
before. This gave him such a qualm that he said: "So this is my famous
frigid _decocta_." [Footnote: Reading [Greek: apepsthon] (Reimar,
Cobet et al)..]

While he was in this plight the Roman people were going wild with delight
and offering whole oxen in sacrifice. Some carried small liberty caps, and
they voted to Galba the rights pertaining to the imperial office. For Nero
himself they instituted a search in all directions and for some time were
at a loss to know whither he could have betaken himself. When they finally
learned, they sent horsemen to dispose of him. He, then, perceiving that
they were drawing near, commanded his companions to kill him. As they
refused to obey, he uttered a groan and said: "I alone have neither friend
nor foe." By this time the horsemen were close at hand, and so he killed
himself, uttering that far-famed sentence: "Jupiter, what an artist
perishes in me!" And as he lingered in his agony Epaphroditus dealt him a
finishing stroke. He had lived thirty years and nine months, out of which
he had ruled thirteen years and eight months. Of the descendants of Aeneas
and of Augustus he was the last, as was plainly indicated by the fact that
the laurels planted by Livia and the breed of white chickens perished
somewhat before his death.

There was no one who might not hope to lay hands on the sovereignty in a
time of so great confusion.

Rufus visited Galba and could obtain from him no important privileges,
unless one reckons the fact that a man who had frequently been hailed as
emperor was allowed to live. Among the rest of mankind, however, he had
acquired a great name, greater than if he had accepted the sovereignty,
for refusing to receive it.

Galba, now that Nero had been destroyed and the senate had voted him the
imperial authority and Rufus had made advances to him, plucked up courage.
However, He did not adopt the name "Caesar," until envoys of the senate
had paid him a visit. Nor had he hitherto inscribed the name "emperor" in
any document.


Omens announcing Galba's sovereignty: his avarice: the insolence of
freedmen, of Nymphidius, of Capito (chapters 1, 2).

His ferocious entrance into the city: punishment of the Neronians (chapter

About the uprising of Vitellius against Galba (chapter 4).

L. Piso Caesar adopted by Galba: Otho usurps the sovereignty (chapter 5).

Death of Galba and Piso (chapter 6).

Otho assumes the sovereignty amid unfavorable auspices and flattery
(chapters 7, 8).

Insolence of the soldiers: the Pseudo-Nero (chapter 9).

Battles between Otho and Vitellius at Cremona (chapters 10, 11).

Otho's speech to his soldiers (chapters 12, 13).

How Otho with his dagger took his own life (chapters 14, 15).

The rapacity of Valens (chapter 16).


C. Silius Italicus, Galerius Trachalus Turpilianus. (A.D. 68 = a.u. 821,
from the 9th of June).

Galba Caes. Aug. (II), T. Vinius. (A.D. 69 = a.u. 822, to January 15th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 68 (a.u. 821)] [Sidenote:--1--] Thus was Galba declared
emperor just as Tiberius had foretold when he said to him: "You also shall
have a little taste of sovereignty." The event was likewise foretold by
unmistakable omens. He beheld in visions the Goddess of Fortune telling
him that she had now stuck by him for a long time yet no one appeared
ready to take her into his house; and if she should be barred out much
longer she should take up her abode with some one else. During those very
days also boats full of weapons and under the guidance of no human being
came to anchor off the coast of Spain. And a mule brought forth young, an
occurrence which had been previously interpreted as destined to portend
the possession of authority by him. Again, a boy that was bringing him
incense in the course of a sacrifice suddenly had his hair turn gray;
whereupon the seers declared that dominion over the younger generation
should be given to his old age.

[Sidenote:--2--] These, then, were the signs given beforehand that had a
bearing on his sovereignty. Personally his conduct was in most ways
moderate and he avoided giving offence since he bore in mind that he had
not taken the emperor's seat but it had been given him;--indeed, he said
so frequently:--unfortunately, he collected money greedily since his wants
were numerous, though he spent comparatively little after all, bestowing
upon some persons not even denarii but merely asses. His freedmen,
however, committed a great number of wrongs, the responsibility for which
was laid upon him. Ordinary individuals need only keep themselves from
crime, but those who hold sovereign power must see to it that no dependent
of theirs practices villany either. For it makes little difference to the
ones who suffer wrong at whose hands they happen to be ill treated.
Consequently, even though Galba abstained from inflicting injury, yet he
was ill spoken of because he allowed these others to commit crimes, or at
least was ignorant of what was taking place. Nymphidius and Capito, in
particular, were allowed by him to run riot. For instance, Capito, when
one day some one appealed a case from his jurisdiction, changed his seat
hastily to a high chair near by and then cried out: "Now plead your case
before Caesar!" He went through the form of deciding it and had the man
put to death. Galba felt obliged to proceed against them for this.

[Sidenote:--3--] As he drew near the City, the guards of Nero met him and
asked that their organization be preserved intact. At first he was for
postponing his decision and averred that he wanted to think the matter
over. Since, however, they would not obey but kept up a clamor, the army
submitted to them. As a consequence about seven thousand of his soldiers
lost their lives and the guardsmen were decimated. This shows that even if
Galba was bowed down with age and disease, yet his spirit was keen and he
did not believe in an emperor's being compelled to do anything
unwillingly. A further proof is that when the Pretorians asked him for the
money which Nymphidius had promised them, he would not give it, but
replied: "I am accustomed to levy soldiers, not to buy them." And when the
populace brought urgent pressure to bear on him to kill Tigillinus and
some others who had before been wantonly insolent, he would not yield,
though he would probably have disposed of them had not their enemies made
this demand. Helius, however, as well as Narcissus, Patrobius, Lucusta the
poison merchant, and some others who had been active in Nero's day, he
ordered to be carried in chains all over the city and afterwards to
receive punishment. The slaves, likewise, who had been guilty of any act
or speech detrimental to their masters were handed over to the latter for

Some disdained receiving their own slaves, wishing to be rid of rascally

Galba demanded the return of all moneys and objects of value which any
persons had received from Nero. However, if anybody had been exiled by the
latter on the charge of impiety towards the emperor, he restored him to
citizenship; and he also transferred to the tomb of Augustus the bones of
members of the imperial family who had been murdered, and he set up their
images anew.

For this he was praised. On the other hand he was the victim of uproarious
laughter for wearing a sword whenever he walked on the street, since he
was so old and weak of sinew.

[Sidenote: A.D. 69 (a.u. 822)] [Sidenote:--4--] I shall relate also the
circumstances of his death. The soldiers in Germany under control of Rufus
became more and more excited because they could not obtain any favors from
Galba; and, having failed to secure the object of their desire through the
medium of Rufus, they sought to obtain it through somebody else. This they
did. With Aulus Vitellius, governor of Lower Germany, at their head they
revolted. All that they had in mind regarding him was the nobility of his
birth, and they paid no attention to the fact that he had been a favorite
of Tiberius and was a slave to the licentious habits of his former master;
or perhaps they thought that on this very account he would suit their
purpose all the better. Indeed, Vitellius himself deemed himself of so
little account that he made fun of the astrologers and used their
prediction as evidence against them, saying: "Certainly they know nothing
who declare that I shall become emperor." Nero when he heard it also
laughed, and felt such contempt for the fellow that he did not try to
injure him.

[Sidenote:--5--] Galba on being informed of his defection adopted Lucius
Piso, a youth of good family, affable and prudent, and appointed him
Caesar. At the same time Marcus Salvius Otho, angry because _he_ had
not been adopted by Galba, brought about once more a beginning of
countless evils for the Romans. He was always held in honor by Galba, so
much so that on the day of the latter's death he was the only one of the
senators to attend him at the sacrifice. And to him most of all was the
catastrophe due. For when the diviner declared that Galba would be the
victim of conspiracy and therefore urged him by no means to go abroad
anywhere, Otho heard it, and hastening down immediately as if on some
other errand was admitted within the wall by some few soldiers who were in
the conspiracy with him. The next step was the winning over or rather the
buying up of the rest, who were displeased at Galba, by means of many
promises. From them he received the imperial office at once and later his
claim was acknowledged by the others. [Sidenote:--6--] Galba on learning
what was taking place thought he could bring the men into a better frame
of mind and sent some emissaries to the camp for this purpose. Meanwhile a
soldier holding aloft a bare blade covered with blood had approached him
and said: "Be of good cheer, emperor: I have killed Otho, and no further
danger awaits you." Galba, believing this, said to him: "And who ordered
you to do that?" He himself started for the Capitol to offer sacrifice. As
he reached the middle of the Roman Forum, horsemen and footsoldiers met
him and then and there cut down in the presence of many senators and
crowds of plebeians the old man, their consul, high priest, Caesar,
emperor. After abusing his body in many ways they cut off his head and
stuck it on a pole.--So he was struck by a javelin hurled into the very
chair in which he was being carried, was wounded at the very moment he was
bending forward from it, and only said: "Why, what harm have I done?"
Sempronius Densus, a centurion, defended him as long as he was able, and
finally, when he could accomplish nothing, let himself be slain with his
sovereign. This is why I have included his name, for he richly deserves to
be mentioned. Piso also was killed and numerous others, but not in aiding
the emperor.

When the soldiers had done this, they cut off their heads, which they then
carried to Otho (who was in the camp) and also into the senate-house; and
the senators, though terror-stricken, affected to be glad.

Galba had lived seventy-two years and twenty-three days,
out of which he ruled nine months and thirteen days. Piso perished after
him, making this atonement for having been appointed Caesar.

[Sidenote:--7--] This was the end that befell Galba. But retribution was
destined full soon enough to seek out Otho in his turn, as he at once
learned. As he was offering his first sacrifice, the omens were seen to be
unfavorable, so that he repented of what had been done and said: "What
need was there of my playing on the long flutes?" This is a colloquial and
proverbial expression that has reference to those who do anything out of
their usual line. Later he was so disturbed in his sleep at night that he
fell out of the bed and alarmed the guards who slept at the door. They
rushed in and found him lying on the ground. Yet once he had entered upon
the imperial office he could not put it off; and he remained in it and
paid the penalty, in spite of many temperate acts intended to conciliate
people. It was not particularly his nature to behave that way, but since
on account of Vitellius his prospects were in a somewhat precarious state,
he did not wish to alienate the bulk of the population.

Just at this time, to be sure, he annulled the sentences against some
senators and granted various slight favors to others. By way of gaining
the public approval he constantly frequented the theatres: he bestowed
citizenship upon foreigners and made many other attractive announcements.
Yet he did not succeed in winning the attachment of any one save a certain
few, like himself. [For his restoration of the images of those under
accusation and] his life and habits, his keeping Sporus as a companion and
employing the rest of the Neronians, alarmed everybody.

[Sidenote:--8--] Moreover, the senate voted him all the privileges
pertaining to his office. He said that he had been forced to do as he did,
had been brought within the walls against his will, and had actually
risked his life after that by opposing the scheme. He regularly talked in
a considerate manner and assumed a kindly expression and attitude; he
threw kisses on his fingers to everybody and made many promises. But the
fact did not escape men that his rule was sure to be more licentious and
oppressive than Nero's. (Indeed, he had immediately applied to himself the
latter's name).

[Sidenote:--9--] They hated him most of all, however, because he had
demonstrated the fact that the imperial office was for sale and had put
the city in the power of the boldest spirits; likewise because he held the
senate and the people in slight esteem and had impressed upon the soldiers
also this idea,--that they could kill or again create a Caesar. Moreover,
he had brought the soldiers into such a daring and lawless condition by
his gifts and his immoderate attentions that one day they forced an
entrance just as they were into the palace while a number of the senators
were dining there with Otho. before departing they rushed into the
banquet-room itself, killing those that strove to bar their progress. And
they would have slaughtered everybody found there had not the guests
jumped up and hid themselves prior to their irruption. For this behavior
the men received money, it being assumed that their act was due to their
liking for Otho.

About this time also a man was caught pretending to be Nero. His name was
unknown to Dio. And at last he paid the penalty.

[Sidenote:--10--] Otho, not succeeding by frequent invitations in
persuading Vitellius to come and share the imperial office, eventually
plunged into open war against him. And he sent soldiers whom he put in
charge of several different leaders; this fact was largely responsible for
his reverses.

Valens was so eager for money and gathered it so assiduously from every
source that he put to death the decurion, who had concealed him and had
saved his life, on account of a thousand denarii which he thought had been
purloined from his possessions.

Otho declined battle, saying that he could not see a battle fought between
kindred, just as if he had become emperor in some legitimate fashion and
had not killed the consuls and the Caesar [Footnote: Piso and Galba are
meant.] and the emperor [Footnote: Piso and Galba are meant.] in Rome
itself. There fell in the battles which took place near Cremona four
myriads of men on both sides. Here, they say, various omens appeared
before the battle, most noteworthy being an unusual bird, such as men had
never before beheld, that was seen for a number of days.

[Sidenote:--11--] After the forces of Otho had been worsted, a certain
horseman brought word of the disaster to Otho. When the bystanders refused
to credit his report--it chanced that there were many gathered there--and
some set to calling him "renegade" and others "enemy," he exclaimed:
"Would that this news were false, Caesar: for most gladly would I have
died to secure thy victory. As it is, my demise is determined, that no one
may think I fled hither to secure my own safety. But do thou be assured
that the enemy will ere long arrive, and debate what must be done." Having
finished these words, he despatched himself. [Sidenote:--12--] This act
caused all to believe him, and they were ready to renew the conflict.
Those present formed a numerous body and there were not a few others at
hand from Pannonia. But the most important consideration, as usual in such
cases, was that they loved Otho and were quite devoted to him, not in word
but in their hearts. When, however, they besought him not to abandon
either himself or them, he waited until the rest, at report of the news,
had come running together, and then, after some muttered words to himself,
he delivered to the soldiers a speech, from which the following is a brief

[Sidenote:--13--] "Enough, quite enough, has already been done. I hate a
civil war, even though I conquer: and I love all Romans, even though they
do not side with me. Let Vitellius be victor, since this has pleased the
gods; and let the lives of his soldiers also be spared, since this pleases
me. It is far better and more just that one should perish for all, rather
than many for one, and that I should refuse on account of one single man
to embroil the Roman people and cause so great a mass of human beings to
perish. I certainly should prefer to be a Mucius, a Decius, a Curtius, a
Regulus, rather than a Marius, a Cinna, or a Sulla,--not to mention other
names. Therefore do not force me to become one of these men I hate, nor
grudge me the privilege of imitating one of those whom I commend. Do you
depart to meet the conqueror and do him reverence. As for me, I shall find
means to free myself, that all men may be taught by the event that you
have chosen such an emperor as has not given you up to save himself but
himself to save you."

[Sidenote:--14--] Of this nature were the words of Otho. Falling upon the
ears of the soldiers they aroused both admiration of the man and pity for
what might befall him: his troops shed tears of lamentation and mourning,
calling him father and terming him dearer than children and parents.
["Upon thee our lives depend," they said, "and for thee we will all die."]
This argument continued so for most of the day, Otho begging to be allowed
to die and the soldiers refusing to permit him to carry out his wish.
Finally, he reduced them to silence and said: "It can not be that I should
show myself inferior to this soldier, whom you have seen kill himself for
the single reason that he had borne news of defeat to his own emperor. I
shall certainly follow in his footsteps, that I may cease to see or hear
aught any longer. And you, if you love me in reality, let me die as I
desire and do not compel me to live against my will, but take your way to
the victor and gain his good graces."

[Sidenote:--15--] At the close of this speech he retired into his
apartments and after sending some messages to his intimate friends and
some to Vitellius in their behalf he burned all the letters which anybody
had written to him containing hostile statements about Vitellius, not
wanting them to serve as damaging evidence against anybody. Then he called
each one of the persons that were at hand, greeted them, and gave them
money. Meantime there was a disturbance made by the soldiers, so that he
was obliged to go out and quiet them, and he did not come back until he
had sent them to a place of safety, some here, some there. So then, when
quiet had been permanently restored, taking a short sword he killed
himself. The grief-stricken soldiery took up his body and buried it, and
some slew themselves upon his grave. This was the end that befell Otho,
after he had lived thirty-seven years lacking eleven days and had reigned
ninety days, and it overshadowed the impiety and wickedness of his active
career. In life the basest of men he died most nobly. He had seized the
empire by the most villainous trick, but took leave of it most creditably.

A series of brawls among the soldiers immediately ensued, and a number of
them were slain by one another; afterwards they reached an agreement and
set out to meet the victorious party.


Vitellius is proclaimed emperor: feasts his eyes on gladiators and
slaughters: drives astrologers from Italy (chapter 1).

Vitellius's excess in banquets, in his home, in furniture, in his almost
absurd magnificence (chapters 2-5).

Praiseworthy points in his character (chapters 6, 7).

Portents of ill omen: the soldiers declare Vespasian emperor (chapter 8).

Mucianus is sent by Vespasian against Vitellius: Primus of his own accord
takes the lead against Vitellius (chapter 9).

Alienus, put in charge of the war by Vitellius, is the author of a
desertion, but is in turn seized by his followers, who change their minds
(chapter 10).

The adherents of Vitellius are conquered in battle (chapters 11-14).

Catastrophe befalls the dwellers in Cremona (chapter 15).

Wavering on the part of Vitellius: the Capitol is burned in the course of
a siege by Sabinus (chapters 16, 17).

Disaster to the city of Rome, taken by Vespasian's captains (chapters 18,

How Vitellius was taken and perished (chapters 20, 21).

How a brother and son of Vitellius met their fate (chapter 22).


(Galba (II) and T. Vinius Coss.): A.D. 69 = a.u. 822, from January 15th.
The following _Consules Suffecti_ took office:

On the Calends of March--T. Virginius Rufus, Vopiscus Pompeius.

On the Calends of May--Caelius Sabinus, T. Flavins Sabinus.

On the Calends of July--T. Arrius Antoninus, P. Marius Celsus (II).

On the Calends of September--C. Fabius Valens, A. Alienus Caecinna (also
Roscius Regulus, as Caecinna was condemned on the last day of October).

On the Calends of November--Cn. Caecilius Simplex, C. Quintius Atticus.

[Sidenote: A.D. 69 (a.u. 822)] [Sidenote:--1--] The population of Rome
when it heard of the downfall of Otho naturally transferred its allegiance
immediately. Otho, whom people previously praised and for whose victory
they prayed, they now abused as an enemy, and Vitellius, upon whom they
had been invoking curses, they praised and declared emperor. So truly
there is nothing constant in human affairs. Those who flourish most and
those who are lowliest alike choose unstable standards, and construct
their praises and their censures, their honors and their degradations to
conform to the accidents of their situation.

News of the death of Otho was brought to him [Vitellius] while in Gaul.
There he was joined by his wife and child, whom he placed on a platform
and saluted as Germanicus and imperator, though the boy was only six years

[Vitellius witnessed gladiatorial combats at Lugdunum and again at
Cremona, as if the crowds of men who had perished in the battles and were
even then exposed unburied to the elements did not suffice. He beheld the
slain with his own eyes, for he traversed all the ground where they lay
and gloated over the spectacle as if he were still in the moment of
victory; and not even after that did he order them to be buried.] Upon
reaching Rome and adjusting affairs to suit him, he issued a bulletin
banishing the astrologers and commanding them by this particular day
(mentioning a given date) to leave the whole country of Italy. They by
night put up in turn another document, in which they announced that he
should lose his life by the day on which he actually died. So accurate was
their previous knowledge of what should come to pass.

[Sidenote:--2--] Vitellius was fond of luxury and licentiousness and cared
for nothing else human or divine. He had always been the kind of man that
would spend his time in taverns and gaming houses, over dancers and
charioteers. Incalculable were the sums he spent on such pursuits, and the
consequence was that he had many creditors. Now, when he attained to so
great authority, his wantonness only increased, and his expenditures went
on most of the day and night alike. He was insatiate in filling himself,
yet kept constantly vomiting what he ate, apparently living on the mere
passage of food. Yet that was what enabled him to hold out; for his fellow
banqueters fared very badly. [He was always inviting numbers of the
foremost men to his table and he was frequently entertained at their

[Sidenote:--3--] On this point one of them, Vibius Crispus, [Footnote:
_Q. Vibius Crispus._] was the author of a most witty remark. Having been
compelled for some days by sickness to absent himself from the convivial
board, he said: "If I had not fallen ill, I should certainly have died."
The entire period of his reign consisted in nothing but carousals and
revels. All the most valuable food products were brought together from the
ocean itself (not to go farther) from the earth and from the
Mediterranean, and were prepared in so costly a fashion that even now some
cakes and other dishes are named Vitellian, after him. Why should one go
into the details of these affairs? It is admitted by quite everybody that
during the period of his reign he expended on dinners two hundred million
two thousand five hundred denarii. There came very near being a famine in
all costly articles of food, yet it was imperative that they should be
provided. Once he had a dish made that cost twenty-five myriads, into
which he put a mixture of tongues and brains and livers of fish and
certain kinds of birds. As it was impossible to make so large a vessel of
pottery, it was made of silver and remained extant for some time, regarded
somewhat in the light of a votive offering, until Hadrian finally set eyes
on it and had it melted down.

[Sidenote:--4--] Since I have mentioned this fact, I will also add
another, namely that not even Nero's Golden House would satisfy Vitellius.
He delighted in and commended the name and the life and all the practices
of its former owner, yet he found fault with the structure itself, saying
that it had been badly built and was scantily and meanly equipped. When he
fell ill one time he looked about for a room to afford him an abode; so
little did even Nero's surroundings satisfy him. His wife Galeria
ridiculed the small amount of decoration found in the royal apartments.
This pair, as they spent other people's money, never stopped to count the
cost of anything; but those who invited them to meals found themselves in
great trouble [save a few whom he compensated for it]. Yet the same
persons would not regularly entertain him the entire day, but one set of
men furnished breakfast, another lunch, another dinner, and still another
certain viands for dessert calculated to stimulate a jaded appetite.
[Footnote: This little phrase is taken direct from Plato's
_Critias_, 115 B.] [For all who were able were eager to entertain him.]
It is said that after the elapse of a few days he spent a hundred myriads
upon a dinner. [His birthday celebration lasted over two days and numbers
of beasts and of men were slain.]

[Sidenote:--6--] [Though his life was of this kind he was not entirely
without good deeds. For example, he retained the coinage minted under Nero
and Galba and Otho, evincing no displeasure at their images; and whatever
gifts had been bestowed upon any persons he held to be valid and deprived
no one of any such possession. He did not collect any sums still owing of
former public contributions, and he confiscated no one's property. A very
few of those who sided with Otho he put to death but did not withhold even
the property of these from their relatives. Upon the kinsmen of those
previously executed he bestowed all the funds that were found in the
public treasury. He did not obstruct the execution of the wills of such as
had fought against him and had fallen in the battles. Furthermore he
forbade the senators and the knights to fight as gladiators or to appear
in any spectacle in the orchestra. And for these measures he was

[Sidenote:--7--] He was a constant attendant of the theatres, and this won
the attachment of the populace. He ate with the most influential men on
free and easy terms, and this gained their favor to an even greater
degree. His old companions he never failed to remember and honored them
greatly, not (like some others) disdaining to appear to recognize any of
them. Many persons have unexpectedly attained to great power feel hate for
those who are acquainted with their former humble state. [Vitellius, when
Priscus opposed him in the senate and denounced one of the soldiers,
called the tribunes to his side as if he had some need of their
assistance. He did not himself do Priscus any harm and did not allow the
officials to hurt him, but merely said: "Be not indignant, Conscript
Fathers, that we two out of your number have had a little dispute with
each other." This act seemed to have been due to a kindly disposition. The
fact, however, that he wished to imitate Nero and offered sacrifices to
his Manes, and that he spent so great sums on dinners, though it caused
joy to some, made the sensible grieve, since they were fully aware that
not all the money in the whole world would be sufficient for him.]

[Sidenote:--8--] While he was behaving in this way, evil omens occurred. A
comet star was seen, and the moon contrary to precedent appeared to have
had two eclipses, being obscured by shadows on the fourth and on the
seventh day. Also people saw two suns at once, one in the west weak and
pale, and one in the east brilliant and powerful. On the Capitol many huge
footprints were seen, presumably of some spirits that had descended that
hill. The soldiers who had slept there the night in question said that the
temple of Jupiter had opened of itself with great clangor and some of the
guards were so terrified that they expired. At the same time that this
happened Vespasian, engaged in warfare with the Jews, [sent his son Titus
to the emperor Galba to give him a message. But when Titus returned,
having learned on the way] of the rebellion of Vitellius and of Otho, he
deliberated what ought to be done. [For Vespasian was in general not
rashly inclined and he hesitated very much about involving himself in such
troublous affairs.]

[Sidenote:--9--] But people favored him greatly: his reputation won in
Britain, his fame derived from the war under way, his kindheartedness and
prudence, all led them to desire to have him at their head. Likewise
Mucianus urged him strongly, hoping that Vespasian should get the name of
emperor and that he as a result of the other's good nature should enjoy an
equal share of power. Vespasian's soldiers on ascertaining all these facts
surrounded his tent and hailed him as emperor. Portents and dreams
pointing him out as sovereign long before had also fallen to the lot of
Vespasian, and these will be recited in the story of his life. For the
time being he sent Mucianus to Italy against Vitellius, while he himself,
after taking a look at affairs in Syria and entrusting to others the
conduct of the war against the Jews, proceeded to Egypt. There he
collected money, of which of course he needed a great deal, and grin,
which he desired to send in as large quantities as possible to Rome. The
soldiers in Moesia, hearing how matters stood with him, would not wait for
Mucianus,--they had learned that he was _en route_,--and chose as
their general Antonius Primus, [Footnote: _M. Antonius Primus._] who
had suffered sentence of exile in Nero's reign but had been restored by
Galba and was commander of the legion in Pannonia. This man held supreme
authority, although not chosen by the emperor nor by the senate. So great
was the soldiers' anger at Vitellius and their zest for plunder. They were
doing this for no other purpose except to pillage Italy. And their
intention was realized.

[Sidenote:--10--] Vitellius when he heard about it remained where he was
and went on with his luxurious living even to the extent of arranging
gladiatorial combats. In the course of these it was proposed that Sporus
portray the role of a maiden being ravished, but he would not endure the
shame and committed suicide. Vitellius gave the charge of the war to
Alienus [Footnote: _A. Caevina Alienus._] and certain others. Alienus
reached Cremona and occupied the town, but seeing that his own soldiers
were out of training as a result of their luxurious life in Rome and
impaired by lack of practice, whereas the others were physically well
exercised and stout of heart, he was afraid. Subsequently, when friendly
proposals came to him from Primus, he called the soldiers together and by
indicating the weakness of Vitellius and the strength of Vespasian
together with the character of the two men he persuaded them to revolt.
Then they removed the images of Vitellius from their standards and took an
oath that they would be governed by Vespasian. But, after the meeting had
broken up and they had retired to their tents, they changed their minds
and suddenly gathering excitedly in force with great outcry they again
saluted Vitellius as emperor and imprisoned Alienus for having betrayed
them, and they paid no heed to his consular office. Such are the regular
practices of civil wars.

[Sidenote:--11--] The great confusion which under these conditions
prevailed in the camp of Vitellius was increased that night by an eclipse
of the moon. It was not so much its being obscured (though even such
phenomena cause fear to men in excitement) as the fact that the luminary
appeared both blood-colored and black and reflected still other terrifying
shades. Not for this, however, would the men change their attitude or
yield: but when they encountered each other they contended most
vigorously, although, as I said, the Vitellians were leaderless; for
Alienus had been imprisoned at Cremona.

On the following day, when Primus through messengers tried to induce them
to come to terms, the soldiers of Vitellius sent a return message to him
urging that he espouse the cause of Vitellius. When, moreover, they joined
battle with his soldiers they contended most vigorously. The battle was
not the result of any concerted plan. Some few horsemen, as often happens
when two forces are encamped opposite each other, were out foraging in
front of the others and suddenly made an attack. After that reinforcements
came from both armies to each of the two parties in whatever order the
troops happened to become aware of the situation,--first to one side, then
to the other, now of one kind of fighting force, now of another, infantry
or cavalry: and the conflict was marked by vicissitudes until all had
hastened to the front. Then they got into some kind of regular formation
and carried on the struggle with some order even though leaderless.
Alienus, as you remember, had been imprisoned.

[Sidenote:--12--] From this point on the battle between them was a well
matched and evenly balanced affair, not only during the day but at night
as well. For the coming of night did not separate them. They were
thoroughly angry and determined, although they were acquainted with each
other and talked back and forth. Hence not hunger nor fatigue nor cold nor
darkness nor wounds nor deaths nor the remains of men that fell on this
field before [nor the memory of the disaster nor the number of those that
perished to no purpose] mitigated their fierceness. Such was the madness
that possessed both sides alike [and so eager were they, incited by the
very memories of the spot, which made one party resolved to conquer this
time also, and the other not to be conquered this time either. So they
fought as against foreigners instead of kindred, and as if all on both
sides were absolutely obliged either to perish at once or thereafter to be
slaves. Therefore, not even when night came on, as I stated, would they
yield; but though tired out and for that reason often resting and
indulging in conversation together, they nevertheless continued to
struggle]. As often as the moon shone out (it was constantly being
concealed by [numerous] clouds [of all shapes that kept passing in front
of it]), one might see them sometimes fighting, sometimes
[Sidenote:--13--] standing and leaning on their spears, sometimes sitting
down. Now and then they would shout in unison on one side the name of
Vespasian and on the other that of Vitellius, and again they would
challenge each other with abuse and praise of the two men. At intervals
one soldier would have a private chat with an opponent:--"Comrade,
fellow-citizen, what are we doing? Why are we fighting? Come over to my
side." "Oh, no, you come to my side." But what is there surprising about
this, considering that when the women of the city in the course of the
night brought food and drink to give to the soldiers of Vitellius, the
latter after eating and drinking themselves passed the supplies on to
their antagonists? One of them would call out the name of his adversary
(for they practically all knew one another and were well acquainted) and
would say: "Comrade, take and eat this. I give you not a sword, but bread.
Take and drink: I hold toward you not a shield but a cup. For whether you
kill me or I you, this will afford us a more comfortable leave-taking, and
will save from feebleness and weakness the hand with which either you cut
me down or I you. These are the consecrated offerings that Vitellius and
Vespasian give us while we are yet alive, that they may sacrifice us to
the corpses of the past." That would be the style of their conversation,
after which they would rest a while, eat a bit, and then renew the battle.
Soon they would stop again, and then once more join in conflict.

[Sidenote:--14--] It went on this way the whole night through till dawn
broke. At that time two men of the Vespasian party wrought a notable
achievement. Their side was being severely damaged by an engine of some
sort, and these two, seizing shields from among the spoils of the
Vitellian faction, mingled with the opposing ranks, and made their way to
the engine without its being noticed that they did not belong to that
side. Thus they managed to cut the ropes of the affair, so that not
another missile could be discharged from it. As the sun was rising the
soldiers of the third legion, called the Gallic, that wintered in Syria
but was now by chance in the party of Vespasian, suddenly according to
custom saluted the Sun God. The followers of Vitellius, suspecting that
Mucianus had arrived, underwent a revulsion of feeling, and panic-stricken
at the shout took to flight. (Another instance of how the smallest things
can produce great alarm in men who are completely tired out). They retired
within the wall, from which they stretched forth their hands and made
supplications. As no one listened to them, they released the consul, and,
having arrayed him in his robe of office with the fasces, then sent him as
an intercessor. Thus they obtained a truce, for Alienus because of his
rank and the way he had been treated easily persuaded Primus to accept
their submission.

[Sidenote:--15--] When, however, the gates were opened and an amnesty had
been declared for all, suddenly soldiers came rushing in from all
directions and began plundering and setting fire to everything. This
catastrophe proved to be one of the greatest recorded. The city was
distinguished for the size and beauty of its buildings, and great sums of
money belonging to natives and to strangers had been accumulated there.
The larger portion of the harm was done by the Vitellians, since they knew
exactly which were the houses of the richest men and all about the
entrances on the alleys. They showed no scruples about destroying the
persons in whose behalf they had fought, but dealt blows, committed
murder, and acted as if it were they who had been wronged and had
conquered. Thus, counting those that fell in battle, five myriads perished

[Sidenote:--16--] Vitellius, on learning of the defeat, was for a time
quite disturbed. Omens had contributed to make him uneasy. He had been
offering a certain sacrifice, and after it was addressing the soldiers,
when a lot of vultures swooped down, scattered the sacred meats, and
nearly knocked him from the platform. Accordingly, the news of the defeat
troubled him still more, and he quietly sent his brother to Tarracina, a
strong city, which the latter occupied. But when the generals of Vespasian
approached Rome he became alarmed and took his departure. He did nothing
and formed no plan, but in a state of terror was carried back and forth on
the billows of chance. One moment he was for clinging to the sovereignty
and he was making definite preparations for warfare: the next he was quite
willing to give it up and was definitely getting ready to live as a
private person. At times he wore the purple chlamys and girded on a sword:
again he assumed dark colored clothing. His public addresses both in the
palace and in the Forum were now of one tenor, now of another, first
urging battle and next terms of peace. At times he was inclined to
surrender himself for the public welfare, and later he would clasp his
child in his arms, kiss him, and hold him out to the people as if to
arouse their pity. Similarly he would dismiss the Pretorians and then send
for them again, would leave the palace to retire to his brother's house
and then return: in this way he dulled the enthusiasm of almost everybody
interested in him. Seeing him dashing hither and thither so frenziedly
they ceased to carry out commands with their usual diligence, and began to
consider their own interests as well as his. They ridiculed him a great
deal, especially when in the assemblies he proffered his sword to the
consuls and to the senators present as if to show that by this act he had
divested himself of the imperial office. No one of the above persons dared
to take it, and the bystanders jeered.

[Sidenote:--17--] In view of these conditions, when Primus at last drew
near, the consuls, Gaius Quintius Atticus and Gnaeus Caecilius Simplex,
together with Sabinus (a relative of Vespasian) and the other foremost men
held a consultation, the result of which was that they set out for the
palace in company with the soldiers that favored their cause, intending to
either persuade or force Vitellius to resign his position as emperor. They
encountered, however, the Celtae who were guarding him, and getting
decidedly the worst of the encounter they fled to the Capitol. Arrived
there they sent for Domitian, son of Vespasian, and his relatives, and put
themselves in a state of defence. The following day, when their
adversaries assailed them, they managed for a time to repulse them; but
when the environs of the Capitol were set on fire, its defenders were
beaten back by the flame. In this way the soldiers of Vitellius forced
their way up, slaughtered many of the resisting party, and after
plundering the whole stock of votive offerings burned down with other
structures the great temple. Sabinus and Atticus they arrested and sent
them to Vitellius. Domitian and the junior Sabinus had made their escape
from the Capitol at the first noise of conflict and by concealing
themselves in houses had succeeded in eluding observation.

[Sidenote:--18--] Those soldiers of Vespasian that were led by Quintus
Petilius Cerialis [Footnote: The epitome of Dio spells uniformly
_Cerealius_.] (one of the foremost senators and a relative of Vespasian
by marriage) and by Antonius Primus--for Mucianus had not yet overtaken
them--were by this time close at hand, and Vitellius fell into the depths
of terror. The oncoming leaders through the medium of certain messengers
and by placing their letters in coffins with dead bodies, in baskets full
of fruit, or the reed traps of bird-catchers, learned all that was being
done in the city and formed their plans accordingly. Now, when they saw
the blaze rising from the Capitol as from a beacon, they made haste. The
first of the two to approach the city with his cavalry was Cerialis, [and
he was defeated at the very entrance by being cut off with horsemen in a
narrow spot. However, he prevented any harm being done by his opponents.
For Vitellius, hoping that his proved superiority would afford him an
opportunity to make terms, restrained his soldiers]. And having convened
the senate he sent envoys chosen from that body together with the vestal
virgins to Cerialis as envoys.

[Sidenote:--19--] Since no one would listen to them and they came very
near losing their lives, the emissaries visited Primus, who was also at
last approaching; from him they secured an audience, but accomplished
nothing. For at this juncture his soldiers came angrily toward him and
overcame with ease the guard at the Tiber bridge. (When the latter took
their stand upon it and disputed their passage, the horsemen forded the
stream and fell upon them from the rear). After this various bodies of men
made assaults at various points and committed some of the most atrocious
deeds. All the behavior for which they censured Vitellius and his
followers, behavior which they pretended was the cause of the war between
them, they themselves repeated, slaying great numbers. Many of those
killed were struck with pieces of tiling from the roof or cut down in
alleyways while jostled about by a throng of adversaries. Thus as many as
fifty thousand human beings were destroyed during those days of carnage.

[Sidenote:--20--] So the city was being pillaged, and the men were some
fighting, some fleeing, some actually plundering and murdering by
themselves in order that they might be taken for the invaders and so
preserve their lives. Vitellius in dread put on a ragged, dirty, little
tunic and concealed himself in an obscure alcove where dogs were kept,
intending to run off during the night to Tarracina and join his brother.
But the soldiers found him after a short search, for he could not long be
sure of remaining hid, seeing that he had been emperor. They seized him, a
mass of shavings and blood--for the dogs had done him some harm
already--and stripping off his clothes they bound his hands behind his
back, put a rope around his neck and dragged from the palace the Caesar
who had reveled there. Down the Sacred Way they hauled the emperor who had
frequently paraded past in his chair of state. Then they conducted the
Augustus to the Forum, where he had often addressed the people. Some
buffeted him, some plucked at his beard, all ridiculed him, all insulted
him, laying especial stress in their remarks on his intemperance, since he
had an expansive paunch. [Sidenote:--21--] When in shame at this treatment
he kept his eyes lowered, the soldiers would prick him under the chin with
their daggers, to make him look up even against his will. A certain Celt
who saw this would not endure it, but taking pity on him cried: "I will
help you, as well as I can alone." Then he wounded Vitellius and killed
himself. However, Vitellius did not die of the wound but was haled to the
prison, as were also his statues, while many amusing and many disgraceful
remarks were made about them. Finally, grieved to the heart at the way he
had been treated and what he was compelled to hear, he was heard to
exclaim: "Yet I was once your emperor!" At that the soldiers flew into a
rage and took him to the top of the Scalae Gemoniae, where they struck him
down. His head was cut off and carried about all over the city.

[Sidenote:--22--] Subsequently his wife saw to his burial. He had lived
fifty-four years [and eighty-nine days] and had reigned for a year lacking
ten days. His brother had started from Tarracina to come to his
assistance, but learned while _en route_ that he was dead. He also
encountered a detachment of men sent against him and made terms with them
on condition that his life should be spared. In spite of this he was
murdered not long afterward. The son of Vitellius, too, perished soon
after his father, notwithstanding that Vitellius had killed no relative
either of Otho or of Vespasian. After all these various events had taken
place, Mucianus came up and administered necessary details in conjunction
with Domitian, whom he also presented to the soldiers and had him make a
speech, boy though he was. Each of the soldiers received twenty-five


Vespasian is made Emperor: is also designated as such by portents (chapter

The arrogance of Mucianus and Domitian (chapter 2).

Revolt of the Germans (chapter 3).

About the taking of Jerusalem by Titus (chapters 4-7).

Vespasian levies money in Egypt (chapter 8).

He treats the Romans considerately: drives philosophers from the capital
(chapters 9-13).

He gathers money by the efforts of his concubine Caenis, as well as by his
own (chapter 14).

The Temple of Peace and the Colossus are erected: Berenice is dismissed:
the Cynics are punished (chapter 15).

The punishment of Julius Sabinus: likewise of the conspirators, Alienus
and Marcellus (chapter 16).

How Vespasian met his death (chapter 17).

The mildness of character of Titus Caesar Augustus (chapters 18, 19).

War in Britain, which is ascertained to be an island (chapter 20).

How Mount Vesuvius flamed forth: conflagration at Rome (chapters 21-24).

Spectacles: death of Titus (chapters 25, 26).


Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (II), Titus Caesar. (A.D. 70 = a.u. 823 = Second of
Vespasian, from July 1st).

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (III), M. Cocceius Nerva. (A.D. 71 = a.u. 824 =
Second of Vespasian).

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (IV), Titus Caesar (II). (A.D. 72 = a.u. 825 = Third
of Vespasian).

Domitianus Caesar (II), M. Valerius Messalinus. (A.D. 73 = a.u. 826 =
Fourth of Vespasian).

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (V), Titus Caesar (III). (A.D. 74 = a.u. 827 = Fifth
of Vespasian).

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (VI), Titus Caesar (IV). (A.D. 75 = a.u. 828 = Sixth
of Vespasian).

Fl. Vespasianus (VII), Titus Caesar (V). (A.D. 76 = a.u. 829 = Seventh of
Vespasian). Fl. Vespasianus (VIII), Titus Caesar (VI). (A.D. 77 = a.u. 830
= Eighth of Vespasian).

L. Ceionius Commodus, D. Novius Priscus. (A.D. 78 = a.u. 831 = Ninth of

Fl. Vespasianus (IX), Titus Caesar (VII). (A.D. 79 = a.u. 832 = First of
Titus, from June 23rd).

T. Vespasianus (VIII), Domitianus (VII). (A.D. 80 = a.u. 833 = Second of

L. Fl. Silva Nonius Bassus, Asinius Pollio Verrucosus. (A.D. 81 = a.u. 834
= Third of Titus, to September 13th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 70 (a.u. 823)] [Sidenote:--1--] Such was the course of
events on the heels of which Vespasian was declared emperor by the senate
and Titus and Domitian were given the title of Caesars. The consular
office was assumed by Vespasian and Titus while the former was in Egypt
and the latter in Palestine. Vespasian had seen portents and dreams that
long beforehand indicated that he was destined to rule. As he was eating
dinner in the country, where most of his time was spent, a cow approached
him, knelt down, and put her head beneath his feet. Another time, when he
was taking food, a dog threw a human hand under the table. And a
conspicuous cypress tree, which had been uprooted and overthrown by a
violent wind, on the next day stood upright again by its own power and
continued to flourish. From a dream he learned that when Nero Caesar
should lose a tooth, he should be emperor: and this matter of the tooth
became a reality on the following day. Nero himself in his slumbers
thought he was bringing the chariot of Jupiter to Vespasian's house. These
occurrences, of course, needed interpretation. But in addition a Jew named
Josephus, who had previously been disliked by him and imprisoned, gave a
laugh and said: "You may imprison me now, but a year later when you become
emperor you will release me."

[Sidenote:--2--] Thus had Vespasian, like some others, been born for the
position. While he was as yet absent in Egypt Mucianus administered all
the details of government with the help of Domitian. Mucianus feeling that
he had himself given the sovereignty to Vespasian exulted greatly at these
facts above all,--that he was called "brother" by him, and that he had
authority to decide every question that he liked without the emperor's
express approval and could issue written orders by merely adding his
superior's name. For this purpose, too, he wore a finger ring that had
been sent him, which was intended to impress the imperial seal upon
documents requiring authorization. [Indeed, Domitian himself gave offices
and procuratorships to many persons, appointing prefect after prefect and
even consuls.] In fine, they behaved in every way so much like absolute
rulers that Vespasian once sent the following message to Domitian: "I
thank you, my child, for letting me hold office and that you have not yet
dethroned me."

Now Mucianus gathered into the public treasury from every possible quarter
vast sums of money, showing an entire readiness to relieve Vespasian of
the censure which such a proceeding caused. He was forever declaring that
money was the sinews of sovereignty; and in accordance with this belief he
was constantly urging Vespasian to obtain funds from every quarter, and
for his own part he continued from the outset to collect revenue, thus
providing a large amount of money for the empire and acquiring a large
amount himself.

[Sidenote:--3--] In Germany various uprisings against the Romans took
place which are not worth mentioning for my purposes, but there was one
incident that must cause us surprise. A certain Julius Sabinus, one of the
foremost of the Lingones, collected by his own efforts a separate force
and took the name of Caesar, declaring that he was a descendant of Julius
Caesar. He was defeated in several engagements, whereupon he fled to a
field and plunged into a subterranean vault beneath a monument, which he
first burned to the ground. His pursuers thought he had perished in the
conflagration, but as a matter of fact he hid himself there with his wife
for nine years and had two male children by her. The troubles in Germany
were settled by Cerialis in the course of a number of battles, in one of
which so great a multitude of Romans and barbarians both were slain that
the river flowing near by was held back by the bodies of the fallen.
Domitian stood in fear of his father because of what he did and still more
because of what he intended, for his plans were on no small scale. He
happened to be spending most of his time near the Alban Mount, devoting
himself to his passion for Domitia, the daughter of Corbulo. Her he took
away from her husband, Lucius Lamia Aelianus, and at this time he had her
for one of his mistresses, but later he actually married her.

[Sidenote:--4--] Titus, who was assigned to take charge of the war with
the Jews, [undertook to win them over by certain conferences and offers;
as they would not yield, he proceeded to direct hostilities. The first
battles he fought were rather close; finally he prevailed and took up the
siege of Jerusalem. This town had three walls including that surrounding
the temple. The Romans accordingly heaped up mounds against the
fortifications and brought their engines to bear: then collecting in a
dense force they repulsed all sallying parties and with their slings and
arrows kept back all the defenders of the wall. Many persons that had been
sent by some of the barbarian kings they kept prisoners. The Jews who came
to the assistance of their countrymen were many of them from the immediate
region and many from kindred districts, not only in this same Roman empire
but from beyond the Euphrates, and they, too, kept directing missiles and
stones with considerable force on account of the higher ground, some being
flung from the hand and some hurled by means of engines. They likewise
made night and day sallies as often as occasion offered, set fire to the
engines, slew numerous combatants, and by digging out under the wall took
away earth from beneath the mound. As for the rams, they lassoed some of
them and broke the ends off, others they seized and pulled up with hooks,
while by means of thick boards well fastened together and strengthened
with iron, which they let down against the face of the wall, they turned
aside the assaults of the remainder. The Romans' chief cause of discomfort
was the lack of water; their supply was of poor quality and had to be
brought from a distance.

The Jews found their underground passages a source of strength. They had
these affairs dug from within the city out under the walls to distant
points in the country, and going out through them they would attack
parties in search of water and harass scattered detachments. Consequently
Titus stopped them all up.]

[Sidenote:--5--] In the course of these operations many on both sides were
wounded and killed. Titus himself was struck on the left shoulder by a
stone, and as a result of this accident the arm was always weaker. After a
time the Romans managed to scale the outside circle, and, pitching their
camps between the two encompassing lines of fortification, assaulted the
second wall. Here, however, they found the conditions confronting them to
be different. When all the inhabitants had retired behind the second wall,
its defence proved an easier matter because the circuit to be guarded was
so much less. Titus, accordingly, made anew a proclamation offering them
immunity. They, however, even under these circumstances held out. And the
captives and deserters from the enemy so far as they could do so
unobserved spoiled the Roman water supply and slew many men that they
could cut off from the main force, so that Titus refused to receive any of
them. Meantime some of the Romans, too, growing disheartened, as often
happens in a prolonged siege, and furthermore suspecting that the city was
really, even as report declared, impregnable, went over to the other side.
The Jews although they were short of food treated them kindly, in order to
be able to exhibit deserters to their own ranks.

[Sidenote:--6--] Though a breach in the wall was effected by engines,
still the capture did not immediately follow; the defenders killed great
numbers that tried to crowd through the opening. Next they set fire to
some of the buildings near by, expecting in this way to check the onward
progress of the Romans, even should the latter make themselves masters of
the entire circuit. In this way they damaged the wall and unintentionally
burned down the barrier encompassing their sacred precinct. The entrance
to the temple was now laid open to the Romans. The soldiers on account of
their superstition would not immediately rush in, but at last, as Titus
forced them, they made their way inside. Then the Jews carried on a
defence much more vigorous than before, as if they had discovered a rare
and unexpected privilege in falling near the temple, while fighting to
save it. The populace was stationed in the outer court, the senators on
the steps, and the priests in the hall of worship itself. And though they
were but a handful fighting against a far superior force they were not
subdued until a section of the temple was fired. Then they went to meet
death willingly, some letting themselves be pierced by the swords of the
Romans, some slaughtering one another, others committing suicide, and
others leaping into the blaze. It looked to everybody, and most of all to
them, apparently, [that so far from being ruin, it was victory and
salvation and happiness to perish along with the temple]. [Sidenote:--7--]
Even under these conditions many captives were taken, among them Bargiora,
[Footnote: Properly Simon Bar-Giora (patronymic).] the commander of the
enemy: he was the only one punished in the course of the triumphal

Thus was Jerusalem destroyed on the very day of Saturn, which even now the
Jews reverence most. To commemorate the event it was ordered that the
conquered, while still preserving their own ancestral customs should
annually pay a tribute of two denarii to Capitoline Jupiter. As a reward
for this success both generals received the title of imperator, but
neither had that of _Iudaicus_, although all the other privileges
(including arches bearing trophies) that were proper after so great a
victory were voted to them.

[Sidenote:--8--] Hard upon Vespasian's entrance into Alexandria the Nile
overflowed, and rose in one day a palm higher than usual; indeed, such an
occurrence, it was said, had taken place only once before. Vespasian
himself healed two persons who had come to him because of a vision seen in
dreams. One of them, who had a weak hand, he cured by treading upon that
member, and the other one, who was blind, by spitting upon his eyes. His
divine power herein shown gave him great repute, yet the Alexandrians, far
from enjoying his society, detested him heartily; not only in private but
in public they were forever making fun of and abusing him. They had
expected to receive some great reward from him because they had taken the
first steps in making him emperor, but instead of securing anything they
had additional contributions levied upon them. Large were the sums he
gathered from them, for he omitted not a single source of revenue, no, not
even the first that might offer itself, though its character were
reprehensible, but he sought money from everybody alike, of secular or
religious profession. As for taxes, he renewed many that had been
abolished and increased those that were usual [and introduced still other
new ones]. And he adopted this same course later in the rest of the
subject territory, [in Italy] and in Rome itself. Hence the Alexandrians
[both for the reasons mentioned and because most of the royal possessions
had been sold were vexed and] threw out various derogatory remarks about
him, one of them being: "You want six obols more." Vespasian,
consequently, although the most affable of men, became indignant and gave
orders that the six obols per man should be levied, and thought seriously
about taking vengeance upon them. [The words themselves contained an
insult, and of their many undignified and anapaestic rhythms there was not
a single one but aroused his anger.] Titus, however, begged them off and
Vespasian accordingly spared them. Yet they would not let him alone, and
in some assembly they all together shouted at Titus these very words: "We
forgive him. He doesn't understand being Caesar."

So they continued to be foolhardy, took their thorough fill of that
license which is always working to their detriment, and abused the good
nature of the emperor. [Sidenote:--9--] Vespasian soon ceased to notice
them. He sent a despatch to Rome rescinding the disfranchisement of such
persons as had been condemned for so-called acts of maiestas by Nero and
succeeding rulers. His action included living and dead alike, and he
moreover stopped the indictments made upon such complaints.--The
astrologers he banished from Rome, yet he consulted all of them who were
distinguished, and through the influence of Barbillus, a man of that
profession, allowed the Ephesians to celebrate some sacred games. This was
a privilege he granted to no other city.

He soon had Egypt subdued and sent from there a large supply of grain to
Rome. He had left his son Titus at Jerusalem to sack the town, and awaited
its capture that he might return to Rome in his son's company. But, as
time dragged in the conduct of the siege, he left Titus in Palestine and
took passage himself on a merchantman; he sailed in this manner as far as
Lycia, and from that country partly by overland journeys and partly by
seafaring he came to Brundusium.

After this he came to Rome, meeting Mucianus and other prominent men at
Brundusium and Domitian at Beneventum. In consequence of the consciousness
of his own designs and of what he had already done, Domitian was ill at
ease, and moreover he occasionally feigned madness. He spent most of his
time on the Alban estate and did many ridiculous things, one of them being
to impale flies on pencils. Even though this incident be unworthy of the
dignity of history, yet because it shows his character so well and
particularly in view of the fact that he continued the same practice after
he became emperor, I have been obliged to record it. Hence that answer was
not without wit which some one made to a person who enquired what Domitian
was doing. "He is living in retirement," he said, "without so much as a
fly to keep him company." [Sidenote:--10--] Vespasian though he humbled
this upstart's pride greeted all the rest not like an emperor but like a
private person, for he remembered his previous experience.

On reaching Rome he bestowed gifts upon both soldiers and populace; he
made repairs in the sacred precincts and upon those public works which
showed signs of wear and tear; such as had already crumbled to decay he
restored; and when they were completed he inscribed upon them not his own
name but the names of the persons who had originally reared them.

He immediately began to construct the temple on the Capitoline, being
himself the first to carry away some of the soil; and, as a matter of
course, he urged the other most prominent men to do this same thing in
order that the rest of the populace might have no excuse for shirking this

The property of his opponents who had fallen in one conflict or another he
delivered to their children or to other kin of theirs; furthermore, he
destroyed contracts of long standing representing sums due and owing to
the public treasury.

Though he invariably expended in munificent fashion all that was requisite
for the public welfare and arranged the festivals on a most sumptuous
scale, his own living was very far from costly, and he sanctioned no
greater outlay than was absolutely necessary. Therefore even in the
taverns he allowed nothing cooked to be sold except pulse. Thus he made it
quite plainly evident that he was amassing riches not for his own
enjoyment but for the needs of the people.

Vespasian got laughed at every time that he would say, when spending
money: "I am making this outlay from my own purse."

He was neither of noble family nor rich.

The general routine of life that he followed was this. He lived but little
in the palace, spending most of his time in the so-called Sallustian
Gardens. There he received anybody who desired to see him, not only
senators but people in general. With his intimate friends he would
converse also before dawn while lying in bed; others could greet him on
the streets. The doors of the royal residence were open all day long and
no guard was stationed at them. He was a regular visitor in the senate,
whose members he consulted in regard to all projects, and he frequently
tried cases in the Forum. Whatever measures he was prevented by old age
from reading aloud, as well as any communications that he sent to the
senate when absent, he usually caused to be read by his sons, showing
honor by this course to the legislative body. Every day he had many of the
senators and others join him at table, and he himself often dined at the
houses of his intimate friends. [Sidenote:--11--] In general, his
forethought for public interests caused him to be regarded as a real
emperor. In his ordinary existence he was sociable and lived on a footing
of equality with his subjects. He joked in unconventional manner and
rather liked jokes upon himself. In case any anonymous documents were
posted,--as happens to every emperor,--containing statements insulting to
himself, he showed no signs of disturbance but posted in turn a suitable

One day Phoebus approached him to make an apology. It seemed that once,
during Nero's reign, Vespasian when in the theatre in Greece had frowned
at the misconduct of the emperor (of which he was a witness), whereupon
Phoebus had angrily bidden him "Go!" And upon Vespasian's enquiring "Where
to?" the other had responded "to the devil." [Footnote: This sentiment is
expressed in the Greek by "to the crows."] Now when Phoebus apologized for
this speech the monarch did him no harm, in fact vouchsafed him no answer
at all, save a curt "Go to the devil yourself!"--Again, when Vologaesus
forwarded a letter to the emperor addressed as follows: "Arsaces, King of
Kings, to Flavius Vespasian, Greeting," the recipient did not rebuke him
but wrote a reply couched in the same terms and added none of his imperial

[Sidenote:--12--] Helvidius Priscus, the son-in-law of Thrasea, had been
brought up in the doctrines of the Stoics and imitated Thrasea's
bluntness, though there was no occasion for it. He was at this time
praetor and instead of doing aught to increase the honor due to the
emperor he would not cease reviling him. Therefore the tribunes once
arrested him and gave him in charge of their assistants, at which
procedure Vespasian was overcome by emotion and went out of the
senate-house in tears, uttering this single exclamation only: "A son
shall be my successor or no one at all."

[Sidenote: A.D. 71 (a.u. 824)] After Jerusalem had been captured Titus
returned to Italy and celebrated a triumph, both he and his father riding
in a chariot. Domitian, now in his consulship, also took part in the
festivities, mounted upon a charger. Vespasian next established in Rome
teachers of both Latin and Greek learning, who drew their pay from the
public treasury.

[Sidenote:--12--] It became strikingly clear that Vespasian hated
Helvidius Priscus not so much for personal affronts or on account of the
friends that the man had abused as because he was a turbulent fellow that
cultivated the favor of the rabble, was forever denouncing royalty and
praising democracy. Helvidius's behavior, moreover, was consistent with
his principles; he banded various men together, as if it were the function
of philosophy to insult those in power, to stir up the multitudes, to
overthrow the established order of things, and to incite people to
revolution. He was a son-in-law of Thrasea and affected to emulate the
latter's conduct: his failure to do so was striking. Thrasea lived in
Nero's time and disliked the tyrant. Even so, however, he never spoke or
behaved toward him in any insulting way: he merely refused to share in his
practices. But Helvidius had a grudge against Vespasian and would not let
him alone either in private or in public. By what he did he invited death
and for his meddlesome interference he was destined ultimately to pay the

Mucianus desired to be honored by all and beyond all, so
that he was displeased not merely if a man insulted him but even if any
one failed to extol him greatly. Hence, just as he was never tired of
honoring those who assisted him to even the slightest extent, so his
hatred was most cruel for all who did not so conduct themselves.

Mucianus made a great number of remarkable statements to Vespasian against
the Stoics, as, for instance, that they are full of empty boasting, and if
one of them lets his beard grow long, elevates his eyebrows, wears his
fustian cape thrown carelessly back and goes barefoot, he straightway
postulates wisdom, bravery, righteousness as his own. He gives himself
great airs, even though he may not understand (as the proverb says) either
letters or swimming. They view everybody with contempt and call the man of
good family a mollycoddle, the ill-born a dwarfed intellect, a handsome
person licentious, an ugly person comely, the rich man an apostle of
greed, and the poor man a servile groveler.

And Vespasian did immediately expel from Rome all the philosophers except
Musonius: Demetrius and Hostilianus he confined upon islands. Hostilianus
would not stop, to be sure,--he happened to be conversing with somebody
when he heard about the sentence of exile against him and merely inveighed
all the more strongly against monarchy,--yet he straightway withdrew.
Demetrius even now would not yield, and Vespasian bade it be told him:
"You are working every way to have me kill you, but I am not slaughtering
barking dogs."

[Sidenote:--13--] Before long many others who followed the so-called Stoic
system made themselves prominent, among whom was Demetrius the cynic.
These men, abusing the title of philosophy, kept teaching their disciples
publicly many pernicious doctrines, and in this way were gradually
corrupting [Footnote: Reading [Greek: hypodiephtheiron] (Dindorf).] some.
Under these circumstances Mucianus, influenced more by anger than by
fondness for speaking, uttered many charges against them and persuaded
Vespasian to expel all such persons from the city.

[Sidenote:--14--] This period saw also the demise of Vespasian's
concubine, Caenis. I have mentioned her because she was exceedingly
faithful and possessed naturally a most excellent memory. For instance,
her mistress Antonia, the mother of Claudius, had had her write secretly
to Tiberius about Sejanus and later had ordered the message erased, that
no trace of the same might be left. Thereupon she replied: "It is in vain,
mistress, that you have issued this command. All of this and whatever else
you dictate to me I always carry with me in my soul and it can never be
erased." This is one thing I have admired about her and a second is that
Vespasian should have been so much pleased with her. This fact gave her
the greatest influence, and she collected untold wealth, so that it was
even thought that she obtained money by her independent efforts. She
received vast sums from all sources and sold to some persons offices, to
others procuratorships, the command of campaigns, priesthoods, and to some
actually imperial decisions. For Vespasian killed no one to get his money
and took care to preserve large numbers of those who freely gave it. The
person who secured the funds was his concubine, but it was suspected that
Vespasian willingly allowed her to do as she did; and this belief was
strengthened by his other acts, a few of which, for the sake of
illustration, I shall relate. When certain persons voted to erect to him a
statue costing twenty-five myriads, he stretched out his hand and said:
"Give me the money; this [Footnote: i.e., the hollowed hand (compare
Suetonius Vespasian, chapter 23).] will serve as its pedestal."--And to
Titus, who was angry at the tax on urinating [Footnote: This refers to
conveniences in the public streets.], which was appointed along with the
rest, he replied, as he picked up some gold pieces that were the product
of it: "See, my child, if they smell at all."

[Sidenote: A.D. 75 (a.u. 828)] [Sidenote:--15--] In the sixth year of
Vespasian as magistrate and the fourth of Titus the precinct of Peace was
dedicated and the so-called Colossus was set up on the Sacred Way. It is
said to have been one hundred feet high, and to have had--according to one
account--the figure of Nero, according to others that of Titus. Vespasian
would often have beasts slain in the theatres. He did not particularly
enjoy gladiatorial combats of men, although Titus during the youthful
sports which were celebrated in his own land had once had a sham fight in
heavy armor with Alienus. The Parthians, who fell into a war with some
peoples, asked for an alliance with him, but he did not go to their aid,
saying that it was not proper for him to interfere in other persons'

Berenice was at the height of her power and consequently came to Rome
along with her brother Agrippa. [Footnote: This Agrippa, known also as
Herodes II, was an intimate friend of the Jewish historian Josephus and a
companion of Titus at the siege of Jerusalem. It was before him, moreover,
that the apostle Paul made his defence in A.D. 60.] The latter was
accorded pretorial honors, while she dwelt in the Palace and cohabited
with Titus. She expected to be married to him and behaved in all respects
as if his wife. But when he perceived that the Romans were displeased at
the situation he sent her away; for various reports were in circulation.
At this time, too, certain sophists of the cynic school managed somehow to
slip into the city: first, Diogenes entered the theatre when it was full
of men and denounced them in a long, abusive speech, for which he was
flogged; after him Heras, who showed no greater disposition to be
obedient, gave vent to many senseless bawlings in the true cynic
(dog-like) manner,--and for this behavior was beheaded.

[Sidenote: A.D. 79 (a.u. 832)] [Sidenote:--16--] About the same period
that these events took place it happened that at a certain inn such a
quantity of overflowed the vessels that it ran out into the street.
Moreover, Sabinus the Gaul, already mentioned, the person who had once
named himself Caesar, had later taken up arms, had been defeated and had
hidden himself in the monument, was discovered [Footnote: The meaning is
clear. Cobet (Mnemosyne, N.S.X). thinks that ephorathae expresses the idea
more accurately than the commonly accepted ephanerothae (Boissevain also
ephorathae).] and brought to Rome. With him perished also his wife
Peponila, who had previously saved his life. She had presented her
children before Vespasian and had delivered a most pitiful speech in their
behalf: "These little ones, Caesar, I both brought forth and reared in the
monument, that we might be a greater number to supplicate you." She caused
both him and the rest to weep; no mercy, however, was shown to the family.
Meantime the emperor was also the object of a conspiracy on the part of
Alienus and Marcellus, although he considered them among his best friends
and bestowed honors upon them quite unstintedly. They did not succeed in
killing him, though. Upon their being detected, Alienus was slain at once,
in the imperial residence itself, as he rose from a meal with his intended
victim. Titus issued this order to prevent his carrying his rebellion any
further during the night; Alienus had already made arrangements with not a
few of the soldiers. Marcellus was brought to trial before the senate and
was condemned, whereupon he cut his own throat with a razor. Not even
benefits, it may be remarked, can subdue those who are naturally vicious,
as is shown by the plotting of these men against him who had done them so
many kindnesses.

[Sidenote:--17--] It was after the episode just narrated that Vespasian
fell sick, not, if the truth be known, of his ordinary gout but of fever
and passed away at Aquae Cutiliae, [Footnote: These are mineral springs,
chiefly sulphurous in nature, both hot and cold, situated near the town of
Cutiliae, famous for its pool with the "floating island." Celsus (On
Medicine, Book Four, chapter 5 (=12)) recommends bathing and standing in
such cold mineral springs as those at Cutiliae in cases where a patient
suffers from inability of the stomach to assimilate food.--The town itself
is between Reate and Interocrea among the Sabines. (And compare Suetonius,
Vespasian, chapter 24).] so-called, in Sabine territory. Some, who
endeavor falsely to incriminate Titus (among them the emperor Hadrian)
have spread a report that he was poisoned at a banquet. Portents had
occurred in his career indicating his approaching end, such as the comet
star which was seen for a considerable period and the opening of the
monument of Augustus of its own accord. When the sick man's physician
chided him for continuing his usual course of living and attending to all
the duties that belonged to his office, he answered: "The emperor ought to
die on his feet." To those who said anything to him about the comet he
responded: "This is an omen not for me but for the Parthian king. He has
flowing hair like the comet, whereas I am baldheaded." When he at length
came to the belief that he was to die, he said only: "Now I shall become a
god." He had lived to the age of sixty-nine years and eight months. His
reign lasted ten years lacking six days. Accordingly, it results that from
the death of Nero to Vespasian's becoming emperor a year and twenty-two
days elapsed. I have recorded this fact to prevent a misapprehension on
the part of any persons who might reckon the time with reference to the
men who were in power. They, however, did not legitimately succeed one
another, but each of them while his rival was alive and still ruling
believed himself to be emperor from the moment that the thought first
entered his head. One must not enumerate all the days of their reigns as
if those days had followed one after another in orderly succession, but
make a single sweeping calculation with the exact time, as I have stated
it, in mind.

[Sidenote:--18--] At his death Titus succeeded to the imperial power.
Titus as a ruler committed no act of murder or passion, but showed himself
upright, though the victim of plots, and self-controlled, though Berenice
came to Rome again. Perhaps this was because he had undergone a change.
(To share a reign with somebody else is a very different thing from being
one's self an independent ruler. In the former case persons are heedless
of the good name of the sovereignty and enjoy greedily the authority it
gives them, thus doing many things that make their position the object of
envy and slander. Actual monarchs, on the other hand, knowing that
everything depends on their decision, have some eye to good repute as well
as to other matters. So Titus said to somebody whose society he had
previously affected: "It is not the same thing to desire something from
another as to decide a case yourself, nor to ask something from another as
it is to give it to some one yourself.") Perhaps his satisfactory conduct
was also due to his surviving so short a time compared with most rulers,
for he was thus given little opportunity for wrongdoing. For he lived
after this only two years, two months and twenty days in addition to his
thirty-nine years, five months and twenty-five days. People compare this
feature of Titus's career with the fullness of years of Augustus, and say
that the latter would never have won affection if he had lived a shorter
time, nor the former, if he had lived longer. Augustus, though at the
outset he had shown himself rather harsh because of the wars and the
political factions, was able later in the course of time to become
distinguished for his kindnesses: Titus ruled with forbearance and died at
the summit of his glory, whereas if he had enjoyed a longer life, it might
have been proved that he owes his present fame more to good fortune than
to virtue.

[Sidenote:--19--] It is worth noting that Titus during his reign put no
senator to death, nor was any one else slain by him all the time that he
was emperor. Cases involving maiestas he would never entertain himself nor
allow others to entertain, for he said: "It is impossible for me to be
insulted or outraged in any way. I do naught that deserves censure and I
care not for what is falsely reported. As for the emperors that are dead
and gone, they will avenge themselves in case any one does them wrong, if
in very truth they be heroes and possess some power."--He also made
various arrangements to render men more secure and free from trouble. One
of these was the posting of a notice confirming all gifts bestowed upon
any person by the former emperors. This also enabled him to avoid the
nuisance of having people petition him individually about the
matter.--Informers he banished from the city.

In money matters he was frugal and sanctioned no unnecessary expenditure,
yet he did not punish any one for opposite tendencies.

In his reign also the False Nero appeared, who was an Asiatic and called
himself Terentius Maximus. He resembled Nero in form and voice: he even
sang to the zither's accompaniment. He gained a few followers in Asia and
in his onward progress to the Euphrates he secured a far greater number
and at length sought a retreat with Artabanus, the Parthian chief, who,
out of the anger that he felt toward Titus, both received the pretender
and set about preparations for restoring him to Rome. (Compare John of
Antioch, frag. 104 Mueller).

[Sidenote:--20--] Meantime war had again broken out in Britain, and Gnaeus
Julius Agricola overran the whole of the hostile region. He was the first
of the Romans whom we know to discover that Britain was surrounded by
water. Some soldiers had rebelled and after killing centurions and a
military tribune had taken refuge in boats. In these they put out to sea
and sailed around to the western portion of the country just as the
billows and the wind bore them. And without knowing it they came around
from the opposite side and stopped at the camps on this side again. At
that Agricola sent others to try the voyage around Britain and learned
from them, too, that it was an island.

As a result of these events in Britain Titus received the title of
imperator for the fifteenth time. Agricola for the rest of his life lived
in dishonor and even in want because he had accomplished greater things
than a mere general should. Finally he was murdered on this account by
Domitian, in spite of having received triumphal honors from Titus.

[Sidenote:--21--] In Campania remarkable and frightful occurrences took
place. A great fire was suddenly created just at the end of autumn. It was
this way. The mountain Vesuvius stands over against Naples near the sea
and has unquenchable springs of fire. Once it was equally high at all
points and the fire rose from the center of it. This is the only portion
of it that is in a blaze, for the outside parts of the mountain remain
even now unkindled. Consequently, as the latter are never burned, while
the interior is constantly growing brittle and being reduced to ashes, the
surrounding peaks retain their original height to this day, but the whole
section that is on fire, as it is consumed in the course of time, has
grown hollow from continual collapse. Thus the entire mountain, if we may
compare great things to small, resembles a hunting-theatre. The outlying
heights of it support both trees and vines,--many of them,--but the crater
is given over to fire and sends up smoke by day, flame by night. It looks
as if quantities of incense of all sorts were being burned in it. This
goes on all the time, sometimes more, sometimes less. Often it throws up
ashes, when there is a general settling in the interior, or again it sends
up stones when the air forces them out. It echoes and bellows, too,
because its vents are not all together but are narrow and hidden.

[Sidenote:--22--] Such is Vesuvius, and these phenomena regularly occur
there at least once a year. But all the other happenings that took place
in former time, though they may have seemed great and unusual to those who
on each occasion observed them, nevertheless would be reckoned as but
slight in comparison with what now occurred even though they should all be
rolled into one. This was what befell. Numbers of huge men quite
surpassing any human stature,--such creatures as giants are depicted to
be,--appeared now on the mountain, now in the country surrounding it, and
again in the cities, wandering over the earth day and night and also
traversing the air. After this fearful droughts and earthquakes sudden and
violent occurred, so that all the level ground in that region undulated
and the heights gave a great leap. Reverberations were frequent, some
subterranean resembling thunder and some on the surface like bellowings.
The sea joined the roar and the sky resounded with it. Then suddenly a
portentous crash was heard, as if the mountains were tumbling in ruins.
And first there were belched forth stones of huge size that rose to the
very summits before they fell; after them came a deal of fire and smoke in
inexhaustible quantities so that the whole atmosphere was obscured and the
whole sun was screened from view as if in an eclipse. [Sidenote:--23--]
Thus night succeeded day and darkness light. Some thought the giants were
rising in revolt (for even at this time many of their forms could be
discerned in the smoke and moreover a kind of sound of trumpets was
heard), while others believed that the whole world was disappearing in
chaos or fire. Therefore they fled, some from the houses into the streets,
others from without into the house; in their confusion, indeed, they
hastened from the sea to the land or from the land to the sea, deeming any
place at a distance from where they were safer than what was near by.
While this was going on an inconceivable amount of ashes was blown out and
covered the land and the sea everywhere and filled all the air. It did
harm of all sorts, as chance dictated, to men and places and cattle, and
the fish and the birds it utterly destroyed. Moreover, it buried two whole
cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the populace was seated in the
theatre. The entire amount of dust was so great that some of it reached
Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also entered Rome, where it occupied
all the air over the city and cast the sun into shadow. There, too, no
little fear was felt for several days, since the people did not know and
could not conjecture what had happened. They like the rest thought that
everything was being turned upside down, that the sun was disappearing in
the earth and the earth was bounding up to the sky. This ashes for the
time being did them no great harm: later it bred among them a terrible

[Sidenote: A.D. 80 (a.u. 833)] [Sidenote:--24--] Another fire, above
ground, in the following year spread over a very large portion of Rome
while Titus was absent on business connected with the catastrophe that had
befallen in Campania. It consumed the temple of Serapis, the temple of
Isis, the Saepta, the temple of Neptune, the Baths of Agrippa, the
Pantheon, the Diribitorium, the theatre of Balbus, the stage-building of
Pompey's theatre, the Octavian buildings together with their books, and
the temple of Capitoline Jupiter with its surrounding temples. Hence the
disaster seemed to be not of human but of divine contrivance. Any one can
estimate from the list of buildings that I have given, how many more must
have been destroyed. Titus, accordingly, sent two exconsuls to the
Campanians to supervise the founding of settlements and bestowed upon the
inhabitants money that came (besides various other sources) from those
citizens that had died without heirs. As for himself, he took nothing from
individual or city or king, although many kept offering and promising him
large sums. In spite of this, he restored everything from funds already at
hand. [Sidenote:--25--] Most of his deeds had no unusual quality to mark
them, but in dedicating the hunting-theatre and the baths that bear his
name he produced many remarkable spectacles. Cranes fought with one
another, and four elephants, as well as other grazing animals and wild
beasts, to the number of nine thousand, were slaughtered, and women (not
of any prominence, however,) took part in despatching them. Of men several
fought in single combat and several groups contended together in infantry
and naval battles. For Titus filled the above mentioned theatre suddenly
with water and introduced horses and bulls and some other tractable
creatures that had been taught to behave in the liquid element precisely
as upon land. He introduced also human beings on boats. These persons had
a sea-fight there, impersonating two parties, Corcyreans and Corinthians:
others gave the same performance outside in the grove of Gaius and Lucius,
a spot which Augustus had formerly excavated for this very purpose. There,
on the first day, a gladiatorial combat and slaughter of beasts took
place; this was done by building a structure of planks over the lake that
faced the images and placing benches round about it. On the second day
there was a horse-race, and on the third a naval battle involving three
thousand men. Afterwards there was also an infantry battle. The Athenians
conquered the Syracusans (these were the names that were used in the naval
battle), made a landing on the islet, and having assaulted a wall
constructed around the monument took it. These were the sights offered to
spectators, and they lasted for a hundred days.

Titus also contributed some things that were of practical use to the
people. He would throw down into the theatre from aloft little wooden
balls that had a mark, one signifying something to eat, another clothing,
another a silver vessel, or perhaps a gold one, or again horses,
pack-animals, cattle, slaves. Those who snatched them had to carry them
back to the dispensers of the bounty to secure the article of which the
name was inscribed.

[Sidenote: A.D. 81 (a.u. 834)] [Sidenote:--26--] When he had finished this
exhibition, he wept so bitterly on the last day that all the people saw
him, and after this time he performed no other great deed; but the
following year, in the consulship of Flavius [Footnote: L. Flavius Silva
Nonius Bassus.] and Pollio, [Footnote: Asinius Pollio Verrucosus.]
subsequent to the dedication of the buildings mentioned, he passed away at
the same Aquae that was the scene of his father's demise. The common
report had it that he was done to death by his brother, for he had
previously been the object of that person's plot: but some writers state
that a disease carried him off. The tradition is that, while he was still
breathing and had a possible chance of recovery, Domitian, to hasten his
end, put him in a box packed with a quantity of snow, pretending that the
disease required a chill to be administered; and, before his victim was
dead, he rode off to Rome, entered the camp, and received the title and
authority of emperor, having given the soldiers all that his brother had
been wont to give them. Titus, as he expired, said: "I have made but one
error." What this was he did not reveal, and no one else feels quite sure
about it. Some have conjectured one thing and some another. The prevailing
impression, according to one set of historians, is that he referred to
keeping his brother's wife, Domitia. Others (whom I am for following) say
what he meant was that, after finding Domitian openly plotting against
him, he had not killed him, but had chosen rather himself to suffer that
fate at his rival's hands and to surrender the government of Rome to a man
whose nature will be portrayed in the continuation of my narrative. Titus
had ruled for two years, two months, and twenty days, as has been
previously stated.


Domitian's cruel character: his hatred of his father and brother (chapters
1, 2).

He puts aside Domitia: falls in love with Julia: slays the Vestals
(chapter 3).

The German war (chapters 4, 5).

Dacian war with Decebalus (chapters 6, 7).

Domitian's nocturnal spectacles and entertainments (chapters 8, 9).

Events of the Dacian war (chapter 10).

Antonius, governor of Germany, rebels: many are slain (chapters 11-14).

How Domitian was killed through snares laid by certain men (chapters


L. Fl. Silva Nonius Bassus, Asinius Pollio Verrucosus Cosa. (A.D. 81 =
a.u. 834 = First of Domitian, from Sept. 13th).

Domitianus Aug. (VIII), T. Flavius Sabinus. (A.D. 82 = a.u. 835 = Second
of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (IX), Q. Petilius Rufus (II). (A.D. 83 = a.u. 836 = Third
of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (X), T. Aurelius Sabinus. (A.D. 84 = a.u. 837 = Fourth of

Domitianus Aug. (XI), T. Aurelius Fulvus. (A.D. 85 = a.u. 838 = Fifth of

Domitianus Aug. (XII), Ser. Cornelius Dolabella. (A.D. 88 = a.u. 839 =
Sixth of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (XIII), A. Volusius Saturninus. (A.D. 87 = a.u. 840 =
Seventh of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (XIV), L. Minucius Rufus. (A.D. 88 = a.u. 841 = Eighth of

T. Aurelius Fulvus (II), A. Sempronius Atratinus. (A.D. 89 = a.u. 842 =
Ninth of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (XV), M. Cocceius Nerva (II). (A.D. 90 = a.u. 843 = Tenth
of Domitian).

M. Ulpius Traianus, Manius Acilius Glabrio. (A.D. 91 = a.u. 844 = Eleventh
of Domitian). Domitianus Aug. (XVI), Q. Volusius Saturninus. (A.D. 92 =
a.u. 845 = Twelfth of Domitian).

Sex. Pompeius Collega, Cornelius Priscus. (A.D. 93 = a.u. 846 = Thirteenth
of Domitian).

L. Nonius Asprenas, M. Arricinius Clemens. (A.D. 94 = a.u. 847 =
Fourteenth of Domitian).

Domitianus Aug. (XVII), T. Flavius Clemens. (A.D. 95 = a.u. 848 =
Fifteenth of Domitian).

Manlius Valens, Antistius Vetus. (A.D. 96 = a.u. 849 = Sixteenth of
Domitian, to Sept. 18th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 81 (a.u. 834)] [Sidenote:--1--] Domitian was both, bold
and passionate, both treacherous and given to dissembling. Hence, from
these two characteristics, rashness on the one hand and craftiness on the
other, he did much harm, falling upon some persons with the swiftness of a
thunderbolt and damaging others by carefully prepared plots. The divinity
that he chiefly revered was Minerva, so that he was wont to celebrate the
Panathenaea on a magnificent scale: on this occasion he had contests of
poets and chroniclers and gladiators almost every year at Albanum. This
district, situated below the Alban Mount, from which it was named, he had
set apart as a kind of acropolis. He had no genuine affection for any
human being save a few women, but he always pretended to love the person
whom at any time he was most determined to slay. He could not be relied
upon even by those who did him some favor or helped him in his most
revolting crimes, for whenever any persons furnished him with large sums
of money or lodged information against numbers of men, he was sure to
destroy these benefactors, being especially careful to do so in the case
of slaves who had given information against their masters. [Accordingly,
such individuals, though, they received money and honors and offices all
at once from him, lived in no greater honor and security than other men.
The very offences to which they had [Sidenote: A.D. 82 (a.u. 835)] been
urged by Domitian commonly were made pretexts for their destruction, the
emperor's object being to have the actual perpetrators appear solely
responsible for their wrongdoing. It was the same intention which led him
once to issue a public notice to the effect that, when an emperor does not
punish informers he is the cause of the existence of such a class.]

[Sidenote:--2--] Though this was his behavior to all throughout the course
of his reign, still he quite outdid himself in dealing dishonor and ruin
to his father's and brother's friends. [To be sure, he himself posted a
notice that he would ratify all the gifts made to any persons by them and
by other emperors. But this was mere show.] He hated them because they did
not supply all his demands, many of which were unreasonable, as also
because they had been held in some honor. [Whatever had enjoyed their
affection and the benefit of their influence beyond the ordinary he
regarded as hostile to him.] Therefore, although he himself had a passion
for a eunuch named Earinus, nevertheless, because Titus had also shown
great liking for castrated persons, he carried his desire to cast
reflections on his brother's character to the extent of forbidding any one
thereafter in the Roman empire to be castrated. In general, he was
accustomed to say that those emperors who failed to punish large numbers
of men were not good, but merely fortunate. [Personally, he paid no
attention to those who praised Titus for not causing a single senator's
death, nor did he care that the senate frequently saw fit to pass decrees
that the emperor should not be permitted to put to death any of his peers.
The emperor, as he believed, was far and away superior to them and might
put any one of them out of the way either on his own responsibility or
with the consent of the rest; it was ridiculous to suppose that they could
offer any opposition or refuse to condemn a man. Some would praise Titus,
only not in Domitian's hearing; for such effrontery would be deemed as
grave an offence as if they were to revile the emperor in his presence and
within hearing: but [Lacuna] [Footnote: A gap must probably be construed
here. Bekker (followed by Dindorf) regarded it as coming after "secretly"
and consisting of but a word or two (e.g. "he hated them") but Boissevain
locates it as indicated above and believes that considerably more is
missing.] because he understood that they were doing this secretly
[Lacuna] Then there was another thing] that resembled play-acting.
Domitian pretended that he too loved his brother and mourned him. He read,
with tears, the eulogies upon him [and hastened to have him enrolled among
the heroes], pretending just the opposite of what he really wished.
(Indeed, he abolished the horse-race on Titus's birthday). People in
general were not safe whether they sympathized with his indignation or
with his joy. In one case they [Footnote: Reading [Greek: emellon]
(Dindorf, Boissevain).] were sure to offend his feelings and in the other
to let their lack of genuineness appear.

[Sidenote: A.D. 83 (a.u. 836)] [Sidenote:--3--] His wife, Domitia, he
planned to put to death on the ground of adultery, but, having been
dissuaded by Ursus, he sent her away and midway on the road murdered
Paris, the dancer, because of her. And many people paid honor to that spot
with flowers [Sidenote: A.D. 83 (a.u. 836)] and perfumes, he gave orders
that they, too, should be slain. After this he took into his house, quite
undisguisedly, his own niece,--Julia, that is to say. [Then on petition of
the people he became reconciled, to be sure, with Domitia, but continued
none the less his relations with Julia.]

He was removing many of the foremost men on many pretexts and by means of
murders and banishments. [He also conveyed many to some out-of-the-way
place, where he got rid of them; and not a few he caused to die in some
way or other by their own acts that they might seem to have suffered death
by their own wish and not through outside force.] He did not spare even
the vestal virgins, but punished them on charges of their having had
intercourse with men. It is further reported that since their examination
was conducted in a harsh and unfeeling manner, and many of them were
accused and constantly being punished, one of the pontifices, Helvius
Agrippa, could not endure it, but, horror-stricken, expired there in the
senate where he sat. [Domitian also took pride in the fact that he did not
bury alive, as was the custom, the virgins he found guilty of debauchery,
but ordered them to be killed by some different way.]

After this he set out for Gaul and plundered some of the tribes across the
Rhine enjoying treaty rights,--a performance which filled him with conceit
as if he had achieved some great success. Presumably on account of the
victory he increased the soldiers' wages, so that whereas each had been
receiving seventy-five denarii he commanded that a hundred be given them.
Later he thought better of it, but instead of diminishing the amount he
curtailed the number of men-at-arms. Both of these steps entailed great
injury to the public weal: he had made the defenders of the State too few,
while rendering their support an item of great expense.

[Sidenote: A.D. 84 (a.u. 837)] [Sidenote:--4--] Next he made a campaign
into Germany and returned without having seen a trace of war anywhere. And
what need is there of mentioning the honors bestowed upon him at this
juncture for his exploit or from time to time upon the other emperors who
were like him? For the object in any case was simply not to arouse the
rage of those despots by letting them suspect, in consequence of the small
number and insignificance of the rewards, that the people saw through
them. Yet Domitian had this worst quality of all, that he desired to be
flattered, and was equally displeased with both sorts of men, those who
paid court to him and those who did not. He disliked the former because
their attitude seemed one of cajolery and the latter because it seemed one
of contempt. Notwithstanding [he affected to take pleasure in the honorary
decrees voted him by the senate. Ursus he came near killing because he was
not pleased with his sovereign's exploits, and then, at the request of
Julia, he appointed him consul.] Subsequently, being still more puffed up
by his folly, he was elected consul for ten years in succession, and first
and only censor for life of all private citizens and emperors: and he
obtained the right to employ twenty-four lictors and the triumphal garb
whenever he entered the senate-house. He gave October a new name,
Domitianum, because he had been born in that month. Among the charioteers
he instituted two more parties, calling one the Golden and the other the
Purple. To the spectators he gave many objects by means of balls thrown
among them; and once he gave them a banquet while they remained in their
seats and at night provided for them wine that flowed out in several
different places. All this caused pleasure seemingly to the populace, but
was a source of ruin to the powerful. For, as he had no resources for his
expenditures, he murdered numbers of men, bringing some of them before the
senate and accusing others in their absence. Lastly, he put some out of
the way by concocting a plot and administering to them secret drugs.

Many of the peoples tributary to the Romans revolted when contributions of
money were forcibly extorted from them. The Nasamones are an instance in
point. They massacred all the collectors of the money and so thoroughly
defeated Flaccus, [Footnote: Probably _Cn. Suellius Flaccus._]
governor of Numidia, who attacked them, that they were able to plunder his
camp. Having gorged themselves on the provisions and the wine that they
found there they fell into a slumber, and Flaccus becoming aware of this
fact assailed and annihilated them all and destroyed the non-combatants.
Domitian experienced a thrill of delight at the news and remarked to the
senate: "Well, I have put a ban on the existence of the Nasamones."

Even as early as this he was insisting upon being regarded as a god and
took a huge pleasure in being called "master" and "god." These titles were
used not merely orally but also in documents.

[Sidenote:--5--] Chariomerus, king of the Cherusci, had been driven out of
his kingdom by the Chatti on account of his friendship for the Romans. At
first he gathered some companions and was successful in his attempt to
return. Later he was deserted by these men for having sent hostages to the
Romans and so became the suppliant of Domitian. He was not accorded an
alliance but received money.

In Moesia, [Footnote: An error of the excerptor. The
Lygians lived north of Moesia.] the Lygians, who had been at war with some
of the Suebi, sent envoys, asking Domitian for an alliance. They obtained
one that was strong, not in numbers, but in dignity: in other words, they
were granted only a hundred knights. The Suebi, indignant at this, added
to their contingent the Iazygae and began to prepare well in advance to
cross the Ister.

Masyus, king of the Semnones, and Ganna, a virgin (she was priestess in
Celtica after Veleda), came to Domitian and having been honored by him

[Sidenote: A.D. 86 (a.u. 839)] [Sidenote:--6--] The greatest war that the
Romans had on their hands at this time was one against the Dacians.
Decebalus was now king of the latter [since Douras, to whom the
sovereignty belonged, had voluntarily withdrawn from it in favor of
Decebalus, because]. He had a good comprehension of the rules of warfare
and was good at putting them in practice, displayed sagacity in advancing,
took the right moment for retreating, was an expert in ambuscades, a
professional warrior, knew how to make good use of a victory and to turn a
defeat to advantage. Hence he showed himself for a long time a worthy
antagonist of the Romans.

I call the people Dacians, just as they name themselves and as the Romans
do; but I am not ignorant that some of the Greeks refer to them as Getae,
whether that is the right term or not. I myself know Getae that live along
the Ister, beyond the Haemus range.

Domitian made an expedition against them, to be sure but did not enter
into real conflict. [Instead, he remained in a city of Moesia, rioting, as
was his wont.] (Not only was he averse to physical labor and timorous in
spirit, but also most profligate and lewd toward women and boys alike).
But he sent others to officer the war and for the most part he got the
worst of it.

[Sidenote: A.D. 87(?)] Decebalus, king of the Dacians, carried on
negotiations with Domitian, promising him peace. Domitian sent against him
Fuscus [Footnote: _Cornelius Fuscus_, pretorian prefect.] with a
large force. On learning of it Decebalus sent an embassy to him anew,
sarcastically proposing to make peace with the emperor in case each of the
Romans should choose to pay two asses as tribute to Decebalus each year;
if they should not choose to do so, he affirmed that he should make war
and afflict them with great ills.

Dio [Lacuna] 67th Book [Lacuna] "When the soldiers making the campaign
with Fuscus asked him to lead them."

[Sidenote: A.D. 90 (a.u. 843)] [Sidenote:--7--] Meantime he conceived a
wish to take measures against the Quadi and the Marcomani because they had
not assisted him against the Dacians. So he entered Pannonia to make war
upon them, and the second set of envoys that they sent in regard to peace
he killed.

[Sidenote:--8--] The same man laid the blame for his defeat, however, upon
his commanders. All the superior plans he claimed for himself, though he
executed none of them, but for the inferior management he blamed others,
even though it was through his orders that some accident had taken place.
Those who succeeded incurred his hatred and those who failed his censure.

Domitian, being defeated by the Marcomani, took to flight and by hastily
sending messages to Decebalus, king of the Dacians, induced him to make a
truce with him. The monarch's frequent previous requests had always met
with refusal. Decebalus now accepted the arrangement, for he was indeed
hard pressed, yet he did not wish personally to hold a conference with
Domitian, but sent Diegis with other men to give him the arms and a few
captives, whom he pretended were the only ones he had. When this had been
accomplished, Domitian set a diadem on the head of Diegis, just as if he
had in very truth conquered and could make some one king over the Dacians.
To the soldiers he granted honors and money. Like a victor, again, he sent
on ahead to Rome, besides many other things, envoys from Decebalus, and
something which he affirmed was a letter of his, though rumor declared it
had been forged. He graced the festival that followed with many articles
pertaining to a triumph, though they did not belong to any booty he had
taken;--quite the reverse: and besides allowing the truce he made an
outlay of a great deal of money immediately and also presented to
Decebalus artisans of every imaginable profession, peaceful and warlike,
and promised that he would give him a great deal more. These exhibits came
from the imperial furniture which he at all times treated as captive
goods, because he had enslaved the empire itself.

[Sidenote: A.D. 91 (a.u. 844)] So many rewards were voted
him that almost the whole world (so far as under his dominion) was filled
with his images and statues of both silver and gold. He also gave an
extremely costly spectacle in regard to which we have noted nothing that
was striking for historical record, save that virgins contended in the
foot-race. After this, in the course of holding what seem to have been
triumphal celebrations, he arranged numerous contests. First of all, in
the hippodrome he had battles of infantry against infantry, and again
battles of cavalry, and next he gave a naval battle in a new place. And
there perished in it practically all the naval combatants and numbers of
the spectators. A great rain and violent storm had suddenly come up, yet
he allowed no one to leave the spectacle; indeed, though he himself
changed his clothing to a thick woolen cloak, he would not permit the
people to alter their attire. As a result, not a few fell sick and died.
By way of consoling them for this, he provided them at public expense a
dinner lasting all night. Often, too, he would conduct games at night, and
sometimes he would pit dwarfs [Footnote: Reading [Greek: nanous]
(Dindorf)] and women against each other.

[Sidenote:--9--] So at this time he feasted the populace as described, but
on another occasion he entertained the foremost men of the senate and the
knights in the following fashion. He prepared a room that was pitch black
on every side, ceiling, walls and floor, and had ready bare couches, all
alike, resting on the uncovered ground; then he invited in his guests
alone, at night, without their attendants. And first he set beside each of
them a slab shaped like a gravestone, bearing a person's name and also a
small lamp, such as hangs in tombs. Next well-shaped, naked boys, likewise
painted black, entered after the manner of phantoms, and, after passing
around the guests in a kind of terrifying dance, took up their stations at
their feet. After that, whatever is commonly dedicated in the course of
offerings to departed spirits was set before them also, all black, and in
dishes of a similar hue. Consequently, every single one of the guests
feared and trembled and every moment felt certain that he was to be slain,
especially as on the part of everybody save Domitian there was dead
silence, as if they were already in the realms of the dead, and the
emperor himself limited his conversation to matters pertaining to death
and slaughter. Finally he dismissed them. But he had previously removed
their servants, who stood at the doorway, and gave them in charge of
other, unknown slaves, to convey either to carriages or litters, and by
this act he filled them with far greater fear. Scarcely had each one
reached home and was beginning to a certain extent to recover his spirits,
when a message was brought him that some one was there from the Augustus.
While they were expecting, as a result of this, that now at last they
should surely perish, one person brought in the slab, which was of silver,
then another something else, and another one of the dishes set before them
at the dinner, which proved to be made of some costly material. Finally
came [Footnote: Verb supplied by Xylander.] that particular boy who had
been each one's familiar spirit, now washed and decked out. Thus, while in
terror all night long, they received their gifts.

Such was the triumph or, as the crowd said, such was the expiatory service
that Domitian celebrated for those who had died in Dacia and in Rome. Even
at this time, too, he killed off some of the foremost men. And he took
away the property of whoever buried the body of any one of them, because
the victim had died on ground belonging to the sovereign.

[Sidenote:--10--] Here are some more events worth recording, that took
place in the Dacian War. Julianus, assigned by the emperor to take charge
of the war, made many excellent regulations, one being his command that
the soldiers should inscribe their own names and those of the centurions
upon their shields, in order that those of them who committed any
particular good or bad action might be more readily observed by him.
Encountering the enemy at Tapai, [Footnote: Pape thinks that the proper
Latin form of this word be _Tabae_.] he killed a very great number of
them. Among them Vezinas, who ranked next to Decebalus, since he could not
get away alive, fell down purposely as if dead. In this way he escaped
notice and fled during the night. Decebalus, fearing that the Romans now
they had conquered would proceed against his residence, cut down the trees
that were on the site and attached weapons to the trunks, to the end that
his foes might think them soldiers, and so be frightened and withdraw.
This actually took place.

[Sidenote:--11--] Antonius, a certain commander of this period in Germany,
revolted against Domitian: him Lucius Maximus overcame and overthrew. For
his victory he does not deserve any remarkable praise; [for many others
have unexpectedly won victories, and his soldiers contributed largely to
his success:] but for his burning all the documents that were found in the
chests of Antonius, thus esteeming his own safety as of slight importance
in comparison with having no blackmail result from them, I do not see how
I may celebrate his memory as it deserves. But Domitian, as he had got a
pretext from that source, proceeded to a series of slaughters even without
the documents, and no one could well say how many he killed. [Indeed, he
condemned himself so for this act that, to prevent any remembrance of the
dead surviving, he prohibited the inscribing of their names in the
records. Furthermore, he did not even make any communication to the senate
regarding those put out of the way, although he sent their heads as well
as that of Antonius to Rome and exposed them in the Forum.] But one young
man, Julius Calvaster, who had served as military tribune in the hope of
getting into the senate, was saved in a most unexpected fashion. Inasmuch
as it was being proved that he had frequent meetings with Antonius alone
and he had no other way to free himself from the charge of conspiracy, he
declared that he had met him for amorous intercourse. The fact that he was
of an appearance to inspire passion lent color to his statement. In this
way he was acquitted.

After just one more remark about the events of that time, I will cease.
Lusianus Proculus, an aged senator, who spent most of his time in the
country, had come out with Domitian from Borne under compulsion so as to
avoid the appearance of deserting him when in danger and the death that
might very likely be the result of such conduct. When the news came, he
said: "You have conquered, emperor, as I ever prayed. Therefore, restore
me to the country." Thereupon he left him without more ado and retired to
his farm. And after this, although he survived for a long time, he never
came near him.

During this period some had become accustomed to smear needles with poison
and then to prick with them whomsoever they would. Many persons thus
attacked died without even knowing the cause, and many of the murderers
were informed against and punished. And this went on not only in Rome but
over practically the entire civilized world.

[Sidenote:--12--] To Ulpius Trajan and to Acilius Glabrio, who were
consuls then, the same signs are said to have appeared. They foretold to
Glabrio destruction, but to Trajan the imperial office. [Numerous wealthy
men and women both were punished for adultery, and some of the women had
been debauched by _him_. Many more were fined or executed on other
charges.] A woman was tried and lost her life because she had stripped in
front of an image of Domitian [and another for having had dealings with
astrologers]. Among the many who perished at this time was also Mettius
Pompusianus, whom Vespasian had refused to harm in any way after learning
from some report that he would one day be sole ruler, but [Footnote:
Reading [Greek: halla](Dindorf).] rather honored, saying: "You will
certainly remember me and will certainly honor me in return." But Domitian
first exiled him to Corsica and later put him to death, one of the
complaints being that he had the inhabited world painted on the walls of
his bedchamber and another that he had excerpted and was wont to read the
speeches of kings and other eminent men that are written in Livy. Also
Maternus, a sophist, met his death because in a practice speech [Footnote:
Hartman (Mnemosyne, N. S. XXI, p. 395) would read [Greek: hasteion] for
[Greek: haschon]. "Maternus met his death because he had made some witty
remark against tyrants." H. maintains that Domitian could not know what
Maternus said in his closet; but to the present translator the MS.
tradition seems to lend to this incident a greater homogeneousness of
detail with the preceding, and he retains it simply on that basis.] he had
said something against tyrants. The emperor himself used to visit both
those who were to accuse and those who were to give evidence for
condemnation, and he would frame and compose everything that required to
be said. Often, too, he would talk to the prisoners alone, keeping tight
hold of their chains with his hands. In the former case he would not
entrust to others what was to be said, and in the latter he feared the men
even in their bonds.

[Sidenote: A.D. 93 (a.u. 846)] [Sidenote:--13--] As censor, likewise, his
behavior was noteworthy. He expelled Caecilius Rufinus from the senate
because he danced, and restored Claudius Pacatus, though an ex-centurion,
to his master because he was proved to be a slave. What came after, to be
sure, can not be described in similar terms,--his deeds, that is to say,
as emperor. _Then_ he killed Arulenus Rusticus for being a
philosopher and for calling Thrasea sacred, and Herennius Senecio because
in his long career he had stood for no office after the quaestorship and
because he had compiled the life of Helvidius Priscus. Many others also
perished as a result of this same charge of philosophizing, and all
remaining members of that profession were again driven from Rome. One
Juventius Celsus, however, who had been conspicuous in conspiring with
certain persons against Domitian and had been accused of it, saved his
life in a remarkable way. When he was on the point of being condemned, he
begged that he might speak a few words with the emperor in private. Having
gained the opportunity he did obeisance before him and after repeatedly
calling him "master," and "god" (terms that were already being applied to
him by others), he said: "I have done nothing of the sort. And if I obtain
a respite, I will pry into everything and both inform against and convict
many persons for you." He was released on these conditions, but did not
report any one; instead, by advancing different excuses at different
times, he lived until Domitian was killed.

[Sidenote: A.D. 95 (a.u. 848)] [Sidenote:--14--] During this period the
road leading from Sinuessa to Puteoli was paved with stones. And the same
year Domitian slew among many others Flavius Clemens the consul, though he
was a cousin and had to wife Flavia Domitilla, who was also a relative of
the emperor's. [Footnote: His sister's daughter.] The complaint brought
against them both was that of atheism, under which many others who drifted
into Jewish ways were condemned. Some of these were killed and the
remainder were at least deprived of their property. Domitilla was merely
banished to Pandateria; but Glabrio, colleague of Trajan in the
consulship, after being accused on various regular stock charges, and also
of fighting with wild beasts, suffered death. This ability in the arena
was the chief cause of the emperor's anger against him,--an anger prompted
by jealousy. In the victim's consulship Domitian had summoned him to
Albanum to attend the so-called Juvenalia and had imposed on him the task
of killing a large lion. Glabrio not only had escaped all injury but had
despatched the creature with most accurate aim.

As a consequence of his cruelty the emperor was suspicious of all mankind
and ceased now to put hopes of safety in either the freedmen or the
prefects, whom he usually caused to be tried during their very term of
office. Moreover, Epaphroditus, who belonged to Nero, he first drove out
and then slew, censuring him for not having defended Nero; his object was
by the vengeance that he took in this person's case to terrify his own
freedmen long enough in advance to prevent their ever attempting a similar
deed. [Sidenote: A.D. 96 (a.u. 849)] It did him no good, however, for he
became the object of a conspiracy in the following year and perished in
the consulship of Gaius [Footnote: An error, possibly emanating from Dio.
The man's right name is _T. Manlius Valens._] Valens (who died after
holding the consular office in his ninetieth year) and of Gaius Antistius.
[Sidenote:--15--] Those who attacked him and prepared the undertaking were
Parthenius his cubicularius (though he was the recipient of such marks of
imperial favor as to be allowed to wear a sword) and Sigerus, [Footnote:
Probably the person who is called Saturius in Suetonius, Domitian, chapter
17.] who was also a member of the excubiae, as well as Entellus, the
person entrusted with the care of the state documents, and Stephanus, a
freedman. The plot was not unknown to Domitia, the emperor's wife, nor to
the prefect Norbanus, nor to the latter's partner in office, Petronius
Secundus: at least, this is the tradition. Domitia was ever an object of
the imperial hatred and consequently stood in terror of her life; the rest
no longer loved their sovereign, some of them because complaints had been
lodged against them and others because they were expecting them to be
lodged. For my part, I have heard also the following account,--that
Domitian, having become suspicious of all these persons, conceived a
desire to kill them, and wrote their names on a two-leaved tablet of
linden wood, and put it under his pillow on the couch where he was wont to
repose; and one of the naked prattling [Footnote: Compare Book
Forty-eight, chapter 44.] boys, while the emperor was asleep in the
daytime, filched it away and kept it without knowing what it contained.
Domitia then chanced upon it and reading what was written gave information
of the matter to those involved. As a result, they changed their plans
somewhat and hastened the plot; yet they did not proceed to action until
they had determined who was to succeed to the office. Having conversed
with various persons, when they found that no one would accept it
(everybody was afraid of them, thinking that they were simply testing
people's loyalty) they betook themselves to Nerva. He was of most noble
birth and most suitable character and had, besides, encountered danger
through being slandered by astrologers [who declared that he should be
sovereign.] Thus they the more easily persuaded him to be the next to
receive the power. In truth, Domitian, who conducted an investigation of
the days and the hours when the foremost men had been born, had
consequently ere this despatched not a few even of those who entertained
no hopes of gaining any power. [Footnote: As the MS tradition of this
sentence is corrupt, the emendations of Polak have been adopted.] And he
would have slain Nerva, had not one of the astrologers who favored the
latter declared that he would die within a few days. [Believing that this
would really prove true, he did not desire to be guilty of this additional
murder, inasmuch as Nerva in any event was to meet death so very soon.]

[Sidenote:--16--] Since no occurrence of such magnitude is without
previous indications, various unfavorable tokens appeared in his case,
too. In a vision he himself beheld Rusticus approaching him with a sword;
and he thought that Minerva, whose statue he kept in his bedchamber, had
thrown away her weapons and, mounted upon a chariot drawn by black horses,
was being swallowed up in an abyss. But the feature which of all claims
our wonder is connected with the name of Larginus Proculus. He had
publicly foretold in Germany that the emperor should die on the day when
he actually did die, and was, therefore, sent on to Rome by the governor.
Brought before Domitian he declared once more that this should be so. A
death sentence was postponed in order that he might be put to death after
the emperor had escaped the danger. Meanwhile Domitian was slain, his life
was saved, and he received a hundred thousand denarii from Nerva. Some one
else had on a previous occasion told the ruler both when and how he should
perish, and then being asked what manner of death he, the prophet, should
meet, he answered that he would be despatched by dogs. Thereupon command
was given that the fellow should be burned alive, and the fire was applied
to him. But just then there was a great downpour of rain, the pyre was
extinguished, and later dogs found him lying upon it with his hands bound
behind him and tore him to pieces.

[Sidenote:--17--] I have one more astonishing fact to record, which I
shall touch on after I have given the account of Domitian's end. As soon
as he rose to leave the courthouse and was ready to take his afternoon
nap, as was his custom, first Parthenius took the blade out of the sword,
which always lay under his pillow, so that he should not have the use of
that. Next he sent in Stephanus, who was stronger then the rest. The
latter smote Domitian, and though it was not an opportune blow the emperor
was knocked to the ground, where he lay. Then, fearing an escape,
Parthenius leaped in, or, as some believe, he sent in Maximus, a freedman.
Thus both Domitian was murdered, and Stephanus perished likewise in a rush
that those who had not shared in the conspiracy made upon him.

[Sidenote:--18--] The matter of which I spoke, saying that it surprises me
more than anything else, is this. A certain Apollonius of Tyana on the
very day and at that very hour when Domitian was being murdered (this was
later confirmed by other events that happened in both places) climbed a
lofty stone at Ephesus (or possibly some other town) and having gathered
the populace, uttered these words: "Bravo, Stephanus! Good, Stephanus!
Smite the wretch! You have struck, you have wounded, you have killed
him!!" This is what really took place, though there should be ten thousand
doubters. Domitian had lived forty-four years, ten months, and twenty-six
days. His reign had lasted fifteen years and five days. His body was
stolen away and buried by his nurse, Phyllis.


Most of Domitian's measures are annulled (chapter 1).

The excellencies of Nerva Augustus Caesar: his kindness to Verginius
(chapter 2).

The conspiracy of Crassus: rebellion of the Pretorians: adoption of Trajan
(chapter 3).

Birthplace and praise of Trajan: Nerva dies (chapter 4).

How Trajan entered upon his sovereignty (chapter 5),

He undertakes a war against Decebalus, proving himself formidable to the
latter but worthy the affection of his own people (chapters 6, 7).

He conquers the Dacians and holds a triumph over them (chapters 8-10).

A second war against the Dacians (chapters 11, 12).

How Trajan saddled the Danube with a stone bridge (chapter 13).

With the disappearance from the scene of Decebalus the Dacians are reduced
to the condition of a province: Arabia is taken (chapter 14).

Embassies: the Pontine marshes filled: statues to the well-deserving: the
column of Trajan (chapters 15, 16).

Campaign against the Parthians on account of the expulsion of Exedares
from Armenia and the introduction there of Parthomasiris (chapters 17,

Parthomasiris gains access to Trajan and Armenia is taken away from him
(chapters 19, 20).

How Abgarus the Osrhoenian obtained pardon from Trajan (chapter 21).

About the envoys of Mannus and Manisarus sent to Trajan (chapter 22).

Trajan is named Optimus, and, after the capture of Nisibis and Batnae,
Parthicus (chapter 23).

About the huge earthquake at Antioch (chapters 24, 25).

After the bridging of the Tigris he reduces Adiabene, Mesopotamia, and
Ctesiphon (chapters 26-28).

He loses and regains several districts: he bestows a king upon the
Parthians (chapters 29, 30).

He besieges the Atreni without result (chapter 31). The Jews in Cyrene,
Egypt, and Cyprus rebel, and are crushed, chiefly through the activity of
Lusius (chapter 32).

The Parthians cast out the king imposed upon them: Trajan dies (chapter


C. Manlius Valens, C. Antistius Vetus. (A.D. 96 = a.u. 849 = First of
Nerva, from Sept. 18th).

Nerva Caes. Aug. (III), L. Verginius Rufus (III). (A.D. 97 = a.u. 850 =
Second of Nerva).

Nerva Caes. Aug. (IV), Nerva Traianus Caes. (II). (A.D. 98 = a.u. 851 =
Third of Nerva, to January 27th).

C. Sosius Senecio (II), A. Cornelius Palma. (A.D. 99 = a.u. 852 = Second
of Trajan).

Nerva Traianus Aug. (III), Sex. Iul. Frontinus (III). (A.D. 100 = a.u. 853
= Third of Trajan).

Nerva Traianus Aug. (IV), Sex. Articuleius Paetus. (A.D. 101 = a.u. 854 =
Fourth of Trajan).

C. Sosius Senecio (III), L. Licinius Sura (II). (A.D. 102 = a.u. 855 =
Fifth of Trajan).

Nerva Traianus Aug. (V), Q. Messius Maximus (II). (A.D. 103 = a.u. 856 =
Sixth of Trajan).

Suburanus (II), P. Neratius Marcellus. (A.D. 104 = a.u. 857 = Seventh of

Ti. Iulius Candidus (II), A. Iulius Quadratus (II). (A.D. 105 = a.u. 858 =
Eighth of Trajan).

L. Ceionius Commodus Verus, L. Cerealis. (A.D. 106 = a.u. 859 = Ninth of

C. Sosius Senecio (IV), L. Licinius Sura (III). (A.D. 107 = a.u. 860 =
Tenth of Trajan).

Ap. Trebonius Gallus, M. Atilius Bradua. (A.D. 108 = a.u. 861 = Eleventh
of Trajan).

A. Cornelius Palma (II), C. Calvisius Tullus (II). (A.D. 109 = a.u. 862 =
Twelfth of Trajan).

Clodius Priscinus, Solenus Orfitus. (A.D. 110 = a.u. 863 = Thirteenth of

C. Calpurnius Piso, M. Vettius Bolanus. (A.D. 111 = a.u. 864 = Fourteenth
of Trajan). Nerva Traianus Aug. (VI), C. Iulius Africanus. (A.D. 112 = a.u.
865=Fifteenth of Trajan).

L. Celsus (II), Clodius Crispinus. (A.D. 113 = a.u. 866=Sixteenth of

Q. Ninnius Hasta, P. Manilius Vopiscus. (A.D. 114 = a.u. 867=Seventeenth of

L. Vipsanius Messala, M. Pedo Virgilianus. (A.D. 115 = a.u. 868=Eighteenth
of Trajan).

L. Aelius Lamia, Aelianus Vetus. (A.D. 116 = a.u. 869 = Nineteenth of

Quinctius Niger, C. Vipsanius Apronianus. (A.D. 117 = a.u. 870=Twentieth of
Trajan, to Aug. 11th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 96 (a.u. 849)] [Sidenote:--1--] After Domitian, the Romans
appointed Nerva Cocceius emperor. The hatred felt for Domitian caused his
images, many of which were of silver and many of gold to be melted down;
and from this source large amounts of money were obtained. The arches,
too, of which more had been erected to the late emperor than previously to
any one man, were torn down. Nerva also released such as were on trial for
maiestas and restored the exiles. All the slaves and freedmen that had
conspired against their masters he put to death, and allowed that class of
persons to lodge no complaint whatever against their masters. Others were
not permitted to accuse anybody for maiestas or for "Jewish living." Many
who had been sycophants were condemned to death, among whom was Seras
[Lacuna] [Footnote: The name is suspicious and possibly a corrupt
reading.] the philosopher. Now, as a quite extraordinary disturbance arose
from the fact that everybody was accusing everybody else, Fronto, the
consul, is said to have remarked that it was bad to have an emperor under
whom no one could do anything, but worse to have one under whom any one
could do everything. Nerva, on hearing this, prohibited the future
recurrence of such scenes. But Nerva, as a result of old age and sickness
(which was always making him vomit his food), was rather weak.

[Sidenote:--2--] He also forbade gold statues being made in his honor. He
paid back to such as under Domitian had been causelessly deprived of their
property all that was still found in the imperial treasury. To the very
poor Romans he granted allotments of land worth in the aggregate fifteen
hundred myriads, and put certain senators in charge of their purchase and
distribution. When he ran short of funds he sold many robes and plate,
both silver and gold, besides furniture, both his own and what belonged to
the imperial residence, many fields and houses,--in fact, everything save
what was quite necessary. He did not, however, haggle over the prices of
them, and in this very point benefited many persons. He abolished many
sacrifices, many horse-races, and some other spectacles, in an attempt to
reduce expenses as far as possible. In the senate he took oath that he
would not cause the death of any of the senators and he kept his pledge in
spite of plots. And he did nothing without the advice of prominent men.
Among his various laws were those prohibiting any one from being made a
eunuch and from marrying one's niece. When consul he did not hesitate to
take as his colleague Verginius Rufus, though the latter had been
frequently saluted as emperor. [Footnote: Compare Book Sixty-three,
chapter 25 of Dio, and also Tacitus, _Historiae_ I, 9.] [Sidenote:
A.D. 97 (a.u. 850)] Upon his monument was inscribed when he died: "Having
conquered Vindex he ascribed the credit of victory not to himself but to
his country." [Footnote: Compare also Pliny's Letters, Book Six, number

[Sidenote:--3--] Nerva ruled so well that he once remarked: "I have done
nothing that could prevent me from laying down the imperial office and
returning to private life in safety." When Crassus Calpurnius, a grandson
of the famous Crassi, formed a plot with some others against him, he made
them sit beside him at a spectacle--they were still ignorant of the fact
that they had been informed upon--and gave them some swords, nominally to
look at and see if they were sharp (as was often done), but really by way
of showing that he did not care if he died that moment where he was.

Aelianus Casperius, who was governor under him as he had been under
Domitian, and had become one of the Pretorians, incited the soldiers to
mutiny against him; his plan was to have them demand some persons for
execution. Nerva resisted them stoutly, even to the point of baring his
collar-bone and offering them his throat: but he accomplished nothing and
those whom Aelianus wished were put out of the way. Wherefore Nerva,
subjected to such profound humiliation because of his old age, ascended
the Capitol and cried aloud: "To the good fortune of the Roman people and
senate and myself I adopt Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan."

Subsequently in the senate he designated him Caesar and sent a message to
him, written with his own hand (Trajan was governor of Germany):

  "The Danaans by thy weapons shall requite my tears." [Footnote: From
  Homer's Iliad, Book One, verse 42.]

[Sidenote:--4--] Thus did Trajan become Caesar and afterwards emperor,
although there were relatives of Nerva. But the man did not esteem family
relationship above the safety of the State, nor was he less inclined to
adopt Trajan because the latter was a Spaniard instead of an Italian or
Italiot, [Footnote: Dio means by _Italian_ one born in Italy, by
_Italiot_ one who settles in Italy.] or because no foreigner had
previously held the Roman sovereignty. It was a person's virtue and not
his country that he thought needed examination.

[Sidenote: A.D. 98 (a.u. 851)] Soon after this act he passed away, having
ruled during the period of one year, four months and nine days. His life
prior to that time [Footnote: Reading [Greek: proebebiochei]
(Boissevain).] had comprised sixty-five years, ten months, and ten days.

[Sidenote:--5--] Trajan, before he became emperor, had had a dream of the
following nature. He thought that an old man in purple robe and vesture,
moreover adorned with a crown, as the senate is represented in pictures,
impressed a seal upon him with a finger ring, first on the left side of
his throat and then on the right. When he had been made emperor, he sent a
despatch to the senate written with his own hand, which stated, among
other things, that he would not slay nor dishonor any man of worth. This
he confirmed by oaths not merely at that time but also later.

He sent for Aelianus and the Pretorians who had mutinied against Nerva,
pretending that he was going to employ them in some way, and relieved the
world of their presence. [Sidenote: A.D. 99 (a.u. 852)] When he had
entered Rome he did much toward the administration of state affairs and to
please the excellent. To the former business he gave unusual attention,
making many grants even to Italian cities for the support of their
children, and to good citizens he did continual favors. Plotina, his wife,
on first going into the palace turned around so as to face the Scalae and
the populace, and said: "My wish is to issue hence the same sort of person
as I am now when I enter." And she so conducted herself during the entire
sovereignty as to incur no censure.

[Sidenote: A.D. 100 (a.u. 853)] [Sidenote:--6--] After spending some time
in Rome he instituted a campaign against the Dacians; for he made their
deeds the object of thought and was irritated at the amount of money they
were annually getting. He likewise saw that their power and their pride
were increasing. Decebalus, learning of his advance, was frightened, since
he well knew that formerly he had conquered not the Romans but Domitian,
whereas now he would be fighting against both Romans and Trajan as emperor.

And Trajan had a great reputation for justice, for bravery, and for simple
living. He was strong in body (being in his forty-second year when he
began to rule) [so that in every enterprise he toiled almost as much as
the rest;] and his intellectual powers were at their highest, so that he
had neither the recklessness of youth nor the sluggishness of old age. He
did not envy nor kill any one, but honored and exalted all without
exception that were men of worth, and hence he neither feared nor hated
one of them. To slanders he paid very little heed and was no slave of
anger. He refrained equally from the money of others and from unjust
murders. [Sidenote:--7--] He expended vast sums on wars and vast sums on
works of peace; and while making very many most necessary repairs on roads
and harbors and public buildings, he drained no one's blood for these
undertakings. His nature was so noble and magnanimous that even upon the
hippodrome he merely inscribed the statement that he had made it suitable
for the Roman people when it had crumbled away in spots, and had rendered
it larger and more beautiful. For these deeds he was better satisfied to
be loved than honored. His meetings with the people were marked by
affability and his intercourse with the senate by dignity. He was loved by
all and dreaded by none save the enemy. He joined people in hunting and
banquets, and in work and plans and jokes. Often he would make a fourth in
somebody's litter, and sometimes he would enter persons' houses even
without a guard and make himself at home. He lacked education in the exact
sense,--book-learning, at least,--but he both understood and carried out
its spirit, and there was no quality of his that was not _excellent_.
I know well enough that he was given to wine and boys, but if he had ever
committed or endured any base or wicked deed as a result of this, he would
have incurred censure. As the case stood, he drank all the wine he wanted,
yet remained sober, and his pursuit of pederasty harmed no one. And even
if he did delight in war, still he was satisfied with success in it,--with
overthrowing a most hostile element and bettering his own side. Nor did
the usual thing under such circumstances,--conceit and arrogance on the
part of the soldiers,--ever manifest itself during his reign; with such a
firm hand did he rule them. For these reasons Decebalus was somewhat
justified in fearing him.

[Sidenote:--8--] When Trajan, in the course of his campaign against the
Dacians had come near Tapai, where the barbarians were encamping, a large
mushroom was brought to him, on which it said in Latin characters that the
Buri and other allies advised Trajan to turn back and make peace. At
Trajan's first encounter with the foe he visited many of the wounded on
his own side and killed many of the enemy. And when the bandages gave out,
he is said not to have spared even his own clothing, but to have cut it up
into strips. In honor of the soldiers that had died in battle he ordered
an altar erected and the performance of funeral rites annually.

[Sidenote:--9--] [Decebalus had sent envoys also before the defeat, and no
longer the long-haired men, as before, but the chief among the
cap-wearers. [Footnote: Latin, _pileati_. The distinction drawn is
that between the plebeians and the _nobles_, to whom reference is
made respectively by the terms "unshorn" and "covered." Compare here the
make up of the Marcomanian embassy in Book Seventy-two, chapter two.]
These threw down their arms and casting themselves upon the earth begged
Trajan that if possible Decebalus himself be allowed to meet and confer
with him, promising that he would do everything that might be commanded;
or, if not, that at least some one should be despatched to agree upon
terms with him. Those sent were Sura and Claudius Livianus, the prefect;
but nothing was accomplished, for Decebalus did not dare even to come near
them. He sent representatives also on this occasion.

Trajan had now seized some fortified mountains and on them found the arms
and the captured engines, as well as the standard which had been taken in
the time Fuscus. [Sidenote: A.D. 101 (a.u. 854)] Undertaking to ascend the
heights themselves, he secured one crest after another amid dangers and
approached the capital of the Dacians. Lusius, attacking in another
quarter, slaughtered numbers and captured still more alive. Then Decebalus
sent envoys.

Decebalus, for this reason, and particularly because Maximus at the same
time had possession of his sister and a strong position, was ready to
agree without exception to every demand made. It was not that he intended
to abide by his agreement, but he wanted to secure a respite from his
temporary reverses.] So, though against his will, he made a compact to
surrender his arms, engines, and manufacturers of engines, to give back
the deserters, to demolish his forts, to withdraw from captured territory,
and furthermore to consider the same persons enemies and friends as the
Romans did [besides neither giving shelter to any of the deserters,
[Footnote: Reading [Greek: automolon tina] (Boissevain).] nor employing
any soldiers from the Roman empire, for he had acquired the largest and
best part of his force by persuading them to come from that quarter]. When
he came into Trajan's presence, he fell upon the earth and did obeisance
[and cast away his arms. He also sent envoys to the senate to secure these
terms, in order that he might have the further ratification of the peace
by that body. At the conclusion of this compact the emperor left a camp in
Sarmizegethusa, and, having placed garrisons at intervals through the
remainder of the territory, returned to Italy.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 103 (a.u. 856)] [Sidenote:--10--] The envoys from
Decebalus were introduced in the senate. They laid down their arms,
clasped their hands in the posture of captives, and spoke some words of
supplication; thus they obtained peace and received back their arms.
Trajan celebrated a triumph and was given the title of Dacicus; in the
theatre he had contests of gladiators, in whom he delighted, and he
brought back dancers once more to the theatre, being in love with one of
them, Pylades. However, he did not pay less attention to general
administration, as might have been expected of a warlike personage, nor
did he hold court the less: on the contrary, he conducted trials now in
the forum of Augustus, now in the porch named the Porch of Livia, and
often elsewhere on a platform.

And since Decebalus was reported to him to be acting in many ways contrary
to the treaty, since he was gathering arms, receiving such as deserted,
repairing the forts, sending ambassadors to the neighbors, and injuring
those who had previously differed with him, since also he was devastating
some land of the Iazygae (which Trajan later would not give back to them
when they asked for it), therefore, the senate voted that he was again an
enemy. And Trajan again conducted the war against him, commanding in
person and not represented by others.

[Sidenote: A.D. 104 (a.u. 857)] [Sidenote:--11--] [As numerous Dacians
kept transferring their allegiance to Trajan, and for certain other
reasons, Decebalus again requested peace. But since he could not be
persuaded to surrender both his arms and himself, he proceeded openly to
collect troops and called the surrounding nations to his aid, saying that
if they deserted him they themselves would come into danger and that it
was safer and easier by fighting on his side to preserve their freedom,
before suffering any harm, than if they should allow his people to be
destroyed and then later be subjugated when bereft of allies.] And
Decebalus in the open field came off poorly, but by craft and deceit he
almost compassed the death of Trajan. He sent into Moesia some deserters
to see whether they could make away with him, inasmuch as the emperor was
generally accessible, and now, on account of the needs of warfare,
admitted to conference absolutely every one who desired it. But this plan
they were unable to carry out, since one of them was arrested on suspicion
and, under torture, revealed the entire plot.

[Sidenote:--12--] Longinus was the commandant of the Roman camp who had
made himself a terror to the Dacian leader in warfare. The latter,
therefore, sent him an invitation and persuaded him to meet him, on the
pretext that he would perform whatever should be enjoined. He then
arrested him and questioned him publicly about Trajan's plans. As the
Roman would not yield at all, he took him about with him under guard,
though not in bonds. And [Decebalus sending an envoy to Trajan, asked that
he might get back the territory as far as the Ister and receive indemnity
for all the money he had spent on the war,] in recompense for restoring
Longinus to him. An ambiguous answer was returned, of a kind that would
not make Decebalus think that the emperor regarded Longinus as of either
great value or small, the object being to prevent his being destroyed on
the one hand, or being preserved on excessive terms, on the other. So
Decebalus delayed, still considering what he should do.

Meanwhile Longinus, having [through his freedman] secured a poison [--he
had promised Decebalus that he would reconcile Trajan to the proposition,
in order that the Dacian should be as far as possible from suspecting what
was to happen, and so not keep an especially careful watch over him. Also,
to enable his servant to attain safety, he wrote a letter containing a
supplication, and gave it to the freedman to carry to Trajan. Then, when
he had gone, at night he took the poison,] drank it and died. [After this
event Decebalus asked Trajan to give him back his freedman, promising to
give him in return the body of Longinus and ten captives. He sent at once
the centurion who had been captured with the dead general, assuming that
this man would arrange the matter for him; and it was from the centurion
that the whole story of Longinus was learned. However, Trajan neither sent
him back, nor surrendered the freedman, deeming his safety more valuable
for establishing the dignity of the empire than the of Longinus.]

[Sidenote:--13--] Now, Trajan constructed over the Ister a stone bridge,
for which I cannot sufficiently admire him. His other works are most
brilliant, but this surpasses them. There are twenty square pieces of
stone, the height of which is one hundred and fifty feet above the
foundations and the breadth sixty, and these, standing at a distance of
one hundred and seventy feet from one to another, are connected by arches.
How then could one fail to be astonished at the expenditure made upon
them? Or the manner in which each of them was placed in a river so deep,
in water so full of eddies, on ground so slimy? It was impossible, you
note, to divert the course of the river in any direction. I have spoken of
the breadth of the river; but the stream is not uniformly so limited,
since it covers in some places twice and elsewhere thrice as much ground,
but the narrowest point, and the one in that region most adapted to
bridge-building, has just those dimensions. Yet the very fact that the
river here shrinks from a great flood to such a narrow channel and is here
confined, though it again expands into a greater flood, makes it all the
more violent and deep; and this feature must be considered in estimating
the difficulty of preparing a bridge. This achievement, then, shows the
greatness of Trajan's designs, though the bridge is of no particular use
to us. Merely the piers are standing, affording no means of crossing, as
if they were erected for the sole purpose of demonstrating that there is
nothing which human energy can not accomplish. Trajan's reason for
constructing the bridge was his fear that, some time when the Ister was
frozen, war might be made on the Romans across the water, and his desire
to enjoy the easy access to them that this work would permit. Hadrian, on
the contrary, was afraid that the barbarians might overpower the guard at
the bridge and cross into Moesia, and so he removed the surface work.

[Sidenote: A.D. 105 (a.u. 858)] [Sidenote:--14--] Trajan, having crossed
the Ister on this bridge, conducted the war with prudence, rather than
with haste, and eventually, after a hard struggle, vanquished the Dacians.
In the course of these encounters he personally performed many deeds of
good generalship and bravery, and his soldiers ran many risks and
displayed great prowess on his behalf. It was here that a certain
horseman, dangerously wounded, was carried from the battle on the
supposition that he could be healed; but, when he found that he could not
recover, he rushed from his quarters (since his hurt had not incapacitated
him) and stationing himself in the line again he perished, after having
displayed great valor. [Sidenote: A.D. 106 (a.u. 859)] Decebalus, when his
capital and all his territory had been occupied and he was himself in
danger of being captured, committed suicide, and his head was brought to

In this way Dacia became subject to Rome and Trajan founded cities there.
The treasures of Decebalus were also discovered, though hidden beneath the
Sargetia river, which ran past his palace. He had made some captives
divert the course of the river and had then excavated its bed. There he
had placed a large amount of silver and of gold and other objects of great
value, that could endure some moisture, had heaped stones over them and
piled on earth. After that he had let the river flow over them. The same
captives were compelled to deposit his robes and other similar objects in
neighboring caves; and when he had effected this, he made away with them
to prevent their talking. But Bicilis, a comrade of his, who knew what had
been done, was seized and gave this information.--About this same time,
Palma, who was governor of Syria, subdued the portion of Arabia, near
Petra, and made it subservient to the Romans.

[Sidenote:--15--] [The ambassadors who came from the kings were given
seats by Trajan in the senatorial row at spectacles.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 107 (a.u. 860)] Upon Trajan's return to
Rome the greatest imaginable number of embassies came to him from the
barbarians, even the Indi being represented. And he gave spectacles on one
hundred and twenty-three days. At these affairs thousands, yes, possibly
tens of thousands of animals, both wild and tame, were slaughtered, and
fully ten thousand gladiators fought in combat.

About the same period he made the Pontine marshes traversable by means of
a stone foundation, and built roads alongside, which he furnished with
most magnificent bridges.--All the obsolete money he had melted down.

[He had sworn not to commit bloodshed and he confirmed
his promise by his actions in spite of plots. He was by nature not at all
given to duplicity or guile or harshness. He loved and greeted and honored
the good, and the rest he neglected. His age made him still more inclined
to mildness.] When Licinius Sura died, he bestowed upon
him a public funeral and a statue. This man had attained such a degree of
wealth and pride that he built a gymnasium for the Romans. So great was
the friendship and confidence [which Sura showed toward Trajan and Trajan
toward him that although the man was often slandered,--as naturally
happens in the case of all those who possess any influence with the
emperors,--Trajan never felt a moment's suspicion or hatred. On the
contrary, when those who envied him became insistent, Trajan] went
[uninvited to his house] to dinner. And having dismissed his whole
body-guard he first called Sura's physician and had him anoint his eyes
and then his barber shave his chin. Anciently the emperors themselves as
well as all other people used to do this. It was Hadrian who first set the
fashion of wearing a beard. When he had done this, he next took a bath and
had dinner. So the next day he said to his friends who were always in the
habit of making statements detrimental to Sura: "If Sura had wanted to
kill me, he would have killed me yesterday." [Sidenote:--16--] Now he did
a great thing in running this risk in the case of a man who had been
calumniated, but a still greater thing in believing that he would never be
harmed by him.

So it was that the confidence of his mind was strengthened by his own
knowledge of his dealings with Sura instead of being influenced by the
fancies of others.

Indeed, when he first handed to him [Footnote: Saburanus. (?)] who was to
be prefect of the Pretorians the sword which the latter required to wear
by his side, he bared the blade, holding it up said: "Take this sword, to
the end that if I rule well, you may use it for me, but if ill, against

He also set up images of Sosia and Palma and Celsus, [Footnote: _L.
Publilius Celsus_.]--so greatly did he esteem them above others. Those,
however, who conspired against him (among whom was Crassus) he brought
before the senate and caused to be punished.

[Sidenote: A.D. 114 (a.u. 867)] Again he gathered collections of books.
And he set up in the Forum an enormous column, to serve at once as a
sepulchral monument to himself and as a reminder of his work in the Forum.
The whole region there was hilly and he dug it down for a distance
equaling the height of the column, thus making the Forum level.

[Sidenote:--17--] Next he made a campaign against the Armenians and
Parthians on the pretext that the Armenian king [Footnote:
_Exedares_.] had obtained his diadem not at his hands but from the
Parthian king. [Footnote: _Osrhoes_.] His real reason, however, was a
desire to win fame. [On his campaign against the Parthians, when he had
reached Athens, an embassy from Osrhoes met him asking for peace and
proffering gifts. This king had learned of his advance and was terrified
because Trajan was wont to make good his threats by deeds. Therefore he
humbled his pride and sent a supplication that war be not made against
him: he asked Armenia for Parthomasiris, who was likewise a son of
Pacorus, and requested that the diadem be sent to him. He had put a stop,
he said, to the reign of Exedares, who was beneficial neither to the
Romans nor to the Parthians.

The emperor neither received the gifts, nor sent any answer or command,
save that friendship is determined by deeds and not by words; and that
accordingly when he should reach Syria he would do what was proper.

And being of this mind he proceeded through Asia, Syria, and adjoining
provinces to Seleucia. Upon his coming to Antioch, Abgarus the Osrhoenian
did not appear in person, but sent gifts and a friendly communication.
For, as he dreaded both him and the Parthians, he was trying to play a
double game and for that reason would not come to confer with him.]

[Sidenote:--19--] Parthomasiris behaved in rather violent fashion. In his
first letter to Trajan he had signed himself as king, but when no answer
came to his epistle, he wrote again, omitting this title, and asked that
Marcus Junius, the governor of Cappadocia, be sent to him, implying that
he wanted to prefer some request through him. Trajan, accordingly, sent
him the son of Junius, and himself went ahead to Arsamosata, of which he
took possession without a struggle. Then he came to Satala and rewarded
with gifts Anchialus, the king of the Heniochi and Machelones. At Elegeia
in Armenia he awaited Parthomasiris. He was seated upon a platform in the
trenches. The prince greeted him, took off his diadem from his head, and
laid it at his feet. Then he stood there in silence, expecting to receive
it back. At this the soldiers shouted aloud, and hailed Trajan imperator
as if on account of some victory. (They termed it an uncrowned, [Footnote:
Reading [Greek: haselinon] (Bekker) = "without the parsley crown" (such as
was bestowed upon victors in some of the Greek games).] bloodless victory
to see the king, a descendant of Arsaces, a son of Pacorus, and a nephew
of Osrhoes, standing beside Trajan without a diadem, like a captive). The
shout terrified the prince, who thought that it heralded insult and
destruction for him. He turned about as if to flee, but, seeing that he
was hemmed in on all sides, begged as a favor not to be obliged to speak
before the crowd. Accordingly, he was escorted into the tent, where he had
none of his wishes granted. [Sidenote:--20--] So out he rushed in a rage,
and from there out of the camp, but Trajan sent for him, and again
ascending the platform bade him speak in the hearing of all everything
that he desired. This was to prevent any person from spreading a false
report through ignorance of what had been said in private conference. On
hearing this exhortation Parthomasiris no longer kept silence, but with
great frankness made many statements, some of them being to the effect
that he had not been defeated or captured, but had come there voluntarily,
believing that he should not be wronged and should receive back the
kingdom, as Tiridates had received it from Nero. Trajan made appropriate
replies to all his remarks and said that he should abandon Armenia to no
one. It belonged to the Romans and should have a Roman governor. He would,
however, allow Parthomasiris to depart to any place he pleased. So he sent
the prince away together with his Parthian companions and gave them an
escort of cavalry to ensure their meeting no one and adopting no
rebellious tactics. All the Armenians who had come with him he commanded
to remain where they were, on the ground that they were already his

[Sidenote:--21--] [Leaving garrisons at opportune points Trajan came to
Edessa, and there for the first time he set eyes upon Abgarus. Previously
this person had sent envoys and gifts to the prince frequently, but he
himself for different reasons at different times failed to put in an
appearance. The same was true also of Mannus, the phylarch of adjoining
Arabia, and Sporaces, phylarch of Anthemusia. On this occasion, however,
he was persuaded partly by his son Arvandes, who was beautiful and in the
prime of youth and therefore on good terms with Trajan, and partly by the
fear of the latter's presence near by; consequently he met him on the
road, made his apologies, and obtained pardon. He had a powerful
intercessor in the boy. Accordingly, he became a friend of Trajan's and
entertained him with a banquet. At the dinner in question he presented his
boy in some kind of barbaric dance.]

[Sidenote:--22--] [When Trajan came into Mesopotamia, Mannus sent a herald
to him, and Manisarus despatched envoys in regard to peace, because, he
said, Osrhoes was making a campaign against him, and he was ready to
withdraw from Armenia and Mesopotamia so far as captured. Thereupon the
emperor replied that he would not believe him until he should come to him
and confirm his offers by deeds, as he was promising. He was also
suspicious of Mannus, especially because the latter had sent an auxiliary
force to Mebarsapes, king of Adiabene, and then had lost it all at the
hands of the Romans. Therefore Mannus never waited for the Romans to draw
near but took his course to Adiabene to find shelter with the other two
princes. Thus were Singara and some other points occupied by Lusius,
without a battle.]

When he had captured the whole country of Armenia and
had won over also many of the kings, some of whom, since they submitted,
he treated as his friends, and others, though disobedient, he subdued
without resort to arms, [Sidenote:--23--] the senate voted to him many
honors of various descriptions, and they bestowed upon him the title of
Optimus, i.e., Excellent.--He was always accustomed to trudge on foot with
his entire army and he had the ordering and arrangement of the troops
throughout the entire expedition, leading them sometimes in one order and
sometimes in another; and he forded as many rivers as they did. Sometimes
he even had his scouts circulate false reports, in order that the soldiers
might at the same time practice military manoeuvres and be so impervious
to alarm as to be ready for anything. After he had captured Nisibis and
Batnae he was given the title of Parthicus. But he took greater pride in
the name of Optimus than in all the rest, inasmuch as it belonged rather
to his character than to his arms.

[Sidenote: A.D. 115 (a.u. 868)] [Sidenote:--24--] While he was staying in
Antioch, a dreadful earthquake occurred. Many cities were damaged, but
Antioch was most of all unfortunate. Since Trajan was wintering there and
many soldiers and many private persons had flocked thither from all
directions for lawsuits, embassies, business, or sightseeing, there was no
nation nor people that went unscathed. Thus in Antioch the whole world
under Roman sway suffered disaster.

There were many thunderstorms to start with and portentous winds, but no
one could have expected that so many evils would result from them. First
came, on a sudden, a great bellowing roar, and there followed it a
tremendous shock. The whole earth was up-heaved and buildings leaped into
the air. Those that were lifted up collapsed and were smashed to pieces,
[Sidenote: A.D. 115 (a.u. 868)] while others were beaten this way and that
as if by the surges and were turned about. The wrecks were strewn a long
distance over the countryside. The crash of grinding and breaking timbers,
tiles, and stones together became most frightful, and an inconceivable
mass of dust arose, so that no one could see any person nor say or hear
anything. Many persons were hurt even outside the houses, being picked up
and tossed violently about, and then with a momentum as in a fall from a
cliff dashed to the earth. Some were maimed, others killed. Not a few
trees leaped into the air, roots and all.

The number of those found in the houses who perished was beyond discovery.
Multitudes were destroyed by the very force of the collapse and crowds
were suffocated in the debris. Those who lay with a part of their bodies
buried under the stones or timbers suffered fearful agony, being able
neither to live nor to find an immediate death.

[Sidenote:--25--] Nevertheless many even of these were saved, as was
natural in such overwhelming numbers of people. And those outside did not
all get off safe and sound. Numbers lost their legs or their shoulders and
some [Lacuna] their [Lacuna] heads. Others vomited blood. One of these was
Pedo the consul, and he died at once. In brief, there was no form of
violent experience that those people did not undergo at that time. And as
Heaven continued the earthquake for several days and nights, the people
were dismayed and helpless, some crushed and perishing under the weight of
the buildings pressing upon them, and others dying of hunger in case it
chanced that by the inclination of the timbers they were left alive in a
clear space, it might be in a kind of arch-shaped colonnade. When at last
the trouble had subsided, some one who ventured to mount the ruins caught
sight of a live woman. She was not alone but had also an infant, and had
endured by feeding both herself and her child with her milk. They dug her
out and resuscitated her together with her offspring, and after that they
searched the other heaps but were no longer able to find in them any
living creature save a child sucking at the breasts of its mother, who was
dead. As they drew out the corpses they no longer felt any pleasure at
their own escape.

So great were the disasters that had overwhelmed Antioch at this time.
Trajan made his way out through a window of the room where he was. Some
being of more than human stature had approached him and led him forth, so
that he survived with only a few small bruises. As the shocks extended
over a number of days, he lived out of doors in the hippodrome. Casium
itself, too, was so shaken that its peaks seemed to bend and break and to
be falling upon the city. Other hills settled, and quantities of water not
previously in existence came to light, while quantities more escaped by
flowing away.

[Sidenote:--26--] Trajan about spring time proceeded into the enemy's
country. Now since the region near the Tigris is barren of timbers fit for
shipbuilding, he brought the boats which had been constructed in the
forests surrounding Nisibis on wagons to the river. The vessels had been
arranged in such a way that they could be taken apart and put together. He
had very hard work in bridging the stream opposite Mount Carduenum, for
the opposing barbarians tried to hinder him. Trajan, however, had a great
abundance of both ships and soldiers, and so some boats were fastened
together with great speed while others lay motionless in front of them,
carrying heavy infantry and archers. Still others kept making dashes this
way and that, as if they intended to cross. As a result of these tactics
and from their very astonishment at seeing so many ships at once appear
_en masse_ from a land devoid of trees the barbarians gave way and
the Romans crossed over. They won possession of the whole of Adiabene.
(This is a portion of Assyria in the vicinity of Ninus; and Arbela and
Gaugamela, close to which Alexander conquered Darius, are also in this
same territory. The country has also been called Atyria in the language of
the barbarians, the double S being changed to T).

[Adenystrae was a strong post to which one Sentius, a
centurion, had been sent as an envoy to Mebarsapes. He was imprisoned by
the latter in that place, and later, at the approach of the Romans, he
made an arrangement with some of his fellow-prisoners, and with their aid
escaped from his shackles, killed the commander of the garrison, and
opened the gates to his countrymen.] [Sidenote:--26--] Hereupon they
advanced as far as Babylon itself, being quite free from molestation,
since the Parthian power had been ruined by civil conflicts and was still
at this time involved in dissensions.

[Sidenote:--27--] Cassius Dio Cocceianus in writings concerning the Latins
has written that this city [i.e. Babylon] comprised a circuit of four
hundred stades. (Compare also Tzetzes, Exegesis of Homer's Iliad, p. 141,
15 ff).

Here, moreover, Trajan saw the asphalt out of which the walls of Babylon
had been built. When mixed with baked bricks or smooth stones this
material affords so great strength as to render them stronger than rock or
any kind of iron. He also looked at the opening from which issues a deadly
vapor that destroys any creature living upon the earth and any winged
thing that so much as inhales a breath of it. If it extended far above
ground or had several vents, the place would not be inhabitable; but, as
it is, this gas circles round within itself and remains stationary. Hence
creatures that fly high enough above it and such as remain to one side are
safe. I saw another opening like it at Hierapolis in Asia, and tested it
by means of birds; I bent over it myself and myself gazed down upon the
vapor. It is enclosed in a sort of a cistern and a theatre had been built
over it. It destroys all living things save human beings that have been
emasculated. The reason for that I can not comprehend. I relate what I
have seen as I have seen it and what I have heard as I have heard it.

[Sidenote: A.D. 116 (a.u. 869)] Trajan had planned to conduct the
Euphrates through a channel into the Tigris, in order that boats might be
floated down by this route, affording him an opportunity to make a bridge.
But on learning that it had a much higher elevation than the Tigris, he
did not do it, fearing that the water might rush pell-mell down hill and
render the Euphrates unnavigable. So he conveyed the boats across by means
of hauling engines at the point where the space between the rivers is the
least--the whole stream of the Euphrates empties into a swamp and from
there somehow joins the Tigris--then crossed the Tigris and entered
Ctesiphon. Having taken possession of this town he was saluted as
imperator and established his right to the title of Parthicus. Various
honors were voted him by the senate, among others the privilege of
celebrating as many triumphs as he might desire.

After his capture of Ctesiphon he felt a wish to sail down into the Red
Sea. This is a part of the ocean and has been so named [Footnote: [Greek:
erythra] from Erythras, who was said to have been drowned in it (as if in
English we should invent a King Redd).] from some person formerly ruler
there. Mesene, the island in the Tigris of which Athambelus was king, he
acquired without difficulty. [And it remained loyal to Trajan, although
ordered to pay tribute.] But through a storm, and the violence of the
Tigris, and the backward flow from the ocean, he fell into danger. The
inhabitants of the so-called palisade of Spasinus [they were subject to
the dominion of Athambelus] received him kindly.

[Sidenote:--29--] Thence he came to the ocean itself, and when he had
learned its nature and seen a boat sailing to India, he said: "I should
certainly have crossed over to the Indi, if I were still young." He gave
much thought to the Indi, and was curious about their affairs. Alexander
he counted a happy man and at the same time declared that he himself had
advanced farther. This was the tenor of the despatch that he forwarded to
the senate, although he was unable to preserve even what territory had
been subdued. On its receipt he obtained among other honors the privilege
of celebrating a triumph for as many nations as he pleased. For, on
account of the number of those peoples regarding which communications in
writing were being constantly forwarded to them, they were unable to
understand them or even to name some of them correctly. So the citizens of
the capital prepared a trophy-bearing arch, besides many other decorations
in his own forum, and were getting themselves in readiness to meet him
some distance out when he should return. But he was destined never to
reach Rome again nor to accomplish anything deserving comparison with his
previous exploits, and furthermore to lose even those earlier
acquisitions. For, during the time that he was sailing down the ocean and
returning from there again, all his conquests were thrown into tumult and
revolted. And the garrisons placed among the various peoples were in some
cases driven out and in others killed.

[Sidenote:--30--] Trajan ascertained this in Babylon. [Footnote: The
Tauchnitz reading, [Greek: en ploio] will not fit the context. Just below
[Greek: ithous] (Bekker) has to be read for [Greek: mythous].] He had
taken the side-trip there on the basis of reports, unmerited by aught that
he saw (which were merely mounds and stones and ruins), and for the sake
of Alexander, to whose spirit he offered sacrifice in the room where he
had died. When, therefore, he ascertained it, he sent Lusius and Maximus
against the rebels. The latter perished after a defeat in the field; but
Lusius was generally successful, recovering Nisibis, besieging Edessa,
plundering and burning. Seleucia was also captured by Erucius Clarus and
Julius Alexander, lieutenants, and was burned. Trajan, in fear that the
Parthians, too, might begin some revolt, decided to give them a king of
their own. And when he came to Ctesiphon he called together in a great
plain all the Romans and likewise all the Parthians that were there at the
time. He mounted a lofty platform, and, after describing in lofty language
what he had accomplished, he appointed Parthamaspates king of the
Parthians and set the diadem upon his head.

[Sidenote: LXXV, 9, 6] When Volgaesus, the son of Sanatruces, confronted
in battle array the followers of Severus and before coming to an actual
test of strength asked and secured an armistice, Trajan sent envoys to him
and granted him a portion of Armenia in return for peace.

[Sidenote:--31--] Next he came into Arabia and commenced operations
against the people of Hatra, since they, too, had revolted. This city is
neither large nor prosperous. The surrounding country is mostly desert and
holds no water (save a small amount, poor in quality), nor timber, nor
herb. It is protected by these very features, which make a siege in any
form impossible, and by the Sun, to whom it is, in a way, consecrated. It
was neither at this time taken by Trajan nor later by Severus, although
they knocked down some parts of its wall. Trajan sent the cavalry ahead
against the wall but failed in his attempt, and the attacking force was
hurled back into the camp. As he was riding by, he barely missed being
wounded himself, in spite of the fact that he had laid aside his imperial
attire to avoid being recognized. Seeing the majestic gray head and his
august countenance they suspected him to be the man he was, shot at him,
and killed a cavalryman in his escort. There were peals of thunder and
rainbow tints glimmered indistinctly. Flashes of lightning and spray-like
storms, hail and thunderbolts fell upon the Romans as often as they made
assaults. And whenever they ate a meal, flies settled on the food and
drink causing universal discomfort. Thus Trajan left the place and not
long after began to fail in health.

[Sidenote:--32--] Meanwhile the Jews in the region of Cyrene had put one
Andreas at their head and were destroying both the Romans and the Greeks.
They would cook their flesh, make belts for themselves of their entrails,
anoint themselves with their blood, and wear their skins for clothing.
Many they sawed in two, from the head downwards. Others they would give to
wild beasts and force still others to fight as gladiators. In all,
consequently, two hundred and twenty thousand perished. In Egypt, also,
they performed many similar deeds, and in Cyprus under the leadership of
Artemio. There, likewise, two hundred and forty thousand perished. For
this reason no Jew may set foot in that land, but even if one of them is
driven upon the island by force of the wind, he is put to death. Various
persons took part in subduing these Jews, one being Lusius, who was sent
by Trajan.

[Lusius Quietus was a Moor, himself a leader of the
Moors, and had belonged to [Footnote: Some puzzling corruption in the MS.]
a troop in the cavalry. Condemned for base conduct he was temporarily
relieved of his command and dishonored. [Footnote: Probably in the days of
Domitian.] But later, when the Dacian war came on and the army stood in
need of the Moorish alliance, he came to it of his own accord and gave
great exhibitions of prowess. For this he was honored, and in the second
war performed far greater and more numerous exploits. Finally, he advanced
so far in bravery and good fortune during this war which we are
considering that he was enrolled among the ex-praetors, became consul, and
governed Palestine. To this chiefly was due the jealousy and hatred felt
for him, and his destruction.] Now when Trajan had invaded the hostile
territory, the satraps and kings of that region approached him with gifts.
 One of these gifts was a horse taught to do obeisance. It would kneel
with its front legs and place its head beneath the feet of whoever stood

[Sidenote: A.D. 117 (a.u. 870)] [Sidenote:--33--] Now Trajan was preparing
to make a new expedition into Mesopotamia. Finding himself, however, held
fast by the clutches of the disease, he started to sail to Italy himself
and left behind Publius Aelius Hadrian with the army in Syria. So the
Romans, who had conquered Armenia, most of Mesopotamia, and the Parthians,
had labored in vain and had vainly undergone danger. The Parthians
disdained Parthamaspates and began to have kings according to their
original custom. Trajan suspected that his falling sick was due to the
administration of poison. Some declare it was because his blood, which
annually descended into the lower part of his body, was kept from flowing.
He had also become paralyzed, so that part of his body was disabled, and
his general diathesis was dropsical. And on coming to Selinus in Cilicia,
which we also call Traianoupolis, he suddenly expired after a reign of
nineteen years, six months, and fifteen days.


Hadrian without being adopted succeeds, through the favor of Plotina
(chapters 1, 2).

About the assassinations authorized by Hadrian: about his varied learning
and jealousies (chapters 3, 4).

His virtues, particularly affability and generosity: old arrears of debt
forgiven (chapters 5, 8).

Travels: discipline of the army reformed: interest in hunting (chapters 9,

How he honored Antinous with various marks of remembrance (chapter 11).

Uprising of Jews on account of the founding of Capitolina: Bithynia
recovered (chapters 12-14).

The Albanians are held in check: Pharasmanes the Iberian is honored
(chapter 15).

The Temple of Jupiter Olympius and the Panellenium are consecrated
(chapter 16).

Growing ill, he adopts Commodus, slays Servianus: the distinguished
services of Turbo, Fronto, Similis (chapters 17-19).

On the death of Commodus he adopts Antoninus, the latter adopting at the
same time Marcus and Verus (chapters 20, 21).

How Hadrian departed this life (chapters 22, 23).


Quinctius Niger, Vipsanius Apronianus. (A.D. 117 = a.u. 870 = First of
Hadrian, from Aug. 11th).

Hadrianus Aug. (II), Claudius Fuseus Salinator. (A.D. 118 = a.u. 871 =
Second of Hadrian).

Hadrianus Aug. (III), Q. Iunius Rusticus. (A.D. 119 = a.u. 872 = Third of

L. Catilius Severus, T. Aurelius Fulvus. (A.D. 120 = a.u. 873 = Fourth of

L. Annius Verus, Aur. Augurinus. (A.D. 121 = a.u. 874 = Fifth of Hadrian).

Acilius Aviola, Corellius Pansa. (A.D. 122 = a.u. 875 = Sixth of Hadrian).
Q. Arrius Paetinus, C. Ventidius Apronianus. (A.D. 123 = a.u. 876 =
Seventh of Hadrian).

Manius Acilius Glabrio, C. Bellicius Torquatus. (A.D. 124 = a.u. 877 =
Eighth of Hadrian).

P. Corn. Scipio Asiaticus (II), Q. Vettius Aquilinus. (A.D. 125 = a.u. 878
= Ninth of Hadrian).

Annius Verus (III), L. Varius Ambibulus. (A.D. 126 = a.u. 879 = Tenth of

Gallicianus, Caelius Titianus. (A.D. 127 = a.u. 880 = Eleventh of

L. Nonius Asprenas Torquatus (II), M. Annius Libo. (A.D. 128 = a.u. 881 =
Twelfth of Hadrian).

Iuventius Celsus (II), Marcellus. (A.D. 129 = a.u. 882 = Thirteenth of

Q. Fabius Catullinus, M. Flavius Aper. (A.D. 130 = a.u. 883 = Fourteenth
of Hadrian).

Ser. Octav. Laenas Pontianus, M. Antonius Rufinus. (A.D. 131 = a.u. 884 =
Fifteenth of Hadrian).

Augurinus, Severianus (or, according to others, Sergianus). (A.D. 132 =
a.u. 885 = Sixteenth of Hadrian).

Hiberus, Iunius Silanus Sisenna. (A.D. 133 = a.u. 886 = Seventeenth of

Servianus (III), Vibius Varus. (A.D. 134 = a.u. 887 = Eighteenth of

Pontianus, Atilianus. (A.D. 135 = a.u. 888 = Nineteenth of Hadrian).

L. Ceionius Commodus Verus, Sex. Vetulenus Civica Pompeianus. (A.D. 136 =
a.u. 889 = Twentieth of Hadrian).

L. Aelius Verus Caesar, P. Caelius Balbinus Vibullius. (A.D. 137 = a.u.
890 = Twenty-first of Hadrian).

Camerinus, Niger. (A.D. 138 = a.u. 891 = Twenty-second of Hadrian, to July

[Sidenote: A.D. 117 (a.u. 870)] [Sidenote:--1--] Hadrian had not been
adopted by Trajan. He was merely a fellow-citizen of the latter, had
enjoyed Trajan's services as guardian, was of near kin to him, and had
married his niece. In fine, he was a companion of his, sharing his daily
life, and had been assigned to Syria for the Parthian War. However, he had
received no distinguishing mark of favor from Trajan and had not been one
of the first to be appointed consul. His position as Caesar and emperor
was due to the fact that, when Trajan died without an heir, Attianus, a
fellow-citizen and former guardian, together with Plotina, who was in love
with him, secured him the appointment,--their efforts being facilitated by
his proximity and his having a large force under his command. My father
Apronianus, who was governor of Cilicia, had ascertained accurately the
whole story about him. He used to relate the different incidents, and said
in particular that the death of Trajan was concealed for several days to
the end that the adoption might be announced. This was shown also by his
letters to the senate, the signature upon which was not his, but
Plotina's. She had not done this in any previous instance.

[Sidenote:--2--] At the time that he was declared emperor, Hadrian was in
Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, of which he was governor. In a dream
just before that day he seemed to see fire descend from heaven in the
midst of clear sky and wholly fair weather and fall first upon the left of
his throat and then upon the right also, though it neither frightened nor
injured him. And Hadrian wrote to the senate, asking that his sovereignty
be confirmed also by that body, and forbidding any measure to be voted (as
was so often done) either then or thereafter that contained any special
honor for him, unless he should first himself approve it.

The bones of Trajan were deposited in his column, and the so-called
Parthian games continued for a number of years. At a later date even this
observance, like many others, was abolished.

Hadrian's rule was in general most humane. [In a letter he expresses
himself with the greatest degree of consideration for others and swears
that he will neither do anything contrary to the public advantage nor put
to death any senator, calling down destruction upon himself, if he shall
transgress these principles in any way. But] Still he was spoken against
on account of some murders of excellent men that he had sanctioned in the
beginning of his reign and near the end of his life. And for this reason
he came near not being enrolled among the heroes. Those murdered at the
beginning were Palma and Celsus, Nigrinus and Lusius, the first two for
the alleged reason that they had conspired against him during a hunt, and
the others on certain other complaints, because they had great influence,
or were in a strong position as regards wealth and fame. Hadrian felt so
keenly the talk that was made about them that he defended himself and
declared upon oath that he had not ordered their deaths. Those that
perished at the end of the reign were Servianus and his grandson Fuscus.

Hadrian was a pleasant man to meet and his presence shed a kind of grace.

[Sidenote:--3--] As for Hadrian's family, he was a son of [a man of
senatorial rank, an ex-praetor] Hadrianus, [for thus he was named]. In
regard to his disposition, he was fond of literature in both languages and
has left behind all kinds of prose pieces as well as compositions in
verse. His ambition was insatiable, and as a result he practiced all
conceivable pursuits, even the most trivial. He modeled and painted and
declared that there was nothing in peace or in war, in imperial or in
private life, of which he was not cognizant. [And this, of course, did
people no harm; but his jealousy of those who excelled in any branch was
terrible and] ruined many besides utterly destroying quite a few. [For,]
since he desired to surpass everybody in everything, [he hated those who
attained eminence in any direction.] This feeling it was which led him to
undertake the overthrow of two sophists, Favorinus the Gaul and Dionysius
the Milesian, [by various methods, chiefly] by stirring up their
antagonists [who were of little or no worth at all]. Dionysius is said to
have remarked at this time to Avidius [Footnote: Boissevain's reading.]
Heliodorus, who managed his correspondence: "Caesar can give you money and
honor, but he can't make you an orator." Favorinus was about to bring a
case before the emperor in regard to exemption from taxes, a privilege
which he desired to secure in his native city. Suspecting, however, that
he should be unsuccessful and be insulted in addition he entered the
courtroom, to be sure, but made no other statement save: "My teacher stood
this night in a dream by my side and bade me do service for my country,
since I have been born in it."

[Sidenote:--4--] Now Hadrian spared these men, although he was displeased
with them, for he could find no satisfactory pretext to use against them
that might compass their destruction. But he first banished and later
actually put to death Apollodorus the architect, who had planned the
various creations of Trajan in Rome,--the forum, the odeum, and the
gymnasium. The excuse given was that he had been guilty of some
misdemeanor, but the true reason was that, when Trajan was consulting him
on some point about the works, he had said to Hadrian, who broke in with
some remark: "Be off and draw gourds. You don't understand any of these
matters." It happened that Hadrian at the time was pluming himself upon
some such drawing. When he became emperor, therefore, he remembered the
slight and would not endure the man's freedom of speech. He sent him his
own plan of the temple of Venus and Roma by way of showing him that a
great work could be accomplished without his aid, and he asked Apollodorus
whether the structure was a good one. The latter in his reply said about
the temple that it ought to have been made to tower aloft in the air and
have been scooped out beneath. Then, as a result of being higher, it would
have stood out more conspicuously on the Sacred Way, and might have
received [Sidenote: A.D. 117 (a.u. 870)] within its expanse the engines,
so that they could be built unobserved and could be brought into the
theatre without any one's being aware of it beforehand. In regard to the
statues, he said that they had been made too tall for the height adopted
in the principal room. "If the goddesses," he said, "wish to get up and go
out, they will be unable to do so." When he wrote this so bluntly to
Hadrian, the latter was both vexed and exceedingly pained because he had
fallen into a mistake that could not be set right. He restrained neither
his anger nor his grief, but murdered the man. [By nature] the emperor was
such a person [that he was jealous not only of the living, but also of the
dead. For instance,] he abolished Homer and introduced in his stead
Antimachus, whose name many persons had not previously known.

[Sidenote:--5--] These acts were charged against him as offences, and so
were also his great exactness, his superfluous labors, and his divided
interests. But he healed the wounds made and recovered favor by his
general care, his foresight, his grandeur and his skill. Again, he did not
stir up any war and ended those already in progress. He deprived no one of
money unjustly, and upon many peoples and private citizens and senators
and knights he bestowed large sums. He did not wait to be asked, but was
certain to act each time according to each man's needs. The military he
trained with great precision, so that its strength rendered it neither
disobedient nor insolent. Allied and subject cities he aided most
munificently. He had seen many that no other emperor had even set eyes
upon, and he assisted practically all of them, giving to some water, to
others harbors, or food, or public works, or money, and to still others
various honors.

[Sidenote:--6--] As a leader of the Roman people he was distinguished for
force rather than for flattery. Once, at a gladiatorial contest, when the
crowd was urging its petition strongly, he not only would not grant its
wish, but further ordered this command of Domitian's to be proclaimed: "Be
silent." The words were not uttered, though. The herald raised his hand
and by that very gesture quieted the people as he had been accustomed to
do. (They are never silenced by proclamation). Then, when they had become
quiet, he said: "This is what he wishes." Hadrian was not in the least
angry with the herald; on the contrary, he honored him for not publishing
the rudeness of the order. He could endure such things and was not
displeased if he was aided in any unexpected way and by chance comers. It
must be admitted that once, when a woman passed him on some road and
preferred a request, he at first said to her: "I haven't time."
Afterwards, when she cried out loudly, saying: "Don't be emperor, then",
he turned about and granted her a hearing.

[Sidenote:--7--] He transacted through the senate all serious and most
urgent business and he held court with the assistance of prominent men now
in the palace or again in the Forum, the Pantheon, and in many other
places, always on a platform, so that what was done was open to public
inspection. Sometimes he would join the consuls when _they_ were
trying cases, and he showed them honor at the horse-races. When he
returned home he was accustomed to be carried in a litter, in order not to
trouble any one to accompany him. On days neither sacred nor public he
remained at home, and admitted no one even long enough to greet him,
unless it were some urgent matter; this was to relieve the courtiers of
needless annoyance. Both in Rome and abroad he always kept the noblest men
about him; and he used to join them at banquets, which led to his being
often carried in their litters as one of a party of four. As frequently as
possible he went hunting, and he breakfasted without wine; in fact, most
of his food was served without any accompanying beverage; and often in the
midst of a meal he would turn his attention to a case at law: later he
would drive in the company of all the foremost and best men, and their
eating together was the occasion for all kind of discussions. When his
friends were very ill, he would go to see them, and he used to attend
their festivals, besides evincing pleasure at visiting their country seats
and houses. As might have been expected, then, he set up in his forum
images for many who were dead and many still alive. No one of his
associates, moreover, displayed insolence nor sold aught that he should
pronounce or perform, as the Caesarians and other attendants in the suite
of emperors have made it their custom to do.

[Sidenote:--8--] This is a kind of preface, of a summary nature, I have
been giving in regard to his character. I shall also touch upon all the
details that require mention.

The Alexandrians had been rioting and nothing would make them stop until
they received a letter from Hadrian rebuking them. So true it is that an
emperor's word has more power than force of arms.

[Sidenote: A.D. 118 (a.u. 871)] On coming to Rome he canceled debts owing
to the imperial treasury and to the public treasury of the Romans, setting
a limit of sixteen years, from which and as far back as which this
provision was to be observed. On his own birthday he gave a spectacle to
the people free of charge, and slaughtered numbers of wild beasts,--one
hundred lions and a like number of lionesses biting the dust on this one
occasion. Gifts, likewise, he brought about by means of balls both in the
theatres and in the hippodrome, one lot for the men and one lot for the
women. Indeed, he had also commanded them to battle separately.

This, then, was what happened that year. Euphrates the philosopher also
died a death of his own choosing; and Hadrian assented to his drinking
hemlock in consideration of his extreme age and sickliness.
[Sidenote:--9--] Hadrian went from one province to another, visiting the
districts and cities and observing all the garrisons and fortifications.
Some of these he removed to more desirable locations, some he abolished,
and he founded some new ones. He personally oversaw and investigated
absolutely everything, not merely the usual appurtenances of camps,--I
mean weapons and engines and ditches and enclosures and palisades,--but
also the private affairs of each one, and the lives, the dwellings and the
characters both of the men serving in the organization, and of the
commanders themselves. Many cases of too delicate living and equipment he
harmonized with military needs and reformed in various ways. He exercised
the men in every variety of battle, honoring some and reproving others. He
taught all of them what they ought to do. And to make sure that they
should obtain benefit from observing _him_, he led everywhere a
severe existence and walked or rode horseback on all occasions. Never at
this period did he enter either a chariot or a four-wheeled vehicle. He
covered his head neither in heat nor in cold, but alike in Celtic snows
and under scorching Egyptian suns he went about with it bare. [Sidenote:
A.D. 119 (a.u. 872)] In fine, so thoroughly by action and exhortations did
he train and discipline the whole military force throughout the whole
empire that even now the methods then introduced by him are the soldiers'
law of campaigning. This best explains why he lived for the most part at
peace with foreign nations. As they saw what support he had and were
victims of no injustice, but instead received money, they made no
uprising. So excellently had his soldiery been trained, that the cavalry
of the so-called Batavians swam the Ister with their heavy armor on.
Seeing this the barbarians stood in terror of the Romans, and turning
their attention to their own affairs [Footnote: Reading [Greek: epi]
(Dindorf) instead of [Greek: peri]] they employed Hadrian as an arbitrator
of their differences.

[Sidenote:--10--] He also constructed theatres and held games as he
traveled about from city to city, dispensing, however, with the imperial
paraphernalia. This he never used outside of Rome. His own country, though
he did her great honor and bestowed many proud possessions on her, he
nevertheless did not set eyes upon.

He is said to have been enthusiastic over hunting. Indeed, he broke his
collar-bone in this pursuit and came near losing a leg. And to a city that
he founded in Mysia he gave the name of Adrianotherae. [Sidenote: A.D. 121
(a.u. 874)] However, he did not, while so occupied, leave undone any of
the duties pertaining to his office. Of his enthusiasm for hunting his
horse Borysthenes, which was his favorite steed for the chase, gives us an
indication. When the animal died, he prepared a tomb for him, set up a
slab, and placed an inscription upon it. Hence it is scarcely surprising
that when Plotina died, the woman through whom he had secured the imperial
office, and who was passionately in love with him, he honored her to the
extent of wearing mourning garments for nine days, building a temple to
her, and composing several hymns to her memory.

When Plotina was dead, Hadrian praised her and said: "Though she asked
much of me, she was never refused aught." By this he surely meant to say:
"Her requests were of such a character that they neither burdened me nor
afforded me any justification for saying no."

He was so skillful in hunting that once he brought down a huge boar with a
single blow.

[Sidenote:--11--] On reaching Greece he became a spectator at the

[Sidenote: A.D. 122 (a.u. 875)] After this he passed through Judaea into
Egypt and offered sacrifice to Pompey, about whom, he is said to have
uttered this verse:

  Strange lack of tomb for one with shrines o'erwhelmed! [Footnote:
  Compare Appian, Civil Wars, Book Two, chapter 86 (also Spartianus, 14,

And he restored his monument, which had fallen to ruin. In Egypt also he
restored the so-called City of Antinous. Antinous was from Bithynium, a
city of Bithynia which we also call Claudioupolis; he had been a favorite
of the emperor and had died in Egypt, either by falling into the Nile, as
Hadrian writes, or, as is more probably the truth, by being offered in
sacrifice. For Hadrian, as I have stated, was in general a great dabbler
in superstitions and employed divinations and incantations of all kinds.
Accordingly, he honored Antinous either because of his love for him or
because he had voluntarily submitted to death (it being necessary that a
life be surrendered voluntarily for the accomplishment of the ends he had
in view), by building a city on the spot where he had suffered this fate
and naming it after him: and he further set up likenesses, or rather
sacred statues of him, practically all over the world. Finally, he
declared that he had seen a star which he assumed to belong to Antinous,
and gladly lent an ear to the fictitious tales woven by his associates to
the effect that the star had really come into being from the spirit of
Antinous and had then appeared for the first time. [Sidenote: A.D. 133
(a.u. 886)] On this account he became the object of some ridicule [as also
because the death of his sister Paulina he had not immediately paid her
any honor. [Lacuna]]

[Sidenote: A.D. 133 (a.u. 886)] [Sidenote:--12--] In Jerusalem he founded
a city in place of the one razed to the ground, naming it Aelia
Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god he raised a new
temple to Jupiter. This brought on a war that was not slight nor of brief
duration, for the Jews deemed it intolerable that foreign races should be
settled in their city and foreign religious rites be planted there. While
Hadrian was close by in Egypt and again in Syria, they remained quiet,
save in so far as they purposely made the weapons they were called upon to
furnish of poorer quality, to the end that the Romans might reject them
and they have the use of them. But when he went farther away, they openly
revolted. To be sure, they did not dare try conclusions with the Romans in
the open field, but they occupied advantageous positions in the country
and strengthened them with mines and walls, in order that they might have
places of refuge whenever they should be hard pressed, and meet together
unobserved under ground; and in these subterranean passages they sunk
shafts from above to let in air and light. [Sidenote:--13--] At first the
Romans made no account of them. Soon, however, all Judaea had been
up-heaved, and the Jews all over the world were showing signs of
disturbance, were gathering together, and giving evidence of great
hostility to the Romans, partly by secret and partly by open acts; many
other outside nations, too, were joining them through eagerness for gain,
and the whole earth, almost, was becoming convulsed over the matter. Then,
indeed, did Hadrian send against them his best generals, of who Julius
Severus was the first to be despatched, from Britain, of which he was
governor, against the Jews. He did not venture to attack his opponents at
any one point, seeing their numbers and their desperation, but by taking
them in separate groups by means of the number of his soldiers and his
under-officers and by depriving them of food and shutting them up he was
able, rather slowly, to be sure, but with comparatively little danger, to
crush and exhaust and exterminate them. Very few of them survived.
[Sidenote:--14--] Fifty of their most important garrisons and nine hundred
and eighty-five of their most renowned towns were blotted out. Fifty-eight
myriads of men were slaughtered in the course of the invasions and
battles, and the number of those that perished by famine and disease and
fire was past all investigating. Thus nearly the whole of Judaea was made
desolate, an event of which the people had had indications even before the
war. The tomb of Solomon, which these men regarded as one of their sacred
objects, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed and many wolves and hyenas
rushed howling into their cities.

Many Romans, moreover, perished in the war. Wherefore Hadrian in writing
to the senate did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the
emperors: "If you and your children are in health, it shall be well: I and
the armies are in health."

[Sidenote: A.D. 134(?)] Severus [Footnote: Not the same person as is
mentioned in the previous chapter.] he sent into Bithynia, which needed no
force of arms but a governor and presiding officer who was just and
prudent and had a reputation. All these qualifications Severus possessed.
And he managed and administered both their private and their public
affairs in such a way that we [Footnote: i.e., "we natives of Bithynia"
(Dio's country).] are still, even to-day wont to remember him. [Pamphylia
in place of Bithynia was given into the jurisdiction of the senate and the

[Sidenote:--15--] This, then, was the ending that the war with the Jews
took. A second war was started among the Alani (they are Massagetae) by
Pharasmanes. On Albanis and Media he inflicted severe injury and then laid
hold on Armenia and Cappadocia, after which, as the Alani were on the one
hand persuaded by gifts from Vologaesus and on the other stood in dread of
Flavius Arrianus, the governor of Cappadocia, he stopped. [Envoys were
sent from Vologaesus and from the Iazygae; the former made some charges
against Pharasmanes and the latter wanted to confirm the peace. [?]
[Footnote: It is impossible to determine, from the date of this fragment,
whether the subject should be Hadrian or Antoninus Pius.] introduced them
to the senate and was empowered by that body to return appropriate
answers; and accordingly he prepared and read to them his responses.]

[Sidenote:--16--] Hadrian completed the Olympieum in Athens, in which his
own statue also stands, and consecrated there a serpent, which was brought
from India. He also presided at the Dionysia, the greatest office within
the gift of the people, and arrayed in the local costume carried it
through brilliantly. He allowed the Greeks, too, to build his sepulchre
(called the Panellenium), and instituted a series of games to be connected
with it; and he granted to the Athenians large sums of money, annual corn
distribution, and the whole of Cephallenia.--Among various laws that he
enacted was one to the effect that no senator, either personally or
through the medium of another, should have any tax farmed out to him.
[Sidenote: A.D. 135 (a.u. 888)] After he had come to Rome, the crowd at a
spectacle shouted their request for the emancipation of a certain
charioteer: but he replied by means of a writing on a board: "It is not
right for you either to ask me to free another's slave or to force his
master to do so."

[Sidenote:--17--] He now began to be sick, having suffered even before
this from blood gushing from his nostrils: this flow now grew very much
more copious, so that he despaired of his life. Consequently, he appointed
as Caesar for the Romans Lucius Commodus, although this man frequently
vomited blood. [Sidenote: A.D. 136 (a.u. 889)] Servianus and his grandson
Fuscus, the former a nonagenarian and the latter eighteen years of age,
were put to death on the ground that they were displeased at this action.
Servianus before being executed asked for fire, and as he offered incense
he exclaimed: "That I am guilty of no wrong, ye; O Gods, are well aware:
and as for Hadrian I pray only this, that he may desire to die and not be
able." And, indeed, Hadrian did come to his end only after often praying
that he might expire and often feeling a desire to kill himself. There is
in existence also a letter of his which lays stress on this very matter,
showing what a dreadful thing it is for a man to desire to die and not be
able. This Servianus had been by Hadrian deemed capable of filling the
imperial office. He had once at a banquet told his friends to name for him
ten men who were competent to be sole rulers, and then after a moment's
pause, had added: "I want to know _nine_: I have one already,

[Sidenote:--18--] Other excellent men, also, had come to light during that
period, of whom the most distinguished were Turbo and Similis, who,
indeed, were honored with statues.

Turbo was a man of great qualities as a general, who had become prefect
(or commander of the Pretorians). He committed no act of luxury or
haughtiness, but lived like one of the multitude: the entire day he spent
in proximity to the palace and often he would go there even shortly before
midnight, when some of the others were beginning to sleep. A
characteristic anecdote is that which brings in the name of Cornelius
Fronto, at this time reputed to be the foremost Roman advocate in
lawsuits. One evening very late he was returning home from dinner and
ascertained from a man whose counsel he had promised to be that Turbo was
holding court. Accordingly, just as he was, in his dress for dinner, he
went into his courtroom and greeted him not with the morning salutation,
_I wish you joy_, but with that belonging to the evening, _I trust
your health continues good_.

Turbo was never seen at home in the daytime even when he was sick; and to
Hadrian, who advised him to remain quiet, he replied: "The prefect ought
to die on his feet."

[Sidenote:--19--] Similis, who was of greater age and more advanced rank,
in character was second to none of the great men, I think. Very slight
things may serve us as evidence. When he was centurion, Trajan had
summoned him to enter his presence before the prefects, whereupon he said:
"It is a shame for you, Caesar, to be talking with a centurion, while the
prefects stand outside." And he took unwillingly at that time the command
of the Pretorians, and after taking it resigned it. Having with difficulty
secured his release he spent the rest of his life, seven years, quietly in
the country, and upon his tomb he had this inscription placed: "Similis
lies here, who existed so-and-so many years, but lived for seven."

Julius (?) Fabius (?), not being able to endure his
son's effeminacy, desired to throw himself into the river.

[Sidenote: A.D. 138 (a.u. 891)] [Sidenote:--20--] Hadrian became
consumptive as a result of the great loss of blood, and that led to
dropsy. And as it happened that Lucius Commodus was suddenly removed from
the scene by the outgushing of a large quantity of blood all at once, he
convened at his house the foremost and most renowned of the senators; and
lying on a couch he spoke to them as follows: "I, my friends, was not
permitted by nature to secure offspring, but you have made it possible by
legal enactment. There is this difference between the two ways,--that a
begotten son turns out to be whatever sort of person Heaven pleases,
whereas one that is adopted a man takes to himself because he chooses just
that sort of being. Thus in process of nature a maimed and [Sidenote: A.D.
138 (a.u. 891)] senseless creature is often given to a parent, but by
process of voluntary decision one of sound body and sound mind is certain
to be selected. For this cause I formerly chose out Lucius from among all,
a person of such attainments as I could never have prayed to find in a
child. But since the Heavenly Power has taken him from among us, I have
found an emperor in his place whom I now give you, one who is noble, mild,
tractable, prudent, neither young enough to do anything reckless nor old
enough to neglect aught,--one brought up according to the laws, who has
held possession of authority according to his country's traditions, so
that he is not ignorant of any matters pertaining to his office, but can
handle them all effectively. I refer to Aurelius Antoninus here. Although
I know him to be the most retiring of men and to be far from desiring any
such thing, still I do not think that he will deliberately disregard
either me or you but will accept the office even against his will."

[Sidenote:--21--] So it was that Antoninus became emperor. Since he was
destitute of male children, Hadrian adopted for him Commodus's son
Commodus and, moreover, besides the latter, Marcus Annius Verus; for he
wished to appoint those who were afterwards to be emperors for as long a
time ahead as possible. (This Marcus Annius, earlier named Catilius, was a
grandson of Annius Verus who had thrice been consul and prefect of the
city). And though Hadrian urged Antoninus to adopt them both, he preferred
Verus on account of his kinship and his age and because he already
exhibited an extremely strong cast of mind. This led him to apply to the
young man the name Verissimus, with a play upon the meaning of the Latin

[Sidenote:--22--] By certain charms and species of magic Hadrian was
relieved of the water, but shortly was full of it again. Since, therefore,
he was constantly growing worse and might be said to be slowly perishing
day by day, he began to long for death. Often he would ask for poison and
a sword, but no one would give them to him. As no one would obey him,
although he promised money and immunity, he sent for Mastor, an Iazygian
barbarian that had become a captive, whom he had employed in hunts on
account of his strength and daring. Then, partly by threatening him and
partly by making promises, he compelled the man to undertake the duty of
killing him. He drew a colored line around a spot beneath the nipple that
had been shown him by Hermogenes the physician, in order that he might
there be struck a finishing blow and perish painlessly. But even this plan
did not succeed, for Mastor became afraid of the project and in terror
withdrew. The emperor lamented bitterly the plight in which the disease
had placed him and bitterly his powerlessness, in that he was not able to
make away with himself, though he might still, even when so near death,
destroy anybody else. Finally he abandoned his careful regimen and through
using unsuitable foods and drinks met his death, saying and shouting aloud
the popular saying: "Many physicians have ruined a king."

[Sidenote:--23--] He had lived sixty-two years, five months and nineteen
[Footnote: Seventeen, according to the common tradition.] days, and had
been emperor twenty years and eleven months. He was buried near the river
itself, close to the Aelian bridge; that was where he had prepared his
tomb, for the one belonging to Augustus was full and no other body was
deposited there.

This emperor was hated [by the people, in spite of his excellent reign] on
account of the early and the late murders, since they had been unjustly
and impiously brought about. Yet he had so little of a bloodthirsty
disposition that even in the case of some who took pains to thwart him he
deemed it sufficient to write to their native lands the bare statement
that they did not please him. And if any man who had children was
absolutely obliged to receive punishment, still, in proportion to the
number of his children he would also lighten the penalty imposed.
[Notwithstanding, the senate persisted for a long time in its refusal to
vote him divine honors, and in its strictures upon some of those who had
committed excesses during his reign and had been honored therefor, when
they ought to have been chastised.]

After Hadrian's death there was erected to him a huge equestrian statue
representing him with a four-horse team. It was so large that the bulkiest
man could walk through the eye of each horse, yet because of the extreme
height of the monument persons passing along on the ground below are wont
to think that the horses themselves as well as Hadrian are very small.


Antoninus Pius, succeeding by adoption, effects the deification of Hadrian
(chapter 1).

The cognomen Pius is bestowed upon Antoninus by the senate (chapter 2).

He showed little hostility toward the Christians: was careful in trifles:
met a quiet death in old age (chapter 3).

Earthquake that damaged Bithynia, the Hellespontine region, and especially
Cyzicus (chapter 4).

He is compared with Numa: his gentleness and kindliness (chapter 5).

He was intent upon justice, not upon enlarging the empire: hence the
barbarians brought their quarrels to him to settle (chapters 6, 7).


Camerinus, Niger. (A.D. 138 = a.u. 891 = First of Antoninus, from July

Antoninus Pius Aug. (II), Bruttius Praesens. (A.D. 139 = a.u. 892 = Second
of Antoninus).

Antoninus Pius Aug. (III), Aurelius Caesar (II). (A.D. 140 = a.u. 893 =
Third of Antoninus).

M. Peducaeus Sylloga Priscinus, T. Hoenius Severus. (A.D. 141 = a.u. 894 =
Fourth of Antoninus).

L. Cuspius Rufinus, L. Statius Quadratus. (A.D. 142 = a.u. 895 = Fifth of

C. Bellicius Torquatus, Tib. Claudius Atticus Herodes. (A.D. 143 = a.u.
896 = Sixth of Antoninus).

Avitus, Maximus. (A.D. 144 = a.u. 897 = Seventh of Antoninus).

Antoninus Pius Aug. (IV), M. Aurelius Caesar (II). (A.D. 145 = a.u. 898 =
Eighth of Antoninus).

Sex. Erucius Clarus (II), Cn. Claudius Severus. (A.D. 146 = a.u. 899 =
Ninth of Antoninus).

Largus, Messalinus. (A.D. 147 = a.u. 900 = Tenth of Antoninus).

L. Torquatus (III), C. Iulianus Vetus. (A.D. 148 = a.u. 901 = Eleventh of
Antoninus). Sergius Scipio Orfitus, Q. Nonius Priscus. (A.D. 149 = a.u.
902 = Twelfth of Antoninus).

Gallicanus, Vetus. (A.D. 150 = a.u. 903 = Thirteenth of Antoninus).

Quintilius Condianus, Quintilius Maximus. (A.D. 151 = a.u. 904 =
Fourteenth of Antoninus).

M.' Acilius Glabrio, M. Valerius Homullus. (A.D. 152 = a.u. 905 =
Fifteenth of Antoninus).

C. Bruttius Praesens, A. Iunius Rufinus. (A.D. 153 = a.u. 906 = Sixteenth
of Antoninus).

L. Ael. Aurelius Commodus, T. Sextius Lateranus. (A.D. 154 = a.u. 907 =
Seventeenth of Antoninus).

C. Iulius Severus, M. Rufinius Sabinianus. (A.D. 155 = a.u. 908 =
Eighteenth of Antoninus).

M. Ceionius Silvanus, C. Serius Augurinus. (A.D. 158 = a.u. 909 =
Nineteenth of Antoninus).

Barbaras, Regulus. (A.D. 157 = a.u. 910 = Twentieth of Antoninus).

Tertullus, Sacerdos. (A.D. 158 = a.u. 911 = Twenty-first of Antoninus).

Plautius Quintilius, Statius Priscus. (A.D. 159 = a.u. 912 = Twenty-second
of Antoninus).

T. Clodius Vibius Varus, App. Annius Atilius Bradua. (A.D. 160 = a.u. 913
= Twenty-third of Antoninus).

M. Ael. Aurelius Verus Caesar (III), I. Ael. Aurelius Commodus (II). (A.D.
161 = a.u. 914 = Twenty-fourth of Antoninus, to March 7th).

I. From Dio:

[Sidenote: A.D. 138 (a.u. 891)] [Sidenote:--1--] It should be noted that
information about Antoninus Pius is not found in the copies of Dio,
probably because the books have met with some accident, so that the
history of his reign is almost wholly unknown, save that when Lucius
Commodus, whom Hadrian had adopted, died before Hadrian, Antoninus was
also adopted by him and became emperor, and that when the senate demurred
to giving heroic honors to Hadrian after his demise on account of certain
murders of eminent men, Antoninus addressed many words to them with tears
and laments, and finally said: "I will not govern you either, if he has
become base and inimical and a national foe in your eyes. For you will of
course be annulling all his acts, of which my adoption was one." On
hearing this the senate both through respect for the man and through a
certain fear of the soldiers bestowed the honors upon Hadrian.

[Sidenote:--2--] Only this in regard to Antoninus is preserved in Dio.
Yes, one thing more--that the senate gave him the titles both of Augustus
and of Pius for some such reason as the following. When in the beginning
of his imperial reign many men were accused and some of them had been
interceded for by name, he nevertheless punished no one, saying: "I must
not begin my career of supervision with such deeds."

[Sidenote: LXIX, 15, 3] [When Pharasmanes the Iberian came to Rome with
his wife, he increased his domain, allowed him to offer sacrifice on the
Capitoline, set up a statue of him on horseback in the temple of Bellona,
and viewed an exercise in arms of the chieftain, his son, and the other
prominent Iberians.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 139 (a.u. 892)] We do not find preserved, either, the
first part of the account of Marcus Verus, who ruled after Antoninus and
all that the latter himself did in the case of Lucius, son of Commodus,
whom Marcus made his son-in-law, and all that Lucius accomplished when
sent by his father to the war against Vologaesus. I shall speak briefly
about these matters, gathering my material from other books, and then I
shall go back to the continuation of Dio's narrative.

II. From Xiphilinus:

[Sidenote: LXX, 3] [Sidenote: A.D. 153 (a.u. 906)] Antoninus is admitted
by all to have been noble and good, not oppressive to the Christians nor
severe to any of his other subjects; instead, he showed the Christians
great respect and added to the honor in which Hadrian had been wont to
hold them. For Eusebius, son of Pamphilus, cites in his Church History
[Footnote: IV, 9.] some letters of Hadrian in which the latter is shown to
threaten terrible vengeance upon those who harm in any way or accuse the
Christians, and to swear by Hercules that they shall receive punishment.

Antoninus is said also to have been of an enquiring turn of mind and not
to have held aloof from careful investigation of even small and
commonplace matters; for this those disposed to scoff called him

[Sidenote: A.D. 161 (a.u. 914)] Quadratus states that he died at an
advanced age, and that the happiest death befell him, like unto gentlest

[Sidenote:(A.D. 177?)] [Sidenote:--4--] In the days of Antoninus also a
most frightful earthquake is said to have occurred in the region of
Bithynia and the Hellespont. Various cities were severely damaged or fell
without a building left standing, and in particular Cyzicus; and the
temple there that was the greatest and most beautiful of all temples was
thrown down. Its columns were four cubits in thickness and fifty cubits in
height, each of a single block of stone; and each of the other features of
the edifice was more to be wondered at than to be praised. Somewhere in
the interior of the country the peak of a mountain rose upwards and surges
of the sea are said to have gushed out, while the spray from pure,
transparent sea-water was driven to a great distance over the land.
[Footnote: Compare also Zonaras V, 12 (p. 80, II. 3-11 Dind).. It is not
certain whether this earthquake properly belongs to the reign of Pius or
that of Marcus. If to the former, it must have occurred between 150 and
155 B.C. See _Hermes_ XXVI, pages 444-446 (Boissevain: _Zonaras
Quelle für die Romische Kaisergeschichte von Nerva bis Severus
Alexander_) and XXXII, pages 497-508 (B. Keil: _Kyzikenisches_);
also _Byzantinische Zeitschrift_ I, page 30 ff. (article by de
Boor).]--So much is the account of Antoninus at present extant. He reigned
twenty-four years.

III. Of Dio [or rather of Eutropius, or John of Antioch]. Taken from the
Writings of Suidas.

This prince Antoninus was an excellent man and deserves to be compared
especially with Numa on account of the similarity of his reign to that
king's, just as Trajan was seen to resemble Romulus. The private life that
Antoninus lived was thoroughly excellent and honorable, [Sidenote:--5--]
and in his position as ruler he seemed to be even more excellent and more
prudent. To no one was he harsh or oppressive, but he was gracious and
gentle toward all.

[Sidenote:--6--] In warfare he sought glory rather from an impulse of duty
than from one of gain, and was determined to preserve the borders of the
empire intact rather than to extend them to greater distances. In the
matter of men he appointed to the administration of public affairs, so far
as possible, those who were particularly scrupulous about right conduct,
and he rewarded good officials with the honors that were in his power to
grant, whereas he banished the worthless (though without any harshness)
from the conduct of public affairs.

[Sidenote:--7--] He was admired not alone by those of his own race, but
even by foreigners, as was shown by some of the neighboring barbarians
laying down their arms and permitting the prince to decide their quarrels
by his vote. And whereas he had in the course of his life as a private
citizen amassed a vast amount of money, when he entered upon office he
expended his own abundance upon gifts for the soldiers and for his
friends. To the public treasury he left a great deal of property of all


The emperor Marcus takes Verus as an associate: he gives him charge of the
Parthian war (chapters 1, 2).

Wars with the Iazyges, Marcomani, and Germans (chapters 3 and 5).

About the war in Egypt with the Bucoli (chapter 4).

Marcus's tirelessness in hearing cases at law (chapter 6).

The Iazyges conquered (chapter 7).

The Quadi are vanquished by rain sent from Heaven in answer to Roman
prayers (chapters 8 and 10).

About the Thunderbolt Legion from Melitene (chapter 9).

How envoys came to the emperor from a number of barbarians,--the Quadi,
Astingi, Iazyges, Marcomani, Naristi (chapters 11-21).

Revolt of Cassius and of Syria (chapters 22-26).

How Cassius was killed, together with his son (chapter 27).

Kindness of Marcus toward the adherents of Cassius: death of Faustina and
honors accorded her (chapters 28-31).

The return of Marcus and his generosity (chapter 32).

With his son Commodus he subjugates the Scythians: he himself meets death
(chapter 33).

Eulogy of Marcus (chapters 34, 35).


M. Ael. Aurel. Verus Caes. (III), L. Ael. Aurel. Commodus (II). (A.D. 161
= a.u. 914 = First of Marcus, from March 7th).

Iunius Rusticus, Vettius Aquilinus. (A.D. 162 = a.u. 915 = Second of

I. Aelianus, Pastor. (A.D. 163 = a.u. 916 = Third of Marcus).

M. Pompeius Macrinus, P. Iuventius Celsus. (A.D. 164 = a.u. 917 = Fourth
of Marcus).

L. Arrius Pudens, M. Gavius Orfitus. (A.D. 165 = a.u. 918 = Fifth of

Q. Servilius Pudens, L. Fufidius Pollio. (A.D. 166 = a.u. 919 = Sixth of
Marcus). L. Aurelius Verus Aug. (III), Quadratus. (A.D. 167 = a.u. 920 =
Seventh of Marcus).

T. Iunius Montanus, L. Vettius Paulus. (A.D. 168 = a.u. 921 = Eighth of

Q. Sosius Priscus, P. Caelius Apollinaris. (A.D. 169 = a.u. 922 = Ninth of

M. Cornelius Cethegus, C. Erucius Clarus. (A.D. 170 = a.u. 923 = Tenth of

L. Septimius Severus (II), L. Alfidius Herennianus. (A.D. 171 = a.u. 924 =
Eleventh of Marcus).

Maximus, Orfitus. (A.D. 172 = a.u. 925 = Twelfth of Marcus).

M. Aurelius Severus (II), T. Claudius Pompeianus. (A.D. 173 = a.u. 926 =
Thirteenth of Marcus).

Gallus, Flaccus. (A.D. 174 = a.u. 927 = Fourteenth of Marcus).

Piso, Iulianus. (A.D. 175 = a.u. 928 = Fifteenth of Marcus).

Pollio (II), Aper (II). (A.D. 176 = a.u. 929 = Sixteenth of Marcus).

L. Aurel. Commodus Aug., Quintilius. (A.D. 177 = a.u. 930 = Seventeenth of

Rufus, Orfitus. (A.D. 178 = a.u. 931 = Eighteenth of Marcus).

Commodus Aug. (II), T. Annius Aurel. Verus (II). (A.D. 179 = a.u. 932 =
Nineteenth of Marcus).

L. Fulvius Bruttius Praesens (II), Sextus Quintilius Condianus. (A.D. 180
= a.u. 933 = Twentieth of Marcus, to March 17th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 161 (a.u. 914)] [Sidenote:--1--] Marcus Antoninus, the
philosopher, upon obtaining the sovereignty at the death of Antoninus, who
adopted him, had immediately taken to share the authority with him the son
of Lucius Commodus, Lucius Verus. He was personally weak in body and he
devoted the greater part of his time to letters. It is told that even when
he was emperor he showed no shame (or hesitation) at going to a teacher
for instruction, but became a pupil of Sextus, the Boeotian philosopher,
[Footnote: "Sextus of Chaeronea, grandson of Plutarch" (Capitolinus,
_Vita M. Antoni Philosophi_, 3, 2).] and did not hesitate to go to hear
the lectures of Hermogenes on rhetoric. He was most inclined to the Stoic

Lucius, on the other hand, was strong and rather young, and better suited
for military enterprises. Therefore, Marcus made him his son-in-law by
marrying him to his daughter Lucilla, and sent him to the Parthian war.

[Sidenote:--2--] For Vologaesus had begun war by assailing on all sides
the Roman camp under Severianus, situated in Elegeia, a place in Armenia;
and he had shot down and destroyed the whole force, leaders and all. He
was now proceeding with numbers that inspired terror against the cities of
Syria. [Sidenote: A.D. 162 (a.u. 915)] Lucius, accordingly, on coming to
Antioch collected a great many soldiers, and with the best commanders
under his supervision took up a position in the city, spending his time in
ordering all arrangements and in gathering the contingent for the war. He
entrusted the armies themselves to Cassius. The latter made a noble stand
against the attack [Sidenote: A.D. 165 (a.u. 918)] of Vologaesus, and
finally the chieftain was deserted by his allies and began to retire; then
Cassius pursued him as far as Seleucia and destroyed it and razed to the
ground the palace of Vologaesus at Ctesiphon. In the course of his return
he lost a great many soldiers through famine and disease, yet he started
off to Syria with the men that were left. Lucius attained glory by these
exploits and felt a just pride in them, yet his extreme good fortune did
him no good. [Sidenote: A.D. 169 (a.u. 922)] For he is said to have
subsequently plotted against his father-in-law Marcus and to have perished
by poison before he could accomplish anything.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fragments of Dio from Suidas (thought by de Valois to belong to Book

[Martius Verus sends out Thucydides to conduct Sohaemus into Armenia; and
he, in spite of lack of arms, applied himself sturdily to this distant
task with the inherent good sense that he showed in all business falling
to his lot. Marcus had the gift not only of overpowering his antagonists
or anticipating them by swiftness or outwitting them by deceit (on which
qualities generals most rely), but also of persuading them by trustworthy
promises and conciliating them by generous gifts and luring them on by
tempting hopes. He was suave in all that he did or said, and soothed the
vexed and angry feelings of each adversary while greatly raising his
hopes. He knew well the right time for flattery and presents and
entertainment at table. And since in addition to these talents he showed
persistency in endeavor and activity together with speed against his foes,
he made it plain to the barbarians that his friendship was better worth
gaining than his enmity. So when he arrived at the New city, which a
garrison of Romans placed there by Priscus was occupying, and found them
attempting mutiny, he took care, both by word and by deed, to bring them
to a better temper, and he made the city the foremost of Armenia.]

[* * _Bridging_.--By the Romans the streams and rivers are bridged
with the greatest ease, since the soldiers are always practicing at it,
and it is carried on like any other warlike exercise on the Ister and the
Rhine and the Euphrates. The manner of doing it (which I think not
everybody knows) is as follows. The boats, by means of which the river is
bridged, are flat. They are anchored up stream a little above the spot
where the bridge is to be constructed. When the signal is given, they
first let one ship drift down stream close to the bank that they are
holding. When it has come opposite the spot to be bridged, they throw into
the water a basket filled with stones and fastened with a cord, which
serves as an anchor. Made fast in this way the ship is joined to the bank
by planks and bridgework, which the vessel carries in large quantities,
and immediately a floor is laid to the farther edge. Then they release
another ship at a little distance from this one and another one after that
until they run the bridge to the opposite bank. The boat which is near the
hostile side carries also towers upon it and a gate and archers and

As many weapons were hurled at the men engaged in bridging, Cassius
ordered weapons and catapults to be discharged. And when the front rank of
the barbarians fell, the rest gave way.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 172 (a.u. 925)] [Sidenote:--3--] Cassius, however, was
bidden by Marcus to have the superintendence of all Asia. The emperor
himself fought for a long time, in fact almost his whole life, one might
say, with the barbarians in the Ister region, the Iazyges and the
Marcomani, first one and then the other, and he used Pannonia as his
starting point.

The Langobardi and the Obii [Footnote: Or perhaps _Osi_.] to the
number of six thousand crossed the Ister, but the cavalry under Vindex
[Footnote: _M. Macrinius Avitus Catonius Vindex_.] marched out and
the infantry commanded by Candidus got the start of them, so that an utter
rout of the barbarians was instituted. The barbarians, thrown into
consternation by such an outcome of their very first undertaking,
despatched as envoys to the headquarters of Iallius Bassus [Footnote:
_M. Iallius Bassus_.] (administrator of Pannonia) Bellomarius [Footnote:
Or perhaps _Badomarius_.], king of the Marcomani, and ten more, for
they selected one man per nation. The envoys took oaths to cement the
peace and departed homewards.

Many of the Celtae, too, across the Rhine, advanced to the confines of
Italy and inflicted much serious harm upon the Romans. They, in turn, were
followed up by Marcus, who opposed to them the lieutenants Pompeianus and
Pertinax. Pertinax, who later became emperor, greatly distinguished
himself. Among the corpses of the barbarians were found also the bodies of
women in armor.

[Sidenote: A.D. 168(?)] Yet, when a most violent struggle and brilliant
victory had taken place, the emperor nevertheless refused the petition of
the soldiers for money, making this statement: "Whatever excess they
obtain above the customary amount will be wrung from the blood of their
parents and their kinsmen. For respecting the fate of the empire Heaven
alone can decide."--And he ruled them so temperately and firmly that even
in the course of so many and great wars he was impelled neither by
flattery nor by fear to do aught that was unfitting.

[Sidenote: A.D. 172 (a.u. 925)] After conquering them
Marcus received the title of Germanicus. We give the name "Germans" to
those who dwell in the northern regions.

[Sidenote:--4--] The so-called Bucoli began a disturbance in Egypt, and
under the leadership of Isidorus, a priest, [Footnote: Omitting [Greek:
kai].] caused the rest of the Egyptians to revolt. They had first, arrayed
in women's garments, deceived the Roman centurion, making him think that
they were Bucoli women and wanted to give him gold pieces in exchange for
their husbands, and then striking him down when he approached them. His
companion they sacrificed, and after taking a common oath over his
entrails they devoured them. Isidorus surpassed in bribery all his
contemporaries. Next, having conquered the Romans in Egypt in regular
battle they came very near capturing Alexandria, and would have done so,
had not Cassius been sent against them from Syria as directing general. He
succeeded in spoiling the concord that existed among them and sundering
them one from another, for on account of their numbers and desperation he
had not ventured to attack them united. So when they fell into factional
disputes he easily subdued them.

[Sidenote:--5--] Now it was in Marcus's war against the Germans (if
mention ought to be made of these matters), that a captive lad on being
asked some questions by him rejoined: "I can not answer you because of the
cold. So if you want to find out anything, command that a coat be given
me, if you have one."--And a soldier one night, who was doing guard duty
on the Ister, hearing a shout of his fellow-soldiers in captivity on the
other side, at once swam the stream just as he was, released them, and
brought them back.

One prefect of Marcus's was Bassaeus Rufus, a good man on the whole, but
uneducated and boorish, having been brought up in poverty in his early
youth. [Wherefore he had been disinclined to go on the campaign, and what
Marcus said was incomprehensible to him.] Once some one had interrupted
him in the midst of trimming a vine that wound about a tree, and when he
did not come down at the first bidding, the person rebuked him, and said:
"Come down there, prefect." This he said thinking to humiliate him for his
previous haughtiness; yet later Fortune gave him this title to wear.

[Sidenote:--6--] The emperor, as often as he had leisure from war, held
court and used to order that a most liberal supply of water be measured
out for the speakers. [Footnote: This refers to the contrivance known as
the clepsydra or water-clock, which measured time by the slow dropping of
water from an upper into a lower vessel, somewhat on the plan of the
hour-glass.] He made inquiries and answers of greater length, so that
exact justice was ensured by every possible expedient. When thus engaged
he would often hold court to try the same case for eleven or even twelve
days and sometimes [Sidenote: A.D. 172 (a.u. 926)] at night. He was
industrious and applied himself diligently to all the duties of his
office; and there was nothing which he said or wrote or did that he
regarded a minor matter, but sometimes he would consume whole days on the
finest point, putting into practice his belief that the emperor should do
nothing hurriedly. For he thought that if he should slight even the
smallest detail, it would bring him reproach that would overshadow all his
other achievements. Yet he was so frail in body that at first he could not
endure the cold, but when the soldiers had already come together in
obedience to orders he would retire before speaking a word to them; and he
took but very little food always, and that at night. It was never his
custom to eat during the daytime unless it were some of the drug called
theriac. [Footnote: See Galen, On Antidotes, Book Two, chapter 17, and On
Theriac (to Piso), chapter 2.] This drug he took not so much because he
feared anything as because his stomach and chest were in bad condition.
And it is related that this practice enabled him to endure the disease as
well as other hardships.

[Sidenote: A.D. 172(?) 173(?)] [Sidenote:--7--] The Iazyges were conquered
by the Romans on land at this time and subsequently on the river. By this
I mean not that any naval battle took place, but that the Romans followed
them as they fled over the frozen Ister and fought there as on dry land.
The Iazyges, perceiving that they were being pursued, awaited the foe's
onset, expecting easily to overcome them, since their opponents were not
accustomed to ice. Accordingly, some of the barbarians dashed straight at
them, while others rode around to attack the flanks, for their horses were
trained to run safely even over a surface of this kind. The Romans, seeing
this, were not alarmed, but made a close formation, placing themselves so
as to face all of them at once. The majority laid down their shields and
resting one foot upon them, so that they might slip less, received the
enemy's assault. Some seized bridles, others shields and spear-shafts, and
drew them towards them. Then, becoming involved in close conflict, they
knocked down both men and horses, for on account of their momentum the
enemy could not help slipping. The Romans also slipped down: but in case
one of them fell on his back he dragged his adversary down on top of him
and then by winding his legs about him as in a wrestling match would get
him underneath; and if one fell on his face, he made his opponent fall
before he did, also on his face. The barbarians, being unused to a contest
of this sort, and having lighter equipment, were unable to resist, so that
but few escaped out of a large force.

[Sidenote: A.D. 174 (a.u. 927)] [Sidenote:--8--] So Marcus made the
Marcomani and Iazyges subservient by a series of great struggles and
dangers. A great war against the so-called Quadi also fell to his lot and
it was his good fortune to win an unexpected victory, or rather it was
given him from Heaven. At a time when the Romans had run into danger in
the battle the Heavenly Power most unexpectedly saved them. The Quadi had
surrounded them at an opportune spot and the Romans were fighting
valiantly with their shields locked together: and the barbarians ceased
fighting, expecting to capture their enemies easily by heat and thirst. So
they posted guards all about and hemmed them in to prevent their getting
water anywhere, for the barbarians were far superior in numbers. The
Romans fell into dire distress from their fatigue and wounds and the sun's
heat and their thirst, and for these reasons could neither fight nor march
in any direction but were standing and being scorched in line of battle
and at their several posts, when suddenly numbers of clouds rushed
together and a great rain, certainly of divine origin, came pouring down.
Indeed, there is a story that Arnouphis, an Egyptian wizard, who was a
companion of Marcus, invoked by means of enchantments various deities and
in particular Mercury, god of the air, and by this means attracted the

[Sidenote:--9--] This is what Dio says about it, but he seems to be
telling an untruth, whether voluntarily or involuntarily; I am more
inclined to think it is voluntarily. It surely must be so, for he was not
ignorant of the fact that one company of the soldiers had the special name
of "The Thunderbolt" (he mentions it in the list along with the rest),
[Footnote: The reference is evidently to Book Fifty-five, chapter 23, but
it should be observed that the names, though very possibly having the same
sense, are not identical. The legion is here called [Greek: keraunobolos]
(=Fulminatrix or Fulminata) but in 55, 23 [Greek: keraunophoros] (=
Fulminifera).] and this was due to no other cause (nor is any other
reported) save that event which gave rise to the title in this very
war,--an event which enabled the Romans to survive on this occasion and
brought destruction upon the barbarians. It was not Arnouphis, the wizard,
for Marcus is not accounted to have taken pleasure in the company of
wizards and charms. But what I have reference to is as follows: Marcus had
a company (and the Roman name for company is "legion") of soldiers from
Melitene. They were all worshipers of Christ. Now it is stated that in
that battle, when Marcus was in a quandary over having been surrounded and
feared the loss of his whole army, the prefect approached him and said
that those called Christians can accomplish anything whatever by their
prayers, and that among them there chanced to be a whole company of this
sect. Marcus, on hearing this, made an appeal to them to pray to their
God. And when they had prayed, the God immediately gave ear, hurling a
thunderbolt upon the enemy and encouraging the Romans with rain. Marcus
was astounded at what happened and honored the Christians by an official
decree, while the legion he named "The Thunderbolt." It is said also that
there is a letter of Marcus extant on this matter. But the Greeks, though
they know that the company was called "Thunderbolt" and bear witness to
the fact themselves, make no statement whatever about the reason for the

[Sidenote:--10--] Dio goes on to say that when the rain poured down at
first all bent their faces upwards and received it in their mouths. Then
some held their shields and their helmets as pails, and they themselves
took fullmouthed draughts of it and gave their horses to drink. The
barbarians making a charge upon them, they drank and fought at the same
time; and some who were wounded gulped down together the water and the
blood that flowed into their helmets. The most of them had given so much
attention to drinking that they would have suffered some great damage from
the enemy's onset had not a violent hail and numbers of thunderbolts
fallen upon the latter's ranks. In the same spot one might see water and
fire descending from Heaven at the same time: the one side was being
drenched and drinking, the other was being burned with fire and dying. The
fire did not touch the Romans, but if it fell anywhere among them it was
straightway extinguished. On the other hand, the shower did the barbarians
no good, but like oil served rather to feed the flames that fed on them,
and they searched for water while in the midst of rain. Some wounded
themselves in the attempt to put out the fire with blood, and others ran
over to the side of the Romans, convinced that they alone had the saving
water. Marcus finally took pity on them. He was for the seventh time
saluted as imperator by the soldiers. And although he was not wont to
accept any such honor before the senate voted it, [Footnote: Cp. Mommsen,
_Staatsrecht_, 12, p. 123 (or 13, p. 124); also III, p. 1108.]
nevertheless this time he took it under the assumption that it was
bestowed from Heaven, and he sent a despatch to that effect to the
senate.--Moreover Faustina was named "Mother of the Legions."

[Sidenote:--11--] [Marcus [Antoninus] remained in Pannonia in order to
transact business with the embassies of the barbarians. Many came to him
also at this time. Some promised an alliance: they were led by Battarius,
a child twelve years old, and they received money and succeeded in
restraining Tarbus, a neighboring potentate, who had come into Dacia, was
demanding money, and threatening to make war if he should not get it.
Others, like the Quadi, were asking for peace, and they obtained it, the
emperor's purpose being to have them detached from the Marcomani. Another
reason was that they gave horses and cattle, surrendered all the deserters
and the captives at first to the number of thirteen thousand, though later
they promised to restore the remainder as well. However, the right of free
intercourse even at markets was not granted them, the intention being to
prevent the Iazyges and the Marcomani, whom they had sworn not to receive
nor let pass through their country, from either mingling with them or
presenting themselves also in the guise of Quadi,--a plan which would
enable them to reconnoitre the Roman position and to purchase provisions.
Besides these who came to Marcus, many others despatched envoys, some by
tribes and some by nations, offering to surrender themselves. Some of them
were sent on campaigns to other parts of the world, and the captives and
deserters who were fit for it were similarly treated. Others received
land, in Dacia or in Pannonia or in Moesia and Germany or in Italy itself.
A few of them who settled at Ravenna made an uprising and even dared to
take possession of the city: and for this reason he did not again bring
any barbarian into Italy, but made even those who had previously come
there find homes outside.]

Detachments of both Astingi and Lacringi had come to lend assistance to

[Sidenote:--12--] [The Astingi, whose leaders were Raus and Raptus, came
into Dacia to settle, in the hope of receiving both money and land in
return for terms of alliance. As they did not obtain this, they put their
wives and children in the keeping of Clemens, [Footnote: _Sex. Cornelius
Clemens._] with the apparent intention of acquiring the land of the
Costobocci by force of arms; and upon conquering them they injured Dacia
no less. The Lacringi, fearing that Clemens out of dread might lead these
newcomers into the land which they were inhabiting, attacked them off
their guard and won a decisive victory. As a result, the Astingi committed
no further deeds displaying hostility to the Romans, but by making urgent
supplication to Marcus received money from him and asked that land might
be given them if they should harm in some way his temporary enemies. Now
these performed some of their promises. The Cotini made similar
propositions, but upon getting control of Tarrutenius Paternus, secretary
of the emperor's Latin letters, under the pretext of requiring his aid for
a campaign against the Marcomani, they not only failed to take this course
but did him frightful injury and thereby ensured their own destruction

[Sidenote: A.D. 171 (a.u. 924)] When in one battle the Marcomani were
successful and killed Marcus Vindex, the prefect, he erected three statues
in his memory.

[Sidenote:--13--] [Envoys were also sent to Marcus by the Iazyges,
requesting peace, but they did not obtain any. For Marcus, knowing their
race to be untrustworthy, and, furthermore, because he had been deceived
by the Quadi, wished to annihilate them absolutely. [Footnote: Reading
[Greek: exelein] (Boissevain) in place of the MS. [Greek: exelthein].] The
Quadi had not only made alliances at this time with the Iazyges, but
previously, too, were wont to receive in their own land Marcomanian
fugitives who might be hard pressed, while that tribe was at war with the
Romans. Nor did they do aught else that they had agreed, for they did not
restore all the captives, but only a few, and these were such as they
could not sell nor use for any work as helpers. And whenever they did give
back any of those in good condition, they would keep their relatives at
home in order that the men given up might desert again to join their
friends. They also expelled their king, Furtius, and on their own
responsibility made Ariogaesus king instead. Consequently the emperor did
not confirm him, since he had not been legally installed, nor renew the
treaty of peace, though they promised to return fifty thousand captives if
he would.]

[Sidenote:--14--] [Against Ariogaesus Marcus was so bitter that he issued
a proclamation to the effect that any one who would bring him alive should
receive a thousand gold pieces, and any one who killed him and exhibited
his head, five hundred. Yet in other cases this emperor was always
accustomed to treat even his most stubborn foes humanely; for instance, he
did not kill, but merely sent to Britain Tiridates, a satrap who roused a
tumult in Armenia and the person who slew the king of the Heniochi and
then held the sword in Verus's [Footnote: _P. Martius Verus._] face,
when the latter rebuked him for it. This, then, shows the extent of his
irritation against Ariogaesus at the time. However, when the man was later
captured he did him no harm, but sent him away to Alexandria.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 174(?) 175(?)] When Pertinax in
consideration of his brave exploits obtained the consulship, there were
nevertheless some who showed displeasure at the fact that he was of
obscure family, and quoted the line from tragedy:

  "Such things the wretched war brings in its train." [Footnote: From
  Euripides, The Suppliants, verse 119.]

They did not know that he should yet be sovereign.

[Sidenote: A.D. 176(?)] [Sidenote:--15--] [At the request of the
Marcomani, as expressed by their envoys and in view of the fact that they
had followed all the injunctions laid upon them, even if sullenly and
hesitatingly, he released to them one half of the adjoining territory, so
that they could settle for a distance of about thirty-eight stades
[Footnote: Or five miles.] from the Ister, and established the places and
the days for their meeting together (these had not been previously
determined), and he exchanged hostages with them.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 175 (a.u. 928)] [Sidenote:--16--] [The Iazyges, also, when
they had experienced reverses, came to an agreement, Zanticus himself
appearing as suppliant before Antoninus. Previously they had imprisoned
Banadaspus, their second king, for making proposals to him. Now, however,
all the foremost men came in company with Zanticus and made the same
compact as that accepted by the Quadi and the Marcomani, except in so far
as they were required [Footnote: Reading [Greek: aemellon] (Boissevain).]
to dwell twice as far away from the Ister as those tribes. It was his wish
to root them out utterly. That they were still strong at this time and
could have done the Romans great harm is evident from the fact that they
gave back one hundred thousand captives out of a body in which many had
been sold, many were dead, and many had run away and been recaptured. They
supplied Antoninus at once with a cavalry force of eight thousand allies,
fifty-five hundred of whom he sent to Britain.]

[Sidenote:--17--] [The revolt of Cassius and Syria forced Marcus
Antoninus, even contrary to his wishes, to come to terms with the Iazyges.
He was so upset at the news that he did not even communicate to the senate
the basis of the reconciliation made with them, as he was wont to do in
all other cases.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 179-180]

[Sidenote:--18--] [The Iazyges sent an embassy and asked to be released
from some of the agreements they had made, and a certain leniency was
shown them, to prevent their being entirely alienated. Yet neither they
nor the Buri were willing to join the Roman alliance until they received
pledges from Marcus that he would without fail prosecute the war to the
uttermost. They were afraid that he might make a treaty with the Quadi, as
before, and leave enemies dwelling at their doors.]

[Sidenote:--19--] [Marcus gave audience to such persons as came in the
capacity of envoys from outside nations, but all were not received on the
same footing. This varied according as the individual states were worthy
to receive citizenship, or freedom from taxes, or perpetual or temporary
exemption from tribute, or to enjoy permanent support. And when the
Iazyges proved themselves most useful to him, he released them from many
of the restrictions imposed upon them,--indeed, from all, save from the
arrangements made in regard to their gatherings and mutual intercourse,
and the provisions that they should _not_ use boats of their own and
_should_ keep away from the islands in the Ister. And he permitted
them to go through Dacia and have dealings with the Rhoxolani as often as
the governor of Dacia would give them permission.]

[Sidenote:--20--] [The Quadi and the Marcomani sent envoys to Marcus,
saying that the two myriads of soldiers that were in the forts would not
allow [Footnote: Supplying, with Reiske, [Greek: epetrepon.]] them to
pasture or till the soil or do anything else with freedom, but kept
receiving many deserters from them and captives of theirs; yet the
soldiers themselves were enduring no great hardships, inasmuch as they had
bath-houses and all necessary provisions in abundance. The Quadi,
consequently, would not endure the watch kept on them from fortifications
and undertook to withdraw _en masse_ to the territory of the
Semnones. But Antoninus learned beforehand of their intention and by
barring the roads thither prevented them. This showed that he desired not
to acquire their territory, but to punish the members of the tribe.]

[Sidenote:--21--] [And the Naristi, having encountered hardships, deserted
to the number of three thousand at once and received land in our

[Sidenote:--22--] Upon the rebellion of Cassius in Syria, Marcus, in great
alarm, summoned his son Commodus from Rome, since he was now able to enter
the ranks of the iuvenes. Now Cassius, who was a Syrian from Cyrrhus, had
shown himself an excellent man and the sort of person one would desire to
have as emperor: only he was a son of one Heliodorus, [Footnote: _C.
Avidius Heliodorus_ (cp. Book Sixty-nine, chapter 3).] who had been
delighted to secure the governorship of Egypt as a result of his
oratorical skill. But in this uprising he made a terrible mistake, and it
was all due to his having been deceived by Faustina. The latter, who was a
daughter of Antoninus Pius, seeing that her husband had fallen ill, and
expecting that he might die at any moment, was afraid that the imperial
office might revert to some outsider and she be left in private life; for
Commodus was both young and rather callow, besides. So she secretly
induced Cassius to make preparations to the end that if anything should
happen to Antoninus he might take both her and the sovereignty.
[Sidenote:--23--] Now while he was in this frame of mind, a message came
that Marcus was dead (in such circumstances reports always make matters
worse than they really are) and immediately, without waiting to confirm
the rumor, he laid claim to the empire on the ground that it had been
bestowed upon him by the soldiers at this time quartered in Pannonia. And
in spite of the fact that before long he learned the truth, nevertheless,
since he had once made a move, he would not change his attitude but
speedily won over the whole district bounded by the Taurus, and was making
preparations to maintain his ascendancy by war. Marcus, on being informed
of his uprising by Verus, the governor of Cappadocia, for a time concealed
it; but, as the soldiers were being mightily disturbed by the reports and
were doing a deal of talking, he called them together and read an address
of the following nature:

[Sidenote:--24--] "Fellow-soldiers, I have not come before you to express
indignation, nor yet in a spirit of lamentation. Why rage against Fate,
that is all-powerful? But perchance it is needful to bewail the lot of
those who are undeservedly unfortunate, a lot which is now mine. Is it not
afflicting for us to meet war after war? Is it not absurd to be involved
in civil conflict? Are not both these conditions surpassed in affliction
and in absurdity by the proof before us that there is naught to be trusted
among mankind, since I have been plotted against by my dearest friend and
have been thrust into a conflict against my will, though I have committed
no crime nor even error? What virtue, what friendship shall henceforth be
deemed secure after this experience of mine? Has not faith, has not hope
perished? If the danger were mine alone, I should give the matter no
heed,--I was not born to be immortal,--but since there has been a public
secession (or rather obsession) and war is fastening its clutches upon all
of us alike, I should desire, were it possible, to invite Cassius here and
argue the case with him in your presence or in the presence of the senate;
and I would gladly, without a contest, withdraw from my office in his
favor, if this seemed to be for the public advantage. For it is on behalf
of the public that I continue to toil and undergo dangers and have spent
so much time yonder outside of Italy, during mature manhood and now in old
age and weakness, though I can not take food without pain nor get sleep
free from anxiety.

[Sidenote:--25--] "But since Cassius would never be willing to agree to
this (for how could he trust me after having shown himself so
untrustworthy towards me?), you, at least, fellow-soldiers, ought to be of
good cheer. Cilicians, Syrians, Jews and Egyptians have never proved your
superiors nor shall so prove, even if they assemble in numbers ten times
your own, whereas they are now by the same proportion inferior. Nor yet
would Cassius himself now appear worthy of any particular consideration,
however much he may seem to possess the qualities of generalship, however
many successes he may seem to have gained. An eagle is not formidable at
the head of an army of daws, nor a lion commanding fawns; and it was not
Cassius, but you, that brought to an end the Arabian or the famous
Parthian War. Again, even though he is renowned as a result of his
achievements against the Parthians, yet you have Verus, who has won more
victories than he and has acquired more territory in a not less, but more
distinguished manner.--But probably he has already changed his mind, on
hearing that I am alive, for surely he has done this on no other
assumption than that I was dead. And if he resists still further, yet when
he learns that we are approaching, he will surely hesitate both out of
fear of you and out of respect for me.

[Sidenote:--26--] "There is only one thing I fear, fellow-soldiers (you
shall be told the whole truth), and that is that he may either kill
himself because ashamed to come into our presence, or some one else upon
learning that I shall come and am setting out against him may do it. Then
should I be deprived of a great prize both of war and of victory, and of a
magnitude such as no human being ever yet obtained. What is this? Why, to
forgive a man that has done you an injury, to remain a friend to one who
has transgressed friendship, to continue faithful to one who has broken
faith. Perhaps this seems strange to you, but you ought not to disbelieve
it. For all goodness has not yet perished from among mankind, but there is
still in us a remnant of the ancient virtue. And if any one does
disbelieve it, that renders the more ardent my desire that men may see
accomplished what no one would believe could come to pass. That would be
one profit I could derive from present ills, if I could settle the affair
well and show to all mankind that there is a right way to handle even
civil wars."

[Sidenote:--27--] This is what Marcus both said to the soldiers and wrote
to the senate, in no place abusing Cassius, save he constantly termed him
ungrateful. Nor, indeed, did Cassius ever utter or write anything of a
nature insulting to Marcus.

Marcus at the time he was preparing for the war against Cassius would
accept no barbarian alliance although he found a concourse of foreign
nations offering their services; for he said that the barbarians ought not
to know about troubles arising between Romans.

While Marcus was making preparations for the civil war, many victories
over various barbarians were reported at one and the same time with the
death of Cassius. The latter while walking had encountered Antonius, a
centurion, who gave him a sudden wound in the neck, though the blow was
not entirely effective. And Antonius, borne away by the impetus of his
horse, left the deed incomplete, so that his victim nearly escaped; but
meantime the decurion had finished what was left to do. They cut off his
head and set out to meet the emperor.

Marcus Antoninus [was so much grieved at the destruction
of Cassius that he would not even endure to see the severed head, but
before the murderers drew near gave orders that it should be buried.]

Thus was this pretender slain after a dream of
sovereignty lasting three months and six days, and his son was murdered
somewhere else. And Marcus upon reaching the provinces that had joined in
Cassius's uprising treated them all very kindly and put no one, either
obscure or prominent, to death.

[Sidenote:--28--] [The same man would not slay nor imprison nor did he put
under any guard any one of the senators associated with Cassius. He did
not so much as bring them before his own court, but merely sent them
before the senate, nominally under some other complaint, and appointed
them a fixed day on which to have their case heard. Of the rest he brought
to justice a very few, who had not only cooperated with Cassius to the
extent of some overt action but were personally guilty of some crime. A
proof of this is that he did not murder nor deprive of his property
Flavius Calvisius, the governor of Egypt, but merely confined him on an
island. The records made about his case Marcus caused to be burned, in
order that no reproach might attach to him from them. Furthermore he
released all his relatives.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 176 (a.u. 929)] [Sidenote:--29--] About this same time
Faustina died, either of the gout from which she had suffered or from less
natural causes and to avoid being convicted of her compact with
Cassius.--Moreover, Marcus destroyed the documents [found in the chests of
Pudens], [Footnote: Reimar suggested that perhaps Pudens was secretary of
the Greek letters of Cassius, as Manlius (Book Seventy-two, chapter 7) was
of his Latin letters.] not even reading them, in order that he might not
learn even a name of any of the conspirators who had written something
against him and that he might not [therefore] be reluctantly forced to
hate any one. Another account is that Verus, who was sent ahead into
Syria, of which he had secured the governorship, found them among the
effects of Cassius and put them out of the way, saying that this course
would most probably be agreeable to the emperor, but even if he should be
angry, it would be better that he [Verus] himself should perish than many
others. Marcus was so averse to slaughter that he saw to it that the
gladiators in Rome contended without danger, like athletes; for he never
permitted any of them to have any sharp iron, but they fought with blunt
weapons, rounded off at the ends. [And so far was he from countenancing
any slaughter that though at the request of the populace he ordered to be
brought in a lion trained to eat men, he would not look at the beast nor
emancipate its teacher, in spite of the long-continued and urgent demands
of the people. Instead, he commanded proclamation to be made that the man
had done nothing to deserve freedom.]

[Sidenote:--30--] In his great grief over the death of Faustina he wrote
to the senate that no one of those who had cooperated with Cassius was
dead, as if in this fact alone he could find some consolation for
Faustina's loss. "May it never happen," he continued, "that any one of you
is slain during [Footnote: Reading [Greek: ep emou] (Dindorf).] my
lifetime either by my vote or by your own." Finally he said: "If I do not
obtain this request, I shall hasten on to death." So pure and excellent
and godfearing did he show himself throughout his career. [Nothing could
force him to do anything inconsistent with his character, neither the
wickedness of daring attempts nor the expectation of similar events to
follow as the result of pardon. To such an extent did he refrain from
inventing any imaginary conspiracy and concocting any tragedy that had not
taken place, that he released even those who most openly rose against him
and took arms against him and against his son, whether they were generals
or heads of tribes or kings, and he put none of them to death either by
his own action or by that of the senate or by any other arrangement
whatever. Wherefore I actually believe that if he had captured Cassius
himself alive, he would certainly have saved him from injury.] For he
conferred benefits upon many who had been murderers,--so far as lay in
their power,--of himself and his son.

[Sidenote:--31--] A law was at this time passed that no one should be
governor in the province from which he had originally come, because the
revolt of Cassius had occurred during his administration of Syria, which
included his native district. It was voted by the senate that silver
images of Marcus and Faustina should be set up in the temple of Venus and
Roma, and that an altar should be erected whereon all the maidens married
in the city and their bridegrooms should offer sacrifice; also that a
golden image of Faustina should be carried in a chair to the theatre on
each occasion that the emperor should be a spectator, and that it should
be placed in the seat well forward, where she herself was wont to take her
place when alive, and that the women of chief influence should all sit
round about it.

[Sidenote:--32--] Marcus went to Athens, where after being initiated into
the mysteries he bestowed honors upon the Athenians and gave teachers to
all men in Athens, for every species of knowledge, these teachers to
receive an annual salary. On his return to Rome he made an address to the
people; and while he was saying, among other things, that he had been
absent many years, they cried out: "Eight!" and indicated this also with
their hands, in order that they might receive an equal number of gold
pieces for a banquet. He smiled and himself uttered the word "Eight."
After that he distributed to them two hundred denarii apiece, more than
they had ever received before.--In addition to doing this, he forgave all
persons all their debts to the imperial and to the public treasury for a
space of forty-six years, outside of the sixteen granted by Hadrian. And
all the documents relating to these debts he ordered burned in the Forum.
[Sidenote: A.D. 177 (a.u. 930)]--He gave money to many cities, one of them
being Smyrna, that had suffered terribly by an earthquake; he also
assigned the duty of building up this place to an ex-praetor of senatorial
rank. Therefore I am surprised at the censures even now passed upon him to
the effect that he was not a man of large calibre. For, whereas in
ordinary matters he was really quite frugal, he never demurred at a single
necessary expenditure (though, as I have said, [Footnote: The reference
here made by Dio may very possibly be to a passage reproduced by Zonaras
(XII, 1), regarding the authenticity of which Boissevain is nevertheless
somewhat doubtful. For the sake of completeness a translation is here
given ([Greek: oumaen [Lacuna] ebiasato]):

  "Yet he was not thereby induced to secure money from the subject
  nations. On one occasion, indeed, with wars impending, he had come short
  for funds and still did not devise any new tax nor endure to ask money
  from any one. Instead, he exposed in the Forum all the heirlooms of the
  palace, even down to this or that piece of finery belonging to his wife,
  and solicited their purchase by any person so disposed. This brought him
  a store of coin, which he distributed to the soldiers. By success in the
  war he gained many times the amount in question, and he issued a
  proclamation to the effect than any one so disposed among the purchasers
  of the imperial property might return the article purchased and receive
  its value. Some did so, but the majority declined. And nobody was
  compelled to restore any object thus acquired."]

he hurt no one by levies), and he necessarily laid out very large sums
beyond the ordinary requirements.

[Sidenote:--33--] The Scythian imbroglio, which needed his attention,
caused him to give his son a wife, Crispina, sooner than he actually
wished. The Quintilii could not end the war, although there were two of
them and they possessed prudence, courage, and considerable experience.
Consequently the rulers themselves were forced to take the field.
[Sidenote: A.D. 178 (a.u. 931)] Marcus also asked the senate for money
from the public treasury, not because it had not been placed in the
sovereign's authority, but because Marcus was wont to declare that this
and everything else belonged to the senate and the people. "We," said he
(speaking to the senate), "are so far from having anything of our own that
we even live in a house of yours." He set out, therefore, after these
remarks, and after hurling the bloody spear, that lay in the temple of
Bellona, into hostile territory. (I heard this from men who accompanied
him). [Sidenote: A.D. 179] Paternus was given a large detachment and sent
to the scene of fighting. The barbarians held out the entire day, but were
all cut down by the Romans. And Marcus was for the tenth time saluted as

[Sidenote: A.D. 180 (a.u. 933)] Had he lived longer, he
would have subdued the whole region: as it was, he passed away on the
seventeenth of March, not from the effects of the sickness that he had at
the time, but by the connivance of his physicians, as I have heard on good
evidence, who wanted to do a favor to Commodus.

[Sidenote:--34--] When at the point of death he commended his son to the
protection of the soldiers (for he did not wish his death to appear to be
his fault); and to the military tribunes, who asked him for the watchword,
he said: "Go to the rising sun: I am already setting." After he was dead
he obtained many marks of honor and was set up in gold within the
senate-house itself.

So this was the manner of Marcus's demise, [who besides all other virtues
was so godfearing that even on the dies nefasti he sacrificed at home; and
he ruled better than any that had ever been in power. To be sure, he could
not display many feats of physical prowess; yet in his own person he made
a very strong body out of a very weak one.] Most of his life he passed in
the service of beneficence, and therefore he erected on the Capitol a
temple to that goddess and called her by a most peculiar name, which had
never before been current. [Footnote: What this name was no one knows.
Sylburgius conjectured that it might be _Aequanimitas_.] He himself
refrained from all offences, [and committed no faults voluntarily:] but
the offences of others, particularly those of his wife, he endured, and
neither investigated them nor punished them. In case any person did
anything good, he would praise him and use him for the service in which he
excelled, but about others he did not trouble himself, [saying: "It is
impossible for one to create such men as one wishes to have, but it is
proper to employ those in existence for that in which each of them may be
useful to the commonwealth."] That all his actions were prompted not by
pretence but by real virtue is strikingly clear. He lived fifty-eight
years, ten months, and twenty-two days, and of this time he had spent
considerable as assistant to the previous Antoninus and had himself been
emperor nineteen years and eleven days, yet from first to last he remained
the same and changed not a particle. So truly was he a good man, without
any pretence about him. [Sidenote:--35--] He was vastly helped by his
education being an expert in rhetoric and in philosophical argument. In
the one he had Cornelius Fronto and Claudius Herodes for teachers, and in
the other, Junius Rusticus and Apollonius of Nicomedea, [Footnote: Since
Apollonius was really from Chalcedon, an error may here charged to Dio's
or some one else's account.] both of whom followed Zeno's school. As a
result, great numbers pretended to engage in philosophy, in order that
they might be enriched by the emperor.

After all, however, he owed his great attainments chiefly to his natural
disposition; for even before he enjoyed the society of those men he was
unflinchingly set upon virtue. While still a boy he delighted all his
relations, who were numerous and influential and wealthy, and was loved by
all of them. This, most of all, led Hadrian to adopt him into his family,
and Marcus, for his part, did not grow haughty [but, though young and a
Caesar he dutifully played the part of servant to Antoninus through all
the latter's reign and ungrudgingly did honor to the other men of
eminence. Before going to see his father he used to greet the most worthy
men in the house near the Tiber where he lived, and in the very apartment
where he slept; and all this time, instead of wearing the attire allowed
by his rank, he went dressed as a private citizen. He visited many who
were sick and invariably met his teachers at the proper time. Dark
garments were what he wore on going out when not in his father's company,
and he never used the attendant for himself alone. Upon being appointed
leader of the knights he entered the Forum with the rest, although he was
Caesar. This shows how excellent was his own natural disposition, though
it was aided to the greatest degree by education.] He was always steeped
in Greek and Latin rhetorical and philosophical learning [though he had
reached man's estate and had hopes of becoming emperor].

[Sidenote:--36--] Before he was made Caesar he had a dream in which he
seemed to have shoulders and hands of ivory and to use them in all
respects as he did his real limbs.

As a result of his great labors and studies he was extremely frail in
body, yet from the very start he enjoyed such good health that he used to
fight in armor and on a hunt struck down wild boars while on horseback.
[And not only in his early youth but even later he wrote most of his
letters to his intimate friends with his own hand.] However, he did not
meet the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong [in body]
and was involved in the greatest variety of troubles throughout
practically the whole period that he was ruler. But I am sure I admire him
all the more for this very reason, that amid unusual and extraordinary
happenings he both himself survived and preserved the empire. One thing in
particular contributed to his lack of happiness,--the fact that after
rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was monstrously
disappointed in him. This matter must now form the subject of our
discourse, for our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of
iron and rust, [Footnote: Reading [Greek: chatiomenaen] (Dindorf,
following Reiske).] as affairs did for the Romans of that day.


About Commodus Augustus (chapter 1).

How Commodus made terms of peace with the Marcomani, the Quadi, and the
Buri (chapters 2, 3).

Intrigues of Pompeianus against Commodus (chapter 4).

About the killing of the Quintilii (chapters 5-7).

About the war in Britain, and the captain, Ulpius Marcellus (chapter 8).

How Perennis, pretorian prefect, was slain (chapters 9, 10)

Statue erected to Victorinus (chapter 11).

Crimes and death of Cleander, a Caesarian (chapters 12, 13)

Fresh assassinations occur (chapter 15).

Commodus's titles (chapter 15).

About the spectacles presented by Commodus, and his insolent behavior
(chapters 16-21).

Commodus is killed as the result of a conspiracy (chapter 22).

Dio begins to lay the foundations of his history (chapter 23).

Portents indicating the death of Commodus (chapter 24).


L. Fulvius Bruttius Praesens (II), Sextus Quintilius Condianus. (A.D. 180
= a.u. 933 = First of Commodus, from March 17th).

Commodus Aug. (III), Antistius Burrus. (A.D. 181 = a.u. 934 = Second of

C. Petronius Mamertinus, Cornelius Rufus. (A.D. 182 = a.u. 935 = Third of

Commodus Aug. (IV), Aufidius Victorinus (II). (A.D. 183 = a.u. 936 =
Fourth of Commodus).

L. Eggius Marullus, Cn. Papirius Aelianus. (A.D. 184 = a.u. 937 = Fifth of

Maternus, Bradua. (A.D. 185 = a.u. 938 = Sixth of Commodus).

Commodus Aug. (V), Acilius Glabrio (II). (A.D. 186 = a.u. 939 = Seventh of
Commodus). Crispinus, Aelianus. (A.D. 187 = a.u. 940 = Eighth of

C. Allius Fuscianus (II), Duillius Silanus (II). (A.D. 188 = a.u. 941 =
Ninth of Commodus).

Iunius Silanus, Servilius Silanus. (A.D. 189 = a.u. 942 = Tenth of

Commodus Aug. (VI), M. Petronius Septimianus. (A.D. 190 = a.u. 943 =
Eleventh of Commodus).

Apronianus, Bradua. (A.D. 191 = a.u. 944 = Twelfth of Commodus).

Commodus Aug. (VII), P. Helvius Pertinax (II). (A.D. 192 = a.u. 945 =
Thirteenth of Commodus, to Dec. 31st).

[Sidenote: A.D. 180 (a.u. 933)] [Sidenote:--1--] This [Commodus] was not
naturally wicked, but was originally as free from taint as any man ever
was. His great simplicity, however, and likewise his cowardice made him a
slave of his companions and it was through them that he first, out of
ignorance, missed the better life and then was attracted into
licentiousness and bloodthirsty habits, which soon became second nature.
[And this, I think, Marcus clearly perceived beforehand.] He was nineteen
years old when his father died, leaving him many guardians, among whom
were numbered the best men of the senate. But to their suggestions and
counsels Commodus bade farewell, and, after making a truce with the
barbarians, he hastened to Rome.

[Sidenote:--2--] [For the Marcomani by reason of the number of their
people that were perishing and the damage constantly being done to their
farms no longer had either food or men in any numbers. Thus they sent only
two of their foremost representatives and two others that were of inferior
rank as envoys in regard to peace. And whereas he might easily have put an
end to their resistance, he so detested exertion and was so eager for the
comforts of city life that he made terms with them. Besides the conditions
which his father had settled upon with them new ones were now imposed
requiring them to restore to him the deserters and the captives that they
took after this time and to contribute annually a stipulated amount of
grain,--a demand from which he subsequently released them. He obtained
some weapons from them and also soldiers, thirteen thousand from the Quadi
and a smaller number from the Marcomani. In return for this contingent he
relieved them of the requirement of an annual levy. However, he issued
further orders that they should not assemble often nor in many parts of
the country, but once each month, in one place, in the presence of a Roman
centurion; and again, that they should not make war upon the Iazyges, the
Buri, or the Vandili. On these terms a reconciliation was effected and all
the garrisons in their country beyond the detached border territory were
abandoned [Lacuna]]

[Sidenote: A.D. 181(?)] [Sidenote:--3--] [Commodus also granted peace to
an embassy from the Buri. Previously he would not have it, though often
asked, because they were strong and because it was not peace they wanted,
but the securing of a respite for further preparations. Now, however,
since they were exhausted, he made terms with them and accepted hostages.
From the Buri he received back many captives and from the others
[Footnote: The MS. is here very possibly corrupt.] fifteen thousand, and
he compelled the others [Footnote: The MS. is here very possibly corrupt.]
to take oath that they would never dwell in nor use as pasture forty
stadia of their territory, nearest to Dacia. The same (?) Sabinianus also
reduced twelve thousand of the neighboring Dacians who had been driven out
of their own country and were on the point of aiding the rest. [Footnote:
The MS. is here very possibly corrupt.] He promised these that some land
in our Dacia should be given them.]

[Sidenote:--4--] Frequent plots were formed by various persons against
Commodus [for he did many reprehensible deeds] and he murdered great
numbers both of men and of women, some openly and some by secret
poison,--in a word, practically all those who had attained eminence during
his father's lifetime and his own. Exceptions were Pompeianus and Pertinax
and Victorinus: these for some reason unknown to me he did not kill. THIS
FROM MY OWN OBSERVATION. On coming to Rome he had a conference with the
senate, at which he talked a great deal of nonsense, one thing that he
said in praise of himself being that he had once on horseback saved the
life of his father, who had fallen into a deep mire. Of such a nature were
his lofty pratings. [Sidenote: A.D. 182 (a.u. 935)]As he was entering the
hunting theatre, Claudius Pompeianus laid a snare for him. He held up a
sword in the narrow passage which served as an entrance and said: "See,
this is what the senate has sent you."

This man had taken as his spouse the daughter of Lucilla, but had intimate
relations both with the daughter herself and with the girl's mother; in
this way he had become friendly with Commodus, so that he was his
companion at banquets and in the diversions of youth. Lucilla, who was
neither more respectable nor more continent than her brother Commodus,
detested the girl's husband, Pompeianus. It was for this reason that she
persuaded the aforementioned to undertake the attack upon Commodus, and
she not only caused his destruction, but was herself detected and put out
of the way. Commodus killed also Crispina, because he was angry with her
for some act of adultery. Previous to their execution both women had keen
banished to the island of Capreae.

There was a certain Marcia, mistress of Quadratus (one of the men murdered
at this time) and Eclectus, his cubicularius: the latter became also the
cubicularius of Commodus, and the former, first, the emperor's mistress
and later the wife of Eclectus; and she beheld them also perish by
violence. The tradition is that she very much favored the Christians and
did them many kindnesses, as she was enabled to do through possessing all
influence with Commodus.

Commodus killed also Julianus [Salvius, [Footnote: _P. Salvius
Julianus._] and Tarrutenius Paternus, who was numbered among the
exconsuls, and others with them; he furthermore put to death some woman of
the nobility. [Footnote: Vitrasia Faustina by name.] Yet Julianus after
the death of Marcus could at once have done anything at all that he
pleased against him, since he possessed great renown, was in charge of a
large army, and enjoyed the devotion of his soldiers: and he refused to
make any rebellious move, both because of his own uprightness and because
of the good will that he bore to Marcus, though dead. And Paternus, if he
had plotted against Commodus, as he was accused of doing, could easily
have murdered him while he himself still commanded the Pretorians; but he
had not done it.]

The emperor murdered likewise Condianus and Maximus Quintilius; for they
had a great reputation on account of education and military ability and
fraternal harmony and wealth. Their notable talents led to the suspicion
that, even if they were not planning any hostile movement, still they were
not pleased with the state of affairs. Thus, even as they had lived
together, so they died together, and one child as well. They had exhibited
the most striking example ever seen of affection for each other, and at no
time had they been divided, even in their political offices. They had
grown prosperous and exceedingly wealthy and were wont to govern together
and to assist each other in trying cases at law.

Sextus Condianus, son of Maximus, who surpassed the generality of men in
character and education, when be heard that sentence of death had been
passed upon him, too, drank hare's blood (he was at that time located in
Syria); and after this he mounted a horse and purposely fell from it.
Then, as he vomited the blood (which was supposed to be his own), he was
taken up in the expectation of his immediate demise and conveyed into a
dwelling. The man himself now disappeared from view, but a ram's body was
placed in a coffin, in his place and burned. Thereafter, by constantly
changing his appearance and clothing, he wandered about, now here, now
there. And when this story was reported (for it is impossible to conceal
for a long time so weighty a matter), there was hue and cry after him in
every place, bar none. Many were punished in his stead on account of their
resemblance, and many, too, who were alleged to have shared his
confidences or to have received and hidden him. Several, moreover, who had
perhaps never even seen him, were deprived of their property. But no one
knows whether he was really killed (though a great number of heads
purporting to be his were carried to Rome) or whether he made good his

Some other person, after the death of Commodus, dared to assert that
_he_ was Sextus and to undertake the recovery of his wealth and
dignities. And he played the part well while many persons asked him
numbers of questions: when, however, Pertinax enquired of him something
about Grecian affairs, with which the real Sextus had been well
acquainted, he suffered the greatest embarrassment, not being able even to
understand what was said. [So it was that nature had made him like
Condianus in form and practice like him in other ways, but he did not
share in his education.]

[Sidenote:--7--] This matter came to my own ears, and another thing that I
saw I shall now describe. There is in the city of Mallus, in Cilicia, an
oracle of Amphilochus, that gives responses by means of dreams. It had
given warning also to Sextus, in a way that he indicated by a drawing. The
picture that he put on a board represented a boy strangling two serpents
and a lion pursuing a fawn. I was with my father, then governor of
Cilicia, and could not comprehend what they meant until I learned that
Sextus's brothers had been, as it were, strangled by Commodus (who later
emulated Hercules), just as Hercules, when an infant, is related to have
strangled the serpents sent against him by Juno: similarly, the Quintilii
were hanged; I learned also that Sextus was a fugitive and was being
pursued by a more powerful adversary.

I should render my narrative unduly irksome, were I to set down carefully
every single man put to death by this ruler,--all that he despatched
because of false information, because of unjustified suspicions, because
of notable wealth, because of distinguished family, because of unusual
education, or for any other excellence.

[Commodus displayed in Rome itself many marks of wealth and very many
more, even, of love for the beautiful. Indeed, he performed one or two
acts of public benefit. Manilius, a kinsman of Cassius, who had been
secretary of his Latin letters and had possessed the greatest influence
with him, was caught after a flight, but the emperor would not listen to a
word of his, though he promised to lay a great deal of information, and
burned all the conspirator's documents without reading them.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 184 a.u. 937] [Sidenote:--8--] He had also some wars with
the barbarians beyond Dacia, in which Albinus and Niger, who later fought
the emperor Severus, won fame, but the greatest conflict was the one in
Britain. When the tribes in the island, passing beyond the wall that
separated them from the Roman legions, proceeded to commit many outrages
and cut down a general, together with the soldiers that he had, Commodus
was seized with fear and sent Marcellus Ulpius against them. This man, who
was temperate and frugal and always followed strict military rules in
regard to food and all other details when he was at war, became in course
of time haughty and arrogant. He was conspicuously incorruptible in the
matter of bribes, but was not of a pleasant or kindly nature. He showed
himself more wakeful than any other general, and, as he desired his
associates also to be alert, he wrote orders on twelve tablets (such as
are made out of linden wood) [almost] every evening, and bade a man carry
them to various persons at various hours, that they, believing the general
to be always awake, might not themselves take their fill of sleep. Nature
had made him able in the first place to go without sleep and he had
developed this faculty a great deal more by abstinence from food. [Of
scarcely anything did he eat his fill and] in order to avoid satisfying
his hunger even with bread he sent to Rome for the loaves: [this was not
because he could not eat what was prepared in that region, but] it was
done with the purpose that the age of the article might prevent him eating
ever so little more than what was absolutely necessary. [His gums, which
were sore, were easily made to bleed by the dryness of the bread. And he
made it his practice to affect sleeplessness even more than was the case,
that he might have a reputation for being always awake.] This was the kind
of man Marcellus was, who inflicted great damage upon the barbarians in
Britain. Later he narrowly escaped being destroyed by Commodus on account
of his peculiar excellence, but was, nevertheless, released.

[Sidenote: A.D. 185 (a.u. 938)] [Sidenote:--9--] Perennis, commander of
the Pretorians after Paternus, met destruction on account of a rebellion
of the soldiers. For, since Commodus had devoted himself to chariot-racing
and licentiousness and paid scarcely any attention to matters pertaining
to the empire, Perennis was compelled to manage not only military affairs,
but everything else, and to preside over the government. The soldiers,
accordingly, when anything did not go to suit them, laid the blame upon
Perennis and cherished anger against him.

The soldiers in Britain chose Priscus, a lieutenant, emperor. But he
deprecated their action, saying "I am as little suited for emperor as you
are for soldiers."

The lieutenants in Britain had been rebuked for their turbulence (indeed,
they had not become quiet until Pertinax put a stop to their discord), and
now they chose of their number fifteen hundred javelin-slingers, whom they
sent into Italy. They had approached Rome without meeting any hindrance,
when Commodus met them and enquired: "Why is this, fellow-soldiers? What
does your presence signify?" Their answer was: "We are here because
Perennis is plotting against you, and intends to make his son emperor."
Commodus believed them, especially since Cleander dwelt at length upon the
point. (The latter was often prevented by Perennis from doing all that he
desired, and consequently entertained a bitter hatred for him). Therefore
he delivered the prefect to the soldiers of whom he was commander, and did
not venture to despise fifteen hundred men, though he had many times that
number of Pretorians. So Perennis was abused and struck down, and his wife
and sister and two sons were also killed.

[Sidenote:--10--] Thus was he slain though he deserved a far different
fate both on his own account and for the interest of the entire Roman
domain. Only, it may be remarked that his fondness for office had been the
chief cause of the ruin of his colleague Paternus. Privately he was never
remotely concerned about either fame or wealth, but lived a most
incorruptible and temperate life, and for Commodus he preserved his empire
in entire safety. [For the emperor wholly followed his amusements and gave
himself over to chariot-driving and cared not a whit for any political
interests; nor, indeed, had he given his mind to the matter ever so
zealously, could he have accomplished aught by reason of his luxurious
living and inexperience.]

And the Caesarians, having got rid of this man, with Cleander at their
head entered upon every form of outrage, selling all privileges, doing
violence, plunging into licentiousness.

Commodus during most of his life was given to idleness and horses and
battles of beasts and of men. Aside from his performances at home he
despatched many beasts in public and many men on many occasions. With his
own hands and without assistance he gave the finishing stroke to five
hippopotami at one time and to two elephants on separate days. Moreover,
he killed rhinoceroses and a camelopard. This is what I have to say in
general with reference to his whole career.

[Sidenote:--11--] To Victorinus, prefect of the city, a statue was
granted. [He died not as the victim of a plot. At one time what might be
called a loud rumor and many reports were circulating in regard to his
destruction] and, though Commodus frequently wished to get him out of the
way, he still kept putting it off and shrinking from the deed until the
man grew very bold, and one day approaching Perennis said: "I hear that
you wish to kill me. Why then do you delay? Why do you put it off, when
you might do it this very day?" [But not even this caused him to suffer
any harm at the hands of any one else; it was a self-sought death that he
suffered, and the fact seems strange, inasmuch as he had been honored
among the foremost men by Marcus and in mental excellence and forensic
eloquence stood second to none of his contemporaries. Indeed, by
mentioning two incidents in his history I shall reveal his whole

Once, when he was governor of Germany, he at first attempted by private
persuasion indoors to induce his lieutenant not to accept bribes. As the
latter would not listen to him, he mounted the tribunal and [after bidding
the herald proclaim him] took oath that he had never received bribes and
never would receive any. Next he bade his under-officer also take oath;
and when this person refused to perjure himself, he ordered him to be
dismissed from office. [And later as commandant of Africa he had an
associate of similar character to the man just mentioned. He did not, to
be sure, treat him in the same way, but put him aboard a boat and sent him
back to Rome.] This is the kind of man Victorinus was.

[Sidenote:--12--] As for Cleander, who after Perennis possessed greatest
influence, he had been sold along with his fellow-slaves and had been
brought to Rome along with them for the purpose of carrying burdens. As
time went on he attained such prominence that he slept before the chamber
of Commodus, married the emperor's concubine Damostratia, and put to death
Saoterus of Nicomedea (who had held the position before him) besides many
others. Yet this victim had possessed very great influence, so that the
Nicomedeans obtained from the senate the right of holding a series of
games and of building a temple to Commodus. At any rate, Cleander, raised
to greatness by the power of Fortune, granted and sold senatorships.
praetorships, procuratorships, leaderships,--in a word everything. Some by
expending all that they possessed had finally become senators. It came to
be said of Julius Solon (an exceedingly obscure man) that he had been
deprived of his property and banished to the senate. [Sidenote: A.D. 189
(a.u. 942)] Not only did Cleander do this, but he appointed twenty-five
consuls for one year,--something which never occurred before or after. One
of those consuls was Severus, who later became emperor. The man obtained
money, therefore, from every quarter and amassed more wealth than had ever
yet belonged to those nominated cubicularii. A great deal of it he gave to
Commodus and his concubines and a great deal of it he spent on houses,
baths, and other works useful to individuals and to cities.

[Sidenote:--13--] This Cleander, who had soared to so exalted a height,
himself fell suddenly and perished in dishonor. It was not the soldiers
that killed him, as they had Perennis, but the populace. There occurred a
real and pressing famine, which was increased to the utmost severity by
Papirius Dionysius, the grain commissioner, in order that Cleander, whose
thefts would seem as much responsible for it as any cause, might both
incur hatred and suffer destruction at the hands of the Romans. So it fell
out. There was a horse-race on, and as the horses were about to contend
for the seventh time a crowd of children ran into the race course, at
their head a tall and sturdy maiden. As a result of what subsequently
happened she was deemed by people to have been a divinity. The children
shouted many wild words of complaint, which the people took up again and
began to bawl anything that came into their heads. Finally, the throng
jumped down and started to find Commodus (who was then in the Quintilian
suburb), invoking many blessings on his head but many curses upon
Cleander. The latter sent some soldiers against them, who wounded and
killed a few, but encouraged by their numbers and the strength of the
Pretorians they became still more urgent. They drew near to Commodus
before information reached him from any source of what was going on. Then
the famous Marcia, wife of Quadratus, brought him the news. And Commodus
was so terrified,--he was always the veriest coward,--that he at once
ordered Cleander to be slain and also his child, who was in Commodus's
hands to be reared. The child was dashed to the earth and perished, and
the Romans, taking the body of Cleander, dragged it away and abused it and
carried his head all about the city on a pole. They also wounded some
other men who had possessed great power during his ascendancy.

[Sidenote:--14--] Commodus, taking a respite from his lusts and sports,
developed a taste for blood and proceeded to compass the death of
distinguished men. Among these was Julianus the prefect, whom he used to
embrace and caress in public and saluted as "father." Another was Julius
Alexander, who was executed for having brought down a lion by a lucky cast
of his javelin while on horseback. [Footnote: Boissevain suggests that the
"Roman Hercules" perhaps feared that Alexander might diminish his glory.]
This victim, on becoming aware of the presence of his assassins, murdered
them by night and likewise put out of the way all his own enemies at
Emesa, his native town. After doing this he mounted a horse and started
toward the barbarians; and he would have escaped, had he not carried a
favorite along with him. He was himself a most excellent horseman, but he
would not think of abandoning the lad, who was tired out, and so when he
was being overtaken he killed both the boy and himself. Dionysius, too,
the grain commissioner, met his death by the orders of Commodus.

Moreover, a pestilence, as great as any I know, took place, for it should
be noted that two thousand persons several times died in Rome on a single
day. Many more, not merely in the capital but throughout almost the entire
empire, perished by the hands of scoundrels, who smeared some deadly drugs
on tiny needles, and, for pay, infected men with the poison by means of
these instruments. The same thing had happened before in the reign of
Domitian. [Footnote: See Book Sixty-seven, chapter 11.] But the death of
these unfortunates was not regarded as of any importance.

[Sidenote: A.D. 190 (a.u. 943)] [Sidenote:--15--] Still, the effect of
Commodus upon the Romans was worse than that of all pestilences and all
villanies. One feature was that whatever honors they were wont to vote to
his father out of pure regard they were compelled by fear and by strict
injunction to assign also to the son. He gave orders that Rome itself be
called Commodiana, the legions "Commodian," and the day on which this
measure was voted "Commodiana." Upon himself he bestowed, in addition to
very many other titles, that of Hercules. Rome he termed "the Immortal,"
"the Fortunate," "the Universal Colony of the Earth" (for he wished it to
seem a settlement of his own). In his honor a gold statue was erected of a
thousand pounds' weight, together with a bull and a cow. Finally, all the
months were likewise called after him, so that they were enumerated as
follows: Amazonian, Invincible, Fortunate, Pious, Lucius, Aelius,
Aurelius, Commodus, August, Herculean, Roman, Transcendent. For he had
assumed these different names at different times. "Amazonian" and
"Transcendent," however, he applied exclusively to himself, to indicate
that in absolutely every respect he unapproachably surpassed all mankind.
So extravagantly did the wretch rave. And to the senate he would send a
despatch couched in these terms: "Caesar Imperator, Lucius Aelius Aurelius
Commodus, Augustus, Pius, Beatus, Sarmaticus, Germanicus, Maximus,
Britannicus, Peacemaker of the World, Invincible, Roman Hercules, High
Priest, Holder of Tribunician Authority for the eighteenth term, Imperator
for the eighth time, Consul for the seventh time, Father of the
Fatherland, to consuls, praetors, tribunes and the Commodian Fortunate
Senate, Greeting." Great numbers of statues were erected displaying him in
the garb of Hercules. And it was voted that his age should be called the
"Golden Age" and that entries to correspond with this should in every case
be made in the records.

[Sidenote:--16--] Now this Golden One, this Hercules, this God (such was
another designation of his) one day in the afternoon rode suddenly from
the suburbs with haste into Rome and conducted thirty horse-races in two
hours. These proceedings had much to do with his running short of money.
He was also fond of bestowing gifts and frequently presented the populace
with one hundred and forty denarii apiece. But most of his expenditures
were for the objects that I have mentioned. [So it was that neither his
general income nor what was provided by Cleander (though incalculable in
amount) sufficed him, and he was compelled to bring charges against both
women and men,--charges not serious enough for capital punishment but
prolific in threats and terror.] Some of these persons he murdered, to
others he sold preservation in return for their property [and got
something from them by constraint under the pretence that it was a
voluntary offering]. And finally on his birthday he ordered us, our wives,
and our children each to contribute two aurei [a year as] a kind of
first-fruits, and the senators in all the other cities five denarii per
head. [Of this, too, he saved not the smallest part, but spent it all
disgracefully on beasts and gladiators.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 192 (a.u. 945)] [Sidenote:--17--] In public he nowhere
drove chariots except sometimes on a moonless night. He became very
desirous to play the character also in public, but, being ashamed to be
seen doing this, he kept it up constantly at home, wearing the Green
uniform. Beasts, moreover, in large numbers were slaughtered at his house
and many also in public. Again, he would contend as gladiator: (at home he
killed a man in this way, and, in pretending to shave others, instead of
taking off the hairs he sliced off one man's nose, another's ears, and
some other feature of a third;) but in public his contests were [Footnote:
It is just barely possible that the original gave some different idea from
"his contests were" (cp. the text of Boissée).] minus the steel and human
blood. Before entering the theatre he would put on a cleeved tonic of
silk, white interwoven with gold, and we greeted him standing there in
this attire. When he actually went in he donned a pure purple dress
sprinkled with gold, assuming also a similar chlamys of Greek pattern and
a crown made of Indic gems and gold, and carried such a herald's staff as
Mercury does. The lion skin and club were carried before him along the
streets, and at the theatres were invariably placed on a gilded chair,
whether he was present or absent. He himself would enter the theatre in
the garb of Mercury, and casting off everything else begin his performance
in simple tunic and unshod.

[Sidenote:--18--] On the first day he individually killed a hundred bears
by shooting down at them from the top of the elevated circle. The whole
theatre had been divided up by some diameters built in, which supported a
circular roof and intersected each other, the object being that the
beasts, divided into four herds, might be more easily speared at short
range from any point. In the midst of the struggle he grew weary, and
taking from a woman some sweet wine cooled in a club-shaped cup drank it
down at a gulp. At this both the populace and we on the instant all
shouted this phrase, common at drinking bouts: "Long life to you!"

Let no one think that I sully the dignity of history in noting down such
happenings. In general I should have preferred not to mention it, but
since it was one of the emperor's acts and I was myself present, taking
part in everything seen and heard and spoken, I have judged it proper to
suppress none of the details, but to hand them down to the attention of
those who shall live hereafter, just as I should do in the case of
anything else especially great and important. And, indeed, all the
remaining events that took place in my lifetime I shall polish and
elaborate more than earlier occurrences for the reason that my evidence is
that of a contemporary and I know no one else who has my ability at
reducing notable things to writing that has studied them so exhaustively
as I.

[Sidenote:--19--] It was on the first day, then, that this took place. On
the others he frequently went down from the raised section to the bottom
of the circle and slaughtered all the tame animals that he approached,
some of them also being led to him or brought before him in nets. He also
killed a tiger, a hippopotamus, and an elephant. After accomplishing this,
he retired, but at the conclusion of breakfast fought again as a
gladiator. The form of fighting which he practiced and the armor which he
used was that pertaining to the so-called _secutor:_ in his right
hand he held the shield and in his left the wooden sword. He prided
himself very greatly upon being left-handed. His antagonist would be some
professional athlete, or, perhaps, gladiator, with a cane; this was
sometimes a man that the emperor himself challenged and sometimes one that
the people chose. In this and other matters he acted the same way as the
other gladiators, except that they go in for a very small sum, whereas
Commodus had twenty-five myriads from the gladiatorial fund given him each
day. There stood beside him during the contest Aemilius Laetus, the
prefect, and Eclectus, his cubicularius. He went through a skirmish, and,
of course, conquered, and then, just as he was, he kissed them [Footnote:
Supplying [Greek: ois] (after Reimar).] with his helmet on. After this the
rest did some fighting.--The first day he personally paired all the
combatants, either down below, where he wore all the attire of Mercury,
including a gilded wand, or else from his place on the elevated platform;
and we took his proceeding as an omen. Later he ascended his customary
seat and from that point viewed the remainder of the spectacle with us.
Nothing more was done that resembled child's play, but great numbers of
men were killed. At one place somebody delayed about slaying and he
fastened the various opponents together and bade them all fight at once.
At that the men so bound struggled one against another and some killed
those who did not belong to their group, since the numbers and the limited
space had brought them into proximity.

[Sidenote:--20--] That spectacle as here described lasted fourteen days.
While the contests were going on we senators invariably attended, along
with the knights, save that Claudius Pompeianus the elder never appeared,
but sent his sons, remaining away himself. He chose rather to be put to
death for this than to behold the child of Marcus as emperor conducting
himself so.--Besides all the rest that we did, we shouted whatever we were
bidden and this sentence continuously: "Thou art lord, and thou art
foremost, of all most fortunate: thou dost conquer, thou shalt conquer;
from everlasting, Amazonian, thou dost conquer!"

Of the rest of the people many did not even enter the theatre and some
managed to steal out quietly, for they were partly ashamed of what was
being done and partly afraid. A story was current that he would like to
shoot a few of them as Hercules had the Stymphalian birds. This story was
believed, too, because once he had gathered all the men in the city who by
disease or some other calamity had lost their feet, had fastened some
dragon's extremities about their knees, and after giving them sponges to
throw instead of stones had killed them with blows of a club, on the
pretence that they were giants.

[Sidenote:--21--] This fear was shared by all, both us and the rest. Here
is another way in which he menaced us senators,--an act which he certainly
expected would be the death of us. He had killed an ostrich, and cutting
off its head he came toward where we were sitting. In his left hand he
held the spoils and in the right stretched aloft his bloody sword. He
spoke not a word, but with a grin wagged his head to and fro, intimating
that he would subject us to this same treatment. And many on the spot
would have perished by the sword for laughing at him (for it was laughter
and not grief that overcame us), had I not myself chewed a laurel leaf,
which I got from my garland, and brought the rest who were sitting near me
to munch similar sprigs, so that in the constant motion of our jaws we
might conceal the fact that we were laughing. After this occurrence he
raised our spirits, since before fighting again as a gladiator he bade us
enter the theatre in the equestrian garb and with woolen cloaks. (This was
something we never do when going into the theatre unless some emperor has
passed away). And on the last day his helmet was carried out by the gates
through which the dead are taken out. That made us all without exception
think that he was surely about to meet his end in some way.

[Sidenote:--22--] And he did die (or rather was despatched) before a great
while. Laetus and Eclectus, displeased at the way he acted, and moreover
filled with fear at the threats he uttered against them when he was
checked in any of his whims, formed a plot against him. Commodus was
anxious to slay both the consuls (Erucius Clarus and Sosius Falco) and on
the first of the month to issue as consul and secutor at once from the
place where the gladiators are kept. He had the first cell in their
quarters, as if he were one of them. Let no one be incredulous about this,
for he even cut off the head of the Colossus and put one of his own there
instead; and then, having given it a club and placed a bronze lion at its
feet so as to make it look like Hercules, he inscribed, besides the titles
that belonged to him, also this sentence: "First of secutors to engage;
the only left-handed fighter that has conquered twelve times"--I think it
is--"a thousand."

[Lacuna] was written by Lucius Commodus Hercules, and upon it was
inscribed the well known couplet, viz.: "Hercules I, Jove's son, Lord of
Fair Fame, Not Lucius, howsoe'er constrained thereto."

For these reasons Laetus and Eclectus, making Marcia their confidante,
attacked him. At night on the last of the year, when people were busy with
merry-making, they had Marcia administer poison to him in cooked beef. The
wine he had consumed and his always immoderate use of the baths kept him
from succumbing at once, and instead he vomited; this caused him to
suspect the attempt and he uttered some threats. Then they sent Narcissus,
an athlete, to him and had this man strangle him in the midst of a bath.
This was the end that Commodus met after ruling twelve years, nine months,
and fourteen days. He had lived thirty-one years and four months, and with
him the imperial house of the true Aurelii ceased.

[Sidenote:--23--] After this there occurred most violent wars and
factional disturbances. The compilation of facts in this work of mine has
been due to the following chance. I had written and published a book about
the dreams and signs which caused Severus to expect the imperial power;
and he, happening to look at a copy that was sent him by me, wrote me a
long and complimentary acknowledgment. This letter I received about
nightfall and soon after went to sleep. And in my slumbers Heaven
commanded me that a history be written. So it came about that I wrote the
narrative with which I am at this moment concerned. And because it pleased
Severus himself and other people very much, I then conceived a desire to
compile a record of all other matters of Roman interest. Therefore I
decided no longer to leave that treatise as a separate composition, but to
incorporate it in this present history, in order that in one undertaking I
might write positively everything from the beginning as far as Fortune
sees fit to permit. I have obtained this goddess, it appears, as the guide
of the conduct of my life, and therefore I am dependent on her entirely:
she gives me strength for my historical research when I am respectful and
subdued before her, and wins me back to work by means of dreams when I am
discouraged and give up the task: she grants me delightful hopes in regard
to the future, that time will allow this history to survive and never let
its brightness be dimmed. To gather an account of everything done by the
Romans from the beginning until the death of Severus has taken me ten
years, and to arrange it in literary form twelve years more. The rest will
be written as opportunity offers.

[Sidenote:--24--] Prior to the death of Commodus there were the following
signs. Many ill-boding eagles wandered about the Capitol uttering cries
that portended naught of peace, and an owl hooted there. [Sidenote: A.D.
191 (a.u. 944)] A fire, starting by night in some dwelling, laid hold of
the temple of Peace and spread to the stores of Egyptian and Arabian
wares: then, leaping to a great height, it entered the palace and burned a
very large portion of it, so that the documents belonging to the empire
almost all perished. This as much as anything made it clear that the
injury would not stop in the City but extend over the entire civilized
world. The conflagration could not be extinguished by human hands,
although great numbers of civilians and great numbers of soldiers were
carrying water and Commodus himself came from the suburbs to cheer them
on. Only after it had destroyed everything on which it had fastened did it
spend its force and reach a limit.


Pertinax, through the agency of Eclectus and Laetus, is created emperor by
the soldiers and by the senate (chapter 1).

Commodus is declared an enemy and is made a subject for jest (chapter 2).

Kindness of Pertinax toward Pompeianus, Glabrio, and the senators (chapter

Omens portending supreme power for him (chapter 4).

Pertinax reforms pernicious practices: he sells Commodus's apparatus of
licentiousness (chapter 5, 6).

His moderation with regard to his own family (chapter 7).

At the instigation of Laetus Falco the consul is slated for emperor
(chapter 8).

Death of Pertinax Augustus (chapter 9, 10).

Flavius Sulpicianus and Julianus strive in outbidding each other for the
sovereignty (chapter 11).

Julianus is made emperor contrary to the wishes of the senate and the
Roman people (chapters 12, 13).

About the three leaders, Severus, Niger, Albinus (chapter 14).

Severus forms an alliance with Albinus and proceeds against Julianus
(chapter 15).

Julianus, in the midst of laughable preparations, is killed by order of
the senate (chapters 16, 17).

DURATION OF TIME, five months (from the Calends of January
to the Calends of June), in which the following were consuls:

1. Quintus Sosius Falco, C. Erucius Clarus.

2. Flavius Sulpicianus, Fabius Cilo Septiminus (from the
Calends of March).

3. Silius Messala (from the Calends of May).
(A.D. 193 = a.u. 946).

[Sidenote: A.D. 193 (a.u. 946)] [Sidenote:--1--] Pertinax was one of those
men to whom no exception can be taken, but he ruled only for an
exceedingly brief space of time and was then put out of the way by the
soldiers. While the fate of Commodus was still a secret the party of
Eclectus and Laetus came to him and acknowledged [Footnote: Reading
[Greek: emaenusan] (Dindorf, after H. Stephanus).] what had been done. On
account of his excellence and reputation they were glad to select him. He,
after seeing them and hearing their story, sent his most trustworthy
comrade to view the body of Commodus. When the man confirmed the report of
the act, he was then conveyed secretly into the camp and caused the
soldiers consternation; but through the presence of the adherents of
Laetus and by means of promises [Footnote: Reading [Greek: epaeggeilato]
(Dindorf, after Bekker).] to give them three thousand denarii per man, he
won them over. They would certainly have remained content, had he not
phrased the conclusion of his speech somewhat as follows: "There are many
unpleasant features, fellow-soldiers, in the present situation, but the
rest with your help shall be set right again." On hearing this they took
occasion to suspect that all the irregular privileges granted them by
Commodus would be abolished. Though irritated, they nevertheless remained
quiet, concealing their anger.

On leaving the fortifications he came to the senate-house while it was
still night, and after greeting us (so far as a man might approach him in
the midst of such a jostling throng) he said in an impromptu way: "I have
been named emperor by the soldiers; however, I don't desire the office and
am going to resign it this very day because of my age and health and the
unpleasant condition of affairs." This was no sooner said than we gave the
selection our genuine approbation and chose him in very truth; for he was
noble in spirit and strong in body, except that he walked a little lame.

[Sidenote:--2--] In this way was Pertinax declared emperor and Commodus an
enemy, while both senate and people denounced the latter long and
savagely. They desired to hale away his body and tear it limb from limb,
as they did his images; but, when Pertinax told them that the corpse had
already been interred, they spared his remains but glutted their rage on
his representations, calling him all sorts of names. But "Commodus" or
"emperor" were two that no one applied to him. In stead, they termed him
"wretch" and "tyrant," adding in jest titles like "the gladiator," "the
charioteer," "the left-handed," "the ruptured man." To the senators, who
had been excited most by fear of Commodus, the crowd called out: "Huzza,
huzza, you are saved, you have conquered!" All the shouts that they had
been accustomed to raise with a kind of rhythmic swing to pay court to
Commodus in the theatres they now chanted metamorphosed into the most
ridiculous nonsense. Since they had got rid of one ruler, and as yet had
nothing to fear from his successor, they made the most of their freedom in
the intervening time and secured a reputation for frankness by their
fearlessness. They were not satisfied merely to be relieved of further
terror, but desired to show their courage by wanton insolence.

[Sidenote:--3--] Pertinax was a Ligurian from Alba Pompeia; his father was
not of noble birth and he himself had just enough literary training for
ordinary needs. Under these conditions he had become an associate of
Claudius Pompeianus, through whose influence he had become a commander in
the cavalry, and had reached such a height that he now came to be emperor
over his former friend. And I at that time, during the reign of Pertinax,
saw Pompeianus for the first and last occasion. He was wont to live mostly
in the country on account of Commodus [and very seldom came down to the
city], making his age and a disease of the eyes his excuse [and he had
never before, when I was present, entered the senate]. Moreover, after
Pertinax he was always ill. [During his reign he saw and was well
[Footnote: Reading [Greek: erroto] (Dindorf).] and advised.] Pertinax
honored him mightily in every way and in the senate made him take the seat
beside him. [The same privilege he accorded also to Acilius Glabrio. This
man, too, at that period both heard and saw. It was to these, then, that
he granted such surpassing honor.] Toward us also he behaved in a very
sociable way. He was easy of access, listened readily to any one's
request, and cordially answered as he thought right. Again, he gave us
banquets marked by moderation. Whenever he failed to invite us, he would
send to various persons various foods, even the least costly. For this the
wealthy and vainglorious made great sport of him, but the rest of us, who
valued excellence above debauchery, approved his course.

[Public opinion regarding Pertinax was so different from
that in the case of Commodus that those who heard what had happened,
suspecting that this story had been spread by Commodus to test them, in
several instances (governors of provinces being particularly involved)
imprisoned the men who brought the news. It was not that they did not wish
it to be true, but they were more afraid of seeming to have helped destroy
Commodus than of not attaching themselves to Pertinax. For under the
latter one who even committed an error of this kind might still breathe
freely, but under the former not even a faultless person could feel safe.]

[Sidenote:--4--] While he was still in Britain, after that great revolt
which he quelled, and was being accorded praise on all sides, a horse
named Pertinax won a race at Rome. It belonged to the Greens and was
picked as a winner by Commodus. So, when its partisans raised a great
shout, proclaiming "It is Pertinax," the others, their opponents, in
disgust at Commodus likewise prayed (speaking with reference to the man,
not the horse): "Would that it might be so!" Later, when this same horse
by reason of age had given up racing and was in the country, it was sent
for by Commodus, who brought it into the hippodrome, gilded its hoofs, and
adorned its back with a gilded skin. And people suddenly seeing it cried
out again: "It is Pertinax!" The very expression was itself ominous, since
it occurred at the last horse-race that year, and immediately after it the
sovereignty passed to Pertinax. A similar import was attached to the club,
for Commodus when about to fight on the final day had given it to

[Sidenote:--5--] It was in this way that Pertinax came into power. He
obtained all the proper titles and a new one for wishing to be democratic.
That is, he was named Princeps Senatus, according to ancient custom. He at
once reduced to order everything that was previously irregular and lacking
in discipline. He showed in his capacity of emperor kindliness and
uprightness, unimpeachable management, and a most careful consideration
for the public welfare. Pertinax did everything, in fact, that a good
emperor should do, and he removed the stigma of disgrace from the memories
of those who had been unjustly put to death; moreover, he took oath that
he would never sanction such a penalty. Immediately some recalled their
relatives and some their friends with tears and joy at once; formerly not
even these exhibitions of emotion were allowed. After this they exhumed
the bodies, some of which were found entire and some in fragments,
according as decay and time had caused each of them to fare, and they gave
them decent treatment and deposited them in their ancestral tombs.

At this time the treasury was suffering from such lack of funds that only
twenty-five myriad denarii could be found. Pertinax therefore had
difficulty in raising money from the images and the arms, the horses and
the trappings, and the favorites of Commodus, but gave to the Pretorians
all that he had promised and to the people one hundred denarii apiece. All
the articles that Commodus had gathered by way of luxury and for armed
combats and for chariot driving were exposed in the auction-room, the
principal object sought being their sale, though there was a further
intention to show what were the late emperor's deeds and practices and to
ascertain who would purchase such articles.

[Sidenote:--6--] Laetus consistently spoke well of Pertinax and abused
Commodus [relating all the latter's evil deeds].

He [Footnote: Pertinax is meant.] summoned some barbarians that had
received a large sum of gold coin from Commodus in return for preservation
of peace (the party was already on the road) and demanded its return,
saying: "Tell your people that Pertinax is ruler." The foreigners knew his
name very well as a result of the reverses they had suffered when he made
a campaign against them with Marcus.--Let me tell you another similar act
of his intended to cast reflections upon Commodus. He found that some
filthy clowns and buffoons, disgusting in appearance, with still more
disgusting names and habits, had been made extremely wealthy by Commodus
on account of their wantonness and licentiousness; accordingly, he made
public their titles and the amounts they had acquired. The former caused
laughter and the latter wrath and grief, for there were some of them that
possessed just the sums for which the emperor had slain numbers of
senators. However, Laetus did not remain permanently loyal to Pertinax, or
perhaps we might even say not for a moment. Since he did not get what he
wanted, he proceeded to incite the soldiers against him (as will be

[Sidenote:--7--] Pertinax appointed as prefect of the city his
father-in-law, Flavius Sulpicianus, a man who in any case deserved the
position. Yet he was unwilling to make his wife Augusta or his son Caesar,
though we voted him permission. He rejected emphatically each proposition,
whether because he had not yet firmly rooted his own power, or because he
did not choose to let his unchaste consort sully the name of Augusta. As
for his son, who was still a child, he did not care to have him spoiled by
the dignity [Footnote: Reading [Greek: ogkho] (Reimar) for the MS. [Greek:
horkho].] and the hope implied in the name before he should be educated.
Indeed, he would not even bring him up in the palace, but on the very
first day of his sovereignty he put aside everything that had belonged to
him previously and divided it between his children--he had also a
daughter--and gave orders that they should live at their grandfather's
house; there he visited them occasionally in the capacity of father and
not of emperor.

[Sidenote:--8--] Now, since the soldiers were no longer allowed to plunder
nor the Caesarians to indulge their licentiousness, they hated him
bitterly. The Caesarians attempted no revolt, because they were unarmed,
but the Pretorian soldiers and Laetus formed a plot against him. In the
first place they selected Falco the consul for emperor, because he was
prominent for both wealth and family, and purposed to bring him to the
camp while Pertinax was at the coast investigating the corn supply. The
latter, learning of the plan, returned in haste to the City, and coming
before the senate said: "You should not be ignorant, Conscript Fathers,
that though I found but twenty-five myriad denarii, I have distributed as
much to the soldiers as did Marcus and Lucius, to whom were left
sixty-seven thousand five hundred myriads. It is the surprising Caesarians
who have been responsible for this deficiency of funds." Pertinax told a
lie when he said that he had bestowed upon the soldiers an equal amount
with Lucius and Marcus; for the one had given them about five thousand and
the other about three thousand denarii apiece. The soldiers and the
Caesarians, who were present in the senate in great numbers, became
mightily indignant and muttered dangerously. But as we were about to
condemn Falco [and were already declaring him an enemy] Pertinax rose and
cried out: "Heaven forbid that any senator, while I am ruler, be put to
death even for a just cause!" [And in this way Falco's life was saved, and
thenceforth he lived in the country, preserving a cautious and respectful

[Sidenote:--9--] But Laetus, using Falco as a starting point, destroyed
many of the soldiers on the pretence that the emperor ordered it. The
rest, when they became aware of it, were afraid that they should perish,
too, and raised a tumult. Two hundred bolder than their mates invaded the
palace with drawn swords. Pertinax had no warning of their approach until
they had got upstairs. Then his wife rushed in and informed him what had
happened. On learning this he behaved in a way which one may call noble or
senseless or however one pleases. For, whereas he might probably have
killed his assailants (since he had the night-guard and the cavalry by to
protect him and there were also many other people in the palace at the
time), or might at any rate have concealed himself and made his escape to
some place or other, and might have closed the doors of the palace and the
other intervening doors, he, nevertheless, adopted neither alternative.
Instead, hoping to awe them by his presence and thus gain a hearing and
persuade them to their duty, he confronted the approaching band, which was
already indoors. No one of their fellow soldiers had barred the way, and
the porters and other Caesarians so far from making any door fast had
opened absolutely all the entrances. The soldiers, seeing him, at first
were [Sidenote:--10--] abashed, save one, and rested their eyes on the
floor and began thrusting their swords back into their scabbards. But the
one exception leaped forward, exclaiming: "This sword the soldiers have
sent you," and forthwith made a dash at him, striking him a blow. Then his
comrades did not restrain themselves and felled their emperor together
with Eclectus. The latter alone had not deserted him and defended him as
far as he was able, even to the extent of wounding several. Wherefore I,
who still earlier believed that he had shown himself a man of worth, now
thoroughly admired him. The soldiers cut off the head of Pertinax and
stuck it on a spear, glorying in the deed. Thus did Pertinax, who
undertook to restore everything in a brief interval, meet his end. He did
not comprehend, though a well trained man of affairs, that it is
impossible with safety to reform everything at once, but that the
constitution of a government requires, if anything does, both time and
wisdom. He had lived sixty-seven years lacking four months and three days.
He had reigned eighty-seven days.

[Sidenote:--11--] When the fate of Pertinax was reported, some ran to
their homes and some to those of the soldiers, and paid heed to their own
safety. It happened that Sulpicianus had been despatched by Pertinax to
the camp to set in order matters there, and he consequently stayed there
and took action looking to the appointment of an emperor. But there was a
certain Didius Julianus [of senatorial rank but eccentric character], an
insatiate money-getter and reckless spender, always anxious for a change
in the government, who on account of the last named proclivity had been
driven out by Commodus to his own city, Mediolanum. He, accordingly, on
hearing of the death of Pertinax, hastily made his way to the camp, and
standing near the gates of the fort made offers to the soldiers in regard
to the Roman throne. Then ensued a most disgraceful affair and one
unworthy of Rome. For just as is done in some market and auction-room,
both the city and her whole empire were bid off. The sellers were the
people who had killed their emperor, and the would-be buyers were
Sulpicianus and Julianus, who vied to outbid each other, one from within,
the other from without. By their increases they speedily reached the sum
of five thousand denarii per man. Some of the guard kept reporting and
saying to Julianus: "Sulpicianus is willing to give so much; now what will
you add?" And again to Sulpicianus: "Julianus offers so much; how much
more do you make it?" Sulpicianus would have won the day, since he was
inside and was prefect of the city and was the first to say five thousand,
had not Julianus raised his bid, and no longer by small degrees but by
twelve hundred and fifty denarii at once, which he offered with a great
shout, indicating the amount likewise on his fingers. Captivated by the
difference and at the same time through fear that Sulpicianus might avenge
Pertinax (an idea that Julianus put into their heads) they received the
highest bidder inside and designated him emperor.

[Sidenote:--12--] So toward evening the new ruler turned his steps with
speed toward the Forum and senate-house. He was escorted by a vast number
of Pretorians with numerous standards as if prepared for action, his
object being to scare both us and the populace and thereby secure our
allegiance. The soldiers called him "Commodus," and exalted him in various
other ways. As the news was brought to us each individually, and we
ascertained the truth, we were possessed with fear of Julianus and the
soldiers, especially all of us who had [Lacuna] any favors for Pertinax.
[Footnote: A slight gap in the MS., where we should perhaps read: "all of
us who had done any favors for Pertinax or anything to displease Julianus"
(Boissevain).] [Lacuna] I was one of them, for I had been honored by
Pertinax in various ways, owing to him my appointment as praetor, and when
acting as advocate for others at trials I had frequently proved Julianus
in the wrong on many points. Nevertheless, we put in an appearance, and
partly for this very reason, since it did not seem to us to be safe to
hide at home, for fear that act in itself might arouse suspicion. So when
bath [Footnote: Reading [Greek: leloumenoi] (Reiske) for the MS. [Greek:
dedoulomenoi].] and dinner were both over, we pushed our way through the
soldiers, entered the senate-house, and heard the potentate deliver a
characteristic speech, in the course of which he said: "I see that you
need a ruler, and I myself am better fitted than any one else to direct
you. And I should mention all the advantages I can offer, if you did not
know them perfectly and had not already had experience with me.
Consequently, I felt no need of being attended by many soldiers, but have
come to you alone, that you may ratify what has been given me by them." "I
am here alone" is what he said, when he had surrounded the entire exterior
of the senate-house with heavily armed men and had a number of soldiers in
the senate-house itself. Moreover, he mentioned our being aware what kind
of person he was, and made us both hate and fear him.

[Sidenote:--13--] In this way he got his imperial power confirmed also by
decrees of the senate and returned to the palace. Finding the dinner that
had been prepared for Pertinax he made great fun of it, and sending out to
every place from which by any means whatever something expensive could be
procured at that time of day he satisfied his hunger (the corpse was still
lying in the building) and then proceeded to amuse himself by dicing.
Among his companions was Pylades the dancer. The next day we went up to
visit him, feigning in looks and behavior much that we did not feel, so as
not to let our grief be detected. The populace, however, openly frowned
upon the affair, spoke its mind as much at it pleased, and was ready to do
what it could. Finally, when he came to the senate-house and was about to
sacrifice to Janus before the entrance, all bawled out as if by
preconcerted arrangement, terming him empire-plunderer and parricide. He
affected not to be angry and promised them some money, whereupon they grew
indignant at the implication that they could be bribed and all cried out
together: "We don't want it, we won't take it!" The surrounding buildings
echoed back the shout in a way to make one shudder. When Julianus had
heard their response, he could endure it no longer, but ordered that those
who stood nearest should be slain. That excited the populace a great deal
more, and it did not cease expressing its longing for Pertinax or its
abuse of Julianus, its invocations of the gods or its curses upon the
soldiers. Though many were wounded and killed in many parts of the city,
they continued to resist and finally seized weapons and made a rush into
the hippodrome. There they spent the night and the ensuing day without
food or drink, calling upon the remainder of the soldiery (especially
Pescennius Niger and his followers in Syria) with prayers for assistance.
Later, feeling the effects of their outcries and fasting and loss of
sleep, they separated and kept quiet, awaiting the hoped for deliverance
from abroad.

  "I do not assist the populace: for it has not called upon me."

[Sidenote:--14--] Julianus after seizing the power in this way managed
affairs in a servile fashion, paying court to the senate as well as to men
of any influence. Sometimes he made offers, again he bestowed gifts, and
he laughed and sported with anybody and everybody. He was constantly going
to the theatre and kept getting up banquets: in fine, he left nothing
undone to win our favor. However, he was not trusted; his servility was so
abject that it made him an object of suspicion. Everything out of the
common, even if it seems to be a kindness to somebody, is regarded by men
of sense as a trap.

The senate had at one time voted him a golden statue and he refused to
accept it, saying: "Give me a bronze one so that it may last; for I
perceive that the gold and silver statues of the emperors that ruled
before me have been torn down, whereas the bronze ones remain." In this he
was not right: since 'tis excellence that safeguards the memory of
potentates. And the bronze statue that was bestowed upon him was torn down
after he was overthrown.

This was what went on in Rome. Now I shall speak about what happened
outside and the various revolutions. There were three men at this time who
were commanding each three legions of citizens and many foreigners
besides, and they all asserted their claims,--Severus, Niger, and Albinus.
The last-named governed Britain, Severus Pannonia, and Niger Syria. These
were the three persons darkly indicated by the three stars that suddenly
came to view surrounding the sun, when Julianus in our presence was
offering the Sacrifices of Entrance in front of the senate-house. These
heavenly bodies were so very brilliant that the soldiers kept continually
looking at them and pointing them out to one another, declaring moreover
that some dreadful fate would befall the usurper. As for us, however much
we hoped and prayed that it might so prove, yet the fear of the moment
would not permit us to gaze at them, save by occasional glances. Such are
the facts that I know about the matter.

[Sidenote:--15--] Of the three leaders that I have mentioned Severus [was]
the shrewdest [in being able to foresee the future with accuracy, to
manage present affairs successfully, to ascertain everything concealed as
well as if it had been laid bare and to work out every complicated
situation with the greatest ease.] He understood in advance that after
deposing Julianus the three would fall to blows with one another and offer
combat for the possession of the empire, and therefore determined to win
over the rival who was nearest him. So he sent a letter by one of his
trusted managers to Albinus, creating him Caesar. Of Niger, who was proud
of having been invoked by the people, he had no hopes. Albinus on the
supposition that he was going to share the empire with Severus remained
where he was: Severus made all strategic points in Europe, save Byzantium,
his own and hastened toward Rome. He did not venture outside a protecting
circle of weapons, having selected his six hundred most valiant men in
whose midst he passed his time day and night; these did not once put off
their breastplates until they reached Rome.

[This Fulvius [Footnote: The name, so far as can be discerned in the MS.,
may be Fulvius or Flavius or Fabius. The position and import of the
fragment are alike doubtful.] (?) too, who when governor of Africa had
been tried and condemned by Pertinax for rascality, avarice, and
licentiousness, was later elevated to the highest position by the same
man, now become emperor, as a favor to Severus.]

[Sidenote:--16--] Julianus on learning the condition of affairs had the
senate make Severus an enemy and proceeded to prepare against him. [In the
suburbs he constructed a rampart, wherein he set gates, that he might take
up a position there outside and fight from that base.] The City during
these days became nothing more nor less than a camp, pitched, as it were,
in hostile territory. There was great turmoil from the various bodies of
those bivouacked and exercising,--men, horses, elephants. The mass of the
population stood in great fear of the armed men [because the latter hated
them.] Occasionally laughter would overcome us. The Pretorians did nothing
that was expected of their name and reputation, for they had learned to
live delicately. The men summoned from the fleet that lay at anchor in
Misenum did not even know how to exercise. The elephants found the towers
oppressive and so would not even carry their drivers any longer [but threw
them off also]. What caused us most amusement was his strengthening the
palace with latticed gates and strong doors. For, as it seemed likely that
the soldiers would never have slain Pertinax so easily if the building had
been securely fastened, Julianus harbored the belief that in case of
defeat he would be able to shut himself up there and survive.

Moreover, he put to death both Laetus and Marcia, so that all the
conspirators against Commodus had now perished. Later Severus gave
Narcissus also to the beasts, making the proclamation (verbatim): "This is
the man that strangled Commodus." The emperor likewise killed many boys
for purposes of enchantments, thinking that he could avert some future
calamities, if he should ascertain them in advance. And he kept sending
man after man to find Severus and assassinate him. [Vespronius Candidus, a
man of very distinguished rank but still more remarkable for his
sullenness and boorishness, came near meeting his end at the hands of the

[Sidenote:--17--] The avenger had now reached Italy and without striking a
blow took possession of Ravenna. The men whom his opponent kept sending to
him to either persuade him to turn back or else block his approaches were
won over. The Pretorians, in whom Julianus reposed most confidence, were
becoming worn out by constant toil and were getting terribly alarmed at
the report of Severus's proximity. At this juncture Julianus called us
together and bade us vote for Severus to be his colleague in office.

The soldiers were led to believe by communications from Severus that, if
they would surrender the assassins of Pertinax and themselves offer no
hostile demonstration, they should receive no harm; therefore they
arrested the men who had killed Pertinax and announced this very fact to
Silius Messala, the consul. The latter assembled us in the Athenaeum,
[Footnote: Located on the Capitol, and established by Hadrian.] so called
from the fact that it was a seat of educational activity, and informed us
of the news from the soldiers. We then sentenced Julianus to death, named
Severus emperor, and bestowed heroic honors upon Pertinax. So it was that
Julianus came to be slain as he was reclining in the palace itself; he had
only time to say: "Why, what harm have I done? Whom have I killed?" He had
lived sixty years, four months, and the same number of days, out of which
he had reigned sixty-six days.

Dio, 74th Book: "Men of intelligence should neither begin a war nor seek
to evade it when it is thrust upon them. They should rather grant pardon
to him who voluntarily conducts himself properly, in spite Of any previous
transgression, [Lacuna]


Severus takes vengeance on the Pretorians who were the assassins of
Pertinax and enters the city (chapters 1, 2).

Prodigies which portended the sovereignty to Severus (chapter 3).

Funeral procession which he superintended, in honor of Pertinax (chapters
4, 5).

War of Severus Augustus against Pescennius Niger (chapters 6-9).

The storming of Byzantium (chapters 10-14).


Q. Sosius Falco, C. Erucius Clarus. (A.D. 193 = a.u. 946 = First of
Severus, from the Calends of June).

I. Septimius Severus Aug. (II), D. Clodius Septimius Albinus Caes. (A.D.
194 = a.u. 947 = Second of Severus).

Scapula Tertullus, Tineius Clemens. (A.D. 195 = a.u. 948 = Third of

C. Domitius Dexter (II), L. Valerius Messala Priscus. (A.D. 196 = a.u. 949
= Fourth of Severus).

[Sidenote:--1--] Severus upon becoming emperor in the manner described
punished with death the | Pretorians | who had contrived the fate of
Pertinax. Before reaching Rome he summoned those remaining [Pretorians],
surrounded them in a plain while they still did not know what was going
to happen to them, and having reproached them long and bitterly for
their transgression against their emperor he relieved them of their
arms, took away their horses, and expelled them from Rome. The majority
reluctantly proceeded to throw away their arms and let their horses go,
and scattered uninjured, in their tunics. One man, as his horse refused
to leave him, but kept following him and neighing, slew both the beast
and himself. To the spectators it seemed that the horse also was glad to

When he had attended to this matter Severus entered Rome; he went as far
as the gates on horseback and in cavalry costume, but from that point on
changed to citizen's garb and walked. The entire army, both, infantry and
cavalry, in full armor accompanied him. The spectacle proved the most
brilliant of all that I have witnessed, for the whole city had been decked
with wreaths of blossoms and laurel and besides being adorned with richly
colored stuffs blazed with lights and burning incense. The population,
clad in white and jubilant, gave utterance to many hopeful expressions.
The soldiers were present, conspicuous by their arms, as if participating
[Footnote: Reading [Greek: pompeyontes] (Dindorf, after Bekker).] in some
festival procession, and we, too, were walking about in our best attire.
The crowd chafed in their eagerness to see him and to hear him say
something, as if his voice had been somehow changed by his good fortune,
and some of them held one another up aloft to get a look at him from a
higher position.

[Sidenote:--2--] Having entered in this style he began to make us rash
promises, such as the good emperors of old had given, to the effect that
he would not put any senator to death. He not only took oath concerning
this matter, but what was of greater import he also ordered it ratified by
public decree, and passed an ordinance that both the emperor and the
person who helped him in any such deed should be considered an
enemy,--themselves and also their children. Yet he was himself the first
to break the law and instead of keeping it caused the death of many
persons. Even Julius Solon himself, who framed this decree according to
imperial mandate, was a little later murdered. The emperor did many things
that were not to our liking. [He was blamed for making the city turbulent
by the multitude of soldiers and he oppressed the commonwealth by
excessive expenditure of funds: he was blamed most of all for placing his
hope of safety in the strength of his army and not in the good-will of his
companions.] But some found fault with him especially because, whereas it
had been the custom for the body-guard to be drawn from Italy, Spain,
Macedonia and Noricum only,--a plan which furnished men more distinguished
in appearance and of simpler habits,--he had abolished this method, [He
ruled that any vacancies should be filled from all the legions alike; this
he did with the idea that he should find them as a result more conversant
with military practices and should be setting up warfare as a kind of
prize for the excellent. As a matter of fact he incidentally ruined all
the most reliable men of military age in Italy, who turned their attention
to robbery and gladiatorial fighting in place of the service that had
previously claimed it.] and filled the city with a throng of motley
soldiers, most savage in appearance, most terrifying in their talk, and
most uncultured to associate with.

[Sidenote:--3--] The signs which led him to expect the sovereignty were
these. When he had been registered in the senate-house, it seemed to him
in a vision that a she-wolf suckled him, as was the case with Romulus. On
the occasion of his marrying Julia, Faustina, the wife of Marcus, prepared
their bedchamber in the temple of Venus opposite the palace; and once,
when he was asleep, water gushed from his hand as from a spring; and when
he was governor of Lugdunum, the whole Roman domain approached and greeted
him,--all this in dreams, I mean. At another time he was taken by some one
to a point affording a wide view; and as he gazed from it over all the
earth and all the sea he laid his fingers on them as one might on some
instrument [Footnote: Compare Plato, Republic, 399 C.] capable of all
harmonies, and they answered to his touch. Again, he thought that in the
Roman Forum a horse threw Pertinax, who was already mounted, but readily
took him on its back. These things he had already learned from dreams, but
in his waking hours he had, while a youth, ignorantly seated himself upon
the imperial chair. This accident, taken with the rest, indicated
rulership to him in advance.

[Sidenote:--4--] Upon attaining that condition he erected a heroum to
Pertinax and commanded that his name should be repeated in the course of
all prayers and of all oaths. A gold image of him was ordered brought into
the hippodrome on a car drawn by elephants and three gilded thrones for
him conveyed into the remaining theatres. His funeral, in spite of the
time elapsed since his death, took place as follows:

In the Forum Romanum a wooden platform was constructed hard by the stone
one, upon which was set a building without walls but encompassed by
columns, with elaborate ivory and gold decoration. In it a couch of
similar material was placed, surrounded by heads of land and sea
creatures, and adorned with purple coverlets interwoven with gold. Upon it
had been laid a kind of wax image of Pertinax, arrayed in triumphal
attire. A well-formed boy was scaring the flies away from it with peacock
feathers, as though it were really a person sleeping. While it was lying
there in state, Severus, we senators, and our wives approached, clad in
mourning garb. [Footnote: Reading [Greek: penthikos] (Sylburgius,
Boissevain et al)..] The ladies sat in the porticos, and we under the open
sky. After this there came forward, first, statues of all the famous
ancient Romans, then choruses of boys and men, intoning a kind of mournful
hymn to Pertinax. Next were all the subject nations, represented by bronze
images, attired in native garb. And the guilds in the City itself,--those
of the lictors and the scribes and the heralds, and all others of the
sort,--followed on. Then came images of other men who were famous for some
deed or invention or brilliant trait. Behind them were the cavalry and
infantry in armor, the race-horses, and all the funeral offerings that the
emperor and we and our wives, together with distinguished knights and
peoples and the collegia of the city, had sent. They were accompanied by
an altar, entirely gilded, the beauty of which was enhanced by ivory and
Indic jewels. [Sidenote:--5--] When these had gone by, Severus mounted the
Platform of the Beaks and read a eulogy of Pertinax. We shouted our
approval many times in the midst of his discourse, partly praising and
partly bewailing Pertinax, but our cries were loudest when he had ceased.
Finally, as the couch was about to be moved, we all together uttered our
lamentations and all shed tears. Those who carried the bier from the
platform were the high priests and the officials who were completing their
term of office, as well as any that had been appointed for the ensuing
year. These gave it to certain knights to carry. The rank and file of us
went ahead of the bier, some beating our breasts and others playing on the
flute some dirge-like air; the emperor followed behind all, and in this
order we arrived at the Campus Martius. Here there had been built a pyre,
tower-shaped and triple pointed, adorned with ivory and gold together with
certain statues. On its very summit was lodged a gilded chariot that
Pertinax had been wont to drive. Into this the funeral offerings were cast
and the bier was placed in it, and next Severus and the relatives of
Pertinax kissed the image. Our monarch ascended a tribunal, while we the
senate, except officials, took our places on the benches, that with safety
and convenience alike we might view what went on. The magistrates and the
equestrian order, arrayed in a manner becoming their station, besides the
cavalry of the army and the infantry, passed in and out performing
intricate evolutions, both traditional and newly invented. Then at length
the consuls applied fire to the mound, which being done an eagle flew up
from it. In this way was immortality secured for Pertinax [who (although
bodies of men engaged in warfare usually turn out savage and those given
to peace cowardly) excelled equally in both departments, being an enemy to
dread, yet shrewd in the arts of peace. His boldness, wherein bravery
appears, he displayed towards foreigners and rebels, but his clemency,
wherewith is mingled justice, towards friends and the orderly elements of
society. When advanced to preside over the destinies of the world, he was
never ensnared by the increase of greatness so as to show himself in some
things more subservient and in others more haughty than was fitting. He
underwent no change from the beginning to the very end, but was august
without sullenness, gentle without humiliating lowliness, prudent, yet did
no injury, just without inquisitorial qualities, a close administrator
without stinginess, highminded, but devoid of boasts.]

[Sidenote:--6--] Now Severus made a campaign against Niger. The latter was
an Italian, one of the knights, remarkable for nothing either very good or
very bad, so that one could either greatly praise or greatly censure him.
[Wherefore he had been assigned to Syria by Commodus.] He had as a
lieutenant, together with others, Aemilianus, who [by remaining neutral
and watching the course of events] was thought to surpass all the senators
of that day in understanding and in experience of affairs; for he had been
tested in many provinces. [These conditions and the fact that he was a
relative of Albinus had made him conceited.]

[Sidenote:--7--] [Niger was not in general a well-balanced man and though
he had very great abilities still fell into error. But at this time he was
more than usually elated, so that he showed how much he liked those who
called him "the new Alexander"; and when one man asked, "Who gave you
permission to do this?" he pointed to his sword and rejoined, "This did."
When the war broke out Niger had gone to Byzantium and from that point
conducted a campaign against Perinthus. He was disturbed, however, by
unfavorable omens that came to his notice. An eagle perched upon a
military shrine and remained there till captured, in spite of attempts
to scare it away. Bees made wax around the military standards and about
his images most of all. For these reasons he retired to Byzantium.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 194 (a.u. 947)] Now Aemilianus while engaged in conflict
with some of the generals of Severus near Cyzicus was defeated by them and
slain. After this, between the narrows of Nicaea and Cius, they had a
great war of various forms. Some battled in close formation on the plains;
others occupied the hill-crests and hurled stones and javelins at their
opponents from the higher ground; still others got into boats and
discharged their bows at the enemy from the lake. At first the adherents
of Severus, under the direction of Candidus, were victorious; for they
found their advantage in the higher ground from which they fought. But the
moment Niger himself appeared a pursuit in turn was instituted by Niger's
men and victory was on their side. Then Candidus caught hold of the
standard bearers and turned them to face the enemy, upbraiding the
soldiers for their flight; at this his followers were ashamed, turned
back, and once more conquered those opposed to them. Indeed, they would
have destroyed them utterly, had not the city been near and the night a
dark one.

The next event was a tremendous battle at Issus, near the
so-called Gates. In this contest Valerianus and Anullinus [Footnote: _P.
Cornelius Anullinus._] commanded the army of Severus, whereas Niger was
with his own ranks and marshaled them for war. This pass, the Cilician
"Gates", [Footnote: Compare Xenophon's _Anabasis_, I, 4, 4-5.] is so
named on account of its narrowness. On the one side rise precipitous
mountains, and on the other sheer cliffs descend to the sea. So Niger had
here made a camp on a strong hill, and he put in front heavy-armed
soldiers, next the javelin slingers and stone throwers, and behind all the
archers. His purpose was that the foremost might thrust back such as
assailed them in hand-to-hand conflict, while the others from a distance
might be able to bring their force into play over the heads of the others.
The detachment on the left and that on the right were defended by the
sea-crags and by the forest, which had no issue. This is the way in which
he arranged his army, and he stationed the beasts of burden close to it,
in order that none of them should be able to flee in case they should wish
it. Anullinus after making all this out placed in advance the heavier part
of his force and behind it his entire light-armed contingent, to the end
that the latter, though discharging their weapons from a distance might
still retard the progress of the enemy, while the solidity of the advance
guard rendered the upward passage safe for them. The cavalry he sent with
Valerianus, bidding him, so far as he could, go around the forest and
unexpectedly fall upon the troops of Niger from the rear. When they came
to close quarters, the soldiers of Sevents placed some of their shields in
front of them and held some above their heads, making a testudo, and in
this formation they approached the enemy. So the battle was a drawn one
for a long while, but eventually Niger's men got decidedly the advantage
both by their numbers and by the topography of the country. They would
have been entirely victorious, had not clouds gathered out of a clear sky
and a wind arisen from a perfect calm, while there were crashes of thunder
and sharp flashes of lightning and a violent rain beat in their faces.
This did not trouble Severus's troops because it was behind them, but
threw Niger's men into great confusion since it came right against them.
Most important of all, the opportune character of this occurrence infused
courage in the one side, which believed it was aided by Heaven, and fear
in the other, which felt that the supernatural was warring against them;
thus it made the former strong even beyond its own strength and terrified
the latter in spite of real power. Just as they were fleeing Valerianus
came in sight. Seeing him, they turned about, and after that, as Anullinus
beat them back, retreated once more. Then they wandered about, running
this way and that way, to see where they could break through.

[Sidenote:--8--] It turned out that this was the greatest slaughter to
take place during the war in question. Two myriads of Niger's followers
perished utterly. The fact was indicated also by the priest's vision.
While Severus was in Pannonia, the priest of Jupiter saw in a vision a
black man force his way into the emperor's camps and meet his death by
superior numbers. And by turning the name of Niger into Greek people
recognized that he was the one meant by the "black" person mentioned.
Directly Antioch had been captured (not long after) Niger fled from it,
making the Euphrates his objective point, for he intended to seek refuge
among the barbarians. His pursuers, however, overtook him; he was taken
and had his head struck off. This head Severus sent to Byzantium and
caused to be reared on a cross, that the sight of it might incline the
Byzantines to his cause. The next move of Severus was to mete out justice
to those who had belonged to Niger's party. [Of the cities and individuals
he chastised some and rewarded others. He executed no Roman senator, but
deprived most of them of their property and confined them on islands. He
was merciless in his search for money. Among other measures he exacted
four times the amount that any individuals or peoples had given to Niger,
whether they had done so voluntarily or under compulsion. He himself
doubtless perceived the injustice of it,] [Footnote: The MS. text is
faulty, and the translation, ventured independently, corresponds
approximately to a suggestion by van Herwerden in Boissevain's edition.]
but as he required great sums, he paid no attention to the common talk.

[Sidenote:--9--] Cassius Clemens, a senator, while on trial before Severus
himself, did not hide the truth but spoke with such frankness as the
following report will show:

"I," he said, "was acquainted with neither you nor Niger, but as I found
myself in his part of the world, I accepted the situation heartily, not
with the idea of being hostile to you but with the purpose of deposing
Julianus. I have, then, committed no wrong in this, since I labored
originally for the same ends as you, nor should I be censured for failing
to desert the master whom I had once secured by the will of Heaven and for
not transferring my allegiance to you. You would not yourself have liked
to have your intimate circle and fellow judges here betray your cause and
go over to him. Examine therefore not our bodies nor our names but the
events themselves. For in every point in which you condemn us you will be
passing sentence upon yourself and your associates. However secure you may
be from conviction in any suit or by any court finding, still, in the
report of men, of which an eternal memory shall survive, you will be
represented as making against yourself the same charges as have led to
punishment [Footnote: Supplying, with Reiske, [Greek: soi [Lacuna]
kolasthaenai].] in the case of others."--Severus admired this man for his
frankness and allowed him to keep half his property.

[Many who had never even seen Niger and had not cooperated with him were
victims of abuse on the charge that they had been members of his party.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 195 (a.u. 948)] [Sidenote:--10--] The Byzantines performed
many remarkable deeds both during the life and after the death of Niger.
This city is favorably located with reference both to the continents and
to the sea that lies between them, and is strongly intrenched by the
nature of its position as well as by that of the Bosporus. The town sits
on high ground extending into the sea. The latter, rushing down from the
Pontus with the speed of a mountain torrent assails the headland and in
part is diverted to the right, forming there the bay and harbors. But the
greater part of the water passes on with great energy past the city itself
toward the Propontis. Moreover, the place had walls that were very strong.
Their face was constructed of thick squared stones, fastened together by
bronze plates, and the inner side of it had been strengthened with mounds
and buildings so that the whole seemed to be one thick wall and the top of
it formed a circuit betraying no flaws and easy to guard. Many large
towers occupied an exposed position outside it, with windows set close
together on every side so that those assaulting the fortification in a
circle would be cut off between them. Being built at a short distance from
the wall and not in a regular line, but one here and another there over a
rather crooked route, they were sure to command both sides of any
attacking party. Of the entire circuit the part on the land side reached a
great height so as to repel any who came that way: the portion next to the
sea was lower. There, the rocks on which it had been reared and the
dangerous character of the Bosporus were effective allies. The harbors
within the wall had both been closed with chains and their breakwaters
carried towers projecting far out on each side, making approach impossible
for the enemy. And, in fine, the Bosporus was of the greatest aid to the
citizens. It was quite inevitable that once any person became entangled in
its current he should willy-nilly be cast up on the land. This was a
feature quite satisfactory to friends, but impossible for foes to deal

[Sidenote:--11--] It was thus that Byzantium had been fortified. The
engines, besides, the whole length of the wall, were of the most varied
description. In one place they threw rocks and wooden beams upon parties
approaching and in another they discharged stones and missiles and spears
against such as stood at a distance. Hence over a considerable extent of
territory no one could draw near them without danger. Still others had
hooks, which they would let down suddenly and shortly after draw up boats
and machines. Priscus, a fellow-citizen of mine, had designed most of
them, and this fact both caused him to incur the death penalty and saved
his life. For Severus, on learning his proficiency, prevented his being
executed. Subsequently he employed him on various missions, among others
at the siege of Hatra, and his contrivances were the only ones not burned
by the barbarians. He also furnished the Byzantines with five hundred
boats, mostly of one bank, but some of two banks, and equipped with beaks.
A few of them were provided with rudders at both ends, stern and prow, and
had a double quota of pilots and sailors in order that they might both
attack and retire without turning around and damage their opponents while
sailing back as well as while sailing forward.

[Sidenote:--12--] Many, therefore, were the exploits and sufferings of the
Byzantines, since for the entire space of three years they were besieged
by the armaments of practically the whole world. A few of their
experiences will be mentioned that seem almost marvelous. They captured,
by making an opportune attack, some boats that sailed by and captured also
some of the triremes that were in their opponents' roadstead. This they
did by having divers cut their anchors under water, after which they drove
nails into the ship's bottom and with cords attached thereto and running
from friendly territory they would draw the vessel towards them. Hence one
might see the ships approaching shore by themselves, with no oarsman nor
wind to urge them forward. There were cases in which merchants purposely
allowed themselves to be captured by the Byzantines, though pretending
unwillingness, and after selling their wares for a huge price made their
escape by sea.

[Sidenote: A.D. 196 (a.u. 949)] When all the supplies in the town had been
exhausted and the people had been set fairly in a strait with regard to
both their situation and the expectations that might be founded upon it,
at first, although beset by great difficulties (because they were cut off
from all outside resources), they nevertheless continued to resist; and to
make ships they used lumber taken from the houses and braided ropes of the
hair of their women. Whenever any troops assaulted the wall, they would
hurl upon them stones from the theatres, bronze horses, and whole statues
of bronze. When even their normal food supply began to fail them, they
proceeded to soak and eat hides. Then these, too, were used up, and the
majority, having waited for rough water and a squall so that no one might
man a ship to oppose them, sailed out with the determination either to
perish or to secure provender. They assailed the countryside without
warning and plundered every quarter indiscriminately. Those left behind
committed a monstrous deed; for when they grew very faint, they turned
against and devoured one another.

[Sidenote:--13--] This was the condition of the men in the city. The rest,
when they had laden their boats with more than the latter could bear, set
sail after waiting this time also for a great storm. They did not succeed,
however, in making any use of it. The Romans, noticing [Sidenote: A.D. 196
a.u. 949] that their vessels were overheavy and depressed almost to the
water's edge, put out against them. They assailed the company, which was
scattered about as wind and flood chose to dispose them, and really
engaged in nothing like a naval contest but crushed the enemy's boats
mercilessly, striking many with their boat-hooks, ripping up many with
their beaks, and actually capsizing some by their mere onset. The victims
were unable to do anything, however much they might have wished it: and
when they attempted to flee in any direction either they would be sunk by
force of the wind, which encountered them with the utmost violence, or
else they would be overtaken by the enemy and destroyed. The inhabitants
of Byzantium, as they watched this, for a time called unceasingly upon the
gods and kept uttering now one shout and now another at the various
events, according as each one was affected by the spectacle or the
disaster enacted before his eyes. But when they saw their friends
perishing all together, the united throng sent up a chorus of groans and
wailings, and thereafter they mourned for the rest of the day and the
whole night. The entire number of wrecks proved so great that some drifted
upon the islands and the Asiatic coast, and the defeat became known by
these relics before it was reported. The next day the Byzantines had the
horror increased even above what it had been. For, when the surf had
subsided, the whole sea in the vicinity of Byzantium was covered with
corpses and wrecks with blood, and many of the remains were cast up on
shore, with the result that the catastrophe, now seen in its details,
appeared even worse than when in process of consummation.

[Sidenote:--14--] The Byzantines straightway, though against their will,
surrendered their city. The Romans executed all the soldiers and
magistrates except the pugilist who had greatly aided the Byzantines and
injured the Romans. He perished also, for in order to make the soldiers
angry enough to destroy him he immediately hit one with his fist and with
a leap gave another a violent kick.

Severus was so pleased at the capture of Byzantium that to his soldiers in
Mesopotamia (where he was at this time) he said unreservedly: "We have
taken Byzantium, too!" He deprived the city of its independence and of its
civil rank, and made it tributary, confiscating the property of the
citizens. He granted the town and its territory to the Perinthians, and
the latter, treating it after the manner of a village, committed
innumerable outrages. So far he seemed in a way to be justified in what he
did. His demolition of the walls of the city grieved the inhabitants no
more than did the loss of that reputation which the appearance of the
walls had caused them to enjoy; and incidentally he had abolished a strong
Roman outpost and base of operations against the barbarians from the
Pontus and Asia. I was one that viewed the walls after they had fallen,
and a person would have judged that they had been taken by some other
people than the Romans. I had also seen them standing and had heard them
"speak." There were seven towers extending from the Thracian gates to the
sea. If a man approached any of these but the first, it was silent; but if
he shouted a few words at that one or threw a stone at it, it not only
echoed and spoke itself but caused the second to do the same thing. In
this way the sound passed through them all alike, and they did not
interrupt one another, but all in their proper turn, one receiving the
impulse from the one before it, took up the echo and the voice and sent it


Severus's war against the Osrhoeni, Adiabeni, and Arabians (chapters 1-3).

Severus's war against Albinus Caesar (chapters 4, 5).

How Albinus was vanquished by Severus and perished (chapters 6, 7).

The arrogance of Severus after his victory (chapters 7, 8).

Severus's Parthian expedition (chapter 9).

How he besieged the Atreni, but found his endeavors fruitless (chapters

How he started for Egypt: and about the source of the Nile (chapter 13).

About the power and tyrannous conduct of Plautianus (chapters 14-16).


Scapula Tertullus, Tineius Clemens, (A.D. 195 = a.u. 948 = Third of
Severus, from the Calends of June).

C. Domitius Dexter (II), L. Valerius Messala Priscus. (A.D. 196 = a.u. 949
= Fourth of Severus).

Ap. Claudius Lateranus, Rufinus. (A.D. 197 = a.u. 950 = Fifth of Severus).

Ti. Saturninus, C. Gallus. (A.D. 198 = a.u. 951 = Sixth of Severus).

P. Cornelius Anullinus, M. Aufidius Fronto. (A.D. 199 = a.u. 952 = Seventh
of Severus).

Ti. Claudius Severus, C. Aufidius Victorinus. (A.D. 200 = a.u. 953 =
Eighth of Severus).

L. Annius Fabianus, M. Nonius Mucianus. (A.D. 201 = a.u. 954 = Ninth of

L. Septimius Severus Aug. (III), M. Aurel. Antoninus Aug. (A.D. 202 = a.u.
955 = Tenth of Severus).

[Sidenote: A.D. 195 (a.u. 948)] [Sidenote:--1--] Of such a nature were the
walls of Byzantium. During the progress of this siege Severus out of a
desire for fame had made a campaign against the barbarians,--the Osrhoeni,
the Adiabeni, and the Arabians. [The Osrhoeni and Adiabeni having revolted
were besieging Nisibis: defeated by Severus they sent an embassy to him
after the death of Niger, not to beg his clemency as wrongdoers but to
demand reciprocal favors, pretending to have brought about the outcome for
his benefit. It was for his sake, they said, that they had destroyed the
soldiers who belonged to Niger's party. Indeed, they sent a few gifts to
him and promised to restore the captives and whatever spoils were left.
However, they were not willing either to abandon the walled towns they had
captured or to accept the imposition of tributes, but they desired those
in existence to be lifted from the country. It was this that led to the
war just mentioned.]

[Sidenote:--2--] When he had crossed the Euphrates and invaded hostile
territory, where the country was destitute of water and at this summer
season had become especially parched, he came dangerously near losing
great numbers of soldiers. Wearied as they were by their tramping and the
hot sun, clouds of dust that they encountered harrassed them greatly, so
that they could no longer walk nor yet speak, but only utter the word
"Water, water!" When [moisture] appeared, on account of [its] strangeness
it attracted no more attention than if it had not been found, till Severus
called for a cup, and having filled it with water drank it down in full
view of all. Upon this some others likewise drank and were invigorated.
Soon after Severus entered Nisibis and himself waited there, but
despatched Lateranus and Candidus and Laetus severally among the
aforementioned barbarians. These upon attaining their goals proceeded to
lay waste the land of the barbarians and to capture their cities. While
Severus was greatly priding himself upon this achievement and feeling that
he surpassed all mankind in both understanding and bravery, a most
unexpected event took place. One Claudius, a robber, who overran Judaea
and Syria and was sought for in consequence with great hue and cry, came
to him one day with horsemen, like some military tribune, and saluted and
kissed him. The visitor was not discovered at the time nor was he later
arrested. [And the Arabians, because none of their neighbors was willing
to aid them, sent an embassy a second time to Severus making quite
reasonable propositions. Still, they did not obtain what they wanted,
inasmuch as they had not come in person.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 196 (a.u. 949)] [Sidenote:--3--] The Scythians, too, were
in fighting humor, when at this juncture during a deliberation of theirs
thunder and lightning-flashes with rain suddenly broke over them, and
thunderbolts began to fall, killing their three foremost men. This caused
them to hesitate.

Severus again made three divisions of his army, and giving one to Laetus,
one to Anullinus, and one to Probus, sent them out against ARCHE [Lacuna];
[Footnote: The MS. is corrupt. Adiabene, Atrene and Arbelitis have all
been suggested as the district to which Dio actually referred here.] and
they, invading it in three divisions, subdued it not without trouble.
Severus bestowed some dignity upon Nisibis and entrusted the city to the
care of a knight. He declared he had won a mighty territory and had
rendered it a bulwark of Syria. It is shown, on the contrary, by the facts
themselves that the place is responsible for our constant wars as well as
for great expenditures. It yields very little and uses up vast sums. And
having extended our borders to include men who are neighbors of the Medes
and Parthians rather than of ourselves, we are always, one might say,
fighting over those peoples.

[Sidenote:--4--] Before Severus had had time to recover breath from his
conflicts with the barbarians he found a civil war on his hands with
Albinus, his Caesar. Severus after getting Niger out of the way was still
not giving him the rank of Caesar and had ordered other details in that
quarter as he pleased; and Albinus aspired to the preeminence of emperor.
[Footnote: Omitting [Greek: autou] (as Dindorf).] While the whole world
was moved by this state of affairs we senators kept quiet, at least so
many of us as inclining openly neither to one man nor the other yet shared
their dangers and hopes. But the populace could not restrain itself and
showed its grief in the most violent fashion. It was at the last
horse-race before the Saturnalia, and a countless throng of people flocked
to it. I too was present at the spectacle because the consul was a friend
of mine and I heard distinctly everything that was said,--a fact which
renders me able to write a little about it.

It came about in this way. There had gathered (as I said) more people than
could be computed and they had watched the chariots contesting in six
divisions (which had been the way also in Oleander's time), applauding no
one in any manner, as was the custom. When these races had ceased and the
charioteers were about to begin another event, then they suddenly enjoined
silence upon one another and all clapped their hands simultaneously,
shouting, besides, and entreating good fortune for the public welfare.
They first said this, and afterward, applying the terms "Queen" and
"Immortal" to Rome, they roared: "How long are we to suffer such
experiences?" and "Until when must we be at war?" And after making a few
other remarks of this kind they finally cried out: "That's all there is to
it!" and turned their attention to the equestrian contest. In all of this
they were surely inspired by some divine afflation. For not otherwise
could so many myriads of men have started to utter the same shouts at the
same time like some carefully trained chorus or have spoken the words
without mistake just as if they had practiced them.

This manifestation caused us still greater disturbance as did also the
fact that so great a fire was of a sudden seen by night in the air toward
the north that some thought that the whole city and others that the sky
itself was burning. But the most remarkable fact I have to chronicle is
that in clear weather a fine silvery rain descended upon the forum of
Augustus, I did not see it in the air, but noticed it after it had fallen,
and with it I silverplated some small bronze coins. These retained the
same appearance for three days: on the fourth all the substance rubbed
upon them had disappeared.

[Sidenote:--5--] A certain Numerianus, who taught children their letters,
started from Rome for Galatia with I know not what object, and by
pretending to be a Roman senator sent by Severus to gather an army he
collected at first just a small force by means of which he destroyed a few
of Albinus's cavalry, whereupon he unblushingly made some further promises
in behalf of Severus. Severus heard of this and thinking that he was
really one of the senators sent him a message of praise and bade him
acquire still greater power. The man did acquire greater power and gave
many remarkable exhibitions of ability besides obtaining seventeen hundred
and fifty myriads of denarii, which he forwarded to Severus. After the
latter's victory Numerianus came to him, making no concealment, and did
not ask to become in very truth a senator. Indeed, though he might have
been exalted by great honors and wealth, he did not choose to accept them,
but passed the remainder of his life in some country place, receiving from
the emperor some small allowance for his daily subsistence.

[Sidenote: A.D. 197 (a.u. 950)] [Sidenote:--6--] The struggle between
Severus and Albinus near Lugdunum is now to be described. At the outset
there were a hundred and fifty thousand soldiers on each side. Both
leaders took part in the war, since it was a race for life and death,
though Severus had previously not been present at any important battle.
Albinus excelled in rank and in education, but his adversary was superior
in warfare and was a skillful commander. It happened that in a former
battle Albinus had conquered Lupus, one of the generals of Severus, and
had destroyed many of the soldiers attending him. The present conflict
took many shapes and turns. The left wing of Albinus was beaten and sought
refuge behind the rampart, whereupon Severus 's soldiers in their pursuit
burst into the enclosure with them, slaughtered their opponents and
plundered their tents. Meantime the soldiers of Albinus arrayed on the
right wing, who had trenches hidden in front of them and pits in the earth
covered over only on the surface, approached as far as these snares and
hurled javelins from a distance. They did not go very far but turned back
as if frightened, with the purpose of drawing their foes into pursuit.
This actually took place. Severus's men, nettled by their brief charge and
despising them for their retreat after so short an advance, rushed upon
them without a thought that the whole intervening space could not be
easily traversed. When they reached the trenches they were involved in a
fearful catastrophe. The men in the front ranks as soon as the surface
covering broke through fell into the excavations and those immediately
behind stumbled over them, slipped, and likewise fell. The rest crowded
back in terror, their retreat being so sudden that they themselves lost
their footing, upset those in the rear, and pushed them into a deep
ravine. Of course there was a terrible slaughter of these soldiers as well
as of those who had fallen into the trenches, horses and men perishing in
one wild mass. In the midst of this tumult the warriors between the ravine
and the trenches were annihilated by showers of stones and arrows.

Severus seeing this came to their assistance with the Pretorians, but this
step proved of so little benefit that he came near causing the ruin of the
Pretorians and himself ran some risk through the loss of a horse. When he
saw all his men in flight, he tore off his riding cloak and drawing his
sword rushed among the fugitives, hoping either that they would be ashamed
and turn back or that he might himself perish with them. Some did stop
when they saw him in such an attitude, and turned back. Brought in this
way face to face with the men close behind them they cut down not a few of
them, thinking them to be followers of Albinus, and routed all their
pursuers. At this moment the cavalry under Laetus came up from the side
and decided the rest of the issue for them. Laetus, so long as the
struggle was close, remained inactive, hoping that both parties would be
destroyed and that whatever soldiers were left on both sides would give
him supreme authority. When, however, he saw Severus's party getting the
upper hand, he contributed to the result. So it was that Severus

[Sidenote:--7--] Roman power had suffered a severe blow, since the numbers
that fell on each side were beyond reckoning. Many even of the victors
deplored the disaster, for the entire plain was seen to be covered with
the bodies of men and horses. Some of them lay there exhausted by many
wounds, others thoroughly mangled, and still others unwounded but buried
under heaps. Weapons had been tossed about and blood flowed in streams,
even swelling the rivers. Albinus took refuge in a house located near the
Rhone, but when he saw all its environs guarded, he slew himself. I am not
telling what Severus wrote about it, but what actually took place. The
emperor after inspecting his body and feasting his eyes upon it to the
full while he let his tongue indulge in appropriate utterances, ordered
it,--all but the head,--to be cast out, and that he sent to Rome to be
exposed on a cross. As he showed clearly by this action that he was very
far from being an excellent ruler, he alarmed even more than before the
populace and us by the commands which he issued. Now that he had
vanquished all forces under arms he poured out upon the unarmed all the
wrath he had nourished against them during the previous period. He
terrified us most of all by declaring himself the son of Marcus and
brother of Commodus; and to Commodus, whom but recently he was wont to
abuse, he gave heroic honors. [Sidenote:--8--] While reading before the
senate a speech in which he praised the severity and cruelty of Sulla and
Marius and Augustus as rather the safer course, and deprecated the
clemency of Pompey and Caesar because it had proved their ruin, he
introduced a defence of Commodus, and inveighed against the senate for
dishonoring him unjustly though the majority of their own body lived even
worse lives. "For if", said he, "this is abominable, that he with his own
hands should have killed beasts, yet at Ostia yesterday or the day before
one of your number, an old man that had been consul, indulged publicly in
play with a prostitute who imitated a leopard. 'He fought as a gladiator,'
do you say? By Jupiter, does none of you fight as gladiator? If not, how
is it and for what purpose that some persons have bought his shields and
the famous golden helmets?" At the conclusion of this reading he released
thirty-five prisoners charged with having taken Albinus's side and behaved
toward them as if they had incurred no charge at all. They were among the
foremost members of the senate. He condemned to death twenty-nine men, as
one of whom was reckoned Sulpicianus, the father-in-law of Pertinax.

All pretended to sympathize with Severus but were confuted as often as a
sudden piece of news arrived, not being able to conceal the sentiments
hidden in their hearts. When off their guard they started at reports which
happened to assail their ears without warning. In such ways, as well as
through facial expression and habits of behavior, the feelings of every
one of them became manifest. Some also by an excess of affectation only
betrayed their attitude the more.

[Sidenote: LXXIV, 9, 5] Severus endeavored in the case of those who were
receiving vengeance at his hands [Lacuna] [Footnote: Some words appear to
have fallen out at this point (so Dindorf).] to employ Erucius Clarus
[Footnote: _C. Iulius Erucius Clarus Vibianus_.] as informer
against them, that he might both put the man in an unpleasant position and
be thought to have more fully justified conviction in view of his
witness's family and reputation. He promised Clarus to grant him safety
and immunity. But when the latter chose rather to die than to make any
such revelations, he turned to Julianus and persuaded him to play the
part. For this willingness he released him in so far as not to kill nor
disenfranchise him; but he carefully verified all his statements by
tortures and regarded as of no value his existing reputation.

[Sidenote: LXXV, 5] [In Britain at this period, because the Caledonians
did not abide by their promises but made preparations to aid the
Maeatians, and because Severus at the time was attending to the war
abroad, Lupus was compelled to purchase peace for the Maeatians at a high
figure, and recovered some few captives.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 198 (a.u. 951)] [Sidenote:--9--] The next thing Severus
did was to make a campaign against the Parthians. While he was busied with
civil wars, they had been free from molestation and had thus been able by
an expedition in full force to capture Mesopotamia. They also came very
near reducing Nisbis, and would have done so, had not Laetus, who was
besieged there, preserved the place. Though previously noted for other
political and private and public excellences, in peace as well as in wars,
he derived even greater glory from this exploit. Severus on reaching the
aforesaid Nisibis encountered an enormous boar. With its charge it killed
a horseman who, trusting to his own strength, attempted to run it down,
and it was with difficulty stopped and killed by many soldiers,--thirty
being the number required to stop it; the beast was then conveyed to

The Parthians did not wait for him but retired homeward. (Their leader was
Vologaesus, whose brother was accompanying Severus). Hence Severus
equipped boats on the Euphrates and reached him partly by marching, partly
by sailing. The newly constructed vessels were exceedingly manageable and
well appointed, for the forest along the Euphrates and those regions in
general afforded the emperor an abundant supply of timber. Thus he soon
had seized Seleucia and Babylon, both of which had been abandoned.
Subsequently he captured Ctesiphon and permitted his soldiers to plunder
the whole town, causing a great slaughter of men and taking nearly ten
myriads alive. However, he did not pursue Vologaesus nor yet occupy
Ctesiphon, but as if the sole purpose of his campaign had been to plunder
it, he thereupon departed. This action was due partly to lack of
acquaintance with the country and partly to dearth of provisions. His
return was made by a different route, because the wood and fodder found on
the previous route had been exhausted. Some of his soldiers made their
retreat by land along the Tigris, following the stream toward its source,
and some on boats.

[Sidenote: A.D. 199(?)] [Sidenote:--10--] Next, Severus crossed
Mesopotamia and made an attempt on Hatra, which was not far off, but
accomplished nothing. In fact, even the engines were burned, many soldiers
perished, and vast numbers were wounded. Therefore Severus retired from
the place and shifted his quarters. While he was at war, he also put to
death two distinguished men. The first was Julius Crispus, a tribune of
the Pretorians. The cause of his execution was that indignant at the
damage done by the war he had casually uttered a verse of the poet Maro,
in which one of the soldiers fighting on the side of Turnus against Aeneas
bewails his lot and says: "To enable Turnus to marry Lavinia we are
meanwhile perishing, without heed being paid to us." [Footnote: Two and a
half lines beginning with verse 371 in Book Eleven of Virgil's Aeneid.]
Severus made Valerius, the soldier who had accused him, tribune in his
place. The other whom he killed was Laetus, and the reason was that Laetus
was proud and was beloved by the soldiers. They often said they would not
march, unless Laetus would lead them. The responsibility for this murder,
for which he had no clear reason save jealousy, he fastened upon the
soldiers, making it appear that they had ventured upon the act contrary to
his will.

[Sidenote: A.D. 200(?)] [Sidenote:--11--] After laying in a large store of
food and preparing many engines he in person again led an attack upon
Hatra. He deemed it a disgrace, now that other points had been subdued,
that this one alone, occupying a central position, should continue to
resist. And he lost a large amount of money and all his engines except
those of Priscus, as I stated earlier, [Footnote: Compare Book
Seventy-four, chapter 11.] besides many soldiers. Numbers were annihilated
in foraging expeditions, as the barbarian cavalry (I mean that of the
Arabians) kept everywhere assailing them with precision and violence. The
archery of the Atreni, too, was effective over a very long range. Some
missiles they hurled from engines, striking many of Severus's men-at-arms,
for they discharged two missiles in one and the same shot and there were
also many hands and many arrows to inflict injury. They did their
assailants the utmost damage, however, when the latter approached the
wall, and in an even greater degree after they had broken down a little of
it. Then they threw at them among other things the bituminous naphtha of
which I wrote above [Footnote: Compare the beginning of Book Thirty-six
(supplied from Xiphilinus).] and set fire to the engines and all the
soldiers that were struck with it. Severus observed proceedings from a
lofty tribunal. [Sidenote:--12--] A portion of the outer circuit had
fallen in one place and all the soldiers were eager to force their way
inside the remainder, when Severus checked them from doing so by giving
orders that the signal for retreat be sounded clearly on all sides. The
fame of the place was great, since it contained enormous offerings to the
Sun God and vast stores of valuables; and he expected that the Arabians
would voluntarily come to terms in order to avoid being forcibly captured
and enslaved. When, after letting one day elapse, no one made any formal
proposition to him, he commanded the soldiers again to assault the wall,
though it had been built up in the night. The Europeans who had the power
to accomplish something were so angry that not one of them would any
longer obey him, and some others, Syrians, compelled to go to the assault
in their stead, were miserably destroyed. Thus Heaven, that rescued the
city, caused Severus to recall the soldiers that could have entered it,
and in turn when he later wished to take it caused the soldiers to prevent
him from doing so. The situation placed Severus in such a dilemma that
when some one of his followers promised him that, if he would give him
only five hundred and fifty of the Europeans, he would get possession of
the city without any risk to the rest, the emperor said within hearing of
all: "And where can I get so many soldiers?" (referring to the
disobedience of the soldiers).

[Sidenote: A.D. 200 (a.u. 953)] [Sidenote:--13--] Having prosecuted the
siege for twenty days he next came to Palestine and sacrificed to the
spirit of Pompey: and into [upper] Egypt [he sailed along the Nile and
viewed the whole country, with some small exceptions. For instance, he was
unable to pass the frontier of Ethiopia on account of pestilence.] And he
made a search of everything, including what was very carefully hidden, for
he was the sort of man to leave nothing, human or divine, uninvestigated.
Following this tendency he drew from practically all their hiding places
all the books that he could find containing anything secret, and he closed
the monument of Alexander, to the end that no one should either behold his
body any more or read what was written in these books.

This was what he did. For myself, there is no need that I should write in
general about Egypt, but what I know about the Nile through verifying
statements from many sources I am bound to mention. It clearly rises in
Mount Atlas. This lies in Macennitis, close to the Western ocean itself,
and towers far above all mountains, wherefore the poets have called it
"Pillar of the Sky." No one ever ascended its summits nor saw its topmost
peaks. Hence it is always covered with snow, which in summer time sends
down great quantities of water. The whole country about its base is in
general marshy, but at this season becomes even more so, with the result
that it swells the size of the Nile at harvest time. This is the river's
source, as is evidenced by the crocodiles and other beasts that are born
alike on both sides of it. Let no one be surprised that we have made
pronouncements unknown to the ancient Greeks. The Macennitae live near
lower Mauretania and many of the people who go on campaigns there also
visit Atlas. It is thus that the matter stands.

[Sidenote:--14--] Plautianus, who enjoyed the special favor of Severus and
had the authority of prefect, besides possessing the fullest and greatest
influence on earth, had put to death many men of renown and his own
peers [Lacuna] [After killing Aemilius Saturninus he took away all the
most important prerogatives belonging to the minor officers of the
Pretorians, his subordinates, in order that none of them might be so
elated by his position of eminence as to lie in wait for the captaincy of
the body-guards. Already it was his wish to be not simply the only but a
perpetual prefect.] He wanted everything, asked everything from everybody,
and got everything. He left no province and no city unplundered, but
sacked and gathered everything from all sides. All sent a great deal more
to him than they did to Severus. Finally he sent centurions and stole
tiger-striped horses sacred [Footnote: Supplying [Greek: therous] (Reiske's
conjecture).] to the Sun God from the island in the Red Sea. This mere
statement, I think, must instantly make plain all his officiousness and
greediness. Yet, on second thought, I will add one thing more. At home he
castrated one hundred nobly born Roman citizens, though none of us knew of
it until after he was dead. From this fact one may comprehend the extent
alike of his lawlessness and of his authority. He castrated not merely
boys or youths, but grown men, some of whom had wives; his object was that
Plautilla his daughter (whom Antoninus afterward married) should be waited
upon entirely by eunuchs [and also have them to give her instruction in
music and other branches of art. So we beheld the same persons eunuchs and
men, fathers and impotent, gelded and bearded. In view of this one might
not improperly declare that Plautianus had power beyond all men, over even
the emperors themselves. For one thing, his portrait statues were not only
far more numerous but also larger than theirs, and this not simply in
outside cities but in Rome itself, and they were at this time reared not
merely by individuals but by no less a body than the senate itself. All
the soldiers and the senators took oaths by his Fortune and all publicly
offered prayer for his preservation.

[Sidenote:--15--] The person principally responsible for this state of
affairs was Severus himself. He yielded to Plautianus in all matters to
such a degree that the latter occupied the position of emperor and he
himself that of prefect. In short, the man knew absolutely everything that
Severus said and did, but not a person was acquainted with any of
Plautianus's secrets. The emperor made advances to his daughter on behalf
of his own son, passing by many other maidens of high rank. He appointed
him consul and virtually showed an anxiety to have him for successor in
the imperial office. Indeed, once he did say in a letter: "I love the man
so much that I pray to die before he does."]

[Lacuna] so that [Lacuna] some one actually dared to write to him as to a
fourth Caesar.

Though many decrees in his honor were passed by the senate he accepted
only a few of them, saying to the senators: "It is through your hearts
that you show your love for me, not through your decrees."

At temporary stopping-places he endured seeing him located in superior
quarters and enjoying better and more abundant food than he. Hence in
Nicaea (my native country) when he once wanted a hammer-fish, large
specimens of which are found in the lake, he sent to Plautianus to get it.
So if he thought at all of doing aught to diminish this minister's
leadership, yet the opposite party, which contained far greater and more
brilliant members, saw to it that any such plan was frustrated. On one
occasion Severus went to visit him, when he had fallen sick at Tyana, and
the soldiers attached to Plautianus would not allow the visitor's escort
to enter with him. Moreover, the person who arranged cases to be pled
before Severus was once ordered by the latter in a moment of leisure to
bring forward some case or other, whereupon the fellow refused, saying: "I
can not do this, unless Plautianus bid me." So greatly did Plautianus have
the mastery in every way over the emperor that he [frequently treated]
Julia Augusta [in an outrageous way,--for he detested her cordially,--and]
was always abusing [her violently] to Severus, and conducted
investigations against her as well as tortures of noble women. For this
reason she began to study philosophy and passed her days in the company of
learned men.--As for Plautianus, he proved himself the most licentious of
men, for he would go to banquets and vomit meantime, inasmuch as the mass
of foods and wine that he swallowed made it impossible for him to digest
anything. And whereas he made use of lads and girls in perfectly notorious
fashion, he would not permit his own wife to see or be seen by any person
whomsoever, not even by Severus or Julia [to say nothing of others].

[Sidenote:--16--] At this period there took place also a gymnastic
[Footnote: Reading [Greek: gymnikon] for [Greek: gynaikon], which is
possibly corrupt.] contest, at which so great a multitude assembled under
compulsion that we wondered how the race-course could hold them all. And
in this contest Alamanni [Footnote: Reading [Greek: Alamannai] for [Greek:
alomenai], which is undoubtedly corrupt.] women fought most ferociously,
with the result that jokes were made about other ladies, who were very
distinguished. Therefore, from this time on every woman, no matter what
her origin, was prohibited from fighting in the arena.

On one occasion a good many images of Plautianus were made (what happened
is worth relating) and Severus, being displeased at their number, melted
down some of them. As a consequence a rumor penetrated the cities to the
effect that the prefect had been overthrown and had perished. So some of
them demolished his images,--an act for which they were afterward
punished. Among these was the governor of Sardinia, Racius Constans, a
very famous man, whom I have mentioned, however, for a particular reason.
The orator who accused Constans had made this statement in addition to
others: "Sooner may the sky collapse than Plautianus suffer any harm at
the hands of Severus, and with greater cause might any one believe even
that report, were any story of the sort circulated." Now, though the
orator made this declaration, and though moreover Severus himself volubly
affirmed it to us, who were helping him try the case, and stated "it is
impossible for Plautianus to come to any harm at my hands," still, this
very Plautianus did not live the year out, but was slain and all his
images destroyed.--Previous to this a vast sea-monster had come ashore in
the harbor named for Augustus, and had been captured. A representation of
him, taken into the hunting-theatre, admitted fifty bears in its interior.
Again, for many days a comet star had been seen in Rome and was said to
portend nothing favorable.


Festivities on account of Severus's decennial, the marriage of Antoninus
and victories (chapter 1).

Death of Plautianus (chapters 2-4).

The friends and children of Plautianus are persecuted by Severus (chapters

About Bulla Felix, a noble brigand (chapter 10).

Severus's campaign in Britain: an account of the Britons (chapters 11,

After traversing the whole of Britain Severus makes peace (chapter 13).

How Antoninus desired to slay his father (chapter 14).

Death of Severus Augustus and a summary view of his life (chapters 15-17).


L. Septimius Severus Aug. (III), M. Aur. Antoninus Aug. (A.D. 202 = a.u.
955 = Tenth of Severus, from the Calends of June).

P. Septimius Geta, Fulvius Plautianus (II). (A.D. 203 = a.u. 956 =
Eleventh of Severus).

L. Fabius Septimius Cilo (II), L. Flavius Libo. (A.D. 204 = a.u. 957 =
Twelfth of Severus).

M. Aur. Antoninus Aug. (II), P. Septimius Geta Caesar. (A.D. 205 = a.u.
958 = Thirteenth of Severus).

Nummius Albinus, Fulv. Aemilianus. (A.D. 206 = a.u. 959 = Fourteenth of

Aper, Maximus. (A.D. 207 = a.u. 960 = Fifteenth of Severus).

M. Aur. Antoninus Aug. (III), P. Septim. Geta Caesar (II). (A.D. 208 =
a.u. 961 = Sixteenth of Severus).

Civica Pompeianus, Lollianus Avitus. (A.D. 209 = a.u. 962 = Seventeenth of

M. Acilius Faustinus, Triarius Rufinus. (A.D. 210 = a.u. 963 = Eighteenth
of Severus).

Q. Epid. Ruf. Lollianus Gentianus, Pomponius Bassus. (A.D. 211 = a.u. 964
= Nineteenth of Severus, to Feb. 4th).

[Sidenote: A.D. 202 (a.u. 955)] [Sidenote:--1--] Severus to celebrate the
first decade of his reign presented to the entire populace accustomed to
receive dole and to the soldiers of the pretorian guard gold pieces equal
in number to the years of his sovereignty. He took the greatest delight in
this achievement, and, as a matter of fact, no one had ever before given
so much to whole masses of people. Upon this gift five hundred myriads of
denarii were expended. Another event was the marriage between Antoninus,
son of Severus, and Plautilla, the daughter of Plautianus. The latter gave
as much for his daughter's dowry as would have sufficed for fifty women of
royal rank. We saw the gifts as they were being carried through the Forum
into the palace. We were banqueted, likewise, in the meantime, partly in
royal and partly in barbarian fashion on whatever is regularly eaten
cooked or raw, and we received other animal food also alive. At this time,
too, there occurred all sorts of spectacles in honor of Severus's return,
the completion of his first decade, and his victories. At these spectacles
sixty wild boars of Plautianus upon a given signal began a combat with one
another, and there were slain (besides many other beasts) an elephant and
a crocotta. [Footnote: Hesychius says of this beast merely that it is a
quadruped of Aethiopia. Strabo calls it a cross between wolf and dog.
Pliny (Natural History, VIII, 21 (30)) gives the following description:

  "Crocottas are apparently the offspring of dog and wolf; they crush all
  their food with their teeth and forthwith gulp it down to be assimilated
  by the belly."

Again, of the Leucrocotta:

  "A most destructive beast about the size of an ass, with legs of a deer,
  the neck, tail and breast of a lion, a badger's head, cloven hoof, mouth
  slit to the ears, and, in place of teeth, a solid line of bone."

Also, in VIII, 30 (45), he says:

  "The lioness of Ethiopia by copulation with a hyaena brings forth the

Capitolinus (Life of Antoninus Pius, 10, 9) remarks that the first
Antoninus had exhibited the animal in Rome. Further, see Aelian, VII, 22.]
The last named animal is of Indian origin, and was then for the first
time, so far as I am aware, introduced into Rome. It has the skin of lion
and tiger mingled and the appearance of those animals, as also of the wolf
and fox, curiously blended. The entire cage in the theatre had been so
constructed as to resemble a boat in form, so that it would both receive
and discharge four hundred beasts at once, [Footnote: These cages were
often made in various odd shapes and opened automatically. Compare the
closing sentences of the preceding book.] and then, as it suddenly fell
apart, there came rushing up bears, lionesses, panthers, lions, ostriches,
wild asses, bisons (this is a kind of cattle of foreign species and
appearance),--the result being that altogether seven hundred wild and tame
beasts at once were seen running about and were slaughtered. For, to
correspond with the duration of the festival, seven days, the number of
animals was also seven times one hundred.

[Sidenote:--2--] On Mount Vesuvius a great gush of fire burst out and
there were bellowings mighty enough to be heard in Capua, where I live
whenever I am in Italy. This place I have selected for various reasons,
chief of which is its quiet, that enables me to get leisure from city
affairs and to write on this compilation. As a result of the Vesuvian
phenomena it was believed that there would be a change in the political
status of Plautianus. In very truth Plautianus had grown great and more
than great, so that even the populace at the hippodrome exclaimed: "Why do
you tremble? Why are you pale? You possess more than the three." They did
not say this to his face, of course, but differently. And by "three" they
indicated Severus and his sons, Antoninus and Geta. Plautianus's pallor
and his trembling were in fact due to the life that he lived, the hopes
that he hoped, and the fears that he feared. Still, for a time most of
this eluded Severus's individual notice, or else he knew it but pretended
the opposite. When, however, his brother Geta on his deathbed revealed to
him the whole attitude of Plautianus,--for Geta hated the prefect and now
no longer feared him,--the emperor set up a bronze statue of his brother
in the Forum and no longer held his minister in equal honor; indeed, the
latter was stripped of most of his power. Hence [Sidenote: A.D. 203 (a.u.
956)] Plautianus became violently enraged, and whereas he had formerly
hated Antoninus for slighting his daughter, he was now especially
indignant, feeling that his son-in-law was responsible for his present
disgrace, and began to behave more harshly toward him. [Sidenote:--3--]
For these reasons Antoninus became both disgusted with his wife (who was a
most shameless creature), and offended at her father himself, because the
latter kept meddling in all his undertakings and rebuking him for
everything that he did. Conceiving a desire to be rid of the man in some
way or other he accordingly had Euodus, his nurse, persuade a certain
centurion, Saturninus, and two others of similar rank to bring him word
that Plautianus had ordered some ten centurions, to whose number they also
belonged, to kill both Severus and Antoninus; and they read a certain
writing which they pretended to have received bearing upon this very
matter. This was done as a surprise at the observances held in the palace
in honor of the heroes, at a time when the spectacle had ceased and dinner
was about to be served. That fact was largely instrumental in showing the
story to be a fabrication. Plautianus would never have dared to impose
such a bidding upon ten centurions at once, certainly not in Rome,
certainly not in the palace, nor on that day, nor at that hour; much less
would he have written it. Nevertheless, Severus believed the information
trustworthy because he had the night before seen in a dream Albinus alive
and plotting against him. [Sidenote:--4--] In haste, therefore, he
summoned Plautianus, as if upon some other business. The latter hurried so
(or rather, Heaven so indicated to him approaching disaster) that the
mules that were carrying him fell in the palace yard. And when he sought
to enter, the porters in charge of the bolts admitted him alone inside and
would permit no one to enter with him, just as he himself had done in the
case of Severus at Tyana. He grew a little suspicious at this and became
terrified; as he had, however, no pretext for withdrawing, he went in.
Severus conversed with him very mildly: "Why have you seen fit to do this!
For what reason have you wished to kill us?" He gave him opportunity to
speak and prepared to listen to his defence.

In the midst of the accused's denial and surprise at what was said,
Antoninus rushed up, took away his sword, and struck him with his fist. He
was ready to put an end to Plautianus with his own hand after the latter
said: "You wanted to get the start of me in any killing!" Being prevented,
however, by his father, Antoninus ordered one of his attendants to slay
Plautianus. Somebody plucked out a few hairs from his chin and carried
them to Julia and Plautilla (who were together) before they had heard a
word of the affair, and said: "Behold your Plautianus!" This speech
aroused grief in one and joy in the other.

Thus the man who had possessed the greatest influence of all my
contemporaries, so that everybody both feared and trembled before him more
than before the very emperors, [Footnote: Reading [Greek: autokratoron]
(emendation of H. Stephanus).] the man who had hung poised upon greater
hopes than they, was slain by his son-in-law and thrown from the top of
the palace into some street. Later, at the order of Severus, he was taken
up and buried.

[Sidenote:--5--] Severus next called a meeting of the senate in the
senate-house. He uttered no accusation against Plautianus, but himself
deplored the weakness of human nature, which was not able to endure
excessive honors, and blamed himself that he had so honored and loved the
man. Those, however, who had informed him of the victim's plot he bade
tell us everything; but first he expelled from the senate-chamber some
whose presence was not necessary, and by revealing nothing to them
intimated that he did not altogether trust them.

Many were brought into danger by the Plautianus episode and some actually
lost their lives. But Coeranus was accustomed to declare (what most people
are given to pretending with reference to the fortunate) that he was his
associate. As often as these friends of the prefect were wont to be called
in before the others desiring to greet the great man, it was his custom to
accompany them as far as the bars. So he did not share his secrets, but
remained in the space midway, giving Plautianus the impression that he was
outside and those outside the idea that he was within. This caused him to
be the object of greater suspicion,--a feeling which was strengthened by
the fact that Plautianus once in a dream saw fishes issue from the Tiber
and fall at his feet, whereupon he declared that Coeranus should rule the
land and water. This man, after being confined to an island for seven
years, was later recalled, was the first Egyptian to be enrolled in the
senate, and became consul, like Pompey, without holding any previous
office. Caecilius Agricola, however, numbered among the deceased's
foremost flatterers and second to no man on earth in rascality and
licentiousness, was sentenced to death. He went home, and after drinking
his fill of chilled wine, shattered the cup which had cost him five
myriads, and cutting his veins fell dead upon the fragments.
[Sidenote:--6--] As for Saturninus and Euodus, they were honored at the
time but were later executed by Antoninus. While we were engaged in voting
eulogies to Euodus, Severus restrained us by saying: "It is disgraceful
that in one of your decrees there should be inscribed such a statement
respecting a man that is a Caesarian." It was not the only instance of
such an attitude, but he also refused to allow all the other imperial
freedmen either to be insolent or to swagger; for this he was commended.
The senate once, while chanting his praises, uttered without reserve no
less a sentiment than this: "All do all things well since you rule well!"

Plautilla and Plautius, the children of Plautianus, were temporarily
allowed to live, being banished to Lipara; but in the reign of Antoninus
they were destroyed, though they had been existing in great fear and
wretchedness and though their life was not even blessed by a goodly store
of necessities.

[Sidenote:--7--] The sons of Severus, Antoninus and Greta, felt as if they
had got rid of a pedagogue in Plautianus, and their conduct was from this
time on irresponsible. They outraged women and abused boys, they embezzled
moneys and made friends of the gladiators and charioteers, emulating each
other in the similarity of their deeds and full of strife in their
respective rivalries. If one attached himself to any cause, the other
would be sure to choose the opposite side. Finally, they were pitted
against each other in some kind of exercise with teams of ponies and drove
with such fierce opposition that Antoninus fell out of the two-wheeled car
and broke his leg. [During his son's sickness that followed this accident
Severus neglected not one of his duties, but held court and managed all
affairs pertaining to his office. For this he was praised. But he was
blamed for murdering Plautianus Quintillus. [Footnote: This person's name
is properly _M. Plautius Quintillus_.] He executed also many of the
senators, some of whom had been accused before him, and made their defence
and had been convicted. But Quintillus,] a man of noblest birth, for a
long term of years counted among the foremost members of the senate,
standing at the gates of old age, one who lived in the country, interfered
in no one's business and did naught amiss, nevertheless became the prey of
sycophants and was put out of the way. As he was near death he called for
his funeral garments, which he had long since kept in readiness. On seeing
that they had fallen to pieces through lapse of time, he said: "Why did we
delay this!" And as he perfumed the place with burning incense, he
remarked: "I offer the same prayer as Servianus offered over Hadrian."
[Footnote: Compare Book Sixty-nine, chapter 17.]--Besides his death there
were also gladiatorial contests, in which among other features ten tigers
were slaughtered at once.

[Sidenote:--8--] After this came the _dénouement_ of the Apronianus
affair,--a startling story even in the hearing. He incurred censure
because his nurse is said to have seen once in a vision that he should
enjoy sovereignty, and because he was believed to employ some magic to
this end. He was condemned while absent in his governorship of Asia. When
the evidence taken in his case was read to us, there was found written
there this statement,--that one person in charge of the investigation had
enquired who had told the dream and who had heard it, and that the man
interrogated had said among other things: "I saw a certain baldheaded
senator taking a peep there." On hearing this we all became
terror-stricken, for neither had the man spoken nor Severus written any
one's name. In their state of panic even those who had never visited the
house of Apronianus, and not only the baldheaded but those whose foreheads
were indifferently bare grew afraid. No one felt easy save those who had
unusually thick hair. We all looked around at such men, and a whisper ran
about: "It's so-and-so. No, it's so-and-so." I will not conceal how I was
then affected, however absurd it may be. I felt with my hand to see
whether I had any hair on my head; and a number of others behaved in the
very same way. We were very careful to direct our gaze upon baldish
persons as if we could thereby divert our own danger upon them. This we
did until it was further read that the particular baldhead in question
wore a purple toga. When this statement came out, we turned our eyes upon
Baebius Marcellinus. He had been aedile at the time and was extremely
bald. So he stood up and coming forward said: "He will certainly be able
to point me out, if he has seen me." We commended this speech, the
informer was brought in while the senator stood by, and for a long time
was silent, looking about for the man to point out. Finally, following the
direction of an almost imperceptible nod that somebody gave, he said that
this was he.

[Sidenote:--9--] Thus was Marcellinus convicted of a baldhead's peeping,
[Footnote: The phrase [Greek: phalakrou parakupseos] has a humorous ring
to it, and I am inclined to believe, especially considering the situation,
that Dio had in his mind while writing this the familiar proverb [Greek:
honou parakupseos], a famous response given by a careless ass-driver,
whose animal being several rods in advance of its lagging master had stuck
its head into an open doorway and thereby scattered the nucleus of a
promising aviary. The fellow was haled to court to answer to a charge of
contributory negligence and when some bystander asked him for what misdeed
he had been brought to that place, he rejoined with a great air of injured
innocence: "For an ass's peeping!"] and bewailing his fate he was
conducted out of the senate-house. When he had passed through the Forum,
he refused to advance farther, but right where he was took leave of his
children, four in number, and uttered this most affecting speech: "There
is only one thing that I am sorry for, children; it is that I must leave
you behind alive." Then he had his head cut off before Severus learned
even that he had been condemned.

Just vengeance, however, befell Pollenius Sebennus, who had preferred the
charge that caused his death. He was delivered by Sabinus to the Norici,
for whom he had shown scant consideration during his governorship of them,
and went through a most disgraceful experience. We saw him stretched on
the ground, pleading piteously, and had he not obtained mercy, thanks to
his uncle Auspex, [Footnote: _A. Pollenius Auspex_.] he would have
perished pitiably. This Auspex was the cleverest imaginable man for jokes
and chit-chat, for despising all mankind, gratifying his friends, and
making reprisals upon his enemy. Many bitter and witty epigrams of his
spoken to various people are reported, and many to Severus himself. Here
is one of the latter. When the emperor was enrolled in the family of
Marcus, Auspex said: "I congratulate you, Caesar, upon having found a
father." This implied that up to this time his obscure origin had made him
as good as fatherless.

[Sidenote: A.D. 206-7(?)] [Sidenote:--10--] It was at this period that one
Bulla, an Italian, established a robber band of about six hundred men and
for two years continued to plunder Italy under the very noses of the
emperors and of so great bodies of soldiers. Pursuit was instituted by
numerous persons, and Severus emulously followed his trail, but the fellow
was never really seen when seen, never found when found, never apprehended
when caught. This was due to his great bribes and his cleverness. He got
wind of everybody that was setting out from Rome and everybody that was
putting into port at Brundusium, learning who and how many they were, and
what and how much they had with them. His general method was to take a
part of what they had and then let them go at once. Artisans, however, he
detained for a time and after making use of their skill dismissed them
with something extra as a present. Once two of his robbers had been
captured and were to be given to beasts, whereupon the chief paid a visit
to the keeper of the prison, pretending that he was the governor of his
native place (?) and needed some such men, and in this way he secured and
saved them. Again, he approached the centurion who was charged with
abolishing brigandage and in disguise accused his own self; he further
promised, if the centurion would accompany him, to deliver the robber to
him. So, pretending that he was leading him to Felix (this was another
name of the chief), he brought him to a hill-encompassed spot, suitable
for ambuscade, and easily seized him. Later he assumed the garb of a
magistrate, ascended the tribunal, and having called the centurion caused
his head to be shaved, and said: "Take this message to your masters: 'Feed
your slaves, if you want to make an end of brigandage.'" Bulla had,
indeed, a very great number of Caesarians, some who had been poorly paid
and some who had gone absolutely without pay.

Severus, informed of these events one at a time, was moved to anger to
think that while having other men win victory in warfare in Britain, he
himself in Italy had proved no match for a robber. At last he despatched a
tribune from his body-guard with many horsemen and threatened him with
terrible punishments if he should not bring the culprit alive. Then this
commander ascertained that the chief was maintaining relations of intimacy
with the wife of another, and through the agency of her husband persuaded
her on promise of immunity to cooperate with them. As a result the elusive
leader was arrested while asleep in a cave. Papinianus the prefect asked
him: "For what reason did you become a robber?" The other rejoined: "For
what reason are you a prefect?" And thereafter by solemn proclamation he
was given to beasts. His robber band broke up, for the entire strength of
the six hundred lay in him.

[Sidenote: A.D. 208 (a.u. 961)] [Sidenote:--11--] Severus, seeing that his
children were departing from their accustomed modes of life and that his
legions were becoming enervated by idleness, set out on a campaign against
Britain, though he knew that he should not return. He knew this chiefly
from the stars under which he had been born, for he had them painted upon
the ceilings of the two halls in the palace where he was wont to hold
court. Thus they were visible to all, save the portion which
"regarded-the-hour" when he first saw the light (i.e., his horo-scope).
This he had not engraved in the same way in both the rooms.--He knew it
also by the report of the seers. And a thunderbolt struck a statue of his
standing near the gates through which he intended to march out and looking
off along the road leading to his destination, and it had erased three
letters from his name. For this reason, [Footnote: The significance of
this happening is explained as follows. Taking the Greek form of Severus,
namely [Greek: SEBAEROS] and erasing the first three letters you have left
[Greek: AEROS]= [Greek: AEROS]=heros, "hero." When a thunderbolt
substitutes the word "hero" for the emperor's name, the supposition
naturally arises that the ruler will soon be numbered among the heroes,
that is, that he will cease to exist as a mortal man.] as the seers
indicated, he did not come back again but departed from life two years
after this. He took with him very great sums of money.

[Sidenote:--12--] There are two principal races of the Britons,--the
Caledonians and the Maeatians. The titles of the rest have all been
reduced to these two. The Maeatians live near the cross wall which cuts
the island in two, and the Caledonians are behind them. Both inhabit wild
and waterless mountains, desolate and swampy plains, holding no walls, nor
cities, nor tilled fields, but living by pasturage and hunting and a few
fruit trees. The fish, which are inexhaustible and past computing for
multitude, they do not taste. They dwell coatless and shoeless in tents,
possess their women in common, and rear all the offspring as a community.
Their form of government is mostly democratic and they are very fond of

Consequently they choose their boldest spirits as leaders. They go into
battle on chariots with small, swift horses. There are also infantry, very
quick at running and very firm in standing their ground. Their weapons are
shield and short spear, with a bronze apple attached to the end of the
ground-spike, so that when the instrument is shaken it may clash and
inspire the enemy with terror. They also have daggers. They can endure
hunger and cold and any kind of wretchedness. They plunge into the swamps
and exist there for many days with only their heads above water, and in
the forests they support themselves upon bark and roots and in all
[Footnote: The reading is a little doubtful. Possibly "in such cases" (
[Greek: para tauta]). (Boissevain).] cases they have ready a kind of food
of which a piece the size of a bean when eaten prevents them from being
either hungry or thirsty. Of such a nature is the island of Britain, and
such are the inhabitants that the enemy's country has. For it is an
island, and the fact (as I have stated) [Footnote: Compare Book
Thirty-nine, chapter 50, which, in turn, refers to Book Sixty-six, chapter
20.] was clearly proved at this time. The length of it is seven thousand
one hundred and thirty-two stades. Its greatest breadth is two thousand
three hundred and ten, and its least is three hundred. [Sidenote:--13--]
Of all this we hold a little less than a half. So Severus, desiring to
subjugate the whole of it, invaded Caledonia. While traversing the
territory he had untold trouble in cutting down the forests, reducing the
levels of heights, filling up the swamps, and bridging the rivers. He
fought no battle and beheld no adversary in battle array. The enemy
purposely put sheep and cattle in front of them for the soldiers to seize,
in order that the latter might be deceived for a longer time and wear
themselves out. The Romans received great damage from the streams and were
made objects of attack when they were scattered. Afterward, being unable
to walk, they were slain by their own friends to avoid capture, so that
nearly as many as fifty thousand died.

But the emperor did not desist till he had approached the extremity of the
island. Here he observed very accurately to how slight a degree the sun
declined below the horizon [Footnote: Compare Tacitus, _Agricola_,
chapter 12 (two sentences, Dierum [Lacuna] affirmant).] and the length of
days and nights both summer and winter. Thus having been conveyed through
practically the whole of the hostile region,--for he was really conveyed
in a covered chair most of the way on account of his weakness,--he
returned to [Sidenote: A.D. 210 (a.u. 963)] friendly territory, first
forcing the Britons to come to terms on condition that he should abandon a
good part of their territory.

[Sidenote:--14--] Antoninus also disturbed him and involved him in vain
worry by his intemperate life, by his evident intention to murder his
brother if the chance should present itself, and finally by plotting
against his own father. Once he leaped suddenly out of his quarters,
shouting and bawling and feigning to have been wronged by Castor. This man
was the best of the Caesarians attending upon Severus, had been trusted
with his opinions, and had been assigned the duties of chamberlain.
Certain soldiers with whom previous arrangements had been made hereupon
gathered and joined the outcry; but they were checked in short order, as
Severus himself appeared on the scene and punished the more unruly among

On another occasion both were riding to meet the Caledonians for the
purpose of receiving them and holding a conference about a truce, and
Antoninus undertook to kill his father outright with his own hand. They
were going along on their horses, for Severus, although his feet were
rather shrunken [Footnote: Reading [Greek: hypotetaekos] (suggestion of
Boissevain, who does not regard Naber's emendation, Mnemosyne, XVI, p.
113, as feasible).] by an ailment, nevertheless was on horseback himself
and the rest of the army was following: the enemy's force, too, was
likewise a spectator. At this juncture, in the midst of the silence and
order, Antoninus reined up his horse and drew his sword, apparently
intending to strike his father in the back. Seeing this, the other
horsemen in the detachment raised a cry of alarm, which scared the son, so
that he did nothing further. Severus turned at their shout and saw the
sword; however, he uttered not a syllable but ascended the tribunal,
finished what he had to do, and returned to the general's tent. Then he
called his son and Papinianus and Castor, ordered a sword to be placed
within easy reach, and upbraided the youth for having dared to do such a
thing at all and especially for having been on the point of committing so
great a crime in the presence of all the allies and the enemy. Finally he
said: "Now if you desire to slay me and have done, put an end to me here.
You are strong: I am an old man and prostrate. If you have no objection to
this, but shrink from becoming my actual murderer, there stands by your
side Papinianus the prefect, whom you may order to put me out of the way.
He will certainly do anything that you command, since you are emperor."
Though he spoke in this fashion, he still did the plotter no harm, in
spite of the fact that he had often blamed Marcus for not ending the life
of Commodus and that he had himself often threatened his son with this
treatment. Such words, however, were invariably spoken in a fit of anger:
on this occasion he allowed his love of offspring to get the better of his
love of country; yet in doing so he simply betrayed his other child, for
he well knew what would happen.

[Sidenote:--15--] Upon another revolt of the inhabitants of the island he
summoned the soldiers and bade them invade the rebels' country, killing
whomsoever they should encounter. He added these verses:

  "Let none escape utter destruction At our hands. Yea, whatso is found in
  the womb of the mother, Child unborn though it be, let it not escape
  utter destruction!" [Footnote: Homer's Iliad, VI, verse 57, with a
  slight change at the end.]

When this had been done and the Caledonians as well as the Maeatians
revolted, he proceeded with preparations to make war upon them in person.
While he was thus engaged his sickness carried him off on the fourth of
February. [Sidenote: A.D. 211 (a.u. 964)] Antoninus, it is said,
contributed something to the result. Before he closed his eyes he is
reputed to have spoken these words to his children (I shall use the exact
phraseology without embellishment): "Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers,
scorn everybody else." After this his body arrayed in military garb was
placed upon a pyre, and as a mark of honor the soldiers and his children
ran about it. Those present who had any military gifts threw them upon it
and the sons applied the fire. Later his bones were put in a jar of purple
stone, conveyed to Rome, and deposited in the tomb of the Antonines. It is
said that Severus sent for the jar a little before his death and after
feeling it over remarked: "Thou shalt hold a man that the world could not

[Sidenote:--16--] He was slow-moulded but strong, though he eventually
grew very weak from gout: mentally he was very keen and very firm. He
wished for more education than he got and for this reason he was sagacious
rather than a good talker. Toward friends not forgetful, to enemies most
oppressive, he was capable of everything that he desired to accomplish but
careless of everything said about him. Hence he gathered money from every
source (save that he killed no one to get it) [and met all necessary
expenditures quite ungrudgingly. He restored very many of the ancient
buildings and inscribed upon them his own name to signify that he had
repaired them so as to be new structures, and from his private funds. Also
he spent a great deal uselessly upon renovating and repairing other
places], erecting, for instance, to Bacchus and Hercules a temple of huge
size. Yet, though his expenses were enormous, he left behind not merely a
few myriad denarii, easily reckoned, but a great many. Again, he rebuked
such persons as were not chaste, even going to the extent of enacting
certain laws in regard to adultery, with the result that there were any
number of prosecutions for that offence. When consul I once found three
thousand entered on the docket. But inasmuch as very few persons appeared
to conduct their cases, he too ceased to trouble his head about it.
Apropos of this, a quite witty remark is reported of the wife of
Argentocoxus, a Caledonian, to Julia Augusta, when the latter after the
treaty was joking her about the free intercourse of her sex in Britain
with men. Thereupon the foreigner asserted: "We fulfill the necessities of
nature in a much better way than you Roman women. We have dealings openly
with the best men, whereas you let yourselves be debauched in secret by
the vilest." This is what the British woman said.

[Sidenote:--17--] The following is the style of life that Severus led in
time of peace. He was sure to be doing something before dawn, while it was
still night, and after this he would go to walk, telling and hearing of
the interests of the empire. Then he held court, and separately (unless
there were some great festival); and indeed, he did this very well. Those
on trial were allowed plenty of water [Footnote: The water-clock again.
Compare Book Seventy-one, chapter 6.] and he granted us, his coadjutors,
full liberty to speak.--He continued to preside till noonday. After that
he went riding as much as he could. Next he took some kind of exercise and
a bath. He then consumed a not meagre lunch, either by himself or with his
children. Next, as a rule, he enjoyed a nap. Later he rose, attended to
his remaining duties of administration, and while walking about occupied
himself with discussions of both Greek and Latin lore. Then, toward
evening, he would bathe again and dine with his attendants. Very seldom
did he have any outsider to dinner and only on days when it was quite
unavoidable did he arrange expensive banquets.--He lived sixty-five years,
nine months, and twenty-five days, for he was born on the eleventh of
April. Of this he had ruled seventeen years, eight months and three days.
In fine, he showed himself so active that even expiring he gasped: "Come,
give it to us, if we have anything to do!"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dio's Rome, Volume 5, Books 61-76 (A.D. 54-211) - An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During - The Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, - Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and Now Presented in English - Form By Herbert Baldwin Foster" ***

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