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Title: The Grandeur That Was Rome
Author: Stobart, J. C. (John Clarke)
Language: English
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                       UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME

                       THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE

                        BY J. C. STOBART, M.A.

                      SOME OPINIONS OF THE PRESS

“Mr. Stobart does a real service when he gives the reading but
non-expert public this fine volume, embodying the latest results of
research, blending them, too, into as agreeable a narrative as we have
met with for a long while.... There is not a dull line in his book. He
has plenty of humour, as a writer needs must have who is to deal with
men from the human standpoint.... It is beautifully produced, and the
plates, both in colour and monochrome, are as numerous and well-chosen
as they are striking and instructive.”--THE GUARDIAN.

“Mr. Stobart has produced the very book to show the modern barbarian
the meaning of Hellenism. He exhibits the latest discoveries from
Cnossus and elsewhere, the new-found masterpieces along with the old.
He criticises and appraises the newest theories, ranging from the
influence of malaria to the origins of drama. He has something for
everybody.... The book is nobly illustrated ... no such collection of
beautiful things of this kind has yet been placed before the English

“He really helps to make ancient Greece a living reality; and the
illustrations, a conspicuous feature of the book, are good and well
selected, the photographic views gaining much from the reproduction on
a dull-surfaced paper.”--TIMES.

“A more beautiful book than this has rarely been printed.... The
pictures of Greek scenery, sculpture, vases, etc., are exceptionally

“No better guide through the labyrinth of things Hellenic has appeared
in our day, and both brush and camera yield of their choicest to make
the book an enduring joy.”--DAILY CHRONICLE.

                      THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS ROME

                         THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS

                       A Survey of Roman Culture
                         and Civilisation: by

                          J. C. Stobart, M.A.

                       LATE LECTURER IN HISTORY
                      TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

                        SIDGWICK & JACKSON LTD.
                        3 Adam Street, Adelphi


                         _All rights reserved_

                              PRINTED BY
                       BALLANTYNE & COMPANY LTD
                        AT THE BALLANTYNE PRESS


This book is a continuation of “The Glory that was Greece,” written
with the same purpose and from the same point of view.

The point of view is that of humanity and the progress of civilisation.
The value of Rome’s contribution to the lasting welfare of mankind is
the test of what is to be emphasised or neglected. Hence the instructed
reader will find a deliberate attempt to adjust the historical balance
which has, I venture to think, been unfairly deflected by excessive
deference to literary and scholastic traditions. The Roman histories
of the nineteenth century were wont to stop short with the Republic,
because “Classical Latin” ceased with Cicero and Ovid. They followed
Livy and Tacitus in regarding the Republic as the hey-day of Roman
greatness, and the Empire as merely a distressing sequel beginning
and ending in tragedy. From the standpoint of civilisation this is an
absurdity. The Republic was a mere preface. The Republic until its last
century did nothing for the world, except to win battles whereby the
road was opened for the subsequent advance of civilisation. Even the
stern tenacity of the Roman defence against Hannibal, admirable as it
was, can only be called superior to the still more heroic defence of
Jerusalem by the Jews, because the former was successful and the latter
failed. From the Republican standpoint Rome is immeasurably inferior
to Athens. In short, what seemed important and glorious to Livy will
not necessarily remain so after the lapse of nearly two thousand years.
Rome is so vast a fact, and of consequences so far-reaching, that every
generation may claim a share in interpreting her anew. There is the
Rome of the ecclesiastic, of the diplomat, of the politician, of the
soldier, of the economist. There is the Rome of the literary scholar,
and the Rome of the archæologist.

It is wonderful how this mighty and eternal city varies with her
various historians. Diodorus of Sicily, to whom we owe most of her
early history, was seeking mainly to flatter the claims of the Romans
to a heroic past. Polybius, the trained Greek politician of the second
century B.C., was writing Roman history in order to prove to his
fellow-Greeks his theory of the basis of political success. Livy was
seeking a solace for the miseries of his own day in contemplating the
virtues of an idealised past. Tacitus, during an interval of mitigated
despotism, strove to exhibit the crimes and follies of autocracy. These
were both rhetoricians, trained in the school of Greek democratic
oratory. Edward Gibbon, too (I write as one who cannot change trains
at Lausanne without emotion), saw the Empire from the standpoint of
eighteenth-century liberalism and materialism. Theodor Mommsen made
Rome the setting for his Bismarckian Cæsarism, and finally, M. Boissier
has enlivened her by peopling her streets with Parisians. It is, in
fact, difficult to depict so huge a landscape without taking and
revealing an individual point of view. There is always something fresh
to see even in the much-thumbed records of Rome.

Although a large part of this book is written directly from the
original sources, and none of it without frequent reference to them,
it is, in the main, frankly a derivative history intended for readers
who are not specialists. Except Pelham’s _Outlines_, which are almost
exclusively political, there is no other book in English, so far as
I am aware, which attempts to give a view of the whole course of
ancient Roman History within the limits of a single volume, and yet the
Empire without the Republic is almost as incomplete as the Republic
without the Empire. As for the Empire, although nothing can supersede
or attempt to replace _The Decline and Fall_, yet the scholar’s
outlook on the history of the Empire has been greatly changed since
Gibbon’s day by the discovery of Pompeii and the study of inscriptions.
Therefore while I fully admit my obligations to Gibbon and Mommsen (as
well as to Dill, Pelham, Bury, Haverfield, Greenidge, Warde Fowler,
Cruttwell, Sellar, Walters, Rice Holmes, and Mrs. Strong, and to
Ferrero, Pais, Boissier, Seeck, Bernheim, Mau, Becker, and Friedlander)
this book professes to be something more than a compilation, because it
has a point of view of its own.

The pictures are an integral part of my scheme. It is not possible
with Rome, as it was with Greece, to let pictures and statues take the
place of wars and treaties. Wars and treaties are an essential part of
the Grandeur of Rome. They should have a larger place here, were they
less well known, and were there less need to redress a balance. But the
pictures are chosen so that the reader’s eye may be able to gather its
own impression of the Roman genius. When the Roman took pen in hand he
was usually more than half a Greek, but sometimes in his handling of
bricks and mortar he revealed himself. For this reason--and because I
must confess not to be a convinced admirer of “Roman Art”--there is
an attempt to make the illustrations convey an impression of grand
building, vast, solid, and utilitarian, rather than of finished
sculpture by Greek hands. Pictures can produce this impression far more
powerfully than words. Standing in the Colosseum or before the solid
masonry of the Porta Nigra at Trier, one has seemed to come far closer
to the heart of the essential Roman than ever in reading Vergil or
Horace. The best Roman portraits are strangely illuminating.

I have to acknowledge with gratitude the permission given me by the
Director of the Königlichen Messbildanstalt of the Royal Museum at
Berlin to reproduce four of the magnificent photographs of Dr. O.
Puchstein’s discoveries at Ba’albek. I am indebted also to Herr Georg
Reimer, of Berlin, for allowing me to reproduce four of the complete
series of Reliefs from Trajan’s Column published by him in heliogravure
under the care of Professor Cichorius. The coloured plate of the
interior of the House of Livia is reproduced by permission of the
German Archæological Institute from Luckenbach’s _Kunst und Geschichte_
(grosse Ausgabe, erster Teil); and from the same work I have been
allowed to reproduce the reconstruction of the Roman Forum in the time
of Cæsar. Professor Garstang has kindly supplied a photograph, with
permission to reproduce of the bronze head of Augustus discovered
by him at Meroe and recently presented to the British Museum. The
Cambridge University Press has allowed me to give two pictures from
Prof. Ridgeway’s _Early Age of Greece_; and the photograph of the
Alcántara Bridge was kindly supplied by Sr. D. Miguel Utrillo, of
Barcelona. The majority of photographs have been supplied by Messrs. W.
A. Mansell and Co.; but for many subjects, especially of Roman remains
outside Italy, I must acknowledge my indebtedness to a number of
amateur photographers, who not only avoid the hackneyed point of view
but also achieve a high level of technique. Sir Alexander Binnie has
kindly permitted the inclusion of eight photographs and Mr. C. T. Carr
of four; while I must also make acknowledgment to Miss Carr, Mr. R. C.
Smith, and Miss K. P. Blair.

As before, I am much indebted to Mr. Arnold Gomme for his assistance
with the proofs.

J. C. S.




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                                xii

  LATINISM: ITALY AND THE ROMAN                                        1

       THE EARLY ROMAN: EARLY RELIGION: LAW                           16

       THE PROVINCES: THE IMPERIAL CITY                               44

       AND CÆSAR: LATE REPUBLICAN CIVILISATION                        82

       ARMY AND TREASURY: THE PROVINCES                              160

       LITERATURE: ART: ARCHITECTURE                                 223

       PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION                                       253

EPILOGUE                                                             305

CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY                                                317

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                         325

INDEX                                                                329


_The cameo on the front cover of this volume is from a sardonyx head of
Germanicus in the Carlisle collection._



HEAD OF AUGUSTUS WITH CROWN OF OAK-LEAVES                  _Frontispiece_
    Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Bruckmann of the
    original in the Glyptothek, Munich. An idealised portrait of the
    emperor in middle life. He wears the _corona civica_. See p 169

“CLYTIE”                                                             248
    Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the
    original marble in the British Museum. An idealised portrait-bust of
    a lady of the imperial family, possibly Antonia, the work of a Greek
    artist of the Augustan Age. The name “Clytie” has no authority: the
    frame of petals is purely decorative

       *       *       *       *       *


THE ROMAN EMPIRE AT ITS FULLEST EXTENT                               194

       *       *       *       *       *


1 GENERAL VIEW OF ROMAN FORUM                                          4
    From a photograph by Anderson. The view is taken from the Capitol,
    looking S.E. at the Arch of Titus, on the left of which part of the
    Colosseum is visible. The background on the right is filled by the
    Palatine Hill and the substructures of Caligula’s Palace, in front of which
    the walls of the Temple of Augustus are visible. To the right of the
    middle are three columns and part of the entablature of the Temple of
    Castor. In the centre is the Column of Phocas. The foreground is
    occupied by the Arch of Severus (l.) the Temple of Saturn (r.) and two
    Corinthian columns of the Temple of Vespasian

2 THE ROMAN CAMPAGNA                                                   6
    From a photograph by Anderson. The ruined arches belonged to the
    Aqueduct of Claudius. See p. 293

3 VIEW OF SPOLETO                                                      8
    From a photograph by Anderson. Modern view showing a typical
    hill-town or _arx_. Spoletium is chiefly famous in ancient history for its
    gallant repulse of Hannibal in 217 B.C.

4 THE CAPITOLINE WOLF                                                 18
    From a photograph by Anderson of the original bronze in the Palace of
    the Conservatori, Rome. The wolf herself is ancient, probably of
    Etruscan workmanship. See p. 18

5 (Fig 1) ARCHAIC BRONZE “PAN”                                        20
    Primitive Etruscan work. A horned and bearded god
    From photographs by Mansell & Co, of the originals in the British
    Museum, showing the development of Etruscan bronze-work

6 ETRUSCAN VASE                                                       22
    Drawn from Vase F. 488 in the Etruscan Room, British Museum. A
    curiously debased design, which like much of Etruscan art suggests
    unintelligent copying of Greek models

7 ETRUSCAN TOMB IN TERRA-COTTA                                        24
    From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Terra-cotta
    Room, British Museum. The reader will notice the close resemblance
    of this work, particularly the relief depicting the battle and
    the mourners, to Greek relief-work of the sixth century B.C.

8 VIA APPIA: THE APPIAN WAY                                           40
    From a photograph by Anderson. The remains of Roman tombs may be
    seen on each side of the road

9 LAKE TRASIMENE                                                      50
    From photographs by C.T. Carr. The scene of the famous battle of
    217 B.C., in which Hannibal ambushed the Roman army on the shores
    of the lake

    From a photograph by Almari of the original bronze statue in the
    Archæological Museum, Florence. One of the rare examples of early
    republican portraiture, found near Lake Trasimene, a statue of Aulus
    Metilius (unknown to history) in the guise of an orator. It is assigned
    to the end of the third century B.C., and is said to represent
    the transition between Etruscan and Roman portraiture. I think,
    however, that it would be true to describe it as a Roman head,
    probably copied from a death-mask, upon a Greek body. Where is
    the Etruscan element?

11 PUBLIUS SCIPIO AFRICANUS                                           72
    From a photograph by Brogi of the original bronze in the Naples
    Museum. The authenticity of the portrait cannot be guaranteed, but
    it is a fine example of Republican portraiture

12 (Fig. 1) ETRUSCAN WARRIOR: BRONZE STATUETTE                        88
    Possibly imported from Greece

    From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals in the British
    Museum. These two bronze statuettes show the essential similarity of
    Roman and Etruscan (or Greek) armour, which consists mainly of a
    cuirass of leather plated with metal

13 SCABBARD OF LEGIONARY SWORD                                        98
    From photographs of the original in the British Museum. The scabbard
    is in the scale of 1:4. The sword was only 21 in. long and 2½ in. at
    the greatest breadth. It was found at Mainz. The scabbard is of wood
    ornamented with plates of silver-gilt. At the top is a relief showing
    Tiberius welcoming Germanicus on his victorious return from Germany
    (A.D. 17) In the centre is a portrait medallion of Tiberius. The
    relief at the bottom indicates the return of the standards of Varus to a
    Roman temple. Below is an Amazon armed with the German battle-axe

14 CN. POMPEIUS MAGNUS                                               104
    From a photograph by Tryde of the original marble in the Jacobsen
    collection at Copenhagen. There is no sufficient reason to doubt the
    authenticity of this famous portrait of Pompey the Great. It closely
    resembles a beautiful gem in the Chatsworth collection

15 BUST OF CICERO                                                    108
    From a photograph by Alinari of the original in the Uffizi Gallery,
    Florence. A fine ancient portrait; but its authenticity cannot be

16 TEMPLE OF FORTUNA VIRILIS, ROME                                   112
    From a photograph by Anderson. Erected in 78 B.C. Notice the
    Ionic columns used purely as ornament

17 TEMPLE OF VESTA, TIVOLI                                           116
    From a photograph by Alinari. Commonly known as “The Temple
    of the Sibyl,” but more properly assigned to Vesta. This is considered
    to be work of about 80 B.C. The style is Corinthian

18 (Fig. 1) VENUS GENETRIX                                           120
    From a photograph by Alinari of the statue in the Louvre. Described
    on p. 156

    From a photograph by Alinari of the statue in the Uffizi Gallery,
    Florence. This celebrated and once admired statue is now regarded as
    typical of the degenerate Greek work produced for the Roman market.
    The technique is still admirable

19 JULIUS CÆSAR                                                      136
    From a photograph by the Graphic Gesellschaft of the original black
    basalt head in the Berlin Museum. Its antiquity is not above

20 (Fig. 1) BUST OF JULIUS CÆSAR                                     138
    From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Vatican, Rome.
    A fine portrait, undoubtedly a close copy of an authentic original, as is
    the equally famous example in the British Museum

    From a photograph by Anderson of the bust in the Capitoline Museum,
    Rome. The authenticity of this has been doubted, but on insufficient
    grounds. Evidently a work of about the same period as the “Young
    Augustus” (plate 25)

21 ARRENTINE POTTERY                                                 140
    Plate from “The Art of the Romans” by H. B. Walters, by kind
    permission of Messrs Methuen & Co. Arretine pottery takes its name
    from Arretium (Arezzo), the chief centre of this native Italian industry.
    It is distinguished by the fine crimson clay of which it is made. The
    designs stamped in relief from moulds are generally imitated from
    Greek metal-work or Samian ware. The pieces are seldom more than
    6 in. in height

22 COIN PLATE (IN COLLOTYPE)                                         142
    1. Coin of Pontus, with head of Mithradates the Great. See pp. 103, 158
    2. Silver Tetradrachm, with heads of Antony and Cleopatra. See pp. 122, 155
    3. Denarius of Sulla
        _Rev_ Q. Pompeius Rufus, consul with Sulla in 88 B.C.
    4. Denarius of Julius Cæsar
        _Rev_ figure of Victory, with name of L Æmilius Buca, triumvir of
          the mint
    5. Coin of Tiberius, with head of Livia and inscription SALVS AVGVSTA

23 AUGUSTUS: THE BLACAS CAMEO                                        144
    Collotype plate from a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in
    the Gem Room, British Museum. Probably the work of Dioscorides,
    who had the exclusive right of portraying Augustus

24 AUGUSTUS: THE “PRIMAPORTA” STATUE                                 148
    From a photograph by Anderson of the statue in the Vatican, Rome.
    The emperor is depicted as a triumphant general, haranguing his troops.
    In the centre of the breastplate is a Parthian humbly surrendering the
    standards to a Roman soldier

25 AUGUSTUS AS A YOUTH                                               150
    From a photograph by Anderson of the bust in the Vatican, Rome. A
    distinctly Greek portrait, possibly taken during his early days at
    Apollonia; an authentic original bust

26 AUGUSTUS: BRONZE HEAD, FROM MEROË                                 152
    From a photograph supplied by Prof. Garstang of the original bronze,
    discovered by him in 1910, at Meroe in Egypt, and since presented to
    the British Museum

27 M. VIPSANIUS AGRIPPA                                              154
    From a photograph by Alinari of the bust in the Uffizi Gallery,
    Florence. The design of the bust is inconsistent with the belief that
    this is a contemporary portrait. But it resembles the portraits of the
    general on the coins

28 (Fig. 1) ROMAN BRIDGE AT RIMINI                                   156
    This fine marble bridge was begun by Augustus and completed by
    Tiberius. Ariminum was the northern terminus of the great Flaminian
    From photographs by C. T. Carr. The amphitheatre was erected by
    Diocletian about A.D. 290 and was restored by Napoleon. It would
    contain about 20,000 spectators. Verona was the capital under
    Theodoric the Ostrogoth

29 TWO VIEWS OF THE PONT DU GARD                                     158

This is part of the great aqueduct which supplied Nismes with water.
The bridge has a span of 880 feet across the valley of the Gardon. The
lower tiers are built of stone without mortar or cement of any

30 (Fig. 1) INTERIOR OF ROMAN TEMPLE, NISMES                         160

The amphitheatre at Nismes is larger than that of Verona. There are
sixty arches on the ground and first floors, with larger apertures at the
four cardinal points

31 THE ARENA, NISMES                                                 162

Notice the consoles in the attic story. These are pierced with round
holes to contain the poles which once supported an awning for the
protection of the spectators from the heat

32 (Fig. 1) TRIUMPHAL ARCH, ST. REMY, ARLES                          164

Arles (Arelate) was one of the chief towns of Gallia Narbonensis, and a
colony of Augustus. The upper part of the arch has perished. The
sculptures represent chained captives. There is no inscription and
the date of the monument is uncertain


This mausoleum was erected by three brothers Julius to the memory
of their parents. Thousands of Gauls took the name of Julius in honour
of Cæsar and Augustus. The style, which is essentially Græco-Roman,
is appropriate to the period of Augustus. The reliefs again represent

Plates 29-32 are from photographs taken by Sir Alexander Binnie

33 (Fig. 1) ARCH OF MARIUS, ORANGE                                   166

From a photograph by Neurdein. Apparently erected to the memory
of C. Marius, who defeated the Teutons at Aquæ Sextiæ in 102 B.C.
The neighbourhood of Orange (Arausio) was the scene of a great Roman
defeat three years earlier. But the style of the monument points to a
date at least a century later. The style of the reliefs is dated by the
best authorities in the reign of Tiberius. The name of the sculptor,
Boudillus, appears to be Gallic


From a photograph by Brogi. Remains of a handsome Corinthian
colonnade which formerly belonged to the palace of Maximian. In the
fourth century A.D., Mediolanum was frequently a place of imperial
residence. In this period Milan was larger than Rome

34 BARBARIAN WOMAN, KNOWN AS “THUSNELDA”                             168

From a photograph by Almari. This famous statue, which stands in
the Loggia dei Lanzi, at Florence, is popularly called after the wife of
Arminius, who died in exile at Ravenna. It is probably a typical
Teutonic captive and very possibly occupied a place in the niche of a
triumphal arch. Mrs. Strong assigns it to the period of Trajan

35 (Fig. 1) ALTAR OF THE LARES OF AUGUSTUS                           172

From a photograph by Alinari of the original in the Uffizi Gallery,
Florence. Augustus introduced Cæsar-worship into Rome by means of
these altars to the Lares (household gods) and the Genius of Augustus.
This altar dates from A.D. 2. Augustus is in the centre, Livia his wife to
the right, and Gaius or Lucius Cæsar to the left. Mrs Strong describes
these reliefs as “a series of singular charm”


From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Villa Medici,
Rome. An earlier example of the favourite sacrificial theme. The
artist has sacrificed, as usual, the hinder part of his victim to his desire
to introduce as many as possible of the portrait studies. The relief
has been much and badly restored

36 THE “TELLUS” GROUP, ARA PACIS                                     174

From a photograph by Brogi of the original in the Uffizi Gallery,
Florence. Discussed on pp. 244-245

37 RELIEF, ARA PACIS                                                 176

From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Museo delle
Terme, Rome. The scene is a sacrifice. The majestic bearded figure on
the right is perhaps emblematical of the senate--one of the finest conceptions
of Græco-Roman art and little inferior to the elders on the
Parthenon frieze. Above the attendants on the left is a small shrine
of the Penates

38 SILVER PLATE FROM BOSCOREALE                                      178

1. A silver mirror-case of exquisite design: the central medallion
represents Leda and the swan

2. One of the beautiful examples of Augustan art in which natural
forms are used with brilliant decorative effect

From photographs by Giraudon of the originals in the Louvre

39 (Fig. 1) GERMANICUS                                               180

Sardonyx cameo from the Carlisle collection. Photograph by
Mansell & Co.


Photograph by Mansell & Co. Sardonyx cameo probably by Dioscorides,
A.D. 13

_Below_: German captives and Roman soldiers erecting a trophy

_Above_: Augustus and Roma enthroned. Behind them are Earth, Ocean,
and (?) the World, who is crowning him with the _corona civica_. Behind
his head is his lucky sign--the constellation of Capricornus. Tiberius
escorted by a Victory is stepping out of his triumphal chariot and
Germanicus stands between

40 AUGUSTUS AND FAMILY OF CÆSARS: CAMEO                              182

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Bibliothèque
Nationale, Paris. The largest and finest sardonyx cameo in existence.
It is cut in five layers of the stone so that wonderful effects of tinting
are produced, sometimes at the expense of the modelling. Tiberius and
his mother Livia occupy the centre. Germanicus and his mother
Antonia stand before him. The figures to the left may be Gaius
(Caligula) and the wife of Germanicus. Behind the throne Drusus is
looking up to heaven, where the deified Augustus floats, surrounded by
allegorical figures. Below are barbarian captives

41 (Figs. 1 and 3) STUCCO RELIEFS                                    184

From photographs by Anderson of the originals in the National Museum,
Rome. Much of the ornamentation of Roman villas was in stucco or
terra-cotta taken from the mould and often tinted. Both the flying
Victory and the Bacchic relief showing a drunken Silenus are extremely
graceful specimens of the art, both essentially Greek


From a photograph by Anderson of the fragment in the Museo delle
Terme, Rome. A fine example of the naturalistic ornament of the
Augustan period

42 (Fig. 1) FRAGMENT OF AUGUSTAN ALTAR                               188

From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Museo delle
Terme, Rome. Quoted by Wickhoff as “a triumph of the Augustan
illusionist style” a design of plane-leaves, admirable in fidelity to
nature. Observe the rich mouldings of the framework


From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum. From the tomb of a poet. The Muse stands before him
holding a tragic mask

43 ALTAR OF AMEMPTUS                                                 190

From a photograph by Giraudon of the original in the Louvre. The
inscription shows that this altar was dedicated to the spirits of Amemptus,
a freedman of the Empress Livia. It belongs therefore to about A.D. 25.
From the types of ornament employed one may conjecture that
Amemptus was a Greek actor and musician. The decorative effect is
very charming and the detail most beautifully worked out

44 (Fig. 1) THE TEMPLE OF SATURN, FORUM, ROME                        192

Eight Ionic unfluted columns with part of the entablature. The
columns stand upon a lofty base. The Temple of Saturn, which contained
the treasury of the senate, was rebuilt in 42 B.C.


From photographs by R.C. Smith. The most complete example of the
round temple still existing, the Temple of Vesta in the Forum having
disappeared. This is probably a temple of “Mother Dawn.” The
five Corinthian columns of Pentelic marble were probably imported
from Greece. Most authorities assign it to the Augustan restoration,
but others place it among the earliest Republican works. The tiled
roof is of course modern, and somewhat spoils its effect. This little
temple stood in the Forum Boarium (cattle market)

45 PORCH AND INTERIOR OF THE PANTHEON, ROME                          196

From photographs by Anderson and Brogi. See p. 251

46 MAISON CARREE, NISMES                                             198

From a photograph kindly supplied by Sir Alexander Binnie. Perhaps
the finest, certainly the most complete example of Græco-Roman
architecture. The style is Corinthian, but characteristic Roman
developments are the high _podium_ or base, and the fact that the surrounding
peristyle is “engaged” or attached to the wall except in
front (pseudo-peripteral). This temple was dedicated to M. Aurelius
and L. Verus. It was surrounded by an open space and then a
Corinthian colonnade. Nismes, once the centre of a flourishing trade in
cheese, is especially rich in Roman remains

47 THEATRE OF MARCELLUS, ROME                                        200

From a photograph by Anderson. The theatre, built by Augustus in
13 b.c. in memory of his ill-fated nephew, was constructed in three
tiers, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The upper story has disappeared,
and the elevation of the ground floor has been spoilt by the rise in the
level of the ground

48 INNER COURT, FARNESE PALACE, ROME                                 202

From a photograph by Anderson. The splendid cortile of the Farnese
Palace, designed by Michael Angelo, is copied from the Theatre of
Marcellus, exhibiting the same succession of orders. The juxtaposition
of these two plates should assist the reader’s imagination to re-create
the original splendours of Roman architecture from the existing

49 (Fig. 1) COLONNADE OF OCTAVIA                                     204

From a photograph by Anderson. Erected by Augustus in honour of
his beloved sister, who was married first to M. Marcellus then to
M. Antony. She was the mother of Marcellus, great-grandmother of
Nero and Caligula. She died in 11 B.C. The colonnade was probably
built some years before her death. It enclosed the temples of Jupiter
Stator and Juno, it also contained a public library and a senate-house
which was destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus


From a photograph by Almari of the original in the Uffizi Gallery,
Florence. A sacrifice, probably a work of the time of Domitian.
The heads, most of them portraits, are of admirable execution, but the
overcrowded design is unpleasing. The architectural background is
typical of the Flavian period. This slab was used by Raphael in his
cartoon of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

50 COIN PLATE (IN COLLOTYPE): ROMAN EMPERORS                         206

  1. Nero
  2. Trajan
  3. Vespasian
  4. Hadrian
  5. Marcus Aurelius
  6. Domitian
  7. Vitellius
  8. Galba

From originals in the British Museum


    From a photograph by Gibson & Son. See pp. 261-262

52 PORTA NIGRA, TRIER, GERMANY                                       214

From a photograph by Frith. An example of military architecture, truly
Roman in character. Probably dates from the time of Gallienus (A.D.

53 RELIEF FROM TRAJAN’S COLUMN--I                                    216

On the left, the emperor surrounded by his staff is haranguing his
troops. Observe how the ranks of the army are portrayed in file. On the
right, fortifications are being constructed (Cichorius, plate xi)

54 RELIEF FROM TRAJAN’S COLUMN--II                                   218

On the left, horses are being transported across the Danube, Trajan is
seen steering his galley, sheltered by a canopy. On the right he is
landing at the gates of a Roman town on the river banks. The temples
are visible within the walls (Cichorius, plate xxvi)

55 RELIEF FROM TRAJAN’S COLUMN--III                                  220

A cavalry battle, in which the Romans are charging the mail-clad
Sarmatians. The reader will notice the resemblance between the latter
and the Norman knights of the Bayeux tapestry (Cichorius, plate xxviii)

56 RELIEF FROM TRAJAN’S COLUMN--IV                                   222

On the left the Romans, in _testudo_ formation, are attacking a Dacian
fortress. In the centre Trajan is receiving the heads of the defeated
enemy (Cichorius, plate li)

Four collotype plates, reproduced by special permission from Prof.
Cichorius’s “Die Reliefs der Traianssaule” (Berlin, Georg Reimer, 1896)
Photographs by Donald Macbeth

57 (Fig 1) RELIEF, FROM A SARCOPHAGUS                                224

From a photograph by Alinari of the original in the Uffizi Gallery,
Florence. An example of “continuous narration” in relief-work. The
sarcophagus is ornamented with typical scenes in the life of a Roman
gentleman--the chase, the greeting by his slaves, sacrifice, marriage.
The design is described as “subtly interwoven” or “fatiguing and
confused” according to the taste of the onlooker


From a photograph by Graudon of the original relief in the Louvre. The
source of this slab is unknown; it evidently belongs to the beginning
of the second century A.D., and refers to the Dacian Wars of Trajan,
or possibly of Domitian. The contrast between the proud calm Roman and
the wild barbarian is very fine, and recalls similar contrasts in Greek
sculpture. In the background a Dacian hut and an oak-tree are seen

58 RELIEF FROM THE ARCH OF TITUS                                     226

From a photograph by Brogi. Shows the emblems captured in Jerusalem
(A.D. 70) being carried in triumph at Rome. We can distinguish the
seven-branched candlestick, the table for the show-bread and the Sacred
Trumpets. The tablets were inscribed with the names of captured cities


From a photograph by Donald Macbeth of plate xxvi in Robert Wood’s
“Ruins of Palmyra,” 1753. The city of Palmyra, traditionally founded
by Solomon, at a meeting-point of the Syrian caravan routes, first
rose into prominence in the time of Gallienus, when Odenathus, its
Saracen prince, was acknowledged by the emperor as “Augustus,” _i.e._
a colleague in the imperial power. After his assassination his widow
Zenobia succeeded to his power and ruled magnificently as Queen of
the East until she was defeated and made captive by Aurelian. The
architectural remains are Corinthian in style, embellished with
meaningless oriental ornament

60 BA’ALBEK: THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS                                      232

Heliopolis or Ba’albek was the centre of a fertile region of Cœle-Syria
on the slopes of Anti-Lebanon. It was always a centre of Baal or Sun
worship, it was a city of priests and its oracle attracted great renown
in the second century A.D. when it was consulted by Trajan. Antoninus
Pius built the great Temple of Zeus (Jupiter), one of the wonders
of the world. The worship was rather that of Baal than of Zeus, and
oriental in character. It included the cult of conical stones such as
that brought to Rome by Elagabalus. The architecture is of the most
sumptuous Corinthian style, with some oriental modifications

61 BA’ALBEK: THE TEMPLE OF BACCHUS, INTERIOR                         234

Here we observe the oriental round arch forming the lowest course. The
material of the buildings is white granite with decorations of rough
local marble

62 BA’ALBEK: THE TEMPLE OF BACCHUS, EAST PORTICO                     236

Observe the rather effective juxtaposition of fluted and unfluted

63 BA’ALBEK: THE CIRCULAR TEMPLE, FROM BACK                          238

This small circular temple is of a style without parallel in antiquity.
The nature of the cult is unknown

The last four plates are reproduced by special permission of the
Director of the Royal Museum, Berlin, from photographs supplied by the
Königlichen Messbildanstalt. They are plates XVII, XXI, XXII, and XXX
respectively, in Puchstein and Von Lupke’s “Ba’albek,” published for
the German Government by G. Reimer, Berlin

64 (Fig. 1) TIMGAD: THE CAPITOL                                      240

Timgad (Thamugadi) was founded by Trajan as a Roman colony in A.D. 100.
It is on the edge of the Sahara in the ancient province of Numidia.
It has recently been explored by the French. The photograph shows the
Capitol raised on an artificial terrace. Two of the Corinthian columns
have been re-erected


A view of the main street, spanned by a triumphal arch in honour
of Trajan. The ruts of the carriage-wheels are still visible as at
Pompeii. From photographs by Miss K. P. Blair

65 POMPEII: THERMOPOLION, STREET OF ABUNDANCE                        242

From a photograph by d’Agostino. The new street revealed by the most
recent excavations of Prof. Spinazzola. The photograph shows us a
“hot-wine shop” with the bar and the wine-jars


From a photograph by Abeniacar. Another of the most recent finds, a
fresco of the Twelve Gods

67 (Fig. 1) THE EMPEROR DECIUS                                       246

From a photograph by Anderson of the bust in the Capitoline Museum,
Rome. A splendid example of the realistic portraiture in the third
century A.D.


From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British Museum.
All the portraits of the virtuous philosopher agree in producing this
aspect of tonsorial prettiness which belies the character of a manly
and vigorous prince

68 (Fig. 1) THE EMPEROR CARACALLA                                    250

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British Museum


From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British Museum

69 RELIEFS FROM BASE OF THE ANTONINE COLUMN                          252

From photographs by Anderson of the originals in the Vatican, Rome


Represents a military review. The infantrymen with their standards
are grouped in the centre, while the emperor leads a procession of
the cavalry with their _vexilla_, who march past with what Mrs Strong
describes as a “fine and pleasing movement.” Discussed on p. 292


Antoninus and his less virtuous consort are being borne up to heaven
on the back of Fame or the Genius. The youth reclining below bears the
obelisk of Augustus to indicate that he personifies the Campus Martius.
The figure on the right is Rome. The composition of the scene displays
a ludicrous want of imagination

70 TWO VIEWS OF THE AQUEDUCT OF CLAUDIUS                             254

From photographs by Anderson. See p. 293

71 (Fig. 1) THE ARCH OF TITUS, ROME                                  258

See p. 293


The Arch of Constantine is adorned with borrowed reliefs, mainly from
the Forum of Trajan. It is the best preserved of the Roman arches. From
photographs by R. C. Smith

72 THE COLOSSEUM, ROME                                               260

From a photograph by Anderson. Described on p. 293. In the foreground
is the ruined apse of the Temple of Venus and Rome, built by Hadrian

73 THE COLUMN OF TRAJAN                                              262

From a photograph by Anderson. The great Forum of Trajan was
constructed by the Greek architect Apollodorus between A.D. 111 and
114. The base of the column formed a tomb destined to contain the
conqueror’s ashes. At the top was his statue, now replaced by an image
of St. Peter. The story of the Dacian war is told on the spiral relief
about 1 metre broad. See plates 53-56

74 DETAIL OF THE ANTONINE COLUMN                                     264

From photographs by Anderson. The Antonine Column was constructed on
the model of the Column of Trajan, seventy-five years later, and thus
affords an insight into the progress of relief sculpture at Rome. The
later work shows more attempt at individual expression, not always
successful, and the scenes are less crowded. They depict episodes from
the German and Sarmatian wars of A.D. 171-175, (_a_) represents the
decapitation of the rebels and (_b_) the capture of a German village:
the huts are being burned while M. Aurelius serenely superintends an

75 ANTINOUS                                                          266

(Fig. 1) from a photograph by Giraudon of the Mondragore bust in the

(Fig. 2) from a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British

The significance of the artistic cult of Antinous in the age of Hadrian
is discussed on p. 293. It is probably only the diffidence of our
native archæologists which has allowed the colossal Mondragore bust its
supremacy. The British Museum portrait represents him younger and in
the guise of a youthful Dionysius, the expression far more human, and
the treatment of the hair far less elaborate and effeminate


From a photograph by Anderson

77 RELIEFS OF MARCUS AURELIUS                                        270

(Fig. 1). Marcus Aurelius accompanied by Bassæus Rufus, prætorian
prefect, is riding through a wood and receiving the submission of two
barbarian chiefs. In my judgment this scene, and especially the figure
of the foot soldier at the emperor’s side, is the _chef-d’œuvre_ of
Roman historical relief-work

(Fig. 2). Marcus and Bassæus are sacrificing in front of the temple of
the Capitoline Jove. These panels probably belonged to a triumphal arch
erected in honour of the German and Sarmatian wars of A.D. 171-175.
From photographs by Anderson of the originals in the Conservatori
Palace, Rome

78 TWO VIEWS OF THE ARCH OF TRAJAN, BENEVENTUM                       274

From photographs by Alinari. This splendid monument at Beneventum on
the Appian Way was erected in A.D. 114 in expectation of the emperor’s
triumphant return from the East, where, however, he died. It is
constructed of Greek marble and once carried a quadriga in bronze. The
reliefs on the inside (Fig. 1) depict the triumph of Trajan after his
Parthian campaign. Those on the outside (Fig. 2) represent the Dacian


From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the National Museum,
Rome. A fine example of decorative art. The motive of the garlanded
skull is a favourite one. This altar was, as the inscription shows, a
work of Hadrian’s time

80 TOMB OF THE HATERII                                               278

From a photograph by Alinari of the fragments in the Lateran Museum,
Rome. Monument to a physician, and his family of about a.d. 100. The
scheme is ugly and barbaric, but it includes some very fine decorative
work. The facades of five Roman buildings are shown--the Temple of
Isis, the Colosseum, two triumphal arches, and the Temple of Jupiter
Stator. The temples are open and the images visible

81 BRIDGE OF ALCANTARA, SPAIN                                        282

From a photograph by Lacoste, kindly supplied by Sr. D. Miguel Utrillo.
This superb bridge over the Tagus is 650 feet long. The design exhibits
a rare combination of grace with strength

82 TOMB OF HADRIAN, ROME                                             284

From a photograph by Anderson. The Castel S. Angelo, restored as
a fortress by Pope Alexander VI. (Borgia), consists mainly of the
Mausoleum of Hadrian; the bridge leading to it was also constructed
for the emperor’s funeral. The circular tower was formerly ornamented
with columns between which were statues. The famous Barberini Faun was
one of them. There was a pyramidal gilt roof, and a colossal quadriga
at the top. The whole building was formerly faced with white Parian
marble. Besides Hadrian, all the Antonines, and Septimius Severus and
Caracalla were buried here. The castle has had a stirring history in
mediæval times also. The building is modelled upon the Mausoleum of

83 TWO VIEWS OF HADRIAN’S VILLA, TIVOLI                              286

From photographs by R. C. Smith. See p. 296

84 TWO MOSAICS (COLOUR-PLATE)                                        288



From the originals in the British Museum, after photographs by Donald

85 MURAL PAINTING: FLUTE-PLAYER (COLOUR-PLATE)                       290

From the original in the British Museum, said to have been found in a
_columbarium_ on the Appian Way

86 POMPEII: TWO VIEWS OF THE RUINS                                   292

From photographs by R. C. Smith. The upper picture shows how the buried
city has been dug out of the ashes from Vesuvius which form the subsoil
of the surrounding country. The lower picture is a general view,
showing Corinthian columns which formed a colonnade round the open

87 POMPEII: HOUSE OF THE VETTII CUPID FRESCOES                       294

From photographs by Brogi. The upper picture shows the Cupids engaged
as goldsmiths; the lower shows them as charioteers, Apollo and Artemis
below. Two examples of the elegant mythological style of the Greek
decline, but extremely effective for the purpose. This art is held to
have originated in Alexandria


Collotype plate from a photograph by Brogi. Probably a copy of one
of the great pictures of the old Greek masters, Timanthes, about 400
B.C. If so it is the most important example of early painting in
existence. The psychological motive of the composition is a study of
grief. Calchas the prophet is grieved with foreknowledge, Ajax and
Odysseus are sorrowfully obeying commands which they do not understand.
Iphigenia herself shows the fortitude of a martyr, but Agamemnon’s
grief, since he was her father, is too great for a Greek to exhibit.
Hence his face is hidden. Above appears the deer which Artemis allowed
to be substituted for the maiden


Reproduced by permission of the German Institute of Archæology, from
Luckenbach’s “Kunst und Geschichte” (grosse Ausgabe, Teil I, Tafel IV),
by arrangement with R. Oldenbourg, Munich

90 THE ALDOBRANDINI MARRIAGE, VATICAN, ROME                          302

From a photograph by Brogi of the fresco now in the Vatican. In the
centre is the veiled bride, Venus is encouraging her, Charis is
compounding sweet essences to add to her beauty, Hymen waits on the
bride’s left seated on the threshold stone, outside is a group of three
maidens, a musician, a crowned bridesmaid, and a tire-woman. At the
other side the bride’s family is seen. This is without question the
most charming example of ancient painting

91 BRONZE SACRIFICIAL TRIPOD                                         304

From a photograph by Brogi of the original, discovered at Pompeii, now
in the National Museum, Naples. An example of Hellenic metal-work of
the Augustan age

92 MITHRAS AND BULL                                                  308

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the statue in the British
Museum. Represents the Mithraic sacrament of Taurobolium in which
the worshippers received new life by bathing in the blood of a bull.
Mithras wears a Phrygian cap, for the Mithraic religion, though it
arose in Persia, only began to form artistic expression when it passed
through the art region of Asia Minor. This motive constantly recurs in
the monuments of the second and third century all over Europe

93 MAUSOLEUM OF PLACIDIA, RAVENNA                                    312

From a photograph by Alinari. This little church which contains the
tombs of the Emperor Honorius, her brother, and of Constantius III.,
her husband, as well as a sarcophagus of the Empress in marble,
formerly adorned with plaques of silver, is eloquent of the shrunken
glory of the Western Empire in the fifth century. It was founded about
A.D. 440. It is built in the form of a Latin cross, and is only 49 ft.
long, 41 ft. broad. The interior contains beautiful mosaics. Ravenna
contains many other relics of this period when it was the seat of the
Roman government

94 THE BARBERINI IVORY                                               314

From a photograph by Giraudon of the original in the Louvre. In the
centre Constantine is represented on horseback with spear reversed
in token of victory. Round him are Victory, a suppliant barbarian,
and Earth with her fruits. To the left is a Roman soldier bearing
a statuette of Victory. Below the nations of the East bring their
tribute. Above two Victories, in process of transition, into angels,
support a medallion of Christ, still of the beardless type associated
with Apollo and Sol Invictus. The emblems of sun, moon, and stars show
that Christian Art is not yet severed from paganism

95 (Fig. 1) THE PALACE OF DIOCLETIAN, SPALATO                        316

From a photograph by Miss Carr. Diocletian planned this great palace,
which is more like a city or fortress, at Spalato (Salonæ) on the
Dalmatian coast, for his place of retirement. Its external walls
measured 700 ft. by 580 ft. It was fortified on three sides and entered
by three gates. The arcading in which the oriental arch springs from
the Roman column is the most interesting architectural feature of the
extensive ruins now existing


From a photograph by Anderson. Shows the really degenerate art of the
fourth century A.D. In this battle (A.D. 312) Constantine defeated his
rival Maxentius, who was drowned with numbers of his men in the Tiber.
The relief shows the drowning


ROMAN _As_: BRONZE (FULL-SIZE) WEIGHT 290 g.                          18

The style of the design points to about 350 B.C., and we have no real
evidence of a coinage any earlier. The design is not primitive though
it is clumsily cast. The head of Janus is often found on Greek coins
and so is the galley prow. The weight of the _As_ sank from 12 to 1 oz.
in the course of republican history

ETRUSCAN FRESCO: HEAD OF HERCULES                                     21

An example of Etruscan painting which does not differ from Greek.
This is probably a head of Hercules, whose name is found on Etruscan

PREHISTORIC ETRUSCAN POTTERY                                          22

From Ridgeway’s “Early Age of Greece.” Black ware decorated with
incised ornament: hippocamps or sea-horses on one: found at Falern in
Tuscany. Pottery of this type is found on prehistoric sites all over
the Mediterranean

THE ROMAN TOGA                                                        23

The woollen toga was the official dress of the Roman citizen. It was
generally worn over a tunic, though antiquarians, like Cato, wore
the toga alone. It was worn in the natural colour of the wool, but
candidates for office wore it specially whitened, and magistrates had a
purple border

MAP OF ITALY, SHOWING GROUND OVER 1000 FEET HIGH                      69

PLAN OF INFANTRY MANIPLES                                             97

GALLIC POTTERY                                                  114, 115

It is clearly only a provincial development of the Arretine ware which
is itself imitated from the Samian ware of Greece


COIN. PORTRAIT OF P. QUINTILIUS VARUS                                217

ROMAN _LIMES_                                                        264

A reconstruction of the great frontier lines which encircled the Empire
to the North along the Rhine and Danube. This is the style of the
_limes_ of Upper Germany

THE ROMAN FORUM IN THE EARLY EMPIRE                                  281

HADRIAN’S TOMB, RESTORED                                             295
See p. 294


    questa del Foro tuo solitudine
    ogni rumore vince, ogni gloria,
    e tutto che al mondo è civile,
    grande, augusto, egli è romano ancora.


Athens and Rome stand side by side as the parents of Western
civilisation. The parental metaphor is almost irresistible. Rome is so
obviously masculine and robust, Greece endowed with so much loveliness
and charm. Rome subjugates by physical conquest and government. Greece
yields so easily to the Roman might and then in revenge so easily
dominates Rome itself, with all that Rome has conquered, by the mere
attractiveness of superior humanity. Nevertheless this metaphor of
masculine and feminine contains a serious fallacy. Greece, too, had
had days of military vigour. It was by superior courage and skill
in fighting that Athens and Sparta had beaten back the Persian
invasions of the fifth century before Christ, and thus saved Europe
for occidentalism. Again it was by military prowess that Alexander the
Great carried Greek civilisation to the borders of India, Hellenising
Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, Egypt, Phœnicia and even Palestine. This
he did just at the moment when Rome was winning her dominion over
Latium. Instead, then, of looking at Greece and Rome as two coeval
forces working side by side we must regard them as predecessor and
successor. Rome is scarcely revealed as a world-power until she meets
Greek civilisation in Campania near the beginning of the third century
before Christ. The physical decline of Greece is scarcely apparent
until her phalanx returns beaten in battle by the Roman maniples at
Beneventum. Moreover, in addition to this chronological division of
spheres there is also a geographical division. Greece takes the East,
Rome the West, and though by the time that Rome went forth to govern
her Western provinces she was already pretty thoroughly permeated with
Greek civilisation, yet the West remained throughout mediæval history
far more Latin than Greek. When Constantine divided the empire he was
only expressing in outward form a natural division of culture.

The resemblances between Rome and Greece even from the first are
very clearly marked. In many respects they are visibly of the same
family, and, though we no longer speak as confidently of “Aryan”
and “Indo-European” as did the ethnologists and philologists of the
nineteenth century, yet there remains an obvious kinship of language,
customs, and even dress. Many of the most obvious similarities, such as
those of religion, are now seen to be the result of later borrowing,
but there remains a distinct cousinship, whether derived from the
conquest of both peninsulas by kindred tribes of northern invaders, as
Ridgeway holds, or from the existence of an aboriginal Mediterranean
face, as Sergi believes--or from both.

But with all these resemblances, one of the most interesting features
of ancient history lies in the psychological contrast between Greece
and Rome, or rather between Athens and Rome. Athens is rich in ideas,
full of the spirit of inquiry, and hence fertile in invention, fond of
novelty, worshipping brilliance of mind and body. Rome is stolid and
conservative, devoted to tradition and law. Gravity and the sense of
duty are her supreme virtues. Here we have the two types that succeed
and conquer, set side by side for comparison. To which is the victory
in the end?

To the Englishman of to-day Rome is in some ways far more familiar than
Greece. Apart from obvious resemblances in history and in character,
Rome touches our own domestic history, and any man who has marked the
stability of old Roman foundations or the straightness of old Roman
roads has already grasped a fundamental truth about her. He is surely
not far wrong in the general sense of irresistible power, of blind
energy and rigid law, which he associates with the name of Rome.
Thus, there is not as there was in the case of Greece any radical
misconception of the Roman character to be combated.

But there is, it appears, a widely prevalent false perspective in the
common view of Roman history. The modern reader, especially if he
be an Englishman, is a very stern moralist in his judgment of other
nations and ages. In addition to this he is a citizen of an empire now
extremely self-conscious and somewhat bewildered at its own magnitude.
He cannot help drawing analogies from Roman history and seeking in it
“morals” for his own guidance. The Roman empire bears such an obvious
and unique resemblance to the British that the fate of the former
must be of enormous interest to the latter. For this reason alone we
are apt to regard the _fall_ of Rome as the cardinal point of Roman
history. To this must be added the influence of Gibbon’s great work.
By Gibbon we are led to contemplate above all things (with Silas Wegg)
her Decline and Fall. Thus Rome has become for many people simply
a colossal failure and a horrible warning. We behold her first as
a Republic tottering to her inevitable ruin, and then as an Empire
decaying from the start and continuing to fester for some five hundred
years. This is one of the cases which prove that History is made not so
much by heroes or natural forces as by historians. It is an accident of
historiography that the Republic was not described by any great native
historian until its close, when amid the horrors of civil war men set
themselves to idealise the heroes of extreme antiquity and thus left
a gloomy picture of unmitigated deterioration. As there was no great
historian in sympathy with the imperial regime, the reputation of the
early Empire was left mainly in the hands of Tacitus and Suetonius, the
former of whom riddled it with epigrams while the latter befouled it
with scandal. Nearly all Roman writers had a rhetorical training and a
satirical bent: all Romans were praisers of the past. Thus it is that
Roman virtue has receded into an age which modern criticism declares
to be mythological. It is a further accident that the genius of Rome’s
greatest modern historian was also strongly satirical. It was a natural
affinity of temper which led Gibbon to continue the story of Tacitus
and to dip his pen into the same bitter fluid.

Thus Rome has found few impartial historians and hardly any sympathetic
ones. But is it possible to be sympathetic? While every true scholar
feels a thrill at the name of Greece, scarcely any one _loves_ Ancient
Rome. At the first mention of her name the average man’s thoughts fly
to the Colosseum and the Christian martyr “facing the lion’s gory mane”
to the music of Nero’s fiddle. His second thought is to formulate his
explanation of her decline and fall. The explanations are as various
as political complexions. “Luxury,” says the moralist, “Heathendom,”
says the Christian, “Christianity,” replies Gibbon. The Protectionist
can easily show that it was due to the Importation of free corn, while
the Free Trader draws attention to the enormous burdens which Roman
trade had to bear. “Militarism,” explains the peace-lover; “neglect of
personal service,” replies the conscriptionist. The Liberal and the
Conservative can both draw valuable conclusions from Roman history in
support of their respective attitudes of mind. “If it had not been for
demagogues like Marius and the Gracchi,” says the Conservative, “Rome
might have continued to exhibit the courage and patriotism which
she displayed under senatorial guidance in the war against Hannibal,
instead of rushing to her doom by way of sedition and disorder.” With
equal justice the Liberal points to the stupid bigotry with which that
corrupt oligarchy, the senate, delayed necessary reforms. That, he
says, was the cause of the downfall of Rome. That was the writing on
the wall.

Whether it is or is not possible to love Ancient Rome, I would suggest
that this attitude of treating her merely as a subject for autopsies
and a source of gloomy vaticinations for the benefit of the British
Empire is a preposterous affront to history. The mere notion of an
empire continuing to decline and fall for five centuries is ridiculous.
It is to regard as a failure the greatest civilising force in all the
history of Europe, the most stable form of government, the strongest
military and political system that has ever existed.

It is just at this point that our own generation can add something of
great importance to the study of Roman history. Whatever may be said
for its faith, hope is the great discovery of our age. By the help of
that blessed word “Evolution” we have learnt not to put our Golden Ages
in the past but in the future. In many instances we have discovered
that what our fathers called decay was really progress. May it not be
so with Rome?

The destiny or function of Rome in world-history was nothing more or
less than the making of Europe. The modern family of European nations
are her sons and daughters, and some of her daughters have grown
up and married foreign husbands and given birth to offspring. For
this great purpose it was necessary that the city itself should pass
through the phases of growth, maturity and decay. In political terms,
it was part of the Roman destiny to translate the civilisation of the
city-state into that of the nation or territorial state. Having evolved
the Province it was necessary that the City should expire. Conquest
on a colossal scale was part of the programme, absolute centralised
dominion was another part. For this purpose the change from republic to
autocracy was necessary.

Greece, as we have seen elsewhere, by her system of small states
enclosed and protected by city walls, had been able, long before the
world at large was nearly ripe for it, to develop a civilised culture
with habits of thought and speech which are now called European or
Occidental. It was in a highly concentrated social life and under
artificial conditions that Athens had laid the foundation of all our
arts, sciences and philosophies. It was, however, as we saw, impossible
for the civic democracy to expand naturally. She could hold a little
empire for a few years by means of precarious sea-power. She could
throw off a few daughter cities made in her own likeness. But for
missionary work on a large scale the city-state was not adapted.
Something much larger than a city and much more single-minded than
a democracy was necessary for that purpose. The genius of Alexander
the Great, an autocrat and a semi-barbarian, enabled him to do much
towards propagating Hellenism in the eastern part of the Mediterranean
littoral. But his early death prevented the fulfilment of his task and
the half of him that was Greek made him consider the planting of new
Greek cities the only means for fulfilling it.

Here then was the part which Rome had to play. She had to do for the
West what Alexander had attempted for the East. In some respects her
task was harder, for her work lay among warlike barbarians, but easier
in that she had not to face the corrupting influence of a rival and
more ancient civilisation.

Rome too began as a city-state and it was while she was still in that
condition that Greek civilisation came to her and took her by storm.
It was the new wine that burst the old bottle when Rome attempted to
transform herself into a Greek democracy, and failing became a monarchy
once more. It was not, therefore, a case of “decline and fall” when
Rome ceased to be a republic. No liberal need heave a sigh for the
departed republic. It was an oligarchy that had for a century deserved
to be replaced by something better, and the change was even an upward
step in liberty for all but a few hundreds of Roman nobles. If we can
but turn our minds away from the gossip of the court and the spite of
the discontented aristocracy to a just survey of that majestic and
enduring system of provincial government, we shall be able to discern
progress where historians would have us lament decay.

It was progress again when Rome gradually ceased to be a city-state
with a surrounding territory and became successively the capital of
an empire and then one of half a dozen great centres of government.
Finally it was progress, as we ought by now to be able to see, when
the artificial ramparts on the Rhine and Danube broke down and the new
nations came into their inheritance. By that time Rome had accomplished
her work and the phase of the city-state was over.

Some such convictions as these are, I think, inevitable to any one
who views European history as a whole in the light of any theory of
historical evolution. Rome has long been the playground of satirists
and pessimists. Unfortunately at this date it is difficult if not
impossible to shake their verdict and to read Roman history in the new
light. To do so you cannot follow the authorities, for they were all
on the side of deterioration. The idea of progress was unknown to the
ancient world, and above all others the Romans believed that their
Golden Age was behind them. It becomes necessary therefore to extract
truth from unwilling witnesses, always a precarious and suspicious
undertaking. All the Roman men of letters believed with Horace:

    damnosa quid non imminuit dies?
    ætas parentum peior auis tulit
      nos nequiores, mox daturos
      progeniem uitiosiorem.[1]

Unless we are prepared to accept the rank of _progenies vitiosissima_
we are compelled to discount this whole tendency of thought and read
our authorities between the lines. They were all rhetoricians, all bent
on praising the past at the expense of the present and the future;
none of them were over-scrupulous in dealing with evidence. If all the
historians had perished and only the inscriptions remained we should
have a very different picture of the Roman empire, a picture much
brighter and, I think, much more faithful to truth.


Hellenism we know and understand; every true classical scholar is
a Hellenist by conviction. But what is Latinism and who are our
Latinists? The altar fires are extinct and the votaries are scattered.
Except for a small volume of the choicest Latin poetry of the Augustan
age, what that is Latin gives us pleasure to-day? Greek studies seem
to attract all that is most brilliant and genial in the world of
scholarship: Latin is mainly relegated to the dry-as-dusts. Who reads
Lucan out of school hours? Who would search Egypt for Cicero’s lost
work “De Gloria”? Who would recognise a quotation from Statius?

It has not always been so. Once they quoted Lucan and Seneca across
the floor of the House of Commons. The eighteenth century was far more
in sympathy with Ancient Rome than we are. In those days it would not
have seemed absurd to argue the superiority of Vergil over Homer. Down
to that day Latin had remained the alternative language for educated
people, the medium of international communication, even for diplomacy,
until French gradually took its place. Only if you specifically sought
to reach the vulgar did you write in English. Though Dr. Johnson could
write a very pretty letter in French, he used habitually to converse
with Frenchmen in Latin; not that it made him more intelligible, for,
in fact, no foreigner could understand the English pronunciation of
Latin; but that he did not wish to appear at a disadvantage with a mere
Frenchman by adopting a foreign jargon. As for public inscriptions,
though half the literary men in London signed a round-robin entreating
the great autocrat to write Oliver Goldsmith’s epitaph in English,
Johnson “refused to disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey with an
English inscription.”

What is the cause of the eclipse which Latin studies are still
suffering? One cause, perhaps, is to be found in the misuse of the
language by the pedagogues and philologists of the past in the school
and the examination-room. But another cause is the recent discovery
of the true Greek civilisation, whereby scholars have come to realise
that Latin culture is in the main only secondary and derivative. At
the present moment we are passing through a stage of revolt against
classicism, convention, and artificiality. We know that Greek culture,
truly discerned, is neither “classic” nor conventional nor artificial,
but Latinism is still apparently subject to all these terms. The
Latinity of Cicero, Vergil, Ovid, Horace, Lucan, and the greater part
of the giants, in fact all the Latin of our schools is--what Greek is
not--really and truly classical. They were not writing as they spoke
and thought. They had studied the laws of expression in the school of
rhetoric, and on pain of being esteemed barbarous they wrote under
those laws. Style was their aim. Their very language was subject
to arbitrary laws of syntax and grammar. The English schoolboy who
approaches Cicero by way of the primer’s rules and examples is entering
into Latin literature by much the same road as the Romans themselves.
The Romans were grammarians by instinct and orators by education. Thus
Latin is fitted by nature for schoolroom use, and for all who would
learn and study words, which after all are thoughts, Latin is the
supremely best training-ground. The language marches by rule. Rules
govern the inflexions and the concords of the words. The periods are
built up logically and beautifully in obedience to law. Latin, of all
languages, least permits translation. You have only to translate Cicero
to despise him.

In the world of letters, as in that of politics, there are the virtues
of order and the virtues of liberty. Our own eighteenth century was
logical in mind because it had to clothe its thoughts in a language of
precision. But even Pope and Addison are rude barbarians compared with
Vergil and Cicero. _De gustibus non est disputandum_--let some prefer
the plain roast and others the made dish. Latin may be an acquired
taste, but no sort of excellence is mortal. Latin will come into its
own again along with Dryden and Congreve, along with patches and
periwigs. Meanwhile it must be a very dull soul who is unmoved by the
grandeur of Roman history, the triumphant march of the citizen legions,
the dogged patriotism which resisted Hannibal to the death, and the
pageantry and splendour of the Empire. One must be blind not to admire
the massive strength of her ruined monuments, arches, bridges, roads,
and aqueducts. And one must be deaf indeed not to enjoy the surges of
Ciceronian oratory or the rolling music of the Vergilian hexameter.
Greece may claim all the charm of the spring-time of civilisation, but
Rome in all her works has a majesty which must command, if not love,
wonder and respect. Mommsen justly remarks that “it is only a pitiful
narrow-mindedness that will object to the Athenian that he did not know
how to mould his State like the Fabii and Valerii, or to the Roman that
he did not learn to carve like Phidias and to write like Aristophanes.”

Under the flowing toga of Latinism the natural Roman is concealed from
our view. It is possible that the progress of research and excavation
may to some extent rediscover him and distinguish him, as it has
already done for his Hellenic brother, from the polished courtiers of
the Augustan age who have hitherto passed as typical products of Rome.

It is astonishing how little we really know of Rome and the Romans
after all that has been said and written about them. The ordinary
natural Roman is a complete stranger to us. It is certain that he did
not live in luxury like Mæcenas, but how did he live and what sort
of man was he? We can discern that his language was not in the least
like that of Cicero. It appears that he neither dreaded nor disliked
emperors like Nero, as did Tacitus and Juvenal. As for his religion,
much has already been done, and more still remains to be done, to
show that he did not really worship the Hellenised Olympians who pass
in literature for his gods. Recent scholarship has done something to
reveal to us the presence of a real national art in Rome, or at any
rate of an artistic development on Italian soil which made visible
steps of its own out of Hellenic leading-strings. Thus there is some
hope that the real Roman will not always elude us. But for the present
in the whole domain of art, religion, thought, and literature, Greek
influence has almost obliterated the native strain. For the present,
therefore, we must be content to regard Roman civilisation as mainly
derivative, and our principal object will be to see how Rome fulfilled
her task as the missionary of Greek thought. This object, together
with the unsatisfactory nature of the records, must excuse the haste
with which I have passed over the earlier stages of Roman republican
history. It is obvious that the first three centuries of our era will
be the important part of Roman history from this point of view. Also,
if the progress of civilisation be our main study, nothing in Roman
history before the beginning of the second century B.C. can come
directly under our attention. When the Romans first came into contact
with the Greeks they were still barbarians, with no literature, no art,
and very little industry or commerce. The earlier periods will only be


The pleasant land of Italy needs no description here. Our
illustrations[2] will recall its sunny hill-sides, its deep shadows,
its vineyards and olive-yards. But there are one or two features of its
geography which have a bearing upon the history of Rome.

To begin with, the geographical unity of the Italian peninsula is
more apparent than real. The curving formation of the Apennines
really divides Italy into four parts--(1) the northern region, mainly
consisting of the Po valley, a fertile plain which throughout the
Republican period was scarcely considered as part of Italy at all,
and was, in fact, inhabited by barbarian Gauls; (2) the long eastern
strip of Adriatic coast, an exposed waterless and harbourless region,
with a scanty population, which hardly comes into ancient history;
(3) the southern region of Italy proper, hot, fertile, and rich in
natural harbours, so that it very early attracted the notice of the
Greek mariners, and was planted with luxurious and populous cities long
before Rome came into prominence; and (4) the central plain facing
westward, in which the river Tiber and the city of Rome occupy a
central position. Etruria and Latium together fill the greater part of
it. Its width is only about eighty miles, so that there is no room for
any considerable rivers to develop, and, in fact, there are only four
rivers of any importance in a coast-line of more than 300 miles. We may
call the whole of this region a plain in distinction from the Apennine
highlands; but it is, of course, plentifully scattered with hills high
enough to provide an impregnable citadel, and to this day crowned with
huddled villages.

Rome herself on her Seven Hills began her career by securing dominion
over the Latin plain which surrounded her on all sides but the north.
The Roman Campagna,[3] which is now desolate and fever-stricken, was
once all populous farmland. The river Tiber, though its silting mouth
and tideless waters now render it useless for navigation, was in the
flourishing days of Ancient Rome navigable for small vessels and Ostia
was a good artificial harbour at its mouth. Thus it is history rather
than geography which has made Rome into an unproductive capital. We may
conclude that geography has placed Rome in a favourable position for
securing the control of the Mediterranean and especially of the western
part of it.

It is worth while also to notice the neighbours by whom she was
surrounded when she first struggled forward into the light. Just across
the Tiber to the north of her were the Etruscans of whom we shall see
more in the next chapter. Their pirate ships scoured the sea while
their merchants did business with the Greeks of Sicily, Magna Græcia
and Massilia. It was perhaps her position at the _tête du pont_ that
led to Rome’s early prominence in war. Across the water on the coast
of Africa was the dreaded city of Carthage, which had for centuries
been striving to establish itself on the island of Sicily. All these
were seafaring, commercial peoples, but it was not by sea that Rome met
them. Behind Rome, among the valleys and on the spurs of the Apennines,
were a whole series of sturdy highland clans who like all highlanders
noticed the superior fatness of the valley sheep. It was against these
Umbrians, Marsians, Pelignians, Sabines, and Samnites that the cities
of the plain were constantly at feud, and it was mainly her struggles
with these that kept the Roman swords bright in early days.

As to the Romans themselves and their origin there is little that
we can say for certain. Ancient ethnology is not by any means yet
secure of its premises. One thing is clear enough, if we can place any
reliance whatever upon literary records--the national characteristics
of the ancient Roman were very unlike those of the modern Italian.
The one was bold, hardy, grave, orderly and inartistic: the other is
sensitive, vivacious, artistic, turbulent and quick-witted. There is
not a feature in common between them and yet the modern Italian is
surely the normal South European type. As you go southwards through
France you find the people approaching these characteristics more and
more. The Spaniard and the Greek share them. The Ancient Roman of
republican days, unless he is a literary invention, is assuredly no
southerner in temperament, though the southern qualities undoubtedly
begin to grow clear as Roman history progresses. And then the whole
of early Roman history is marked by a strife between the two orders
Patrician and Plebeian, which is certainly not simply a struggle
between two political parties, nor a mere conflict between rich and
poor. There is a division between the two of religion and custom in
such matters as burial, for example, and marriage-rites. The patricians
fear contamination of their blood if the plebeians are allowed to
intermarry with them. These considerations and others like them have
led Prof. Ridgeway to formulate for Rome, as he has already done with
success for Greece, a theory of northern invasion and conquest in
very early days. Probably it is a theory which can never be proved
nor disproved, so woefully scanty is our evidence for the earliest
centuries of Roman history. But it explains the great riddle of Roman
character as no other theory does.

The archæology of the spade does not help us much though it has made
some interesting discoveries on the soil of Italy. There is of course
at the base a Neolithic culture resembling that of the rest of Europe.
Then there is a phase of pile-dwellings widely spread among the marshes
of the Lombard plain called the “Terramare” civilisation. As this phase
belongs to the bronze age we may infer that civilisation developed
later in Italy than in Greece owing to the lack of fortified cities.
In this Terramare period the dead were carefully buried whole, often
folded up into a sitting posture to fit their contracted graves.
Then comes an Early Iron period, called “The Villanova,” where the
cremated ashes of the dead are collected in urns and deposited in
vaults generally walled with flat slabs of stone. Above these two
stages come Etruscan and Gallic remains and then those of the Rome
of history. It is probable enough that the Iron Age of the Villanova
culture represents a conquest from the north. It is likely that in
prehistoric times Italy experienced the same fate as throughout the
ages of history. The Alpine passes are easier from north to south than
in the reverse direction, and the smiling plains of North Italy have
always possessed an irresistible attraction for the barbarian who looks
down upon them from those barren snow-clad heights. Whether the invader
be an Umbrian or Gaulish or Gothic or Austrian warrior, Italia must pay
the price for her “fatal gift of beauty.”



    arx æternæ dominationis.

That Rome was not built in a day is the only thing we really know about
the origin of Rome. There is, however, nothing to prevent us from
guessing. The modern historian of the Economic School would picture
to us a limited company of primeval men of business roaming about the
world until they found a spot in the centre of the Mediterranean, a
convenient depot alike for Spanish copper and Syrian frankincense,
handy for commerce with the Etruscans of the north, the Sicilian Greeks
of the south, and the Carthaginians of the African coast. They select a
piece of rising ground on the banks of the river Tiber, about fifteen
miles from its mouth, a spot safe and convenient for their cargo-boats,
and there they build an Exchange, found a Chamber of Commerce (which
they quaintly term _senatus_), and institute that form of public
insurance which is known as “an army.” Thus equipped they proceed by
force or fraud to acquire a number of markets, to which in due course
they give the name of “Empire.”

This picture, being modern, is naturally impressionistic and rather
vague in its details. From all accounts a good deal of engineering
would be required to make the natural Tiber suitable for navigation
on a large scale. Not only does its mouth silt up every year and its
channel constantly change, but just between the hills on the very
floor of Rome every spring made pools and swamps. Nor is there any
tide in the Mediterranean to help the rowers up to the city against
the stream. The Etruscans, who diversified their commercial operations
with systematic piracy, held almost the whole of this western coast
in subjection. The Greeks of the south, who have plenty to say about
Etruscan and Carthaginian seafarers, have forgotten to mention their
early Roman customers. But perhaps that is because the primeval trader
from Rome cannot have had anything much to sell, and certainly had
no money at all to buy with. In founding his Bourse he seems to have
forgotten to provide a Mint; at any rate, long after the Sicilian
Greeks had evolved a most exquisite coinage of silver and gold, the
Romans were still content with the huge and clumsy copper _as_. I think
we may confidently dismiss external trade from among the causes of the
early rise of Rome. The coinage is the surest evidence we possess, no
foreign trade could have passed in the Mediterranean on a basis of the
copper _as_, and in Latin the equivalent for “money” is a word denoting
“cattle.” Whoever the early Romans were, they were mainly, as all their
religion and traditions show, land-soldiers and farmers.

Livy takes a more sensible view. He admits that the current accounts
of the foundation of the city are involved in mystery and miracle, but
he asserts with justice that if any city deserved a miraculous origin
Rome did. Thereupon he proceeds to relate the pleasant tale of her
foundation in the year 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus.

It is surely unprofitable to search very deeply for grains of truth in
the sands of legend which cover the early traditions of Rome, but it
is sometimes interesting to conjecture how and why the legends were
invented. The story of Romulus and Remus, for example, may have taken
its rise in a

[Illustration: Roman _As_ (bronze, full size)]

“sacristan’s tale” about an ancient work of art representing a wolf
suckling two babes. A fairly ancient copy of this motive is preserved
in the famous Capitoline Wolf.[4] The wolf at least is ancient, and
the children have been added in modern times from representations of
the famous group on ancient coins. It is possible that the original
statue may go back to days of totemistic religion when the wolf was the
ancestor of a Roman clan.

The Seven Kings of Rome are for the most part mere names which have
been fitted by rationalising antiquarians, presumably Greek, with
inventions appropriate to them. Romulus is simply the patron hero of
Rome called by her name. Numa, the second, whose name suggests _numen_,
was the blameless Sabine who originated most of the old Roman cults,
and received a complete biography largely borrowed from that invented
for Solon. Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Martius were the _hostile_ and
_martial_ inventors of military systems. Servius Tullius was a man of
_servile_ origin, and on this foundation Freeman built his belief that
the Roman kingship was a career open to talent!

As for the two Tarquins, the latter of whom was turned by Greek
historians into a typical Greek tyrant and made the subject of an
edifying Greek story of tyrannicide closely modelled on the story of
Harmodius, their names are said to be Etruscan. There is a recent
theory that the saving of Rome by Horatius and his comrades is fable
designed to conceal the real conquest of Rome by the Etruscans. As
a matter of fact there is a good deal of other evidence for that
theory: reluctant admissions in history and literature, records of an
ancient treaty of submission, the fact that the ritual and ornament of
supreme authority at Rome seems to be of Etruscan origin, and above
all the evidence of the stones. There are traces of very early skill
and activity in building at Rome, and, unless the Romans afterwards
declined very remarkably in the arts and crafts, their early works,
such as the walls and some of the sewers, must have been built under
foreign influence. That some sort of early kingship at Rome is more
than a legend is certain; the whole fabric of the Roman constitution
and its fundamental theory of _imperium_ imply the existence of
primeval kingship. On the whole, then, we may well believe that at some
early period the city of Rome under Etruscan princes formed part of
an empire which embraced a number of ports and towns up and down the
Italian coast, though it did not necessarily concern itself with the
intervening and surrounding territories. During all the early centuries
of Rome it must have been a constant struggle between civilised walled
towns on or near the coast and warlike hill tribes, quite uncivilised,
from the mountainous interior.

These mysterious Etruscans have formed the theme of an internecine war
of monographs. On the whole we may pronounce that those scholars who
maintain their Lydian origin have completely demolished the arguments
of those who aver that they sprang from the Rhætian Alps--and _vice
versâ_. It remains possible, therefore, that the Etruscans came from
nowhere in particular but were as aboriginal and autochthonous as any
European people. It is true that we cannot make out much of their
language, but that is also true of the aboriginal Cretans--and of
many other autochthonous peoples. Their earliest remains are of a
type familiar to us in the earliest strata of production all over the
Mediterranean coast-lands--prehistoric polygonal masonry, a beehive
tomb, incised _bucchero nero_ vases and so forth. Their later and finer
work shows a distinct cousinship with that of Greece though sometimes
curiously debased and uncouth in spirit. In bronze-working they were
very skilful.[5] They developed painting to a high pitch in early
times, and the British Museum possesses some interesting examples from
Cære. It was indeed believed by Pliny that Corinthian painters had
settled in Etruria, that being the usual account by which the ancients
explained resemblances. But we may believe that the art of painting is
indigenous on the soil of Tuscany. Their pottery is very similar to
that of Greece.[6] It appears that the flourishing period of Etruscan
art coincided with that of the greatest

[Illustration: Etruscan Fresco. Head of Hercules]

extent of their empire, namely, the sixth and early fifth centuries
B.C. Their plastic work was mostly in terra-cotta, for the native
marbles do not seem to have been quarried. Some of their terra-cotta
coffins, adorned with conventional portraits of the deceased and
finished off by the application of paint, show considerable technical
skill, but always that strange grotesque spirit.[7] From all accounts
these Etruscans were a superstitious and cruel race. It was from
them that the Romans learnt their bloody craft of divination by the
inspection of the entrails of newly slain victims, and there is little
doubt that the victims had not always been the lower animals. We are
told that the insignia of royalty at Rome--the toga with scarlet

[Illustration: Prehistoric Etruscan Pottery]

or purple stripes, the toga with purple border, the sceptre of ivory,
the curule chair, the twelve lictors with their axes in bundles of
rods--were borrowed from the Etruscans. Thus it seems that the ancient
garb of the Roman citizen, a tunic covered by a long mantle or toga, a
costume which is essentially the same as the _chiton_ and _himation_
of the Greeks, started as a fashion introduced by their more civilised
northern neighbours. It seems clear also that the earliest Roman art,
the decoration of temples with painted terra-cotta ornaments, was
Etruscan in origin. Some of the earliest statues of the gods seem to
have been painted, for we hear of a very ancient red Jupiter. Thus
there is some probability that Rome passed through a period, perhaps in
the sixth century, of alien rule and alien civilisation. Remembering
the cousinship between Greece and Etruria we shall find that Rome had
been prepared for the reception of Greek culture in very early times.

[Illustration: The Roman Toga]

The fifth century seems to have been a period of decline for the
Etruscan power. The Greek republics, with, as I hope we agreed, their
northern stiffening, had advanced far beyond their Etruscan kinsmen in
intelligence, and the tyrant Hiero of Syracuse defeated them in a great
sea-fight in 474 B.C. It is agreeable to the historian to have a fact
so certain and a date so well attested in all the wilderness of legend
that surrounds the early history of Italy. Then the warlike hill tribes
of the Southern Apennines began to press upon their southern colonies,
and finally the Gauls from the north swept down upon Etruria at the
beginning of the fourth century and broke up their declining empire for
ever. It was probably during this period that the Romans expelled their
Etruscan princes, and replaced royalty by a pair of equal colleagues
sharing most of the royal power and regal emblems except crown and
sceptre. So we get to the Rome of the earliest credible tradition--a
Rome governed by two consuls and a senate of nobles. It is a city
composed of farm-houses and in each house the head of the family rules
in patriarchal majesty.


Thus it is necessary to throw overboard a great mass of edifying and
famous history in the interest of youth. There were no contemporary
records, the annals and _fasti_ upon which Livy’s immediate
predecessors relied in the first century B.C. are demonstrably of
late concoction. Everywhere we can see the influence of Greek artists
importing fragments of Greek history, rationalising names and customs,
antedating and reduplicating later constitutional struggles, writing
appropriate speeches for early parliamentarians who never existed, and
generally demonstrating the power of Greek invention to flatter Roman
credulity. The great families of 200 B.C. and onwards found themselves
as rich and powerful as nabobs; they had great historic names, and when
there was a funeral in the family they sent out a long procession of
waxen images to represent the noble ancestors of the deceased. At such
times there would be funeral orations recounting the deeds of those
heroic ancestors. Every family had its traditions, as glorious and as
authentic as those of the descendants of Brian Boru. When literature
came into fashion and needy Greek scribes offered a plausible _stilus_
to any rich patron, Roman history began to exist, sometimes bearing
respectable Roman names but always written in Greek. It is thus that
we get the series of heroic actions attributed to Fabii and Horatii
and deeds of wicked pride ascribed to ancestral Claudii. Whatever it
may cost us in pangs for the fate of pretty tales I fear we must not
scruple to use the knife freely in this region of literary history. A
glance at the following coincidences will help to allay our scruples:
Tarquin the Roman tyrant was driven out in the same year as Hippias the
Athenian tyrant (510 B.C.); the Twelve Tables at Rome were drawn up
in the same year as the code of Protagoras at Thurii (451 B.C.); 300
Fabii died to a man in the battle of Cremera just about the same time
as 300 Spartans died to a man with Leonidas at Thermopylæ in 480 B.C.
To put it briefly: Nothing anterior to the Gallic invasion of 390 B.C.
and very little for nearly another century can be accepted on literary
evidence alone.

So far as we can read the stones, the earliest Rome consisted of a
settlement on the Palatine Hill, with a citadel and a temple on the
Capitol, and with a forum or market on the low ground between them. On
the Esquiline Hill was a plebeian settlement. It was a pastoral and
agricultural community, expressing wealth in terms of cattle, ploughing
and reaping so much of the Campagna as their farmers could reach in a
day or their armies protect. From the very earliest times the community
consisted of a few great houses of patrician blood with numerous
clients and slaves. In every house the father was king absolute, with
power of life and death over his sons, daughters, and slaves. Daughters
passed from the hand of the father to the hand of the husband, like
any other property, by a form of sale. Out of remote antiquity comes a
piece of genuine Latin:


--“If a boy beats his father and the father complains let the boy be
devoted to the gods of parents,” _i.e._ slain as a sacrifice. It was
a commonwealth of such parents--no republican lovers of liberty, be
sure--whose chiefs met to discuss policy in the temple, as the Senate,
and who themselves assembled in a body, fully armed, as the _comitium_,
to vote upon the Senate’s decrees conveyed by the consuls.

Grim and despotic in peace these Roman aristocrats were fierce and
tenacious in war. As soon as she was free, if not earlier, Rome
appeared as a member of the Latin League which ruled over the Plain of
Latium under the presidency of Alba Longa. This piece of tradition is
attested by many survivals in ritual. Her earliest wars were against
neighbours like Gabii, whose very name made the later Romans smile,
so insignificant a village it was. It was in these little contests
that the early Romans learnt their trade as warriors, and if any
one seeks to know the causes of Rome’s victorious career the answer
is, I suppose, that she fought very bravely and obeyed her generals
better than her enemies obeyed theirs. Discipline was her secret, and
discipline came, no doubt, from the strict patriarchal system in her
homes, a system assuredly not of Mediterranean birth.

Whether the geese who cackled were authentic or merely ætiological
fowls I know not, but it is certain that Rome did not suffer so
severely from the Gallic invasion as did her neighbours across the
Tiber. Probably it was only the last wave of a great invasion which
reached as far as Rome, burnt the Palatine settlement and the humble
wattled dwellings of the poor on the Esquiline, and failed to storm
the Capitol. At any rate the Gallic invasion of 390 B.C. seems to
have started the Romans on their career of conquest, mainly at the
expense of the Etruscans. But there were incessant wars with all her
neighbours; every summer the army marched out as a matter of course. If
it was not a decaying Etruscan town to be taken by siege it was a Latin
neighbour, or failing them a Volscian or Sabine community from the
hills. Summer, while the corn could be left to do its own growing, was
the time for battle. To have been at peace in summer would have been
slackness, to wage war in winter a grave solecism. So in short space
Rome became an important little town, head of the Latin League and
probably the strongest unit in Central Italy. It appears that she began
about now to emerge into international notice by the great powers, for
we have a treaty of 348 B.C., which may probably be accepted as genuine
though the actual date is not so certain, between Rome and Carthage,
wherein the Romans, in consideration of promising not to trade in
Carthaginian waters, are permitted to do business with the Carthaginian
ports in Sicily and acknowledged as suzerains of the Latin League. Thus
Rome has apparently by this time some overseas traffic.

If no other art, diplomacy seems always to have been at home on Roman
soil, and in all her works Rome shows a genius for statecraft. It must
have been at some very early date that she discovered her great secret
of _divide et impera_. She had already become so far the greatest
power in the Latin League, that she had equal rights with all the
others combined. The allies, it seems, claimed to supply the general
of the allied army on alternate days and to have a half-share of the
plunder. Against these very modest demands Rome was firm. She fought
the League and beat it in 338; then she divided and ruled the cities.
With each she made a separate treaty, granting to each two of the
rights of citizenship--the right to trade and the right to marry with
her citizens. But she allowed no such rights between the other members
of the League, however close neighbours they might be. In this way Rome
became the staple market of all Latium; all traffic passed through her
hands and her wealth and population increased.

These city-states had no means of ruling otherwise than tyrannically.
Their whole constitution forbade it. We have seen elsewhere[8] that
citizenship in a city-state implied membership of a corporate body,
a close partnership in a company of unlimited liability with very
definite privileges and responsibilities. Full citizenship at Rome
meant a vote in electing the city magistrates and a vote in the
_comitium_, which decided matters like peace and war. It was obvious
that you had to be very jealous about extending these rights to
outsiders. But Rome went part of the way, granted parts of the citizen
rights, and thereby showed finer imperial statecraft than any Greek
state had yet discovered. Her first offshoot was Ostia, the town she
planted at the mouth of her river only fifteen miles off, her first
_Colonia_. The men of Ostia remained citizens of Rome, and might vote
in the elections if they thought it worth while, but were exempt
from the duty of serving in the army because their own town formed a
standing garrison in the Roman service. Then when the Romans made
conquests in Etruria or Campania or any region where the natives spoke
a foreign language and therefore could not fight in the legions under
Roman officers, they would receive the “citizenship without vote,”
which enabled them simply to trade and marry like Romans. Thirdly, some
of the Latin towns became merely _municipia_, that is, country towns
enjoying full Roman citizenship if they came to the city, but at home
a local constitution with considerable powers of self-government and a
magistracy modelled on that of Rome, namely, senators and consuls under
other names. All this granting of rights--without any tribute--was,
according to the ways of ancient city-states, surprising generosity or
the deepest statesmanship. Already Rome begins to show the genius of
empire-building: she was relentless and unscrupulous in conquering,
but generous and broad-minded in governing. Such was the wisdom of her
council of despots--the Senate.

Nevertheless these “allies” were more sensible of the liberties they
had lost than of the rights they had gained by coming under the
expanding wing of Rome. The latter part of the fourth century shows
the growing state embarked upon a terrific struggle which lasted on
and off from summer to summer for nearly fifty years. Her principal
foes were the warlike Samnites of the Southern Apennines, closely akin,
it seems, to the dominant race at Rome. This tremendous conflict is
clearly the turning-point of Roman history. At various stages nearly
all the peoples of Italy rose and enrolled themselves among the enemy,
the Latins, the Etruscans, the Umbrians, the Marsi, the Gauls (for they
too were brought in again by the Etruscans in their last efforts for
freedom) and the Samnites themselves, a race of born fighters under
competent generals. Once, in 321 B.C., both consuls and the entire army
of Rome were entrapped at the Caudine Pass, but Rome never thought
of surrender. Doggedly her Senate refused to know when it was beaten
and continued the struggle. Fortunately it was one purpose against
many, and Rome beat her enemies in detail until she was able to emerge

The history of that great conflict has come down to us in an incomplete
state full of fairy-tales and omissions, but it is clear that the
Roman Senate showed extraordinary resolution and tenacity, as it did
in the next century against foreign enemies. Beaten to its knees again
and again it refused any terms of peace short of victory. That is a
marvellous thing, if Rome was really one among many towns of Latium. It
is to be noted that this was the war in which she learnt the new system
of fighting whereby she was fated to conquer the world. Hitherto in
ancient warfare a battle array had meant a solid line in which the men
stood shoulder to shoulder in several ranks, pressing on with spear and
shield against a similar line of the enemy. It was largely a question
of weight in the impact. You tried to make your line deep enough to
prevent yielding and long enough to envelop the enemy’s flank: once you
could turn or break the enemy’s line victory was yours. But the Romans,
either because they were often outnumbered on the field of battle, or,
as some say, in fighting the Gallic warriors with their long swords,
found it necessary to fight not shoulder to shoulder but in open
order--not in a solid phalanx but in open companies or “maniples.” This
had a far-reaching effect: it made every Roman soldier a self-reliant
unit, who could fence skilfully with his favourite weapon, the sword,
instead of merely pushing a long pike as his neighbours did. It is
clear that only an army of natural soldiers could have adopted such an
innovation successfully. Once established, it made the Roman soldier
invincible. The maniple of 200 men was not only far more mobile than
a solid phalanx, but it covered a length of ground equal to that
of three times its own numbers. Formerly only the front rank--the
_principes_--had required a full suit of armour and it was only the
richest who could afford it. Now the whole army had to be properly
equipped, and this reacted upon the social and political system of the


In ancient times a man’s rights as citizen depended entirely upon his
duties as a soldier. The _comitium_ was the army, and the preponderance
of voting power went to the rich who could afford a panoply. Now the
soldiers were equalised and therefore the citizens claimed equality.
We cannot put much faith in Livy’s story of the struggle between the
two orders for political equality; the details, which include elaborate
reports of the speeches delivered, are clearly free compositions based
upon much later controversies between the republicans and democrats
of Livy’s own earlier days. There is a great deal of confusion and
contradiction in the accounts of the various legislative measures
by which the plebeians were gradually admitted to equality with the
patricians. But the story of the Secession of the Plebs--there are
two such stories, but probably that is the result of duplication--is
so distinctive and peculiarly Roman that it scarcely seems like an
invention. To put it shortly, the plebeians won their rights by means
of that very modern weapon--a strike. Being refused the rights for
which they were agitating, they refused to join the citizen levy, but
marched out under arms to the neighbouring Sacred Mount, and threatened
to set up a new Rome of their own there. The political instinct was
healthy and strong among them: the plebeians formed themselves into a
second corporation organised like the patricians. Where the patricians
had their two consuls with two prætors under them, the plebeians
had their two tribunes and two ædiles. Where the patrician army had
its _comitium_ meeting in groups called “curies,” the plebeians had
their assembly meeting in tribes. So the new magistracies and the new
meetings became part and parcel of the Roman republic. The tribunes
were protected not so much by laws as by an oath: their persons were
declared sacred, and they had the right to thrust their sacred persons
between the plebeian offender and the consul’s lictor who came to
arrest him, thus expressing the ultimate sovereignty of the army of
Roman citizens. That is, in broad outline, how the story of political
equality at Rome has come down to us. But it must not be supposed
that even now the Roman republic was in anything but externals like
the Greek democracy. The Roman _comitia_ never debated like the
Athenian _ecclesia_. They assembled to listen to such speeches as the
magistrates or their invited friends might choose to make upon topics
which had previously been selected, discussed and decreed by the
senate; they were there to ratify the senate’s decisions with “Yes” or
“No.” Even then they did not vote as individuals; each “century,” each
“cury,” or each “tribe,” according to the form of meeting summoned,
was a single voting unit. Everything in the system tended to put real
power into the hands of the executive. When you get the executive able
to control policy you get efficiency, but if you want liberty you
must adopt other means. The senate at Rome gradually came to consist
entirely of retired magistrates, and so to exhibit all the knowledge,
competence, experience, and bigoted self-confidence which we expect
from retired functionaries.

The republican constitution had invented two devices to save itself
from tyranny, and, according to tradition, had invented them at the
very beginning of republicanism. One was the collegial system by which
every magistracy was held in commission by two or more colleagues.
There were two consuls from the first, sharing between them most of
the royal prerogatives, heads of the executive in peace and supreme
generals in war, with power of life and death, or full _imperium_, at
any rate on the field of battle. There was at first only one prætor,
for he was then merely the consuls’ lieutenant in time of war; but
when, as soon happened, the prætor became a judge in time of peace,
that office, too, was given to a pair of colleagues. There were, it
is said, at first two tribunes of the plebs, principally charged with
the protection and leadership of their own order; but as the city
grew their numbers were increased to ten. So there were two ædiles,
who principally looked after affairs of police in the city. There
were two censors, ranking highest of all in the hierarchy of office
because their sphere was so largely connected with religion. Their duty
was to number the people and to expiate that insult to heaven with
a solemn rite of purification. In numbering they also had to assess
every man’s property for the purpose of fixing his rank in the army
and in the state. All these magistrates had powers of jurisdiction
in various spheres. All the priests and prophets, too, of whom there
were many varieties, were formed into colleges. Only the _pontifex
maximus_ stood alone without a colleague--and he had an official wife.
We are too familiar with the working of “boards” and “commissions” to
misunderstand the purpose of this system. Theory required unanimity in
each board, each member of it had power to stop action by the others,
one powerful weapon to that end being the religious system whereby
nothing could be attempted without favourable omens. You had only to
announce unpropitious auspices to stop any action whatever.

The other great check against official tyranny was the system of
annual tenure. All magistrates, except the censors, who had a lengthy
task before them and therefore held office for five years, were
annual. While this was some safeguard for liberty, it told heavily
against efficiency, especially in the case of military leadership by
the consuls. It also meant the gradual creation of a great number of
office-holders, past and present. It was not quite so effective as
the corresponding Athenian system of balloting for office in checking
personal eminence, but it certainly succeeded in putting a great number
of nonentities and failures into high office--even the supreme command
of the legions.


It is only very dimly that we can trace the outlines of public history
as Rome grew to be a power in Italy. We can scarcely hope to trace the
lineaments of the individual Roman even in outline. It is sometimes
said that even if the earliest history of the city is admitted to be
apocryphal, we can draw valuable deductions as to the Roman character
from the sort of actions which were regarded as praiseworthy in the
earliest times. There is some truth in that view, though it might
be objected that most of these stories took literary shape only in
the second and first centuries B.C. It might be added that men often
admire qualities just because they feel that they themselves cannot
claim them. But, on the whole, I think we can get from this period
of legendary history some insight into Roman character. There is a
remarkable difference between the Roman hero and the Greek. Greek
mythology busies itself very largely with stories of cleverness--how
Heracles outwitted his foes, smart _équivoques_ by the oracles,
ingenious devices of Themistocles, wise sayings of Thales and Solon.
It is mainly the intellectual virtues that Greek history of the
borderland admires. But the Roman of the same historical area is not
clever. Most of the old Roman stories are in praise of courage--for
example, the contempt of pain shown by Scævola, who held his right
hand in the flames to demonstrate Roman fortitude; the courage of the
maiden Clœlia, who swam the river, or of Horatius, who held the bridge
against an army; the devotion to his country of Quintus Curtius, who
leapt in full armour into the chasm which had opened in the Forum.
Many of them celebrate the true Roman virtue of sternness and austere
devotion to law, as when the Roman fathers condemned their sons to
death for breaking the law under most excusable circumstances. The love
of liberty is extolled in Brutus, the love of equality in Valerius and
Cincinnatus, called from the plough-tail to supreme command. Austere
chastity in females and the strict demand for it in their proprietors
is praised in the stories of Lucretia and Virginia. All these we may
well set down as the virtues admired and, we hope, practised in early
Rome; they form a consistent and quite distinctive picture.

But the early Roman had few accomplishments to embellish his virtues.
Art and civilisation either did not exist or have perished without
leaving any traces. It is likely enough that all the city’s energies
were occupied with the one business of fighting. Some hints of
civilising reform hang about the name of Appius Claudius, who was
censor about 318-312 B.C. In his time we date some of the military
changes mentioned above, and they seem to have accompanied economic
changes which point to growing wealth at Rome. Copper gave place to
silver as the standard of exchange, and therewith the copper _as_
depreciated in value, so that the Roman unit of historical times, the
sestertius of 2½ _as_ value, was a coin worth about _2d._ Land was
no longer the sole basis of property; it became possible for a man
to become rich by trade, and accordingly landless citizens were now
drafted into the ancient tribes for the first time. To this great
censor also belongs the first of the famous Roman military roads, the
Appian Way, which led southwards to the Greek cities of Campania. Even
to-day the Via Appia, flanked with its ruined tombs--for the Romans
often buried their dead along the highways--running like a dart across
the barren Campagna, is one of the most striking spectacles which
modern Rome has to offer.[9]

Of anything which can be dignified with the name of literature we have
scarcely a relic. What there is seems ludicrously rustic and uncouth.
Consider, for an example, the ancient hymn of the Salii, the jumping
priests of Mars. There were twelve of them, all men of patrician
family; they dressed in embroidered tunics, with the striped toga, a
breastplate of bronze, a conical cap with a spike; they carried each a
sacred shield, and as they made their annual processions through the
city at the beginning of each campaigning year, they leaped into the
air and thumped their shields with sticks; trumpeters preceded them,
and they sang this ghostly chant:

    TRIVMPE (_quinquies_)

which is probably to be translated:

    Help us, O Lares (_thrice_)
    And, O Mars, let not plague or ruin attack our people (_thrice_)
    Be content, fierce Mars. Leap the threshold. Halt. Strike (_thrice_)
    In alternate strain call upon all the heroes. (_thrice_)
    Help us, Mars (_thrice_)
    Leap (_five times_).


In our quest for the essential Roman we shall find nothing more
illuminating than religion. With some people culture takes the place of
religion, but it is far commoner to find religion taking the place of
culture: it did so with the Hebrews, and it does so to a great extent
among the English. The Romans were never a really religious people.
Probably they lacked the imagination to be really devout. They had
scarcely any native mythology. But they were ritualists and formalists
to the heart’s core. If those Salii had jumped only four times at the
word “Triumpe,” the whole value of the rite would have been lost: if
no worse thing befell them they would have had to begin again from
the beginning. Thus religion, always conservative, and generally the
richest hunting-ground for the antiquarian in search of prehistoric
history, is almost our only source of information as to the mind of
the early Roman. Of course, Roman religion is so deeply overlaid with
Greek mythology that it takes some digging to discover the real gods of
old Rome. But that is being done by the patience and insight of such
scholars as Mr. Warde Fowler and Dr. J. G. Frazer, so that we now have
a good deal of information about the original Roman religion.

Mr. Warde Fowler makes two important conclusions about the early Romans
from his study of the twofold character of Mars, who, in spite of the
later primacy of Jupiter, is undoubtedly the true Roman male god: “(1)
that their life and habits of thought were those of an agricultural
race, and (2) that they continually increased their cultivable land
by taking forcible possession in war of that of their neighbours.”
This was the Roman method of making agriculture pay. The spring of the
year and the month which still bears the name of Mars was not only
the season of returning life to nature, but it was also the time when
the god and his worshippers buckled on their armour to seek fresh
ploughlands, just as did the primitive Germans. It was Europe’s first
method of extensive farming, and the habit clung to the Romans long
after they had ceased to be farmers. In the spring it was time to look
about you and consider where and with whom you should begin to fight
this year.

Some of these old Roman festivals are worth a brief description, for
they and they alone are the authentic history of the early Romans.
For example, on the Ides of March the lower classes streamed out to
the Campus Martius on the banks of the river and spent the day in
rustic jollity with wine and song in honour of Anna Perenna--the
recurring year. On another day there was a ceremony like that of the
Hebrew scapegoat. Two dates in the calendar are marked for the king to
dissolve the _comitia_. The assembly had to be summoned by the blast of
special trumpets of peculiar un-Italian shape (some say Etruscan), and
the trumpets had to be purified by a special service on the previous
day. Although the Romans abolished their political kingship, religion
required the retention of the title for numerous ceremonial purposes.
Then there were the Parilia in honour of the old shepherd god Pales,
when sheepfolds were garlanded with green, the sheep were purified
at the dawn, and rustic sacrifices were paid to avert the wrath of
the deity in case you had unwittingly disturbed one of the mysterious
powers who dwell in the country--the nymphs and fauns of pool and
spring and tree. There was a prayer to this effect of which Ovid has
given us the substance, and “this prayer,” adds Mr. Warde Fowler, “must
be said four times over, the shepherd looking to the east, and wetting
his hands with the morning dew. The position, the holy water, and the
prayer in its substance, though now addressed to the Virgin, have all
descended to the Catholic shepherds of the Campagna.” There were other
primitive agricultural deities, such as Robigus (the red rust on the
corn), on whose festival you sacrificed red puppies; Terminus (the
boundary god), to whom you slaughtered a sucking-pig on the boundary
stone; or Ops Consiva, the deity who protected your buried store of
corn. Such names and their attributes indicate a certain poverty of
religious imagination. There were more abstract, or, rather, less
tangible powers, such as Lares, the spirits of the dead ancestors who
figured as guardian angels of the home; the Penates, the spirits who
watched over the store-cupboard; the Genius, a man’s luck; the Manes,
the kindly dead; or the Lemures, dangerous ghosts of the unburied. The
house, like the fields, was full of unseen presences to be appeased
with appropriate ritual, which had to be most punctiliously performed.
Every year at the Lemuria the master of the house would rise at
midnight and, with clean hands and bare feet, walk through the house,
making a special sign with his fingers and thumbs to keep off the
ghosts. He fills his mouth with black beans and spits them out as he
goes, carefully keeping his eyes averted, and saying, “With these I
redeem me and mine.” Nine times he speaks these words without looking
round, and the ghosts come behind him unseen to gather up the beans.
Then the father washes himself again, and clashes the pots together to
frighten the spirits away. When he has repeated the words “Depart, ye
kindly spirits of our ancestors” nine times, he looks round at last and
the ceremony is complete.

The history of Rome, as Mr. Warde Fowler discerns it in religion,
begins with an extremely simple rustic worship of natural forms,
meteoric stones, sacred trees and animals such as the Mother Wolf or
Mars’ woodpeckers; to this stage belong many of the curious spells
and charms against ghosts. This sort of worship is not distinctively
Roman, but common to the greater part of Central Europe. From these
savage local cults we pass to the more centralised worship which
belongs to the household, and that household an agricultural one.
The father is the priest, and his principal deity is Janus, the god
of the doorway; his sons are the subordinate _flamines_; and his
daughters have special charge of Vesta, who presides over the family
hearth-fire. Their agricultural activities are reflected in the
more orderly rural ceremonies in honour of Saturn, Ops, and Vesta.
Thirdly, we have a series of cults which indicate the beginnings of a
community with the king for chief priest, supported by State Vestals
and _flamines_. The Latin Festival marks the participation of Rome in
the Latin League, whose presiding deity was Jupiter. In these three
stages it is mainly an affair of formless powers or “numina,” deities
very scantily realised, with little or no personality, scarcely to be
termed anthropomorphic at all. Instead of temples there was nothing but
altars, chapels, groves.

If we view these changes in the light of ethnology we shall probably
agree that the first of them is the common ground of prehistoric
Mediterranean worship. It is what we find in Crete at the earliest
period. But we have come to regard the strict monogamous patriarchal
family as especially the contribution of the north to the civilisation
of Europe. Unfortunately those deities who are most certainly plebeian,
such as Ceres, Flora, and Diana, do not seem to belong to the earlier
strata of religion.

However that may be, it seems that we can trace in the next succeeding
stage a period of public worship connected with clearly anthropomorphic
deities who have temples, priests, and probably images of their own.
Towards the end of the monarchic period we find those distinctly
Etruscan characteristics of which I have already spoken. Jupiter,
Juno, and Minerva are an Etruscan trinity. Now begins the pre-eminence
of greater gods more or less personified and closely resembling
those of the Greeks--such as Mercury, Ceres, and Diana. It is now
that the important priestly colleges, pontifices, and augurs are
founded, largely replacing, as being more important politically, the
old agricultural brotherhood of the Fratres Arvales and the martial
fraternity of the Salii.

Thus in religion as in art the Romans were prepared by their Etruscan
connections for their subsequent capture by Greek civilisation. It was
inevitable that a Greek should recognise Diana as Artemis, Minerva as
Pallas, Mercury as Hermes, and Juno as Hera. It was equally inevitable
that the Romans should be willing to clothe these bare and chilly
abstractions with the charming fabric of Greek mythology. That process,
and the simultaneous reception at Rome of Oriental cults, form still
later stages in the progress of that strange medley which passed in the
Rome of literature for religion.

There is little to elevate or inspire in Roman religion. The only
virtue belonging to it was reverence and the strict sense of duty which
a Roman called _pietas_, explaining it as “justice towards the gods.”
“Religion” meant “binding obligation” to the Romans; its source was
fear of the unseen, its issue was mainly punctilious formalism. No
doubt the gods would punish disrespect to a parent or rebellion against
the state, no doubt a fugitive or a slave had altars and sanctuaries
where he might claim mercy; but there is little more than that to
connect virtue with religion at Rome. On the other hand, we are not to
suppose that when the lascivious rites of Isis and Ashtaroth or the
Paphian Venus came to Rome in later days they came to corrupt a race
of pious puritans. True Roman deities like Flora, Fortuna Virilis, and
Anna Perenna had a native bestiality of their own. The simple rustic
is seldom a natural puritan, and we must beware of idealising our Early
Roman as a Scottish Covenanter. There was savage cruelty in many of
the early rites, such as the Ver Sacrum when all the offspring of men
and cattle within a specified period was devoted to the gods, or the
Fordicidia when unborn calves were burnt. Human sacrifice looms large
in the early religion, and it was probably only a later refinement
which limited it to criminals or volunteers.

Mommsen has drawn our attention to the business-like relation between
worshipper and god, for that is also typical of the old Roman
character. “The gods,” he says, “confronted man just as a creditor
confronted a debtor.... Man even dealt in speculation with his god: a
vow was in reality as in name a formal contract between the god and the
man by which the latter promised to the former for a certain service
to be rendered a certain equivalent return.” Nay, he might venture to
defraud his god. “They presented to the lord of the sky heads of onions
or poppies, that he might launch his lightnings at these rather than
at the heads of men. In payment of the offering annually demanded by
father Tiber, thirty puppets plaited of rushes were annually thrown
into the stream.” It may be true, as Mr. Warde Fowler argues, that the
bargain sometimes took the form of a lively sense of favours to come,
but a _votum_ was essentially a business transaction.

The deity was very dimly visualised: the cult was everything, the god
nothing. The true Latin god does not marry or beget children--did not,
at least, till the Greek theologians came over and married them all
suitably and provided them with families. Before history began the
Romans had forgotten the little they had ever known about their most
ancient deities. The rite, perhaps the altar, was preserved, but no
one remembered the object of it. This is a typical Roman prayer as we
have it in old Cato: “This is the proper Roman way to cut down a grove.
Sacrifice with a pig for a peace-offering. This is the verbal formula:
Whether thou art a god or a goddess to whom that grove is sacred, may
it be justice in thine eyes to sacrifice a pig for a peace-offering in
order that the sanctity may be restrained. For this cause, whether I
perform the sacrifice or any one else at my orders, may it be rightly
done. For that cause in sacrificing this pig for a peace-offering I
pray thee honest prayers that thou mayest be kind and propitious to
me and my house and my slaves and my children. For these causes be
thou blessed with the sacrifice of this pig for a peace-offering.” To
misplace a word in this formula would have been fatal. The vagueness of
the address is typical: the wood is sacred, no doubt, to some invisible
_numen_; the woodman must guard himself against addressing the wrong
power. Much of the Roman worship is thus offered “to the Unknown God.”


It was this quality of precision and formalism which made Rome the
lawgiver of Europe. In the battle between law and sentiment the Roman
sword has been thrown with decisive effect into the scale of law. All
Roman law was originally a series of formulæ, and like all ancient law
a part of religion. First the king and then the priests were the only
people who knew these formulæ. Thus the king was the sole judge both in
private and public right; he might summon a council of advisers or he
might delegate his powers to an inferior officer, such as the prætor
or the prefect of the city, or the trackers of murder. Both these
rights, that of choosing a consilium and of delegating authority, with,
however, a right of appeal from the lower to the higher functionary,
remained inherent in the Roman magistracy. In all cases, private or
public, the king or the magistrate who replaced him had to pronounce
the _jus_ first: that is, to state the proper formula for the case in
question; then he would send the case for trial of fact, or _judicium_,
before judge or jury. The formula would run “if it appears that A.
B. has been guilty of---- condemn him to----; if not, acquit him.”
_Jus_, human right, was inseparably connected with _fas_, divine right:
no layman could properly interpret either. For a long time it was
necessary for one of the priests to be present in court to see that the
proper formularies of action were observed with strict verbal accuracy.
This was, of course, an enormously powerful weapon in the hands of the

Then in the course of the struggle between the orders came the usual
demand for written laws. The famous story of the Decemviri and their
commission to Athens in 451 B.C. is unfortunately very dubious history.
It is full of romantic elements, it is part of that systematic
depreciation of the Claudii in Roman history which Mommsen has traced
to its probable source, it has elements which look as if they were
borrowed from the story of the thirty tyrants at Athens, and there
is no confirmation from the Athenian side. Professor Pais believes
that the fifth century is much too early for such a code. There are,
it is true, in the fragments of the Twelve Tables which have come
down to us, some enactments closely resembling those of the Greek
codes--regulations, for example, limiting the expense of funerals--but
we find such laws in other codes than that of Solon. One would like to
have fuller details about that later Appius Claudius, the famous censor
of 312 B.C. It is said that he desired to reduce the now complicated
bulk of legal formulæ to writing simply for the benefit of the priests,
but that a low-born scribe, one Flavius, whom he employed for the
purpose as his clerk, fraudulently revealed these judicial secrets
to the public. The whole tendency of the Claudian falsifications is
to make out that the Claudii were tyrannical and anti-democratic. It
certainly looks as if the dishonesty of the freedman had been put into
the story for the purpose of robbing the famous censor of his credit
for helping the people to a knowledge of law.

The whole fabric of Roman law was supposed to rest upon the foundation
of the Twelve Tables. Only fragments of them have come down to us.
They are undoubtedly very ancient and primitive, more so, it would
seem, than the Athenian law of 451 B.C. Fines are to be paid in metal
by weight. A creditor has the right to carve up the body of his
debtor. Plebeian may not intermarry with patrician. But they also
carried something of a charter of liberties for the citizens in that
capital punishment could not be inflicted without right of appeal to
the assembly, and no law could be proposed against an individual. The
language of this famous code is of a rugged simplicity and directness
that is truly Roman. On the whole Roman law is merciful, considering
its strict character: though much of Roman pleading, as we have it in
the mouth of Cicero, is full of appeals to sentiment, Roman law itself
allows no appeal to anything so vague as abstract justice. The written
letter stands, and there can be no pleading without a legal formula.

The character of the ancient Roman is best described by his favourite
virtue of _gravitas_. In that word is implied serious purpose,
dignified reserve, fidelity to one’s promise, and a sense of duty.
Levity is its opposite, and among the things repugnant to true Roman
gravity were art, music, and literature. It is on the battlefield, in
the senate-house, and the law-courts that the old Roman is most truly
at home.



    quæ neque Dardanus campis potuere perire
    nec quom capta capi, nec quom combusta cremari,
    augusto augurio postquam incluta condita Roma est.

[Illustration: This is a block letter “T”]

The great Samnite wars, which had lasted on and off from 343 to 290
B.C., had been the school of Roman valour. In her citizen legions
Rome had evolved a fighting machine unequalled, probably, until the
Musketeers of Louis XIV. and Marlborough. Also she was learning
politics and the art of government. She was now mistress over the
greater part of Italy; all, in fact, except the Gallic plain in the
north and the Greek cities of the south. The Pyrrhic war which followed
after a short breathing-space forms the transition between domestic
expansion and foreign conquest. Our business here is not with wars
and battles for their own sake, but it will be important to observe
in what manner Rome was launched on her career of empire-making.
Seeley has shown how the British Empire grew up in a haphazard manner,
without any wise policy to direct its growth, with continual neglect
of opportunities, and often in contemptuous ignorance of the work that
private citizens were undertaking for its honour and advancement.
We shall see that it was very much the same with the Roman Empire.
One responsibility leads to another, one conquest leads to many
entanglements: if the coast is to be held the hinterland must be
conquered. Thus power follows capacity, and the doctrine which seems
so unjust, “To him that hath shall be given, from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have,” is fulfilled
in all the dealings between Providence and imperial peoples. By coming
into contact with the Greeks of the south Rome was brought definitely
to deal with a superior but declining civilisation. The career of
Agathocles, the brigand tyrant of Sicily, had lately shown how easy a
thing it was to make empires among the opulent and luxurious cities of
the Calabrian and Bruttian shores.

One summer’s day in 282 B.C. the people of Tarentum were seated
in their open-air theatre, watching the performance of a tragedy.
They looked out above the stage over the blue waters of the Gulf of
Calabria, and there they saw a small detachment of the Roman fleet
sailing into their harbour. The ships were on a voyage entirely
peaceful, but there was an old treaty forbidding the Romans to pass the
Lacinian Promontory, and these barbarians had lately been interfering
in the affairs of their Greek neighbours, always in favour of oligarchy
against democracy. The mob was seized with a sudden access of fury;
they rushed down to the harbour, butchered or enslaved the sailors, and
put the admiral to death. The Roman Senate met this atrocious insult
with calm, even with generosity. But the Tarentine mob would have no
peace. Looking abroad for a champion they invited the Prince of Epirus
to their aid. Pyrrhus was a young man of charm, ability, and ambition
almost equal to that of Alexander the Great, whose career he longed to
emulate in the West. He was called the first general of his day, and
he brought with him 20,000 infantrymen of the phalanx, 2000 archers,
500 slingers, and 3000 cavalry. Moreover he had twenty Indian war
elephants. The boastful Greeks had offered to provide 350,000 infantry,
but when it came to the point they would do nothing but hire a few
mercenaries. However, Pyrrhus was victorious in the first battle near
Heraclea. The victory was won, it is said, by the final charge of the
elephants. The simple Romans had never seen an elephant before; they
called them “snake-hands” and “Lucanian cows,” and their horses were
even more alarmed than they. But the next time the Romans had to meet
elephants they provided themselves first with wonderful machines, in
which chariots were mysteriously blended with chafing-dishes, and then
when these failed, with fiery darts, which converted this heavy cavalry
into engines of destruction for their owners. That is rather typical of
the simple Roman and his way of encountering monsters.

After the victory of Heraclea, Pyrrhus sent to Rome with overtures of
peace a smooth-tongued courtier named Cineas, who was much impressed
with the incorruptibility of the political chiefs and their wives. It
was he who described the Senate as a “council of kings,” so grave and
majestic was their bearing and discourse. Nevertheless the Roman Senate
would have made terms if it had not been for the great Censor Appius
Claudius, now blind and infirm, who laid down for the first time the
celebrated doctrine that Rome never listened to terms while there were
foreign troops on Italian soil. Therefore, although the Romans had lost
15,000 men, fresh conscripts eagerly enrolled themselves to make a new

Meanwhile Pyrrhus, after another incomplete “Pyrrhic” victory, was
proceeding unchecked over the island of Sicily. There he drove the
Carthaginians from point to point until they concentrated in their
great stronghold of Lilybæum in the west. But all the time his position
was desperate. The coalition on which he depended was composed of
faithless and useless allies. While his stiff Epirot phalanx was
depleted at every victory, fresh levies of Roman citizens seemed to
spring from the soil to replace the losses of every defeat. So at
length it came to the battle of the Arusine Plain, near Beneventum, in
which the Romans were completely victorious. Thus Pyrrhus leaves to
history the reputation not of a conqueror but of an adventurer. The
Romans had thus faced and overthrown the Greek phalanx at its best, and
were now masters of Italy from Genoa to Reggio, with Sicily obviously
inviting their next advance. That Rome was now formally accepted among
the great powers of the Mediterranean world is shown by an embassy
offering alliance with Ptolemy of Egypt.

She had a breathing-space of eleven years before the first of her two
great conflicts with the Carthaginians. Carthage, a colony of the
Phœnicians of Tyre, had grown rich and prosperous on the fertile soil
of the modern Tunis. She was an aristocracy wholly devoted to trade,
and living uncomfortably amid a surrounding population of dangerous
native subjects. War was not her main business, but when she sought
fresh markets she was apt to fight with horrible ferocity, sacrificing
her prisoners in hundreds to hideous gods when she was victorious,
and impaling her generals when she was not. As a military power she
varied greatly: the comparatively puny Greek states of Sicily had
been maintaining a fairly equal struggle against her for centuries.
But she used the British system of sepoy troops, and thus everything
depended on the general. Had it not been for the inexperience of the
Romans at sea and the extraordinary genius of Hannibal, Carthage would
never have come as near victory as she did. We have no history of the
struggle from the Punic side, and Carthage herself must remain somewhat
of a mystery even when illuminated by the brilliant imagination of the
author of _Salammbô_.

In entering upon this war, which Rome did ostensibly in response to an
appeal from a parcel of ruffianly outlaws for whom she had no sympathy
whatever, we can for once discover no motive but desire of conquest.
Messina, the home of the said ruffians, was for her merely the _tête
du pont_ which led from Bruttium into Sicily. The conquest of that
rich Greek island was plainly the objective, but she plunged into war
without foreseeing the immensity of her undertaking. The chief interest
of the First Punic War, which lasted from 264 to 241, lies in the
creation of a Roman navy which occurred in the course of it. Although
we may agree with Mommsen that “it is only a childish view to believe
that the Romans then for the first time dipped their oars in water,”
yet tradition says that the Romans constructed a fleet in a great
hurry, taking for model a stranded Carthaginian galley. It was at any
rate her first war-fleet worth mentioning. The tradition is proved by
the lack of seamanship displayed by the Romans, for every storm cost
her enormous losses by shipwreck. The device by which she overcame the
Punic ships--a sort of grappling gangway on pulleys affixed to her
masts, so that her soldiers could fight the enemy as if on shore--was
a successful but essentially a landlubberly invention, and no doubt
accounts for many of her losses by shipwreck. Her annual consuls,
transformed for the occasion into annual admirals, had not even as much
opportunity as Colonel Blake to learn their trade. And, though Rome
launched fleet after fleet until at length she became mistress of the
seas, she never treated her navy with respect. The ships were rowed
by slaves and manned chiefly by subject allies, but the real business
of fighting was done by the 120 legionaries on each vessel, who came
into action when the enemy was grappled and the gangway fast in her
deck. So the war dragged on for nearly a generation until at length the
Carthaginians made peace, and Rome gained the coveted island. Britain
is not the only empire in history which wins victories by “muddling

The peace was clearly nothing more than a respite: the command of the
Western Mediterranean was not yet settled. Rome spent the interval
in making fresh conquests. First she seized the opportunity, while
Carthage was involved with her native rebels, to annex the islands of
Sardinia and Corsica, alleging with more ingenuity than geographical
exactitude that these were some of the islands between Sicily and
Africa which Carthage had agreed to surrender. Here we behold the
simple Roman as a diplomat. Then she was compelled to intervene in
Illyria in order to clear the Adriatic of piracy, and so acquired
territory across the water. Soon afterwards the Gauls of the northern
plain began under pressure from their kinsmen across the Alps to
threaten invasion; and Rome, after failing to gain the favour of heaven
by the pious expedient of burying a male and female Gaul alive in her
Forum, marched out to meet them, slaughtered them in thousands, and
thus rounded off her control over the peninsula. Much of this looks
like conscious empire-building.

In the Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to the end of the
century, Rome was not the aggressor. At Carthage by this time the
native rebellion had been put down with a heavy hand. It seems that
Carthage had its party system, the democracy, as usual in ancient
cities, being for war, and the aristocracy of rich merchants for peace.
The democracy was led by the celebrated Barca family, who had long
supplied the state with famous generals and now occupied a position
of unrivalled eminence. Constitutionally a Carthaginian could rise
no further than to be one of the two _shophets_ who corresponded to
the Roman consuls, but actually the Barcas were more like a family of
dictators. From the first Hamilcar Barca foresaw that Rome was still
the enemy, and he is said to have made his little son Hannibal swear
an oath at the altar that he would prosecute that enmity to the death.
But first it was necessary to acquire resources and an army for the
purpose. This he resolved to do, as Julius Cæsar did after him, by
foreign conquest. Without orders from home he led his army into Spain,
and there began to build up a province and a native army under his
absolute control. Though Cadiz was already a Carthaginian market and
there was already a Greek colony at Saguntum, and the ships of Tarshish
were known even to King Solomon, this is the first real appearance of
Spain in history. There was metal to be had from the mines, gold,
copper, and silver, and there were hardy warriors in the hills who only
needed training to become excellent soldiers. So Carthage began to
acquire a western substitute for her lost province of Sicily. Hamilcar
died; his son-in-law, Hasdrubal, was assassinated; and then the army
chose for its leader Hamilcar’s son Hannibal, then a young man of

This man, though his history was written exclusively by his enemies,
stands out as one of the greatest leaders in history. In strategy he
was supreme; in statesmanship he had the gift which Marlborough shared
of being able by his personal influence to hold unwilling allies
together even in adverse circumstances. He was a cultivated man who
spoke and wrote Greek and Latin. He is charged by the jealousy of
the Romans with cruelty and perfidy, but in fact history has nothing
to substantiate these charges: on the contrary his actions are often
magnanimous and honourable. His brilliance as a general largely sprang
from his power of entering into the mind of his enemy. This was the man
who inherited his father’s deep-laid plans of vengeance, and set out,
his heart burning with hatred of Rome, to fulfil them.

We cannot dwell upon his wonderful march over the Alps and his
brilliant series of victories on the soil of Italy. Hannibal’s whole
plan of campaign was, briefly, to invade Italy by land with a compact
striking force and raise the unwilling subjects of Rome against her,
while the main force of Carthage attacked Sicily and Italy by sea. But
it contained three serious miscalculations which brought it eventually
to ruin. First, the southern Gauls on whom Hannibal relied for his
communications and his base proved fickle and untrustworthy allies;
secondly, he found that Rome’s mild imperial system had not produced
unwilling subjects such as Carthage possessed in Africa; and thirdly,
he hoped for support from Philip of Macedon, but here he was foiled
by Roman diplomacy. Moreover, while the Romans showed a tenacity and
power of recuperation unexampled in history, Carthage herself, now in
the hands of the commercial oligarchs, gave him grudging and uncertain
support. The firmness and courage of the Roman senate and people were
amazing. Beaten again and again in the field at the Ticino, the Trebia,
Lake Trasimene, and Cannæ, Rome never lost her pride. She refused
offers of help from King Hiero of Syracuse, she could find time to
order the Illyrian chiefs to pay their tribute, she actually summoned
Philip of Macedon to surrender her fugitive rebel Demetrius. She kept
an army in Spain; a fleet still cruised in Greek waters; she had an
army in Sicily, while four legions besieged Capua; she had troops in
Sardinia, three legions in North Italy, two legions as a garrison
in the capital--no fewer than 200,000 citizens under arms. When the
foolish demagogue Varro returned in defeat and disgrace from the awful
disaster at Cannæ, the senate thanked him for not having committed
suicide--“for not having despaired of the salvation of his country.”

No doubt Rome owed something, but not as much as her poets and
orators pretended, to the cautious tactics of Quintus Fabius. At any
rate, he gave her time to grow used to the presence of the invader
and to recover from the shock of the three disasters with which the
war opened. The Romans had never before been called upon to face a
consummate strategist. Pyrrhus had been, within the limitations of
Greek warfare, a clever tactician; he had even shown the originality
to copy the Roman manipular system in his later battles. But Hannibal
was more than a strategist; he was a psychologist who knew when
the opposing general was rash and when he was wary, who had spies
everywhere and could supplement their intelligence by disguising
himself to do his own scouting. Scouting was an art that the Romans
had yet to learn by bitter experience. At the Trasimene Lake[10] they
blundered straight into the most obvious of natural death-traps. But
the Romans were always good learners, and, as usually happens, the
amateur patriot army steadily improved during the war while the hired
professionals steadily deteriorated. The actual strategy by which
Hannibal won most of his battles was simple enough. It was the policy
of a long weak centre into which the Roman legions buried themselves
deep while the two strong wings of the enemy closed round on their
flanks and rear. In his Numidian horsemen Hannibal had the finest light
cavalry yet known to European warfare.

For a time all went brilliantly for the invader. Italians, Greeks, and
Gauls joined his victorious standard. Rome was on the brink of despair.
The very gods began to tremble; their statues sweated blood, two-headed
lambs were born with alarming frequency, and cows in Apulia uttered
prophetic warnings with human voices; the most horrible of omens
portended destruction. But the city and the senate never lost heart and
gradually as the years passed by Hannibal began to see that his cause
was lost. The Latin allies stood firm for Rome. The Romans were able to
hold Sicily and even despatch a brilliant and lucky young general named
Scipio to reconquer Spain. Thus the longed-for reinforcements were cut
off. The stupid aristocracy of Carthage were jealous of their great
soldier, and when at last a reinforcing Punic army from Spain managed
to slip through into Italy, Nero caught it at the River Metaurus just
before the junction was effected. The first news of that battle came
to Hannibal when the Romans tossed over the rampart into his camp the
bleeding head of the defeated general, his own brother Hasdrubal.
Horace has sung of this tragic episode in his noblest manner:

        quid debeas, o Roma, Neronibus
        testis Metaurum flumen et Hasdrubal
              devictus et pulcer fugatis
              ille dies Latio tenebris.

         *       *       *       *       *

        dixitque tandem perfidus Hannibal:
        “cerui, luporum præda rapacium,
              sectamur ultro quos opimus
              fallere et effugere est triumphus

         *       *       *       *       *

        “Carthagini iam non ego nuntios
        mittam superbos. occidit, occidit
              spes omnis et fortuna nostri
              nominis Hasdrubale interempto.”[11]

This was in 207: in 206 Scipio won a decisive victory in Spain and in
205 made a counter-invasion upon the coast of Carthage. It was only “a
forlorn hope of volunteers and disrated companies,” but it caused the
recall of Hannibal and gained valuable African allies for Rome. The
last scene of the duel was the victory of Zama in 202 in which Scipio
won his title of Africanus and became the hero and saviour of Rome.[12]
Carthage ceded Spain and the Spanish islands, lost her whole war-fleet,
came under Roman suzerainty and agreed to pay an enormous indemnity.
But her end was not yet. For another fifty years she was permitted to
exist on sufferance in humiliation and agony.

Now, frightful as had been the losses of Rome in this seventeen-years’
conflict, and great as was her exhaustion, she proceeded in the very
year following the peace with Carthage to enter upon a fresh series
of campaigns. The Gauls of the north made a desperate revolt, sacked
Piacenza and invested Cremona, but the Romans quickly brought them to
reason. The Gauls could not, of course, receive any of the rights of
citizenship as yet, but they received back their independence, and
were left free of tribute to act as a bulwark against their northern
cousins. There was incessant fighting in Spain also. In Sardinia there
were perpetual slave-drives, until the market was glutted with slaves,
and the phrase was begotten “as cheap as a Sardinian.” How could the
senate at such a moment declare a fresh war with the greatest of
European powers? Was it under pressure of that greedy commercial party
at Rome of which we are beginning to hear so much? The suggestion is
absurd. There were hard knocks and little money to be got from Macedon;
and it is difficult to conceive how any powerful commercial interests
could have arisen at Rome during the seventeen years of the Hannibalic
War. If ever there was a nation whose early history declined the
economic interpretation it was the Romans. Even when the Romans had
conquered Macedon they shut down the famous gold mines because they
did not know how to manage them! Nor, I think, was it any large-minded
_Welt-politik_ which led Rome into the Second Macedonian War. Doubtless
Philip and the Greeks were dangerous and uncomfortable neighbours,
and no doubt it was true that Philip of Macedon and Antiochus of
Syria had formed a compact to divide up the realms of the boy-king
of Egypt. But the war could probably have been postponed for years
by negotiation. Philip did not want to fight Rome: he had not even
ventured to intervene while she was almost prostrate before Hannibal.
The fact is that the Romans were by habits and instinct a fighting
people. From the earliest times they had inherited the custom of an
annual summer campaign. Peace did not present itself to them, or most
of their neighbours, as a desirable condition to be preserved as long
as possible. They were soldiers and nought else, and what are soldiers
for but for fighting? It is only blind optimism which can believe
that nations are even now actuated habitually in their international
relations by foresight and policy. “The plain truth is,” said William
James, “that people _want_ war. They want it anyhow; for itself,
and apart from each and every possible consequence. It is the final
bouquet of life’s fireworks.” That is certainly true of the Romans: the
Roman state, as a whole, needed its customary annual campaign. It was
the business of her statesmen and diplomats to choose the enemy and
prepare a _casus belli_. To imagine the states of 200 B.C. as always
calculating their actions solely on the basis of commercial interest
must be unhistorical.

In their attack on Philip the Romans were allied with the most
respectable elements in Levantine politics: Rhodes, the commercial
republic; Pergamum, the kingdom of the cultivated Attalus; Athens,
the ancient home of art and learning; Egypt, the centre of commerce
and literature. Elsewhere[13] I have described how the simple Romans
comported themselves in this land of higher civilisation. They trod
almost reverently into the circle of Greek culture; they were flattered
when the Athenians initiated them into the Eleusinian Mysteries, or
when the Achæan League permitted them to take part in the Isthmian
games. And when they had beaten Philip--not without difficulty, nor
without indispensable aid from the Ætolian cavalry--at Cynocephalæ,
they made no attempt at annexation. Leaving Philip crippled, they
were content. Flamininus, their Philhellenic general, was proud to
proclaim the liberty of Greece before he retired. He and many of his
officers carried away with them an ineffaceable impression. They
were returning to barbarism from a land rich in ancient temples of
incredible splendour, crowded with works of art. They had seen the
tragedies in the theatres, the runners in the games. They had heard the
philosophers disputing in the colonnades, the orators haranguing in the
market-place. A world glowing with life undreamt-of, where there were
other things to live for than battle, had suddenly flashed upon their

The next great war was against Philip’s accomplice, Antiochus of Syria.
This war was as inevitable as the last. Antiochus, puffed up with
the pretensions of an Oriental King of Kings, was eager to match his
strength against the _parvenus_ Romans. Rome seemed, and perhaps was,
reluctant to undertake the apparently enormous task at this moment,
though Pergamum and Rhodes invoked her assistance. One strong cause for
war was that Antiochus had given a home to Hannibal, Rome’s hunted but
dreaded foe. If the Great King had but had the sense to give Hannibal
power over his great host it might yet have gone hard with the Romans.
As it was, the battle of Magnesia (190) was one of those tame victories
in which Oriental hosts are butchered by superior Western weapons and
methods of fighting. But even with the wealth of Syria spread out at
her feet, Rome annexed nothing; not out of any spirit of self-denial,
for she exacted an indemnity of almost four million sterling, but
because she was not prepared to undertake the responsibility of
governing regions so vast and so much more civilised than herself.

Actually, of course, the effect of these wars was to give Rome complete
command of the Mediterranean coast-lands. Though she did not annex,
she accepted suzerainty; that is, she controlled, or attempted to
control, foreign policy. Rome is the patron; Macedonia, Syria, Egypt,
Pergamum, Rhodes, Bithynia, Athens, the two leagues and all the ancient
states of Greece are her clients. The position of policeman and nurse
of the Ægean world had been thrust upon Rome because she was strong
and just. Even that was a terrific and bewildering responsibility.
Every day fresh embassies came to Rome to complain of neighbours and
solicit assistance--clever Greeks who would talk your head off with
sophistries, and rich Asiatics who would corrupt you with bribes and
blandishments. There was no one within reach who would stand up and
fight squarely. In the West there were Provinces, in the East allies;
it was difficult to know which gave most trouble.

So we come to the next stage, when the Romans began to annex and
subjugate. It was the only way. In Macedonia, after Philip had been
conquered and pardoned, Perseus arose and rebelled. After Perseus had
been crushed and his kingdom dismembered, a bastard pretender arose
and headed a revolt, joined by the Greeks. Obviously there was nothing
for it but to round off the business by sending a permanent army under
a permanent general to Macedonia, and to call it his “province.”
Not even yet did the Romans dream of making cities like Athens her
subjects. These free cities, however, needed a sharp lesson; and
Corinth, as an almost impregnable fortress which had been a centre of
Achæan mischief, was selected for destruction and destroyed in 146 B.C.

In the same year came the end of Carthage. During the last fifty
years there had been incessant trouble there. Rome had left Carthage
prostrate before her dangerous African enemies, and refused all her
appeals to be allowed to defend herself. All the time Carthage was
undoubtedly recovering financially from her defeat, in spite of her
large annual tribute. This sight moved the fears and jealousy of
the Romans. It was not sufficient to have ordered the expulsion of
Hannibal. The Romans who had grown up under the shadow of the great
Punic War had sucked in hate and fear of Carthage with their mother’s
milk. Intelligent people like Scipio, who had seen Carthage in the
dust, might mock at their fears. It was the Old Roman party, with their
spokesman Cato and his stupid parrot-cry of _delenda est Carthago_,
who constantly kept their nerves on edge, until at last in sheer panic
they obeyed. The long feud between Carthage and the Berber chief
Masinissa came to a head in 154. Masinissa appealed to Rome, and Rome
ordered Carthage to dismiss her army and burn her fleet. Carthage, now
desperate, refused, went to war with Masinissa, and was beaten. Then
Rome declared war upon her--the Third Punic War. Two consuls landed
with a large army and Carthage offered submission. The consuls demanded
complete disarmament. Carthage submitted. Then the consuls demanded
that the existing city should be destroyed and the inhabitants settled
ten miles inland. That meant not only the destruction of their homes
and hearths and temples, but the end of the commerce for which they
lived. This preposterous demand shows that Cato’s policy had triumphed.
Carthage could not submit to this, and there followed one of those
frightful sieges in which the Semitic peoples show their amazing
tenacity. Three years it lasted, by favour of the gross incompetence of
the Roman generals; until at last a Scipio came to turn the tide once
more. Carthage was destroyed utterly with fire and sword, her very site
laid bare, and the soil sown with salt, in token that man should dwell
there no more.

The destruction of these two cities, Corinth and Carthage, together
with other facts such as the unreasonable irritation which Rome
displayed against her Greek allies, Rhodes and Pergamum, have been
taken by some modern historians to indicate, once more, a policy of
commercial jealousy instigating the destruction of rival markets. In
the one case, however, it has been proved that Corinth was no longer a
great centre of Greek commerce when she was destroyed, and in the case
of Carthage it was the party of Cato, who was much more of a farmer
than a company-promoter, that urged destruction. A man of business
might indeed be foolish enough to want to close the principal markets
which bought and sold with him--there are such business men to-day--but
he would scarcely be so mad as to have a fine commercial centre with
its docks and quays utterly destroyed and cursed for ever. Similarly,
when Macedon was conquered her rich gold mines were shut down by
order of the senate. The truth is that Rome was tired and exhausted
with her colossal wars, irritable and nervous beyond expression with
the gigantic task of government which she had found thrust upon her.
Surrounded with false friends and secret enemies, she was losing the
noble _sang froid_ she had displayed in times of real crisis. Corinth
was destroyed as a warning to the Greeks, Carthage as an expiation for
the _lemures_ of the unburied Roman dead.


In considering the ancient, imperial, and provincial systems it is
necessary for the modern to divest himself of all the geographical
notions which spring from the study of maps. The ancients probably
had only the most vague notions of territory. Natural frontiers such
as mountains, rivers, and coasts were of course familiar to them, from
the strategic point of view. Within those were cities great and small,
which in the case of civilised people formed the units of life and
government. In the case of barbarians there were tribes and nations,
seldom sufficiently settled to produce any notion of geographical
area. Thus when Rome conquered Sicily she was acquiring not so much
one geographical unit, an island, as a collection of states of various
types and constitutions. Similarly in the case of Spain; she said
and thought that she acquired Spain, although the greater part of
the Iberian peninsula remained unconquered for another century and a
half. To remember the limitations of ancient geographical knowledge
is essential to the understanding of the Roman provincial system.
_Provincia_ means in the first instance a sphere of official duty, a
man’s _provincia_ might be the feeding of the sacred geese or it might
be the control of an army. It was not for a long time that the word
came to connote a territorial area. When it did so, the day of the
city-state was at an end.

The earliest Roman provinces were _Sicily_, acquired by conquest in
the First Punic War, 241 B.C., then _Corsica_ and _Sardinia_, annexed
in the diplomatic intrigues which followed. Spain, or rather “_the
Spains_.” Further and Hither, were the fruit of the Second Punic War
(201). After the Third Punic War (146) the territory of Carthage became
a province under the name of _Africa_. At the same time the Macedonian
Wars gave Rome the province of _Macedonia_. To complete the list so
far as the Roman Republic is concerned: Attalus III. bequeathed his
kingdom to Rome in 133, and this became the province of _Asia_. In 121
the conquest of Southern Gaul gave Rome _Gallia Narbonensis_. In 103
the prevalence of piracy on the southern coasts of Asia Minor compelled
the Romans to make _Cilicia_ a province. In 81 a legislative act of
Sulla brought the already conquered _Cisalpine Gaul_ into the same
category. The King of _Bithynia_ imitated Attalus in bequeathing his
kingdom to Rome. _Cyrene_ also was bequeathed to Rome and united in one
province with _Crete_ in 63. In 64 Pompeius the Great deposed the King
of _Syria_ and annexed his kingdom. About the same time, on the death
of Mithradates, _Pontus_ was added to Bithynia as a united province.
In 51 Julius Cæsar completed the conquest of Gaul and added it as
_Gallia Comata_ to the old province of Narbonensian Gaul. Finally in 31
Octavianus added _Egypt_ to the list.

It was not the Roman way to think a situation out with the logic and
directness of a Greek or a Frenchman. More like the Englishman, he
took things as they came and made the best of them with as little
derangement as possible of his pre-existing system and preconceived
ideas. The Roman Empire was not governed on a system as it was not
acquired by a policy. When Sicily came into the Roman hands, it came
piecemeal in the course of the war. Various cities accepted Roman
“alliance” on various terms. Rome had never been able to grant full
citizenship to Greek states, because their inhabitants, speaking a
foreign language, could not give the equivalent in military service.
If Sicily had been Italian it would no doubt have entered the Roman
alliance as a collection of municipia; as it was, the sixty-five or
so separate Sicilian states continued to enjoy for the most part
their previous constitutions under various agreements with Rome. Some
were “free,” some were “free and confederate”; similarly of kings
who yielded to Rome, some were styled “allies,” some “allies and
friends.” The cities would have their charters and the kings would
have their personal treaties with Rome which lapsed with their death.
But in a region conquered in war most of the tribes or states were
simply “stipendiary,” that is, tribute-paying. The _stipendium_ paid
was originally, and in theory, an indemnity or a contribution for the
maintenance of a military force by people who were unqualified to
give personal service. It was generally settled by a commission of
ten members of the senate, who went out to organise a newly acquired
territory. Even these tributary states had their charters from
Rome. The _stipendium_ was by no means extortionate. In Macedonia,
for example, the people only paid to Rome half as much as they had
previously paid to their kings. In Sicily and Sardinia the tillers of
the soil paid a tithe, generally in kind (that is, in corn), to the
Roman treasury, and the town-dwellers probably paid a poll-tax. It was
an error of the jurists, who confused this tithe with the tenth paid by
occupants of Roman public land, which afterwards led to the dangerous
legal theory that Rome had acquired the whole soil of the country
conquered by her arms and leased it back for a consideration to the
original proprietors. As a matter of fact, few of the provinces were
remunerative to the Roman state. Spain, where warfare was incessant,
was certainly a heavy loss. Macedonia was no source of profit. Sicily,
largely owing to the Roman Peace, became the granary of the capital,
but Asia alone was a source of great wealth to the treasury. There
were, of course, harbour dues for the provinces as for Italy herself.

On the whole, it is fair to say that local autonomy was generally
preserved. Either through policy or, more probably, because the Romans
habitually took things as they found them, the previous laws and
constitutions of conquered units, whether cities or tribes, remained
in force. In Syracuse, for example, the law of King Hiero remained,
and it was much better for the Sicilians to pay their taxes to Rome
than to be subject to the personal extortions of a monster like
Agathocles. In law-suits between citizens of one Sicilian state the
trial was to be held in that state by a native judge and according to
the native laws--possibly with a right of appeal to the Roman governor.
In suits between Romans and Sicilians the judge was to be a native
of the defendant’s state. So far the Roman sway is the mildest, the
most benevolent system of government which has ever been imposed by
an empire upon conquered subjects. Athens, it will be remembered, had
grown rich and beautiful by misapplying the contributions of allies
which she had converted into the tribute of subjects. Sparta had put
garrisons into every conquered city. So had Carthage. No modern power
allows as much local autonomy to conquered territories as Rome granted
to hers.

But in every conquered territory it was necessary to have an armed
force, large or small according to circumstances, and for the soldiers
a general. As all the Roman magistrates were military in the first
instance, but also judicial and executive--as, in fact, the nature of
Roman ideas of _imperium_ implied an unlimited competence in every
department of rule, the provincial general was also, necessarily, a
provincial judge and administrator free from all control during his
year of office. No doubt the Romans, if they had possessed the wisdom
and retrospective foresight so lavishly displayed by their modern
critics, would, in sending officers to distant parts, have revised
their notions of _imperium_ and defined the spheres of duty which they
entrusted to their generals. If they had studied political science they
might have learnt that it is wise to separate the legal functions from
the administrative, and both from the military. Or if they had made
historical researches, they might have discovered that the Persian
administrative system of three independent functionaries in each
satrapy was the best that had yet been discovered. But they did none
of these things: they simply blundered on in the old Roman way, _more
maiorum_. They did not foresee the demoralising effect of absolute
power in an alien and subject land. They did not foresee the necessity
for central control in a Roman Colonial Office; there was not even any
Latin equivalent for the Franco-Grecian term “bureaucracy.” Thus they
were compelled to trust to the honour and sense of justice which was,
when this colossal experiment began, still believed to exist in the
heart of a Roman officer and gentleman, unaware that corruption was
beginning even then to taint the whole body of their aristocracy.

They might, one would think, have realised the super-human temptations
in the path of a Roman governor. He went out, with a company of his own
friends, chiefly ambitious young men, for a staff, with a senatorial
legate chosen by himself, and a juvenile quæstor as his subordinate to
keep accounts, if he could: for there was no competitive examination in
book-keeping. The governor went for a year only among a people whose
traditions, laws, and even language, were probably quite unknown to
him. He left an austere and barbarous republic to act as monarch among
flattering Greeks or cringing Asiatics. No power on earth could even
criticise him while he held the _imperium_: afterwards he might be
impeached, it is true, but before a court of his own friends. He had
just completed a civic magistracy, and these were won and held by means
of lavish bribes and public entertainments. Opportunities to recoup
himself were irresistible.

True to the _mos maiorum_, the Romans invented no new magistracy for
the provinces. Already as early as the Samnite Wars they had found it
necessary sometimes to break down the annual system by proroguing a
magistrate’s term of office in order that he might finish a campaign.
If he were prætor or consul, he continued for another year as proprætor
or proconsul. When Sicily was conquered the Romans added another prætor
to the two functionaries already existing, another for Sardinia, and
two more for Spain; but after that the new provinces were entrusted
to proprætors and proconsuls, or, in case of a war, to the consuls
themselves during the latter part of their year of office. The senate
decided what the magisterial provinces should be, which of them should
be consular, and then generally the qualified officers balloted for

The same want of elasticity in the Roman system spoilt their good
intentions in the matter of finance. As we have seen, the State imposed
no crushing burdens upon its vassals. Had the _stipendium_ been
honestly collected by official emissaries under proper control, the
provincials would have had little cause of complaint. But the Romans
here again provided no new functionaries for the new duty. In some
cases they allowed the subject communities to collect their own taxes
and forward the required aggregate to Rome, and in such cases there was
a great deal of peculation on the way. But where this was impossible
the senate farmed out the collection of taxes under contract to certain
individuals who bought them at auction. The _publicani_ quickly grew
into a regular institution, grouping themselves into capitalist
syndicates which combined tax-farming with money-lending. Banks were
established in every provincial centre. This capitalist class soon
established itself as a political body at Rome, where it exerted a
powerful and sinister influence over public policy. Just below the
senatorial order were the _equites_. Of old they had been real cavalry,
for it was only the rich who could afford to maintain a horse and
the necessary equipment; now it was mainly a titular distinction,
implying a certain income. It was here that the bankers of Rome and
the financial interests were grouped in a single powerful class. For
a time these “horsemen” actually secured control of the jury courts
which tried charges of extortion. Then the lot of the provincials was
wretched indeed: to pay their greedy and extortionate tax-gatherers
they had often to borrow from the same individuals in their capacity
of usurers, and then, if they ventured to journey to Rome with a
complaint, they would meet the same evil class in the very judges who
heard their complaints. This was how “publican and sinner” came to be
an appropriate conjunction.

The corruption, as we shall see later, began to be serious with the
acquisition of Asia. At first the incompetence due to the inexperience
of the governors and their staffs was the chief failing of the system.
But when Asia with its stored-up capital, its possibilities of
exploitation, and its extreme helplessness, fell to Rome, traders and
money-lenders swarmed down upon it, so that there were 80,000 Italians
there when Mithradates ordered his famous massacre. Thus money poured
into the capital, and there was an unseemly scramble for wealth. But
for the present we are only concerned with the system of provincial
government as it was in the beginning. I think we may conclude that it
started with the best intentions, but with two inherent defects, both
due to the conservatism of the Roman character. Their constitution
was municipal and their outlook parochial. Their empire-building was
precisely of the narrow-minded, well-intentioned character that one
would expect if the Marylebone Borough Council suddenly found itself
presented with Ireland, France, and half Spain, and asked to govern


A poor man cannot become a millionaire without at least altering his
way of living, and a little backward provincial town cannot find
itself the mistress of a great empire without undergoing very profound
modifications. In 208 B.C. Rome was struggling for her life with a
foreign enemy raging at her gates. Fifty years later she was mistress
in the Mediterranean, and owner of more land than she could conceive.

One of the effects of the change was a prodigious influx of wealth
into the city. In war indemnities alone six or seven millions sterling
must have flowed into the coffers of a state which had till recently
conducted its business with lumps of copper. In loot Rome was said to
have gained above two millions in the Syrian War, and about the same in
the Third Macedonian. Vast tracts of public land were gained, and there
was a steady influx of tributary corn and money: public mines, such
as those in Spain, must be added. There never had been regular direct
taxation in the city: a Roman paid his dues in the form of personal
service, and a _tributum_ was the mark of defeat. But now all taxation
ceased at Rome except an indirect tariff on salt and the customs at
the ports. Henceforth Rome was living on her empire and growing fat
upon it. It is true that expenditure was also increasing. In the
earliest days there had been no public finance. A war was conducted
by a citizen army, who marched out for a few days’ campaigning in the
neighbourhood, wearing their own armour and carrying a commissariat
provided by their wives. The only public expense was the religious duty
of providing beasts for sacrifice, and even that was largely defrayed
by fines paid to the treasury. But now expeditions cost money, armies
soldiering for months in distant lands had to be fed and maintained,
ships had to be built, equipment and machines provided. Nevertheless,
with wise financial administration the treasury ought to have had a
decent surplus. But wisdom in finance was lacking: although we are
assured that book-keeping was one of the points in which the old
Roman paterfamilias especially took pride, yet the public treasury of
Rome, which had the temple of Saturn for its bank, was managed by the
quæstors, the lowest grade of Roman official life, consisting of young
men just beginning a public career. That fact alone will show how far
more important the Romans regarded warfare than finance, and how far
wrong are those historians who make Roman greatness dependent upon
economic advantages. The maladministration of finance was not due to
dishonesty at first: Polybius, the Greek historian, who was brought up
in the heart of Greek politics under Aratus, the cunning chief of the
Achæan League, and came to Rome in the second century as a hostage, was
genuinely astonished at Roman honesty. Their financial errors were due
to sheer inexperience in the handling of large sums of money.

Little of this vast influx of money was spent upon public works. To
begin with, there was not the taste for fine architecture at Rome, nor
indeed for art of any sort. The private houses were still mainly built
of unbaked bricks or tiles, often with thatched or shingled roofs:
the interiors of the bare simplicity of a country farm-house. And
then Roman religion, which, as we have seen, was always somewhat cold
towards the high Olympian gods, offering its real devotion to obscurer
rustic powers, made little claim for temples and stately shrines.
Temples had been built under the Etruscan domination in the fifth
century B.C. But thereafter for a period of four centuries there is an
almost complete blank in the annals of Roman archæology. If anything
was built between Tarquin and Sulla it was generally of wood and brick
or rubble with no architectural pretensions. Augustus swept it all away
with contempt. Of course it was the fashion for Cato and the old Roman
party to say they preferred good old Roman temples with the painted
terra-cotta ornaments to all the new-fashioned fripperies of Greece;
but that is only the spleen of the outraged Philistine. These centuries
of growth are empty of art.

What the _nouveaux riches_ of the second century B.C. found to spend
their money on it is hard to say. In 218 B.C. the people passed a
resolution as the Lex Claudia forbidding senators to engage in foreign
commerce. It is very unlikely that the senate would have allowed
that if they had already been deeply involved in business. But this
enactment checked the only fruitful use of wealth: it turned, and was
possibly intended to turn, the money of the great houses into land
speculation. This was followed by disastrous results. The Punic Wars
had thrown millions of acres out of cultivation. That land which had
belonged to rebels passed to the Roman state as public land and the
scramble for it was the cause of momentous political conflicts in the
succeeding generation. But rich senators acquired enormous estates
without any deep interest in their economic productiveness. Like the
old English squire the old Roman senator was not a professional nor
even a very serious landowner, and moreover he was an absentee. Thus
large tracts of Central Italy became the estates of rich men who added
park to park and villa to villa rather as a hobby than for any good
reason. The common notion of Italy before the Punic Wars as a vast
smiling cornfield, dotted with little farm-houses and country cottages
full of stalwart husbandmen, is both unhistorical and ungeographical.
The Italian farmer lived--like the mediæval European farmer--mostly
in townships which he called “cities,” and it was only the plain-land
in the vicinity of a town which was regularly ploughed and sown. A
glance at the map will show how little of Central Italy is suited for
cereal cultivation. But, if the records are true, 400 Italian townships
had been destroyed in the great wars and that meant, perhaps, 400,000
acres out of cultivation. And what had become of their inhabitants?
Thousands, of course, had left their bones on Roman battlefields, but
thousands more, when their term of service was done, went to swell
the proletariat of Rome. There they herded in ill-built, ill-drained
quarters on the low ground of the city. Physically and morally they
declined. What is perhaps worse, they could not perpetuate their breed
under the new conditions. It takes generations for the human animal to
adapt itself to new conditions. Modern Europe has seen the enormous
influx into towns accompanied by a decline in the birth-rates, and the
swollen town-populations are only maintained by constant influx from
the country. It has truly been said that the future rests with the
race which can most readily adapt itself to such new conditions. But
the Romans never could. The humbler quarters of the city, though they
grew more and more populous, grew, it seems, by immigration and not
by natural increase. Thus the populace of Rome became more and more
cosmopolitan, less and less Roman. These generalisations are apparently
well founded, but it must not be forgotten that we know scarcely
anything of the free poor at Rome. A nation of orators generally
forgets to speak of the butcher, the baker, and his colleagues. It
is as impossible to believe that all trade and industry at Rome was
carried on by slaves as that the poor of a city can live by bread
alone. “Bread and the circus” is a respectable phrase, as true as
epigrams ever are, but it cannot be the whole truth.

[Illustration: Map of Italy, showing ground over 1000 feet high]

As we have seen in the case of Greece, all ancient city-states
undertook duties which the modern individualistic community regards,
up to the present at least, as private and not public. The city-state
regarded it as part of its business to see that its shareholders did
not starve, therefore the supply of corn and the price of it was always
a matter of state supervision. From the earliest days of Roman history
there had been officers charged with the duty of securing the city’s
corn-supply at reasonable charges. Now the corn was beginning to arrive
in the form of tribute from Sicily and Africa. Soon we shall have the
agrarian laws and all the disorder that resulted from them. But it is
important to observe that the depopulation of the Italian countryside
resulted from war and politics as well as from economic causes. Of
course economic causes kept it depopulated. Nature never intended
Central Italy for a wheat-growing land; the vine, the olive, and the
fig are its best products. Now that the seas were open for free imports
it no longer paid to plough and sow the stony upland farms.

So the land passed out of cultivation. As in England, grazing was found
to be cheaper, easier, and more profitable than agriculture. Oxen were
used for ploughing or reserved for sacrifice. The Italians, like the
Greeks, seldom ate meat and then little but smoked bacon, but as all
Romans wore the woollen toga sheep-farming was profitable. In summer
the sheep grazed on the Sabine hills, in winter on the Latin plain
among the stubble of the cornfields or beneath the olive-trees. Wild
slave-shepherds tended them.

Slavery was the canker at the root of ancient civilisation. It assumed
more awful proportions at Rome than in Greece owing to the hard
materialism of the Roman character. Of course it had existed from the
earliest times as the common lot of the prisoner of war. The sturdy
Roman farmer, so dear to Roman rhetoric, was after all little more than
a sturdy slave-driver. The actual field labour had always been in the
hands of slaves. As early as 367 B.C., if we may believe the records
of that age, legislation had attempted to fix a certain proportion of
free labour on country estates. From the first, too, the slave had been
the merest chattel, a colleague of the dog, a little lower even than
the wife or daughter of the Roman house-father. It was cheaper to buy
slaves than to let them breed, cheaper to sell them for what they would
fetch when they grew old than to keep them. You could dodge the gods,
who enjoined holidays even for slaves, by giving your slaves work
indoors on feast-days--such are some of the maxims of the venerable
Cato, who is the type of the old Roman squire, and who personally
attended to the scourging of his slaves after dinner. Now slaves were
becoming more numerous and cheaper than ever--you might have to pay as
much as £1000 for a pretty boy or girl--but a wild Sardinian or Gaul or
Spaniard cost very little. Hence began the really pernicious system of
specialised slavery. A wealthy Roman moved neither hand nor foot for
himself. To have only ten slaves was contemptible poverty. Each slave
was trained simply for one special task--cook, barber, footman, bearer,
lacquey, or schoolmaster. The shepherds and gladiators might retain
their manhood, as indeed they did, and showed it in frightful revolts
during this and the succeeding generation. But the domestic slaves of
the capital had no hope but to cringe and wheedle their way into favour
by flattering and corrupting their masters. One alleviation of the
slave’s lot there was: it was easier for a slave to earn his freedom at
Rome than in Greece. But this type of person when liberated, and his
children after him, made the worst type of citizen, and tended still
further to corrupt the tone of the proletariat. Worse than domestic
slavery was the plantation system, which during all this period was
growing in the country. At its worst it meant huge slave barracks, in
which the slaves lived in dungeons underground and worked by day in
gangs, chained night and day. It was a profitable system of agriculture
and it rapidly ousted free labour. In the city too, in the merchant
ships and the mines, a cruel and vicious system of servitude was
destroying free industry. Truly the hollowest of historic frauds was
the eighteenth-century view of an idealised Roman republic of citizens,
free, equal, and fraternal. It inspired the Convention and coloured the
periods of Mirabeau, but so far as the records prove, the virtuous and
liberal old Roman never existed.

Equality beyond the name was certainly unknown at Rome. All government
was in the hands of a close circle of aristocrats whose stronghold
was in the senate. By virtue of the client system the great houses of
the Claudii, the Cornelii, the Fabii, the Livii, the Flaminii, the
Julii, and a dozen others kept the high offices of state exclusively
in their hands. By this time the censors drew up the senate-lists
chiefly from the ranks of ex-magistrates, and the magistracies became
a graduated course. It required extraordinary pushfulness or wealth or
patronage for a new man to insinuate himself into the charmed circle.
The old patriciate had gone, politically at least, and only survived
for religious purposes, but Rome still remained a thrall to aristocracy
of a far more dangerous type, an aristocracy of office. One of the
troubles of Rome lay in the fact that this aristocracy was daily
becoming less warlike and less competent.

A great deal of nonsense has been talked about the luxury of the
Romans as one of the causes of their decline. Even Mommsen relates
with shocked emotion that they imported anchovies from the Black Sea
and wine from Greece. Two hot meals a day they had and “frivolous
articles” including bronze-mounted couches. There were professional
cooks, and actually bakers’ shops began to appear about 171 B.C. It is
true that all this luxury would pale into insignificance before the
modern artisan’s breakfast-table with bread from Russia, bacon from
America, tea from Ceylon or coffee from Brazil, sugar from Jamaica,
and eggs from Denmark. Cato would have swooned at the sight of our
picture-frames coated with real gold, for he publicly stigmatised a
senator who had £30 worth of silver plate. The truth is that Rome
having grown rich was just beginning to grow civilised. It is the
everlasting misfortune of Rome that events occurred in that order.

In conquering Macedon Rome had become acquainted with civilisation.
At that date civilisation meant Hellenism slightly tinctured with
Orientalism, a culture which, though still alive and still original
and creative, was certainly past its prime. The Hellenistic period of
Greek art has been unjustly depreciated in comparison with the more
youthful and virile age of Pericles. But it could still boast of great
scholars, scientists, and philosophers, both at Alexandria and Athens.
Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus form a group of original poets who are
really great, and an art that could produce the lovely Aphrodite of
Melos cannot with justice be termed decadent. Politically, morally,
and physically Greece was no doubt long past the vigour of her youth,
but intellectually she was still well qualified to play the part of
schoolmistress to the lusty young barbarian of the West. We have seen
that in very remote times Rome had come under Etruscan influences
which were closely akin to Greek. There had been some interchange, if
tradition may be trusted, of Greek and Etruscan art and artists. Greek
painters had worked in Rome at a very early date. Then came perhaps two
centuries of relapse in the cultural sense while Rome was busy with
warfare and conquest. In 300 B.C. she was almost entirely destitute
of accomplishments, and even, if we may except law, politics, and
military skill, of civilisation. The war with Pyrrhus, the conquest of
Tarentum and then of Sicily brought in Greek slaves, and semi-Greek
South-Italian citizens who were bound to have some influence. Then came
direct dealings with Greece in the three Macedonian wars, and every
Roman who had fought with Flamininus or Paulus returned to Rome if not
an apostle of culture at any rate a man who had seen civilisation with
his own eyes and could no longer regard old Roman ways as sufficient
for man’s happiness. How could eyes that had seen the Zeus of Pheidias
at Olympia glowing with ivory and gold be content with the old
vermilion Jove of his native temple?

Nevertheless it was very slowly that culture filtered in. All through
the third century and for the first half of the second Rome was
still incessantly occupied with war. Her tastes were brutalised and
demoralised by it. When drama painfully began, the dramatists sadly
lamented that their audiences would desert the theatre for the sight
of a rope-dancer or a beast-baiting or, better still, a pair of
gladiators. From the first it was vain to attempt the creation of
a national drama for a people whose craving was for the sight of
blood. Gladiatoral combats are said to have been of Etruscan origin.
They first appeared at Rome in the early part of the third century
in connection with funeral displays. From every African expedition
wild beasts were brought home to be slaughtered in the Roman
amphitheatres. These bloody shows indicate the real tastes of the
Romans from the earliest times. They are no spurious growth of the
so-called “degenerate Empire.” On one occasion, when the music of some
Greek flute-players failed to please a Roman audience, the presiding
magistrate ordered the unlucky artists to fight one another, and the
hoots of the crowd were instantly transformed to rapturous applause.

All the arts were held in contempt, all were entrusted to slaves or the
poorest kind of citizens. Thus Hellenic civilisation was transported
to Rome under a double disadvantage. Not only was Greek civilisation
itself already past its prime, but it was interpreted largely by
slaves. Every Roman of position had Greeks among his retinue--not,
of course, the citizens of famous cities like Athens or Alexandria,
which were still free, but low-caste, half-barbarian wretches from the
great market at Delos or from the southern towns of Italy--for clerks,
accountants, scribes, jesters, procurers, physicians, pedagogues,
flute-players, philosophers, cooks, concubines, and schoolmasters. We
may be sure that it was not the most favourable type of Hellenism that
would creep into Rome by such channels as these. But it was precisely
in this manner that Roman literature began. The noble general M. Livius
Salinator brought from Tarentum in about 275 B.C. a Greek slave named
Andronikos, as a tutor for his sons. This man received his liberty, and
as Livius Andronicus set up a school. For his school he required books,
and as there was no other text-book in Latin but the XII Tables, he
undertook the translation of Homer’s Odyssey into the native Italian
measure of Saturnian verse. His work was, of course, very indifferently
performed, but it remained a primer of education down to the schooldays
of Horace. Emboldened by this success he proceeded to supply the Roman
stage with translations of Greek tragedies.

Such was the beginning; the sequel was not much more promising. Nævius
was a Campanian who translated Greek comedies and tragedies. In the
former he attempted the old Greek custom of political allusions, but
speedily found that there was no such liberty of speech in Rome as had
prevailed in the palmy days of Athenian comedy. An allusion to the
Metellus family brought the famous and thoroughly old Roman poetical

    dabunt malum Metelli Nævio poetæ,

and was fulfilled by the imprisonment of the dramatist. Thus the
beginnings of literature at Rome were by no means easy. The dramatists
were hampered by severe police restrictions as well as by the barbarity
of their public. It is interesting to note that both these poets also
attempted the epic style. Livius Andronicus was actually commissioned
by the priests to celebrate the victory of Sena in verse, and Nævius
wrote an account of the First Punic War.

For comedy the Romans appear to have had some natural taste. It seems
that a very rude and barbaric form of dramatic dialogue mixed with
buffoonery was native to Italy in the Fescennine Songs, though even
these are said to have been of Etruscan invention. So the Romans at
their festivals were content to listen to comedies if the humour was
obvious enough, if there was plenty of horseplay. The setting was
wretched indeed. Instead of the magnificent marble theatres of Greece,
wooden booths were temporarily erected in the amphitheatre, and a noisy
disorderly audience listened with good-humoured contempt to the efforts
of the actors who tried to amuse them. Sometimes the chorus would be
sung by trained musicians, while the actors on the stage illustrated
the inaudible words by pantomimic gestures. It was utterly crude and
inartistic from beginning to end, and in deplorable contrast to the
beginnings of Drama in Greece. There it had been a national service of
worship to the gods. Here it was a trivial amusement in the hands of
slaves and foreigners.

Of the three great comedians, Plautus, though a genuine free Italian of
Umbria, had been reduced by poverty to the position almost of a slave;
Cæcilius was a prisoner of war from the neighbourhood of Milan, who
had been brought to Rome as a slave and then set free; Terence was a
Carthaginian by birth, belonging as a slave to the Senator Terentius
Lucanus, and subsequently being liberated became a friend of the
younger Scipio. Ennius, the “father” of epic verse and tragedy, was a
client of the elder Scipio and a Greek-speaking Calabrian by birth.
Pacuvius, the best of the early tragedians, was a native of Brundisium,
and therefore more Greek than Roman; he too belonged to the Scipionic
circle. The activity of these writers belongs mainly to the first half
of the second century. Not one of them was a Roman by origin, still
less was there anything distinctively Roman in their work. Except from
the linguistic point of view there is little to be said about any of
them. The comic dramatists were engaged in translating the work of the
Greek comedians of the third phase, especially Menander and Philemon.
To meet the demand for more plot, more action, with less dialogue and
less poetry, they would generally make a patchwork of two or three
Greek plays. From the artistic point of view the work was clumsily
done. There was little pretence of Romanising the characters or the
scenes, generally they were frankly Greek with strange intrusions from
Roman life. The source from which they drew was by now a stereotyped
comedy of manners with stock characters--the heavy father, either an
indulgent debauchee or a stingy curmudgeon; the old woman, generally
a procuress; the gay and profligate young hero; the fair heroine,
generally a _meretrix_, and a background of parasites, bullies,
pandars, slave-dealers, and scoundrelly slaves, who came in for
recurrent beatings to the great entertainment of the audience. The
situations are also “taken from stock,” facial resemblances, disguised
strangers, mistaken identities, veiled women and so forth. The “love
interest,” such as it is, almost invariably centres round the desire of
a young profligate for a courtesan. The atmosphere is generally brutal
and immoral. There is often a ludicrous want of dramatic imagination
in the stage management. Yet the comedies of Plautus and Terence have
played a larger part in monasteries and schoolrooms than any other
literature in the world, and through Shakespeare and Molière have had
a decisive influence in the history of the drama. We do not possess
enough of the original Greek sources to say very definitely how much
was contributed by the Roman dramatists of their own. Where we do
get passages for comparison the Latin version has generally lost a
great deal in wit and neatness of expression. The prologues, so far
as they are genuine, are at any rate in the case of Plautus extremely
bald and crude. “Now I will tell you why I have come forward here
and what I intend in order that you may know the name of this play.
For so far as the story goes it is a short one. Now I will tell you
what I was anxious to inform you of: the name of this play in Greek
is _Onagos_--Demophilus (or Diphilus?) composed it, Maccius turned it
into Latin. He wishes it called _Asinaria_, if you please.” And so
he proceeds to unwind his plot and relate how the young spendthrift
Argyrripus won the favours of the courtesan Philenium by duping her
mother, the procuress, and cheating _his_ mother, a shrew, out of
twenty minæ by the co-operation of his immoral old father who hoped to
secure the young woman for himself.

It would be wrong, however, to underrate the literary merits of Plautus
and Terence. These authors reveal to us something of the natural speech
of the Roman--Plautus in particular, for Terence is already far more
“classical” in his language. It is not always easy to say how far
the amusement which we get from them is legitimate, or how far it is
laughter at the expense of their antique artlessness and clumsiness.
But Plautus has a rich vein of simple humour and an irresistible sly
appeal to his audience which often makes one unconscious of the garbage
in which he is dealing. Terence has a polish, a graceful way of putting
the obvious, and a purity of diction which sometimes makes his young
men seem almost gentlemen and his young women almost virtuous. There
is a great deal of sound worldly morality in Terence and some pure
sentiment. But it is necessary here to lay stress upon the fact that
the literary arts of Rome never possessed the fresh innocence or even
the simple coarseness of youth. It was little harm, perhaps, that the
gladiators, the rope-dancers, the bear-baiters, and the charioteers won
the day in the affections of Roman audiences.

Father Ennius, too, in his tragedies was little more than a translator.
He was employed consciously by the great Scipio to educate and broaden
the Roman taste. He had learnt of the Greek philosophers to disbelieve
in the gods, or rather he had learnt the deadly Euhemerist doctrine
that the gods of Olympus are but the memories of long dead human
heroes, or that they sit, as Epicurus also taught,

      “On the hills ... together careless of mankind.”

    “ego deum genus esse dixi et dicam semper cælitum,
    sed eos non curare opinor quid agat humanum genus,
    nam si curent, bene bonis sit, male malis, quod nunc abest.”

At the age of fifty Ennius set himself to relate the whole of Roman
history in eighteen books of epic verse. No one claims for him the
rank of a great poet, but he shaped for Vergil’s hand that magnificent
instrument the Latin hexameter, and many scholars believe that he
vitally affected the literary language of Rome by preserving the
terminal inflexions which were dropping out of current speech. All the
fragments of Ennius that have survived, though often rough and ugly,
yet possess a massive dignity of their own, and often a most solemn
majesty of cadence, as in the lines with which I have headed this
chapter. But here again we must notice that the rugged father of Latin
poetry had already taken over the scepticism of the declining religion
of Greece.

For many generations now Roman religion had been losing its native
character and becoming cosmopolitan and denationalised. As we have
seen, its genuinely native elements were mainly rural and now the Roman
was a townsman with a townsman’s light scepticism and craving for
novelty and sensation. Jupiter and Minerva and the other high gods had
from the first been largely foreigners; at any rate few discernibly
Latin ideas appear in the cults or personalities. As early as 204
B.C., that is, in the throes of the Great Punic War, the worship of
Cybele--the Great Mother of Phrygian ritual--had been introduced along
with its begging eunuch priests. Apollo with appropriate athletic
games had arrived a few years earlier. New gods multiplied, old gods
became hellenised, Roman priesthoods became more and more political,
being simply obtained by popular election like any other public office,
or crack dining-clubs for the aristocracy. As the gods multiplied
faith declined. In 186 B.C. the Senate discovered a whole system of
secret nocturnal orgies which under the name of Bacchic mysteries had
spread with extraordinary rapidity throughout Italy. Ten thousand men
were arrested and condemned, mostly to death, but the associations
flourished unchecked.

Morality, public and private, was equally unsound. Publicly we have
sufficient stories of bribery by candidates for office--not to mention
the systematic corruption of the electorate by corn-doles and shows--to
prove that political uncleanness was of very old standing in Rome. As
for private virtue it may be that the world of pimps and prostitutes
which flits across the Plautine stage is borrowed from Athens, but it
was certainly familiar at Rome and rapidly domesticated itself. Slavery
had always existed there, and immorality is inseparable from slavery.
Now with a mob of retired soldiers gathered promiscuously and without
employment in the capital immorality was multiplied in every class. As
early as 234 B.C. there was public complaint of the unwillingness of
the Roman men of good family to face the responsibilities of marriage.
Already, as in the case of C. Calpurnius Piso, there were horrible
domestic tragedies in great houses. Divorce was already common. As
usual the Pharisees of the day strove to combat immorality with
prudishness. Cato the Censor punished a Roman senator for kissing his
wife in the presence of their daughter.

         *       *       *       *       *

Now, let it be remembered that this very age of which we are speaking,
the age of conquest in the Punic and Greek wars, is the heroic age of
Roman history, the age to which poets and historians of the empire
looked back as golden. We do not rely upon satirists or gossip-dealers
for this gloomy picture of Rome in her palmy days. The facts upon
which it is based are beyond dispute. What inference are we to draw?
Reviewing those facts and especially noticing the dates, we see that
all the vicious features of Roman society, the cruelty, the idleness,
the debauchery, the political corruption, the lack of artistic taste,
the immorality and crime in the noble houses, the injustice and
oppression of the poor and helpless, are no products of the Empire, but
deeply engrained in the Roman character and entwined about the roots
of her history. In our pursuit of old Roman virtue we may go to the
furthest bounds of historical record in vain. No doubt, before Rome
began to be a city and long before she began to have a history, there
were simple laborious rustics on the Latin plains, who possessed, for
want of opportunity, the virtuous abstinences of the poor. But it is
manifestly false to ascribe degeneration either to the fall of the
Republican system of government or to the introduction of civilisation.
If one cause more than another is to be assigned for the rapid growth
of evil tendencies it is the exhaustion consequent upon incessant
warfare and the brutality engendered by continual life in camp. The
only thing that could mitigate the latter was surely education and
culture. Instead, then, of Greek civilisation being the cause of
degeneracy at Rome we may more truthfully assert that it came to save
her from ruin at a time when she was threatened with internal decay.
Had it come earlier or been accepted more willingly it might have
done more to brighten the darker pages of Roman history. It was their
starved souls, empty of ideals, devoid even of reasonable occupation
for their leisure or harmless use for their wealth, which rendered the
aristocracy of Rome so utterly vulgar and debased.



    urbem uenalem et mature perituram si emptorem inuenerit.
                     Jugurtha in SALLUST

There is no doubt that many of the disquieting
symptoms which we have just noted as afflicting Roman society in
the second century B.C. might have been allayed, and possibly even
the causes removed, by a wise and foreseeing government. In dealing
with the allies and subjects who formed her vast and growing empire
any modern politician could have told the senate that they had to
choose one of two courses--either centralisation or devolution of
power, either a just and firm system of control or a liberal grant
of autonomous rights. But the senate had no policy. It left things
to shape themselves. Again, the agrarian difficulty of a deserted
countryside and an idle, disorderly city proletariat could easily have
been solved if it had been taken early, before the habit of city-life
grew upon the discharged warriors. Again the senate did nothing till
it was too late. Then, having acquired an overseas empire all over the
Mediterranean, the senate, if it had not been blind, should have seen
that it was necessary to maintain a strong navy and police the seas in
the interests of commerce. But again the government neglected its duty.
For these and many other sins of negligence there was a heavy reckoning
to be paid. It required no oracle to foretell disaster.

While the mass of the senate sat by inert and helpless, allowing the
helm of state to sway from side to side in their nerveless fingers,
two small parties in the state had policies of their own. There was
Cato (it is difficult to find a party for him to lead), who believed
that by repeating the mystic words _mos maiorum_ he could put the clock
back to the days of Cincinnatus, if not of Numa, mistaking symptoms
for diseases and hoping, like many another revivalist, to make people
virtuous by making them uncomfortable, a task doomed to failure from
the start.

Over against these were set a party who may almost be termed liberals,
in that they were prepared to go forward hopefully in company with
the spirit of their age. Their foremost representatives were the
Scipios, who acted as patrons to many of the literary circle we have
just described, and were themselves eager to accept the new culture.
Unfortunately there was very little wisdom or foresight among them,
and, above all, there was an aristocratic pride which would have
rendered them impossible as leaders even if they had had any idea of
a destination. As a family the Scipios were by no means uniformly
competent, and most of them subsisted on the glamour of the name, which
itself had been very largely due to the good luck and opportunity of
Scipio Africanus, the Elder and the Younger.

The special feature which distinguishes the age which we have now to
consider--that is, roughly, the hundred years from 146 B.C. onwards--is
that the historian’s attention now begins to be focussed on a series
of personal biographies. One might almost say it is already clear that
some individual must dominate this ill-constructed imperial city,
and the only question left is who it shall be. In the true polity of
the city-state the influence of personality is reduced to a minimum,
and various devices, such as the lot at Athens or the double and
annual consulship at Rome, are employed to prevent that individual
predominance which so easily turns to despotism. It is not due so much
to envy as to an instinct of self-preservation that republics are
notoriously ungrateful to their great men. But personal eminence, if
it is dangerous to the liberty of a republic, is almost essential to
the government of a great empire and the control of huge armies. The
incompetence of the annual generals, now that warfare was on a large
scale and conducted far from the overseeing eye of the administration,
became more noticeable. Already in the Third Macedonian War it had been
disgracefully apparent. Now the long campaigns against Viriathus in
Spain and Jugurtha in Africa reveal pitiful ineptitude, coupled with
shameless dishonesty, in the republican generals of the aristocracy.
Roman armies are no longer invincible in the field, they are not even


But first we have to recall a futile attempt at reform of the economic
distresses of the imperial city. It is not so much the actual
schemes of the brothers Gracchus which interest us--for the schemes
themselves were unworkable and contained as much folly as wisdom--as
the manner in which reform was proposed and defeated. The Gracchi
themselves, though of plebeian origin, belonged by numerous ties to
the liberal aristocracy. Their famous mother, Cornelia--one of the
many Roman women who by their influence help to make Roman history so
different from Greek--was the daughter of Scipio Africanus. Tiberius,
the elder brother, was married to a Claudia; among his friends were
Scævola and Crassus. Thus on all sides he belonged to the circle of
progressive nobles. His education had been such as one would expect
from such surroundings. As their father had died at an early age, it
was Cornelia’s task to make her two “jewels” worthy of her glorious
name. Accordingly she employed the most eminent Greeks for their
tutors. The boys were trained, no doubt, in Greek oratory to declaim
in praise of liberty and tyrannicides, in Greek history and political
science to divide constitutions up into monarchies, aristocracies, and
democracies, and to believe that in the latter all power belongs to the
people. At the same time their military training was not neglected; in
horsemanship and feats of arms they outshone all their comrades. Their
prospects were in every way brilliant and hopeful. While still a youth
of about sixteen, Tiberius was elected augur. The proud aristocrat,
Appius Claudius, as it is related by Plutarch, offered him the hand
of his daughter, and, having secured it, rushed home to announce her
betrothal. As soon as his wife heard of it she exclaimed: “Why in such
a hurry unless you have got Tiberius Gracchus for our daughter?” It
is the misfortune of rhetorical history that all its good characters
appear to be prigs and all its bad ones scoundrels; but it is certain
that if Tiberius had been content with the easy road to fame which
stretched before him in youth, he might without trouble have had the
world at his feet. He accompanied his brother-in-law, the younger
Africanus, in the last expedition against Carthage. In camp he was
the most distinguished of the young officers, and the first to scale
the walls of the city. He served his quæstorship in Spain, and there
showed all the diplomatic skill of the Cornelian family. He saved
an army of 20,000 men from destruction at Numantia. The Spaniards
loved him no less for his name than for his uprightness. Thus at the
age of thirty-one he had his future assured. A brilliant orator with
distinguished public service behind him, he was obviously destined for
the consulship in the near future, and then for a huge province, for
wealth, fame, and honour.

Call him a prig and a doctrinaire, if you will, for not being content
with that prospect. In passing through, on his way to Spain, he had
seen the pleasant lands of Tuscany lying forlorn and desolate, chained
gangs of foreign slaves working in the fields or tending the flocks of
absentee Roman landlords, while the sturdy peasants who should have
been in their place were loafing in the streets of Rome. The public
land, conquered in war, had sometimes been simply embezzled by Roman
politicians; sometimes granted to veteran soldiers only to fall into
the hands of speculators. The old Licinian land-law, which had limited
the amount of land which might be held in one hand, was openly flouted,
and leases were treated as freeholds.

Seeing these things, the young man was filled with a passion for
reform, and deliberately devoted his life to that task. The modern
historians who call him prig and demagogue do not deny the awful
mischief which he set himself to repair. It is hard to know what he
should have done to please them. The senate, by now an entrenched
stronghold of property dishonestly acquired and privilege dishonestly
maintained, could obviously never be converted. Filled with Greek
ideas, Tiberius determined to appeal to the _demos_. That of course
was a mistake. There was no such thing as a _demos_ at Rome, and there
never had been. The relation between Senate and Comitia was not in
the least the same as that between Council and Assembly in Greece. At
Rome the Senate deliberated and the Comitia ratified; at Athens the
Council prepared business for the Assembly to discuss and decide. It
is not that the letter of the constitution really matters--when people
are hungry it does not--but that there was lacking at Rome the very
elements of democracy, an articulate commons, an organised will of the
people. Failing that, any attempt to pose as champion of the people
must be a fraud, conscious or unconscious. But it is grossly unfair
to Gracchus to suppose that it was conscious. He thought that he was
living in a democracy, he thought that a tribune of the plebs might
fairly claim to be champion of the people, unaware that the plebs was
now an anachronism, and the tribunate merely a clumsy brake on the
wheels of the state. In 133 B.C. Tiberius had himself elected as one of
the ten tribunes, and immediately prepared to introduce the millennium
by legislative process.

He proposed to enforce the old Licinian laws by which no individual
citizen could claim a large holding of public land. Then presently,
in his childlike ignorance of the tenacity of property, annoyed at the
resistance he encountered, he further proposed to make his measure
retrospective, so as to evict thousands of noble land-grabbers. The
land thus escheated to the state he proposed to lease on nominal terms
as small holdings to the poorer citizens of Rome. The distribution was
to be carried out by a commission of three. Very unwisely, but probably
because there were no men of standing in the senate whom he could
trust, he made this commission a family party consisting of himself,
his father-in-law, and his young brother. Property was immediately up
in arms against him. The liberal senators discovered, as even liberals
are apt to do, that one’s own property has a sanctity far superior
to other people’s. Accordingly, they took the Roman constitutional
method of putting up another tribune to veto the proposals of Tiberius.
Thereupon Tiberius, with his fantastic notions of the people and the
people’s rights, declared that a tribune who opposed the people was
no tribune, and so had Octavius deposed. The senate’s answer was the
only constitutional answer left to them, a threat of prosecution when
the tribunate should be over. That, of course, made it necessary for
Tiberius to perpetuate his office. He gathered a band of followers
sworn to protect his life, proposed a string of attractive measures
to secure popular support, and stood for a second term of office. The
senate put up more tribunes to veto his election. Thus the state was at
a deadlock; there were no more resources for such a situation within
constitutional limits, so the senators simply girt up their togas and,
led by a Scipio, marched down into the forum to settle the question of
reform in a truly Roman manner. Tiberius Gracchus was murdered, and his
followers left for judicial assassination.

Ten years later Gaius Gracchus, with a similar programme and the added
motive of piety to his brother’s memory, took up the campaign afresh.
The senate, indeed, having slain the author of reform, had been forced
to allow the reforms themselves at any rate to start. Some lands
had been redistributed, and when another Scipio got a decree passed
to stop the work of the land commission, he too was assassinated. It
is clear that by this time the agrarian agitation had been largely
appeased; what follows is political merely. The reformers had got the
constitution altered to permit the re-election of tribunes, and in 123
Gaius was elected to that office; he was rather more practical, and
therefore far more dangerous, than his brother, but the passion for
vengeance against the stubborn and brutal nobility had no doubt blinded
his judgment. Coupled with the land-agitation there was now a loud
demand for political rights by the Italians, who were debarred even
from the elementary rights of market and marriage with each other.

The platform upon which Gaius Gracchus stood was a radical one.
Henceforth every poor citizen was to be supplied with cheap corn at
less than half price, about 4_d._ a bushel. The land commission was
to be restored. The Assembly was to be reorganised upon a new basis,
which would destroy the preponderant voting power of the nobility. New
colonies were to be founded, including one at Carthage--a most salutary
measure. Easier terms of military service were to be granted, including
free equipment and the right of appeal. By these measures, some of
them wise and just, some of them mere vote-catching devices, Gaius won
the support of the people. Then he turned to the second estate--the
capitalist Equites. To buy their favour he took up their demand that
the taxes of “Asia,” as the Romans called their new province bequeathed
to them by King Attalus III., should be put up for auction not locally
but in Rome. It seemed to the Romans that since the Asiatics were
bound to be plundered in any case, as indeed the inhabitants of Asia
Minor always had and always have been plundered, the proceeds might as
well flow straight into the pockets of Roman capitalists. To this he
added the proposition that the jury-lists should henceforth be drawn
from the Equestrian order and the senators excluded. It was probably
more iniquitous that money-lenders and governors should be tried by a
jury of money-lenders exclusively than that they should come before a
jury of governors past and future. Neither would seem to us or to the
provincials an ideal arrangement.

Much of this policy, we have to admit, was pure demagogy, but for
that the conservative nobles, who cared nothing for the welfare of
the state, and were impervious to anything but force, are directly
responsible. Gracchus got his measures through the comitia, and secured
his re-election for the next year. Feeling that his policy had secured
him a large and faithful party of supporters, he now prepared to
introduce a measure which he knew to be necessary for the salvation of
his country, but which he must equally well have known to be unpopular
at Rome, namely, the grant of citizen rights to the Italians. By this
we see that Gaius Gracchus, if he sometimes stooped to the arts of the
demagogue, was also capable of real statesmanship. The progressive
grant of burgess rights as soon as subject peoples were sufficiently
Romanised to be fit for them was the old Roman policy, which had made
the city great in the past, and kept her safe in the shock of invasion.
But the Romans had now become jealous and exclusive. The proposal was
detested in Rome. Each side organised its gangs of roughs; there were
daily riots in the streets, and at last the senatorial party once more
charged down into the forum and slaughtered the second reformer as they
had slaughtered the first. In the prosecutions that followed no fewer
than 3000 of his partisans were executed.

In all this it is evident that the Roman political system had
completely broken down. The constitution had always been incredibly
ill-defined. There is no doubt that sovereignty legally belonged
to the people, and that senatorial government was a usurpation, as
the Gracchi called it. By calling the citizen body of Rome a mob or
a rabble you do not alter the rights of the case. It was largely
the fault of the Government that they had been allowed to become so
selfish, so disorderly, and so corrupt. The extraordinary machinery
of the tribunate--ten magistrates, each with an absolute veto upon all
government--had made it impossible to find any constitutional method
of reform. The policy of Gaius Gracchus was the only possible one if
Rome was to be saved, and as a matter of plain fact it was the policy
which after a century of unceasing bloodshed Rome eventually adopted.
It was to be a disguised monarchy, like that of Pericles at Athens,
working on the basis of the tribunician powers. The old ascendancy
of the Senate could not stand a challenge; not only did it rest upon
no legal title, but it had lost whatever claim to respect it ever
possessed on the score of patriotism or statesmanship. For the agrarian
problem it had no policy but to hold fast to its ill-gotten lands; to
the demands of the Italian allies it had nothing but a miserly “no.” It
watched with indifference the ruin of Italy, the degeneracy of Rome,
and the oppression of the provincial world. The policy of the Gracchi
may have included dreams and nightmares, but it did look forward and
hold out hopes. The Gracchi had now definitely started a party system.
They had laid the foundation of a democratic movement, and it is Rome’s
misfortune that this foundation was built of such rotten materials. The
democracy had been bought by bribes, but it had failed to exhibit a
spark of disinterested statesmanship. If ever a state needed a master
that state was Rome. Henceforth until a master came the condition of
Rome and Italy and the provinces was simply deplorable. Nothing could
be done in politics without a hired gang of bravos.


The next conspicuous attempt at reform comes from a genuine son of
the people, one of the very few peasants who emerge into the light
of history at Rome. In the wretchedly mismanaged Jugurthan war
Gaius Marius had shouldered his way to the front by sheer courage
and capacity for war through a crowd of cowardly and incompetent
aristocrats, who almost openly trafficked with the foreign enemy of
Rome. The course of this business requires a brief sketch if we are to
understand the condition of Roman government at this period.

The king of the client state of Numidia dying divided his realm between
two legitimate sons and one illegitimate, the latter being Jugurtha.
This amiable bastard straightway murdered one of his brothers and
attacked the other, who fled to the Roman province and appealed to
the senate for protection. Jugurtha, already knowing the ropes of
senatorial policy, sent envoys with well-filled purses, and easily
convinced the senate of his innocence and good intentions. The senate
decided to send out a commission to divide the kingdom equitably
between Jugurtha and his half-brother. The result of its labours was
that Adherbal got the desert and the capital, while Jugurtha got all
the fertile part of the country, and the commission returned home rich
and happy. Jugurtha had now only to obtain the capital, but as Adherbal
refused to fight and kept appealing to Rome, there was nothing for it
but to besiege Cirta. Numerous envoys came to Jugurtha from the senate
in the course of the siege, but he easily assured them of his pacific
intentions. As soon as he had taken the city he put his rival to death
with torture, and massacred the entire male population, including a
great number of Italian and Roman citizens.

The senate did not feel that this course of action was entirely
meritorious, but it required the stimulus of a democratic agitation
and another troublesome tribune to induce them to declare war. The
senate sent out two of its best men in Bestia and Scaurus; the latter
especially was generally reputed to be a veritable Aristides, for
he had ventured to protest against the former iniquities. When the
Roman army arrived, Jugurtha knew better ways than fighting. He
submitted at discretion, surrendered the Roman deserters, whom of
course he did not want to keep, and a few elephants, which he soon
afterwards repurchased privately. In return he was permitted to retain
his kingdom. Once more there were outcries at Rome, voiced by the
same democratic tribune Memmius, who insisted that Jugurtha should
be summoned to Rome to answer for his sins. Meekly but with bulging
moneybags Jugurtha arrived. As soon as Memmius began to cross-examine
him another tribune interposed his veto. During his visit Jugurtha was
able to purchase a strong party in the senate; he also had time to
procure the assassination of an obnoxious fellow-countryman in the city
itself. This outrage, combined with the ambition of the new consul,
Spurius Albinus, led to another declaration of war, Jugurtha himself
being allowed to go home and prepare for it. As he departed he uttered
the famous words, “Ah, Rome! Venal city! She would sell herself if she
could find a purchaser.”

When Albinus led out the second army, he found it utterly incapable of
fighting. It was a band of cowardly brigands, who spent their time in
plundering their own province; and when the consul’s brother conceived
the spirited project of seizing the king’s treasury for himself,
instead of waiting for the more tedious and uncertain profits of
bribery, he led the Roman army into an ambush. It surrendered readily.
It was forced to go under the yoke, and agree to evacuate all Numidia.

This was a little too much. Another tribune--in all this period we
observe the tribunes acting as the heads of popular opposition quite
in the Gracchan manner--proposed a special inquiry to investigate the
matter, and bring the offenders to justice. Three of the worst--Spurius
Albinus, Bestia, and L. Opimius, the destroyer of G. Gracchus--were
banished, but the incorruptible Scaurus escaped condemnation by
sitting on the bench. The treaty of peace was cancelled, and its
author--following the usual Roman custom when armies in awkward places
surrendered--was given up to the enemy.

In the third campaign the senate really tried to do its best. Q.
Metellus, the new general, belonged to the party of liberal nobles
who were in favour of moderate reform. He began well by choosing his
officers for military skill--somewhat of an innovation. Among others
he chose a brave young farmer, G. Marius. Arrived in Africa, Metellus
had first to reduce the Roman army to order, and then, having failed
to get his enemy assassinated, marched out to fight him. Jugurtha was
beaten in battle (for the Roman army could still fight under decent
leadership), and henceforth was driven to guerilla warfare, in which he
displayed such remarkable skill that the war soon came to a standstill.

At this point G. Marius, who had achieved popularity and renown
through his valour, conceived the ambitious plan of standing for the
consulship. It is hard to guess how such an audacious idea can have
entered his head, for such an application from a man of no family was
entirely without precedent. Somebody at Rome must have whispered the
idea. When he asked his consul for permission to go to Rome for the
purpose, Metellus was vastly diverted, and suggested that Marius had
better wait until his general’s little boy was grown up, in order that
he might have a Metellus for a colleague. Probably Marius had little
sense of humour, for he did go to Rome, just in time, and was elected
consul. Moreover, a special decree entrusted him with command of the
army in Africa.

Among his officers was the young legate, L. Cornelius Sulla, and
though Marius undoubtedly displayed vigour and competence, it was very
largely the luck and diplomacy of Sulla which procured the seizure and
surrender of the Numidian king. Marius, however, reaped the glory.
Jugurtha graced his triumph (104 B.C.), and soon afterwards perished in
a Roman dungeon.

Simultaneously with the Jugurthan war the Romans were called upon to
face a far more serious affair, one of those great folk-wanderings
from the north which occur periodically in the course of Mediterranean
history. The Cimbri and Teutons, who may have numbered ancestors of our
own among them, came down from the shores of the Baltic, travelling
with their households in a train of waggons which took six days in
defiling past the onlooker. These barbarians were terrible to the
Romans, with their strange aspect, their long iron swords and savage
war-cries, their fair hair and giant stature. But of course they were
savages compared to the Romans, and they should never have inflicted
more than one defeat on intelligent generals of disciplined armies.
As it was, they had to face mutinous legions and incompetent consuls.
First they defeated Carbo and overran Gaul; then coming south into
the province they beat Silanus and Scaurus; and then, united with the
Helvetians, they inflicted a frightful disaster on Longinus, when a
Roman legate had to surrender, and another Roman army was sent under
the yoke. In 105 a worse thing happened: the great defeat of Arausio
(Orange) seemed more fatal even than Cannæ in the extent of its losses.
There was a panic in Italy, which seemed helplessly exposed to the fury
of the northmen, but fortunately the aimless barbarians wandered off
into the west and spent their strength on the warlike Spanish tribes.

As before, popular indignation at Rome, diverted from the real cause
of the mischief, the rotten system of cliques which governed them,
wasted its fury on individuals. Senators were mobbed and stoned.
A proconsul was actually deposed from office. There was only one
man deemed capable of dealing with the peril--Marius, the man of
the people, the triumphant conqueror of Jugurtha. So, despite laws
forbidding re-election, Marius became consul for a second time and a
third--five times consul. This was symptomatic of a changed Rome. It
was, however, necessary. Amateur generals had had a long trial. From
104 to 100 Marius was continuously chief magistrate of the state, as
well as generalissimo of its armies. He did his work. First he had to
get his army in hand, and accustom them to the sight of the terrible
barbarians. Then he dealt two smashing blows at the Teutons and Cimbri
near Aquæ Sextiæ and on the Raudine Plain. It was the misfortune of
the Roman system of imperium that no general could attain to eminence
in war without at the same time acquiring political importance.
Hence Marius in 100 B.C. found himself absolutely first in the Roman
state without education or even common sense in politics. He presents
a pathetic figure in the turbulent world of Roman statecraft, a
war-scarred veteran, the indubitable saviour of Rome, called upon to
play the part of a statesman, and yet a mere puppet in the hands of
unscrupulous intriguers. First he fell into the hands of two shameless
demagogues--Saturninus and Glaucia--who used him to revive the Gracchan
revolution. Marius became consul for the sixth time, and a new reform
programme was drawn up, including an agrarian law to divide the land
conquered from the Cimbri, and incidentally all the land they had
conquered, into small holdings for the Marian veterans, Latins and
Italians alike. Marius was to have personal charge of the distribution,
and this task would make him master of Rome for many years to come.
Secondly, there was to be a still further cheapening of corn; and,
thirdly, new colonies were to be founded and the Italian allies to
have a share in them. Of course there was violent opposition. The
senate tried all its old stratagems, tribunician veto, portents, and
lastly bludgeons. To meet the latter, Marius whistled his veteran
soldiers to his side, and the “Appuleian Laws” were carried, with the
addition of a very obnoxious clause that each senator was to take an
oath of allegiance to the new legislation within five days on pain of
forfeiting his seat. Q. Metellus alone had the courage to prefer exile.

Then, it seems, the senate found it necessary to beguile the great
general over to the side of aristocracy. Marius was a child in their
hands. He actually boggled at taking the oath to his own laws, and
added the remarkable proviso, “So far as they are valid.” Saturninus
and Glaucia in their turn tried violence, and Marius led the forces
of the senate against them. There was a battle in the forum, the
demagogues were slain, and four magistrates of the Roman people put to
death without trial. Once more reaction had triumphed. For the time
being Marius was politically defunct.

But one side of his work was lasting and fraught with momentous
consequences for the Roman state. It was Marius, the first professional
general, who formed the first professional army. We noticed that
Greece, even before the end of the fifth century, had already begun
to use paid and trained soldiers, partly owing to the unwillingness
of her comfortable or busy citizens to engage in annual campaigns,
but still more because it was found that the more highly trained
and better disciplined mercenaries were far more efficient at their
business. So for many centuries Rome had now been the only power in
the Mediterranean world to rely upon a citizen militia. That citizen
militia had indeed conquered the world; but certainly in dealing with
the trained troops of Pyrrhus and Hannibal, the Roman forces had always
begun with disaster and slowly been schooled to their trade by defeat.
So it was now in the Jugurthan and Cimbric wars: the generals had to
train their armies in the face of the enemy, and while that is no doubt
the best training ground it is terribly dangerous and expensive. It
implies, too, an almost inexhaustible stock of recruits to fall back
upon. With the decline of Italian agriculture and the growth of city
life the stock of recruits was no longer inexhaustible. Moreover the
art of war was becoming more intricate. Rome found it necessary to
appoint a genuine soldier for her general against Jugurtha in view
of the disastrous failures of aristocratic amateurs. In the same way
Marius found it necessary to overhaul the Roman fighting machine, and
by the end of his five years of successive consulship he had organised
a professional army on much the same system as our own. Rome like
England required a highly trained expeditionary force and behind it
a large reserve. The principal change instituted by Marius seemed at
first a small one and required no legislative sanction. Hitherto the
army had consisted only of the propertied classes, the infantry of
those who could afford a suit of arms, and the cavalry of the richest
citizens who could maintain one of the state horses. The minimum
property for a Roman soldier is said to have been £115. The poorest
had originally formed a light-armed support, the three middle classes
were the line, and the richest the cavalry. But the three classes of
the line had by now come to be drawn up not according to property
but according to length of service. This was the traditional battle
formation of the Roman infantry maniples:

[Illustration: (traditional battle formation of the Roman infantry
maniples) Triara Principes Hastats]

with the cavalry upon the wings. But social changes were changing the
army. As wealth increased and the gulf between rich and poor grew wider
the comfortable burgesses were no longer obedient or willing soldiers.
Bad discipline--a monstrous violation of the old Roman spirit--had
begun to appear in the ranks as early as the Macedonian wars. In the
Jugurthan wars it was deplorably rife. The equestrian class as the
richest was also the most mutinous: as early as the third century
the knights had refused to work in the trenches alongside of the
legionaries. By 140 B.C. they had ceased to act as a military force and
become merely a grade of honour, or rather of income, in the state,
though the younger knights continued to form a corps of noble guards to
the general. As for the army as a whole, the theory down to the time of
Marius was still that of the annual spring campaign; each consul levied
his own army for a specific purpose. This levy had become more and
more difficult. The simple innovation which Marius introduced was that
in the process of holding his levy he began by asking for volunteers
and enrolling those first. There was generally a distinct promise of
rewards on discharge. Thus instead of the moneyed classes Marius filled
his ranks with the poorest and hardiest inhabitants of Rome and Italy.
Of course the obligation to serve still remained part of the condition
of certain subject peoples. The auxiliary ranks were now supplied by
foreign experts--cavalry from the Numidian deserts or the Ligurian
hills, slingers from the Balearic Islands, and presently archers from
Crete. Having thus professionalised his army Marius proceeded to
abolish all distinctions in the ranks. All the men of the line now had
a uniform equipment supplied by the state, and instead of a bewildering
variety of insignia all the legionaries now fought under that emblem
destined to be carried in victory to the four corners of Europe--the
silver eagle. The eagle was the standard of the legion and it was
regarded as sacred. In camp it rested in a special shrine and terrible
was the disgrace attaching to its loss in battle. Hitherto legions
had been gathered for each campaign and disbanded at its close. Now a
legion had a permanent existence, a fixed number, a tradition and an
_esprit de corps_ of its own. It was now a larger unit of 6000 men; for
while the maniple or company of 120 men still remained, the maniples
were grouped into cohorts or battalions, which now became the regular
tactical unit, and ten cohorts formed the legion.

Beside the body-armour consisting of helmet, cuirass, and cylindrical
shield,[14] the uniform equipment of the legionary included the pilum,
a short heavy javelin for throwing (it is interesting to notice that
whereas Marius had the point loosely attached to the shaft so as to
break off in the shield or body of the enemy, Julius Cæsar actually
invented what may fairly be called a “Dum-Dum pilum” with a soft nose
for stopping the rush of barbarians), and the short broad-bladed
sword[15] which had been copied from the Spanish swordsmen in the
Second Punic War. The latter was a very handy little weapon only about
thirty inches long including the hilt, with two edges as well as a
point, though the thrust was always advocated in preference to the cut.
Marius now introduced a new drill which included lessons in fencing
given in the first instance by masters from the gladiatorial schools.
Though bloodshed be abhorrent to the learned, many a scholar would
like to have witnessed the combat between the Roman _gladius_ and the
Cimbrian claymore. It must be repeated that the Roman maniple, unlike
the close Greek phalanx, stood in open order with a six-foot square of
space for each man so that there was room for individual prowess in
swordsmanship. Lastly, Marius still further professionalised his army
by introducing a system of bounties on discharge which made the army
a really attractive career for poor citizens. He promised them each
a farm at the end of the war and his example was followed by other
generals. In fact a veteran soldier came to expect a handsome pension
on retirement.

It is surely unnecessary to emphasise the meaning of all this. An
army was now a trained corps against which no levy of recruits could
stand for an instant. Hitherto it had been the chief guarantee against
usurpation by a general that new armies could be summoned from the
soil at any time. Now there was a weapon in the hands of a successful
general against which the feeble safeguards of the republican
constitution were powerless. As with the first trained army in English
history, the general of such a force became master of the destinies
of the state so long as the allegiance of the soldiers was personal
rather than patriotic. The Roman soldier’s allegiance had always been
personal and now it became more so. Moreover the Roman constitution
had never sought to distinguish military from civil power. Hence that
day in 100 B.C., when the Appuleian code was carried under threat of
the legions of Marius, was of evil omen for the constitution. Less
than twenty years were to elapse before a Roman army entered Rome
in triumph to support the political enactments of Sulla. It is in
reality henceforward one long state of civil war, open or concealed,
between rival generals, until at last a permanent military monarchy
was established. It only required a bold free spirit like that of
Julius Cæsar to discern the real facts of the case. Marius, as we have
already seen, had not sufficient intellect to play a political part
with success; Sulla attained what was really a monarchical position
but retired when he had won it. Pompeius never had the courage to face
the situation. Cæsar had, but he was sacrificed to the republican
tradition. Finally the diplomatic Augustus realised the long inevitable

Henceforth, then, it is merely a question of who shall be Emperor
of Rome. The causes of the end of Rome’s incoherent constitutional
system, called by us a Republic, are already clear. There are the
constitutional causes--above all the inelasticity of the Roman system,
which made legitimate reform impossible, provided no machinery to
express the will of the people, and rendered it inevitable that rioting
should accompany every change. It was a constitution essentially
municipal and the tribunate was the centre of mischief. Then there are
the economic causes, now working more banefully than ever, and causing
the decay of the agricultural population, the rise of a dangerous
uneducated city proletariat, and the corruption of the governing
aristocracy. There was the political fact that the government of a
vast ill-organised empire destroyed the Republican spirit and further
increased corruption, while it denationalised the Roman temper.
Lastly, there is the military cause, namely, the professionalisation
of the army, putting excessive power into the hands of the general and
replacing patriotism by _esprit de corps_.

It strikes the onlooker that no one of these evils, nor even the
accumulation of them, need have been fatal to the republican system
if there had been a genuine spirit of patriotic enthusiasm determined
to overcome them. For instance, if the great men of Rome had been
loyal and patriotic there is no reason why the excessive power of
the generals should have led to high treason. And again, though the
provincial system was misbegotten it might have been corrected and
reformed. But it was the spirit that failed. Was not that just because
Roman power had outstripped Roman civilisation? For the upper-class
Roman, faith was dead or dying, and there were no high interests of
the mind to replace it. Fighting was their sole inherited interest and
their tastes were correspondingly brutal and bloody. The last agony of
the Republic in the period we are now considering is painful enough,
but the wise will surely regard it as the period in which a new and
much more hopeful order of things was gradually evolved.


On the extinction of Marius there arose Sulla. Sulla was the aristocrat
of talent, almost of genius, who tried to save the state by reaction.
He tried, vainly and foolishly enough, to bolster up the rickety
structure of senatorial ascendancy, but had not the patience or the
wisdom to attempt even that with any thoroughness. L. Cornelius Sulla
was of the class of men to which Alcibiades and Alexander belong, but
an inferior specimen of the class. Though of noble birth he had risen
from poverty and obscurity by his own talents. He was clever--and he
did the most foolish acts in history. He was handsome--and his face
in later life is described as “a mulberry speckled with meal.” He was
brave and successful in war; half lion and half fox, they said, and the
fox was the more dangerous of the two. He secured the affections of his
soldiers by giving them free licence to plunder or to murder unpopular
officers. He was a rake and a gambler, reckless of bloodshed as he was
careless of praise or blame, and he had that fatal belief in a star
which has led better men than him to follow will-o’-the-wisps. He might
have stood where Cæsar stands. He would have made a very typical bad
emperor, and whatever it was that made him decline to be one, it was
not patriotism. He was as cultured as Nero, and showed it by sacking
Athens, plundering Delphi, and looting a famous library. Like Nero, but
unlike the majority of his fellow-countrymen, he had a sense of humour.

After the shelving of Marius and the destruction of his democratic
associates the governing clique pursued its old course of headlong
folly. For one thing the aristocrats soon fell out with the
capitalists, which is always an unwise thing for aristocrats to do.
The equestrian jury-courts established by Gracchus acted with brutal
simplicity on behalf of their tax-gathering and tax-farming brothers
against whatever honest governors proceeded from the senate. Men were
condemned for honest administration in those days. For another thing
the bitter cry of the Italian “allies,” who bore all the hard knocks
of the Roman service, and in return got nothing but servitude, was
persistently and contemptuously ignored. In 95 a consular law flatly
prohibited them from ever claiming the franchise. But presently there
came forward a new reformer in M. Livius Drusus. This remarkable
man might be described as a third Gracchus, only that he saw the
futility of the so-called democracy of Rome, and adopted other means
to attain his ends. On the one hand he was a champion of the senate
against the knights, and on the other hand he was resolved to give the
Italians their rights. He seems to have promoted a widespread secret
organisation among the Italians. He then proposed four measures: the
inevitable vote-catching corn law and agrarian law, the jury-courts to
be restored to the senate, the senate for that purpose to be enlarged
by the inclusion of three hundred knights, and, lastly, citizenship for
the allies. The first three were carried, not without violence, but the
fourth was his stumbling-block. The Italians were by now so clamorous
that civil war was inevitable if it were refused, and no man denied
the justice of their claim. But neither justice nor expediency had
any power to move the dead weight of senatorial conservatism. Drusus
was murdered and his laws repealed. That was the signal for the long
and terrible Social War which completed the ruin of Italy and caused
grave alarm for the very existence of Rome herself. In the course of
this struggle and in fear for her existence Rome yielded in fact, if
not openly, to the demand of the Italians. Some states received the
franchise as a reward for fidelity and others as a bait for submission.
By a law of 89 all Italians who applied to the prætor within sixty
days received the citizenship, and this belated concession had its
effect. The face of Italy had been covered with mourning to secure it.
Even so the governing clique succeeded in nullifying the political
value of the concession by confining the Italians along with the Roman
freedmen to a few of the tribes so that their votes were almost useless.

The pressure of this war and of the great Mithradatic war which
began simultaneously in Asia led to a serious economic crisis at
Rome. Debt and usury were the symptoms, and when a prætor tried to
meet it by reviving the old laws against usury he was murdered in
his priestly robes at sacrifice. Now we begin to hear the ominous
cry of “Novæ tabulæ”--the clean slate for debtors. A popular orator
named Sulpicius Rufus, whose programme included the exclusion of
all bankrupts from the senate, protected his valuable person with a
bodyguard of 3000 hired roughs, and organised a mock senate of 300
high-spirited young bloods. Then, since Sulla with his army threatened
opposition, he passed a decree giving the command of the great army
destined to fight Mithradates to the old Marius. During the Social War
both these generals had held command with some success, but on the
whole the reputation of Marius had declined while that of Sulla had
increased. Without hesitation Sulla now marched his army into Rome,
and won a battle in the streets of the city. Sulpicius was of course
executed, his head was nailed to the rostra, and Marius escaped under
circumstances of romantic adventure. Sulla was thus in the year 88
completely master of Rome.

At this moment his real ambition was for more fighting. Mithradates,
King of Pontus,[16] was then in full career of rebellion against the
Roman dominion in Asia, where 80,000 Roman traders and money-lenders
were murdered in a sudden mutiny. Sulla saw in Mithradates a worthy
foeman, and much preferred glory on the fields of Asia to Roman
politics; and besides, his army was clamouring for plunder. So he
hastily flung out a series of constitutional reforms designed to
restore the senate to more than its ancient predominance, and then set
out for the East, heedless or ignorant of the fact that he had not
really changed anything. On the contrary he had left at Rome in sole
charge the new consul, Cinna, the worst and most dangerous of all the
demagogues. Sulla--most innocent of reprobates--seems to have fancied
that an oath to obey his constitution would restrain such a man at such
a time.

Consequently as soon as his back was turned a fresh revolution broke
out. Cinna also brought an army to Rome and invited Marius to return.
Then the old general, furious with all his disappointments, began
a fearful debauch of bloodshed. Every distinguished senator left
in Rome, including statesmen like L. Cæsar, soldiers like Catulus,
orators like Antonius and Crassus, were butchered by his slaves and
their heads displayed in the forum. In 86 Marius gained the goal of
his ambition, that seventh consulship which had been promised him long
ago by a prophet. In the same year he died. Now for four years Cinna
ruled as monarch at Rome. Year after year he assumed the consulship
and nominated the other magistrates at his own choice without the
formality of election. He repealed the laws of Sulla, equalised all the
citizens in the tribes, and reduced all debts by 75 per cent. It is
the last measure which is truly typical of Roman democracy. Meanwhile,
of course, the reckoning was in preparation across the seas. Sulla
was winning glorious victories in Greece and Asia, and at length in
84, drove Mithradates to surrender temporarily,[shld be.] Cinna, who
does not seem to have understood that a Roman army belonged not to the
republic but to its general, audaciously set out to supersede Sulla,
and was murdered by the troops.

Sulla, having offered terms which the government very foolishly
declined, came home in 83 after five years’ absence bearing not peace
but a sword. He had five veteran legions of his own, the exiled
aristocrats joined him, and among them a young man called Pompeius
with three more legions. The lead of the democratic party had now
fallen into the hands of a young Marius, and he having no troops to
oppose the returning veterans decided to join the Samnite rebels who
remained unconquered from the Social War. Before leaving the city
they ordered a final and still more bloody massacre of the surviving
aristocrats; practically all the men of distinction left in the city
suffered death. Sulla had to fight 40,000 Samnites at the Colline Gate
of Rome, and after a desperate struggle was victorious. The young
Marius committed suicide. Thus Sulla was once more master of Rome. His
8000 Samnite prisoners were slaughtered in the Circus. Of the Roman
democrats, 80 senators, 3600 equites, and over 2000 private citizens
were proscribed, and their heads nailed up in the forum. In Spain,
Sertorius, an honest and valorous democrat, maintained a gallant
struggle by the aid of a miraculous deer, and a native Spanish army
trained on the Roman model, until at last he fell by treachery.

For two years Sulla was monarch at Rome. For the purpose he invented a
sort of revival of the obsolete dictatorship, without limit of time and
without a colleague. If we care for the term, Sulla was at that time
as much “Emperor” as Augustus. He enacted a whole constitution of his
own--which it is scarcely necessary to recount since scarcely anything
of it survived--all destined to put the senate on its throne again, and
then simply abdicated and retired into private life. I think he was
bored with Rome and politics. It is generally admitted that he had a
sense of humour. It was a very foolish thing to do. But Sulla’s star
was with him and he died in his bed. His dying moments were comforted
by the apparition of his deceased wife (he had had five) and son, who
invited him to join them in the land of peace and bliss beyond the

Sulla was hardly dead before another consul had marched against Rome
with his army and suffered defeat in the city. But these were mere
episodes. The streets of the sacred city were in a perpetual state
of war: every serious politician had to organise his gang of roughs,
and when the very senate-house was burnt down in one such encounter it
only seemed an excessive display of political zeal. Of constitutional
government there was little pretence. The seas were swarming with
pirates, no longer isolated rovers who preyed upon commerce, but an
organised pirate-state with head-quarters in Cilicia, and a great
fleet consisting of all the broken men and desperate outlaws of the
unhappy Mediterranean world. They sailed the high seas in fleets under
admirals who voyaged in state like princes. For their homes they had
impregnable citadels among the creeks of the Cilician and Dalmatian
coasts where they stored their families and their plunder. They were
not afraid to march inland to sack a city or loot a rich temple.
Commerce at sea was ruined, even the food-supply of the capital was
occasionally cut off. On land and even in Italy things were not much
better. All through Republican history (but seldom afterwards) we hear
of risings among the slaves of Italy. Now, under the plantation system,
the inaccessible Apennine highlands were swarming with desperate
runaways who constantly committed minor acts of brigandage. In 73 they
found a leader in Spartacus, the gladiator who was said to be of royal
descent in Thrace. Starting as a mere handful the band swelled in the
course of a few months to 40,000. Roman armies one after another and
ten in all marched against them in vain. Two consuls were defeated,
many eagles were captured, Italy was at their mercy. Respectable towns
like Thurii and Nola were seized, their prisoners were crucified like
slaves or forced with grim irony to fight one another to the death like
gladiators. Thus the most frightful form of civil war was devastating
Italy. It was necessary to raise an army of eight legions to crush
the slaves, and the command was entrusted to Marcus Crassus, who even
then had to decimate a legion before he could get his cowardly troops
to stand and fight. After several stubborn battles, and aided by the
want of discipline which was even more conspicuous among the slaves
than among the Romans, Crassus accomplished his task. Six thousand
crucified slaves who lined the road from Capua to Rome testified to the
restoration of order.

Abroad matters were little better. The war against Mithradates, which
had provided so many Roman triumphs and had so often been proclaimed
at an end, actually lasted for twenty-five years, and its duration was
due rather to the ineptitude of the government than to the prowess
of the unmilitary Asiatics. In Spain it took ten years to defeat
Sertorius with his native troops, and even then the result was only
accomplished by assassination. If a Hannibal had entered Italy in these
latter days the state could not have survived. But there was only one
military power of any consequence left in the world in those days, the
Parthians. Here there were half-hellenised despots ruling over tribes
of warriors only lately descended from the Caucasian and Armenian
highlands, and still nursing a fierce mountain spirit though they
occupied the rich plains of Mesopotamia. Crassus, the victor over the
slaves, was sent to fight them with a great army, but the millionaire
displayed wretched ignorance of strategy and especially of the perils
of Eastern warfare. He blundered on into the wilderness and tried to
meet the terrible horse-bowmen and mail-clad lancers of the East with
his legions in a hollow square. The result was the great disaster of
Carrhæ in 53, a defeat which amid all the shameful ignominies of this
period rankled continually owing to the loss of the eagles and the
tragic fate of the leader. Marcus Crassus himself was an almost wholly
repulsive character, who had amassed a fortune, colossal even in those
days of millionaires, by the most discreditable method. The foundations
of his millions had been laid by speculating in the property of the
victims of Sulla’s proscriptions. He had been a slave-trainer on a
large scale and at one time he had organised a private fire-brigade
which he used for acquiring house-property cheaply by blackmail. By
lending money to the young spendthrifts of the aristocracy he obtained
great influence at Rome, and indeed figures in the wretched politics of
his day as a statesman on equality with really great men like Cæsar and
Pompeius. But he had no policy and was only of importance through his
wealth and influence.


So we come to the final phase of the Republic--the great struggle
between the giants Cæsar and Pompeius, with figures like Cicero, Cato,
and Clodius in the background. I do not propose to linger over this
period, because on the one hand it is so thoroughly well known as the
period of fullest evidence in all Roman history, and therefore would
require a volume for adequate treatment, and on the other hand because
it has been such a battle-ground for partisan historians of all times
that it is difficult in such a summary as this to do justice without
detailed argument.

Gneius Pompeius the Great[17] had first come into prominence as a
supporter of Sulla. He was of high official family and was a born
soldier. That is really the secret of his career. Like Marius he was a
general and no statesman, but he was a very great general, and one of
the few honest men, one might almost say one of the few gentlemen, of
his period. The tragedy of his life was to be born in such a period. He
had disdained the minor offices of state, and relying on his military
renown but in defiance of the law, he stood for the consulship in
70 B.C. As the official aristocracy objected he went over to the
democrats, and allied himself with Crassus. These two, elected under
threat of Pompeius’s army, straightway repealed most of the Sullan
constitution, and restored the balance of power to the knights and the
assembly. At the end of the year Pompeius retired into private life.
This was characteristic of him; he was capable of grandiose schemes
but he lived in fear of public opinion, and he was really moved when
orators spoke of illegality. Meanwhile there was a loud demand for some
comprehensive scheme of attack upon the pirates. No ordinary consular
command would do. Even the Roman senate was by this time convinced
that it was useless to send legions and cavalry against pirate ships.
Accordingly a Gabinian Law of 67 gave to Pompeius a command of
unprecedented magnitude. Millions of money were voted to him, he was to
be supreme over all the seas and all the coasts for fifty miles inland
for three years, with a staff of twenty-five legates, and all governors
were to obey his orders. The price of corn fell at once: Pompeius
discovered abundance of it in the granaries of the Sicilian corn trust.
Then he began a systematic drive of the seas, and in about three months
had cleared them. Thousands of pirates were caught and crucified. All
this made Pompeius the most powerful and the most dangerous man in Rome.

Next the tribune Manilius, in whose favour that rising _novus homo_
the friend of our youth, Marcus Tullius Cicero, pronounced an oration,
gave to Pompeius another huge commission against Mithradates, the
irrepressible rebel of Asia. Pompeius succeeded where all his
predecessors, from Sulla to Lucullus, had failed, and the wicked old
king was driven to suicide. Then Pompeius proceeded to organise the
East like an Alexander, but always in perfect loyalty to Rome.

While Pompeius was absent the so-called democracy, which mostly
consisted of hired ruffians in the pay of discontented nobles, ruled
the streets of the city. Among the young nobles who took this side
was one more dissolute and more foppish than the rest, a notorious
adulterer and spendthrift, Gaius Julius Cæsar. Though of the highest
birth--the goddess Venus by her marriage with the father of Æneas
was among his ancestors--he was also by lineage associated with the
democracy. His aunt was the wife of Marius, and his wife was a daughter
of Cinna. He began his public career quaintly enough as _pontifex
maximus_. When Julia the widow of Marius died, young Cæsar had the
audacity to display images and utter an oration in praise of Marius.
This, as was intended, set all the gossips talking, and his amazing
extravagance kept him well in the public eye. On one occasion he
exhibited three hundred gladiators in silver armour, although he was
known to be penniless. Probably Crassus was his financier all along.

At this time there was another of the frequently recurring financial
crises at Rome. Everybody was deeply in debt, and loud rose the cry
for the clean slate, as part of the democratic programme--the only
intelligible part. This was the cause of the famous conspiracy of
Catiline, who, if Cicero may be trusted, proposed to seize and burn
Rome by the aid of the discontented Sullan colonists in Etruria.
Both Cæsar and Crassus are said to have favoured the plot, but it is
exceedingly difficult to see what a large owner of Roman house property
had to gain by it. Cicero was the consul for the year 63, and though it
is the fashion just now to sneer at Cicero, he seems to have displayed
courage and promptitude in dealing with the conspirators. Unfortunately
his arrest and execution of Catiline was technically illegal. Cicero
himself, as a parvenu, was naturally an aristocrat, and his policy,
though futile, was intelligible. Briefly, it was to unite the senate
with the capitalist class in what he called the “union of the orders”
against the democratic elements of disorder. Pompeius came home from
the East to find the conspiracy crushed. He and his legions were not
wanted. With incredible folly and ingratitude the senate, led by
Cicero, refused even to grant the lands he had promised to his veterans.

Cæsar had gone as prætor to Spain, and there began to win military
renown--much to the surprise of his friends--and money. He wanted the
consulship for the next year, and therefore required the support of
Pompeius, who had now been driven away from the aristocratic party to
which he belonged by sympathy. Crassus came in as Cæsar’s creditor and
as the necessary millionaire. Thus was formed the Triumvirate of the
year 60, and in 59 Cæsar became consul. By this time he had conceived
high, possibly the highest, ambitions. Marius and Sulla, not to mention
Alexander and Æneas, had always been much in his mind. For the present
his object was to acquire a lasting office and secure the allegiance
of a trained army. Cæsar’s colleague in the consulship was a certain
Bibulus, who tried to stop the dangerous proceedings of the democrat by
seeing omens in the heavens every day, but no one, least of all Cæsar,
took any notice of him. The only serious opposition came from Cato
the Younger, who represented the genuine and respectable aristocracy.
This Cato was a queer anachronism at Rome, an honest man. He was also,
if biography may be trusted, a bigot and a priggish eccentric. He was
the sort of man to go about Africa without a hat, or to sit on the
judicial bench without shoes, because such was the _mos maiorum_. He
tried to revive the ways which had been styled old-fashioned in his
grandfather. Nevertheless he was upright and brave, a good soldier,
and a man with a clear though impossible policy. Once again it is
the fault of rhetorical history that all the good men of Rome appear
as prigs and eccentrics. This man most courageously opposed his veto
to the proceedings of Cæsar, though he was hustled and beaten by
the democratic hirelings, then organised under that most notorious
scoundrel Clodius. But the result was that though Cæsar’s laws might
pass, they could afterwards be declared illegal, and Cæsar would be
liable to prosecution as soon as he became a private citizen. However,
he had no immediate intention of becoming a private citizen. He secured
the province of Gaul for five years with four legions.

Now Gaul was not reckoned an important province. It was only
the peaceful plain of Upper Italy to which the senate had added
Narbonensian Gaul, a southern strip of France, chiefly considered as
a step on the road to Spain. Four legions was a small consular army
for those days; no one supposed that he would have much fighting. But
either Cæsar had received secret intelligence or else he had very good
luck. At the outset he was called to deal with a great immigration of
the barbarian Helvetii, who were migrating out of Switzerland into Gaul
and threatening the province.

The conservatives at Rome maintained that Cæsar’s conquests in Gaul
were the result of wanton aggression--cheap victories over inoffensive
savages, wholly unjustifiable and unauthorised. At this point it is
scarcely possible to avoid entering upon the much-debated question of
Cæsar’s real character. For orthodox Romans Cæsar was the founder of
the empire, a person not only of divine descent, but himself divine.
All emperors took his name, until that surname of Cæsar, once a mere
nickname, came, in half the languages of Europe, to be synonymous
with “Emperor.” For the Middle Ages he stood with Constantine, who
christianised the Empire, and Charlemagne, who revived it, as the
founder of that divinely instituted polity which shared with the Church
God’s viceregency on earth. In the eyes of Dante, Cæsar stood very near
to Christ, for the poet peoples the frozen heart of his Inferno with
three tormented figures who writhe in the very jaws of Cocytus. Along
with Judas Iscariot are the two murderers of Julius Cæsar. Though the
Renaissance stripped him of much of his legendary greatness, Cæsar
remained for the men of Shakespeare’s day the embodiment of imperial
pride. Shakespeare himself was too great an artist to make any of
his characters more or less than human, but it is evidently Brutus
who has the sympathies of the dramatist. In the French Revolution,
again, Brutus and Cassius were heroes and glorious tyrannicides. The
reaction against early nineteenth-century liberalism brought Cæsar
once more into honour, and Mommsen, the prophet of Cæsarism, makes him
the hero of his great history. To Mommsen Cæsar was almost divine, the
clear-sighted and magnanimous “saviour” who alone saw the true path out
of the disorders of his city. From this view again we are apparently
now in reaction once more. To the latest critics the greatness of Cæsar
and of Mommsen are alike abhorrent, and Signor Ferrero depicts his
greatest fellow-countryman as an unscrupulous demagogue who blundered
into renown through treachery and bloodshed.

The historical principle by which this result is attained is rather
typical of certain modern critical methods. Since the account of
the Gallic Wars was written chiefly by Cæsar himself, and Cæsar is
by hypothesis a scoundrel, the history of these wars must be found
by reading between the lines of Cæsar’s account, putting the most
unfavourable construction upon everything and preferring any evidence
to his, even if it be that of two centuries later. If any gaps or
inconsistencies are noticed they must be treated as concealing defeats
or acts of treachery. Written in this spirit, the story of the Gallic
Wars is a very black one for Cæsar and Rome. Yet unbiassed readers
must generally admit that Cæsar was a very careful and on the whole
an honest historian. The accusation that he was capable of relentless
cruelty springs from his own admissions. It was in the Roman character
to despise life, and when Cæsar thought that a rebellious tribe needed
a lesson he did not hesitate to massacre defenceless women and children
or to lay waste miles of territory with fire and sword. But, on the
other hand, his preference was for clemency and justice.

Without making him a demigod, we ought to be able to see his greatness.
As a young man his ardour of soul, working in a debased society without
ideals, made him simply more extravagant and more foppish than the
spendthrifts and rakes who surrounded him. Doubtless the scandalous
Suetonius has embellished the story of his early follies. Many of his
youthful escapades were, one suspects, carefully designed to bring
him into notice. It is probable that from a very early age he was
ambitious, and his family connections clearly marked out his career as
a democrat. He had the failure of Sulla before his eyes. The greatness
of his character lay chiefly in an instinctive hatred for muddle and
pretence. He could not fail to see the hopeless confusion into which
the Roman state had fallen. From the first, I think, he was aiming at
power for himself in order to put things straight. Whether self or
country came first in his calculations, it is hard, perhaps impossible,
to decide; but the historian is not necessarily a cynic when he demands
strong proof of altruism in the world of politics. To obtain power the
democratic side was the only possible one, for the nobles stood for
the predominance only of their class. Crassus was necessary to Cæsar
as his banker and creditor until he had acquired a fortune for himself
by conquest. Pompeius was the foremost soldier of the day, and it is
probable that Cæsar deliberately sought to climb over the shoulders
of Pompeius into monarchy. He saw--he could not help seeing, for it
was written plainly in the history of the past century--that for power
two things were necessary, the support of the mob in the forum and the
backing of a veteran army. At the time when Cæsar got Gaul for his
province there was a fresh movement towards imperial expansion. Foreign
conquest afforded some relief for the chagrins of internal politics. By
it Marius, Sulla, and Pompeius had become powerful. If Cæsar wanted to
eclipse them all, he must present Rome with a new province, the most
powerful of all bribes. It was in this spirit that he set out for Gaul.
If his ulterior motive was selfish it is certain that he threw himself
heart and soul, with all the burning energy of which his tireless
spirit was capable, into the work of conquest and civilisation.

[Illustration: Gallic Pottery]

And what a work it was! Archæology is now beginning to prove to history
that the so-called barbarians were by no means always savages. Even
the “naked woad-stained” Britons had their arts and industries and
political systems. The Gauls, when Cæsar attacked them, were well on
the road to civilisation. Druidism was a declining force, town-life
was beginning, and there was even a fairly artistic coinage. The
Gallic pottery is by no means destitute of beauty. As soldiers the
Gauls showed many of the qualities of their descendants, a devoted
impetuosity in the charge, coupled with a lack of tenacity in
resistance which always cost them dear. Much of Cæsar’s success was
due to his skill in dividing them against themselves, but many of his
difficulties arose from their fickle disposition. Mommsen, like a true
Bismarckian German, has a striking comparison of the ancient Gallic
Celt with the modern Irishman.

[Illustration: Gallic pottery]

“On the eve,” he says, “of parting from this remarkable nation, we may
be allowed to call attention to the fact that in the accounts of the
ancients as to the Celts on the Loire and the Seine we find almost
every one of the characteristic traits which we are accustomed to
recognise as marking the Irish. Every feature reappears: the laziness
in the culture of the fields; the delight in tippling and brawling;
the ostentation ... the droll humour ... the hearty delight in singing
and reciting the deeds of past ages, and the most decided talent for
rhetoric and poetry; the curiosity--no trader was allowed to pass
before he had told in the open street what he knew, or did not know,
in the shape of news--and the extravagant credulity which acted on
such accounts ... the childlike piety which sees in the priest a
father and asks him for advice in all things” (this, by the way, was
apparently a characteristic of the contemporary Germans also), “the
unsurpassed fervour of national feeling, and the closeness with which
those who are fellow-countrymen cling together almost like one family
in opposition to the stranger; the inclination to rise in revolt
under the first chance leader that presents himself, but at the same
time the utter incapacity to preserve a self-reliant courage equally
remote from presumption and pusillanimity, to perceive the right time
for waiting and for striking, to obtain or even barely to tolerate
any organisation, any sort of fixed military or political discipline.
It is, and remains, at all times and places the same indolent and
poetical, irresolute and fervid, inquisitive, credulous, amiable,
clever, but--from a political point of view--thoroughly useless nation;
and therefore its fate has been always and everywhere the same.”

The internal politics of Gaul seem to have been marked by a division
between two parties, one the conservative party of the aristocratic
knights, the other a nationalist and popular faction. Cæsar used these
divisions for the furtherance of his scheme of conquest. He was not
only a consummate general with an instinct for strategic points and
huge combinations, but he was also a superb regimental officer in the
making of soldiers. By the end of his ten years he had forged a small
but invincible army devoted to his interests and entirely confident
in his leadership. Personally, moreover, the Roman debauchee was the
best soldier in the army. Physically he was a stranger to weariness or
fatigue. He could travel immense distances with incredible rapidity,
alone on horseback, or with a handful of followers. He seemed
ubiquitous. In the battle, when his men wavered, he would leap down
into the ranks, sword in hand, or snatch the standard from the hand of
a centurion and fight among the foremost. No detail of fortification or
commissariat escaped him, and he, more than any one else, showed the
power of engineering in warfare. In the supreme battle against Pompeius
he even carried his devotion to the spade beyond reasonable limits
when he tried to circumvallate the much larger camp of his enemies.
One of his most surprising exploits was when half Gaul, supposed
to be pacified, rose in sudden revolt under Vercingetorix. With a
much smaller army he chased the rebels into the fortress of Alesia,
neglecting for the time all communication with his base, and fully
aware that a still larger army would soon advance to the relief of the
besieged. He therefore entrenched himself outside the gates of the city
and kept off the relieving force with one hand while he continued the
siege with the other. But while he was capable of brilliant strokes
of audacity like this, he was also a cold and cautious organiser of
victory, ready to meet his enemies on their own ground and with their
own weapons.

In this great war, which ended in the conquest of Gaul, Cæsar’s
expeditions to Britain were mere episodes which have been greatly
exaggerated in the traditional histories of our schools. They were
summer raids, like his dash across the Rhine, intended for a warning
to the barbarians of the hinterland; for it seems that communication
to and fro across the channel was continuous. It is probable enough
that the persuasions of the Roman traders who swarmed after the eagles
across Gaul had their influence also. Undoubtedly the Romans of this
generation were keenly alive to commercial openings, and always on
the search for mines, real or imaginary. Further, we cannot deny that
Cæsar in all his undertakings had one eye upon his political position
in Rome itself, and the “conquest of Britain,” that almost legendary
corner of the earth, concealed in boreal mists and embosomed in the
ever-flowing Ocean river, would be a sensational achievement calculated
to outshine the Oriental triumphs of Pompeius. One cannot but place
among the extravagances of hero-worship Mommsen’s belief that Cæsar
had a prophetic insight into the true nature of the “German Peril” for
Rome. When Cæsar took over the Gallic province there was no tremendous
German menace. There had always been occasional irruptions of the
barbarians from across the Rhine, and a steady German penetration of
the Netherlands. Cæsar did not lay down any intelligible frontier
policy: that was one of the achievements of Augustus. Both in Gaul
and Britain it was simply a forward movement by a general of bold and
untiring resolution, backed by an invincible army. The two trips to
Britain, like those across the Rhine, were reconnaissances only, and
the conquest of the island was one of the legacies which Cæsar intended
to reserve for the future. His successor very wisely declined it. There
was little immediate profit there, and the Gallic conquests had glutted
the Roman market with slaves.

Gaul had submitted easily to a force of less than forty thousand
Romans; then it had revolted unsuccessfully. In the end the whole
country acknowledged defeat and rapidly began to assimilate Latin
civilisation. Meanwhile in the imperial city the Republic was slowly
expiring by a natural death. Every winter Cæsar returned to the
Cisalpine part of his province to receive intelligence from Rome and
secure his position there. Clodius, the most evil of mob-leaders,
was his agent with the democracy. Clodius had managed to hound the
respectable Cicero into exile for his share in suppressing Catiline,
and when Cicero, who was really popular at Rome, had at length
persuaded Pompeius to allow his return, the great orator remained
thenceforward a timid and reluctant servant of the triumvirate,
defending their friends or prosecuting their enemies, with inward
reluctance, no doubt, but with unimpaired eloquence. With his
astonishing victories in Gaul the star of Julius was rising in the
political heavens. The commons of Rome were not only dazzled by his
successes, but captivated by his largesses. Meanwhile Pompeius was
living on his military reputation, and slowly squandering it by his
political incapacity. He continued to hold various high offices unknown
to the constitution; he became sole consul, a thing abhorrent to the
Roman system; he held the province of Spain and governed it from
Italy through his legates, and at the same time continued to exercise
a general oversight over the corn-supply of Rome. In fact there was
scarcely anything in the future position of a Roman emperor which had
not its precedent in the career of Pompeius. Had he wished it, or,
more probably, had he known how to obtain it, he and not Augustus
might easily have been the first Roman emperor. By taste and natural
sympathies he was an aristocrat, but the force of circumstances had
driven him into an uncomfortable position of alliance with Cæsar
the democrat and Crassus the plutocrat. This was in a large measure
the secret of his political helplessness. He, the conqueror of the
East, often found himself openly flouted, nay, actually hustled and
threatened in the streets, by the organised roughs. Meanwhile there
was a small but tenacious opposition party of aristocrats, who had no
discipline and therefore no leaders, but among whom Cato and Marcellus
were the most conspicuous. They had not the strength to offer any
consistent resistance to Cæsar’s progress, which they watched with
growing jealousy and alarm. They had not the sense to rally the
respectable elements in the state to their side. Both Cicero and
Pompeius would readily have joined them if they had made it possible.
Instead of that, they were content to carp at Cæsar’s achievements and
threaten him with a prosecution as soon as he should return to private
life. That was the stupidest mistake, for it made Cæsar resolve at all
costs to retain his command, and eventually precipitated the civil war.

As it can easily be seen, the coalition between Cæsar and Pompeius
was not a natural one: psychologically they had nothing in common,
and their interests soon began to diverge. Pompeius could hardly fail
to perceive that Cæsar was climbing by his help and at his expense.
The old general saw the memory of his great deeds eclipsed by the new
one, and there was no lack of mischief-makers to widen the breach.
The alliance had been cemented in a striking fashion at a conference
at Lucca in 56 B.C. when the conservatives were threatening to annul
Cæsar’s acts in Gaul. Cæsar had replied by inviting Pompeius to meet
him in his southern province; he also invited those senators who were
his friends to appear at the same time. Two hundred senators had
answered the invitation, and for the time being the opposition died
away into grumbling.

But now the breach was growing open to all men’s eyes. Cæsar’s charming
daughter, Julia, who had been married to Pompeius as a pledge of union,
and had done much to hold the two chiefs together, died at an early
age in the year 54. In the next year Crassus, the mediating third
party of the “triumvirate,” met his fate at Carrhæ. In the next there
were more than ordinary disorders over the elections, culminating in
a fierce battle in the forum between the rival gangs of Clodius for
the triumvirate and Milo for the senate. The senate-house was burnt
and Clodius slain. Pompeius then became sole consul, and proceeded,
under threat of his army, to introduce a series of laws almost openly
aimed at Cæsar. By the Pompeian law of magistrates Cæsar would be
compelled to appear in Rome as a private citizen for some months in
the year 49, at the mercy of his enemies, while Pompeius himself, by
having his titular command in Spain prolonged, would still be master
of an army. These laws were passed at the crisis of Cæsar’s fate in
Gaul, when the whole nation had risen in arms against him. But Cæsar
emerged victorious, and was now, in the year 50, free to consider his
position in regard to Pompeius and the senate. Cæsar himself maintains
that he was reluctant to resort to violence, and I think we may believe
him. Though nine legions were still under his command, he could hardly
venture to denude the newly conquered province of its garrisons,
while Pompeius was master of an equal number of legions, including
the veteran Spanish troops, and could levy any number of recruits or
reservists in Italy. Cæsar could not have faced the prospect of a civil
war with any confidence as to the result, even if he had been the sort
of man to provoke it without scruple. There is a further proof: as late
as 50 B.C. he resigned two legions to Pompeius, which would have been
madness if he had then intended to wade through bloodshed to a throne.
In all the abortive negotiations which preceded the outbreak of the
great civil war, Cæsar was prepared to resign everything except the one
condition upon which his very life depended, namely, that he should
not have to return to Rome as a defenceless private citizen. The civil
war was due to the mad folly of the conservatives led by Marcellus,
who had convinced themselves that Cæsar meant to sack Rome with his
Gallic cavalry and to reign as tyrant over its ashes. In the end they
succeeded in communicating their panic to Pompeius.

Conciliatory to the last, Cæsar was driven to show that he was in
earnest. Bidden to dismiss his army, and declared a public enemy, in
January 49 B.C. he took the decisive step of crossing the little river
Rubicon which marked the frontier of Italy. Even then it was only a
demonstration of force. Only 1500 men followed Cæsar to Rimini and
Arezzo, and he still offered peace on the most moderate terms. But the
panic-stricken and conscience-stricken senators, still believing in the
imminent sack of Rome, decided to leave their wives and children there
while they saved their precious necks, in headlong flight to Capua, and
then to Brindisi, and then to Greece. The great Pompeius showed equal
panic. Apparently demoralised by Cæsar’s swift and decisive movements,
he decided to give up Italy without a struggle and retire to the East,
where all his triumphs had been won. From there he would fight for the
lordship of the world.

But meanwhile Cæsar, by his clemency no less than by his bold
resolution, was winning all Italy to his side. Only one member of his
army--his old lieutenant-general Labienus--deserted him, while fresh
recruits even from the senatorial party daily joined him. Cool and
methodical as ever, he left Rome to recover from its panic, and the
East to wait until he had secured his hold upon the West. He knew the
value of a veteran army, and therefore turned his march first to Spain.
It took him but a short time to secure the capitulation of Pompeius’s
lieutenants in that province, and then at last he returned to Rome.
He was only in the city for eleven days, but in that time he was able
to remove the panic and disorder there. He restored credit, assured
the supply of corn, and got a grant of citizen rights for his faithful
provincials of Cisalpine Gaul.

Meanwhile the Pompeian army was gathering in northern Greece, and the
senators were breathing death and damnation against Cæsar. The final
struggle on the Albanian coast and in Thessaly, which culminated in the
great battle of Pharsalus (48 B.C.), decided the fate of the world.
The troops were fairly equal, if numbers and training are taken into
account; in numbers alone Cæsar was far inferior. But Cæsar’s men had
extraordinary devotion to their general, as he had to his beloved
legions. Never was there completer confidence between an army and its
leader than between Cæsar and his veterans. He could be merciless in
discipline. Once he had to decimate the Ninth Legion, but he could
move his grim legionaries to tears by a reproach. He shared all their
labours, he starved with them, and marched those prodigious forced
marches by their side. They trusted in his generalship, and they were
not disappointed. Pompeius showed, when at last he roused himself, that
he too had not forgotten the military art. It was a battle of giants;
Pompeius the more orthodox tactician, Cæsar incredibly bold, rapid,
and far-seeing. More than once it was touch and go. Cæsar had terrible
difficulties to face, above all in the necessity of transporting his
army across the wintry Adriatic in face of the enemy when he had no
fleet. The feat was accomplished by sheer audacity, and then he had to
face and contain a larger army, thoroughly well prepared and supplied,
with no base and no communications for his own men. He actually tried
to fling a line of earthworks round the Pompeian army while his own men
were starving. Yet it was by generalship that the battle of Pharsalus
was won.

Pompeius fled to Egypt for refuge, and was murdered there by
treacherous Alexandrians and renegade Romans. Cæsar, who had received
the submission of the whole provincial world with the exception of
King Juba’s African realm, followed Pompeius to Egypt, and on landing
was presented with his rival’s head. In Alexandria itself Cæsar had to
face one of the most serious crises of his life. For six months he held
the royal palace against a host of infuriated Orientals. In the palace
was Cleopatra, the wife and sister of the reigning Ptolemy, and then a
brilliant and fascinating young woman of twenty. Let us believe that
she was beautiful, and that the portrait-painters and coin-engravers of
her day were incompetent or disloyal.[18] But if rumour spoke truly,
Cæsar was by no means exclusive in his devotion to female charms. Her
son was named Cæsarion.

When at length Julius Cæsar escaped from the twofold entanglements of
love and battle at Alexandria, he had more fighting still before he
could make the earth his footstool. He spent a few days in Syria to
arrange the affairs of the East, and among other things gave orders
to build up the wall of Jerusalem, which had been thrown down by the
orders of Pompeius. Then he passed over to Asia Minor, and at Zela
crushed the rebellion of a Pontic successor of Mithradates. So back
to Italy for a few weeks, and there he found all in disorder, and his
legions, including the faithful Tenth, mutinying for their pay. He
settled the disorder at Rome by his mere presence, enacted laws to
relieve the economic distress there, and, having no money to pay his
soldiers, quelled their mutiny by sheer sleight of speech. Meanwhile
the broken Pompeians had gathered in thousands at the court of King
Juba, who himself had a formidable host. As soon as he could find time,
the restless conqueror crossed straight to Africa with as many soldiers
as he could muster, leaving the main force to follow. That was always
Cæsar’s way--to dart straight upon the scene of danger was his first
instinct. At his coming the marrow oozed out of the very bones of his
foe. He had a Scipio and a Cato, and a host of notable Romans arrayed
against him. At Thapsus, in April of the year 46, he smote them, and
slew (it is said) fifty thousand men--fourteen legions of Romans. There
at Utica, Cato died his famous Stoic death, far the noblest scene of
his mistaken life, and so became a theme for the glorification of Stoic
Republicanism for all time. Afranius, Scipio, King Juba, Faustus Sulla,
and many others, died also. A few stragglers found their way to Spain,
to continue the fight there under the two sons of Pompeius. Thither in
the next year, so soon as he had leisure, Cæsar followed them, and in
a last great battle at Munda he finished the resistance. Only Sextus
Pompeius was left of the Pompeian party, and he escaped for a time to
begin an interesting career as a gentleman-pirate.

In this manner the amazing Cæsar conquered the world. Now it was
unquestionably his. What was he to make of it? This story has been told
in vain unless it has shown that the city of Rome was rotten to the
core, with no sound elements left in it. Cæsar himself was a solitary
prodigy; he had no supporters worthy of his confidence. Labienus had
deserted him, Quintus Cicero, another of his legates in Gaul, had
also fought against him. Mark Antony was perhaps his right-hand man,
but Antony was nothing but a brilliant orator and a fair soldier; of
character or reputation he had not a shred. Brutus, to whom Cæsar
was personally devoted, had fought against him, and was--in spite
of Shakespeare and republican tradition--a vain and shallow egoist.
Cæsar had no brother and no legitimate son. Across in Apollonia his
little great-nephew Octavius was still at school. Julius Cæsar had
to reorganise a broken world alone. For a hundred years there had
been no peace in Rome, and no proper government in the empire. Every
year of its lingering agony, the Republic had drawn closer to the
inevitable issue in Monarchy. Even Cicero, when he tried to console
himself for the horrible disorders of Roman life by depicting an ideal
commonwealth, had been compelled to build it round a _princeps_ who
should maintain order, and thus allow liberty to exist. In practice
also the last century had seen a succession of “princes”--Gracchus,
Marius, Cinna, Sulla, Pompeius--all from the necessity of the case
forced into unconstitutional positions. And now Cæsar had succeeded
without a rival. Sulla had resigned power, and his work had almost
immediately fallen to pieces. There was now, even more than then, no
chance of building up a senatorial party, and indeed Cæsar had been
the lifelong victim of senatorial arrogance and folly. It was equally
impossible to build up a Roman democracy out of the demoralised
loungers in the forum.

Obviously monarchy was the only solution. Cæsar was fifty-five years
old, spent with war and labour, and, as I have said, quite alone.
He was a man without beliefs or illusions or scruples. Not a bad
man: for he preferred justice and mercy to tyranny and cruelty, and
he had a passion for logic and order. He was not the sort of man to
make compromises. His sudden successes had taught him to despise his
enemies. He was not, of course, ignorant that the Romans (if there
were any true Romans left) had it in their blood to hate the title of
Rex. Every Roman schoolboy was brought up to declaim in praise of
regicides. But possibly in time they could be accustomed to the hideous
idea. For the present, old-fashioned titles like Dictator, Consul, and
Tribune would suffice. But the office must be made hereditary, and the
boy Octavius was already marked for adoption and succession. The title
of Rex could wait. Cæsar would feel his way gently.

But patience was not one of his virtues. Actually fortune only left
him less than two years, and those broken by tedious campaigns in the
Spanish provinces, for the regeneration of Roman society. In that time
he restored the finances, rearranged the provincial system, abolished
the political clubs which had been centres of disorder at Rome,
reformed the Calendar, dedicated a new forum and new temples, restored
and revised the senate, founded a system of municipal government for
Italy, settled his veterans on the land, and was preparing a great
expedition to chastise the Parthians.

Most of these acts were wisely done, but in one thing Cæsar
miscalculated. His brilliant successes and the adulation with which
he was surrounded led him to despise his enemies. He would not stoop
to flatter antiquarian prejudices or to cast a decent veil over his
monarchical position. You may treat people as slaves and they will
admire you for it, but when you _call_ them slaves they will begin
to resent it. Cæsar failed to rise from his chair to receive the
senators. In his reformed senate he included representatives of the
equestrian class, provincials and even distinguished soldiers of quite
humble birth. He allowed his statue to be set up beside the Seven
Kings of Rome. He accepted a gilt chair, he permanently retained the
triumphant general’s laurel-crown, partly because he was bald and
keenly sensitive about it; and then either through his orders or
by their own officiousness his friends began to throw up _ballons
d’essai_ in the direction of kingship. At the Lupercalia Antony offered
him a crown of gold. It was spread abroad that an ancient Sibylline
prophecy had foretold that the Parthians could only be conquered by
a king and that Cæsar was to adopt the title for the purpose of his
Eastern expedition. It was trifles like these, and trivial jealousies,
trivial requests declined in the name of justice, that led to the
great conspiracy. No doubt the influence of rhetorical patriotism had
its effect upon many of the conspirators. An unknown hand wrote “O
that thou wert living!” upon the statue of old Brutus the Liberator.
But neither Brutus nor Cassius deserves our admiration. It was pique
not patriotism that sharpened their daggers. Sixty senators conspired
together, and on the eve of setting out for Parthia--the Ides of March,
44 B.C.--Julius Cæsar was slain.

And then, having slain the tyrant and liberated the republic, the
patriots were helpless. A doctrinaire like Cicero might still dream
of restoring the commonwealth; but the only real question was who
should succeed. The people only cried for peace. It was not so much the
speech of Mark Antony as the funeral of Cæsar, cleverly stage-managed
by Calpurnia, and the genuine sorrow of his veterans, which gradually
turned the popular feeling against the conspirators. The senate did not
venture to declare Cæsar a tyrant, they confirmed his acts, but there
was no proposal to punish the murderers. The whole conclusion was a
feeble compromise.

The man who should have grasped the helm was Mark Antony. He was left
sole consul, there was a legion and the prætorian cohort under arms
only waiting the word. The conspirators had only a few gladiators in
their pay. Antony had every right to arrest them. But Antony was not
the man for the part. With all his talents his character was feeble. He
was always dependent on his surroundings and generally under feminine
influence. Once it had been the dancer Cytheris, at present it was
the aggressive Fulvia; for a time Octavia almost reformed him, but
Cleopatra easily ensnared him. He was a rake and a spendthrift, always
in debt. He was timid of public opinion: just now the aristocratic
society in which he moved was prating of tyrannicide. Antony wanted to
be in the fashion. There were dramatic embracements between Antony and

Now the testament of Cæsar, which had just been confirmed by the
senate, named young Gneius Octavius as heir to three-quarters of his
estate. At the end of the will was a codicil adopting him. Henceforth
until he gets the title of Augustus this young Cæsar must be called
Octavianus, though he never accepted that name for himself. The “second
heirs” named in case the first should fail or decline to succeed
included D. Brutus, one of the murderers, and Mark Antony himself.
Whosoever should accept the heirship would be bound by all Roman ideas
of honour to undertake the chastisement of the murderers. Antony seems
to have assumed that the obscure young man would not be likely to
accept the inheritance. He therefore got together all Cæsar’s papers,
and began to spend Cæsar’s immense fortune as only Antony could. He
began also to manipulate Cæsar’s papers, inserting anything he liked
among Cæsar’s “acts,” selling honours, raising taxes, recalling exiles
to please Fulvia. For some time no one ventured to complain. Leading
senators like Cicero retired to the country remarking that the tyrant
was dead but the tyranny still alive. Then, of course, Antony had to
provide himself with a province to ensure his future safety. Moreover,
the cry of the veterans for revenge began to move him to play the
Cæsarian. Thus Antony was virtually master of the Roman world and the
sky was dark with menace.

Into this dangerous arena steps the nineteen-year-old Octavian.
His guardian advised him to have nothing to do with his perilous
inheritance. Historians have often dubbed him a coward. But alone and
unfriended this youth left his tutors at Apollonia and came to Rome
to take up his trust. It meant, first, revenge upon the conspirators;
and secondly, a quarrel with Antony. It meant, in fact, two more civil
wars, and Octavian had seen nothing of warfare. He set to work coolly
and warily. There was still a magic in the name of Cæsar, and the
veterans rallied to him and besought him to march against Brutus and
Cassius. Part of his duties as executor was to pay a million sterling
in donations to the Roman people. He sold his property and began to
distribute the largess, man by man, tribe by tribe, until the sum was
paid. He gave magnificent games in his “father’s” honour, with the
lucky star of Julius publicly exhibited. He bought an army of 10,000
men with borrowed money. Two of Antony’s legions deserted to him
bodily, and the very veterans of Antony’s bodyguard offered to murder
their general if young Cæsar would give the signal.

But there was no haste in his method. Antony was to be used first and
then destroyed. Octavian tried for a time to work with the senate, and
even marched against Antony under their orders, but the incredible
folly of the senate, who were persuaded by Cicero that “the boy” was
negligible, drove him into the famous triple alliance of Antony,
Octavian, and Lepidus. These three were appointed under threat of their
armies to a kind of dictatorship in commission, “a triumvirate to
reorganise the state.” Revenge was the explicit motive of this league.
They began with the usual horrid proscription of all the senatorial
aristocrats to be found in Rome. This was mainly Antony’s work. His
creditors, his enemies and his wife’s enemies were slain wholesale,
and, among them, Cicero. Eighteen towns of Italy were destroyed to
provide lands for the veterans.

Meanwhile the tyrannicides had gathered in the East, and now Antony
and the young Cæsar set out in pursuit of them. In the two battles
of Philippi the luck of Octavian and the skill of Antony triumphed
over their dispirited adversaries. Brutus and Cassius fell. A few of
the “patriots” survived and joined Sextus Pompeius who was still at
large in the Mediterranean. In the warfare at Philippi Octavian’s
inexperience and real want of talent for generalship had been very
apparent in contrast to Antony. Lepidus was already a nonentity.
Antony went off to the East; and while he was holding his court of
justice in Cilicia there sailed into harbour the splendid royal yacht
of Cleopatra. The people left the judgment seat to see the famous
Queen, and Antony too was soon at her feet. Signor Ferrero would have
us believe, relying partly on the mature age of Cleopatra, that it
was policy, not love, which made Antony dally at Alexandria. Policy
no doubt was there, but everything that we know of Antony leads us
to believe that he was just the man to be captured by a celebrated
courtesan, particularly if she were also a queen. Certainly his sojourn
in the East lowered his character both as a politician and as a soldier.

Octavian had to face Rome and the West. His task was full of perils
but also full of possibilities. The soldiers were mutinous, he himself
was grievously sick, and the redoubtable Fulvia, who was her husband’s
real agent at Rome, very soon perceived that he was an enemy to be
fought. Octavian had to fight another small civil war at Perugia
before he could call himself master even of Italy, and then fight
Sextus Pompeius in the Sicilian waters. Luckily he had at his side a
splendid soldier--general and admiral by turns as were all good Roman
fighting-men--Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.[19] He had also as his agent
at Rome Mæcenas, an astute diplomatist and man of business. So though
he himself often displayed feebleness and was often in danger he
accomplished his task and became master of the West. Thus the lordship
of the world was reduced to a plain duel.

Antony had actually married Cleopatra after Fulvia’s death and
Octavia’s divorce, and as consort of the Egyptian queen reigned in
Oriental majesty. He had marched against the Parthians and failed
ignominiously. He was assigning provinces and princedoms to Cleopatra
and her dubious offspring. It was easy for Octavian to represent Antony
as a renegade Roman threatening to introduce Oriental monarchy into
Rome. When at last it came to the final civil war Octavian appeared as
fighting in the public cause of Rome against Egypt, with Antony as a
mere deserter on the Egyptian side. The great naval battle of Actium
(31 B.C.), which decided the mastery of the world for Octavian, was
thus a triumph for the Roman arms over the barbarians. Actually it was
a degenerate Antony who sailed away at the crisis of the battle in the
wake of the queen’s yacht. The glory of the day was Agrippa’s. The luck
as usual was the young Cæsar’s. He was able to inaugurate his reign at
Rome by presenting her with Egypt, the richest country in the world. In
29 B.C. he came home to celebrate a glorious triple triumph and to open
a new era as the first Roman Emperor.


Such is a brief sketch of the hundred and four years from the day when
Tiberius Gracchus first arose to challenge the senatorial oligarchy
to the day when the Empire was established upon the ruins of the
Republic. It is perhaps the most terrible century in the history of
the world. Rome had become the centre of the world, the only hope for
civilisation, and Rome was filled with bloodshed and corruption. For
the provinces there was no decent government, only a succession of
licensed plunderers. In the city itself there was a long series of
personal struggles for the mastery; politics meant organised rioting by
gangs of roughs, questions were solved by the dagger or by the swords
of senators. At intervals there came from each side alternately the
murderous proscriptions, in which every man of spirit or eminence on
the opposing side was marked down for destruction. Often their sons
and grandsons perished with them, and in any case their fortunes were
destroyed. Besides the proscriptions there had been of late a series of
civil wars on a great scale in which thousands of the bravest Romans
perished by each other’s swords. A successful foreign war may have
some compensating effect in stiffening the moral fibre of a nation and
exalting its spirit. But civil war is disastrous in every way. It is
only the meanest who survive and the evil passions which it arouses
have no compensation.

In such a period it is wonderful that civilisation should have been
able to make any advances at all. But in spite of the public turmoil
private citizens were amassing enormous fortunes out of the plunder of
the world, and living, though always on the edge of a volcano, in state
and luxury like kings. It is now our task to see something of private
life and culture in the Rome of the expiring Republic.

Money was easily made in those days and lavishly spent. Even an honest
man like Cicero, governing a comparatively poor province like Cilicia,
made at least £20,000 by his year of office while he remitted to the
provincials a million, which, as he says, any governor of average
morality would have retained. Legacies were a very frequent source
of revenue especially to pleaders, and it was customary for a rich
testator at Rome to make large bequests to his friends. Cicero gained
£200,000 by such legacies. Foreign kings and states paid handsomely
for legal advice or support. Although a barrister was supposed to give
his services for nothing yet gifts and legacies were not refused. For
the financier or business man there were many channels to affluence.
There were mines all over the empire to be financed and exploited.
Although there was little genuine industry at Rome, yet the training
and use of slaves for various undertakings was a lucrative business.
Crassus trained a salvage brigade for Rome and went about to fires with
them in order to make bids for the purchase of the burning property.
Atticus trained a company of copying clerks and made money by the sale
of books. He also kept gladiators and hired them out to magistrates for
the games. Fortunes were made, as in the case of Crassus, by buying
up the confiscated property of the proscribed. Land speculation was
rendered extremely profitable by the frequent assignation of farm-lands
to veteran soldiers who were generally glad to sell them at once.
The extravagance of the Roman nobles led to a very brisk traffic in
loans at high interest. There was a great deal of genuine commercial
speculation in ships and cargoes, generally by companies, and Cato
advises the investor to put his money in fifty different enterprises
rather than in one at a time. Commerce overseas was, however,
forbidden to the senators by the Claudian law, and these speculated
chiefly in land, on which they made a profit by slave-labour. But
the most profitable business of all was tax-farming, in which the
equestrian classes joined together in capitalist rings. In these and
other ways prodigious fortunes were accumulated. The stored-up capital
of the Roman world is astounding in its magnitude compared even to
that of modern times. The real property of Pompeius sold for £700,000.
Æsopus, the popular actor, left £200,000. After the most lavish
donations to the public Crassus left nearly two millions sterling by
will. On the death of Cæsar the treasury contained eight millions in
bullion of which a million was the dictator’s own property.

But all the wealth of the Roman empire was shared by a very narrow
circle. The gulf between rich and poor was far deeper than it is
to-day. We hear of poor nobles and rich upstarts, but of a respectable
middle class with traditions of its own there is little trace. There is
an aristocracy of a few thousand families, and nothing else but a vast
proletariat, silent and hungry, dependent on their bounty, bribed with
money, bribed with free corn, and bribed with bloody spectacles. They
lived miserably in huge tenement blocks or in hovels on the outskirts
of the city. The only career open to them was in the army, and that
was chiefly filled by the stronger rustics. They had nothing to do but
lounge in the streets, gape at gladiators and actors and shout for
the most generous politicians of the day. No doubt there were honest
citizen cobblers, but Roman history is silent about them.

That section of the city which is to be styled Society was as proud and
reckless as the French aristocracy before the Revolution. The senate
had now become almost literally a hereditary rank. A child born into
one of these princely houses was tended by a multitude of slaves. By
this time there was some attempt at a liberal education. Attended by a
slave pedagogue the boy would go daily to the school of some starved
Greek, who would teach him his letters and his figures. The staple of
education was the delivery of artificial declamation on the model of
Isocrates or Demosthenes. After this stage a young man would commonly
be sent abroad to Athens or Rhodes to finish his education with a
little philosophy or mathematics, but chiefly with oratory. Returned
to Rome, his destiny placed him in a circle of foppish youths, who
devoted their principal attention to dress and manicure. Bejewelled
and scented, they practised every vice, natural and unnatural. In
due course, with no effort but a few bribes from the parental purse,
they became priests and augurs, thus entering what were in reality
aristocratic dining-clubs. Dining was now the principal art of Rome.
Macrobius has preserved the menu of one of these priestly dinners of
the Republic, at which the priests and vestals were present. The party
began with a prolusion like the Russian or Swedish system of _hors
d’œuvres_, in which seventeen dishes of fish and game were presented.
The dinner itself contained ten more courses, “sow’s udder, boar’s
head, fish-pasties, boar-pasties, ducks, boiled teals, hares, roasted
fowls, starch-pastry, Pontic-pastry.” Such was the State religion
of Rome in the first century before Christ. At intervals the young
noble’s father’s friends would invite him to join their staff on
foreign service. If he had the good fortune to serve with Pompeius
or Lucullus in the East or with Cæsar in Gaul, he might get a taste
of real manliness, and serve his country as tribune of the soldiers.
But more often in a peaceful province like Sicily or Africa he was
merely initiated into the arts of extortion, and enjoyed all the
vicious opportunities of the younger sons of princes. Thus fortified
by experience he would return to Rome to seek the suffrages of his
fellow-citizens for the quæstorship, the first rung on the ladder
of office. Votes were to be won by bribery, direct or indirect. One
candidate would spread a banquet for a whole tribe; another would seek
to outshine his rivals by providing strange beasts from Africa--among
Cicero’s correspondence there is an urgent appeal for Cilician panthers
to be slain in the arena--or by dressing his gladiators in silver
armour. Similar requirements accompanied his progress through all
the stages of office on a progressively lavish scale. As quæstor he
would be a judge or a comptroller of the treasury for a single year.
Then as ædile he would conduct the public festivals, preside in the
ædile’s court, control the markets and streets of Rome. So he rose to
be consul, commander of legions and president of the state, and then
in due course governor of an enormous province. From his quæstorship
onwards his seat in the senate was assured.

In his home the noble Roman lived like a king, waited upon by an
enormous retinue. There was much luxury and little comfort. The houses
of the Romans were on a far more luxurious scale than those of the
Greeks. The only genuine Roman taste that can be called liberal was the
hobby of collecting beautiful town houses and country seats. Cicero,
who was a man of modest income and tastes, seems to have possessed
about eighteen different estates, and gave nearly £30,000 for his town
house. The qualities prized in the choice of a mansion were space and
coolness, and the Romans of this age were by no means insensible to
the charms of scenery. The coast round Naples and Baiæ was dotted with
sumptuous villas, and the gay world spent its summer there in much the
same way as the cosmopolitan crowds at Biarritz. Besides his great town
house and his family mansion at Arpinum, and his country houses at
Tusculum and elsewhere, Cicero had marine villas all along the coast at
Antium, Formiæ, Cumæ, Puteoli, and Pompeii, and all along the Campanian
road were his private “inns,” where he lodged on his journeys. His
favourite villa was the one at Tusculum, the scene of many of his
literary labours, and among others of the famous Tusculan Disputations.
It had previously belonged to Sulla, and was adorned with paintings in
commemoration of Sulla’s victories. It was situated on the top of a
hill along with many other villas of the aristocracy, and commanded a
delightful view of the city about twelve miles away. The park attached
to it was extensive, and through it there ran a broad canal. He had
books everywhere, but his principal library was deposited at Antium. At
Puteoli he constructed a cloister and a grove on the model of Plato’s

The principal feature of the Roman house was its large colonnaded hall,
with a roof open in the middle to admit light and air. This roof sloped
inwards, and allowed the rain to fall into a central tank, delightful
for coolness, no doubt, but probably very unwholesome. In old days the
atrium had been the common room of the Roman family. It still retained
a symbolical marriage-bed, a symbolical spinning-wheel, the portraits
of the ancestors, and the ceremonial altar to the family gods, who were
now stored away in a cupboard close at hand. Most of the rooms opened
directly out of the atrium. As they are seen in the ruins of Roman
villas, they appear to have been comparatively small and ill-lighted.
The larger houses themselves were generally built of local limestone
with facings of stucco, though the greater part of Rome was still
in this first century b.c. constructed of sun-baked bricks. It was
considered unheard-of luxury when Mamurra faced his walls with marble
slabs. The floors were generally tessellated. It was an innovation of
the Roman architect to build houses of three or more stories, but it
was probably only a starveling poet who would live on the fourth floor.
A noble’s house would spread over the ground regardless of space, but
the bedrooms and sometimes the dining-room were upstairs. Externally
the Roman house was a little finer than the Greek, being fronted with
a pillared forecourt and a dwelling for the concierge. At the back the
atrium opened into a colonnaded garden with a fountain, flower-beds,
and shrubbery.

As the Roman’s house was built mainly with a view to coolness, so
his daily life was that of a southerner. Rome was never a healthy
city in the summer, and all who could afford it fled to the country
or the sea-side. Almost every Roman known to us in literature was
either an invalid or a valetudinarian. Malarial fever in its periodic
form was very widely spread, and most of our distinguished friends
pursued a medical regimen. Cæsar was subject to fits of epilepsy,
Cicero was of weak constitution, Horace was a martyr to ophthalmia
as well as malaria, Augustus was always ailing and often at death’s
door. The Roman’s most amiable idiosyncrasy was his devotion to the
bath. Every considerable house had an elaborate bathing department
with at least a hot room built over a furnace, and a cold room with a
swimming-tank. But there were also public baths, on an ever-increasing
scale of magnificence. Agrippa alone built 170 of them at Rome. Rich
and poor alike made it their daily practice to bathe after exercise,
just before their principal meal in the early afternoon. The custom of
the noon-tide siesta was universal, except with prodigies of industry
like Cicero. A great deal of time was spent in lounging abroad through
the streets or under shady colonnades. The streets of Rome, as of all
ancient cities, were extremely narrow, but in the busy parts of the
city all wheeled traffic was forbidden.

The wealthy Romans have a name for abominable luxury and gluttony. As
to the general question of its influence in destroying the morality of
Rome I have already ventured to express disbelief in the popular view.
From all that we read, it does not appear that the ordinary Roman was
naturally addicted to intemperance either in eating or drinking. The
praise of wine is with Horace a literary pose; personally he had a
poor head and a poor stomach. The Italian is not, and probably never
was a great natural eater or drinker judged by northern standards. But
rhetoricians and satirists have delighted to dwell upon the immensity
of Roman dinner-parties which often lasted all day and included a
hideous series of curious and exotic dainties. This was the form
which, in default of any nobler ideals, wealth at Rome had chosen for
its display. Time hung heavily on this slave-tended aristocracy: to
dine from dawn to daylight was one of the ways of killing it. So the
guests reclined on their couches, dancers jigged before them, musicians
played, occasionally a tumbler or a tight-rope walker would appear, in
literary households a slave would read philosophy; and all the time
the soft-footed slaves were coming and going with dishes of strange
morsels gathered from the ends of the earth, and rare wines from the
four corners of the globe. A dish of nightingales’ tongues is not
the sort of thing to please one who is a _gourmet_ by conviction or
natural taste. Eating was for most of these poor starved imaginations
the only form of culture they understood. It was, however, conducted
with tremendous ceremony. There was a “tricliniarch” to marshal his
“decuries” of slaves as each dish came into the room. There was a
special “structor” to arrange the dishes, a special “analecta” to pick
up the fragments that the diners dropped. Carving was a science with
various branches, as in old England, and the skilful carver had his
scheme of gesticulations for each kind of dish. There was another slave
specially appointed to cry out the name and quality of each _plat_.
In addition to these every guest had his own footman standing behind
his couch. The most characteristic and the most unpleasant feature of
a Roman banquet was the manner in which the diners assisted nature to
provide them with an appetite. Even Julius Cæsar “took his vomit” both
before and after his dinner-party with Cicero.

The public shows, which formed the chief recreation of rich and poor
alike, grew yearly more brutal and bloody. As they were the means by
which ambitious candidates for office sought to canvass popularity, the
principal aim was to present something novel and startling. No doubt
the more refined spectators regarded the butchery of wild beasts or
paid gladiators with disgust, but the populace at large only shouted
for more blood. Five hundred lions were slaughtered on one day at the
triumphal games given by Pompeius. Cicero writes that the wholesale
destruction of elephants in the arena actually moved the people to
pity. There were still some real theatrical performances in Rome.
Actors and mimics, indeed, if they were handsome and graceful, made
large fortunes. Most Roman nobles of a literary bent amused themselves
with writing tragedies. Cicero’s soldier brother composed four on a
fortnight’s journey to Gaul. But these were only employed to bore one’s
friends at dinner. Original literary dramas were even less often
staged at Rome than they are in London. Plautus and Terence for comedy,
and Pacuvius, Attius, and Ennius for tragedy, had already become
classics and were still regularly performed. The drama died stillborn
at Rome.

Historians of Rome, fortified by Juvenal and Petronius, love to depict
the vices of the emperors and the imperial period. The later Republic
can show us a morality no more exalted. The fragments of Varro’s
satires written in the heyday of the Republic are in precisely the
same strain of despondency as are the satires of Juvenal. For him,
too, virtue is a thing of the past. Sober fact compels us to see that
the aristocratic society of Republican Rome was hideously immoral.
Voluntary celibacy and “race-suicide” were already rife. The family
was a decaying institution, divorce was common, and the sterility of
wickedness had long been at work to sap the ranks of the nobility. Even
Cicero divorced his wife Terentia upon a trivial pretext after a long
period of happy conjugal life in order to marry an heiress. Cæsar had
four wives of his own, not to mention Cleopatra, without begetting a
single legitimate son. Cato, the strict censor of morals, having been
jilted in his youth, married a wife, divorced her for adultery after
she had borne him two sons, married another, lent her for six years to
the orator Hortensius, and on his death resumed her again. Mark Antony
married Fadia, then Antonia, then divorced her and lived publicly with
Cytheris the actress, then married Fulvia, who had already been twice
a widow, then married Octavia, then Cleopatra. These marriages were
made and dissolved freely for political reasons. A large part of Roman
politics was carried on in the salons of the Roman ladies, and if half
of what Cicero alleges be true Messalina herself had her republican
prototypes in women like Clodia and Fulvia. Beside almost promiscuous
relations between the sexes, the darker forms of Oriental vice were
extremely fashionable among the gilded youth of Rome.

Religion was almost purely formal or political. Augurships and
priesthoods still existed as the perquisite of aristocratic families.
People still uttered the formulæ of oaths and vows. There was still
some belief in omens and prodigies, the altars still smoked with
sacrifice when triumphant generals went up to the capitol, but few
prayers ascended to Jupiter in sincerity. Instead the importation of
strange deities continued. Again and again in this first century before
Christ the senate tried to expel the worship of Isis from the precincts
of Rome, but it always returned, and eventually the triumvirs built a
temple to Isis and Serapis as a measure to court popular favour. The
Magna Mater of the Phrygian corybants had long been firmly established
at Rome.

I think it was general materialism and immorality which killed the old
State religion at Rome. Greek philosophy had generally been able to
exist amicably by the side of religion. It now came in to fill up the
gap left by the absence of real religious feeling. But at Rome, though
Stoicism afterwards became a powerful force of inspiration to the
noblest minds, philosophy was in the main a form of literary activity
for dilettantists. Cato of Utica was a Stoic by temperament before he
became one by doctrine. Cicero amused his leisure by recasting and
combining the doctrines of the leading Greek schools in a Roman form of
dialogue, in imitation of Plato; but with him it was more of a literary
exercise than anything else, and Cicero has added little or nothing to
the world’s stock of philosophical ideas. Only in the poet Lucretius
does the fire of philosophy burn with genuine ardour. Lucretius had
before him the task of proselytising at Rome for the doctrines of
Epicurus and Democritus. People accustomed to the modern associations
of the word “epicure” may wonder what there was to arouse the
enthusiasm of a poet in the philosophy of Epicurus. That creed offered
a rational explanation of the universe. With its theory of spontaneous
atomic creation, and its surprising foreknowledge of some at least of
the ideas of natural selection and evolution, it claimed to satisfy the
intellect of mankind and to drive out all the grovelling superstition
and empty rites which had usurped at Rome, as they tend to do always
and everywhere, the throne of religion. All the enthusiasm with which
the nineteenth century approached the new discoveries of science glowed
in the heart of this rugged poet of the first century before Christ.
“Voluptas” was his only goddess, but it was no vulgar pleasure of the
body upon earth. It was the spirit soaring to freedom and knowledge.
This atheist Epicurean is, in the true sense of the word, the most
religious of all poets. He explains the nature of lightning in order
that his fellow-creatures may not live in fear of thunderbolts. He
explains with the same confident logic the nature of death in order
that they may not fear the natural resolution of body and soul into
their primordial atoms. He is moved almost to tears by the folly and
sorrow of his brother-men, and he pleads with them to suffer the sacred
lamp of philosophy to shine upon their darkened minds:

    at nisi purgatum est pectus, quæ prælia nobis
    atque pericula sunt ingratis insinuandum?
    quantæ tum scindunt hominem cupedinis acres
    sollicitum curæ? quantique perinde timores?
    quidue superbia, spurcitia ac petulantia, quantas
    efficiunt cladeis? quid luxus, desidiæque?
    hæc igitur qui cuncta subegerit, ex animoque
    expulerit dictis, non armis, nonne decebit
    hunc hominem numero diuom dignarier esse?[20]

His doctrine is medicine for the feverish unrest of the day:

    exit sæpe foras magnis ex ædibus ille
    esse domi quem pertæsum est, subitoque reuentat;
    quippe foris nihilo melius qui sentiat esse.
    currit agens mannos ad uillam præcipitanter
    auxilium tectis quasi ferre ardentibus instans:
    oscitat extemplo tetigit quom limina uillæ
    aut abit in somnum grauis, atque obliuia quærit,
    aut etiam properans urbem petit atque reuisit.
    hoc se quisque modo fugit ...[21]

He has a compassionate scorn for the mourner:

    aufer abhinc lacrumas, barathre, et compesce querelas ...
    cedit enim rerum nouitate extrusa uetustas
    semper et ex aliis aliud reparare necesse est;
    nec quisquam in barathrum, nec Tartara deditur alta.
    materies opus est ut crescant postera sæcla;
    quæ tamen omnia te, uita perfuncta, sequentur:
    nec minus ergo ante hæc quam tu cecidere cadentque.
    sic alid ex alio nunquam desistet oriri;
    uitaque manciplo nulli datur, omnibus usu.[22]

Death has no sting for him:

    num quid ibi horribile apparet? num triste uidetur
    quidquam? non omni somno securius exstat?[23]

Lucretius was, of course, set down by Cicero, as was Shakespeare by
Dryden, as being rude and unpolished. His poem is indeed sheer didactic
argument with occasional digressions, and he strings his points
together with the bald transitional words and phrases of argumentative
prose. But in virility of thought and expression, even in majesty of
sound and force of vivid imagery, he is, when he cares to be, on a
plane quite above and away from the ordinary sphere of classic Latin
poetry. Almost alone among Roman writers he has a message of his own
to deliver. His fellow-countrymen thought little of him, and failed to
preserve any details of his biography. The monks of the Middle Ages
consigned him to the hell he had flouted, and Jerome provided him, five
hundred years after his death, with an end edifying to piety, but quite
incredible to any one who has read his work with sympathy. He was said
to have died of a love potion, and to have composed his poem in the
intervals of delirium. He appears to have lived between 100 and 50 B.C.

In addition to the tragedies and epics which noblemen threw off as
an elegant pastime for their superfluous leisure hours, love-poetry,
pasquinades, and _vers de société_ travelled merrily from salon to
salon. If Lucretius carries the heaviest metal of Latin poets, Catullus
has by far the lightest touch. He writes with an ease which makes
Horace seem laboured, and with a simplicity which makes Propertius and
even Ovid look like pedants, though Catullus himself, like all Romans,
thought fit occasionally to adopt the classical pose, and fill his
verses with learned allusions. If it were not for the influence of the
schoolroom, to which most of Catullus’s work is for the best of reasons
unknown, he would be recognised as possessing far more of the vital
spark of poetry than Horace. Roman culture, being mainly second-hand,
is almost entirely lacking in the quality of fresh youth which we
enjoy in such writers as Chaucer and the early Elizabethan singers.
Catullus, therefore, the earliest important lyric poet of Rome, is by
no means unsophisticated. On the contrary, he is a clever son of the
_forum_--a boulevardier, one might say--with a pretty but savage wit in
reviling democrats like Cæsar and Mamurra. But, with his truly Italian
scurrility, he combines the quintessence of Italian charm. When the
inspiration takes him he is simple, direct, and natural. Indeed, the
shorter poems of Catullus seem to me to reveal more of the


essential Roman than all the rest of Roman literature put together. We
have the innocent pleading of the April lover in:

    soles occidere et redire possunt:
    nobis cum semel occidit breuis lux
    nox est perpetua una dormienda.
    da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
    dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
    deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.[24]

and the awful simplicity of his wrath at betrayal:

    Cæli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
    illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
    plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
    nunc in quadriuiis et angiportis
    glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

We have a more genuine-sounding love of nature in his praises of
Sirmio, and a more natural pathos in the famous lament for his brother,
than any other Latin poet can give us. In one species of composition,
the _Epithalamium_, he is supreme. For example:

    flere desine, non tibi Au-
    runculeia, periculum est
    nequa femina pulchrior
    clarum ab Oceano diem
    uiderit uenientem.

    talis in uario solet
    diuitis domini hortulo
    stare flos hyacinthinus.
    sed moraris, abit dies:
    prodeas, noua nupta.

    prodeas, noua nupta, si
    iam uidetur, et audias
    nostra uerba. uiden? faces
    aureas quatiunt comas:
    prodeas noua nupta.[25]

The music of this, with its beautiful imagery and refrains, is no
doubt based upon an Alexandrian foundation. There is a distinct echo
of Theocritus. But it is also distinctively Italian, and the greatest
of modern Italian poets, Carducci, writes like a legitimate descendant
of Catullus. Catullus has as little biography as Lucretius. He must
have died at an early age in the fifties B.C. He was a poor man. He
had only a town house and two villas, one on the Lago di Garda and one
at Tivoli. He hated Cæsar and loved Cicero. That his “Lesbia” was the
infamous Clodia is generally asserted. I do not believe it.

These two poets, Lucretius and Catullus, then, stand almost alone as
representatives of Republican Roman literature on the poetical side.
Both are Romanising various Alexandrian Greek modes, but both have
something genuinely Roman, a quality which we may best describe as
virility, to add to their originals. This was the point from which a
genuine Roman literature might have taken its departure. Instead of
that, the next era is that of a courtly school of classicists, largely
writing to order, who gave to Latin its distinctively classical bent.

Cicero, the most classical of all classics, is, however, far the
greatest literary product of the Republic. He is, indeed, far too vast
a figure for these modest pages. By his colossal industry and immense
fertility of genius his influence dominates the whole field of Latin
prose literature. He is not only the greatest of all orators, but
he stands as the type of the orator in life as in literature. We of
this generation, who live in the eclipse of rhetoric, do not find it
easy to be just to him. With such gifts of eloquence, such a power of
uttering tremendous phrases about duty and patriotism, we cannot but
feel affronted at his political incapacity. Mommsen, who is all for
action, peppers him with contemptuous expressions--“a statesman without
insight, opinion or purpose”; “a short-sighted egoist”; “a journalist
of the worst description”; “his lawyer’s talent of finding excuses--or,
at any rate, words--for everything.” And, indeed, among men like Cæsar
with legions at their backs, or creatures like Clodius with their packs
of hooligans, a man of golden words and honest principles does cut a
sorry figure on the pages of history--so much the worse for history! He
had, as we have seen, a policy, his talents made him a leader among the
moderates of the senate, and his character made him genuinely popular
among all the more respectable classes of society. But Rhetoric is one
of the feminine Muses, and Cicero’s nature was as soft and sympathetic
as a woman’s. So he turns his coat at a word from Pompeius, utters
brave words one day and eats them on the next, publishes magnificent
denunciations which he has not had the courage to deliver. Moreover,
we see his intimate thoughts revealed in all the frankness of an
unexpurgated private correspondence--and there are few statesmen,
certainly very few orators, whose reputations can sustain that test.
Thus the golden words often ring hollow. His vanity is often ludicrous,
as when he writes to Lucceius, to beseech a conspicuous place in his
history, even if the truth has to be distorted for the purpose; or when
he loiters at Brundisium, with his lictors’ rods continually wreathed
in laurel for the futile hope of a triumph. Certainly he was an egoist.
Probably in their private correspondence all men are. But he was also a
gentleman, one of the few Romans of his day with whom one would care to
shake hands in Elysium.

To Mommsen, Cæsar is the “sole creative genius” of Roman history. We
may well ask what he created. Certainly not the empire, for that fell
to pieces at his death, and had to be re-created on a new plan by
his successor. Not even the Gallic province, for though he conquered
it, he left the problem of its organisation to Augustus. Possibly
the _Lex Julia municipalis_. But Cicero[26] created Latin prose out
of next to nothing and left it to the world as its grandest form of
literary expression. The splendid Latin period, with its clear logical
order, its chain of dependent clauses each in its place with absolute
precision, a thought built of words as a temple is built of marble,
is the best expression of Roman grandeur, as typical and as enduring
as a Roman road or wall. It was not mere art. It was the natural
expression of a Roman mind trained in law and rhetoric. It was perhaps
the finest thing the Romans ever made, and the Latin period is the
true justification for retaining Latin in its place for the education
of young barbarians accustomed to string their random ideas together
like dish-clouts on a line. Although it was the result of long training
under all the most distinguished masters of Rome and Greece, and was
perfected with infinite labour, Cicero’s style, when once achieved,
was extraordinarily rapid and fluent, as the number of his works
can testify. It is true that, like many great stylists--Dryden, for
example--he came to believe that style was everything. He was prepared
to write a geography of the world or a history of Rome. He only wanted
a few notes from his brother Quintus to write an account of Britain.
His multitudinous philosophical works were, as we have seen, more style
than philosophy, thrown off in a few months to while away the time at
his Tusculan villa at intervals when the temperature of Rome, literally
or politically, was too high to suit his health. In such work he may
fairly be called a journalist, though a very great one. When he writes
of a subject he really understands, such as rhetoric, he is at his
best. Again, in his forensic speeches or writings he is much better
as an advocate than as a lawyer. His mind is not capable of juristic
precision, he is neither deep nor subtle, and so far his influence
is wholly detrimental in the history of Roman law. He would probably
infuriate a trained judge; but give him a jury, and, if possible, a
large Italian one, and he is irresistible, now with translucent rapid
narrative, now with clever mystification, breaking off into thundering
appeals to conscience or heaven, or again with passionate denunciation
of his opponent or majestic encomium for his client. In the senate
he is not at his best. We are told that a few blunt words from Cato
had more power to move that assembly of practical men than all the
Catilinarian orations. But if Rome had been governed as Greece was, by
orations in the market-place, Cicero would have been in Cæsar’s place
as dictator of the world. Imagine the Roman mob assembling in 63 B.C.
to hear their consul’s account of Catiline’s flight--

    tandem aliquando, Quirites, L. Catilinam, furentem audacia, scelus
    anhelantem, pestem patriæ nefarie molientem, uobis atque huic urbi
    ferrum flammamque minitantem, ex urbe uel eiecimus, uel emisimus,
    uel ipsum egredientem uerbis prosecuti sumus. abiit, excessit,
    euasit, erupit. nulla iam pernicius a monstro illo atque prodigio
    mœnibus ipsis intra mœnia comparabitur. non enim iam inter latera
    nostra sica illa uersabitur: non in Campo, non in foro, non in
    Curia, non denique intra domesticas parietes, pertimescemus[27]

--his voice screams with passion, or sinks into pathos; presently he
drops into the tones of calm reason or fluent narrative; as he nears
his peroration his eyes flash, his hands gesticulate, his body sways
from side to side, his foot stamps the ground, he seems to foam at the

    dolebam, dolebam, patres conscripti, rempublicam uestris quondam
    meisque consiliis conseruatam, breui tempore esse perituram ...
    audite, audite, patres conscripti, et cognoscite reipublicæ

“Why, you did not even stamp your foot!” he exclaims in rebuking the
coolness of an opposing counsel. It is true that there were purists
of the severer school of Roman oratory who thought such vehemence
meretricious and undignified. The true Roman eloquence of the old
school is to be found in that ambassador who came to the Carthaginian
senate with “peace or war,” gathered in the folds of his mantle and
briefly commanded them to choose; or that other who drew a circle in
the dust round the Great King and demanded an answer before he left
the circle. Cicero had studied his art both in the flowery Asiatic and
the severer Attic schools. There was still, his critics complained,
too much Asia in his style. But that was part of the tendency of his
age. The austerity of Cato, with his simple formulæ, was gone for ever.
The Romans of this age are more emotional, more sentimental, more
characteristically Southern.

If we reproach Cicero with weakness and cowardice in his political
life, the story of his end may atone for it. After Cæsar’s murder,
when Antony was master of Rome, a man utterly unscrupulous and wedded
to a still more unscrupulous wife, Cicero flung away all his timidity
and hesitation. Convinced that the consul was trying to re-establish a
monarchy, the old orator came down to the senate and launched at him
the series of ferocious but most eloquent philippics. Some were spoken,
some merely written and published. It was courting death in the cause
of liberty. Cicero was not blind to the danger he was running. But he
is probably sincere when he says that life has no more attractions for

    defendi rempublicam adolescens; non deseram senex: contempsi
    Catilinæ gladios; non pertimescam tuos. quin etiam corpus libenter
    obtulerim, si repræsentari morte mea libertas ciuitatis potest;
    ut aliquando dolor populi Romani pariat quod iamdiu parturit.
    etenim si, abhinc prope annos uiginti, hoc ipso in templo, negaui
    posse mortem immaturam esse consulari, quanto uerius nunc negabo
    seni! mihi uero, iam etiam optanda mors est, perfuncto rebus iis
    quas adeptus sum quasque gessi. duo modo hæc opto: unum, ut
    moriens populum Romanum liberum relinquam; hoc mihi maius a dis
    immortalibus dari nihil potest: alterum ui ita cuique eueniat, ut
    de republica quisque mereatur.[29]

As he foresaw so plainly, the philippics caused his doom. When the
triumvirate drew up its proscription-lists, Octavian is said to have
pleaded for his life. But Antony’s wrath was implacable. Cicero’s head
and his hands were nailed to the rostra from which he had so often
poured out his rhetoric, and the virago Fulvia, so the story goes,
thrust her needle through his eloquent, venomous tongue.

Julius Cæsar, that miracle of energy, beside being a competent
grammarian and no mean poet, was reputed the second of Roman orators.
Of that we have little means of judging. Certainly he could quell a
mutiny by a speech, and his Commentaries were not the least wonderful
of his achievements. Professedly they are mere notes for a real
historian--by “historian” the Romans always meant “orator”--to dress
up for literature. They are mere despatches intended to inform the
senate and the world of the progress of his campaigns. They were
written at odd moments in a prodigiously active life. Their style
is so simple and so correct that we cast them as pearls before the
fourth-form schoolboy. Yet they are in reality a triumphant product of
the rhetorical art; so simple, they must be honest; so modest, they
must be candid. You would scarcely think that they are a defence or
a vindication. In the same easy flow of narrative breathless escapes
are concealed. Who remembers from his schooldays Cæsar’s description
of that moment, so pregnant with human destiny, when the eagle first
alighted on our shores in the hands of the gallant centurion of the
Tenth Legion? Cæsar seems more like a Greek than a Roman in his
directness as in his reticence. Fortunately for history Cæsar had
far more natural curiosity than most of the Romans. It is surprising
how little Cicero really tells us of Roman or Cilician life in all
his voluminous correspondence. But Cæsar went out to explore as well
as to conquer. It may even be true that his visit to Britain was,
as he asserts, partly due to curiosity. He notes our little insular
peculiarities--our custom of sharing wives, our habit of keeping the
hare, the hen, and the goose as pets because our religion forbids us
to eat them. He sees the superior civilisation of Kent. He observes
our clothing of skins, our dyeing ourselves blue with woad, our long
hair and moustaches, our horsemen and charioteers, our innumerable
population and crowded buildings, our plenteous store of cattle,
our metals--bronze, iron, and tin. He is equally observant in Gaul
and Germany. The debt that history owes to him for these records is

Lesser lights such as Sallust and Nepos dabbled in history and have
had the good fortune to survive. Livy, though he wrote under Augustus,
is a true Republican in mind and sympathy. His majestic history of
Rome is the work of a rhetorician setting out to extol the glories of
the Republic. Although he sometimes displays a rudimentary critical
instinct in comparing his authorities, his main task was to Latinise
Polybius and to embellish with first-century style the dry annals of
Fabius Pictor and Licinius Macer. It is not the least of our many
grievances against the monks that they allowed so much of Livy to

The golden age of classical literature covers this last half-century
of the Republic and the first half-century of the Empire. There is, on
the whole, little trace of division between the general character of
Republican and Imperial letters except that with Augustus the principal
writers are definitely engaged under the Emperor’s banner of reform.
The main characteristic of both is rhetoric and convention. It is to
Alexandria and its state-fostered writing-club that the world owes
convention in literature. The Romans drew their inspiration from Greece
but mainly from Alexandria, and as literature at Rome was now chiefly
in the hands of a clique of nobles it was possible for a classical
style to grow strong there. Cicero and his friends evolved a style, not
only of literature but even of thought, which could pronounce itself
as “urbane,” and all else as barbarian or rustic. Roman literature
of the first centuries before and after Christ was as much under the
domination of epithets like “urbane” and “humane” as was the literature
of the eighteenth century under “elegant” and “ingenious.” Even Livy as
an outsider was suspected of mingling “Patavinity” with his Latinity.
It is the aristocracies of literature, such as the court of Louis XIV.
or of Charles II., or such as the coffee-house cliques of Addison’s
day or the Johnsonian clubs, which create and maintain our periods of
classical convention.

Literature, as we have already seen occasion to remark, since it
works in the most plastic medium, is generally the first of the arts
to develop; and literature is only yet beginning. But then Rome
borrowed her arts wholesale from Greece, and thus her culture has no
true infancy. The burning problem of Roman originality in Art must be
reserved until we reach the Augustan age. For the present we must still
deny the existence of any really spontaneous art growth at Rome during
the Republic. Where native art may be looked for with the highest
probability of finding it is in architecture, portrait-sculpture, and
painting; in architecture, partly because the Romans had a natural
passion for building and partly because their religious and social
habits called for quite distinct types of construction in palaces,
halls, amphitheatres, triumphal arches, _fora_, and other secular
buildings upon which the Greeks had wasted little of their attention;
in portraiture because it was a peculiar custom at Rome to make and
display images of their ancestors, whereas the Greeks in their love
of the ideal had until latterly shrunk from the presentation of
casual human lineaments and still idealised them as far as possible,
and also because the Etruscans, who were the first nurses of Roman
culture, had developed portraiture for themselves; and in painting,
partly owing to the same Etruscan influence and partly because the
Romans, using inferior building materials such as brick, limestone, and
terra-cotta covered with stucco, were naturally drawn to mural painting
for the sake of ornament. But if we look for originality here we are
disappointed. Undoubtedly hundreds of magnificent villas were being run
up all over Italy from Como to Sorrento, but a Roman villa was more
an affair of landscape gardening than of architecture. It consisted
mainly of a series of courts and colonnades sprawling at large over
the ground. The walls were built of coarse tufa or peperino; they were
only just beginning to be incrusted with marble slabs. As a city Rome
was still contemptible--a huddled mass of narrow, tortuous alleys.
Augustus swept away as much of it as he could afford to demolish, and
his historians remark that “he found Rome built of brick and left it
built of marble.” There were of course ancient temples, venerable with
dignity, and no doubt to us they would have seemed beautiful with
the picturesqueness of antiquity. But with Gracchans and Marians and
Clodians rioting at large through the city, many of these venerable
shrines were destroyed by fire. The Roman ruins as seen by the modern
traveller are almost all of Imperial times. The great Temple of Jupiter
on the Capitol was rebuilt four times. The round temple of Vesta was
frequently destroyed and restored. Although for religious reasons the
plan of the original was generally preserved in these rebuildings, the
details were in accordance with the style of the day. Nevertheless the
plans are interesting. The round shrines of Vesta and Mater Matuta[30]
are clearly an architectural development from a round hut constructed
of wood with a thatched roof. Indeed the Temple of Vesta is said to
have been modelled on the hut of Romulus. It was perhaps originally the
king’s house in which the princesses tended the sacred fire. The Temple
of Jupiter Capitolinus also was, if we may trust the coins, built on an
un-Greek plan with three naves instead of a single nave with aisles.

The only two considerable relics of Republican architecture are the
Tabularium and the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, both dating from the
period of Sulla. In that period, when Rome had just discovered Greek
culture, when the armies of Sulla and Lucullus came home laden with
Greek spoil, there was a temporary outburst of artistic activity at
Rome. It was, however, entirely in the hands of foreign artists.
In 143, Metellus, the victor of Macedonia, built the first marble
temple at Rome in the Campus Martius. Sulla himself carried off the
huge columns of the unfinished temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens to
adorn the Roman Capitol. The Cyprian Greek Hermodorus was employed
to construct temples and docks. The Romans had indeed their native
principles of building, which from a merely constructive point of view
were in advance of anything that the Greeks had evolved for themselves.
Greek architecture of the best period had been almost exclusively
devoted to the service of religion. Their efforts were almost limited
to the perfecting of the Doric and Ionic temple, and when they had to
build a secular building like the gate of the Acropolis, they were
still content with a mere adaptation of Doric temple to their new
purpose. Their building material was marble, and with their peculiar
artistic discretion the Greeks saw that marble was at its best in
the austere lines of pediment and columns. But the Romans, before
they imported marble, had made a beginning with brick and cement,
which require quite different methods of architecture. In prehistoric
“Servian” days they had discovered or learnt from the Etruscans
the use of the vault and arch, at any rate for tunnels, but it is
characteristic of their artistic poverty that they had made little
architectural use of these important principles. The triumphal arch
seems to have been a Roman invention, and several triumphal arches were
built in republican days, but unfortunately we have no information as
to their style. The Sullan revival of art was purely an importation of
foreign models. In the Temple of Fortuna Virilis built in 78 B.C. we
see how the Romans used their imported architecture.[31] The graceful
Ionic columns support nothing. They are used for ornament as the West
African native uses his European clothes. The Greeks had indeed used
engaged columns, as in the Erechtheum, to complete the design where
there was no space for a free colonnade, but the Romans built them into
their walls for the sake of ornament. This is typical. Culture was to
the Greeks a vital part of their existence, to the Romans it was an

But Roman architecture, having made this effort, had relapsed again
until the days of the Cæsars. There was more destroying than building
in the evil days of Cicero’s prime. The selfish plutocrats were too
busy building their villas to give a thought to the gods’ or the city’s

It was much the same with the other arts. Take the coins, for example.
The clumsy copper _As_, with the head of Janus on the obverse and the
prow of a ship on the reverse,[32] had of old weighed 12 ounces. All
through republican history it was gradually shrinking; in 217 B.C. it
was fixed at one ounce, in 89 B.C. at half an ounce. Long before that,
however, silver had taken its place. As we have remarked, silver was
not coined, though no doubt it circulated, at Rome before 268 B.C..
From 217 onwards silver became the real standard of value, and about 80
B.C. the copper coinage ceased altogether for a time. Not only were the
original designs of the “heavy copper” borrowed from Greece, but there
is not the least sign in the Roman coinage of any artistic development
as time progresses. Simply, as Head remarks, “the degree of excellence
attained in any particular district depended upon the closeness of
its relations, direct or indirect, with some Greek city, or at least
with a population imbued with the spirit of Greek art.” There are
coins of Sulla, both silver and gold, doubtless of Greek workmanship,
which display fairly artistic designs.[33] But the coins of Antony
and Cleopatra, interesting as they are historically, and designed, of
course, in the Hellenised East, are much inferior.[33] We notice an
attempt at portraiture, but the striking resemblance between the Roman
triumvir and the Egyptian queen suggests the question which of the pair
was the original.

In sculpture, too, the most ardent supporters of Roman originality can
find little to comfort them in the closing century of the Republic. We
have seen how the victories of Mummius and his successors had created
a taste and a market for Greek works of art. With those of Sulla and
Lucullus immense quantities of loot had crossed the Adriatic, and
Rome began to be what New York is now, the home of connoisseurs and
collectors. As connoisseurs are wont to do, the Roman millionaires
studied commercial values rather than artistic qualities. No doubt in
time their taste improved from the days when Mummius had warned his men
that any of the Greek masterpieces destroyed in transit would have to
be replaced by new ones. But they still went very largely by the names
of the artists: a genuine Praxiteles or Scopas was worth immense sums.
Every villa now required statues for its adornment--Greek originals,
if possible; if not, copies. For the most part they were reckoned
purely as objects of value along with handsome tables, vases, bowls,
and signet-rings. When Cicero buys Greek statues he prefers Muses to
Bacchantes as being more appropriate to his studies. The question of
artistic value scarcely enters his mind. The most famous named sculptor
of this period is the Italian-Greek Pasiteles, who visited Rome about
90 B.C. and there made original statues for Roman temples. Pasiteles,
of course, was of the Hellenic decline. He was a metal-worker by
training, and his work is like that of Cellini, more decorative than
creative. It is jewellery on a large scale. He evolved no new style of
his own, but set himself to copy and elaborate ancient types to meet
the artificial demand for antiquities. Many of the “archaistic” works
in our museums belong to this period of production, and as decoration
many of them are extremely charming. We have other names of the
Pasitelean school, all Greek, such as Stephanus and Menelaus, but there
is very little originality or interest in them. The Venus Genetrix in
the Louvre is undoubtedly a fine statue, and is probably a faithful
copy of the original by Arcesilaus of the first century B.C.[34] But
the face, at any rate, quite visibly goes back to the Greek sculpture
of the fifth century, and perhaps, as has been suggested, to Alcamenes.
It is in the treatment of the transparent drapery that the present
artist shows his skill. Skill there was in abundance in those Greek
chisels of the first century; even the Farnese Hercules of Glycon
and the Medici Venus[35] are astonishing as efforts of chisel-craft,
utterly debased and debasing as they are.

We know from history that portrait statues had long been common at
Rome. The forum was full of them. We saw in an earlier chapter how
the old Etruscans had placed terra-cotta portraits of the deceased
upon their tombs, and how the old Romans preserved wax images of
their forefathers for use at funerals. Most primitive peoples have
an instinctive dread of portraiture as a sort of blasphemy. Perhaps
the early growth of facial portraiture at Rome was helped by the
worship of a man’s _genius_, his luck, his spirit, his guardian
angel. The genius naturally was depicted in the likeness of the man
himself. So the _imagines_ in a Roman atrium were no mere portraits of
defunct ancestors. Rather they were visible presentments of invisible
presences. Unfortunately very few unquestionably genuine examples of
republican portraiture have survived. Portraits of ancient celebrities
were freely constructed at all times, and it is not easy to date them.
We have not at Rome as we have in Greece a clear line of artistic
development which enables the trained archæologist to date any casual
work of art to within half a century almost at a glance. It is now a
question of employing more or less skilful Greeks. It is probable that
most of the portraits already illustrated in this book were executed
under the Cæsars, but they may well go back to earlier if ruder
likenesses, and in any case the portraits are interesting for their
own sake. The portraits of Julius Cæsar, both the white marble bust in
the Vatican Museum[36] and the still more striking example in black
basalt in the Barracco Museum at Rome, are, however, almost certainly
of contemporary or, at the latest, Augustan date, so real and vivid is
the portraiture. There is another very fine black basalt head of Julius
in Berlin,[37] but its authenticity has been questioned. It certainly
corresponds very closely with the profile of the dictator on his
coins.[38] The bust of M. Brutus may also be identified by comparison
with the coins. That of Cicero is probable but not so certain.

This art of realistic portraiture, then, is claimed as the great
contribution of ancient Rome to artistic progress. It yet remains to
be shown that any part of the work was done by native artists. At
present the evidence is all in favour of Greek authorship. But the
Romans may claim the credit of demanding or even inspiring realism.
Roman archæologists, especially those who, like Wickhoff and Mrs.
Strong, are concerned to plead the cause of Roman originality in
art, often seem to assume that the Greeks of the best period could
not express individuality, in fact that the ideal tendency of their
statues, portraits included, is due to convention if not to the sheer
limitations of their craftsmanship. Elsewhere we have seen that much
of the apparent simplicity of Greek work of the best period is really
elaborate self-restraint. All their religious ideas forbade them to
express divinity with any marks of time or place upon face or feature.
So when it came--as it came slowly--to portraying a statesman like
Pericles, or a monarch like Alexander, they deliberately honoured them
by idealising them and smoothing away the accidentals. Thus they
concealed the inordinately long skull of Pericles by depicting him
in a helmet. They could be realistic enough when they chose to be,
but that was never in the adornment of temples except just so far as
to indicate the barbarity of Centaurs or Giants in contrast to the
perfection of the Greek. Myron’s Cow has perished without offspring,
but the slave-boys on the tombstones are realistic enough--to say
nothing of the Ludovisi Reliefs. Realism was no new discovery of the
Romans. On the contrary, so far as it was an innovation it was an act
of indulgence, a breaking down of self-imposed barriers. Even then,
was it inspired by any abstract passion for the naked truth, such as
moved Cromwell to command his portrait-painter to include the warts?
Not entirely. The Romans were a rhetorical, not a realistic people.
I believe that Roman realism in portraiture is chiefly due to the
national custom of preserving the _imagines_ taken from the death-masks
of the illustrious dead. On Greek soil the Greek artists were still
idealising their portraits--witness the fine head of Mithradates on the
coins of Pontus;[39] but when their Roman sitters asked for realism
they gave it--gave it sometimes with the unexpected thoroughness of Mr.
Sargent. Besides coins and statues there are very fine portraits on the
gems of the first century B.C.

Towards painting too we saw that the Romans had inherited some
traditional bent. We hear of Greek painters highly esteemed at Rome in
this period as well as of imported Greek pictures fetching enormous
prices. The Romans loved colour, and their villa walls were commonly
stuccoed and painted, if not incrusted with marble, while their floors
began to be inlaid with pictorial mosaic. But we have little or nothing
of this date to show. It should, however, be noted that the graphic
taste of the Romans together with their habit of treating art as mere
decoration was now leading to a new phase of pictorial sculpture which
will have important effects in the bas-relief work of the Augustan
period. In revenge Italy was now turning out a system of plastic
decoration for vases in the Aretine pottery[40] which was new and full
of possibilities.

On the whole the verdict must go against Rome--at any rate republican
Rome--as regards artistic originality. The Rome of Cicero’s day was
amazingly rich and dreadfully poor. It had a high culture in some
respects, but it was too corrupt, morally and politically, to produce
good work of its own. If there had been any possible rival in the
field, Rome would assuredly have perished in the course of that
distracted century. If she had perished then, what would she have left
to the world? A few second-hand comedies, Lucretius, Catullus, and
Cicero; a small equivalent for all the blood that she had shed, and all
the groans of her provincials.



    ultima Cumæi uenit iam carminis ætas;
    magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.
    iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
    iam noua progenies cælo demittitur alto.

Vergil’s Fourth Eclogue, from which my text is quoted,
is often called the “Messianic Eclogue.” It is a strange poem. In the
midst of a book of pastoral eclogues very closely modelled on the
Idylls of Theocritus, the young poet from Mantua inserts one in which
he invites the Sicilian Muses, that is, the Muses of Theocritus, to
assist him in a loftier strain than usual. His poem is a vision, a
prophecy of a return of the golden age to accompany the birth of a
child. It is not easy to determine what child. The poem was written
for the consulship of Pollio, who had helped Vergil to recover his
paternal farm. Thus it is very probable that the poem was really a
piece of very gross flattery directed to a patron. Nevertheless the
prophecies of peace on earth which it foreshadows chime so strangely
with the Messianic language of Isaiah that the scholars of the Middle
Ages alternatively placed Vergil among the prophets or condemned him
as a wizard. But apart from that approaching event to be witnessed in
an obscure village of the client-princedom of Judæa there was even
in secular history a general expectation of better days to come.
The Virgin Justice did in sober fact return to the Roman world when
Octavian, in 29 B.C., came home to celebrate his triumph over the three

I make high claims for Octavian[41]--or as he may now be called by
anticipation “Augustus”--in history. Julius Cæsar has usurped the
credit of inventing that wonderful system the Roman Empire. The credit
really belongs to Augustus. Monarchy, indeed, had for two generations
at the least become inevitable at Rome, as everybody, from Catiline to
Cicero, was bound to admit. In the scramble to realise it Julius Cæsar
had won the day and had thereupon proceeded to introduce his conception
of its proper form. He died before his plans were perfected and we
have no means of knowing his inner purpose. But we know that he had
spurned the dignity of the senate, had taken some of the paraphernalia
of royalty and set up his statue alongside of the old kings of Rome.
His plan of a naked despotism had failed, because he had not reckoned
with the tyrannicide sentiment of the Roman nobles. His assassination
was no mere episode or accident. It was impossible to live like an
oriental despot in the republican city without an oriental bodyguard.
Julius Cæsar had failed through pride. When he fell, the whole dreary
round of proscriptions, triumvirate, and civil wars had to begin again.
The inevitable monarchy had to be devised afresh on a different basis:
that was the task of Augustus. He devised it in such a manner that it
lasted in the West for just five centuries and in the East for nearly
fifteen. Indeed it can hardly be said to be totally extinct now in the
twentieth. Judged by results then, the work of Augustus was clearly
a consummate piece of statesmanship. When we consider the methods by
which that result was obtained we shall, I think, esteem Augustus as
the greatest statesman in the history of the world.

Augustus has never been a popular hero. The pure statesman who has no
dashing feats of arms to his credit, and who has left us no records of
impassioned eloquence, does not lend himself to idealisation. Augustus
had no contemporary biographer, nor even any very great historian
ancient or modern. The early Empire is in the gap between the end of
Mommsen and the beginning of Gibbon. Dr. Gardthausen has collected all
the available material about Augustus but has scarcely succeeded in
making him clear or real to us as a man. Tacitus touched him off in a
few satirical epigrams as the crafty tyrant who “bribed the army with
gifts, the populace with cheap corn, and the world with the blessings
of peace, and so grew greater by degrees while he concentrated in his
own hands the functions of the senate, the magistrates, and the laws.”
For biographical particulars we have to go to Suetonius’s _Lives of the
Twelve Cæsars_, a most unsatisfactory source. Suetonius’s pages teem
with human interest, but for purposes of history they are provoking
and baffling. He is a patient bookworm who compiles systematic little
biographies without a glimmer of the biographical sense. As imperial
librarian he had access to most valuable sources of information but he
had no critical instinct in using them. He simply collected scraps from
various sources and grouped them under headings. For a list of virtues
he would go to a courtier’s panegyrics and then turn to a seditious
pamphlet for a catalogue of vices. His own instinctive preference
being for scandal, he has touched nothing which he has not defiled.
It is chiefly due to Suetonius that Augustus appears as a selfish
hypocrite, Tiberius as a libidinous tyrant, Gaius as a maniac, Claudius
as a pedantic clown, and Nero as a monster of wickedness. And yet
under these five reigns the Empire was growing steadily in peace and
prosperity. The rulers who were omnipotent cannot have been altogether
such as they are described. The factious senators who still dreamed
of unreal republican glories and still treasured the memories of Cato
as a saint and Brutus as a martyr were not, of course, allowed free
criticism of their monarchs. They revenged themselves by writing secret
libels, many but not all of which logic and common sense can easily
disprove. When it came to popular reigns like those of Vespasian or
Hadrian the censorship of the press was removed for a time, and then
the senatorial Republicans like Tacitus and Juvenal took ample revenge
upon the dead. The scurrilous pamphlets were unearthed and exalted into
historical documents and so passed down to our historians as history.
It is a suspicious and thankless task to attempt the rehabilitation of
these emperors. The world is rightly sceptical of the process which it
calls “whitewashing.” Moreover the necessary data are wanting. We can
only allow our imaginations to suggest how different the story would
look if it had been told from a sympathetic point of view.

It is very difficult to form any complete idea of the character
of Augustus as a man. He had shown daring and ambition when as an
obscure lad he had crossed to Italy in 44 B.C. to take up his perilous
inheritance as Cæsar’s heir. He had been cool and diplomatic even in
those earliest days in the way he intrigued with the senate against
Antony, and then with Antony and Lepidus against the senate. He had
had extraordinary luck when both the consuls died in the engagements
round Modena, and left him, the prætor, in charge of a great army. Then
we have the infamous acts of the triumvirate, when the unfortunate
senators and knights were proscribed in hundreds, and Cicero, with whom
the young Cæsar had been on intimate terms, was handed over without
apparent compunction to Antony’s vengeance. Admirers said that in this
he was overborne by his older colleague, and yielded reluctantly to a
stern necessity for destroying the tyrannicide party. Enemies declared
that even if he had been reluctant to begin the bloodshed he was the
most cruel of persecutors when it started. In the fourteen years of
civil war that followed, he had succeeded in winning his way through to
victory more by coolness and luck than by any display of generalship.
I do not think that we can fairly accuse him of cowardice. It was a
bold act when he rode alone and unarmed into the camp of the rebellious
and hostile Lepidus, and took his legions away from him without a
blow. He had not the dashing gallantry of Antony, or the fiery vigour
of Julius, but he must have had the gift of nerve and coolness. He had
certainly come through the most terrible difficulties and dangers from
open enemies and rebellious armies by land and sea. In the last duel
with Antony luck had been with him once more. Like the rake and gambler
that he was, Antony had thrown away his game for the sake of Eastern
ambitions and Eastern dalliance. Then there was that last scene of
Cleopatra’s tragedy, when the conqueror came to her palace after Antony
had committed suicide. She tried to win him by the same arts that had
won his “father” and his rival. Dressed in her finest robes she came
weeping to him, and displayed the picture and the letters of Julius wet
with her tears. He judged her splendour coldly as a future ornament for
his triumph at Rome, and when she disappointed him of that by a suicide
staged as all her life had been for theatrical effect, he hunted down
her two elder children with the same cold ferocity as before. Policy
forbade them to survive. That was all he thought of.

And now at the age of thirty-four, with this record behind him, he
had come back to Rome to celebrate his many triumphs. No doubt the
few remaining nobles at Rome trembled at his coming. Remembering the
proscriptions some of them might well tremble, especially those who had
sided with his enemies, with Sextus Pompeius, or with L. Antonius, or
with Marcus. On the other hand, some might remember the clemency which
Julius Cæsar had displayed in his hour of triumph.

Augustus had to restore confidence and order in a shattered world. He
had to deal with provinces ruined and desolate, a form of government
quite visibly obsolete, an aristocracy with immense traditions of pride
and power now thoroughly corrupt and effete, a Roman mob which still
called itself lord of the world, but which was in a political sense
hopeless, armies which were dangerous to the state, conscious of their




and destitute of real patriotism. He had at his side a trusty general
in Agrippa,[42] who had won many battles for him, though that in itself
was generally a dangerous circumstance, and an astute diplomat in
Mæcenas, who for the past ten years had been governing Rome in Cæsar’s
name without holding any clear official position. But beyond these
two it was hard to know where to turn for support. The civil wars and
proscriptions had almost destroyed the race of Brutus, but all that was
left of the aristocracy was still jealous and hostile under a cover of
abject sycophancy, ready to stab him with their tongues if they had
not the courage to use the stiletto. Nevertheless, Augustus had one
great asset. The Roman world, exhausted with a whole generation’s civil
war, was longing for repose. It was ready to fall down and worship
the man who would give it that. Thus the broad outlines of his policy
were clear before him. He must undertake a work of healing. The fall
of Julius warned him that he must not be openly a monarch, but the
failure of Sulla and the actual state of Rome were equally eloquent to
prove that he must retain the power in his own hands. In the lassitude
following upon grave illness--for the dangers and exposure of the
civil wars had shattered his health--he may have cherished occasional
thoughts of a real abdication. But in his brain he must have known
that it was impossible. It was, of course, equally impossible for him
to govern the whole world directly without help. For that purpose the
machinery of the whole constitution with its senate and magistracies
had to be preserved, at any rate for the present. These were the broad
lines upon which his policy was shaped.

The splendour of Cæsar’s triumph must have confirmed the Romans’
impression that they had now a king. For three days they saw a constant
procession of prisoners, emblems of captured cities and conquered
princes. Some of Cleopatra’s surviving children were among his train.
The three days were apportioned to the three continents, the first
for the Illyrian war of 34, the second for Actium, and the third for
Egypt. Cartloads of money from the Egyptian treasury rolled up the
streets, and the bank rate at Rome fell instantly from eleven to four.
There was one significant change. In old republican days the victor
had been led into the city by his colleague and the senators, now they
followed humbly in the rear. Lavish triumphal gifts were distributed:
about £11 to every soldier, and about £4 to every citizen. Even the
boys got a present in the name of Cæsar’s dear young nephew Marcellus.
Thus Cæsar passed in his gold-embroidered purple toga, with a laurel
branch in his hand, while a slave stood behind holding a golden crown
of victory over his head. Of the horses that drew the chariot one was
mounted by the fourteen-year-old Marcellus, famous for his early death,
and for Vergil’s beautiful lines about him, and the other by his still
younger stepson, Tiberius. Thus he was drawn up to the Capitol to
deposit his laurels and his costly offerings at the feet of Jupiter.

There were festivities on many a day to follow. Temples were dedicated,
one to the deified Julius and one to Venus, the goddess mother of the
Julian house. There were games in which the foreign captives fought to
the death. On another day the boys of the nobility fought a Battle of
Troy in the circus. On another there was a great beast-hunt of strange
animals from Egypt when the rhinoceros and hippopotamus made their
first appearance in Europe. And then for the first time for nearly two
hundred years, that is, for the first time since the Punic Wars, the
temple of the war-god Janus was solemnly closed. _L’Empire c’est la
paix._ There are many signs of the earnest longing for Peace in the
Roman world. “Pax” and “Irene” became common names in the West and
East; “Pax” was the legend on coins. This was a new thing at Rome.
Hitherto war had been the desired as well as the normal condition. But
even the Romans had now drunk their fill of bloodshed in those dreary
civil wars. It was upon this new condition of things that Augustus had
the wisdom to build his monarchy. The army was greatly reduced at once.
Fortunately the treasury of Egypt enabled them to be dismissed without
dissatisfaction. The foreign hirelings who had served as a bodyguard
were replaced by native soldiers. A change in the _imperator’s_ form
of address to his troops indicated that they were now subject to
the civil rule of a constitutional state: henceforth they were not
“fellow-soldiers” but “soldiers.”

And now the work of reconstruction began in earnest. Acting merely
as one of the two consuls and in obedience to a law passed through
the senate and comitia, Augustus restored the depleted ranks of the
patrician order. It is true that the patricians had no political
privileges but they still had great significance in the domain of
religion and their restoration as the first official act of the new
regime marked a deliberate desire to conciliate the aristocracy and
enlist its services in support of order. Then a census of the Roman
citizens was taken for the first time in forty years. The number found
was 4,063,000 heads, which was to be increased by 170,000 in the next
twenty years. The census and purification of the people was accompanied
by a revision of the senate-roll. Here Augustus already showed his
intention to break away from the policy of Julius. Whereas Julius had
aroused the most bitter resentment by introducing provincials and
common soldiers into the ranks of the senate, and Antony also had
secured the appointment of all sorts of disreputable friends of his
own, Augustus with infinite caution and tact reduced, strengthened,
and purified the roll. Then since the numbers had been reduced and it
was necessary to secure a respectable quorum for the transaction of
business, the senate was induced to pass a standing order that its
members must not go abroad even to the provinces without permission
of its president. As Cæsar was the president it meant a concentration
of all the possible leaders of opposition at Rome and under his eyes.
During this same year, 28 B.C., the other side of Augustan rule came
into prominence, the splendid liberality which turned Rome from a
decaying and ruinous city of brick into a city of marble and made this
epoch to stand out next to that of Pericles as an age of brilliant
culture. No fewer than eighty-two temples were built or restored in
that year. Among the rest a magnificent marble temple to Apollo with
a public library annexed to it was erected on the Palatine. Libraries
were new and significant things at Rome. The first had been built by
Vergil’s patron Asinius Pollio only nine years earlier.

The time was now ripe for the all-important settlement of the
constitution which historians have agreed to call the establishment
of the Empire. It is important to narrate the actual proceedings,
at this point, somewhat more minutely than the scope of this work
generally allows. The establishment of the Empire was such a delicate
and equivocal act that it has been open to various interpretations
ever since. Probably in the clever brain of Augustus it was intended
to be equivocal from the first, so that republican aristocrats at Rome
might still believe themselves to be free, while the populace had a
prince to whom they might look for their patron, and the provincials,
particularly those of the orient, might have a splendid monarch for
their instincts of adulation.

Towards the close of the year 28 Augustus had issued a proclamation
formally reversing all the illegal acts of himself and his colleagues
during the Triumvirate. It would not call the dead back to life, it
would not restore Cicero to the senate, it did not even give back the
land to the burghers of those eighteen confiscated townships. But it
marked contrition, and restitution of some sort was to follow. At the
beginning of his seventh consulship on January 13, 27 B.C., Cæsar
convened a meeting of the senate and made them a long speech in which
he spoke with pride of his own and his “deified father’s” benefactions
to the state. At the end, with a true Italian instinct for the theatre
he turned to the astonished fathers and exclaimed: “And now I give back
the Republic into your keeping. The laws, the troops, the treasury,
the provinces are all restored to you. May you guard them worthily.”
Dio Cassius, who has given us a long speech certainly of his own
composition, paints the mingled feelings of the audience, the


indifference of those who were in the secret, the uneasiness of those
who feared that it was another trap to catch the unwary and the joy
of those who believed and hoped. The immediate reply of the senate
was, it appears, to grant him further honours--the “civic crown” of
oak leaves awarded to one who had saved the life of a fellow-citizen,
in token that Augustus had saved the lives of all his countrymen,
and laurel-trees to be planted at his gate in sign of perpetual
victory.[43] Then they conducted a long and solemn debate upon the
proper _cognomen_ to be conferred upon their saviour and at length
decided upon the name “Augustus.” In these proceedings we have the
measure of the Augustan senate. Already they had the instinct of
courtiers. Augustus knew it, and therefore knew what he was about in
this dramatic “restoration of the Republic.” Coins of the period bear
the legend “Respublica restituta,” and Ovid, though a courtier, was
free to say

    redditaque est omnis populo prouincia nostro
        et tuus Augusto nomine dictus auus.

Augustus himself records this occurrence in the great inscription,
in which he afterwards described his achievements: “In my sixth and
seventh consulship, when by universal consent I had acquired complete
dominion over everything both by land and sea, I restored the State
from my own control into the hands of the Senate and People.”

A few sessions later, but still in the beginning of the year 27,
the senate decided upon its real answer, no doubt concocted at the
suggestion of Augustus. The senate accepted the restitution of most of
the provinces, and undertook to govern them for the future by means of
senatorial magistrates very much as they had been governed of old. But
three provinces which were still unsettled, and required soldiers, and
money, and a general, called for special treatment. Cæsar was therefore
entreated to take for his province Syria, Gaul, and Spain. Gaul was not
yet completely organised; besides Julius had publicly imposed the task
of adding Britain to it upon his successor. Syria was of the utmost
importance, because the Parthians were still “riding unavenged” flushed
with fresh victories over Antony. This was another of the legacies of
Julius. Spain was still largely unconquered and in great disorder. I
think, in opposition to Ferrero, that military needs were more powerful
than economic motives in the selection of these provinces. It is to be
noted that there was no question of the restitution of Egypt. Cæsar
had never completely given this kingdom to the state. He still kept it
for the sake of its treasures, as a private domain, and governed it
through an agent, a mere knight, not even a senator. Over these three
great provinces Augustus received consular authority--much as Pompeius
had received it for the war against the pirates--for ten years. But at
the same time he promised to restore these provinces also, as soon as
they should be completely pacified. The ingenious nature of the whole
compromise will be manifest when it is perceived that this arrangement
of provinces left the senate with scarcely a single legion under its
command, while the bulk of the Roman army was concentrated in Cæsar’s

Now let us consider the constitutional position of Augustus in these
years from 27 to 23, when a slight rearrangement was effected. Augustus
continued each year to be elected consul with a colleague for one year,
until he had far outstripped even the record of Marius. In addition to
this he had “consular power” over his enormous province, which included
all the armies of the state. That power was ostensibly granted for ten
years, but as a matter of fact it was renewed with some ceremony at
intervals of ten or five years throughout the reign. Constitutionally
he was by no means master of the world although, of course, he was
so in reality. He says himself: “I excelled all in prestige, but
of authority I had no more than my colleagues in each office.” For
the maintenance of his domestic dignity, he had in addition to the
consulship various privileges of tribunician authority. His person was
protected by the sanctity of that office, and it is probable that all
prosecutions for treason were taken on that point. He was also chief
priest. He was also president of the senate, _princeps senatus_, but
that simply meant that his name came first on the roll, so that he had
the right to speak first. Only when Cæsar said “aye” it would be a bold
man who would say “no.”

For the lawyer this exhausts his titles to power, but in reality he
was something very much more than consul with tribunician powers. The
one word that embraces all his authority, constitutional and real
alike, is the word “princeps.” “Princeps” is not the title of any
office, it merely expresses dignity. He is “the chief,” he is “Cæsar
the August, the son of the God Julius, ten times hailed as general.”
It is historically misleading to speak of these early _principes_
as “Emperors,” for that word implies notions of purple and crowns
really foreign to their position. Any stout republican who chose to be
deceived could still boast that he was governed by senate and comitia,
by consuls, prætors, ædiles, tribunes, and the rest of them. It is
even historically false to believe that the senate and magistrates had
ceased to exist for practical purposes. They had, as we shall presently
see, a very real function in the state, especially when Cæsar was
abroad, as in the earlier years of his rule he constantly was. It was
impossible for one man to govern the whole empire. Little by little
when a complete imperial bureaucracy was evolved, the senate really
sank into insignificance, but for the present Cæsar and the senate were
to some extent colleagues in the government of the empire.

It is equally unhistorical to assert, as does the foremost of living
historians in Germany, Dr. Eduard Meyer, that this “Restoration” was
a genuine abdication, and that Cæsar only continued to act as the
senate’s executive officer. Sometimes he did act in that capacity,
often he made a pretence of so acting. Especially when there was
anything disagreeable to be done, he liked to get it authorised by
a decree of the senate. But no intelligent Roman can have failed to
perceive that there was no real equilibrium between Cæsar and Senate.
Cæsar had not only the control of nearly all the legions; but at the
very gate of Rome he had the only troops in Italy, the prætorian guard,
at his beck and call. Roman generals had always had their life-guards.
The law forbade the presence of an army at Rome, but Cæsar had shown
his usual ingenuity in circumventing the spirit of the law, while
respecting its letter. An army meant a legion, and a legion consisted
of ten cohorts generally of three hundred men each. Very well, Cæsar
would only have nine cohorts. But as each consisted of a thousand
men, he found himself in command of a force equal to three legions in
permanent quarters at the gates of Rome. If he thus had the men, he
had the money too. The senatorial provinces were now, thanks to a long
regime of senatorial governors, mostly the poor ones. Cæsar had the
enormous treasury of Egypt in his pocket, Spain was rich in undeveloped
mines, and Gaul had great possibilities as yet unexploited. Moreover,
Augustus had inherited an immense patrimony from Julius, and the
legacies of admiring friends also increased his wealth. Thus it came
about that the senatorial treasury simply could not exist without help
from the imperial purse. His private wealth, too, enabled him to keep
the Roman mob happy with cheap or free corn, public shows, and handsome
buildings, and to satisfy the troops with lavish bounties. There was no
real equilibrium.

On the other hand, Augustus was very careful not to wound republican
sensibilities. He was himself of a distinctly historical and
antiquarian turn of mind. He never performed a function or assumed
an office without assuring himself that it was not new to the
constitution. Thus when he was asked to undertake censorial duties he
declined the “censorial authority,” which the senate conferred upon
him, but carried out the duties by virtue of his power as consul,
having assured himself that in the olden times consuls had performed
the duties of the censor. He was also most punctilious in his use of
forms. We shall see later something of the republican simplicity of his
mode of life. He never failed, as his “divine father” Julius had done,
to treat the senate with outward marks of respect. Call him a “crafty
tyrant” if you will. It is much more just to call him a diplomatic
reformer engaged in a necessary work of repair, working it with
infinite patience, tact, and subtlety, by the most ingenious system of
compromises known to history.

In the year 23 B.C. there was a slight and not very important
readjustment of the constitutional situation. After his return from
a troublesome war in Spain, and after a very serious illness which
had brought him to the brink of death, he formally abdicated the
consulship, alleging his ill-health as the motive. It was, indeed,
more than a pretence. The continual tenure of the consulship involved
a continual series of ceremonial duties, which added to the immense
burdens of his position. But there were political motives as well. He
was now in his eleventh consulship, and for a nation of antiquarians
it was distinctly unpleasant that any man should compile a list of
this magnitude. Moreover, the consul had to have an apparently equal
colleague, and there was no longer at Rome an unlimited supply of
nobles fit to be Cæsar’s colleagues. Besides, it blocked the road
to honour, it was difficult to find men of consular rank for the
consular provinces. More than all, it was unnecessary. Therefore in
order that he might not be molested with reproaches, he retired to his
Alban Villa, and sent a letter to the senate not only renouncing the
consulship, but suggesting as his successor a notorious republican, who
had fought for Brutus against him, and still honoured the memory of
Brutus as a martyr in the cause of liberty.

That this was another solemn farce, or rather another deep stroke of
statecraft, is quite clear. The senate replied by offering him the very
powers he needed to maintain his real position unimpaired. The consular
power over the provinces was continued without any new enactment as
“proconsular.” He received certain additional powers inherent in the
tribunate, and henceforth dates his years of rule not by consulships,
but years of tribunician power. His imperium over the provinces was
defined as “superior” to that of other magistrates, and he received the
special right which belonged to the consuls of proposing a motion at
any meeting of the senate. Practically, then, he was relieved of some
tiresome duties, his position was made to look more republican, and at
the same time he had increased rather than diminished his authority.

By this time the principate had taken its permanent form. Its powers
vary considerably with the varying force of the individual emperors,
and it tends by mere prescription as well as by the development of an
administrative hierarchy of officials to grow more absolute as the
years advance. But constitutionally very little change was made in the
course of the next three centuries. It always remained a compromise,
and something of illegitimacy always clung to it. From time to time
the senate actually remembered that it was a governing council. It had
always to be reckoned with. As for the comitia of the Populus Romanus,
they continued to exist both for legislation and elections as long as
Augustus was alive. But in reality the princeps had taken the place
of the people in the government of Rome. Tiberius, the next successor
of Augustus, suppressed the comitia as unnecessary, and though once
or twice in later times an antiquarian emperor might get a plebiscite
passed for the sake of old times, the Populus Romanus was extinct. It
perished without a groan.

The personality of a monarch had been thrust almost surreptitiously
into the frame of a republican constitution. Skilfully as it had been
done, the illegitimacy of the proceedings entailed certain awkward
consequences. There could be no open talk of a succession. Thus when
Augustus recovered from his grave illness in 23 B.C. he offered to read
his will to the senate to prove that he had nominated no successor.
On the contrary, he had formally handed to Piso, the other consul, a
written statement of the disposition of the forces and the moneys in
the treasury. That was true enough, but he had handed his signet ring,
the ring by virtue of which Mæcenas had governed Rome for ten years,
to Agrippa, the man who would certainly have taken his place if he
had died at that time. In reality there is little doubt that in his
own mind Augustus had planned to make young Marcellus, the brilliant
child of his beloved sister Octavia, his heir and successor. That
this ultimate intention was plain to Agrippa when Cæsar recovered
is shown by Agrippa’s sulky retirement into private life. Although
Augustus could not directly or legally nominate a successor, he could
train a young prince for the succession, and in his own lifetime raise
him to such a point of honour that he would naturally step into the
vacant place. The newly born Empire had the great good fortune that
Augustus, in spite of his feeble health, lived to a ripe age and held
the principate for forty-one years. But it had the misfortune to be
governed by a sterile race. Not for a hundred years until Titus, did
a son succeed his father. Augustus had nephews, stepchildren, and
grandchildren, but he had only one child by his three wives, and she
was the immoral Julia. All his life long he was vexed with tiresome
dynastic problems, and each youth whom he selected for his successor
seemed to be destined to a premature death. At the last he was driven
sorely against his will to nominate his stepson Tiberius. This fact
is mentioned here because it is surely a vital fact in determining
the future of the principate. If each of the first half-dozen holders
of that office had been surrounded by a blooming family on the scale
of modern royalty, it is very likely that the principate would have
settled down quietly into a hereditary monarchy. As it was, the whole
system was upset by continual intrigues for the succession, often
leading to actual civil warfare. Thus the army and the prætorian guard
came to acquire its fatal domination over Roman politics.


For all his moderation Augustus had successfully gathered all the
strings of policy into his own hands. In his three revisions of the
senate-list he succeeded in securing a body absolutely subservient
to his wishes, and the only trouble it caused him was by its excess
of zeal for his dignity. As a rule it merely registered his decrees,
conferred honours on the kinsmen he delighted to honour, and sometimes
shouldered the responsibility for an unpopular proposal. It was to
some extent a safety-valve for the expression of public opinion, but
the more tyrannical emperors (and Augustus undoubtedly became more
absolute as his system developed) kept a very tight hand upon it. When
an embassy came from an independent foreign power, such as Parthia,
it went first to a powerful senator, just as in republican days to
seek a _patronus_ or champion. Now that champion was, of course,
none other than the princeps. By him the ambassadors were introduced
to the senate, who heard their case and deliberated upon it. As of
old, they would necessarily entrust the settlement of the matter to
a commissioner chosen from their own body. Again, the commissioner
was of course the princeps. The senate sometimes undertook state
impeachments as a high court of justice, but now it was only Cæsar’s
enemies whom they impeached, and in one case--that of the prefect of
Egypt--they displayed an excess of zeal in Cæsar’s cause which brought
down a rebuke upon their heads. The senate was used often as a medium
of publication. Cæsar would go down to the house and read a speech to
them when he intended to reach a wider public. When he was abroad, he
would send regular reports and despatches to them. Cæsar, like all
Roman magistrates, had his consilium or board of advisers. This was now
organised to consist of so many representative senators, who sat in
conjunction with the young princes of the imperial house, and any other
important people whom Cæsar might select for his privy council. Towards
the end, when Augustus grew old and infirm, a committee of senators
sitting in the palace was competent to transact business. But as a
rule he was very careful to respect the senatorial traditions. Decrees
of the senate and laws were passed with all the old formalities, but
now they were all in reality Cæsar’s laws and Cæsar’s decrees. On the
whole, however, we may well believe that the senate’s decline into
impotence was largely its own fault. So far as the records show, the
Augustan senate never displayed the least trace of spirit or, if that
is too much to expect, even of initiative or efficiency. There was
grumbling and a little feeble plotting, but if the senate had chosen to
take Augustus at his word whenever he spoke of abdication, they might
easily have recovered real power, though indeed they could not have
done without a princeps. For one thing the mob would not have suffered
it. Cæsar was, and remained, the patron of the inarticulate commons,
and that was not only the origin of the principate but the main support
of its power throughout. When we speak of unpopular emperors such
as Nero or Domitian we generally mean only that they were unpopular
with the notables of the senate. If they failed to retain the regard
of the common people and the common soldiers their reigns speedily
came to an end. Cæsar’s pretended abdication in 23 B.C. was shortly
afterwards followed by a famine at Rome and the populace besieged
the senate-house, threatening it with fire unless fresh powers were
conferred upon their champion.

German historians have invented the term Dyarchy to describe the
balance of power between Cæsar and senate. The government of Rome had
always been to some extent a Dyarchy of senate and people as its title
shows--“Senatus Populusque Romanus.” In many respects the princeps
had taken the place of the people. But such a description loses
sight of reality. You cannot in this whole period show an army set
in motion by a senatorial governor without authority from Augustus,
save in the single case of M. Primus when it was instantly followed
by a prosecution; nor a single tax imposed, nor a law so much as
proposed without Cæsar’s authority, nor a candidate elected without
his concurrence, nor a treaty made otherwise than in accordance with
his suggestion. The true relation between them is practically that of
a monarch and his council. Three times Cæsar revised the roll of the
senate, reducing it from over one thousand members to six hundred,
and for all his tact and ingenuity arousing the fiercest resentment.
There were violent scenes in the house, Augustus wore a shirt of mail,
and went accompanied by ten stalwart senators. It is clear that he
was purging the house of his opponents just as Cromwell did. On other
occasions he would present his friends with the amount of property
needed to complete their qualification for the senate. Thus it is no
exaggeration to call the senate his council of state. If it is objected
that the senate still governed rich and important provinces, that is
more apparent than true. No longer did the governor of a senatorial
province go out girt with the sword that signifies _imperium_ or
wearing the military cloak. Now he goes in his toga as a mere civilian
functionary. That little change must have been bitterly galling to the
proud aristocracy. Augustus had persuaded them to pass an ordinance
forbidding them to go abroad without his permission. He made them fine
their members for non-attendence, and it is highly significant that it
was difficult to keep a quorum of the senate for public business. He
chose his own order for asking their opinions and thus promoted them
in honour or degraded them as he pleased. It was mainly the poor and
unimportant provinces which had fallen to their share. Asia was the
richest and most important, but almost throughout the period there
is some scion of the imperial house with a general control over the
affairs of the East. There is an inscription in Cyprus which proves
that even when that island was under senatorial government a proconsul
was sent out “by the authority of Cæsar and a decree of the senate” to
restore order. Finally by the end of the reign the senate had become
so feeble and unreal that twenty of its members sitting in Cæsar’s
house were able to pass decrees which had the full validity of the old
sovereign council of Rome.

These considerations are enough to prove that Monarchy is the only term
which can properly describe the real nature of the new government.
Nevertheless, here as elsewhere in this system of compromise and
half-way houses, we must walk warily between two fallacies. The senate
is there and will always be there. When Constantine made a new Rome he
made a new senate. As we study the subsequent progress of the Empire
we shall sometimes find the senate really supreme. It chose Galba and
Nerva. It dared to depose Maximin. It really governed through Tacitus
and Probus. It was its constant aim to get its members declared immune
from prosecution and sometimes it succeeded; but more often it served
as a whipping-stock when Cæsar was in a bad temper. Only in this sense
is there any meaning in the term Dyarchy: if we take the whole period
of the principate from Augustus to Diocletian there is some trace
of equilibrium, faint though it be. And we must not fall into the
error of despising the letter of a constitution for the sake of its
spirit. Though a king of England never refuses a bill in practice, it
nevertheless remains important that he may. The letter is always there
for reference, if not for use, and the spirit is always liable to be
brought up for trial before it. The practice depends upon personal
forces which are transitory, the theory is always there awaiting its


Nevertheless, if it is to the letter of the constitution that one
appeals, we must not forget the existence of a third element in the
constitution of Augustus--the People. As we have seen, the plebiscite
and the lex still passed formally through the comitia. The plebiscite
had of late republican years become a weapon of opposition to the
senate. Yet even under Augustus we can point to a few measures passed
in this form. None were of much importance--one was merely the
conferring of the new title of “Father of his Country” upon Cæsar.
Another concerned aqueducts. The judicial functions of the populus were
entirely abrogated by Augustus, and there only remained that which,
after all, had always been its most important function, the elections.
Popular election in the comitia was still under Augustus, the only path
to the senate and the magistracies. It is true that the magistracies
had all paled into insignificance before the new and mighty office of
the princeps. For this reason, perhaps, Augustus did not deprive them
of what they regarded not only as an ancient right, but still more as a
source of income. Here also there might have been effective opposition.
The populus might have returned to office, and so to the senate, a
series of champions of freedom. But except Egnatius Rufus, there were
no such champions. The patron of the people, the man whose munificence
fed them and gave them the shows they lived for, was Cæsar. No one
could bribe against his purse. He had, moreover, two direct methods
of securing the return of his nominees. In virtue of his tribunician
powers he had the right to draw up the list of candidates, and in the
second place it had always been the practice for candidates to put
forward the names of their principal supporters. Augustus in his early
days of strict deference to constitutional etiquette used to go down to
the forum and personally canvass for his friends, afterwards, however,
he reverted to the brusquer methods of Julius, and merely issued a
fly-sheet to the electors bearing the names of his nominees. Thus the
elections became more and more a form, and Tiberius transferred them
to the senate without arousing much opposition. In the whole period of
Augustus we have only one instance of his failure to pass a law which
he desired and then it was due to the organised opposition of the
knights who demanded its rejection publicly in the theatre.

The equestrian order still remained the stronghold of the wealthy
bourgeoisie. Owing to their wealth and their want of political
recognition, they had always been somewhat of a danger to the
republican constitution. It is typical of the skilful statesmanship of
Augustus that he saw this and provided an honourable outlet for their
ambitions as well as utilising their services on behalf of the state.
He had begun his period of rule by putting a mere _eques_ into the seat
of the Ptolemies as his prefect of Egypt. Subsequently the imperial
legates and procurators who administered the imperial provinces for
him were often chosen from this order. In finance he made great use
of them, and along with a certain number of clever Greek freedmen they
filled the greater part of the new bureaucracy which he gradually
created. Mæcenas himself, who was probably at the head of the whole
great system, and who acted almost as prime minister to Augustus
until he fell out of favour, was content with equestrian rank. Social
honours such as rich men love were freely bestowed upon them. The young
princes of the imperial house rode at the head of the knights with
silver lances as “Princes of the Youth.” Sometimes Augustus treated the
equestrian order as if it were a third limb of the constitution on an
equality with the senate and people.

Thus it was part of the system of Augustus to provide careers for
talent in every class. Even the slaves and freedmen had immense
opportunities in Cæsar’s bureaux. For the freedmen in the country
towns, where they were often the richest inhabitants, he invented the
special titular distinction of “Augustals,” their principal duty being
to give dinners and festivals in his honour, precisely the sort of duty
to flatter their pride without doing any harm.

As for the ancient magistracies of the Roman people, while they were
strictly preserved, they were utterly disarmed. Consulships remain
important only as leading to a subsequent proconsulship over a
province. The prætors still sat in their courts of justice but really
important cases came up to Cæsar on appeal. The tribunes were of no
account beside their mighty colleague. Magistracies were bestowed as
marks of imperial favour. Often there would be two or three successive
consuls in a single year. Cæsar himself would sometimes deign to take
a consulship when he wished to honour a colleague or a relative. Here
again, however, the impotence of the magistracies was very largely due
to the intellectual bankruptcy of the Roman nobility. They could not
perform the simplest task such as the charge of the corn-supply without
bungling and requiring the assistance of Cæsar. But on one occasion
when a certain ædile organised a fire-brigade of his own and became
very zealous in extinguishing fires, he received a hint that his zeal
was unwelcome in the highest quarters. Thus the magistracies declined
little by little into mere decorations, or became once more what they
had been in the beginning, municipal officers for the city of Rome.
But even there they were superseded by the organising activity of the
princeps. He resuscitated the ancient office of city prefect and put
him in charge of the new police and the new fire-brigade while two
other new prefects commanded the prætorian guards. These two officers
soon began to overshadow the old magistracies.


Dio Cassius rightly asserts that the real power of Augustus rested
upon two things--the control of the army and of the finances. We have
already seen that in the so-called abdications of Augustus there was
no surrender of these and no suggestion of their surrender. In view
of the present tendency among historians to attach real importance to
the restoration of the Republic in 27 B.C. and again in 23 B.C. it is
all the more important to remember that the twenty-three legions which
with their auxiliaries and reserves formed the entire military force
of the Roman Empire took their oath solely to Augustus and were with
one exception stationed exclusively in his provinces, fought under
his auspices and took their orders from no other but Cæsar and his
legates. Beyond these he had a prætorian corps of 9000 men in permanent
cantonments within striking distance of Rome, as well as a drilled
bodyguard of slaves in his own house. In view of these facts it is
absurd to limit our conception of the power of Cæsar to a survey of
the constitutional offices which he held. It is only in the language
of lawyers and pedants that his authority rested upon consular and
tribunician powers. Everybody knew that a letter sealed with Cæsar’s
sphinx was backed by the swords of 140,000 legionaries. The military
situation of Augustus is therefore of the utmost importance.

Augustus was, as we have seen, a statesman and not a soldier. The
stories of his cowardice, repeated by Suetonius, are confessedly
drawn from the venomous letters of his enemy, Antony. Augustus had
emerged successfully through five civil wars, had crossed tempestuous
seas in small boats, had faced mutinous armies and every sort of
hardship. But all his instincts were for peace and statecraft. We have
seen that it was the need of a standing army at Rome which led to the
need of permanent generals, and this to the downfall of the old Roman
constitution. When Cæsar built his throne on the ruins of the Republic
the plain fact was that the general had become monarch. Thus, in spite
of the fact that Augustus was not of a military character, and in spite
of all his efforts to prevent it, the monarchy of the Roman Empire was
eventually revealed as a military despotism. It was the irony of fate
that such a man as Augustus should have founded such a monarchy.

But for the present the ugly fact that the army had bestowed the purple
was decently concealed. Augustus from the very beginning of his power
did his best to reduce the military element in the state. During the
civil wars, and indeed for fifty years before they began, the troops
had made and unmade consuls, there had been constant mutinies and
blackmail in the army. Cæsar’s own first consulship had been obtained
in this way. A centurion had marched into the senate-house and cried,
“If you will not make him consul, _this_”--and he tapped the hilt of
his sword--“this shall.” But now the older discipline was revived.
Agrippa in particular was a stern disciplinarian of the old school.
The soldiers were flattered no longer. No more legionary coins were
issued. For an honour a legion was allowed to call itself Augusta, for
a punishment the title was revoked. The highest military distinction,
the triumph, was gradually reserved for the princeps and the members
of his house alone. Even when the title of Imperator was earned by a
victorious general it was transferred to him. But it was his aim to
see that no private citizen should have the opportunity of securing
the high military honours. Agrippa might have been dangerous and
accordingly he was brought into the family by marriage with Cæsar’s
daughter. But for the rest the conduct of important operations was
almost always confided to one of the young princes--to Tiberius, or
Drusus, or Germanicus. And they were always victorious. When Quintilius
Varus, a general of humbler birth, was allowed to lead a great army
he conveniently pointed the moral by a signal failure. No senatorial
governor might now levy troops or declare war on his own account.

The only hand that the senate still had in military affairs was that
a “senatus consultum” was generally asked for a new levy of troops.
This was probably because it concerned the state treasury, but partly
also because it served to shift an unpleasant responsibility off the
shoulders of the princeps. It is not likely that Augustus had forgone
the right to levy.

It still remained the legal duty of every Roman citizen to serve in
the army. But since the days of Marius that duty had become obsolete,
no one wanted the city riff-raff in the legions. Soldiering had become
a profession, and there was never now any general levy of the kind
involved in modern conscription. There must have been some compulsion
upon the upper classes to serve as officers, for Suetonius tells
of a Roman knight who was sold into slavery because he had chopped
off his son’s thumbs in order to evade military service. There had
been a “City Legion” fighting at Actium, but the army was now mainly
recruited from Italy and the imperial provinces. Allied princes like
Herod the Great had their own militias, but were also liable to be
asked for contributions of trained auxiliaries to the imperial army.
From the provinces troops were demanded in proportion to their warlike
activity. The Dutch horsemen were famous, and the Batavians supplied
large contributions of cavalry. The only people in the East who were
enrolled in the legions were the Galatians, who were, of course, Gauls
by ancestry. Augustus himself had a bodyguard of German slaves. As a
rule only freemen were enrolled in the legions, but at the crisis of
the great Pannonian and German revolts,





the duty was laid upon rich citizens of equipping and maintaining for
six months a certain number of freedmen and slaves who were promised
their liberty and citizenship at the end of six months. These would
probably consist very largely of gladiators. This fact is evidence of
serious military weakness in the Roman Empire. Although there were
over four million full Roman citizens, there were only about 140,000
men in the ranks of the legions, and as there was a very long period
of service, twenty-five years and more, it follows that only a small
number of recruits would be wanted every year. It seems a dangerously
small army to hold such vast frontiers.

Augustus was successful in reducing the enormous rate of pay which had
prevailed during the civil wars. After the death of Augustus the troops
mutinied and demanded an increase of their pay to a denarius (less
than a franc) a day. Augustus established a special military chest to
provide pensions for his veterans in place of the farms which they were
still accustomed to expect.

How greatly--how dangerously--Augustus had reduced the size of the army
may be seen from the fact that there were at least fifty legions during
the civil wars, and only twenty-five at the death of Augustus. These
troops were for the most part stationed along the northern and eastern

  In Spain              3 legions
  Lower Germany         4    ”
  Upper Germany         4    ”
  Pannonia              3    ”
  Dalmatia              2    ”
  Mœsia                 2    ”
  Syria                 3    ”
  Egypt                 3    ”
  Africa                1    ”

To these must be added the 9000 men of the prætorian guard, who enjoyed
shorter service (sixteen years) and double pay. The prætorians had to
be genuine Italians, and when inside the walls of Rome wore civilian
dress. There were also three “urban cohorts” as police--a new and
most salutary invention--and a “cohort of watchmen” for the prevention
of fire. Obviously with a service of twenty-five years there could be
no reserve. But some of the veterans of the prætorian guard were used
as paymasters or engineers. There were also colonies of time-expired
soldiers planted as garrisons in dangerous country.

The legions themselves were stationed in great fortified camps along
the frontiers of their various provinces. There were thus huge spaces
of country totally without military forces. For warfare on the shores
of the Black Sea troops had to be summoned from Syria. There was no
such thing as a readily mobilised striking force in Italy. This was
an inconvenience and a danger, but Augustus did not mean to organise
a military monarchy. Professor Gardthausen has a clever comparison of
the problems before the Roman army with those that face the British
Empire. The problems were remarkably similar, for greater speed of
transport counteracts the greater distances. Both peoples made great
use of the system of drilling native troops and expecting provinces to
guard themselves. But the Romans would have been saved much trouble if
they had been able to adopt our system of a compact and highly trained
expeditionary force backed by a citizen army for home defence. To be
sure, the Romans now lived in a state of peace far more profound than
any that the world has enjoyed before or since. Their wars were of
their own making. Within the circle of the armed frontiers Pax Romana
reigned supreme. The Roman citizens hung up their swords for ever.

The creation of a standing fleet was not the least of Cæsar’s
achievements. The Mediterranean was now properly policed and commerce
was free to circulate. The Italian navy was divided into two flotillas,
one for the Western Mediterranean and one for the Adriatic. Great
artificial docks were constructed for them, one for the Mediterranean
fleet at Misenum by opening up a connection between the Avernian and
Lucrine lakes and the sea and thus creating a small land-locked
harbour which was used for exercising the rowers in rough weather. The
construction of this Portus Julius, which was carried out by Agrippa
with a lofty disregard both of the gastronomic fame of the Lucrine
oysters and of the mythological celebrity of the lake of Avernus as the
gateway to the underworld, excited a wonder which has been reflected
both by Horace and Vergil.

Similarly a base for the Adriatic fleet was constructed by great
engineering works at Ravenna. A third harbour was created on the coast
of Gaul at Fréjus (Forum Julii). The Tiber was dredged and restored to
navigation. Flotillas of small vessels were maintained on the Rhine.

The navy, however, did not even in these days attain to anything like
the status of the army. It was “my fleet”--the private property of the
emperor, equipped and maintained out of his own pocket, and manned
chiefly by his slaves. Even the “prefects of the fleet” were generally
freedmen and foreigners. A Roman admiral, as Mommsen remarks, ranked
below a procurator or a tax-collecter. Thus the Romans never to the end
of their days realised the meaning or importance of sea-power. Their
navy was only for police work and on several occasions, as for example
in the Dalmatian War, they failed to perceive that naval operations
might have been of the greatest assistance to their army. It is true
that there were no hostile navies in the world, but the empire was so
distributed that marine communication might have been of very great

The control of finance was a necessary corollary to the control of
the troops. The Republic had been shipwrecked on finance almost as
much as on the military system, and there is some truth in Mommsen’s
epigram: “the Romans had bartered their liberty for the corn-ships of
Egypt.” Perhaps the most sinister light in which we can regard the
statesmanship of Augustus is that suggested by Tacitus. He was buying
the support of all classes in the state systematically. But to that the
Republic had already accustomed them.

We must clear our minds of the modern idea of a budget and a coherent
public system of finance. The Romans had never paid taxes and their
financial administration had rested in the hands of young men just
beginning their public career as quæstors. This was because finance
was a comparatively recent idea at Rome. It was not part of the _mos
maiorum_ at Rome to have a financial policy, and Rome had always been
a military and not a commercial state. Even now it was a cheap empire.
If we except the corn-supply, the pay of the army was the only large
head of expenditure. On the whole, one with another, the provinces
were more than self-supporting, and as time went on a prudent policy
of development made them extremely profitable. As we shall see later,
the encouragement of natural resources and the exploitation of minerals
all over the Empire added enormously to the Roman wealth. Officials and
magistrates had generally been expected not only to give their services
for nothing but even to pay for their honours handsomely with public
works and entertainments. Public works undertaken by the state were
generally carried out by slaves or soldiers. When marble was needed it
was usually requisitioned from Greece or Numidia. But it was inevitable
that the man who controlled the army should also possess the revenues.
Julius Cæsar had simply appropriated the treasury. Augustus as usual
reached the same end by a more devious path.

The enormous treasures which he disbursed were his favourite weapons of
statecraft. If he had a friend to get into the senate he would simply
make him a present of the necessary income. To retain the goodwill of
the commons he scattered those immense largesses which he has recorded
on the Ancyran monument. To the Roman plebs he distributed over six
millions sterling in eight donations. On another occasion of financial
stress he lent more than half a million without interest. When the
soldiers had to be rewarded after Actium he was able to save himself
from the unpopular necessity of confiscation by finding six millions in
cash to buy them land. There was scarcely a town in the empire which
had not some splendid building to bear witness of its debt to Cæsar’s
generosity, and we shall see how he transformed the whole aspect of
the metropolis. In addition to all this he often replenished the state
treasury out of his own pocket. Over a million and a half was thus
transferred. No wonder that a man who could thus pour his gold into the
treasury should come to regard it as his own.

To the Roman mind it was unbecoming to a free gentleman to be asked
to pay taxes in a free country. They held that a _tributum_ was only
for slaves to pay. Moreover it was one of the limitations of the power
of Augustus that he had no constitutional right to impose taxation on
Italy. Twice indeed he proposed to inflict a property-tax on Roman
citizens. In A.D. 4 and 13 he took a census of all properties above
£2000 as a preliminary measure, but on the second occasion at least
it is explained by the historian as a shrewd stroke of diplomacy
to make people acquiesce in the existing death-duties. The serious
financial embarrassment of these years was caused by the expense of
the gratuities paid to time-expired soldiers. The soldier’s daily
pay of about sixpence was only pocket-money, he had always expected
a farm on his discharge. Under Augustus this allowance of land was
commuted for a bounty of about £125 for the legionary, or £185 for the
prætorian guard. Of course, with a service of over twenty years and
constant fighting, the number of veterans discharged each year must
have fallen considerably below the 20,000 recruits enrolled, but still
it was a heavy expense. In some cases the veterans were retained under
the colours and in some cases land in new countries was still given.
But this burden led to the establishment of a new military chest in
A.D. 6. This was filled in the first instance by a donation of nearly
two millions from Augustus and Tiberius, but it was maintained by two
indirect taxes which fell upon the Roman citizens--very much to their
annoyance. One was a tax of one per cent. on all objects bought and
sold, the other a five per cent. tax on legacies. The latter was not
imposed purely for revenue. It was intended, along with other laws,
to discourage celibacy, since it only fell upon those who died without
heirs of kin. What appears to be a distinct tax is another upon the
sale of slaves.

The other large head of expenditure was that of the Roman corn-supply.
Two hundred thousand people received free corn and the rest of the
citizens always expected to buy it very cheaply. Most of this corn came
from Egypt and Sicily as taxation paid in kind. The control of the
supply was in the hands of a new department, _cura annonæ_, but owing
to its mismanagement there were several periods of famine, on which
occasions either Augustus himself or some member of his family had to
step in and put things straight.

The general expenses of administering the Empire were not as great
as modern analogies would lead us to suppose. No doubt the imperial
legates and procurators received wages out of the imperial fiscus. It
is commonly stated that all provincial magistrates now received a fixed
salary instead of being left to plunder the provincials. The truth is
that the higher magistrates of Rome never had received and did not
for a long time yet receive a salary. But they had always claimed an
allowance for their travelling expenses technically called “mule and
tent money,” and this had been fixed on a generous scale which really
amounted in practice to a salary. The only change was that instead of
allowing these fees to be subject to contract on the regular contract
system of the republican treasury, the governors now received a fixed
grant calculated according to the necessary scale of expenses in the
various provinces. For the provinces an immense saving was effected
in this manner but it must have been more expensive to the central

The finances of the provinces were gradually brought into order
and arranged with consummate skill. The little information that we
possess tends to show that nowhere was the Augustan reformation more
beneficent or more brilliantly successful. In Gaul the land-tax and
property-tax were fixed in 26 on a fairly high scale, it is true, but
the development of commerce and agriculture fostered by the Romans
made their incidence a light burden in comparison with the rapidly
increasing wealth of the province. By this time the state had accepted
the theory of tribute which the Roman lawyers had developed upon false
principles. Tribute was now regarded, not as a commutation of the
liability to military service, which was its real origin, but as a rent
paid to Rome for the continued enjoyment of lands which had passed to
her by right of conquest. The tribute was everywhere reassessed upon
a new valuation systematically conducted. Generally it represented a
tithe of the corn harvest and 20 per cent. of liquid products, such as
oil and wine. In the senatorial provinces the old system of tax-farming
by contractors survived for a time, but in his own provinces Augustus
instituted an imperial board of revenue administered by Roman knights
or Greek slaves and freedmen as his fiscal procurators. We have,
indeed, three known cases of embezzlement by native agents. One,
Eros, had advertised his insolent rapacity in Egypt by purchasing a
celebrated fighting quail for an immense sum of money, and then cooking
it for his dinner. Another, Licinius, a native Gaul set to collect
taxes in his own country, disarmed Cæsar’s wrath like the servant
in the parable by showing rooms full of silver and gold, which he
professed to have stored up in his master’s interest. In this case it
is zealous extortion which is charged against him. One of his methods
was to extort fourteen months’ taxes in the year by pointing out to the
innocent natives that since December was by its very name the tenth
month, they had two more monthly contributions to pay before the end
of the year. A paymaster, also a slave, who died in Tiberius’s reign,
was notorious for the retinue of fourteen persons who attended him
on his travels. He had his private cooks and physicians. But these
are isolated cases. On the whole it is clear that the provinces were
rejoicing at their deliverance from the oppression of the Republic.
They were always anxious to be transferred from the senate to Cæsar.
If the tax-gatherer was still at their door, he was now a man under
independent authority with a master who would listen to petitions and
appeals. Moreover, they now had a government which assisted them to pay
by intelligently developing their resources.

The public treasury of the senate was no longer entrusted to mere
quæstors. Augustus at first instituted prefects for this also. But the
dearth of administrative capacity at Rome compelled him to transfer the
charge to the prætors. However, he kept an eye upon its administration
himself, as is shown by the fact that when he died he left to the state
an account of the condition of the treasury.

It is still too early to speak of a definite system of division between
the public “ærarium” and the emperor’s private “fiscus.” But the budget
of the senate would include:

      REVENUE                          |  EXPENDITURE
  5% legacy duty.                      | Army and police.
  2% or 4% duty on sale of slaves.     | Religion.
  1% on merchandise.                   | Corn-supply.
  Customs and harbour dues.            | Water-supply.
  Confiscations from state offenders.  | Fire brigade.
  Intestate estates.                   | Administration.
  Public lands.                        |
  Provincial tribute.                  |
  State mines and works.               |
  Mintage of copper.                   |

The budget of the fiscus would include:

      REVENUE                          |  EXPENDITURE
  Tribute of Cæsar’s provinces,        | Provincial administration
    especially Egypt and Gaul.         |  and
  Legacies (£15,000,000 in the last    |  salaries.
    twenty years).                     | Largess and bounties.
  Private domains.                     | Temples and public
  Family inheritance.                  | buildings.
  Aurum coronarium (a complimentary    | Loans and gifts.
    gift on accession).                | The fleets.
  Private mines and works.             | Games and shows.
  Mintage of silver and gold.          |


Turning now to a rapid survey of the Roman world from a geographical
point of view we shall see the work of restoration and repair,
proceeding with the same methodical thoroughness which makes this
regime one of the most beneficent in the history of civilisation.
We have already seen something of the provincial system as it was
reorganised in 27 B.C. The provinces which fell to the share of the
senate were these:

  _Gallia Narbonensis_ (transferred to the senate in 22 B.C.)
  _Hispania Bætica._
  _Crete_ with the Cyrenaica.
  _Macedonia_ with Achaia.
  _Bithynia_ with Pontus.
  _Cyprus_ (also transferred to the senate in 22 B.C.).
  _Dalmatia_ (until the revolt of 11 B.C.).
  _Sardinia_ with Corsica.

These were governed by annual magistrates, chosen by lot from a list
selected by the senate--the first two by proconsuls of consular rank,
the others also by governors termed proconsuls but actually only of
prætorian rank, that is, ex-prætors. Africa was the only one of these
provinces which contained troops and the senatorial governors went out
in civilian dress as administrators only. Cæsar’s provinces were:

  _Syria_ with Cilicia and, until 22 B.C., Cyprus.

To these were gradually added:

  _Illyricum_, including Dalmatia and Pannonia.
  _Galatia_, including Lycaonia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, and part
    of Cilicia, with Paphlagonia added in 5 B.C.

These were all governed by legates of Cæsar, commonly chosen from the
ranks of the senate, with the title of proprætor. They held office for
as long as Cæsar desired, and were provided with a staff, chosen by
him, of trained financiers. In addition to these, other districts under
prefects were gradually accumulated:

  _Mœsia_ and Triballia.
  _Alpes Cottiæ._
  _Alpes Maritimæ._

And others again under procurators:

  _Judæa_ (after A.D. 6).

Further, there were a large number of “allied” or “client” kingdoms and

  Thrace.                         Abitene.
  Pontus with Bosphorus.          Emesa.
  Judæa (till A.D. 6).            Galilæa and Peræa.
  Commagene.                      Nabatæa.
  Cappadocia.                     Batanæa.
  Armenia.                        Mauretania.

And the allied states:

  Athens, Sparta, Rhodes, and other
    Greek cities.

In his own provinces Cæsar was supreme in all things; he had the
right of making peace, war, and alliance, without consulting the
senate. Though he governed through legates or procurators, the Roman
law had always granted a right of appeal from a lower magistrate to
his superior. This was the source of Paul’s “appeal unto Cæsar” from
the procurator of Judæa. In the senatorial provinces his imperium,
which had been specially defined as “superior” (_maius_), gave him
precedence when he was actually present. And we have many cases of his
interference in senatorial provinces. Cæsar’s legates, such as Agrippa,
Tiberius, and Gaius, constantly act as overlords in Asia, though a
decree of the senate is required for this. We hear of Augustus founding
colonies in Sicily. Moreover, the princeps had sole authority over the
army, and for any military operations it would be necessary to borrow
troops of him.

The foundations of this great empire were not hastily or carelessly
laid. Although of feeble constitution and by nature a man of peace,
Augustus spent the first half of his long reign more abroad than at
home, in fighting rebels and organising or reforming with unwearied
energy. To this part of his work we are unable to devote sufficient
attention through lack of material. The ancient historians prefer to
record small victories over barbarian tribes, or the petty gossip of
the Roman streets, while they have little to say about the tireless
administration which in one generation transformed the Roman world
from a horrible chaos into that scene of peace and prosperity shown
to us in the pages of Strabo and Pliny. So while our eyes are fixed
upon the sins and follies of Roman emperors and courtiers, until we
get an impression of rotten tyranny conducted according to the caprice
of monsters and fools, all the time the greater part of Europe was
advancing in peace to a state of general culture and civilisation
such as it had never known before, and such as it never knew again
until the nineteenth century. A casual glance over the inscriptions
of a provincial town probably gives us a truer impression than all
the rhetoric of the historians. In Pompeii, for example, a small
and unimportant suburb of Naples which scarcely comes into the view
of history, we see a busy and useful municipal life carried on in
absolute security. There were the ten councillors (_decuriones_), who
corresponded to the Roman senate, and there were two local consuls
bearing the title of “duumviri.” In most cases a small municipality
would have its “patronus” also, a local squire, perhaps, who in
some measure corresponded to the princeps, and who would represent
the interests of the town at Rome, or with the Roman prætor. His
main business, however, was to equip his town with baths, temples,
and colonnades, or to provide it with public banquets. For the rich
freedmen, in whose hands was much of the trade of the place, Augustus
had provided the new office of _Seviri Augustales_, which we have
already described. There were no rates, for private munificence took
their place. There was no direct taxation in Italy, and the indirect
taxes were inconsiderable. Internal trade was free. The obligation to
military service was so widely distributed that it fell very lightly
on Italy, and the natives accordingly became less and less warlike.
All the Italian peoples were now Roman citizens. Trade was greatly
assisted by the improvement of communications which took place during
this period. The care of roads properly devolved upon the senate, but
as they showed their usual incompetence in this department the princeps
had to step in and organise a special Board of Roads with a curator for
each of the trunk lines of communication. Augustus also established an
imperial post with a system of stages and relays, which lasted on until
the coming of railways. The vehicles and horses were maintained by the
roadside communities, and imperial messengers who carried a _diploma_
or passport were allowed to travel express by this means. The great
road to Rimini, the Flaminian Way, was the first to be repaired, and
Augustus adorned its terminal city with a handsome marble bridge[44]
and triumphal arch, possibly as a compensation for the trouble which he
himself had inflicted upon the town during the civil wars. Flourishing
historic cities like Turin and Brescia owe their origin to colonies
founded by Augustus. Towns like Perugia which had been almost destroyed
in the civil wars now grew up again and flourished. In all, Augustus
founded twenty-eight colonies in Italy, and supplied 90,000 veterans
of the civil wars with land which he had bought and paid for. That the
sea was now safe for trade and fishery must have meant a great deal to
the coast towns. Augustus himself wrote an account of the condition
of Italy, and Pliny confesses to using it as his authority. In all
the long and important history of Italy it is doubtful whether she has
ever enjoyed such peace and prosperity as began for her in the reign of

A broad view of foreign politics showed Augustus two vital points
of danger--the North and East. To the north the fierce and warlike
barbarians of Germany had been checked indeed by Julius, but also
exasperated. Tribes more or less akin to them extended southwards
across the Danube and even to the Austrian Tyrol, where they were
little more than a week’s march from the gates of Rome. A strong
frontier policy was needed here. In the East there were the Parthians,
the only possible rival power to Rome. The Romans at Carrhæ noticed
that while the chiefs wore their hair parted and curled and their faces
painted in the Persian fashion, the warriors had the unkempt locks of
barbarian Thrace. It is likely enough that these Parthian bowmen had
come in round the shores of the Black Sea from Thrace or South Russia.
They had all the characteristics of northern nomads, but their kings
had a good deal of Hellenic culture. They could boast of a choice
collection of Roman eagles captured not only from Crassus at Carrhæ,
but from two armies sent against them by Antony. Thousands of Roman
prisoners were still working as slaves on the banks of the Euphrates.
The task of punishing them had been definitely laid upon Augustus as a
legacy from Julius, who had been slain at the moment when he was about
to undertake it himself. Moreover, the Romans felt the loss of those
standards very acutely, and not the least motive for their acquiescence
in monarchy had been the hope that a monarch would retrieve their
honour in this quarter. The earlier poems of Horace constantly express
hopes of vengeance.

The manner in which Augustus satisfied these ardent aspirations of
national pride is characteristic of him. Instead of the armies and
bloody battles which historians demand of their favourites, Augustus
achieved his object by luck and strategy. When he was organising the
affairs of the East in 29 B.C., after the conquest of Egypt, he had
left the Parthian question unsolved. For this, Mommsen takes him to
task, but there is little doubt that it would have been folly to
undertake a great and perilous war at that moment while the affairs
of Rome were still in disorder. Moreover the attitude of the army
compelled him to return home. Instead of fighting, he was content to
set up rival powers on the Parthian frontier. The Parthians hated their
king Phraates and there was a deposed rival in the field, Tiridates,
to whom Augustus now gave shelter in the province of Syria, hoping,
as indeed happened, that his presence in the neighbourhood would keep
Phraates civil. At the same time Augustus set up a buffer kingdom of
Lesser Armenia on the Parthian border and in the south strengthened and
reinstated Herod the Great. Four or five legions were left to guard

In 23 B.C. it chanced that Tiridates had managed to kidnap the child
of Phraates and was keeping him in custody in the Roman province. It
is significant of the changed relations between Parthia and Rome that,
instead of marching into Syria to recover the child, Phraates sent an
embassy to Rome, whither also Tiridates came in person. Of course the
senate made the restoration of the child conditional upon the return
of the standards and prisoners. Phraates consented, but there was some
delay in carrying out the contract and this may have been secretly
arranged to enable Augustus to conduct the affair in a more striking
fashion. Augustus marched out with an army and at his mere approach
the standards and captives were given up with due formalities. It was
really a Roman triumph, almost as great as if it had been attained by
bloodshed, for all the world could see the humiliation of Parthia.
Augustus, that astute tactician, took care that the event should not
be allowed to lose its impressiveness for the mere lack of bloodshed.
The return of the standards was treated as a Roman triumph. They were
placed with every solemnity in the temple of Mars the Avenger. Coins
were struck representing the suppliant Parthian on his knees and the
same scene is depicted in relief on the centre of Cæsar’s breastplate
on the famous statue. The poets broke out into dutiful pæans.

    nunc petit Armenius pacem, nunc porrigit arcum
      Parthus eques timida captaque signa manu

cries Ovid. Vergil, after his manner, speaks of the Euphrates
flowing more quietly in future. The odes of Horace and the elegies
of Propertius contain similar loyal allusions. Ferrero, who regards
Augustus as a feeble trickster just as he regards Julius as a shabby
adventurer, has nothing but contempt for this episode. But seeing that
the Parthians were now utterly weakened by their internal feuds and
quite submissive to Rome it would have been folly to embark upon their
conquest. That they gave much trouble in the future is true enough, but
that might fairly be left for the future to deal with. Extermination
might have quieted them for ever, but Augustus had really no excuse for
making war upon them.

[Illustration: Surrender of the Standards]

On the same visit to the East a still more elaborate system of buffer
states forming a double semicircle round Parthia was organised. Armenia
yielded to Rome and received at the hands of Tiberius a new king who
had been educated at Rome. Augustus himself explains that although he
might have made Armenia into a Roman province he preferred to follow
the example of “our ancestors” and give the crown to a native king.
Augustus never pretended to be a world-conqueror. Similarly Media
Atropatene received a new king of Roman education, so did Commagene and
Emesa. These formed the outer ring of buffer states.

The central state behind them was Galatia, an arid highland district
inhabited by the descendants of those Gauls who had burst into the
Greek world under Brennus. Though they had acquired some tincture of
Greek civilisation and had a capital of some importance at Ancyra,
they still spoke the Gaulish language and were still a warlike race.
For these reasons, on the death of their king, Augustus preferred to
turn their country into a province. To the north was the very friendly
kingdom of Polemo in Pontus, and to the south other friendly princedoms
as well as the Roman provinces of Cilicia, Syria, and Cyprus.

For all this elaborate bulwark, the Parthian question was not really
settled. They continued to exercise an undue influence in Armenia, and
in A.D. 1 there was another solemn mission to the East and a conference
between Phraates the Parthian king and Gaius the grandson of Augustus.
Once more the Parthian professed submission, and once more the court
poets struck their obsequious lyres. When Phraates died, his uncle
Orodes who succeeded ruled with such cruelty that he was assassinated.
Thereupon the Parthians sent to Rome for a king and Augustus gave them
a nephew of the murdered tyrant, a youth also of Roman education. We
note this proceeding as common in the foreign policy of Augustus. He
must have had something like a school for young barbarian princes at
Rome, but whether the lessons that they learnt in Roman society were
altogether salutary is doubtful.

Behind this wall the great provinces of Asia, Syria, and Bithynia were
wrapped in profound security. Here Greek culture continued to flourish
with periodical incursions of oriental religion and philosophy. In
every considerable town the Jews formed a great and growing section of
the population but even they were half Greek in their ways of life.
The country was rich and lazy and utterly unwarlike. Civilisation had
risen to a high pitch and it was probably this part of the world which
sent to Rome those artists who contributed to the revival of sculpture.
Pretty little epigrams in Greek elegiacs seem to have been their
principal literary accomplishment. These provinces have very little
history--happily for them--at this period. We know them best from the
Acts of the Apostles, where we get a glimpse of their superstitions,
their eagerness to embrace new religions. We see the fanaticism of
Ephesus with its magnificent temple of Diana and stately worship, a
religion of oriental character overlaid with Greek culture, and only
rivalled in its attractions by the Roman amphitheatre. For these people
as for the rest of the world Augustus had his policy. Since worship was
their instructive need and Euhemerism had accustomed them to worship
men, he set up an elaborate cult of himself, or rather, by a subtle
distinction without a difference, a cult of “the genius of Augustus.”
Temples were built to “Rome and Augustus” and an elaborate hierarchy
of “High Priests,” “Asiarchs,” and “Bithyniarchs,” which became the
highest social distinctions in the society of the day. This was his
method of securing the allegiance of nations devoted to religion and
flattery. Here in the near future was to be the field of that momentous
conflict between this State religion and Christianity, with other
oriental faiths, such as Mithraism, also claiming their proselytes.

As for old Greece, the Romans never denied their spiritual debt to her,
and accordingly they regarded Greece with something of the veneration
which a man feels for his university. Augustus himself had been
educated at Apollonia, he sent his heirs to various Greek cities for
their education. It would have seemed sacrilege to educated Romans to
put a legate in charge of Athens. Hence we find Greece enjoying quite
an exceptional position in the empire, indeed without exception the
freest and most favoured part of it. Towns such as Athens, Lacedæmon,
Thespiæ, Tanagra, Platæa, Delphi, and Olympia were free and almost
sovereign. Athens continued to coin her silver drachms with the old
design of Pallas and the owl, elected her own archons and generals,
held assemblies and even had a sort of empire extending over all
Attica, part of Bocotia and five islands of the Cyclades. One Julius
Nicanor, her “new Themistocles,” purchased the island of Salamis and
presented it to his city in the civilised manner of empire-building.
Sparta, too, though now shrunken to the size of a village, bore rule
over Northern Laconia, while in the south there was a free confederacy
to keep her in order. Beside these cities of ancient renown stood
the new and splendid creation of Augustus--Nicopolis, the city of
victory founded on the promontory of Actium in commemoration of the
great victory of 31. Nicopolis had its great athletic festival like
Olympia and ruled over a considerable territory. In addition to these
free cities there were some Roman colonies. Corinth rose again from
her ashes as an important commercial city founded by Julius Cæsar.
Patras, on the Corinthian Gulf, a new foundation of Augustus, became
one of the most important cities of Greece, as it is to-day. The rest
of Southern Greece, consisting mainly of obscure villages, formed the
new senatorial province of Achaia and was governed by a proconsul at
Corinth. It was a poor unmilitary province. The northern part formed
the senatorial province of Macedonia. Thessalonica and Apollonia were
the principal centres of government and civilisation in this region.
In Greece, as elsewhere, Augustus made it his aim to focus a national
unity upon religion. The old Achæan league was revived as a religious
gathering with Argos for its centre, and the Delphic Amphictyony,
the oldest surviving institution in Europe, became the basis of a
Panhellenic confederacy which met annually for religious purposes under
Roman patronage, a sort of Eisteddfod combining religion with culture.
It sacrificed to Cæsar, and here, too, we find a president called
“Helladarch.” But although Greece had liberty and peace, something
was amiss with her. Her shrunken population continued to decline. In
Strabo’s Geography, Thebes is a mere village.

Crossing the water we find that the newly conquered kingdom of Egypt
was the key to the whole position of Augustus. It was the wealth of
Egypt which had reconciled Rome to monarchy and it was by means of
that wealth that he continued to hold the allegiance of his subjects.
Like Greece it had an ancient civilisation which impressed the Romans
as something beyond their comprehension. Alexandria, in particular, as
the gateway to the wealth of Egypt, and as the greatest existing centre
of Greek culture, not to mention its huge population and commercial
advantages, seemed to the Romans a really dangerous rival. The fear
of that rivalry had been felt very acutely at Rome when news came of
the ambitious schemes of Cleopatra and the subservience of Antony.
Augustus was really heading something like a national crusade when he
declared war upon them. The same fears now actuated him in settling the
treatment of Egypt as a province. Though he writes “I added Egypt to
the Roman empire,” he treated it rather as an imperial domain under a
prefect or viceroy closely attached to his interests. Its first prefect
was Cornelius Gallus, a knight from the Gallic colony of Fréjus, a poet
himself and a friend of Vergil. Cornelius Gallus was in fact the hero
of the famous eclogue: _neget quis carmina Gallo?_ It was specially
ordained that no senator might visit Egypt without the express
permission of Cæsar. The native Egyptians were already overridden
by a Greek aristocracy dating from Alexander’s conquest. They had
no rights, and no nationality was designed for them as it had been
elsewhere. Augustus accepted the elaborate bureaucratic system which
he had found in existence when he came. The Greek aristocracy lived
almost exclusively in Alexandria, possessing a municipal constitution,
magistracy, and priesthood of their own. The _ecclesia_ was stopped
but otherwise there was no attempt to Romanise Egypt. The old Egyptian
worship of Isis and Osiris had conquered all its conquerors and
continued to make inroads even into Rome itself where Augustus was
forced to accept it as irresistible. All that had happened in Egypt
was that Augustus had taken the place of the Ptolemies in the official
religion. It was the motive of fear which led to the appointment of a
mere knight as viceroy, though he had three legions under his command.
The officials under him were knights or freedmen. The taxes remained
very heavy, as was necessary, but now the Egyptians were placed in a
better position to pay them. Even before the civil war was quite ended
in 29 B.C. Augustus had employed his soldiers to clear the canals and
raise the level of the dams which ensure the Egyptian harvests. This
process continued, and Egypt never had such prosperity again until
Lord Cromer came to resume the work of Augustus. The harvest depended
simply on the height to which the Nile rose. The ancient Nilometer at
Elephantine records that the Nile rose to an unprecedented height in
the latter days of Augustus. Formerly a level of eight ells had meant
famine, now it ensured a tolerable harvest. Another inscription found
at Coptos gives us the names of the Roman soldiers who built reservoirs
of water along the great roads. Then the trade with India along the Red
Sea first began to grow great. Whereas in the time of Cleopatra hardly
twenty ships sailed to India in a year, there was already in Strabo’s
day (about A.D. 18) a great fleet of Indiamen. Taxes on exports and
imports returned a huge revenue to the imperial purse.

The prefect who represented his master on the throne of the Ptolemies
was in a difficult position. To Rome he was a mere servant, to the
Egyptians something like a god. Against these flattering influences
Gallus the poet had not strength to resist. He allowed statues to be
erected to him and even had his own achievements engraved upon the
pyramids. A traitorous friend reported these indiscretions at Rome.
Augustus was content to recall him and forbid him to live in the
provinces or to enter his presence. But the officious senate voted
his condemnation to banishment, and confiscated all his property to
Augustus, whereby Gallus was driven to suicide. Then Augustus was
sorry and complained that it was hard not to be able to scold one’s
friends like a private man. This was the first case of that disease
known as _delatio_ (informing) which was afterwards to become such a
pest under the Empire. It is satisfactory to learn that the informer
was very rudely treated in Roman society. From Egypt, as a base,
expeditions were made in the time of Augustus to Arabia and the
Soudan. Arabia Felix was to the Romans a kind of Eldorado of boundless
wealth, as Horace writes to a friend who was joining the campaign.
The Arabs brought their incense into the Syrian markets and already
traded with India from Aden, but the national wealth of the country
was exaggerated and its difficulties unknown. This expedition of 25
B.C., which was on a very large scale and included contingents from
Judæa, was one of the few deliberate wars of conquest ever planned
by Augustus. He learnt a lesson by its failure in the burning and
trackless deserts. The other campaign against the black Æthiopians of
the Soudan under their warlike but one-eyed queen Candace was more
successful. Petronius the legate penetrated as far as the Second
Cataract and sent a thousand prisoners to Rome, but Augustus seems to
have been content to make the First Cataract his southern frontier.

The neighbouring client kingdom of Judæa is of importance not only
because the days of Augustus saw the birth of that Child in Bethlehem
who was destined to conquer Rome and through Rome the world, but
because its throne was occupied by the ablest and most remarkable man,
next to Augustus, in the whole Empire. Herod the Great, an Edomite Arab
by birth, had succeeded to the throne of the Maccabees in 37 B.C. He
was not only a daring warrior but a singularly skilful diplomat who was
always able to cover up his crimes by adroit flattery and a fascinating
manner. He was very successful in trimming between the rivals
throughout the civil wars and even shared the favours of Cleopatra
with his Roman masters. In these ways he increased his domains by
the addition of Gadara, Samaria, and the Philistine coast towns. In
compliment to Augustus he refounded Samaria with great splendour as the
Greek city of Sebaste and built Greek theatres, Roman amphitheatres,
and baths in Jerusalem itself. He even instituted quinquennial games
there, wherein naked athletes performed to the infinite disgust of the
Jews. He took his sons to Rome for their education and there he met
and fascinated both Augustus and Agrippa. He even persuaded Agrippa
to visit Jerusalem for the opening of his magnificent new temple in
15 B.C. Agrippa came and sacrificed a whole hecatomb to Jehovah to
the apparent delight of the people. Later on Herod made a grand tour
of Asia Minor, scattering lavish gifts everywhere and receiving
complimentary inscriptions in return. He succeeded in obtaining
valuable privileges for his fellow-Jews scattered abroad in those
regions. Henceforth they were not forced to render military service and
had special permission to keep the Sabbath.

In 9 and 8 B.C., however, he got into trouble with Augustus for
conducting a military expedition against the Arabs without permission.
This was the greatest offence that a client king could commit, and
Augustus declared that henceforth he would treat Herod not as a friend,
but as a subject. But in the next year a humble embassy was sent to
Rome with the historian Nicolaus as its spokesman. Herod received the
gracious permission to deal with his rebellious sons as he thought
fit, and accordingly strangled two of them. Herod’s family history is
a deplorable record of crimes and intrigues. He seems to have had ten
wives, and on his death in 4 B.C., he left three wills among which
Augustus had to decide. Seeing that Judæa was so rich and powerful
as to be a possible source of danger, he decided to split it up into
three. Then began a whole series of troubles, in the course of which
the Jews of Jerusalem actually attacked a Roman legion. In revenge the
legate of Syria, Quintilius Varus, crucified 2000 of the inhabitants.
In the final award Judæa fell to Archelaus, Galilee to Herod Antipas.
Ten years later, however, the infamous Archelaus was deposed at the
petition of his subjects, and Judæa was made subject to the province
of Syria with a procurator of its own. Herod Antipas continued to rule
his petty kingdom until about A.D. 34, when it also was united to the
province. He is the Herod whom Christ denounced as “that fox,” and he
is the Herod of Christ’s Judgment, when he happened to be at Jerusalem
on a visit to Pontius Pilatus, the Roman procurator. Pilate was a Roman
knight, but Felix, one of his successors, was only a freedman. The seat
of the Roman government was not at Jerusalem, but at Cæsarea, so that
the _prætorium_ in which the trial of Jesus took place must have been
the temporary head-quarters of Pilate in the palace built by Herod the


The procurator only commanded auxiliary troops, and nearly all the
“Roman soldiers” mentioned in the Gospels must have been of Jewish
birth. As soon as it was a province, but not before, Judæa had to pay
tribute to Cæsar. Hence the existence of a “chief of the publicans”
like Zacchæus. As usual, the Romans preserved what they could of
native institutions, and the Sanhedrin continued to act as a national
council, so far as could be permitted. Thus it might try Jesus, but
it could not pronounce the death sentence. On the other hand, another
procurator, Festus, committed Paul to the Sanhedrin for judgment.
The fact is that the Jewish law was so peculiarly national that a
bewildered and well-intentioned Roman knight like Pilate might often
say “take ye Him and judge Him according to your law.” The Roman
government was so tolerant of the religion of its subjects that even
a Roman citizen who ventured to enter the Holy of Holies was punished
with death. The Jewish religion was expressly under Roman protection.
Agrippa, as we have seen, had sacrificed to Jehovah, but later on we
find Augustus commending his grandson Gaius for not having worshipped
Jehovah. As a matter of fact, with the spread of the newer forms of
Hellenic philosophy the religious feeling of the world, which had
long ago given up its faith in the Olympian mythology, was turning
more and more towards monotheism and a mystical system of ethics. The
higher Pharisaism, which Paul had learnt at the feet of Gamaliel, was
decidedly influenced by Stoicism. Hence the Jewish religion even before
its Christian development was extremely fascinating to the Roman mind,
and it had to be forbidden in the capital. Even at Jerusalem the Jews
were expected to sacrifice, not _to_ but _for_ “Cæsar and the Roman
People” every day. Augustus paid for this ritual out of his own pocket.
In deference to the feeling of the Jews, the coins struck for Judæa
bore no portrait of Cæsar, and even the standards, because they bore
portraits, were ordered not to be carried into the Holy City. It is
true that the silver denarius of Syria circulated in Judæa to some
extent, and it is of such a coin that Christ was speaking when He
asked: “Whose image and superscription is this?”

The province of Africa with Numidia was handed over to the senate as
peaceful in 27 B.C., and it was one of the only two Roman provinces
which Augustus never visited. Nominally it stretched from the boundary
of the kingdom of Mauretania at the river Ampsaga on the west to the
borders of the Cyrenaica on the east. But actually it consisted of the
islands of fertility on the Tunisian coast. Carthage had been colonised
by Julius Cæsar and was now refounded by Augustus. There was no inland
frontier. In the desert behind the mountains there still flourished
the wild Gætulian nomads who occasionally descended upon the peaceful
province and provided a Roman triumph. This was the reason why a legion
was still kept in Africa. The neighbouring kingdom of Mauretania was
assigned to an interesting young royal couple. The husband was Juba, a
descendant of Masinissa, who had been educated as a Roman, had served
in the Roman army and was so complete a Greek scholar that he wrote
among many other works a history of the Drama. The wife was a daughter
of Cleopatra by Antony, who had ridden in Cæsar’s triumph at Rome. Both
Mauretania and its eastern neighbour Numidia, which had been added to
the Roman province, now settled down to wealth and happiness under
the Roman rule. The splendid ruins which still survive indicate a
prosperity which has not as yet been completely recovered.

Cyrene, where the descendants of the Romans are now carving out a
province for themselves, though geographically a part of the African
continent, was historically regarded as a Greek island, and united in
one province with Crete. It consisted of a group of five Greek cities
with a large intermixture of Jews. Cyrene has no history in this
period, but after the siege of Jerusalem there was a terrible outburst
of Jewish fanaticism. Thousands of Roman citizens were tortured and

Perhaps no country in the world has had such a chequered and miserable
history as the pleasant island of Sicily with its rich volcanic soil.
For four hundred years it had been mainly Greek. The eastern end, at
least, had been scattered with important city-states which, under
the leadership of Syracuse, had waged incessant conflict with the
Carthaginian invaders in their western strongholds. We have seen how
the Romans finally drove out the Semitic element and conquered the
Greeks. During the latter part of republican history the island had
been of vital importance to Rome as supplying through its tribute the
chief part of the corn-supply. At the same time it had been cruelly
exploited and oppressed by Roman governors like Verres. Then during
the civil wars Sextus Pompeius had made it his head-quarters, and it
had been laid under heavy contributions by both sides. Messina, its
richest town, had been the scene of a sack and massacre. No country had
more to hope from the Pax Augusta, and it now began to enjoy one of
its brief periods of rest. Augustus spent the winter of 22 in Sicily
at the beginning of his tour in Greece. He founded colonies at six
famous cities of old. While he was in the island the Sicilians offered
him a kind of round-robin of complaint against the extortion of his
procurator. Augustus instantly dismissed the offender and replaced him
by his own valued tutor, the philosopher Areus. It was thoroughly in
accordance with his policy to put a Greek philosopher in charge of a
Greek island.

So far we have been surveying the treatment of that part of the Roman
world which was already quite civilised and mainly Greek. We now turn
to the barbarian West and North, mainly consisting of newly conquered
Cæsarian provinces. In these quarters, the nearer parts of Spain and
the Narbonensian province of Gaul were the only regions which could be
called civilised. As soon as the provisional settlement of 27 b.c. was
effected Augustus hurried away to Gaul. It was generally thought that
he was on his way to conquer Britain, for that was the second of the
two tasks which Julius had left to his successor. Accordingly the loyal
Horace dutifully prays:

    serues iturum Cæsarem in ultimos
    orbis Britannos.[45]

But this was not the time, and Augustus was not the man, for dazzling
conquests. “Hasten slowly” was his favourite motto, and his empire
policy was founded on the same principle. For the present the Ocean,
then called British, was boundary enough. Augustus was reducing the
army and Britain would have taken at least a legion to keep it quiet.
So Britain had to delay its prospects of civilisation until Gaul and
Spain were organised and the German frontier settled. We have the
record of British chiefs coming to Rome with unknown petitions during
the period, but beyond that there is silence on our island. As for
Gaul, Julius had done the work of conquest thoroughly enough, and the
Gauls as an adaptable people were taking to Roman civilisation with
avidity. There were indeed corners of it not yet enlightened and the
whole government required organisation. Augustus went straight to the
capital of the old province, Narbonne, and there he arranged a census
and a land register, not, as Ferrero observes, out of mere statistical
curiosity. Probably no tribute had come in from Gaul during the civil
wars, and Augustus was much concerned with finance. For the moment an
outbreak in Spain called the emperor away, but five years later he
returned to complete his work. The old province, which has passed into
history as Provence, was now handed back to the senate as completely
pacified, and the rest of Gaul was eventually divided into three
parts: Aquitania, the half-Spanish south-west; Lugdunensis (the east
and centre stretching right across France with its capital Lyons or
Lugdunum on its eastern border); and Belgica (the northern part with
Trier--Augusta Treverorum, not yet founded--and Rheims as its chief
towns). This division was mainly, though not entirely, based on racial
considerations. Together the three formed one of Cæsar’s provinces as
Gallia Comata.

The treatment of the conquered land was wise and humane. Druidical
religion, already a waning force, was permitted to exist, though it
included human sacrifice and was hostile to the Romans. In the reign
of Claudius it was forbidden. But other native deities were actually
encouraged by the state, and Augustus himself built an altar to some
strange Gallic spirits. But side by side with the native religion
he fostered the new cult, as in Asia, of “Rome and Augustus.” There
had always been tribal councils which culminated in a great national
gathering at Lugdunum once a year. Apparently the presiding priests had
been elected from the well-born natives and were in opposition to the
Druids. Augustus made skilful use of this organisation and fostered it
in order to make it a centre for Roman patriotism. He set up a great
altar at Lugdunum inscribed “to Rome and Augustus.” It was constructed
in a sacred grove, and was surrounded by statues emblematic of the
sixty Gallic tribes. The elected priest had to be a Roman citizen of
Gallic birth. It soon became a distinction coveted by the grandsons of
those who had fought against Julius. This is very characteristic of
the systematic empire-building which went on in the days of Augustus.
Lugdunum rose to be a great imperial city, the only city in Gaul which
possessed full Roman citizenship and had a mint of its own. From it
a great and elaborate road system radiated to all parts of France
very much in the same directions as the modern railways. Schools were
founded and the study of Latin encouraged though not enforced. The
Gauls took very ardently to their new studies, displaying in particular
a remarkable faculty for rhetoric. The principle came into force that
when a town or district could show that it spoke Latin it received
important rights of citizenship, including that great privilege, the
use of Roman law. The land system of Gaul differed essentially from
that of Italy in that it was based on tribes and cantons instead of
cities. Already the towns were growing as centres for the tribes, but
to this day many of the names of French cities are those of tribes
rather than towns: thus Lutetia of the Parisii is Paris, Durocortorum
of the Remi is Rheims, Divodurum of the Mediomatrici is Metz, and
Agedincum of the Senones is Sens. The tribute ultimately fixed was a
high one but on the whole justly regulated. It is probable that the
ugly story of Licinius and his extortions is told as an exceptional
occurrence. In any case Gaul was taught how to grow rich and
prosperous. Mines of silver and gold were successfully exploited, the
culture of flax was encouraged, and the soil was found to be admirably
suited to cereal crops. Gaul became a hive of industry and a source
of ever-increasing wealth. She purchased oil and wine from Italy as
well as the articles of Eastern luxury which passed through the hands
of Roman merchants. A 2½ per cent. duty was charged at the frontier
both on imports and exports. Such were some of the methods by which
the Romanisation of Gaul was effected, and the foundations so well and
truly laid that through all the invasions of Franks and Burgundians,
Gaul remained Roman in speech and thought, and remains so to this

Of all the momentous problems which Augustus had to face, the
delimitation of the northern frontier was the weightiest. It has
always been one of the disputed questions of Roman history, why
Augustus, who was generally so cautious and so unwilling to embark
upon adventures, deliberately chose to cross the Rhine and plunge into
those impenetrable forests of whose dangers and difficulties Julius
Cæsar had left so clear a warning. Was it his aim to forestall the
danger of a German invasion of Gaul? On the other hand, the Rhine
might well seem a sufficient frontier, as indeed for many centuries it
was. Was it his aim to exercise his troops in difficult warfare and
perhaps secure military renown for the young men whom he had destined
for the succession? These are scarcely adequate motives for a man like
Augustus. Did he hope to acquire wealth out of Germany as he had done
out of Gaul? He must have known that the virgin forests and undrained
morasses of Germany would scarcely balance the difficulties and dangers
of a campaign there, and that the Germans were far behind their Gallic
cousins in civilisation. The problem seems to me insoluble unless we
accept the theory that the whole scheme was part of the search for a
natural strategic frontier undertaken with false notions of geography.
It is certain that many of the ancients believed that they would find
the Ocean again where Russia is, and that the Caspian Sea was part of
it. In that case the Romans may have hoped to round off their empire
satisfactorily in this direction. It would explain the curious tactics
by which Roman expeditions crossing the Rhine and plunging into the
heart of Germany ordered their fleets to coast along the Dutch and
Danish shores.

From whatever motives it was undertaken, this penetration of Germany
and its ultimate failure was a fact of vast consequence in the
history of Europe. From one point of view the history of Europe may
be described as a record of the various relations between the Roman
and the German elements, with occasional incursions from the Celtic or
Turanian fringes. It is one long contest between Latin and Teutonic
race, religion, language, law, and ideas political and economic. Hence
it is impossible to overrate the importance of the moment when the
first round of that age-long contest was fought out and settled. Hidden
among the forests in those mysterious wildernesses beyond the Rhine
were the numerous tribes who were destined one day to form the nations
of Europe. Here were the Saxons of Saxony and England, the Swabians,
the Franks, the Vandals, the Burgundians, the Goths, the Lombards, and
many others, yet unnamed, the germs of the nations.

It was by no means their first entrance on the stage of history. We
believe that the dominant races of historical Greece, and perhaps of
historical Rome, traced back their ancestry to the central regions of
Europe. Since then history had recorded several alarming incursions
of northern barbarians, and in a general sense the story of the
Mediterranean peoples shows how wave after wave of strong warriors
from the North descended upon the fertile peninsulas of the South,
which always absorbed and assimilated them, until finally they became
a prey to the enervating influences of climate, melted into the native
strain, and had to make room for a fresh wave of untamed northerners.
Read in this light, extraordinary interest attaches to the moment when
all-conquering Rome attempted to conquer the wilds which sheltered
these mighty tribes. If she had succeeded in taming and Romanising the
Germans also, as she had done with the Spaniards and Gauls, the course
of history might have been very different. But even then, though she
knew it not, behind the Teutonic peoples lay the Slavs, and behind
them the Tartars and the Huns. The task of civilising the world from
a single centre was impossible. Augustus would have been wiser to
choose a strong frontier first and then proceed gradually by peaceful
penetration. Probably Augustus judged that the policy of buffer states
which he had applied in the East was not applicable to barbarians. As
it was, conquest was the method he selected, contrary to his usual
custom and contrary to his natural inclination. Herein success led to
over-confidence and so to disaster.

We always term the people over the wall “barbarians,” but the Germans
had their various political and social systems and some of their tribes
were more civilised than others. By comparing the _Commentaries_ of
Cæsar with the _Germania_ of Tacitus we get a fairly comprehensive
notion of German institutions, which, it must be remembered, were
those of our own ancestors. They had no cities. Like the Gauls they
were grouped in tribes and the tribes were subdivided into cantons,
the cantons into villages. They lived on the produce of their flocks
and herds, on the chase, and on a primitive type of “extensive”
agriculture, which involved fresh ploughlands every year and thus
caused continual unrest and jostling of tribe against tribe. This was
what made them such troublesome neighbours to the Gauls, and led to
those gigantic “treks” which meet us from time to time in history.
Their only political system was a fighting organisation; hereditary
chiefs and princes led them in battle and the general in a large
movement was elected from amongst the princes by the freemen of the
tribe. In peace there was no general magistracy, but the elders and
priests administered justice in the villages. Among the warriors
there was a rough freedom and equality. The free warrior had very
considerable rights, but only as a warrior. Among the Suevi, according
to Cæsar, there were a hundred cantons, each of which furnished a
thousand men to the army for a year’s service while the rest stayed
at home to carry on agriculture and hunting. But this seems, if it is
accurate, to be an exceptional degree of organisation. The chastity,
the patriotism, the honesty of these barbarians as well as their
courage and gigantic stature were favourite themes for Roman eloquence.
It is likely enough that Tacitus heightened their virtues with his
satirical instinct in order to point a moral to his fellow-countrymen.

Julius Cæsar had left the Rhine as the frontier of his Gallic
provinces, though he had crossed it twice by way of reconnaissance.
Quite at the beginning of Augustus’s presidency, the Suevi had had to
be chased back across the Rhine, and the Treveri across the Moselle. At
this time, Germany was still for administrative purposes a part of the
Gallic provinces, and as a rule there was some high officer in charge
of both. The Rhine was not impassable to the barbarians, and moreover
there were Germanic tribes on both sides of it, such as the Treveri of
Trier and the Ubii of Cologne, who were in frequent intercourse with
their neighbours on the other side. This made the river a somewhat
insufficient boundary. There were inroads of German barbarians in 29,
25, 20 and 16 B.C. In the latter case a Roman legate was surprised and
defeated, and the eagle of the Fifth Legion carried off in triumph.

This brought Augustus to the spot, and he spent two years in studying
the problems of Gaul and Germany. In 12 B.C. the first campaign was
undertaken under the command of Drusus, his younger stepson. Drusus,
who was not yet twenty-five, was the most brilliant figure of his day,
brave, handsome, virtuous, adored by the soldiers, and a thoroughly
capable general. On this occasion he crossed the Rhine and descended
into Dutch territory, laying waste the lands of the Sygambri and the
other hostile tribes who had provoked these punitive measures. He
accepted the submission of the Frisians who lived on the coast of
North Holland. During the winter his troops seem to have been employed
in cutting a canal from the Rhine to the Zuyder Zee. Next year he
crossed again, marched on, and threw a bridge across the Lippe,
crossed the territory of the Cherusci--the most warlike of all the
tribes--and halted on the banks of the Weser. He built a great fort
at the junction of the Lippe and the Alme or Ems, and cut a highway
along the banks of the Lippe to join the new fort Aliso with a great
camp on the Rhine near Xanten. In the next year there was more building
and settling, and in 9 B.C. came the great effort. Drusus marched out
into Suabia and Cheruscia, crossed the Weser, ravaging everywhere,
and reached the Elbe. This river he essayed to cross, but he could
not, and, as the historians put it, omens appeared to forbid further
progress. This then was the Roman limit. Somewhere between the Saale
and the Weser, Drusus fell from his horse and sustained injuries which
resulted in his death. Augustus, though greatly grieved, determined
to continue his operations. Tiberius was sent to continue the work,
and 40,000 Sygambrians were transported into Roman territory. We know
little of the work of the next dozen years. Another legate reached
the Elbe. A great viaduct was constructed between the Ems and the
Rhine. During this period the pacification was apparently proceeding
with rapidity. Many of the young Germans came into the Roman camp
and learnt Roman ways and Latin speech. The head-quarters were still
at Vetera Castra near Xanten and at Mogontiacum (Mainz), with summer
quarters at Aliso. In A.D. 4 fresh campaigns were undertaken by
Tiberius. For many of these expeditions the Roman historians offer no
excuse or justification. They record with pride the immense slaughter
and devastation that accompanied them. It is hard to resist the
conclusion that much of this fighting was undertaken for its own
sake, or to exercise the legions. In A.D. 5 the greatest expedition
of all was undertaken. There was a great “durbar” at which the wild
Chauci and Cherusci handed in their weapons and did obeisance to the
Roman general. The Langobardi--later known as the Lombards--submitted,
and Tiberius crossed the Elbe itself, while the fleet which had
“circumnavigated the recesses of the Ocean” sailed up the river to meet
the army with supplies. All seemed to be going well: Germany was nearly
conquered. There only remained the powerful kingdom of the Marcomanni
under King Marbod, who dwelt in the fastnesses of Bohemia. Marbod was
an able ruler who alone in Germany had succeeded in establishing a
strong throne, and had drilled a powerful army of 70,000 foot and 4000
horse. As the historian Velleius observes, his Alpine boundaries were
only two hundred miles from Italy, and this formidable power was a
real menace to the safety of the empire. Accordingly elaborate plans
were made for his destruction by an invasion from three sides at once.
Unfortunately just at the moment when the armies were converging upon
their prey, there broke out the great Pannonian and Illyrian revolt of
A.D. 6, which brought all the tribes of Austria down upon the Romans.
It was one of the most dangerous moments in Roman history. Fifteen
legions were employed against them, and the military resources of the
Empire strained almost to breaking-point. Luckily for Rome, Marbod made
no attempt to join the revolt, and the barbarians were under divided
leadership. Germanicus, the son of Drusus, helped Tiberius to crush
them, but it took three or four years to accomplish it.

[Illustration: Portrait of Varus]

Meanwhile Germany itself had to be content with inferior legates.
Quintilius Varus was one of those amiable men who cause mutinies by
kindness. He fancied that Germany was tranquil. He went about founding
cities, holding assizes, collecting tribute and giving justice
according to Roman law precisely “as if he had been a city prætor in
the Forum at Rome and not a general in the German forests.” Accordingly
in A.D. 9 a plot was hatched against him. He was enticed away into
the recesses of the Saltus Teutoburgiensis and slaughtered. Then the
Cheruscan army swept down upon the three Roman legions and destroyed

In itself the disaster was not overwhelming. Three legions had
perished, but fifteen more, flushed with their recent victory over the
Illyrians, were at hand to avenge them. The Cheruscans immediately
submitted and Germanicus found no serious opposition when he penetrated
Germany on an errand of chastisement. But for Augustus the reverse
was decisive. He was now an old enfeebled man. When he heard of the
disaster he beat his head against the wall and was often heard to cry:
“Varus, give me back my legions.” He saw that there was no end to these
adventures in the forest and no profit in them. As a frontier the Elbe
was no better than the Rhine. Therefore he had the supremely good sense
to accept the Rhine as his frontier. Henceforth Rhine and Danube with
roads and forts along them, and with special arrangements to strengthen
the angle where the rivers run small--that should be bulwark enough for
the present. And so it was.

The patriotism of German historians has made of this defeat of Varus
rather more than it deserves. Arminius the young Cheruscan who led the
attack was a patriot though a traitor. He had been, says Velleius,
a faithful ally in previous campaigns and had even attained Roman
citizenship and equestrian rank. He spoke Latin fluently. His very
name is most probably a Latin _cognomen_, though the patriotism of the
Germans will call him “Hermann.” So the German student of to-day sings
over his beer:

    Dann zieh’n wir aus zur Hermannschlacht
      Und wollen Rache haben.

It was not half so gallant an act of revolt as that of our British
lady, Boadicea, but it had the merit of success. The Germans were able
to develop their strength behind the artificial ramparts of the Rhine
and Danube until the time came for them to burst through in conquest.

It is commonly said that Augustus immediately after A.D. 9 formed two
provinces called Upper and Lower Germany along the Rhine as if to
conceal his loss of the real Germany. This is not exact. In the warfare
of Tiberius’s days the historians speak only of the Upper or the Lower
Army in Germany, and Augustus in his monument speaks of Germany in the
singular. Under Tiberius ample revenge was taken for the defeat and
Germanicus again and again traversed Germany. The Varus disaster was
only one of the episodes which decided the Romans to halt at the Rhine.
Aliso was long retained as an outpost, and colonies of Roman veterans
were planted on German soil. The Cheruscans and Arminius were defeated
in a tremendous battle at Idistavisus near Minden on the Weser in A.D.
16. But on the way back the Roman fleet was shipwrecked and a great
many prisoners fell into the hands of the Germans. Some of these were
sold as slaves to the Britons and many eventually returned to Rome
bringing back marvellous stories of their adventures. As for Marbod,
he was defeated in a battle with the Cheruscans and took refuge on
Roman soil, where he lived for eighteen years at Ravenna. Arminius, his
conqueror, began to play the tyrant in his native tribe and was slain
by the treachery of his kinsmen at the age of thirty-seven. His wife
Thusnelda and his son had long ago fallen into the hands of the Romans
and the boy grew up as a Roman citizen.

The headquarters of the Rhine legions continued to be at Mainz and
Xanten with summer quarters at the new Colonia which became Cologne.
Four legions of the Upper Army were stationed at the former, and four
of the Lower Army at the latter. In due course, we cannot say when,
these became the centres of two separate provinces. On the Danube there
were three legions in Pannonia, the great new Austrian province.
Along this frontier there was now a double line of Cæsarian provinces.
Rhætia and Noricum were conquered in 15 B.C. Then there were tedious
and unprofitable campaigns in the southern Swiss valleys as the result
of which a row of little Alpine prefectures was established. There
is still a fine monument to Augustus on the heights above Monaco
enumerating forty-six Alpine tribes made subject to Rome. It was
erected by the gratitude of the Italian farmers, for the Alpine tribes
had always scourged the plains. Roads were constructed here and there
over the Alps. The principal pass to Germany lay by way of Turin and
the St. Bernard with Augusta (Aosta) to guard it. In Pannonia the old
route from Aquilegia over the Julian Alps was restored and a new _Via
Claudia_ constructed up the valley of the Adige from Tridentum (Trent)
to Augusta (Augsburg). To round off the Danube frontier Mœsia or Mysia
was conquered quite at the beginning of the period and added as an
Imperial province, probably in A.D. 6, under a prefect. It stretched
along the south bank of the Danube, down to the Black Sea, and embraced
part of the Balkan high lands. Thus with strong legions posted in
permanent encampments all along the Rhine and Danube, Rome had now a
satisfactory northern frontier which only required guarding to keep
Rome and Italy in security.

Spain had never been entirely subjugated though it had been in the
possession of the Republic for nearly two centuries. Parts of it indeed
were almost as Roman as Rome. Gades and Corduba, for example, were
centres of learning and literature, soon to produce citizens of renown
in Lucan, Seneca, Martial, Quintilian, and an emperor in Trajan--a most
distinguished galaxy. But a great part of Spain was still in the hands
of wild and chivalrous barbarians. Particularly in the north-west the
Cantabrians and Asturians were a menace to the peaceful province. For
eight years and more the Romans continued to fight them with brief
intervals termed “victories.” Augustus himself came over in 26 B.C. and
directed operations comfortably from Tarraco. The leader of the rebels
was a hero-chief called Corocotta who so exasperated the Romans that
Augustus offered £10,000 for his capture. This sum the brigand earned
by walking into the Roman camp to surrender, and Augustus, charmed at
the idea, gave him his liberty as well as the reward. He married a
Roman wife and died a Roman citizen as Gaius Julius Caracuttus. Cæsar
himself fell seriously ill in the course of the long campaign. Both
sides increased in ferocity. The Romans crucified their prisoners and
the Spaniards mocked them from the cross. Finally Augustus had to send
for Agrippa to finish the business, which he did in 19 B.C. Now Spain
was really conquered for ever and even the northern highlanders laid
down their arms and accepted civilisation. Bætica, the southern part of
the peninsula, was given to the senate to govern, and the northern half
divided into the two imperial provinces, Tarraconensis and Lusitania,
the latter corresponding roughly to modern Portugal. In Spain also
altars were erected to Rome and Augustus. Roads radiated out from
Tarraco. Many towns were founded, such as Cæsar Augusta (Saragossa),
Augusta Emerita (Merida), Pax Julia (Beja), Legiones (Leon), Asturica
Augusta (Astorga). The Celtic religion and probably the very language
quickly became extinct. Even in the time of Augustus there were fifty
communities with full Roman citizenship. New mines were discovered
and vigorously worked, new industries, especially in metal, carefully

         *       *       *       *       *

This brief and imperfect sketch of the Roman Empire, as it took shape
under the all-seeing eye of Augustus, should indicate, more than all
the triumphs she won in battle, more, even, than the story of the
Punic Wars, the real “Grandeur that was Rome.” The true greatness
of the Roman lies in his indomitable energy and his practical good
sense, not to be obscured by the surface of rhetorical culture which
had come to overlay it in these latter generations. Now that Rome had
at last secured for herself a reasonably secure and sensible form of
government, she was able to exercise her natural capacity for affairs
and to play the part which destiny had assigned to her of propagating
civilisation throughout Europe. If the historians would allow us, we
should gladly turn away from the wars and proscriptions to study the
quiet useful work which she was performing now and henceforth in every
corner of her empire. The motive was, no doubt, self-interest, but it
was that broad and far-seeing selfishness which in the realm of public
affairs is the nearest approach to altruism. The Republic that sucked
the blood of her provinces is detestable to all right-thinking men.
The autocracy that cleared out the canals in Egypt, planted flax and
encouraged pottery in Gaul, irrigated Africa and taught agriculture to
the Moorish nomads, set the wild Iberians to mining and weaving, built
aqueducts and roads everywhere, established a postal system and policed
land and sea so effectively that a man might fare from York to Palmyra,
or from Trier to Morocco “with his bosom full of gold,” may be tyranny
governing in its own interests, but it is an institution for which the
world has every reason to be grateful.



    Pater argentarius, ego Corinthiarius.
              _Anonymous satire on Augustus quoted by_ SUETONIUS

Throughout his great task of repairing a world which had fallen to
pieces, Augustus was by no means ignorant of the fact that it is the
“spirit that maketh alive.” Indeed it was his constant endeavour to
alter facts without changing their names. He was well aware that Sulla
had failed miserably when he tossed the Romans a constitution and left
nothing but an oath to support it. To adjust frontiers and organise new
provinces with the help of his trusty and invincible little legionaries
was probably the pleasantest and the easiest part of Cæsar’s task. To
reform the ancient imperial city with her centuries of proud and brutal
tradition was equally essential, but it was desperate work. For the
Empire of Augustus was born into the world suffering from degeneration
of the heart. The nobility, upon which everything that was great and
glorious in Roman history depended, was morally corrupt, intellectually
inert, spiritually void, and even physically decrepit and sterile. The
civil wars and proscriptions had systematically pruned away all that
was virile and spirited in its ranks. The trimmers and nonentities had
survived. The women, long since deprived of the iron control which had
kept them in order under the old system of the Roman family, dominated
society with an influence that was generally evil. The Roman boudoir
with its throng of slaves and parasites was not only profligate, but
it had already begun to produce the type of murderous intriguers which
we meet more prominently in the Messalinas and Faustinas of imperial
history. But as there were virtuous exceptions like Octavia and
Agrippina among the women, so there were among the men a few nobles
of probity and honour who had somehow, probably by hiding themselves
away on their country estates, survived all the conflicts of the past
generation. But these, who read Roman history in the same light as
Livy, were lovers of the old regime, suspicious and bitterly jealous of
the new. We have seen that one of the first official acts of Augustus
was to restore the patriciate. But it is easier to make peers than
patricians, and we may be sure that there was little love between the
old aristocracy and the new. Augustus himself, though the “son of the
god Julius” and descended through his mother from Venus and Anchises,
was on the father’s side only just respectable. By nature and instinct,
however, he was an aristocrat. All his life long he strove to win
over the aristocracy to the support of his regime. But he failed, and
failed disastrously. Whence throughout the history of the Empire we
have in existence more or less prominently a conservative opposition
of old nobles, genuine or spurious, sometimes plotting manfully and
dying nobly, but more often sneering and writing in secret against the

But most of the old aristocracy lacked the spirit to oppose Augustus.
The few plots which came to light were contemptible affairs. Some of
the nobles came down to the senate and devoted their intellects to the
choice of a new _cognomen_ for the new Cæsar, or vied with one another
in proposing fresh titles of honour for him. But they soon discovered
that flattery was not very lucrative in the face of their chilly and
statuesque master. Politics at Rome had lost their savour when there
was no chance of blood to follow. The noble senators had to be coerced
into attending at the curia; they devoted their gifts to drawing-room
battles, they collected _objets de luxe_, they wrote bad verses and
sometimes bad histories, and they practised all the vices. They had no
religion and very little philosophy. Above all the old Roman family
upon which the piers of Roman society had rested was now in ruins. To
be the husband of one wife from marriage to death was, so far as the
records go, a rare exception. This was no innovation of the Empire. For
a century or more men had changed their wives every few years for the
sake of a fortune or a political alliance.

Augustus set before himself, as one of the most important phases of
his task of regeneration, the moral purification of this society. He
had provided the provinces with a new religion which involved a new
social organisation. But the cloak of republicanism in which he had
chosen to drape his autocracy forbade him to make himself a god in
Rome. On the contrary he steadily forbade extravagant flattery. He was
not even to be called “dominus.” It is true that the mayors of the
new boroughs into which he divided Rome were allowed to set up altars
to the Lares and Genius of Augustus.[47] Outside the city throughout
Italy there were temples to Augustus and priests in his service. As
usual it was a mere quibble when he declined divine honours in Rome.
Vergil had plainly called him a god at the very moment when he was
dyeing his hands in Roman blood. Julius Cæsar had been formally deified
and Augustus regularly styled himself “divi filius.” The title of
“augustus” itself carried the notion of transcendent power. Thus the
emperor stood on the threshold of heaven, at any rate for the poorer
classes, even in Rome itself. But for the aristocracy something else
was needed: it is of little profit to claim divinity in a society of
atheists. For Roman society, as typified by Ovid, the gods were little
more than a literary convention, and it would do a respectable man
little credit to be enrolled in their company.

For the reformation of Roman society Augustus had recourse to three
methods--legislation, culture, and example. The legislation consisted
of a whole series of laws solemnly passed through senate and comitia
in the years 18 and 17 B.C. To give them additional sanctity they
were called Julian laws. There was one enacting heavier penalties
for adultery, another permitting marriage between citizens and
freedwomen, designed to meet the circumstance that men outnumbered
women in the ranks of the aristocracy. There were also sumptuary laws
to curb extravagance. There were laws imposing penalties on celibacy
and discouraging the fortune-hunters who lay in wait for the rich
bachelor’s legacies. Fiscal privileges were granted to the fathers
of families, and Augustus himself went down to the house and read
the senate an old speech of Metellus on the increase of population.
Unfortunately the emperor himself had not set a good example in the
matter of parentage. He had had three wives but only one child, a
daughter. Still he exhibited himself in the theatre in the capacity
of a father by collecting the children of Germanicus about his knees.
Of course legislation proved quite helpless in the matter, besides
arousing a good deal of ill-feeling which was chiefly displayed in the
ranks of the knights.

Augustus was in a very difficult position when it came to setting an
example. The principal evils which his social code was designed to
remedy were the prevalence of adultery, the frequency of divorce,
voluntary celibacy and formal marriages contracted without intention
of producing offspring, and finally, as a consequence of celibacy,
the prevalence of a regular profession of fortune-hunting. There was
scarcely one of these necessary reforms to which Cæsar himself came
with clean hands. He had begun his matrimonial career by repudiating
his young betrothed; he had then married an immature virgin, and
divorced her for political reasons before the marriage was consummated;
in the third place he had married Scribonia, who had already had two
husbands, and whose son was already a man at the time of her marriage
to Augustus. She was many years older than he, and the marriage was
intended to secure a reconciliation with Sextus Pompeius. This third
matrimonial venture was terminated in a manner which shocked even
Roman society. On the very day when Scribonia became a mother by him,
Augustus put her away charging her with immorality, though he kept
her infant Julia as his own and only child. He had been fascinated,
it seems, by the fair face and brilliant abilities of Livia Drusilla.
Livia was of the highest ancestry in Rome, a descendant of Appius
Claudius, and attached by adoption to another very noble family, the
Livii. Also she had married another scion of the illustrious Claudian
house, the proudest in Rome, and at the age of fifteen had become the
mother of Tiberius. Her father had chosen the losing side at Philippi,
and committed suicide after the battle. Her husband, Claudius Nero,
had taken arms against Augustus--or Octavian, as he then was--in the
Perusine War, and his life was forfeited. His beautiful wife sued the
conqueror for mercy, and mercy was granted upon conditions. Nero was
compelled not only to divorce his wife, but to act the part of a father
and give her away in marriage to Augustus. She was then not only the
mother of Tiberius, but just about to become the mother of Drusus, who
was born in the house of Augustus three months after the marriage.
This, then, was the model family on the Palatine which was to set an
example to the Roman aristocracy--a daughter whose mother had been
divorced on the day of her birth, a mother who had been sold by her
husband, and two stepsons whose father had been divorced. The sequel
scarcely improved matters. Julia grew up and was married first to the
boy Marcellus, then to Agrippa, by whom she had a large family, and
when Agrippa died, Tiberius was forced to put away his wife, Agrippa’s
daughter Vipsania, whom he really loved, and marry the widow Julia,
whose immorality he knew and detested. At last the profligacy of
Julia grew so open and notorious that Augustus was informed of it and
compelled to banish her in company with her mother Scribonia, who had
survived to see her shame. Later on a second Julia, the daughter of the
first, suffered a precisely similar fate.

As for Livia the empress, if we choose to call her by that title,
there is no doubt that she was a singularly beautiful and clever
woman, who managed to retain the affections of Augustus for over forty
years--in itself a remarkable feat in Roman society. History records
in her favour many acts of royal mercy and charity. She seconded her
husband’s efforts at reform, and established a powerful ascendancy
over him and over Tiberius. There is no whisper against her chastity
when once she entered the household of Augustus. But on the other
hand there are very serious charges of crime made by contemporaries
and recorded by Tacitus, charges which are supported by the strongest
circumstantial evidence. The suspicion is that she was fighting all
her life long without remorse or scruple for the succession of her son
Tiberius. Augustus did not intend to be succeeded by a Claudius. This
he showed again and again in the most public manner. His aim, as soon
as he knew that he was destined to leave no male offspring of his own
body, was to leave the succession in the sacred Julian line, the family
descended from Venus, the house of the star. But that could only be
secured through the female line. His first choice was the brilliant
young Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia. Marcellus, who had been
the first husband of Julia, died of a mysterious complaint just as he
came of age. Then Augustus married Julia to Agrippa, and two of her
sons, Gaius and Lucius, were next chosen for the succession. They grew
up and came of age. Just as they were beginning public life, Tiberius
having been banished to make way for them, they too died in the same
year, Lucius on board ship as he was sailing to Marseilles, Gaius as
the sequel to an assassin’s blow given him in Armenia. In the first
case we have no details. In the second, Gaius was recovering from his
wound, but he turned aside to an obscure town on the southern coast
of Asia Minor, refused the warship which had been sent to convey
him home, and begged to be allowed to live there in obscurity. The
circumstance is full of suspicion and mystery. Moreover, before his
rivals were dead Tiberius had word, from a well-informed prophet, of
their approaching decease, and returned to Rome. He himself, living in
banishment, must be acquitted of active complicity in the crime. Julia
was banished to a lonely island. Her third son was also put out of
sight for no crime but sulkiness and grumbling against his stepmother.
Deprived of all his hopes, Augustus with very marked reluctance
adopted Tiberius, but in his old age he still cherished the idea of a
reconciliation with Julia’s third son, Agrippa Postumus, and actually
visited in secret the remote island where he was interned. But as soon
as Augustus was dead--and his death was carefully concealed as long as
possible--Agrippa Postumus was murdered, and this time we have direct
evidence that the crime was Livia’s. This sort of domestic intrigue,
marked by hideous murders, is one of the blackest features of imperial
history at Rome. It arose very largely from the illegitimate character
of the imperial throne, and the absence of any legalised system of

Nevertheless, out of these unpromising materials Augustus endeavoured
to organise a model Roman family of the old style. Livia and Julia were
set to work at spinning and weaving. Augustus would wear no cloaks
but of their making. Julia was solemnly counselled never to do or say
anything which she would be ashamed to write in her diary. Once when
she built a palace for herself Augustus had it demolished. The house
on the Palatine was of the simplest character, with a humble portico
of the local tufa from Alba and no decorated pavements. In food and
drink he was most abstemious, and indeed the prodigious industry of
his life left little time for banquets. A slice of bread made from
inferior flour, with a relish of pickled fish or dates or olives, often
served him for the day. He never drank more than a pint of wine. He
slept winter and summer in the same room, and spent most of the year in
the city, unless he was travelling. His favourite country seat was on
the island of Capri where he could be sure of freedom. His pleasures
were simple and almost childish. He liked a little mild gambling, he
was fond of playing knuckle-bones with little slave-boys. He attended
the circus as a matter of duty and was very strict in enforcing
decency of behaviour there. He set his face against changes of fashion
and insisted that Roman citizens should wear the old-fashioned toga
in public. All his instincts seem to have been for simplicity and
clemency. He never permitted a freedman to appear at his dinner-table,
but when a slave of his once pushed his master into the way of a
charging wild boar in order to shield himself Augustus dismissed the
matter with a joke. On the other hand, when the tutor and servants of
Gaius showed themselves tyrannical and overbearing to the provincials
after their young master’s death, Cæsar had them drowned like rats.
Towards personal abuse of himself he was singularly indifferent. It
remains difficult to visualise the character of Augustus. Originally he
was a typical Roman, as callous towards bloodshed and suffering as the
rest of them and quite unscrupulous in his progress towards power. But
when he had attained it he had the greatness of mind to perceive that
his work of repair could only be done by setting an example of virtuous
living and moderation. Self-control was perhaps his most powerful

Twice his self-command broke down. Once when he heard of the defeat of
Varus in Germany with the loss of his three legions, and again when
some one, probably Livia, revealed to him the scandal concerning Julia.
Apart from the blow to his honour as a man, it was the undoing of all
his measures for reform and the open publication of their futility.
“Her orgies,” men said, “had been conducted upon the very _rostra_
whence her father’s laws against adultery had been proclaimed.” Her
accomplices included the flower of the old aristocracy, a Scipio and
a Gracchus. Augustus hid himself from the sight of men, banished his
daughter to a remote island and officially informed the senate by
letter of her disgrace. He was heard to cry out that he envied the
father of Phœbe, one of Julia’s slaves who had hanged herself when the
scandal went abroad. He quoted a Greek verse:

    “O that I had been unwedded and died without a child,”

and he spoke of his wicked daughter as the cancer of his life.

Legislation was obviously futile, and example had broken down. It
was only from within that Roman society could be reformed, only by
supplying a spiritual influence which could counteract the materialism
and immorality of the day. Augustus had tried in the provinces to
raise up a new religion of loyalty and patriotism centred round the
altar “to Rome and Augustus.” But that was obviously impossible in
Rome itself. The only inspiring motive--in addition to Stoicism which
could never be a popular creed--had been, for the last two or three
centuries, patriotism, the worship of the sacred city and her glorious
destinies. But even that had been shattered by the civil wars. Augustus
now set himself deliberately to the task of creating a new Rome and a
new Roman culture. He himself, like most of the nobles of his day, had
received a Greek education. It was what we should call a good classical
education in philosophy, literature, and rhetoric. Besides that he had
been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries at Athens, and they were
probably the most powerful source of inspiration in the Mediterranean
world, for even eclectics like Cicero admitted that they carried with
them a hope of immortality. Augustus was himself deeply imbued with
Greek culture and like most Roman nobles had dabbled in literature.
Thus it is not surprising that the type of civilisation which he
fostered in the new Rome was quite as much Greek as Italian. The age
of Augustus was in fact the culmination of Græco-Roman culture alike
in arts and letters because the fusion between the two races was now

Elsewhere I have ventured to rebel against the current practice in
history of subordinating the arts to politics and declaring that
artistic production depends upon political facts. It is not so.
Literary and artistic results are due to literary and artistic causes.
The Roman literary language had only just attained perfection. Cicero
had perfected it for prose, and it only remained for poetry to produce
a Vergil. Everybody at Rome from Augustus downwards was busily
writing hexameters in his spare time, and the recitals which were
given at every dinner-party formed one of the social inflictions of
the day. Just as Julius Cæsar and Cicero had thrown off their epics,
so the great men of the succeeding age were poets--Augustus, Pollio,
Mæcenas, Gallus, and all of them except Agrippa. But alongside of these
distinguished amateurs, professional literary men of humble birth were
now coming to the front. Vergil and Horace are not originally the
products of the Augustan age, for they were both established poets
before it began. But the conditions of art at Rome were such that
a professional man of letters depended very closely upon a patron.
That was the tradition handed on from the days of Plautus, when the
writers had nearly always been foreign slaves or clients. Cicero,
Cæsar, Lucretius, and Catullus had not been of the client class. They
had flourished in that brief interval when it still seemed possible
for Rome to develop a genuine free literature of her own. But that
possibility had been killed like so many other hopes by the civil wars,
and now the choice lay mainly between distinguished scribblers or
obsequious literary craftsmen. Thus we get a second courtly period of
literature like that of the Ptolemies at Alexandria, like that of Louis
XIV. or of our own Stuart age when poets wrote to please individual
patrons. The patron, if he be a man of taste, generally demands a very
high degree of finish, and thus it is the courtly ages which produce
the finished craftsmanship. It may be remarked that the ages of private
patronage have given the world much of its greatest literature.

In the age of Augustus there was no censorship of letters such as
generally prevailed under the stricter emperors of later days. Livy
was permitted to publish his great history without curtailment of
its strong republican tendency. When libels and pasquinades appeared
against Cæsar he was content to contradict them in a proclamation.
Nevertheless he made his influence weightily felt in the world of
letters. He gave more than £10,000 to Varius for a tragedy which
posterity has not thought worth while to preserve. He was himself a
kindly and patient listener at the recitation of poems and history,
speeches and dialogues, which formed the usual mode of first
publication in those days. He only insisted that his own deeds should
not form the subject of trivial composition by inferior authors.
Horace appears at first to have been warned off from treatment of
imperial politics. Vergil too in his early days received a hint not
to sing of wars and kings. But later on both these writers were
explicitly enlisted in the service of the state. In this part of
the work Mæcenas was the emperor’s chief agent. Mæcenas, whose name
has come to symbolise literary patronage, was a wealthy noble of an
old Etruscan family who was content, like Cicero’s friend Atticus,
to pull the wires of state largely by keeping generous hospitality
and knowing all the important characters of his day. Luxurious and
effeminate in his tastes, he gathered a group of talented authors
round his table, and very distinctly suggested to them the lines upon
which he desired them to work. Vergil, Varius, Horace, and Propertius
were members of his salon. Another noble of high lineage, M. Valerius
Messalla, maintained a rival coterie whose most prominent member was
the elegiac poet Tibullus. Vergil, a half-Italian native of Mantua,
who was not even a citizen by birth, had sprung into fame with his
_Bucolics_, a series of pastoral idylls in the style of Theocritus.
But though he was a provincial by birth, though he writes of shepherds
and sings pathetically of his ancestral farm, nothing is more untrue
than to regard him as a son of the soil, or an inspired ploughboy
after the manner of Robert Burns. On the contrary he had received
an elaborate education in the style of the day under Greek masters
at Cremona, Milan, and Rome. He was steeped in Greek philosophy and
letters. His shepherds are not the unsophisticated rustics of the
Mantuan plain. They are shepherds “à la Watteau,” borrowed from the
pages of Theocritus, and though many a brilliant epithet displays the
Italian’s loving observation of nature, the background of the work is
artificial and literary rather than rustic or natural. His shepherds,
like Sidney’s, talk politics under a transparent disguise, which is
often extremely incongruous. They are often engaged in praising Gallus
or Varus or Pollio, the young poet’s patrons. It was the success of
the _Bucolics_ which led Mæcenas to choose Vergil for carrying out an
important literary project. A poet was required to sing the praises of
country life in such a manner as to encourage the movement “back to the
land,” which Augustus was trying to foster. In his _Georgics_ Vergil
frankly admits that he is fulfilling the “hard commands” of Mæcenas.
The _Georgics_ are a treatise on husbandry, but here again it is not
first-hand work. We are informed that Vergil’s poetry had regained him
his paternal farm at Mantua. But the _Georgics_ were not written on
the farm. They were diligently composed in a library at Naples. They
arose from the study of Aratus and Hesiod, not from memory of Italian
life, and even in those gorgeous passages where Vergil is praising a
country life, it is not of the Italian farm that he is thinking but of
literary hills and dells in Greece. I think it is clear that the poet
took little pleasure in his task. He very gladly digresses from the
description of soils and mattocks to tell us a charming piece of Greek
mythology or to introduce a literary reference. Octavian had been a
“powerful god” already in the Eclogues before he became Augustus. Now
the only question is which of the stars shall receive him after death.
“Already the blazing Scorpion contracts his arms and leaves thee more
than a fair share of heaven.” Vergil pauses to depict the triumph of
Augustus--Nile flowing with blood, Asia tamed, the Niphates driven
back, the Parthian conquered. No literary catchword was ever more
absurd than the phrase “rustic of genius” applied to Vergil. As soon as
he had the means, he gladly turned his back upon his ancestral farm to
become a student and a courtier. Nevertheless Mæcenas was magnificently
served. Vergil had already forged a weapon of matchless music and
eloquence in his surging hexameters, and he used it to depict the
honest joys of rustic toil, the laborious tranquillity of the farm, the
beauty and interest of nature. He was instantly recognised by Augustus
as the destined laureate of the new Rome.

The _Æneid_ was solemnly devoted to the altar of Rome and Augustus.
Homer was the Greek model here, as Theocritus had been for the
_Bucolics_ and Hesiod for the _Georgics_. The origin of Rome was to be
linked on to the Trojan story as had already been done by the inventive
Greeks. Æneas had fled from Troy to Italy, and had left his son Julus
(the eponymous hero of the Julian house) to found an heroic kingdom
in Italy long before the genuine Roman heroes. Thus the humble native
story of Romulus was superseded. Piety was to be the great virtue
honoured by this poem, for piety towards the memory of Julius Cæsar was
the principal title upon which Augustus rested his claim to honour.
There were other analogies, perhaps. Dido most probably suggested
Cleopatra to the Roman reader. But it is to the praise of Rome, to the
glorification of that sense of filial duty which the Romans called
“piety” that the great epic is mainly devoted. Here again, though the
eloquence is so splendid and the versification so majestic, the _Æneid_
like its predecessors is a work of the study quite clearly written to
order. The plot is carelessly constructed. Æneas himself, with all his
piety, never for a moment lives. The religious motives which led to his
desertion of Dido barely satisfy us. Æneas makes the speeches, and the
gods continually intervene when danger threatens him. Our sympathies
are generally with the enemy, with Turnus or Camilla. Æneas is as
chilly and statuesque as Augustus himself.

It is in the famous Sixth Book, which tells of the descent to Hades,
that the praise of Rome is most elegant and most explicit. Here we are
shown the heroes of Roman history side by side with the heroes of the
Greeks, and here the young Marcellus, lately dead, is introduced in
those immortal and touching lines which caused Octavia his mother to
swoon when the poet recited them. Here too the poet pronounces in very
significant language the Roman idea of the destiny of his race.

    excudent alii spirantia mollius æra,
    credo equidem, uiuos ducent de marmore uoltus,
    orabunt causas melius, cælique meatus
    describent radio, et surgentia sidera dicent:
    tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento;
    hæ tibi erunt artes, pacisque imponere morem,
    parcere subiectis, et debellare superbos.

“Others shall mould, I doubt not, the breathing bronze more delicately
and draw the living features out of marble, others shall plead causes
more eloquently, map out the wanderings of the sky with the rod, and
tell the risings of the stars. Thou, Roman, forget not to govern the
nations under thy sway. These shall be thy arts: to impose the rule of
peace, to spare the subject, and defeat the proud.” In these lines we
hear the proud Philistinism of an imperial people. This is the genuine
Roman (dare I add “British”?) attitude towards the arts and sciences.
They are for others to provide, for Greeks and Egyptians. Even oratory,
the highest achievement of the Roman genius in literature, is thus
scornfully thrown to the foreigner. The Romans knew that they could
buy or seize better statues than they could carve: their task was to
conquer and govern--not an ignoble art.

The _Æneid_ is explicitly a national laureate poem. The poet seeks to
enshrine all Roman life in his pages, to epitomise Roman history and
to introduce allusions to characteristic pieces of myth and ritual.
He inserts whole lines of Ennius or Lucretius when they please him.
They are superseded and replaced. Just like Dryden, he feels that he
is the heir of the ages. The extraordinary popularity which Vergil
attained even in his own lifetime grew in the course of a few centuries
almost into a cult. His tomb became an object of pilgrimage; in early
Christian times he became a prophet and in the Middle Ages a wizard.
The gentleness and purity of his personal life played their part in the
creation of this strange Vergilian legend.

Horace had less of the courtier’s suppleness and required winning to
the imperial cause. It took two efforts of Mæcenas to secure him
and we have letters preserved in which Augustus very good-humouredly
confesses his disappointment that Horace has refused a secretaryship.
Horace was the son of a freedman, as he was not in the least ashamed to
confess. But his father had managed to secure for Quintus the education
of a gentleman under Greek teachers in Rome, himself attending the
boy to school in place of the rascally pedagogue slaves who usually
undertook that office. Horace had further enjoyed a University
education at Athens, where he had fallen under the spell of Brutus,
for whom he fought at Philippi. He was, and remained, a Republican by
instinct, but Mæcenas won him over to the cause of Cæsarism. He made
his reputation with the _Satires_, a species of composition which may
be termed truly Italian. The satire is a conversational medley written
in the language of prose with the rhythm of poetry. In this Horace was
imitating the old Roman master Lucilius. It is much to the credit of
his critical discernment that Mæcenas was able to descry the brilliant
abilities of Horace in this very uninspiring medium. For though his
_Satires_ were sometimes bitterly satirical in the modern sense of the
word, Horace’s chief literary asset was the charm of a sunny, genial
character. He had in addition a gift for composition and an industry
which brought him almost but not quite to the level of original genius.
It seems to have been Mæcenas who set him to the writing of lyrical
odes. Biting satires might have been the most effective literary
weapon in republican days, but the glorification of the new regime
required something of a loftier strain. Vergil was engaged upon its
epic, Horace was instructed to write its occasional verse. The Greek
lyrists of the older period had as yet remained unimitated in Latin.
Accordingly just as when the young Vergil had wanted to sing of kings
and battles “Apollo had plucked his ear and admonished him that a
shepherd should feed fat sheep and sing a slender song,” so Horace was
deliberately set down to the task of celebrating the new Rome in the
style of Sappho and Alcæus and Anacreon. That he accomplished his task
so superbly is a proof of his energy and versatility. He himself, a
gentle valetudinarian whose idea of a banquet was a mess of cabbage
and pot-herbs, had to strike the lyre of revelry and sing of wine and
love. He sang without conviction, without a spark of Sapphic fire or
a note of natural music, but the noble rhetoric of the Roman schools
in the golden age supported him. He laboured for the right word never
in vain. No writer has ever equalled his matchless gift for making
truisms sound true. No other writer has been able to assert that “it is
sweet and comely to die for the fatherland,” or that “life is short”
with an equal air of genuine wisdom. Latin with its terse precision
is the ideal language for the expression of platitudes. His patriotic
eloquence is Roman rhetoric of the best kind. But perhaps his real
strength lies in drama. It is strange that Latin of the classical
period failed at producing a native drama so completely as it did.
Perhaps it was because the writers of that age were so completely under
Greek influences that their natural Italian genius for the theatre was
stifled under the load of a classical convention. Certainly Horace had
the gift, and in such passages as the dramatic duologue (Ode ix. of
Book III.) _Donec gratus eram tibi_, or the Epode of the witches (v.)
_At, o deorum_, or the still more famous Epistle about the bore, he
exhibits himself, like Browning, as a dramatist gone astray. Regarded
from the purely lyrical point of view, the Century Hymn, which he
wrote to order as Rome’s laureate in succession to Vergil, is perhaps
his greatest achievement. The Secular Games of 17 B.C. were intended
to bring visibly before men’s eyes the glories of the new monarchy
and incidentally to carry in their train the salutary but unpopular
measures of the Julian moral reform. So the choir of noble youths and
maidens were taught to sing in their prayer to Diana:

    diua, producas subolem patrumque
    prosperes decreta super iugandis
    feminis prolisque nouæ feraci
        lege marita,[48]

where the goddess is besought to increase the population of Rome and
favour the _senate’s_ decrees about marriage. The fourth book of
the _Odes_ was added after a long interval at the direct request of
Augustus. It is intended to bring the achievements of Augustus and
his family, particularly the triumphs of Tiberius and Drusus, into
favourable comparison with the heroic stories of republican history.
It is most melancholy to observe that Mæcenas, to whom Horace was
genuinely attached and whose name constantly occurs in his earlier
writings, here drops out of the poet’s verse because he had fallen out
of Cæsar’s favour.

Although Horace is in his _Odes_ as classical and conventional as all
the Roman writers of his age, his _Satires_ and _Epistles_ are more
intimate than any other Latin work of the great period. In them we get
real glimpses of life at Rome, or on a country estate. We cannot fail
to be struck with its idleness and emptiness. In the city he saunters
from the forum to the baths, from the baths to the dinner-table with
time and boredom for his only enemies. In the country he sometimes,
it is true, toys with husbandry, or shows a faint interest in
landscape-gardening or loiters among his books, but the life is to the
last degree super-civilised and unreal. The very ideas of hope and
progress were alien to the ancient world. The eyes of the Romans were
always turned behind them, so that they could not see the greatness of
the vista that was now opening for them in front.

The elegists--such as the graceful melancholy Tibullus, or Propertius,
the pedant who often stumbled into poetry, and a host of others who
are mere names to us--would hardly, but for their prominence in the
schoolroom, deserve serious attention. Callimachus the Alexandrian was
their model, himself scarcely a first-rate poet. The whole idea of
writing love poetry in an absolutely regular distich of hexameter and
pentameter was inartistic and unreal. Their fluent prolixity makes them
insufferably tedious out of school. It is difficult to sustain interest
in the relations between the bards and the married ladies with Greek
pseudonyms to whom their verses are addressed. From our point of view
the chief interest in these writers lies in the fact that nearly all
of them were at one time or another invited to praise the new regime.
Tibullus, indeed, who enjoyed a modest competence of his own, limits
his praises to his immediate patron Messalla, and frankly admits that
war and battles disgust him. But Propertius makes an attempt to carry
out his commission, and describes the battle of Actium fifteen years
after its occurrence. But though he invites Bacchus to assist his Muse,
it is wretched stuff and the poet himself turns from it with disgust.
The famous elegy upon Cornelia, daughter of the injured Scribonia,
beginning _desine, Paulle, meum lacrimis urgere sepulcrum_, is however
sufficient proof that it was only the want of a really inspiring theme
and a suitable medium which prevented Propertius from being in the
front rank of the world’s poets.

Ovid, “this incorrigibly immoral but inexpressibly graceful poet,”
as Mr. Cruttwell called him, is a far more interesting personality.
I think he may fairly be called the wickedest writer on the world’s
bookshelves. Others may be wicked through ignorance, or by accident,
or out of high animal spirits, but Ovid is immoral on principle, a
conscientious and industrious perverter. His greatest work, “The Art of
Loving,” is quite frankly a guide to adultery, the precepts it contains
being perfectly practical and evidently based on expert knowledge. In
his _Amores_, _Metamorphoses_, and _Fasti_ he took for his field the
domain of religion and exhibited celestial sin in the most captivating
light. We have already seen how the loves of the gods came to take
their place in the Olympian mythology, and how thinking pagans like
Plato regarded them. To such men they were already relics of barbarism,
but Ovid draws them out into the light again, gilds them with his wit
and makes them altogether charming for the Roman drawing-room. The
strange and uncouth old ritual of Italian nature-worship is piquantly
dressed out for the up-to-date blasphemer. Nobody who had read Ovid
could possibly worship Jupiter any





more. It was all done with consummate art and unblushing impudence.
When the sad Niobe is bereft of her seven fair children by the arrows
of the jealous gods, our poet, ingeniously parodying Vergil, observes:

    heu quantum hæc Niobe, Niobe distabat ab illa.

In telling the dreadful tragedy whereby the Greeks had explained the
sorrow of Philomela, the nightingale, our poet cheerfully describes the
slaughter of the children, adding:

             pars inde cauis exultat aënis,
    pars ueribus stridunt.

And so he moves from one lovely myth to another, preserving them indeed
for our archæologists, but delicately with the breath of his profanity
defiling them for ever.

Now Ovid is far more typical of the civilisation of his day than
either Vergil or Horace. For Ovid was a Roman noble, rich and gifted,
who in earlier days would have passed creditably from one high office
to another in the state, humorously plundering a province or two,
gracefully collecting objects of art in Asia and possibly losing a
battle or two through negligence. He actually started on a public
career as a brilliant barrister, and enjoyed the ancient office
of _decemvir_ stlitibus iudicandis, something like our Masters in
Chancery. But the Roman drawing-rooms soon swallowed him up in their
silken entanglements, and he spent the greater part of his life
whispering his poisonous little pentameters to ladies like Julia. Of
course a single poet with Ovid’s sinister gifts was doing far more
to corrupt Rome than all the Julian legislation could do to reform
it, and we may fairly conclude that Ovid with his attacks on the
traditional Roman morality and religion, together with effeminate
bards like Tibullus who sang of the horrors of war, were more than
undoing the patriotic work of Vergil and Horace. The plain fact is
that though you may hire writers you cannot purchase the spirit of a
people, and so Augustus and Mæcenas found, to the great misfortune of
the Roman Empire. They failed in their attempt to capture literature.
Oppression failed even more signally than corruption. Henceforth all
the literary talent of Rome is on the opposition side. Lucan extols
republicanism, Tacitus assails the emperors with satirical history,
Petronius pillories Nero with satirical romance, Juvenal with satirical
poetry. Only the younger Pliny is loyal, and to be praised by Pliny
is a very doubtful recommendation. Roman literature had imbibed the
republican ideals from its Greek foster-mother. The schoolmasters of
Rome continued to teach their pupils to declaim against tyrants.

But Ovid himself was not permitted to flourish in his wickedness. A
sudden decree from Cæsar Augustus fell upon him like a thunderbolt.
He was banished for ever and bidden to betake himself to Tomi, on the
Black Sea, near the mouth of the Danube. From that inhospitable region
he continued to pour forth elegiacs, _Epistles_ and _Tristia_, wherein
he protests his innocence, recants anything and everything he has ever
said, and bewails the horrors of arctic existence among the barbarians.
The actual cause of his banishment is one of the most piquant mysteries
in literary history. He has _seen_ something which he ought not to
have seen: his eyes have destroyed him. It is fairly clear that his
banishment synchronised with the banishment of the younger Julia, and
we may well believe that the old emperor, shocked and horrified by
this second scandal in his own house, attributed it to the corrupting
influence of that singer of gilded sins. The banishment was certainly
well merited and the only pity is that it came too late to effect its
purpose. The unmanly tone of the _Tristia_, the effeminate appeals to
everybody in Rome including a hitherto forgotten wife, reveal Ovid in
his true character. It is a little strange that generations of British
youth have been trained not only in the study but even in the imitation
of this author.

When we term the Golden Age of Roman literature “Augustan” we ought to
remember that it began long before Augustus and ended before his death.
Thus with all his patronage he may more justly be called the finisher
than the author of it. Of all the great writers, only Ovid, to whom
the simple life and bracing air of the Sarmatians afforded an unusual
longevity, outlived Augustus. Summing up the characteristics of the
literature of this day, we may say that courtliness and artificiality
were its most prominent characteristics. The freshness of Catullus,
the stern conviction of Lucretius, the fire of Cicero were extinct.
Nearly all that was native in Roman letters had perished; only the
crispness of epigram, the bite of satire and the dignified music of
the language itself remained as the Italian heritage. Greece had quite
definitely triumphed over Rome. Technical excellence continued, for
this has always been the mark of “Augustan” periods. But the well-meant
efforts of the state to capture literature for its own service had
failed. The horrors of the civil war outweighed the glories of the new
regime and with all his benevolence the emperor could never outlive the
memory of his proscriptions. Literature never forgave the murder of
Cicero though the author of _Thyestes_ might be loaded with treasure.
Indeed the widespread misery of those terrible days in 40 B.C. came
home personally to most of our middle-class writers. Vergil, Horace,
Tibullus, and Propertius had each and all received ineffaceable
memories in the loss of their patrimonies. It was little wonder that
even though they sang of wars and victories when “Cynthius plucked
their ear” their natural instinct was to compare Mars and Venus very
much to the disadvantage of the former.

When we turn to consider the Art of the period, we must not forget
to carry with us the light that we have obtained from the study of
its literature. For Augustus and his assistants were attempting
precisely similar ends in both regions. With temples, baths, circuses,
amphitheatres, colonnades, libraries, and statues the new regime was
to flourish its magnificence in the eyes of the world and, above all,
to dazzle the citizens of Rome, fill up the emptiness of their lives,
and make them forget, if it were possible, the magnitude of their loss.
Money was lavished upon this object by the emperor and all his friends,
and the building activity which transformed Rome from a city of brick
into a city of marble must have given work and pay to vast numbers of
the poor. But the magnificence has all perished, as all magnificence
must, and it is left for us by the study of a few ruined monuments, a
few statues and busts, an altar here, a cornice there, to estimate the
spirit of Rome in conformity with its literature.

Roman art supplied much of their inspiration to the artists of the
Renaissance. Michael Angelo and Raphael learnt their art by copying
the antiquities, and much of the Renaissance architecture was direct
imitation of the Augustan age. But with the birth of archæology as a
science in the nineteenth century, scholars became accustomed to leap
straight over the Roman era, or to regard it merely as a phase of the
Hellenistic decline. From that view, undoubtedly erroneous and unjust,
there has latterly been an attempt to escape. Wickhoff and Riegl, whose
foremost interpreter in this country is Mrs. Strong, have argued that
Roman art has an existence _per se_, not only possessing characteristic
excellences of its own, but in many points transcending the limits
of Greek art. To such pioneers we owe a deep debt of gratitude. They
have undoubtedly drawn our attention to real merits and real steps
of progress in the art of the Romans. But on the whole they have
failed, as it seems to an onlooker, to prove their case. Partly it is
in the long run a question of taste. A convinced Romanist like Mrs.
Strong displays for our admiration many works of art which trained
eyes, accustomed to Greek and modern art, often refuse to admire. I
would take as an instance the well-known “Tellus Group,” a slab from
the Augustan Altar of Peace,[49] preserved in the Uffizi Gallery at
Florence. To me it seems a laborious composition, executed with care
and skill, but wholly without inspiration or imagination. It is purely
conventional allegory. How would the designer of an illuminated ticket
for an agricultural exhibition depict Mother Earth? He would design
a group (would he not?) with a tall and richly bosomed lady for his
central figure, he would put two naked babes upon her lap, at her feet
would be a cow and a sheep, while the background would be filled with
flowers and trees. The cornucopia would occupy a prominent position.
If he were asked to fill his space with additional figures, he would
throw in Air and Water, one on each side, designed on the same plan.
There would be little motive in the group, little connection between
the figures. The designer’s aim would be that the spectator in a casual
glance might observe the fitness of it all--Earth sitting between Air
and Water--note it, and pass on. This is just what the Roman artist
has done. He has earned his money. He has carved most skilfully and
diligently, he has introduced all the conventional emblems. He has
drawn his metaphor from stock. I cannot see that he has put any love
or religion or indeed faith of any kind into his work. The only thing
my eye cares to dwell upon is the absurdity of Air, who is riding
(backwards) on a wholly inadequate swan, pretending to form one of a
group with the immovably seated Earth. This then is the first point of
criticism against the Romanists. I have put it as a mere subjective
impression, which involves simply a question of taste. But in reality
it is more. They are failing or have failed to make out their case,
chiefly because the critical world of art-lovers declines to follow
their expressions of enthusiasm, and can give reasons for its refusal.

Secondly, we have a right to ask the apostles of Roman art what they
mean by their claims. How justly may we call works like the Altar of
Peace,[50] or even the Column of Trajan, “Roman Art”? Was any of it
executed by Roman artists? We have just read the true Roman attitude
towards art in Vergil’s scornful _excudent alii_. We may be sure that
the Altar of Peace was executed by Greeks. The only named sculptors
of the period are Greeks. This is indeed admitted, but then the
Roman claim takes one of two forms, (1) that work executed in the
Roman Empire may be called Roman, which is absurd, or (2) that apart
from mere execution there are in the work certain characteristic
innovations which are due to Roman inspiration. The latter claim is
true, to some extent, and important.

Just as Mæcenas “plucked the ear” of the poets, and instructed them
when to sing or when to refrain from singing of kings and battles, so
the patron of art gave instructions to the Greek artists. It is clear
enough what instructions he gave. Like Cromwell he cried “Paint me as
I am, warts and all. Leave your idealism, your perfect profiles, your
serene gods in the tranquillity of Olympus, and depict men with the
living emotions displayed in frown and wrinkle.” That was excellent
advice, no doubt, but he seems to have gone further. He seems, like the
good Dr. Primrose, to have demanded value for his money by insisting
upon so many portraits to the square yard of surface to be decorated.
Is not this the explanation of the crowded figures in the new style
of relief work, as exhibited at Rome from the Altar of Peace to the
Column of Trajan? In the friezes of the Mausoleum, the fourth-century
Greek sculptors had discovered the advantage of free spacing so that
each figure has a value of its own. The florid taste of the millionaire
Attalids of Pergamum had made a reactionary movement in the direction
of crowded and tangled forms. Now these Roman friezes carry the demand
a stage further. In these processions we have a compact mass of faces,
each admirably and no doubt faithfully portrayed, but ruining by their
very numbers the artistic success of the whole. The spectator is not
to admire a composition. As in Frith’s “Derby Day” he is to pick out a
face here and there and cry “That is Agrippa: that is Messalla: that is
Germanicus.” In its essence such a demand is not the mark of a people
with any sense of art. On the contrary it is the measure of their
crudity and Philistinism. Nevertheless this new demand enabled the
versatile Greek genius to win for itself fresh triumphs, especially in
realistic portraiture and narrative relief-work.

Part of the claim which Wickhoff and his followers make for the
originality of Roman art is based upon the belief that the limitations
of Greek art are not self-imposed; for example, that the Greeks did not
know how to express emotion in the plastic arts, that they could not
make realistic portraits, that through ignorance they never perceived
the beauty of a stark corpse, that Pheidias lacked the intelligence
to find a dramatic centre for the Parthenon frieze, and so forth.
Such assumptions as these are easily disproved. Greeks were capable
of realism (witness the Ludovisi reliefs[51]) but they preferred to
idealise. In portraying giants, barbarians, or slaves they could
express transient emotions, but for Greeks and gods in statuary they
deliberately preferred serenity. The Greeks sought to conceal their art
rather than to display it, as we have learnt from the discovery of the
subtle secrets of their architecture, and it is rash to assert of any
principle of craftsmanship that the Greeks did not know it. Many of the
claims of Rome to originality may be refuted by this consideration.

What I believe to be the true statement of the case is this: Greek
art did not come to an end with the death of Praxiteles or the Roman
conquest. Its central impulse passed over from the impoverished
mainland to the still flourishing communities of the East, to Antioch
on the Mæander where the Aphrodite of Melos was produced, to Rhodes
where the Laocoön was carved, to Ephesus, and farther east still, even
into Parthia and possibly India. It was by no means stereotyped but
still producing new forms to meet fresh demands, as for sarcophagi in
Sidon, or for paintings and mosaics in Egypt. In the course of this
period the art of the Greeks was much influenced by the East. The
Romans at first were content to take Greek art as they found it. In the
days of Mummius they were merely like rich transatlantic collectors in
search of beautiful, still more of precious and unique, commodities.
They had no doubt some slaves of their own working in Rome at the
arts and crafts. Some of these would be Greeks of inferior birth and
capacity reproducing old Greek work for the Roman market. But some of
them may well have been Italians, some Etruscans preserving the old
artistic traditions of their race. This “collecting” era lasted down to
the time of Augustus. We have seen it as late as Cicero and Atticus.
There was little demand for new creations in those days. Few temples
were being built. The artists were still scattered about the Levant.
There was little to attract them to Rome.

But when Augustus decided to build a new Rome of marble, founding or
restoring his eighty temples, with arches and theatres innumerable all
over the Empire, there must have been a great influx of artists from
Greece and Asia Minor. Now begins an art to which we may fairly apply
the term Græco-Roman in the sense that it was the work of Greek artists
under oriental influences supplying Roman demands. The new demands
entailed still further artistic developments; some of them, but not
all, to be regarded by those who view the history of art as a whole, as
improvements. One main effect of Roman conditions was that art largely
ceased its service of religion and became devoted to secular purposes.
Thus the limitations of the best Greek art, self-imposed as they were,
now broke down. The effect is seen especially in portraiture, where
the Romans had a tradition of realism resulting from the use of the
death-mask in making wax images of the illustrious deceased. Hence in
the decoration of the great Altar of Peace at Rome, the Greek artists,
who would naturally have produced a frieze of gods or idealised
worshippers, were asked for portraits of the men of the day. I think
it is clear that enormous skill was devoted to the likenesses of men
and very little care to the gods. The composition of the whole was of
little account. A little later the demand for historical reliefs on
arches and columns was met by the development of quite new features in
the art of sculpture, namely, those spatial or tridimensional effects
of perspective which are so remarkable on the Trajan column.[52] This
art seems to have begun in Alexandrian times but Rome may claim the
credit for its development. It was necessary, if sculpture was to do
that for which it was surely never intended--to tell a story. The
Parthenon frieze was religious ornament, the Trajan column is secular
history. When the Romans required ornament they were content with
decoration merely and the artists complied with the wonderful skill
which they had probably learnt in Asia. Never have there been such
exquisite natural designs in wreaths and festoons of flowers and fruit
as in the sculpture of the Augustan age.[53] It is the same with the
art of the goldsmith, as we see in the wonderful discoveries of silver
made at Hildesheim and Bosco Reale[54] or in the great imperial cameos
wrought in sardonyx.[55] There was money and skill in plenty. But what
was lacking was a spirit to animate it.

If we could be sure of our ground in setting down realism as the Roman
contribution to the history of Art, it would be a great achievement
for Rome. Realism is undoubtedly a fine thing though idealism is a
finer. Unfortunately it seems that Hellenic art in the eastern centres
was developing realism, or at least illusionism, for itself on its
own soil. On the whole, in the controversy between the archæologists,
Strzygowski, who claims the East as the inspiring force in Roman days,
seems to have the best of it. The coins of Asia Minor present realistic
portraiture quite distinct from that which was native on Roman
soil. Thus the exquisite festoons of flowers, fruit, and birds, all
botanically and anatomically correct to the last feather or stamen, are
probably the product of Greece and the East. But we may well believe
that the nature of the Roman patron’s demands assisted this movement.
The Roman, if we may judge by Pliny the Roman art-critic, was just the
man to insist that an apple should not resemble a pear or to count the
petals of a poppy. This sort of criticism affords excellent discipline
for the artist. The statues of the period, such as the Venus Genetrix
by Arcesilaus in the Louvre[56] and the Orestes and Electra group by
Stephanus at Naples, are not very interesting works. They are plainly
late-born issues of Greek sculpture, though in the latter there is an
attempt at expression which seems to be derived from the influence of
portraiture. The “Electra,” for example, has the same look in her eyes,
a frowning look as of one standing in strong sunlight, that we see in
the portrait of Agrippa. Portraiture had taught the sculptor of this
day new secrets about the setting of the human eye. They had learnt the
effect produced by deepening the hollow under the brow and by making
the direction of the glance diverge from that of the head and body. But
much of this was a legacy from Scopas. In little things like the hang
of Electra’s robe there is visible degeneration. Here, as in the Tellus
Group, the contour of the bosom is made to support the falling drapery,
an unnatural and very unpleasing effect.

The architecture of the period is distinguished by similar
characteristics. It is distinctly Græco-Roman with much of the subtle
harmony of fine Greek work lost. The temples are, on the whole, the
least interesting part of the work, for they are pale copies of Greek
architecture not always very artistically adapted. A good many of the
ruined monuments of Rome to which the pious traveller now directs
his footsteps date from the Augustan period. Many of the temples of
the Republic were now rebuilt on the old plan with more sumptuous
materials, as, for example, the round shrine of Mater Matuta,[57]
commonly called the Temple of Hercules. Technical innovations
include the debasement of the Doric column by omitting those subtle
flutings which gave it all the grace whereby its strength was saved
from clumsiness, and by erecting it upon a pedestal. But the Romans
preferred the more exuberant Corinthian order with its florid capital
of acanthus foliage, a type which the Greeks had used very sparingly
and seldom externally. Again, the Romans had discovered improved
methods of construction which enabled them to use a wider span in
roofing, but they made no artistic advantage out of this fact. On the
contrary, by dispensing with the _peristyle_ or surrounding colonnade
they rendered the exterior of their temples much less interesting. The
principal surviving relics of Augustan temples are eight columns of
the Temple of Saturn[58] which still stand in the Forum at Rome. The
celebrated Pantheon[59] is now recognised to be a work of Hadrian’s
time though its plan probably repeats that of the temple erected on
the site by Agrippa. But the clearest picture of the ecclesiastical
architecture of the day is to be seen on the reliefs of the Altar of
Peace, which reproduce the appearance of actual temples with almost
photographic exactitude. The finest extant example is undoubtedly the
temple at Nismes, known as the Maison Carrée,[60] a graceful erection
of this period which exhibits the Corinthian style without undue

As the Romans of this day had scarcely any trace of genuine religious
feeling it is not surprising that they had little of their own to
contribute to temple architecture except wealth and magnificence. But
they were naturally devoted to building and that was the favourite
extravagance of the rich. Nothing but a few pavements survives of
all the handsome villas which dotted the hill-sides at Tibur and
Præneste, or lined the coast at Baiæ, Naples, and Surrentum. But there
are several secular buildings of Augustan date in which we can see a
handsome Græco-Roman style of architecture wherein Greek columns and
entablatures were used by Roman architects chiefly as ornament. The
Theatre of Marcellus,[61] built in 13 B.C., still presents considerable
remains, which though much defaced exhibit an appearance of bygone
splendour. The lower story is Doric, the second is Ionic, and the third
which has perished was probably in the Corinthian style. We may judge
its effective appearance from the copy of its elevation which Michael
Angelo produced in his design for the inner court of the Farnese Palace
at Rome.[62] The Renaissance learnt much of its architecture from
Augustan Rome and these very designs may be seen springing up around
us to-day in the banks and town-halls of London. Thus Augustan Rome
holds a supremacy for secular building even greater than Periclean
Athens achieved for temples. Where magnificence and solidity--and it
may be added cheapness--are the principal motives of construction, the
Græco-Roman style of the First Century B.C. is unmatched.

The most gorgeous of the architectural creations of Augustus was,
however, that Temple of Mars the Avenger which he set up in memory
of his triumph over Antony and his punishment of the conspirators.
Round it was a piazza (forum) adorned with imaginary portrait statues
of all the Roman heroes of history with biographical inscriptions
on the bases. In all the Augustan culture we see the impress of the
prince’s own Græco-Roman taste. It was all planned to achieve his
object of dazzling the multitude and yet gaining over to his side the
highest intellect and taste of his day. His own tastes were refined
and fastidious: he hated extravagance and utility was always before
his eyes. “He read the classics in both tongues” says Suetonius,
“principally in order to find salutary precepts and examples for public
and private life. He would copy these out word for word and send them
to his servants or to the governors of armies and provinces or to the
magistrates of the city whenever they required his admonitions. He
used to read whole volumes to the Senate, and often publish them in an
edict.” We learn further that he always prepared his more important
orations most carefully, writing them down and keeping the manuscript
close at hand. This practice he followed even in his discourse with his
wife. Augustan culture has just this quality: it takes immense pains
and succeeds by virtue of them. It lacks a good deal in spontaneity but
it makes up in excellence of technique.



    Ambitionem scriptoris facile auerseris, obtrectatio et liuor pronis
    auribus accipiuntur quippe adulationi fœdum crimen seruitutis,
    malignitati falsa species libertatis inest.--TACITUS.

In these words, pregnant and terse as ever, Tacitus gives us a key to
the true reading of imperial Roman history. “It is easy,” he says,
“to discount the self-interest of the historian and to reject his
eulogies, but his malicious criticisms are greedily swallowed. For
flattery bears the odious stamp of servility, while malignity wears
the false disguise of independence.” Thus out of his own mouth the
foremost historian of the early Empire gives us the right to read the
literary sources in a spirit favourable to the emperors. So when the
historians describe Tiberius as a bloodthirsty tyrant who hid himself
away in the island of Capri, and there (at the age of seventy!) began
to devote himself to disgusting orgies of lust and cruelty, we shall
prefer to reject that story as absurd, and to regard Tiberius as a
proud and reserved aristocrat who found it impossible to tolerate the
mixture of adulation and spite with which he was treated by the other
nobles of Rome, and withdrew from the capital in order to escape it.
When Gaius (Caligula) is represented as a lunatic, we merely understand
that he was unpopular; when we are told that he made his horse a
consul, we recognise a satirist’s humorous exaggeration of his neglect
of some noble family’s claims to that office; when we read that he
set his army to collect oyster shells on the coast of Normandy, we
only conclude that his surrender of the projected invasion of Britain
was a subject of ridicule in Rome. Claudius is described as a stupid
and clumsy pedant, deformed and inarticulate: in reality he seems to
have been a scholar with a leaning towards antiquarian and republican
traditions. Even in the case of Nero, the savage ferocity with which he
is charged is chiefly due to the fact that his hand lay heavy on the
senators. He was undoubtedly popular with the commons, and his real
offence was to possess more refinement and culture than was considered
proper in a Roman noble, to be too fond of Greeks and art and music.
Nevertheless it is impossible to write history in whitewash, and the
only safe method of dealing with a period like this is to ignore the
personalities on the throne of the Cæsars, and to attempt a broad
treatment of the general tendency of these times.

But by neglecting the gossip and the personalities we do, I fear, run
the risk of missing much of the interest of the period, and perhaps we
lose an important part of the truth. We must not allow ourselves to
be wholly deprived of that impression of purple and splendour which
hangs about the Golden House of Nero, nor to forget the taint of crime
which clings to the palaces of the Cæsars. The latter in particular is
an essential part of imperial history. As we have seen, this Empire
founded on compromise was and remained illegitimate. The succession
was always open to question; there was no law of heredity. This fact
was emphasised by the barrenness of the Roman aristocracy. For a
hundred years no prince had a son to succeed him, so that the palace
was always full of intrigue. Finally, the wickedness of the women is
one of the most sinister features of the time. Though it was, indeed,
no innovation of the Empire, it now gains a terrible significance
in the dynastic conflicts which surrounded the throne. Every one of
the early reigns is stained with murders and fearful crimes in the
palace. No doubt much of this history is false and malicious. For
example, it is by no means likely that Germanicus was poisoned. There
were always scandal-mongers to hint at poison when any member of the
ruling house died of disease. But even with the most liberal discount
for exaggeration, the record is a black one. Let us select two typical
stories, in order to suggest the kind of satanic halo which surrounds
the imperial houses, as the ancient historians depict them.

Claudius, the conqueror of Britain, was in reality the ablest and best
of the Claudian Cæsars who succeeded Augustus, but his wife Messalina,
thirty-four years his junior, was a creature of shameless lust and
remorseless cruelty. Valerius Asiaticus, a Gaul by birth but now the
richest noble of his day, was in possession of the far-famed gardens of
Lucullus. Messalina coveted the park and accused him to her husband,
with the inevitable result. Asiaticus died like a gentleman. He took
his usual exercise, he bathed and dined quite cheerfully, and then he
opened his veins, “but not until he had inspected his funeral pyre
and ordered its removal to another place, for fear that the smoke
should injure the thick foliage of the trees.” So died this lover
of gardens. Messalina’s sins grew more open, until at last she went
through a public pantomime of marriage with one of her paramours,
Silius, a consul-elect. The ceremony was performed before a number
of witnesses duly invited. Claudius was at that time guided by the
counsels of three Greek secretaries, and one of them determined to
reveal the shameful truth to the emperor. Tacitus tells the story of
her ruin in graphic language. She was celebrating the vintage feast in
the gardens she had wickedly gained for herself. The presses were being
trodden, the vats were overflowing, women girt with skins were dancing,
as Bacchanals dance in their worship or their frenzy. Messalina with
flowing hair shook the thyrsus, and Silius, at her side, crowned with
ivy and wearing the buskin, moved his head in time with some lascivious
chorus. One of the guests had climbed a tree in sport and reported
a “hurricane from Ostia.” It was truer than he knew, for just then
messengers began to arrive with news that Claudius was on his way from
Ostia, coming with vengeance. The revels ceased, the revellers fled in
all directions, and Messalina, left deserted, mounted a garden cart to
proceed along the road to meet her husband. Her appeal failed, though
Claudius would undoubtedly have relented but for the interference of
the freedman Narcissus. After dinner, warmed with the wine, he bade
some one go and tell “that poor creature” to come before him on the
morrow to plead her cause. But Narcissus had already sent soldiers to
her, and she was driven to suicide. “Claudius was still at the banquet
when they told him that Messalina was dead, without mentioning whether
it was by her own or another’s hand. Nor did he ask the question, but
called for his cup and finished the repast as usual.”

Nero, too, in the pages of Suetonius appears so incredible in his
wickedness that the exaggeration is obvious. Of his splendid new
palace the Golden House we read: “The portico was so high that it
could contain a colossal statue of himself a hundred and twenty feet
in height; and the space it included was so vast that it had a triple
colonnade, a mile in length, and a lake like a sea, surrounded with
buildings that looked like a city. It had a park with cornfields,
vineyards, pastures, and woods containing a vast number of animals of
all kinds, wild and tame. Parts of it were entirely overlaid with gold,
and incrusted with jewels and pearl. The supper-rooms were vaulted
and the compartments of the ceilings, which were inlaid with ivory,
were made to revolve and scatter flowers. They also contained pipes to
shed scents upon the guests. The chief banqueting-room was circular
and revolved perpetually day and night, according to the motion of the
celestial bodies. The baths were supplied with water from the sea and
the Albula.” At the dedication of this magnificent building, all that
he said in praise of it was: “Now at last I have begun to live like a
gentleman.” They charged Nero with the murder of all his relatives, and
there is a grim sort of humour in the story of his frequent attempts
upon his mother’s life. His grievance against her was that she was
too strict. First, he deprived her of her bodyguard, and suborned
people to harass her with lawsuits which drove her out of the city.
In her retirement he set others to follow her about by land and sea
with abuse and scurrilous language. Three times he attempted her life
by poison, but finding she had previously rendered herself immune by
the use of antidotes, he next designed machinery to make the floor
above her bed-chamber collapse while she was asleep. When this failed
he constructed a special coffin-ship, which could be made to fall in
pieces, and then sent her a loving invitation to visit him at Baiæ,
the Brighton of the Romans. The ships of her escort were likewise
instructed to ram her by accident on the way home. He attended her to
the vessel in a very cheerful spirit and kissed her bosom at parting
with her. After which he sat up late at night waiting with great
anxiety for the joyful news of her decease. But news arrived that the
accident had miscarried, the dowager empress was swimming to shore.
When her freedman came joyfully to narrate her escape, Nero pretended
that the man had come to assassinate him and ordered her to be put to
death. Suetonius adds “on good authority” that he went to view her
corpse and criticised her blemishes to his followers, and then called
for drink. After this he was haunted by her ghost.

The famous story of his death is told with a little restraint, and
the latter part of it is not incredible. When the first bad news came
of the revolt of Vindex with the legions of Gaul, Nero summoned his
privy council and held a hasty consultation with them about the crisis,
but spent the rest of the day in showing them a hydraulic organ and
discoursing upon the intricacies of the invention. Then he composed a
skit upon the rebels, and prepared a pathetic speech which was to make
the mutineers return to his allegiance in tears. He sat down to compose
the songs of triumph which should be sung upon that occasion. In
preparing his expedition his first thought was to provide carriages for
the band: he equipped all his concubines as Amazons with battle-axes
and bucklers. But when he heard of the revolt of the Spanish army under
Galba also, he fell into a temper and tore the dispatch to pieces. He
broke his precious cups and put up a dose of Locusta’s poison in a
golden box. He ordered the prætorian guard to rally round him, but they
only quoted Vergil to him:

    “Is death indeed so hard a lot?”

At midnight he awoke and found that the guards had deserted his
bedside. Even his bedding and his golden box of poison had been stolen.
So he stumbled out into the night as if he would throw himself into the
Tiber. But a few faithful slaves came to him and a freedman offered
him his country villa for a refuge, and Nero rode thither in a shabby
disguise. An earthquake shook the ground and a flash of lightning
darted in his face; he heard the soldiers in the prætorian camp
shouting for Galba. Skulking among bushes and briers, he crawled on all
fours to a wretched outhouse of his freedman’s villa. There he ordered
them to dig a grave and line it with scraps of marble. The water and
wood for his obsequies were prepared, while he uttered the famous words
“_qualis artifex pereo!_” either meaning “What an artist the world is
losing!” or (more probably) “What an artistic death!” A dispatch came
to announce that he had been declared a public enemy by the senate, and
was to be punished according to the ancient custom of the Romans. He
asked what sort of death that meant, and was informed that the criminal
was generally stripped naked and scourged to death with his head in a
pillory. Then he took up daggers and tried the points, but still he
dared not die. He begged one of his attendants to give him the example.
At last he heard the horsemen coming, quoted a line of the _Iliad_ very
appropriately, and drove, with the help of his secretary, a dagger into
his throat.

Now, even of this, three-quarters is pure rhetoric. For example, it was
impossible that Nero should have heard the soldiers in the Esquiline
Camp from the road which he took to his servant’s villa. The details
are the invention of malice, or the attempt of a literary artist to
improve his story. Even Suetonius admits that the populace continued
to deck Nero’s tomb with spring and summer flowers, that they dressed
up his image and placed it on the rostra as if he were still alive,
and that a pretender, who arose in his name twenty years later, was
received with acclamation among the Parthians.

Having made this concession to the literary tradition which can be
shown to be very largely fiction, we may now endeavour to gather up
the fragments of history and briefly trace the progress of the Empire
during its first century. First, as to its geographical growth;
although Augustus had bequeathed in his testament the advice not to
enlarge the frontiers of the Empire, and Tiberius had observed the
precept, yet conquest still remained an object of ambition in the
heart of every emperor who sought military renown or fresh sources
of revenue. Britain, the declined legacy of Julius, was obviously
beckoning the Romans. Diplomatic relations with the many kings of
that island had always been frequent, and it was found that Britain
was an inconvenient neighbour for a rapidly Romanising Gaul. There
was a continual coming and going across the water, for there were
kindred peoples on each side. Especially, it was the last refuge
of the anti-Roman force of Druidism, a religion which was already
declining and was suppressed by Claudius in Gaul. That this was so
is shown by the forward movement of the Romans in the direction of
Anglesey. The details of the conquest of Britain are, in spite of
voluminous discussions, by no means certain. Aulus Plautius Silvanus
with four legions, and with the future emperor Vespasian as one of his
brigadiers, defeated Cymbeline and ten other kings of South Britain,
crossed the Thames and conquered Colchester (Camulodunum), which
became a Roman _colonia_ and the centre of government. This was in
A.D. 43, and Claudius himself spent a fortnight in our island in order
to receive the honours of victory. The conquest was not too easily
achieved, for there were five great battles in which the emperor,
though absent, received the titles of victory. Plautius himself seems
to have reached the line of the Trent and Severn. Ostorius Scapula, his
successor, was mainly occupied in subduing the Silures of the Welsh
mountains, and in the conquest of the elusive prince Caradoc. The mercy
shown to that defeated hero proves that the Romans had advanced in
humanity since the days of Jugurtha. The two succeeding legates made
no fresh advance, but Suetonius Paulinus in A.D. 59-61 established
Chester as his western camp. While he was engaged in the conquest of
Anglesey, leaving only the ninth legion to hold the conquered province,
there broke out the great rebellion under the heroic Boudicca. There
never has been a quarrel in this island which has not had money as its
root. It was not so much the oppressive nature of the tribute as the
vexatious methods of the Roman financiers, who still as in republican
days swarmed in the wake of eagles, that stirred the Iceni and their
queen into revolt. Camulodunum, Verulamium, and Londinium were taken
and sacked and there was an immense slaughter of Roman civilians and
Romanised Britons. But vengeance followed: no barbarians could stand
against the strategy and discipline of the legions.

Succeeding governors were mainly content to pacify and civilise the

One of the extraordinarily pungent chapters of Tacitus shows us the
Roman method of empire-building in Britain. “The following winter,”
he says of A.D. 79, “was spent in useful statecraft. To make a people
which was scattered and barbarous, and therefore prone to warfare, grow
accustomed to peace and quietness by way of their pleasures, Agricola
used to persuade them by private exhortations and public assistance
to build temples, forums, and houses, with praise for the eager and
admonitions for the laggard. Thus they could not help embarking on the
rivalry for honour. Now he began to instruct the sons of chieftains in
the liberal arts, to extol the natural abilities of the Britons above
the studious habits of Gaul, so that those who lately rejected even
the Roman language now became zealous for oratory. So even our dress
came into esteem, and the toga was commonly worn. The next step was
towards the attractions of our vices, lounging in colonnades, baths,
and refined dinner-parties. They were too ignorant to see that what
they call civilisation was really a form of slavery.” There is no doubt
that the Britons took as readily as their Gallic cousins to the Roman
civilisation. Many of them took Roman names and became Roman citizens.
They learnt the pleasures of the bath and the amphitheatre, their mines
were exploited, arts and industries were introduced, agriculture was
improved. The Druids hid themselves away in the unconquered fastnesses
of Wales or crossed over to the Hibernian island which the Romans never
had leisure to conquer. Meanwhile the Britons were learning to worship
the obsolete gods of Rome, and presently the Eastern deities who came
in their train.

It was the father-in-law of Tacitus, Julius Agricola, who conquered,
or at least defeated, the northern tribes of England. Among the
powerful Brigantes he established a garrison at York (Eburacum),
which eventually became the most important of all the Roman centres.
He advanced into Scotland also, and inflicted a bloody defeat upon
the wild Caledonians. But Scotland remained unconquered, as did the
neighbouring island upon which also Agricola had cast his ambitious
eyes. The Roman army was wanted elsewhere, and the Emperor Domitian
declined to assist any further adventures. Little more of our island’s
story is recorded until the travelling Emperor Hadrian came out to
visit us in A.D. 122. He saw that the wild north was only to be won by
a gradual advance with more or less peaceful penetration northwards.
The system of fortified frontiers was already established on the Rhine
and Danube, and Hadrian drew his finger across the seventy miles
between Bowness and Wallsend. Across this space, where the Tyne and
Solway almost overlap, the Roman lines ran straight over hill and dale,
and there they are to this day as a silent proof of the greatness of
the Roman people.[63] This was more than a frontier: it was a vast
elongated camp which looked south as well as north and frowned alike
upon the Brigantes and the Caledonians. It was pierced at intervals by
fortified gates and great roads ran northwards through it. On the north
there was first a ditch, and then a stone wall broad enough for two or
three men to walk abreast along it and nearly twenty feet high. Behind
this, in a space of about 140 yards wide runs a road connecting a chain
of fourteen large camps, some of which grew into towns. Southward again
was the quadruple rampart of earth, a mound, a dyke, and then a double
mound. This immense labour, though it is small in comparison with Roman
works elsewhere, was achieved not by British slaves, but by Roman
soldiers, some of whom were Britons, some Spaniards, and some Germans.
It was completed gradually under various emperors. There were detached
forts both north and south of the wall of Hadrian. It was Antoninus
Pius who made the next step twenty years later. The Antonine wall from
the Forth to the Clyde is only about half as long and of inferior
strength. There were camps even north of this, in Stirlingshire for
example, and it is clear that the Romans intended to feel their way
into the Highlands. But that was contrary to their fates.

Gaul meanwhile was becoming as civilised as Italy herself. Numbers of
the Gauls who had acquired the Latin speech received the _jus Latinum_,
which was almost equivalent to full citizenship. Claudius admitted the
chiefs of the Ædui into the Roman senate, and part of the speech in
which he did so is preserved on bronze tablets at Lyons. Twice in the
course of the century there were interesting attempts to give political
expression to the Gallic sense of nationality. The revolt of Vindex
at the close of Nero’s reign was little more than a mutiny, but the
projected “Empire of the Gauls,” which was set up during the confusion
which followed the fall of Vitellius, came very near success. Jealousy
between the Gauls and Germans wrecked it.

In the case of Germany, it looked for a time as if Tiberius, who, of
course, had personal knowledge of the difficulties and advantages of
further conquest, meant to break his stepfather’s precept and annex
more territory. But probably the annual expeditions of Germanicus were
not intended to be more than punitive and demonstrative. Blood enough
was shed, and acres enough laid waste, to appease the unburied ghosts
of Varus and his legions. But though the great battle of Idistavisus
was hailed as a Roman victory, Arminius himself continually eluded the
Romans and the legions were more than once in peril of ambush. When
Tiberius cried halt, it was open to the critics to find a malevolent
explanation in his jealousy of Germanicus, but it is much more likely
to have been the deliberate policy of an emperor who had knowledge of
Germany. Thus, although Arminius presently fell a victim to his own
ambition, and perished by the dagger of a tyrannicide kinsman, he had
done his work and saved the liberty of Germany. Henceforth the Romans
confined themselves to the Rhine frontier, though they had posts and
summer camps beyond it. By degrees the generals of the Upper and Lower
Armies in Germany developed into governors of two German provinces, but
Germany was unconquered. There was a great military road along the left
bank of the Rhine joining the garrison towns where the legions were
quartered. Mogontiacum (Mainz) and Vetera Castra (Xanten) remained as
the head-quarters, until the latter was superseded by Cologne (Colonia
Agrippinensis) founded under Claudius. Trier (Augusta Treverorum),
another foundation of about the same date, grew into an important
centre of Roman civilisation, as its majestic Roman gate[64] and fine
amphitheatre still bear witness. Under Claudius also the great Via
Claudia over the Brenner Pass was completed, and the canal joining
the Maas to the Rhine. This was better work for Roman soldiers than
slaughtering Chatti and Chauci in their native forests. The re-entrant
angle of the Rhine and Danube about the Black Forest, where the rivers
run small, was recognised as a danger-point. The barbarian Germans were
accordingly cleared away to make room for a body of Gallic emigrants,
who received lands on condition of paying a tithe of their produce as
rent, and of undertaking their own defence. This was a new piece of
frontier policy which was often imitated in later times.

[Illustration: Roman _Limes_]

It seems to have been the Flavian emperors, Vespasian and Domitian,
who advanced a step farther. On the other side of the Rhine and beyond
these Agri Decumates the Romans began to construct a line of forts
and wooden watch-towers linked by a rampart of earth, and known as
the _Limes Trans-Rhenanus_. This frontier of Upper Germany left the
Rhine between Linz and Andernach, crossed the Lahn at Ems, and then
turned eastwards north of Wiesbaden (Aquæ Mattiacæ) and Frankfort.
After Saalburg it runs on a north-easterly curve to Gruningen,
whence it turns south, and continues for more than 100 miles through
Aschaffenburg and Worth to join the Rhætian _limes_ at Lorch. From
Lorch the Rhætian _limes_ goes eastwards to join the Danube a few miles
above Regensburg. At first perhaps it was little more than a police
and customs limit, but it gradually grew into a formidable barrier
behind which the Roman Empire rested in a too profound security.
Trajan continued it. Hadrian strengthened it with a wall and palisade.
Commodus further fortified and extended it. A similar bulwark ran
along the Danube. This policy of setting up immobile defences like
the Great Wall of China is always a dangerous one. Useful at first and
visibly strong, it tends to lull the defenders into a false security.
The camps and forts grew into towns, the armies into peaceful citizens
living with their wives and children and devoting themselves to trade
and husbandry. Meanwhile the barbarians on the other side were growing
stronger and learning the art of war as fast as the Romans were
forgetting it.

After this the danger-point for the Empire shifted gradually eastwards
down the Danube. Claudius had converted Thrace from an allied kingdom
into a Roman province in A.D. 46. Much difficulty was caused by the
Dacians, who lived just across the Danube on the north bank opposite
the Roman province of Mœsia and in the modern Roumania. As the Danube
was apt to become frozen in winter it ceased to offer a satisfactory
frontier, so long as there were powerful enemies on the other side. At
first the Romans tried the system of transplanting them, 50,000 under
Augustus and 100,000 under Nero, and settling them in the province of
Mœsia. But it was a stupid policy, for it meant constant intrigues
between the free barbarians and their enslaved kinsfolk. Vespasian
accordingly moved two legions down from Dalmatia to reinforce the two
already stationed in Mœsia. But presently there arose an able and
heroic king called Decebalus, who welded the Dacians into a compact and
organised kingdom, and began to menace the security of the Empire. Like
Marbod of Bohemia, he drilled his barbarians on the Roman model. In
A.D. 85 he invaded Mœsia, won victories and did great damage. Domitian,
called upon to face this peril, was content with inflicting a single
defeat upon them and then accepting Decebalus as a client prince. He
gave him Roman engineers and artillerymen, and even sent gifts of money
which the barbarians were pleased to regard as tribute. This has been
set down as cowardice, but it was certainly unwisdom in Domitian, for
Decebalus grew stronger and more dangerous. It was left for Trajan,
the greatest soldier of all the early emperors, to face this thorny
problem in the two great Dacian Wars of 101 and 105 B.C. The whole war
is depicted for us by pictures in stone. The spiral reliefs which cover
the column of Trajan tell us, with far more detail than the narrative
of Dio, the history of the two Dacian Wars. We see the embarkation of
the Roman army, we see it on the march with its scouts in advance, we
see the solemn purifications, sacrifices, and harangues which preceded
battle. We see the battles themselves, in which the Romans with sword
and _pilum_ defeat the Dacians and their mail-clad Sarmatian cavalry.
The great bridge built across the Danube at Viminacium by the Greek
architect Apollodorus is faithfully depicted. We can watch the siege
of the Dacian capital, Sarmizegethusa, and observe the construction of
the siege-engines. Scenes of pathos are most graphically portrayed, the
torturing of Roman prisoners by the barbarian women, the suicide of
the Dacian chiefs by poison, and the death of the heroic Decebalus. At
intervals throughout the story there appears and reappears the calm and
stately figure of Trajan, steering his ship, sacrificing for victory,
leading the march or the charge, haranguing his troops, directing the
labour of engineering, consulting with his officers, or receiving the
submission of the foe.[65]

The end of the two wars was that Dacia was annexed and became a
province of the Empire. Here, as elsewhere, Trajan showed his contempt
of natural frontiers. As a gallant soldier himself, he believed in the
invincibility of the Roman arms, and preferred to put his trust in
legions rather than in walls. For this he has been condemned by modern
historians, but history is on his side. More than anything else it
was reliance on natural frontiers and artificial ramparts, with the
consequent loss of military instincts, which was to be the undoing of
the Roman Empire.

On the eastern frontier it was for a long time a game of tug-of-war
between Rome and Parthia, the rope being supplied by the kingdom of
Armenia. The Augustan policy of filling the oriental thrones with
princes trained at Rome was not a great success. You might learn bad
lessons at court; you might even learn to know Rome without learning
to love or fear her. The princes sent to Armenia or Parthia were
unstable allies and the ordinary course of events was for the Romans
to send out a king to Armenia and for the Parthians to depose him.
Again it was left for Trajan to attack this problem in the old Roman
fashion; when the usual submissive embassy arrived, Trajan answered,
as a Metellus might have done, that he wanted deeds not words, and he
led his army on. Trajan found the Eastern legions, whose headquarters
were at Antioch, already civilianised and orientalised so that they
had become useless for fighting. At this time there were four legions
in Syria, one in Judæa and one in the new province of Cappadocia.
The first task was to restore discipline and energy to these troops.
Then, without bloodshed, in A.D. 115 Armenia was declared a province.
Parthia, distracted by civil war, was overrun, its capital Ctesiphon
easily taken by siege. Mesopotamia was made a province, and to Parthia
was given a new king. The client kingdom of Adiabene became a third new
province under the name of Assyria. This meant that the Tigris became
the eastern frontier instead of the Euphrates. Unfortunately these
conquests had been too easily achieved, largely through the temporary
dissensions of the Parthians, who accordingly failed to experience
the salutary discipline of real defeat. Trajan died on his way home,
and Hadrian, who was more of a statesman than a warrior, reversed his
predecessor’s policy. He surrendered the three new provinces and even
acquiesced in the Parthians’ choice of a king of their own in place of
the Roman nominee. The only new provinces of Trajan’s creation which
Hadrian retained were Dacia and Arabia.

Although their military force was contemptible, their spiritual zeal
made the Jews the most difficult people to govern in the whole empire.
Worshipping their Jealous God with fierce ardour, they could not
join in the Cæsar-worship which was the outward sign of loyalty and
patriotism throughout the Roman world. Moreover the Semitic question
had already begun to vex the soul of Europe. Throughout the East and
especially in the trade centres such as Antioch, Alexandria, and
Cyrene there were already large communities of Jews who lived on the
usual terms of deep-rooted racial animosity with their neighbours.
It is only fair to the Roman government to admit that it tried to
conciliate its difficult subjects. Though the vanity of Caligula led
him to accept the suggestion of erecting a colossal statue of him
in the Temple at Jerusalem, yet when the philosopher Philo and his
fellow-ambassadors came over to plead against the outrage the emperor
good-humouredly remarked that if people refused to worship him it was
more their misfortune than their fault. As a rule the Roman procurators
who administered Galilee and Judæa were almost too tolerant of Jewish
fanaticism. The Jews were exempt from military service: their Sabbaths
were respected. A Roman soldier who tore a book of the law was put
to death. It was useless to argue with such sects as the Zealots and
Assassins. The Anti-Semite spirit broke out into massacres. In Cæsarea,
Damascus, and elsewhere the Gentiles slew the Jews; in Alexandria and
Cyrene the Jews slaughtered the Gentiles. In Jerusalem the Romans had
to face violent discord between the rival factions, and naturally they
sided with the more tolerant and moderate Sadducees against the stern
Pharisees and the smaller sects of extremists. In A.D. 66 matters came
to a crisis. A Roman garrison was attacked and destroyed: the army
which came from Syria to avenge them was repulsed with slaughter. This
occurred while the Emperor Nero was on one of his theatrical tours
in Greece, and in the next year Vespasian was sent with an army of
three legions and auxiliaries which increased its numbers to more than
50,000. During the death of Nero and the short reigns of his three
successors, Vespasian was gradually subduing Palestine and driving the
irreconcilables before him into Jerusalem. Vespasian himself became
emperor and it was left to his son Titus to finish the tragedy. The
siege of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) was one of the most difficult tasks which
the Romans ever had to face. In addition to its natural strength there
were six lines of fortification to be overcome one by one, and each was
defended with all the grim tenacity of which the Semite race is capable
when it is on the defensive. Five months the great siege lasted, and
at the end Jerusalem was a heap of ruins. Some of the temple treasures
were saved for the Roman triumph, and the Arch of Titus still shows
us the famous seven-branched golden candlestick being carried up
to the temple of Capitoline Jove.[66] It is said that one million
Jews perished in the siege and 100,000 more were sold into slavery.
Jerusalem became merely the camp of the Tenth Legion. All Judæa became
one province, and the scattered Jews were only allowed to keep their
privileges on condition of registering their names and paying a fee of
two denarii every year for their licence.

But this awful lesson had not quenched the fire of Jewish patriotism
nor killed their hopes of an earthly Messiah who should restore
the kingdom of David. Once again under Hadrian there was a Jewish
rebellion stimulated by the fact that the emperor forbade the rite of
circumcision and decreed the foundation of a Roman colony at Jerusalem
with a temple to Jupiter on Mount Zion. The revolt was stamped out with
merciless severity and the Jews were scattered for ever.

The only other noteworthy addition to the Roman Empire was Mauretania
(Morocco), which was incorporated as a province by Caligula. The motive
alleged was the emperor’s desire to possess himself of the treasures of
Ptolemy, its king.

On the whole, then, we can see that the Roman Empire had almost reached
its natural limits. It had seized as much as it could govern, and
now, with the exception of the Parthian kingdom, all that lay outside
its frontiers was naked barbarism. So the centre grew more and more
unwarlike, while the legions had little to occupy their minds except
the speculation whether their particular general had a chance of
the purple. For this reason alone the Cæsars were loth to embark on
conquests, unless like Trajan they were willing to neglect everything
else and undertake the campaigns in person. A victorious general was
always to be dreaded by his master.


At first sight the position of the princeps, who was absolute lord of
this world, is one of immense and terrible power. But earthly power
has its natural limits in human weakness. The weak or wicked emperors
were generally the servants of their favourites, male or female, or
they lived under fear of the legions. Without their bureaux they were
helpless, and the bureaux in the skilled hands of Roman knights or
Greek freedmen were acquiring the real power. But it is astonishing how
much actual work was done by the more conscientious Cæsars. In Pliny’s
letters we see what minute details were referred by a provincial
governor to his master and how minutely they were answered. The answers
may be, and no doubt sometimes are, the composition of secretaries, but
there is a personal note in them which often suggests the emperor’s
own dictation. Probably Trajan was exceptionally industrious and Pliny
exceptionally meticulous. Nevertheless it looks as if a strong emperor
actually ruled this vast domain. It is one of the merits of despotism
that the monarch’s power increases automatically with his virtues
and capacity. A Caligula could not do so much harm: an Augustus, a
Claudius, a Trajan, or a Hadrian might benefit millions of mankind. I
think it is clear that they did so. The insane work of slaughter, which
is all that interests the ordinary historian, had almost ceased. All
over the world the markets were full, the workshops were noisy with
hammers, the seas were thronged with ships, the great highways busy
with travellers. Justice was strong and even-handed. Taxes were low
and equitably assessed. For the most part men had liberty to go their
own ways and worship their own gods. From the accession of Augustus
to the death of Antoninus Pius--and with a few intervals one might
safely go further--the world was enjoying one of its golden periods of
prosperity. It is unhistorical to look ahead and pronounce this happy
world to be already doomed.

Yet, on the other hand, it is idle to deny the unsound spots in this
imposing fabric of empire. The weakness was at the centre. The Roman
aristocracy was gay and splendid, but not happy or secure. The ghost of
the Republic still haunted her streets. To make a necessary repetition:
if Augustus had been succeeded by a son as wise and tactful as himself,
and if the throne had then passed to a third generation with the
soldierly qualities of Trajan and the statesmanship of Diocletian,
the Empire might have taken shape as a strong hereditary monarchy
with a senate co-operating heartily, and an army obeying loyally.
But that was not fated so. Tiberius was too proud to play the comedy
as Augustus had done: instead he made enemies of the aristocracy and
became suspicious and tyrannical. When they lampooned and abused him,
he turned into a despot. Cremutius Cordus, the historian, was executed
for calling Cassius “the last of the Romans.” At last Tiberius withdrew
himself in gloomy despair and left the government in the hands of an
unscrupulous intriguer, the knight Sejanus, who still further harried
and alienated the nobles. It is hard to know the truth about Gaius, so
palpably is his story written by satirists. He may have been mad. The
adulation which surrounded the Cæsars was enough to turn the head of a
vain youth. He was certainly extravagant and increased his unpopularity
by taxes upon litigants and prostitutes. It was the officers of the
prætorian guard who conspired to assassinate him.

Claudius was chosen by the bodyguard who had murdered his predecessor
and he bought their allegiance with £120 apiece. He was the uncle of
Caligula, but no process of adoption had lifted him into the royal
house. Still he was the grandson of Livia and his assumption of the
name “Cæsar” passed without comment. Claudius set Augustus before him
as his model and in all things he was careful to return to republican
precedents. He took the office of censor for the revision of the
senate-roll. He increased the patriciate, encouraged the State religion
and by personal attention improved the administration of justice. The
cause of most of the trouble during the preceding reigns had been the
practice of “delation.” Even under the Republic criminal prosecutions
had been the easiest method of obtaining political notoriety. Tiberius
and Gaius had added the motive of pecuniary gain. Claudius now repealed
the obnoxious laws of treason, punished the laying of information and
forbade slaves to give evidence against their masters. By the repeal
of the treason laws Claudius had almost ceased to be a monarch, and he
was careful to revive the old legislative processes of the republic. On
the other hand, under Claudius the power of the bureaucracy was greatly
increased, and the affairs of the Empire were principally conducted by
the three powerful Greek secretaries.

On the death of Claudius--when the emperors died in their beds poison
was invariably alleged--Nero succeeded almost as a matter of course.
His mother Agrippina had secured his succession by having him raised to
honour just as had been done for Tiberius by Augustus. He had already
been styled “Prince of the Youth,” designated for the consulship and
endowed with the proconsular power. There was, however, a possible
rival in the young Britannicus, and Nero was chosen by the prætorian
guard just as clearly as Claudius. During the first five years, when
the young prince was engaged in enjoying himself under the guidance of
the philosopher Seneca, the senate had nothing to fear, and the Roman
state enjoyed its liberty, but when Tigellinus, the wicked prefect of
the guard, gained his evil ascendancy over the mind of Nero there were
some prosecutions of influential senators which made the whole senate
tremble. Yet, even in these worst days of the worst of emperors, good
administration proceeded. Nero himself made an interesting proposal
for the abolition of customs in the Empire and, indeed, may fairly be
called “The Father of Free Trade.” But the capitalist class succeeded
in suppressing the proposal. The duties on corn were, however, reduced
and the collection of taxes carefully regulated. Charges of extortion
against tax-collectors were given precedence in the law courts, a
measure of justice beyond anything that the modern state has attempted.
It was much more the dancing and singing of the _princeps_ than the
extortions of Tigellinus and the judicial murders of noblemen which
caused the unpopularity which brought Nero to his doom. Among the
many who fell victims to the ferocity of Tigellinus--for Nero himself
was probably harmless enough--were two genuine Republicans of the
old school, men who were genuine believers in the Stoic faith and
who kept the birthdays of Brutus and Cassius as annual feasts. It is
probable that genuine opposition of this sort was far from rare among
the aristocracy of the Empire. Writers like Lucan and Tacitus were
evidently in sympathy with it, and though Thrasea Pætus and Barea
Soranus are famous for the Stoic deaths they died, yet they were only
two out of many who lived wholly on the memory of the Republic.

Nero’s fall was caused directly by the defection of the prætorian
guards, whose allegiance had been bought in the name of Galba. Nero was
the last member of the Julio-Claudian family, and at his death the last
shadow of dynastic claim passed away. The succession of the principate
became a mere scramble in which the strongest or the luckiest or the
heaviest briber won the day. Pretenders sprang up against Galba,
several of the armies put forward their generals as competitors for the
throne; and Galba himself had not even enough generosity to pay the
bribes by which he had secured his throne. Thus the year 69 was a year
of incessant civil war. Galba was murdered in the streets of Rome; Otho
was defeated in battle near Bedriacum and slain in his camp, Vitellius;
the choice of the legions in Germany, reigned from April to December,
when Rome was once more occupied by a citizen army. The legions of
Syria, seeing that their fellow-soldiers of Spain and Germany had
already made their generals into emperors, had determined to take a
hand in the game, and now Vespasian came as the fourth Cæsar in the
space of a single year.

It speaks well for the solidity of the imperial system as organised by
Augustus that it survived the shock of such events as these. It proves
that the system was everything and the man little or nothing.

The new Emperor Vespasian, who succeeded after all this turmoil, was
different from his predecessors in that he had two grown-up sons
ready to succeed him. It is said that Mucianus, a still more powerful
Eastern general, had surrendered his claims because he was childless.
If so, it was nobly and wisely done. Vespasian was able and willing
to restore the machinery of the Augustan principate. He was himself
frankly a humble Sabine with no claims of birth. He was firm but not
oppressive towards the senate, and he kept control over the prætorian
guard by appointing Titus, his son, to its command. He also established
the succession beyond doubt by making Titus his consort. Vespasian and
Titus were elected consuls year by year. Vespasian’s principal work was
to restore the financial credit of the government. Unfortunately the
two sons, Titus, and then Domitian, who followed him upon the throne
and with him make up the “Flavian” dynasty, were scarcely worthy of
their father. Titus was “the darling of the human race,” generous and
mild to the senators, but too fond of his popularity to be a strong
ruler, and Domitian was a genuine tyrant. With his autocratic system of
rule he was naturally oppressive to the aristocracy, and his name is
in consequence written on the pages of history as that of a monster of
cruelty. Domitian certainly made constitutional changes which rendered
the monarchy a more open fact. He took the consulship for ten years to
come, he became censor and drew up the senate-roll to suit his fancy,
he refused the usual request of the senators that the emperor should
admit that he had no power to condemn a senator to death. Also he
openly spurned the proud senators and permitted the servile modes of
address which Augustus and other emperors had forbidden.

These high-handed proceedings made the senators hate and plot against
him. Plots were followed by executions, and Domitian gradually became
more and more tyrannical. More of the Stoic Republican party were
executed, and the odious practice of delation came once more into
vogue. At last there was a successful plot organised in the palace, and
Domitian fell to the dagger.

With the three succeeding emperors, Nerva (96-98), Trajan (98-117), and
Hadrian (117-138), we have a series of genuine constitutional rulers
who show the system of the principate at its best. The excellent figure
which these rulers cut on the page of history is not wholly unconnected
with the fact that we have now passed beyond the region illuminated
by the satire of Tacitus and the tittle-tattle of Suetonius. Their
deeds speak for them. In Nerva we have the senate’s choice of a ruler,
elderly, blameless, but decidedly weak. Had he not died in less than
two years, he could easily have brought the throne of the Cæsars
down to the ground. Knowing his own weakness, Nerva had adopted the
foremost soldier of his day as his heir, and Trajan, beloved of the
soldiers and ready to purchase the love of the Rome rabble, succeeded
without a murmur. He spent most of his reign in the camp. In the camp
he died, and the succession was by no means clear when Hadrian, a
kinsman though a distant one, had the courage to seize and the luck to
hold the imperial power. All these three emperors granted the senate’s
claim that the emperor should not have the power to condemn a senator
to death, and in some aspects the senate seemed to have regained much
of its old independence. But Trajan was too masterful and Hadrian
too ubiquitous to leave any real scope for senatorial initiative. It
was really under these benevolent despots that the Dyarchy ceased
to have any significance. As usual the benevolence of the despot
was the most fatal enemy to liberty. Not only in Rome but even in
the municipalities of Italy politics were ceasing to have any real
meaning, and men of standing had to be coerced into taking part in the
comedy. The bureaucracy of the imperial palace now governed the world,
and the better it governed the more quickly did the life-blood of the
Roman world run dry in its veins. We now find imperial “curators” and
accountants going up and down the provinces to set their finances
in order. Whenever there is trouble in any corner of the earth, an
imperial “corrector” travels down from Rome by the admirable system
of imperial posts to set it right. Where, of old, a local squire,
the patronus of the municipality, would leave a charitable legacy
for the maintenance and education of poor children, the state with
its admirable system of “alimenta” was beginning to assume the
responsibility. The state had its Development Fund which made loans
on mortgage at very low interest, generally 5 but sometimes 2½ per
cent., to small farmers, and the interest was applied to orphanages
and the education of the poor. Nerva has the credit for introducing
this splendid system of public charity and Hadrian developed it. It
was Hadrian also who gave the finishing touches to the organisation
of the civil service as a close bureaucracy entirely divorced from
the military profession. This service was chiefly in the hands of the
knights, and it ranged in a carefully graded hierarchy of officialdom
down from the three principal Secretaries of State, the Finance
Minister, the Chief Secretary, and the Minister of Petitions, down to
the Fiscal Advocates who looked after local revenue. Though the Roman
Empire is often represented as groaning under the weight of taxation,
and no doubt the more extravagant emperors did amass heavy liabilities,
yet Hadrian, who followed an emperor extravagant both in warfare and
building, was able to remit about nine millions sterling of arrears due
to the fisc. He also introduced a system of periodical reassessments
and gave the fullest liberty for his tenants-in-chief to appeal against
the collectors. Hadrian it was, also, who really introduced the system
of installing a junior colleague in the Empire, a plan which Augustus
had foreshadowed in his elevation of Tiberius. This plan produced one
of the firmest dynasties which ever held the imperial throne, namely,
the Antonines, Marcus Aurelius, Titus, Antoninus Pius, and Commodus,
who ruled from Hadrian’s death in 138 to 192. The age of the first two
Antonines is considered by Gibbon and many others to be the culmination
of the Roman imperial system.

Two facts of very great importance stand out from this hasty review of
the principate during its first two centuries. In the first place, it
is still, in the strict constitutional sense, a compromise. The theory
of the constitution had not changed since Augustus, if, indeed, it had
ever changed. It is still a Republic--_Respublica Romana_--governed
by senate, consuls, tribunes, and an intermittent public assembly.
There is, as there nearly always had been, a _princeps_, that is,
leading citizen, a man raised by personal eminence and prestige far
above his colleagues. Certain powers are delegated to him by the
state. Above all he is master of the legions because he has consular
or proconsular authority over all the provinces where troops are
stationed. There still remained certain theoretical limitations to his
power. He could not, for example, impose a tax on Rome or Italy by his
own authority. But the feebleness and sycophancy of the senate and
magistracy made him actually omnipotent. When a certain senator was
pointed out by Cæsar’s freedman as an enemy to Cæsar the doomed man
was set upon by his colleagues and stabbed to death with their pens in
the senate-house. It is true that this sycophancy was not altogether
the fault of the senate. Under the tyrannical emperors like Tiberius,
Nero, and Domitian, emperors who encouraged the “delator,” no senator’s
life was secure. At a frown from Cæsar it was customary to go home
and open one’s veins after writing a complimentary will in which one
bequeathed everything to that best of rulers. This sort of behaviour
led inevitably to the growth of the monarchy. The emperor was the one
person who dared to act, and the more capable and well-intentioned the
ruler, the more closely were the fetters riveted around the necks
of the Roman People. The silent growth of bureaucracy, of which the
historians have little to tell us, but which we can gather from the
inscriptions of the period, is both the symptom and the cause of this
increasing power of the principate.

In the second place, it is important to notice that although the
city of Rome was growing marvellously in riches and splendour, she
was losing her old domination in the world, and becoming the capital
instead of the mistress of the Empire. The magistracies of the city had
almost ceased to have any importance except as inferior grades on the
road to proconsulships. Italy herself was sinking into the position of
one among the provinces of the Empire, and with the growth of Hadrian’s
centralised system of imperial administration even the provinces were
losing their significance as units of government. It seems impossible
that almost the whole of Europe and large parts of Asia and Africa
could ever have been governed by one man or even one bureau. Yet it
was almost achieved by the Roman Empire. The world-state was almost a
fact, and a few more Trajans and Hadrians would have accomplished it.
The city-state idea, as a unit of patriotism, still flourished. But
with the great roads stretching like railways to the four corners of
the earth, and the imperial officers travelling along them, with the
legions massed along the frontiers and men recruited in Spain sent to
serve in Britain, the sense of territory, from which the modern state
was to arise, began to develop itself.


If the external history of the Empire has suffered by being so largely
in the hands of the opposition, the intimate life of the city has been
still more distorted through being written for us by satirists. The
humorous or venomous descriptions of Juvenal, Martial, and Petronius
form our principal source of information, and Pliny, who gives us
a very different picture of tranquil and cultivated leisure or of
useful activity carried on in refined and elegant surroundings, has
commonly been regarded as a remarkable exception. Yet the material
remains are on the side of Pliny; and we owe a great debt to modern
writers, like Dr. Dill, who have been able to emphasise this point.
Romances such as those of Lytton, Melville, and Sienckewicz have
embroidered the theme of Juvenal, and everybody nowadays has his vision
of Imperial Rome based upon such fairy-tales. It is probably vain to
attempt a refutation of the popular view which pictures the Roman
of the Empire as exclusively spending his time in the amphitheatre
watching the lions devour the Christians, except when he was supping
on nightingales’ tongues from plates of gold. Moreover these things
are a not unimportant part of the truth. Imperial Rome remained as
bloody and brutal in its amusements as Republican Rome. In fact, as
the emperors were not only richer than the old senators, but also
much more carefully watched and bitterly lampooned, so the number of
wild beasts slain at a _venatio_ of Trajan exceeded the slaughters
exhibited by Pompeius. Doubtless the imperial epicure Apicius excelled
the republican glutton Lucullus in the variety of his menu, and the
lascivious entertainments of Petronius Arbiter and his master Nero
certainly dwarfed the attempts of Sulla. At heart it was the same Roman
People, enjoying the same stupid pleasures and violent sensations under
circumstances of greater magnificence and refinement. It was a society
founded on slavery, acknowledging no limits to the free indulgence of
pleasure. But one misconception must be combated. The whole imperial
period of five centuries should not be regarded as one slippery
Gadarene slope down which the Romans were hurrying to destruction.
Fashions came and went. Extravagance was at its height under Nero:
there was a reaction towards greater simplicity under Vespasian. Under
Trajan and Hadrian life was orderly and refined. Under M. Aurelius
philosophy was even more fashionable than vice. Nor was bloodshed
the only form of public enjoyment; the amphitheatres often presented
spectacles quite as inoffensive and much more splendid than our modern
hippodromes and circuses. Chariot-racing, in particular, though a good
deal more dangerous than the modern steeplechase, took its place along
with gladiators and beast-baiting as the popular sport, and the Romans
showed as much enthusiasm for Coryphæus and Hirpinus as we do for our
Ormondes and Persimmons. The charioteer Lacerna had as much vogue with
them as had Fred Archer with our fathers, and they took sides with
the Prasina Factio even more seriously than we do with Light or Dark
Blue oarsmen. The Romans had an inherited taste for blood. There were
philosophers who condemned gladiatorial shows, but the defence of the
ancient sportsman was similar to and perhaps not less true than the
modern fox-hunter’s excuse: the gladiators themselves enjoyed the fun
almost as much as the spectators.

On the whole, apart from its follies, material civilisation was
steadily advancing during the whole period at present under review.
In such matters as transit, public health, police, water-supply,
engineering, building, and so forth, Rome of the second century left
off pretty much where the reign of Queen Victoria was to resume. The
modern city of Rome is obtaining its drinking-water out of about three
of the nine great aqueducts which ministered to the imperial city. The
hot-air system which warms the hotels of modern Europe and America was
in general use in every comfortable villa of the first century A.D.
Education was more general and more accessible to the poor in A.D.
200 than in A.D. 1850. The siege artillery employed by Trajan was as
effective, probably, as the cannon of Vauban.

The city of Rome must have been a wonderful spectacle under the
emperors. One of our modern international exhibitions might faintly
recall a little of its splendours, with gilt and stucco for gold and
marble. Northward from the slope of the Aventine Hill there was a
succession of majestic public buildings, temple beyond temple, forum
beyond forum, as each of the great emperors had added to the work of
his predecessor and endeavoured to eclipse it. At your feet would be
the Circus Maximus, where the chariot-races were held, and behind it
the Palatine Hill crowded with palaces. To the east of it ran the
Triumphal Road passing through the Arch of

[Illustration: The Roman Forum in the early Empire]

Constantine to the Colossus of Nero and the mighty Flavian Amphitheatre
known to us as the Colosseum. From there the Sacred Way led north-west
through the Arch of Titus past the Temple of Venus and Rome and the
Basilica of Constantine to a series of stately _fora_, opening one
from the other and containing altars, columns, arches, statues, and
temples surrounded with shady colonnades, whose cloisters served
for business and pleasure. Above them on the west rose the ancient
Capitoline Hill crowned with its great Temple of Jupiter and immemorial
citadel. Picture these magnificent spaces filled with grave citizens
in their flowing white togas, hurrying slaves in their bright tunics,
visitors and barbarians from all corners of the earth, trousered
Gauls, skin-clad Sarmatians, mitred Parthians. Every now and then the
burly gladiators swagger through the crowd admired by every one, or a
procession of the shaven begging priests of Isis passes by with strange
cries and gestures. Perhaps the lictors come swinging down the hill
bidding every one make way for the slaves who carry the litter of the
emperor who is on his way to sacrifice. Or fancy the crowd in the Great
Amphitheatre, which held more than eighty thousand spectators, with
the purple and gold awnings spread to protect them from the blazing
sunshine, the auditorium perfumed with scents and cooled by fountains,
and the arena at their feet flooded with water to present a naval
combat. It is a city wrapped in profound peace, still dreaming amid its
splendours that it is the mistress of the world.

And these signs of magnificent material riches were not confined to
Rome. Alexandria would almost rival her. Asiatic towns like Ephesus
and Antioch presented a similar appearance of luxury and opulence.
In the north Lugudunum and even Londinium had a splendour of their
own. In Gades Spain had a handsome and highly civilised capital.
The Roman remains at Trier utterly dwarf the comfortable erections
of a prosperous modern town. Out in the desert at Palmyra[67] and
Ba’albek[68] there were rising into existence those huge buildings
which testify to the industry fostered by the provincial government of
the emperors. Along the sea-coast of Campania there were sea-fronts of
continuous villas whose marble fragments are still washed up in the
Bay of Naples. It tasks the imagination of genius to conjure up that
glowing world of the past out of the ruined foundations which remain.
Turner’s famous picture of Baiæ represents a successful attempt to do
so. Pompeii, wonderful as it is, was only a very small and obscure
country town. Yet it was lavishly provided with temples, baths,
theatre, and amphitheatre.

On the coast of North Africa, where nothing but man’s labour organised
under a good government is required to make the desert blossom as a
rose, there was a teeming population which prospered on agriculture.
Timgad (Thamugadi) was founded in the year 100 as a colony by Trajan,
and it was the head-quarters of the Third Legion. Here, in the blank
desert of to-day, the French explorers have revealed porticoes and
colonnades, a forum, a municipal senate-house, a theatre, a capitol,
rostra, a triumphal arch, baths, shrines, and temples, together
with the aqueduct and fountains which alone made all this splendour
possible.[69] For public munificence this age is unequalled in
history. It must have been a very powerful sense of patriotism which
compelled every rich man to devote so large a part of his fortune to
the embellishment of his native town. The benefactions of the modern
millionaire seem miserly in comparison. Pliny, who was not a very rich
man as wealth was accounted in his day, presented his native town
of Como with a library at a cost of nearly £9000, and maintained it
with an annual endowment of more than £800. He offered to contribute
one-third to the cost of a secondary school, and made the wise
provision that the parents of the boys should contribute the rest, in
order that they might feel an interest in the school and take pains
in the choice of suitable teachers. He gave nearly £5000 more for the
support of poor children. He bequeathed more than £4000 for public
baths and nearly £16,000 to his freedmen and for public feasts. And,
as Dr. Dill has pointed out, the inscriptions of every municipal town
prove that this princely generosity and patriotism were by no means
the exception. “There was in those days an immense civic ardour, an
almost passionate rivalry, to make the mother city a more pleasant and
a more splendid home.” Among the most princely of these benefactors was
the Athenian Professor of Rhetoric, Herodes Atticus, who added a new
quarter to Athens in the reign of Hadrian.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of life in the Roman Empire under
the good emperors of the second century is the growth of a lower class
with occupations and ideals of its own. We have already remarked that
the poor free Roman of republican days scarcely emerges into the
light except as a soldier. But now the inscriptions show us a happy
and industrious class of artisans and humble tradesmen, grading down
through the freedmen to the slaves, many of whom now lived and worked
under quite tolerable conditions of life. Especially noteworthy is the
social tendency of the day. Every occupation and craft was forming its
guilds or “collegia” about which the inscriptions give us full and most
interesting details. The collegia were not quite Friendly Societies,
and still less Trade Unions, though they undoubtedly claimed political
privileges and perhaps even made some attempt at collective bargaining
with the public. Sometimes they obtained exemption from taxation. They
dined together, they had their chapels and festivals, their colours and
processions. They had officers modelled on the old Roman magistracy,
with senators as committee and a quæstor as treasurer. They had their
list of patrons who were expected to earn the honour by generosity. In
the main they were burial clubs. Even slaves, and even gladiators, the
most despised of slaves, had their guilds and fraternities: of course
they were regulated by the state.

As yet, in spite of its growing centralisation and spirit of paternal
despotism, the Roman government was true to its ancient principle of
allowing full local autonomy. The municipal life of a small Campanian
town like Pompeii afforded scope for local ambition and a political
ardour to which the election posters and the inscriptions scratched
or scribbled on the walls bear eloquent witness.[70] Sometimes the
name of the candidate is written with the laconic addition _v. b._,
“a good man,” or it may be “Please make P. Furius duumvir, he’s a
good man.” But occasionally the commendations are more explicit: “a
most modest young man,” “he will look after the treasury,” “worthy of
public office,” and so forth. Sometimes a trade-guild supports its
candidate. Thus the liquor interest in politics is already noticeable
in A.D. 70. The humour of the opposition is seen in such a poster as
“the pickpockets request the election of Vatia as ædile.” And the
intrusion of the feminine element is to be observed in “_Claudium
IIvir. animula facit_” (“His little darling is working for Claudius as
duumvir”). The wit of the Pompeian wall-scribe was brighter, though
not always cleaner, than that of his modern counterpart. There is the
proud inscription “Restitutus has often deceived many girls,” but there
are also testimonies of conjugal affection like “Hirtia, the Dewdrop,
always and everywhere sends hearty greeting to C. Hostilius, the
Gnat, her husband, shepherd and gentle counsellor.” There is also an
interesting account from a bakery:

  1 lb. of oil       _6d._
  straw              _7½d._
  hay                _2s._
  a day’s wages      _7½d._
  bran               _9d._
  a neck-wreath      _4½d._
  oil                _9d._

We find advertisements like “Scaurus’s tunny jelly, Blossom Brand, put
up by Eutyches, slave of Scaurus.”


A noticeable feature of the times was the wide diffusion of education.
Every one, it seems, could read and write, even the slaves, even the
humble British workman. Many a Pompeian schoolboy has scribbled a
line from Vergil, or Ovid, or Propertius. Many an adult has added
his or her original compositions. We have seen in the case of Pliny
how the rich men interested themselves in the foundation of schools,
both primary and secondary, for their native towns. In the Greek
world, as may be expected, education was most highly developed and
thoroughly graded from the elementary to the university stage. For
elementary schools the voluntary system was in vogue, but it was under
careful public supervision, and, as we have seen, the state undertook
the maintenance of poor children, girls as well as boys. In contrast
to the present day, the teachers were often held in high honour,
and many a public inscription testifies to the gratitude of a town
towards its schoolmasters. That they also received more substantial
recognition is proved by the fact that they were often able to leave
handsome benefactions themselves. They were elected, sometimes after an
examination or after giving specimen lessons, by the local education
committees, with religious ceremonies, and they took an oath of office
on entering upon their duties. They had their unions and associations
like other professions. In one inscription found in Callipolis, “The
young men and the lads and the boys and their teachers” unite to confer
a wreath of honour upon one of the mathematical masters. The teachers
seem to have been subject to annual election or re-election. There were
also visiting masters of special subjects. The Greek secondary school
tended to lay much stress upon athletics, but it gave more attention
to music and religion than similar institutions of to-day. Reading,
writing, and arithmetic together with music, dancing, and drill were
the staple subjects of the elementary school. “Rhetoric,” which meant
the study of literature on the technical side, as well as the practice
of declamations, was the main occupation in the high schools and the
universities. But philosophy, moral and physical, was also carefully
studied. University professors often rose to real affluence.

In the polite world of Rome, literature was extremely fashionable.
Everybody was writing and insisting upon reading his compositions to
his friends. These literary labours were often pursued with amazing
diligence. Both Pliny and his uncle devoted themselves to reading and
writing almost from morning to night, and Pliny the Younger tells how
he was laughed at for carrying his notebooks with him even when he was
out boar-hunting. By the time he was fourteen he had written a Greek
tragedy. His sketch of a day’s doings at his country villa shows the
literary perseverance of a Roman gentleman. He rose at six and began to
compose in his bedroom. Then he would summon his secretary to take down
the result from dictation. At ten or eleven he would continue his work
in some shady colonnade, or under the trees in the garden, after which
he drove out, still reading. “A short siesta, a walk, declamation in
Greek and Latin, after the habit of Cicero, gymnastic exercise, and the
bath, filled the space until dinner-time arrived.” Even during dinner
a book was read aloud and the evening was enlivened by acting or music
or conversation. Many of Pliny’s friends, such as Suetonius and Silius
Italicus, emulated this studious existence, and his uncle even excelled
it. The elder Pliny consulted two thousand volumes in the writing of
his Natural History alone, and he left one hundred and sixty volumes of
closely written notes and excerpts. Nor was this an unimportant circle
of literary bookworms. On the contrary, it was the highest society of
the day. The elder Pliny was on terms of daily intercourse with the
Emperor Vespasian, and the younger Pliny besides being governor of
Bithynia was intimate with Trajan.

At first sight we may find it strange that all this strenuous devotion
to study produced so little in the way of first-rate original
literature. It is of course customary to ascribe the decline--assuming
that it was a decline--of the Golden Age of Augustan literature into
the Silver Latin of Tacitus and Juvenal to the tyranny of emperors
like Tiberius and Nero. It is perfectly true that Tiberius made it
dangerous for senatorial historians to praise the murderers of a Cæsar.
But that is a ludicrously inadequate explanation for the eclipse of
literature. The experience of Vergil showed that it was possible for
a great loyalist to win fortune and glory amounting to idolisation.
The senators who wanted to continue their school declamations against
tyranny were certainly discouraged, but there was still plenty of room
for literary activity. The truth is, as we have seen, that Augustan
literature was not the work of a young Rome, but of an old and perhaps
already declining Græco-Roman culture. Again it was literary, not
political, causes which led to literary decline. Tacitus, who had for
his themes the conquest of Britain and the wars in Germany and the
East, the Siege of Jerusalem, the burning of Rome, the tragic Year of
the Four Emperors, the crimes and follies of Nero, and the development
of the great imperial system, complains of the lack of interest in the
history of his own times compared with those of the heroic past. The
tyranny that depressed literature was of its own making, the tyranny
of convention, classicism and erudition. To take poetry, though so
many noble writers were toying with the epic, they only produced the
pedantic _Thebaid_ of Statius, the weary _Argonauticon_ of Silius
Italicus, an imitation of an imitation of Homer, and the _Pharsalia_ of
Lucan, which, though it contains many a brilliant epigram and memorable
phrase, is to the majority of mankind almost unreadable. This is simply
because Lucan was consciously pursuing the path which Vergil had
pointed out and producing work which was the logical succession to the
style of the _Æneid_. The _Pharsalia_ is unmixed declamation, rhetoric
shouting at top pitch on page after page. Vergil had accomplished
the literary epic to perfection: to carry it any further in the same
direction was to incur tediousness. Above all, both Lucan and Silius
lacked the greatest of all Vergil’s gifts, his wonderful ear for verbal
music. Vergil, like Milton, presented his epic diluted for mortal
ears with music and human nature. It was not in the spirit that Lucan
failed. He admired the republican cause and Pompeius, its champion,
quite as sincerely as Vergil admired Augustus or Milton Cromwell. Thus
it was not politics, but the literary gift which caused his failure,
at least his failure to hold the ear of to-day. Past generations have
esteemed him high among the world’s poets. Dante owed not a little to
Lucan and Statius as well as to Vergil.

It was only in its lighter forms that poetry continued to make
progress. The _Silvæ_ of Statius, which were shorter occasional poems
in elegiac or lyric measures thrown off at odd moments with ease and
rapidity, are far more interesting than his frigid epic. Martial, the
Spanish writer of _vers de société_, has a pretty wit that is often
surprisingly modern in its tone. Certainly Juvenal towers over all
others who have attempted satire. Horace had been content with an easy
familiarity of tone which might wheedle a friend into the path of good
sense by poking fun at his follies. Juvenal thunders his denunciations
of wickedness with a moral heat which is surprising in an age often
accused of feebleness. He does, however, resemble Lucan in spoiling
some of his effects by want of light and shade, by a too-persistent
flow of rhetoric. He seems unable to distinguish between harmless
follies like playing the flute and real delinquencies like murdering
one’s mother. He clearly draws far too black a picture of the men and
morals of his day. But the pulpit from which he preaches is a high one.

If Juvenal is supreme over the poets of his time, Tacitus is as
clearly monarch of the prose-writers. He was continuing the work
of Livy and writing from the same republican standpoint. But for
history-writing he had certainly discovered a finer style of rhetoric.
Both are rhetoricians first and historians a long way after, but the
packed epigrams of Tacitus say more in a line than Livy is capable of
thinking in a chapter. In describing a battle, a riot, or a panic, or
in painting some tragic scene, such as the death of Vitellius, Tacitus
is unequalled. The freedom that was permitted to him and Suetonius
in depicting the crimes and follies of the earlier Cæsars affords
remarkable evidence of the freedom of letters under Nerva, Trajan, and
Hadrian. Here, again, it is necessary, as in the case of Juvenal, to
beware of accepting too literally the severity of his criticisms upon
the preceding generation. To praise the past at the expense of the
present was one of the traditions of Roman literature. But Tacitus was
the last of Rome’s great historians and his loss was irreparable.

All the erudition of the age added little to the real advance of
learning except in the domain of law. Industrious compilers like
Pliny the elder have preserved a great deal of ancient lore for
our study, but they are for the most part utterly uncritical and
unscientific. There were no scientific thinkers like Aristotle in the
Roman world. Still, some text-books which served the Middle Ages for
instruction were produced under the principate, such as Vitruvius
on architecture, Strabo and Pomponius Mela on geography, Columella
on agriculture, Quintilian on rhetoric, and Galen on medicine. The
latter was state-physician to Marcus Aurelius and was employed by him
to study and combat the terrible plague which the Roman army brought
back from the East. But for medical science he added little to his
Greek master Hippocrates. In just the same way, the philosophers came
no nearer to the core of reality than their masters of the fourth and
third centuries before Christ, hard though they toiled and much as
they spoke and wrote. They were indeed learning, what the old Greeks
had failed or scorned to learn, how to apply doctrines to life, but
in depth of thought they were so far behind that they ceased even
to be able to comprehend Aristotle. Even Philo, the profound and
learned Jewish philosopher, is doing little more than to attempt an
application of Platonic and other Greek ideas to the teaching of Moses.
Such originality as there was in the world of letters still proceeded
mainly from the provinces. Greece was still putting forth original
contributors to literature like the novelist Lucian, the biographer and
moralist Plutarch, Pausanias the guide-book writer, Dio Chrysostom and
Apollonius the preachers. Africa produced a novelist in the mysterious
quack-magician Apuleius. Spain sent forth a whole galaxy of talent in
the two Senecas, Martial, Lucan, and Quintilian. The younger Seneca,
Nero’s complacent tutor, is perhaps the most typical figure in the
literature of the principate. Trained as a rhetorician, like all the
men of his day, his literary work consists of rhetorical drama and
rhetorical philosophy, including some rhetorical science. No writer has
ever attained to such a position of wealth and honour by the exercise
of his pen. It cannot be said that Seneca’s position was gained
without defilement, or that it brought him happiness. He was largely
responsible by his weak compliance for the deterioration of character
in his imperial pupil. If so, it brought its own retribution, for Nero
drove him to suicide. Though Seneca’s tragedies are neglected to-day,
they formed the connecting-link between Euripides and the stage of the

It will be seen that the principal defect of thought and literature
under the Empire was its lack of originality. But, after all, that
had always been the deficiency of Roman writers. It was due very
largely to the overwhelming incubus of Greek civilisation, from whose
leading-strings the Romans, to the end of time, never escaped. That
in its turn arose chiefly through the nature of their education which
turned all their attention to _style_ as the end of literary endeavour.
Any one who would argue against a classical education could find no
better argument than the relations between the two “classical” peoples.


With art it is much the same story; for the decoration of their villas
and colonnades the Romans of the Empire continued to prefer their
statues imported from Greece. Pausanias shows us that Greece, even
in the second century A.D., was still teeming with works of art of
every kind. Impoverished and shrunken as the old Greek cities were at
this period, it shows some high-mindedness that they still retained
treasures which would have fetched millions in the Trans-Adriatic
markets. There was, however, a brisk trade in copies and imitations
of the masterpieces. For statues, then, the Greek work of the fifth
and fourth centuries almost destroyed any attempt at originality by
the Romans. Only in portraiture was there much progress, and here work
of great power and vigour was produced. It reaches the zenith perhaps
under the Flavian emperors, but their successors of the Antonine
period and later are often depicted on their busts with triumphant but
unsparing realism. The bust of Philip the Arabian in the Vatican is
one of the most striking. Sometimes it almost seems as if there was a
malicious spirit of caricature in these too faithful portraits. Can
Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher prince, have presented to the world a
visage so weak and so tonsorially perfect?[71] Can Caracalla have borne
his bloody mind so visibly written on his face?[72] In portraiture,
there is certainly progress and not decay.

Otherwise, to judge by the remains, sculptors were almost confined to
bas-relief. This was the medium chosen by emperor after emperor for
the narration of his exploits, and advances were unquestionably made
in the art of pictorial or narrative sculpture. That this is a high
art in itself may, I think, be contested. One cannot escape from a
sense of the practical futility of telling the history of the Dacian
Wars on a serpentine band of ornament which soared away out of sight.
It is rather characteristic of the plodding Roman, who so often lost
sight of the wood in his faithful contemplation of the trees. If we
look for the end to which this art of narrative relief was tending, we
shall find it on the basis of the column of Antoninus Pius preserved
in the Vatican garden.[73] These cavalrymen placidly gyrating round
the group of standard-bearers, each on his own little shelf, are so
extremely life-like as to recall nothing in the world so much as pieces
of gingerbreads. We begin to perceive that Madame Tussaud would have
been hailed as a great creative artist in Imperial Rome. Nevertheless,
without subscribing to all the superlatives of Mrs. Strong, we may
admit that Art was still alive and vigorous and still scoring fresh
technical triumphs in the Antonine period and even later.

Roman archæologists have recently worked out the history of Imperial
Art with some precision. The reign of Tiberius continued the classical
tendencies of Augustus. Under Claudius there was great constructional
activity, mainly of a utilitarian character. The Claudian aqueduct,
whose immense arches in brick still break the level horizon of the
Campagna, is one of the greatest works of this period.[74] Nero’s
was an age of Greek curio-hunting; much of Rome was rebuilt after
the great fire in his reign and the Golden House must have been a
stupendous sight. But on his death the Romans made haste to obliterate
all traces of his work. The Flavian epoch was the culminating-point
of Roman art. Vespasian destroyed Nero’s Golden House and restored
the Capitol. He and his sons built the baths of Titus, the Arch of
Titus[75] with the celebrated Jewish relief, and the mighty Flavian
Amphitheatre, the Colosseum.[76] This was built in the style already
noticed in the theatre of Marcellus, namely, with the three Greek
orders of architecture, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, adorning the
three stories of the façade; but here, as so often, the Greek façade
is a mere shell to hide the solid Roman masonry of which the building
is really constructed. It is noteworthy that the monuments of this
age refute the historians who allege among Domitian’s other sins
that he tried to destroy the works and the memory of Titus, his more
popular brother. In the technical language of Wickhoff, this Flavian
Age shows us “illusionism” at its height in art. Under Trajan, and in
his famous column, the art of continuous narration in low relief is
fully developed.[77] Hadrian, the cultured, travelling Philhellene,
encouraged a reversion to the classical traditions of Greek art. The
art of his period was profoundly influenced by the type of Antinous,
a beautiful youth beloved by the emperor, whose romantic death by
drowning in the Nile made a powerful impression upon the whole Roman
world, because he was believed to have sacrificed his life for his
emperor’s in obedience to an oracle. This type is preserved for us in
many forms, but most notably in the colossal Mondragore bust in the
Louvre[78] and the bas-relief in the Villa Albani.[79] His features
were utilised to represent all the young male gods on Olympus. In their
tragic beauty we see a mirror of Greece tinged by the Orient, as if
Dionysus had wedded Isis and this were the offspring. The Antonine
period, as exhibited on the panels in the Palazzo dei Conservatori,
is gifted with immense technical fluency and, as Mrs. Strong remarks,
a new spiritual seriousness. As compositions they are superb, but the
weakness of expression in the face of Marcus Aurelius himself quite
spoils their effect for some spectators.[80]

Architecture was still mainly designed in the three Greek modes
variously combined, in spite of the fact that Rome had progressed far
beyond Greek limits in constructional ability. Roman builders could
manage a roof-span far in excess of the Greeks. The Roman arch gave
a strength in concrete vaulting which expensive marble was unable to
attain. Roman brickwork denuded of the marble incrustations which
generally covered it of old is probably more impressive in its ruins
than it was when it was draped with Hellenism, and, to me at least,
remains like the aqueduct at Pont du Gard[81] and the Bridge of
Alcantara[82] seem truer witnesses of the grandeur of Rome than all the
marbles in all the museums. The celebrated Castle of St. Angelo, which
still keeps watch and ward over the Tiber, is nothing but the core of
Hadrian’s tomb--the _Moles Hadriani_--once clad in a vestment of Greek
marbles and covered with Greek ornament.[83] The Pantheon, in spite of
the inscription which ascribes it to Agrippa, is proved by the marks on
its bricks to be a restoration of Hadrian’s time. It is indeed a superb
example of vaulting and a miracle of construction. The plan is that of
a dome so constructed that if the sphere were complete it would rest
upon the earth. The magnificent interior has lost little of its ancient

For temple architecture, although the Romans had adopted the forms of
Greek art they had wholly deserted the spirit of austere self-restraint
upon which that art had rested. Thus they readily adopted the
luxuriance of the East when it came to hand. In the splendid ruins
of Heliopolis (Ba’albek) and Palmyra we see a riotous luxuriance of
ornament which would have shocked the religious sense of Ictinus, but
which fitly enshrined the ritual and mysteries of the Sungod. This
craze for the colossal would have made the reverential Greeks tremble
in fear of provoking the Nemesis of a jealous Heaven, but in its ruins
it has left us superb and awful reminders of the riches and grandeur of
its authors, and of the end of all riches and grandeur.

[Illustration: _Moles Hadriani_: restored]

In domestic building the Romans had almost as little regard as the
Greeks for the exterior elevation of their villas and palaces. The
Roman gentleman still made it his favourite hobby to collect villas,
and Pliny had almost as many as Cicero. But the main idea of the villa
was comfort, and the main idea of Roman comfort was coolness, quiet,
and beautiful scenery. Thus the wealthy man’s house consisted of a
series of marble courts and cloisters spread over the ground regardless
of space. Landscape and landscape-gardening were the most charming
features. The Roman appreciated the scenery of Como or Sirmione, Tivoli
or Naples quite as keenly as the tourist of to-day. He thought much of
fresh air and good water. Nearly all Roman gentlemen were agreed in
considering Rome itself, with its smells, its noise, and its perils
by fire, as a pestilent place of abode, and they gladly fled to their
country estates at Præneste or Baiæ. Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli[85]
included reproductions of many famous buildings which he had seen and
admired on his travels. The decoration of these villas encouraged
two minor arts which figure prominently among their remains. The
floors were commonly adorned with marble mosaic, of which we still
have some charming examples.[86] The interior walls were incrusted
either with marble, in the wealthier houses, or stuccoed and painted.
Hence, it results that the Art of Painting is represented to us almost
solely by mosaics, wall-frescoes,[87] and a few portraits on Egyptian
mummy-cases. Nothing remains of the great masters of antiquity,
Polygnotus, Zeuxis, and Apelles. But there may be faint echoes of
their work on the frescoes of Pompeii executed by unnamed decorators.
Even so there is great charm in much of this work. Professor Mau, the
great authority on Pompeii, has distinguished four successive phases of
painting in that city. At first the aim was to imitate the marble slabs
used to cover the walls of the rich man’s house. Then growing bolder
the painter imitates various forms of architectural treatment dividing
up his wall space into panels and portraying cornices, columns,
pilasters, and so forth. This is roughly the style of the first century
B.C., and it is found in the so-called house of Livia on the Palatine
Hill at Rome.[88] The third style, which Mau terms the “ornate,” was
prevalent until about A.D. 50. The architectural features now make no
pretence at illusion. The columns have become mere bands of colour, and
there is profuse ornament everywhere. The colours are somewhat cold.
The fourth or “intricate” style once more emphasises the architectural
character of the decoration, but the patterns are too intricate to
present any appearance of reality. The whole wall space shows a riot
of fantastic ornament often extremely graceful and effective. Flying
goddesses and cupids impart a sense of airy lightness, and floral forms
festoon themselves in charming curves. The pictures are smaller and
the spaces wider. No more pleasing treatment of the interior walls
of a house has ever been devised, at any rate for warm climates. The
destruction of Pompeii by the eruption of Vesuvius in a.d. 79 brings
the history of ancient painting to a premature close.[89] The subjects
of the pictures are almost exclusively mythological.

The minor arts of the jeweller, the gem-engraver, the goldsmith
reach a high state of technical perfection, but they do not improve
in spirit or artistic feeling with the progress of the ages. Much
of the furniture found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, especially the
bronze-work,[90] exhibits most graceful forms, always Greek in


The greatest intellectual achievement of the Roman people was in the
domain of law. The spiritual endowment of the typical Roman included
all the qualities of the lawyer--a sense of equity that was quite
devoid of sentimentalism, an instinct for order, discipline, and
business, a language of great clarity and precision, and above all,
a devotion to ceremonies and formulæ which sternly rejected abstract
casuistry. Their law took its rise in a series of religious formulæ
known only to priests and to the king as chief priest. The Twelve
Tables put some of the most ancient principles into words, and partly
from their use as a text-book of education, were regarded almost with
as much veneration as the Two Tables of Moses. They were, in fact,
sometimes considered as the sole fountain of jurisprudence, or at any
rate as the sole code of written law. The legislative enactments of the
State were on a far lower plane and no ancient people ever considered
its legislature capable of turning out a daily quota of legislation
as modern parliaments are supposed to do. In the main the fabric of
Roman jurisprudence consisted of “case law” made by the judges on
the tribunals. The Prætor Urbanus made the Civil Law of Rome, and
this became permanent by means of the system of Perpetual Edicts.
Religion continued to control the international law of the Roman
world, an affair of ceremonies in the hands of the priestly college of
heralds--the _jus fetiale_. But, meanwhile, the _prætor peregrinus_ who
had to decide cases between non-citizens was gradually accumulating a
body of law, wrongly termed international, in the _jus gentium_. It
was observed that there was a great deal in common between the various
codes of the Italian and other Mediterranean States, and this was put
together in the foreign prætor’s edict. The more philosophical jurists,
inspired with the Stoic doctrines about following nature, evolved the
theory that this common element of various nations was nothing but the
Natural Law, _jus naturæ_. It was a fruitful error, and it lies at the
base of much of the modern “international law” as expounded by Grotius
and other seventeenth-century jurists.

The Civil Law of Rome was in the main, then, a series of precedents
handed down by prætor to prætor from times beyond record. To it was
added a large body of “counsel’s opinions” which drew their validity
largely from the eminence of their authors. It was Hadrian who set
about the systematisation of these. He organised the _jurisprudentes_
into a regular profession. He appointed his “counsellors” from the
leading barristers of the day, and he gave to the whole body of
_responsa prudentium_, “the opinions of the learned,” the validity
of statutory law. The justice and precision of the civil law was the
most attractive feature of Roman civilisation to the barbarian world.
Gallic and British communities made haste to learn Latin in order that
they might gain the “Latin right” which admitted them to the privilege
of enjoying Roman law. In A.D. 212, Caracalla, who did little else
to deserve the gratitude of posterity, uttered a single edict called
the “Antonine Constitution” which admitted the whole empire to the
privileges of Roman citizenship. Now a single code ran throughout the
whole Western world. Hadrian had set his most distinguished lawyers,
under the leadership of Salvius Julianus, to codify the “perpetual
edict” of the prætors. It was under the Antonines that some citizen
from the East, who is only known to us by the common prænomen of Gaius,
wrote those learned “Institutes of Roman Law” which are still the
nursery of our lawyers. But it was the great Eastern emperor Justinian
(A.D. 527-565) who codified the whole body of civil law in a series
of immense documents. Roman law had already conquered its barbarian
conquerors, the Goths, and almost every European legal system except
our own is based upon that ancient law which arose from the Twelve
Tables and the prætor’s edict. The canon law of the Church was Roman
law in its essence.


Much attention has been paid in recent years to the religious
development of the Romans under the Empire, and to the momentous
conflict of religions which was going on from the age of Hadrian until
the final triumph of Christianity. Humanly speaking, it was “touch
and go” between several religions competing for the vacant place in
the faith of the Empire, and at the last the strife was practically
narrowed down to a duel between two oriental monotheistic systems,
Mithraism[91] and Christianity. The subject is too vast for anything
like adequate treatment here. But I would emphasise one point of view
which is often overlooked.

The Roman state is too often regarded merely as the enemy and
persecutor of the Christian religion. It is forgotten how large a share
Rome may claim in its establishment. Not only did the Romans discover
Christianity, but they organised it and sent it forth conquering and
to conquer in the wake of the legions. It is not a case of a wicked
and corrupt people suddenly converted in the midst of its sins. On the
contrary it is easy to show that the thinkers of the Roman Empire were
tending towards philosophic and religious ideas which made them ready
to accept with astonishing rapidity both the ethical teaching and the
theological revelations of the Son of God. It is unnecessary to remind
the modern reader how large a part the Greek philosophy of Stoicism
with its Roman modifications had played in shaping the thoughts of one
Roman citizen, Paul of Tarsus. Philo, the Alexandrian Platonist, had
developed a doctrine of the Divine _Logos_, which profoundly influenced
the philosophy of the fourth Evangelist, and through him the whole
course of Christian teaching.

The Romans may have added little to abstract philosophy or to
metaphysics, but they made the somewhat barren abstractions of Zeno the
Stoic into something more than a philosophy, into a faith which had a
power to influence conduct far beyond the power of the State system of
half-Greek Olympian Gods. If the power and the sincerity of a religion
may be tested rather by its martyrs than by its proselytes, Stoicism
had a worthy record. Men like Thrasea Pætus, Helvidius Priscus, and
Barea Soranus were facing the tyrant’s frown for the sake of their
Stoic sense of duty, just as truly as Peter and Polycarp.

The attitude of the Roman Government towards Christianity has been
too often explained to need more than a brief recapitulation. At
first Christianity was confounded with Judaism, which had already
begun to make converts at Rome without seeking for them. The Roman
government was extraordinarily tolerant towards creed, but it demanded
an external compliance with the Cæsar-worship, which it was imposing
on the provinces as a test of loyalty. But the Christians did not take
the divine command “render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s” to
include scattering incense on his altars. Too many of them had been
brought up in the punctilious exclusiveness of the Jewish tradition for
them to display on such points the laxity which is sometimes called
broad-mindedness. Even in the private intercourse of social life the
Christians were unpleasantly apt to insist upon their scruples. The
meat in the butchers’ shops had often been slain in sacrifice, and
the Christian conscience revolted at “meat offered to idols.” The
libation with which the wine-cup started on its rounds was another
offence to the tender monotheistic conscience. These things made the
Christians unpopular. Their close associations, their secret meetings
and love-feasts, the communism which they practised, all aroused the
suspicions which are begotten of mystery. Lastly, their conviction that
the Second Coming and the Day of Judgment were at hand made them ardent
proselytes. It made them utter prognostications of death and damnation
to all around them, and to see apocalyptic visions of the fall of the
kingdoms of this earth. Such prophecies were sometimes misunderstood
as involving treasonable designs. The first persecution under Nero was
largely the result of such suspicions.

But the official attitude of the permanent Roman Government is probably
revealed in the famous correspondence between Pliny and his emperor,
Trajan. Imperial Rome is not to set up an inquisition. No man is to be
punished for his faith, but if he is accused to the governor and is
obstinate in refusing to pay the obeisance demanded by the state he is
to be punished for his contumacy. That is precisely the attitude which
the most humane and enlightened Christian states have adopted towards
heresy. Later, when the Faith grew in importance, and when it even
reached the point of soldiers refusing the military oaths, occasional
emperors, often the better emperors, strove to fight against it. Then
there were sometimes inquisitions and wholesale martyrdoms as under
Decius and Diocletian. But no martyrdom, however public or agonising,
could quench the faith of those who saw the heavens opening and the
Angels of God descending with their crowns of glory. The publicity
of the scenes and the constancy of the victims increased, as usual,
the number of the converts. Foolish magistrates sought to encounter
obstinacy with further severity, and the Faith only grew the more
abundantly. It was not so much his personal conversion--for that was
tardy and half-hearted--as the motive of policy to secure an advantage
over Maxentius, which induced Constantine to promulgate the Edict of
Milan in 313, by which toleration was extended to the Christian faith
throughout the Roman Empire.

We must not be surprised that the best emperors, including the
philosopher and saint, Marcus Aurelius, were the most bitterly hostile
to Christianity. That is human nature. Stoic philosophers were teaching
very much in common with Christian philosophy, but that renders it all
the less likely that Stoic philosophers should be among the converts.
Nevertheless Christian doctrine, especially in the Græco-Jewish
communities of Asia Minor, was falling on prepared soil. The Stoic
paradoxes had undoubtedly prepared the way for the Christian paradoxes.
The doctrines of humility and asceticism were a commonplace of the
Cynics. “No Cross, no Crown,” “He who would save his life must lose
it”--such sayings as these would gain immediate assent from thoughtful
Romans. Epictetus, a heathen slave of Domitian’s day, wrote his answer
to the tyrant: “No man hath power over me. I have been set free by
God. I know His Commandments; henceforth no man can lead me captive.”
The Stoics were daily teaching that it is hard for a rich man to
enter into the Kingdom of God. This is the creed of Marcus Aurelius:
“To venerate the gods and bless them, and to do good to men, and to
practise tolerance and self-restraint.” The horrors of the amphitheatre
are one side of imperial society. But on the other side Musonius Rufus,
a Stoic who stood high in the favour of Vespasian and Titus, went among
the soldiers to preach against militarism. Slave-drivers as the Romans
were, they were beginning to feel a sense of the brotherhood of man.
Seneca was calling the slaves “humble friends.” “Man is a holy thing to
man,” he says; and such teaching was reflected even in the legislation
of the day. Juvenal pleads passionately for kindness to slaves and for
moral purity in the home. Seneca not only feels that men are brothers,
but that God is the Father of us all. We have seen how public charity
was finding expression in the _alimenta_ and the free schools. “Love
them that hate you” would not strike the Romans of the second century
as anything more than a strong expression of the truth they had already
begun to recognise. Thus the practical side of Christian ethics
found its harmonies in the conduct as well as the theory of the more
enlightened pagans. Peace and humanitarianism were in the air of the
Antonine Age.

As for religious dogma the whole tendency of thought was towards
monotheism. “God is a Spirit” would find an instant acquiescence among
educated Romans, even though they frequented the temples of a hundred
different gods. Philosophy among Greeks and Romans alike had always
been monotheistic. On the subject of immortality the philosophers were
divided. Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are on the whole not hopeful.
Probably the beliefs of the common folk--as testified in the epitaphs
of their cemeteries--were equally divided. The laconic epitaph: “I
was not, I was: I am not, I care not,” is common. But other epitaphs
equally common express the hope of reunions in the other world or even
of being “received among the number of the gods.” But on the whole the
commonest view of Death was as a happy release and an unending sleep.
It was the immediate hope of eternal bliss, which was the greatest
thing that Christianity had to offer to the pagan world.

Rome, then, was in many ways prepared for the reception of
Christianity, whose doctrines found an echo in the aspirations of the
day. She did much to give to Christian theology its Western form, and
of course the ritual and practice of the Roman Church was in many ways
merely a continuation of old pagan rites and ceremonies. Ancient
deities became Christian saints without change of rite or cult; images
were often adapted and even names scarcely altered. But, in fact, the
whole conception of that mighty Church which conquered the world,
including the barbarian invaders, was the offspring of the Roman
political system. It was her genius for statecraft which made Rome the
Eternal City. In one form or another she has governed the world for
twenty centuries.


    Musæ quid facimus? τὶ κεναῖσιν ἐν ἐλπίσιν αὔτως
    ludimus ἀϕραδίῃσιν ἐν ἤματι γηράσκοντες;
    Σαντονικοῖς camp οισν, ὄπῃ κρύος ἄσπετον ἐστίν,
    erramus gelido-τρομεροὶ rigidique poetæ.

I should have preferred to leave the Roman world at
the height of its grandeur, when the whole vast territory was enjoying
prosperity, if not peace, under the virtuous and benevolent Antonines.
In that way this book would best create the true impression of Rome,
not as a lamentable failure, but as the conspicuous success which it
assuredly was. But as the reader will probably follow the old Greek
maxim and desire to see the end before recording a judgment, a few
pages are added containing a very brief summary of the closing scenes.
It is necessary to notice that even the closing scenes cover a period
of two hundred years, and that this progress is not even yet entirely
downhill. They include good and bad reigns, periods of prosperity as
well as disaster.

Here again the impression of pessimism which we get from reading the
account of the Empire is due to the historians as much as to the
history. Lampridius and the other writers of the Augustan History
are small-minded writers who label the various princes as good or
bad largely according to their treatment of the senate. The Augustan
historians are trained in the school of Suetonius, they dwell upon
gossip and can form no large political judgments. Very little of the
gossip is authentic. If they have decided to revile an emperor they
repeat the scandals narrated by Suetonius about Tiberius or Nero. It is
only in their accounts of military action that they can be trusted, and
this fact creates a false preponderance of warfare in the annals of the

The succession to the imperial throne continued to be the weak point
of the whole system. The throne itself passed through unspeakable
degradations. The guards who murdered Pertinax formally put the
succession up to auction in the prætorian camp. Septimius Severus
(193-198) gave a brief respite of strong government which almost
destroyed the fiction of senatorial authority, for Severus held the
proconsular power even over Rome and Italy. Caracalla was probably
the worst of all the emperors in personal vice and brutality, but he
was the author of that famous decree which conferred the citizenship
on all the western provinces. In Elagabalus (218-222) Rome had for
master the vile and effeminate priest of the Sungod, who brought the
fetish-stone of Emesa into the city and attempted to make all the
gods bow down to it. Alexander Severus was a blameless prince, and
Maximin the Thracian drove the barbarians back behind the _limites_
of the Rhine and Danube. After the Gordians the senate enjoyed for a
brief space the opportunity of governing Rome through their nominee
Pupienus, but the disorders of the period may be gauged from the fact
that in the eighteen years following Alexander Severus, who died in
235, twelve persons wore the purple. Then Gallienus assumed it, having
for his colleague that Valerian who was the first of Roman emperors to
be taken prisoner by the enemy. Strange and horrible tales hung about
his mysterious fate when taken captive by Shapur, the Persian king. In
the latter years of Gallienus the Empire was practically divided, for
his rebellious general Postumus was recognised as emperor throughout
Gaul, Spain, and Britain. In this period, too, Palmyra rose into
independent power as the meeting-place of the caravan routes across
the Syrian plains. Under the famous Queen Zenobia it practically ruled
over the eastern parts of the Empire, and its splendid ruins prove its
wealth and magnificence. Gallienus then almost allowed the Empire
to disintegrate under his feeble grasp, but his successor Claudius
Gothicus (268) was a man and a soldier. He smote the Goths and would
have restored the Empire in full, but the plague, which had never
wholly disappeared since the time of Marcus Aurelius, carried him off
in the third year of his reign. The task was left for Aurelian, that
Pannonian peasant whose brilliant generalship hurled back the enemy
on every side, while his statesmanship restored the authority of the
emperor and even the financial credit of the Empire. The mighty wall
with which he surrounded Rome is, however, a sad testimony of the dark
days upon which the imperial city had fallen. The Palmyrene kingdom was
defeated and the rich city plundered. The rebel Empire of the Gauls was
destroyed for ever. The grandest triumph ever witnessed in Rome was
that of Aurelian in 274. It is thus described by Vopiscus:

    “There were three royal chariots. One was that of Odenathus,
    brilliant with jewellery in gold, silver, and gems; the second,
    similarly constructed, was the gift of the Persian king to
    Aurelian; the third was the design of Zenobia herself, who hoped
    to visit Rome in it. Wherein she was not deceived, for she entered
    the city in it after her defeat. There was another chariot yoked
    to four stags, which is said to have belonged to the king of the
    Goths. On this Aurelian rode to the Capitol, there to sacrifice
    the stags which he had vowed to Jupiter the Highest and Mightiest.
    Twenty elephants went before, tamed beasts of Libya and two hundred
    different beasts from Palestine, which Aurelian immediately
    presented to private individuals in order that the treasury might
    not be burdened with their maintenance. Four tigers, giraffes,
    elks, and other creatures were led in procession. Eight hundred
    pairs of gladiators, as well as captives from the barbarian tribes,
    Blemyes, Axiomitæ, Arabs, Eudæmones, Ludians, Bactrians, Hiberi,
    Saracens, Persians, all with their various treasures; Goths, Alani,
    Roxolani, Sarmatians, Franks, Suevi, Vandals, Germans advanced as
    captives with their hands bound. Among them also were the Palmyrene
    chiefs, who survived, and the Egyptian rebels. Ten women whom
    Aurelian had taken fighting in male attire among the Goths were in
    the procession, while many of these ‘Amazons’ had been slain. In
    front of each contingent a placard bearing the name of the tribe
    was carried. Among them was Tetricus (the ‘emperor’ of the Gallic
    Empire) in a scarlet cloak, a yellow tunic, and Gallic breeches.
    There walked Zenobia too, laden with jewels and chained with gold
    chains which others carried. In front of the conquered princes
    their crowns were borne along labelled with their names. And next
    the Roman People followed, the banners of the guilds and camps, the
    mailed soldiers, the royal spoils, the whole army and the senate
    (although it was saddened to see that some members of its body were
    among the captives) added much to the splendour of the show. It
    was not until the ninth hour that the Capitol was reached, and the
    palace much later.”

Aurelian endeavoured to establish Mithraism as the state religion,
and earned the gratitude of the vulgar by supplementing the free
supply of corn with a daily ration of pork. Oil and salt were given
gratuitously, and he even prepared to supply free wine. The three
emperors who succeeded Aurelian, Tacitus, Probus, and Carus, were men
of good character, and the first two were, once more, the nominees of
the senate.

Throughout this troubled age the causes of confusion were twofold. On
the one hand the Empire itself was so vast and scattered that it tended
now to fall to pieces of its own momentum, as the seedbox opens to
scatter its seeds. Britain, Gaul, Germany, Palmyra--each in its turn
began to feel a unity of its own. Rome was far away, and the government
was often weak and negligent. Here was an opportunity for the local
generals to carve out thrones for themselves. While the emperor hurried
this way and that fresh rebellions broke out in his rear. It was no
one’s fault in particular. The world-state was impossible in theory as
in practice. It was only possible while the provinces were barbarian.
When they became civilised and self-conscious they were bound to feel
their natural unity.

In the second place, the barbarians were now grown to full stature.
They were no longer quarrelsome tribes which could be turned against
one another by adroit statecraft, but nations much less barbarous
than of old, with some organisation and a purpose above that of mere
plunder. No artificial ramparts could hold them. It is very doubtful
whether even the legions of Rome at their best could have resisted
these repeated assaults on all sides. The first great inroad across
the Danube took place in the reign of M. Aurelius. It was crushed, as
the column of that emperor depicts, and Sarmatia and Marcomannia were
added as short-lived provinces. It is in the third century that we
begin to hear of the greater barbarian nations, or groups of tribes, of
the Alemanni and the Suevi, the Franks, the Saxons, the Goths, and the
Vandals. Battle after battle was fought and triumph after triumph won
against them, but they still pressed on. The weaker emperors essayed
to buy them with gold, the wiser with land, the craftier set them to
slay one another, but still they moved forward resistlessly, wave after
wave, like the sea. This again was nobody’s fault. It may have been the
movement of Tartar savages in the Far East which set the Wandering of
the Nations in motion. Whatever it was, all eastern and northern Europe
was seething with restless movement and the tide rolled on irresistibly
against the bulwarks of civilisation. Triumphs as great and glorious
as those of Scipio and Marius were gained by Roman armies even in the
fourth century. But the enemy was ubiquitous, the task impossible.

It is, however, true that those bulwarks were weaker than they should
have been, partly by reason of the internal disorganisation caused by
perpetual struggles for the succession, and partly through certain
visible errors in Roman statesmanship. For one thing, the spirit of
peace and humanity which was ripening in the securer central parts of
the Empire had probably impaired its instincts of defence. The modern
world is trying just now to believe that you can retain the power of
defence when you have given up all thoughts of aggression. It may be
so. The Roman world failed in the attempt. Rome’s statesmen were now
no longer soldiers, but lawyers and financiers. Even the prefects of
the prætorian guard were lawyers. The army was a profession apart.
Moreover, even the army had become so civilised that it had lost
many of its martial qualities. Hadrian more than any other ruler is
responsible for allowing the _cannabæ_ or “booths” which had sprung up
around the camps to grow into towns and even cities. The legions were
now permanently established in their quarters, the soldiers married
wives and occupied their leisure in business or husbandry. Hadrian it
was, too, who in his large cosmopolitan spirit had introduced many and
doubtless useful barbarian methods of fighting, so that the old Roman
military traditions had fallen into desuetude. A legion was now no
better than its auxiliaries. The auxiliaries were often barbarians and
soon the legions themselves became completely barbarised. It was only a
step further when barbarians were recruited in tribes to fight Rome’s
battles under their own commanders.

Secondly, the whole Roman world was being slowly strangled with
good intentions. The bureaucracy had grown so highly organised and
efficient, so nicely ordered through its various grades of official
life, that everybody walked in leading-strings to the music of
official proclamations. Paternalism regulated everything with its
watchful and benignant eye. The triumph of the system may be seen in
the famous Edict of Prices issued by Diocletian in A.D. 301. Here we
find scheduled a maximum price for every possible commodity of trade
and a maximum wage for every kind of service. Death is the penalty
for any trader who asks, or any purchaser who pays a higher price. No
difference of locality or season is permitted. Trade is forbidden to
fluctuate under penalty of death. This delightful scheme, which was
engraved on stone in every market in Europe, was evidently the product
of a highly efficient Board of Trade, which had sat late of nights over
the study of statistics and political economy. Benevolent officials
of this type swarmed all over the empire, spying and reporting on one
another as well as on the general public.

The same system of blear-eyed officialism had found a still more
ingenious method of throttling the society which it was endeavouring
to nurse back into infancy. It was under Severus Alexander (about
A.D. 230) that the various _collegia_ or guilds were incorporated by
charter, so that every industry whatever became a close corporation.
This rendered the task of administration much simpler. It meant that
every human occupation became hereditary. There was, for example, a
guild of the _coloni_ or tillers of the soil. The most benevolent
of the emperors, Marcus Aurelius and the two Severi, had planted
barbarians on Roman soil under condition of military service in lieu
of rent. This service became hereditary also. Before long each piece
of ground had to supply a recruit. The _decuriones_, moreover, or
municipal senators, who had once been the honoured magistrates of their
townships, also became a caste. As they were made responsible for the
collection of property tax in their boroughs, and as wealth began to
decline and taxation to increase, they were reduced to a condition of
penury and misery. The exemption from taxation of whole classes of
society, such as the soldiers and eventually the Christian clergy,
added to their burdens. Then, since many of them attempted to evade
the distresses entailed upon their rank by joining the army or even
selling themselves into slavery, a decree was issued which made their
office hereditary. It became a form of punishment to enrol an offender
among these _curiales_. A decree of Constantine bound all the tillers
of the soil in hereditary bondage for ever. In these ways Roman society
fell into stagnation. Since the progress of the Manchurian Empire in
China proceeded on very similar lines, it looks as if the benevolent
despotism engendered by highly centralised government of very large
areas was one of the methods by which Providence is accustomed to bring
great empires low.

At the close of the third century Diocletian endeavoured to save
the state by a bold revolution. He swept away the hollow pretence
of republicanism and frankly surrounded the throne with every
circumstance of majesty and ceremony. The free access which had
generally been granted by the most despotic princes was replaced by
an elaborate system of intermediaries. To meet the obvious needs
of devolution in government, as well as to stop the incessant
struggles for the succession, he invented an ingenious division of
responsibility. Henceforth there were to be two Augusti, one taking
the East and one the West. The Empire was not actually divided, for
the joint writ of the two colleagues was to run all over it. Moreover
each Augustus was to have a junior colleague, a “Cæsar,” acting as his
lieutenant and prepared to step into his place. Ties of marriage were
to unite all four into one close family alliance. There were now one
hundred and sixteen provinces and Diocletian grouped them into thirteen
“dioceses” each under a “vicar,” directly responsible to one of four
“prætorian prefects,” who shared the administration of the whole. The
troops were no longer subject to the provincial governors, but each
army had a “Duke” (_dux_) of its own. Each frontier--and these were
still further fortified--was under its own “Duke.” At the same time
steps were taken to organise a central striking force--the _comitatus_
of the emperors. The four Prefectures and thirteen Dioceses were as

        / Egypt   ILLYRICUM / Macedonia         / Italia
        | Oriens            \ Dacia             | Illyricum
ORIENS  | Pontus            / Gallia     ITALIA | (after
        | Asia    GALLIARUM | Hispania          | Theodosius)
        \ Thracia           \ Britannia         \ Africa

Italy, it will be observed, has now definitely declined into the status
of a province among many, and Rome itself was not sufficiently near
the frontier armies to be a convenient capital. Diocletian preferred
to make his residence at Nicomedia. The senate, as a necessary
consequence, receded into the background, and remained little more than
a title of dignity. The emperor’s Consistory, a privy council composed
of the heads of departments, took its place for practical purposes. The
new hierarchy of officials rejoiced in barbaric titles which would
have shocked the ears of a genuine Roman.

Naturally these advances in the direction of more and stronger
government proved no alleviation of the woes which sprang from too
much supervision. The most visible sign of decay was the decline of
population which began to lay the central parts of the Empire desolate,
and this sprang not only from economic burdens, but from racial
decline. Money became so debased and worthless that the world actually
went back to the system of barter.

Constantine signalised Diocletian’s plan of dividing the responsibility
of government by founding a new capital at Byzantium. His motives were
probably mixed. In the first place he would be free of the awkward
republican traditions which still kept reasserting themselves, and in
the second place Constantinople was a more central and a much more
defensible situation. But, more than all, in this new Rome he could
break away from the old religion. Constantine’s plan for restoring the
tired and afflicted world was the adoption of Christianity. The Decree
of Milan (313) made Christianity the official religion, though not
the only religion, of the Empire. It was already the religion of the
court--ever since Constantine had seen his famous vision of the Angel
descending from Heaven with the sign of the Cross and uttering the
words ἐν τούτω νίκα--“Hoc signo vinces.” Still half-pagan, the emperor
had made the Cross his mascot, and in the strength of it had defeated
his rival at the Milvian Bridge just outside Rome.[92] Constantine
himself was by no means a saint; in murdering kinsmen he was, in fact,
among the worst of the emperors, but unwittingly he saved the world by
his conversion. Meanwhile the extravagance with which he adorned his
new city afflicted the whole Empire with the burdens of fresh taxations.

The scheme of a divided Empire failed. After Theodosius (395) the
division became permanent. The Eastern throne remained secure for
another thousand years, protected by the admirable strategic position
of Constantinople. The contempt with which it has hitherto been treated
by historians is now beginning to break down, and it is seen that the
Byzantine Empire not only stood as the bulwark for the West against the
East but preserved for us the inestimable treasures of Greek intellect.
The Roman tradition, now inextricably mingled with the Greek, lingered
on there unchanged, even to the very chariot-races which still threw
society into a ferment. To this day the inhabitants of Greece and
Roumania distinguish themselves from their oriental neighbours by the
proud title of “Romans.”

But in the West a series of phantoms succeeded one another upon the
throne. The floodgates of the Rhine and Danube frontiers broke down
completely and the new nations streamed into their heritage. Then
it was found how truly Constantine’s policy had saved the world.
Though the Goths took and plundered Rome (410), they came in not as
pagan destroyers, but as Christian immigrants, and it was Gothic
generals and Gothic armies who saved Europe from destruction. About
447 the Mongolian Huns under their terrible Attila came riding into
western Europe from the steppes of Russia. They crossed the Rhine
half a million strong, destroying and burning as they came. The Roman
emperor’s sister Honoria proposed marriage to Attila, and the proud
barbarian offered her a place in his harem if she would bring half
the Western Empire as her dowry. The Roman general Aetius with a
half-barbarian army in alliance with the Visigoths checked them at “The
Battle of Chalons” and the peril drifted away. Aetius who had saved
Rome was stabbed by his ungrateful emperor.

The Vandals had already overrun Spain and streamed across to Africa,
whence they issued forth to make a second sack of Rome. Britain had
been deserted rather by the choice of its army than by command of any
emperor, and left a prey to the pagans of the north in 406. Italy
itself was wholly in the hands of the barbarians, who lived on terms of
apparent equality with the Romans. Puppets wore the imperial purple
and did the behests of barbarian “Patricians,” Ricimer the Suevian,
Gundobald his nephew, and finally Odoacer, a tribeless barbarian from
the north. By this time the Western Empire was dismembered for ever,
and western Europe was merely a series of barbarian principalities.
In 476 Odoacer removed the last puppet-emperor of Rome, who bore the
significant name of Romulus Augustulus. The seat of the Western Empire
had long been removed from the twice-sacked city of Rome, and the later
princes had ruled from Ravenna, where the little mausoleum of the
Empress Placidia, sister of Honorius, still stands as a type of the
shrunken glories of the last successors of Augustus.[93]

In theory the Western Empire did not come to an end in 476. The Eastern
emperors now claimed authority over the whole Roman world and exercised
it so far as they could obtain obedience. Strong Cæsars like Justinian
made their rule respected far and wide. Geographically and politically,
the West had now begun its mediæval existence as a congeries of small
kingdoms generally of uncertain extent.

But in a far truer sense Rome continued to rule the world as before.
Her two great legacies, the Roman Law and the Roman Church, ruled it as
completely as ever the legions had done. Even in politics, the grand
conception of the Christian Republic, Church and State in one, with
the Pope as the successor of St. Peter bearing the keys of Heaven and
Hell, while the emperor as the successor of Augustus wielded its sword,
continued for another thousand years to dominate Europe. It was under
the ægis of this great idea that the young nations grew up and came
into their own.

Thus the true history of Rome from this point is the history of the
Church, and this is no place to relate it. But it may be contended here
that the visible Church was as truly a creation of the Roman spirit
as was the Empire itself. Rome had seized upon the teaching of One
who lived in poverty and obscurity among slaves and outcasts, who
preached against worldliness, formality, and ambition, who sent out
His disciples to beg their way, and out of this, with her wonderful
genius for government, she had created a powerful monarchy which could
humble kings, and an organised ecclesiastical state which spread like a
network over the earth and tamed the fury of the barbarians.

In the same way the culture of these latter days is to be found in
Church History. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and Tertullian are
its representative writers and thinkers more truly than Ausonius or
Claudian. Except for the Arch of Constantine,[94] which was mainly
compiled out of earlier remains, its Art is to be found in the sacred
mosaics of Constantinople or Torcello, or in the Byzantine ivories such
as the famous Barberini panel, showing Constantine as the establisher
of the Christian Faith.[95] Architecture continues to show remarkable
developments, and in the wonderful palace which Diocletian constructed
for his retirement at Spalato on the Dalmatian coast there are new
combinations of the Roman arch with the Greek columns which are full
of promise for the birth of Gothic art.[96] The earliest Christian
churches designed on the plan of a Greek cross, with a dome covering
the intersection of nave and transepts, is derived from Asia Minor
and bears traces of the oriental influence which is so powerful in
Byzantine Art.




753   Legendary date of the foundation of

510   Legendary date of the expulsion of
        Tarquin, and establishment of the

508   Legendary date of the Etruscan
        invasion under Lars Porsena

494   Legendary date of the First Secession
        of the Plebeians

480                                           Possibly authentic date of first
                                                treaty between Rome and
                                                the Latins, drawn up by Sp.

474                                           Defeat of the Etruscans by
450   Legendary date of the Twelve Tables

387   Conquest of Rome by the Gauls

367   Licinian Laws. (1) forbid large
        holdings of public land; (2) compel
        landlords to employ a certain
        proportion of free labour

351                                     Conquest of S. Etruria by Rome
                                          Cære becomes the first
                                          _civitas sine suffragio_

348                                     First treaty of commerce between
                                          Rome and Carthage

343                                     Samnite Wars, involving subjugation
 to                                       of the Latins, and
266                                       eventually of all Central Italy

321                                     Great defeat of the Romans at
                                          the Caudine Pass

312   Censorship of Appius Claudius
        including (1) publication of the
        laws; (2) construction of Via

281                                         War with Tarentum and Pyrrhus
 to                                           involving conquest of
275                                           South Italy

268   First coinage of silver

264                                      First Punic War, involving conquest
to                                         of Sicily, Sardinia, and
241                                        Corsica--first transmarine
264   First gladiatorial games at Rome
240   Livius Andronicus. Beginning of
        Roman literature
222                                      Defeat of the Cisalpine Gauls

220    Via Flaminia to Ariminum

218                                      Second Punic War

218   Lex Claudia forbids Senators to
        engage in commerce

216                                      Romans severely defeated at

205   Introduction of Phrygian worship of
        Magna Mater

202                                      Victory of Scipio at Zama

201                                      Peace with Carthage involving
                                           cession of Spain

200                                      Second Macedonian War

196                                      Flaminius proclaims the liberty
                                           of Greece

190                                      Defeat of Antiochus the Great
                                           of Syria at Magnesia

186   7000 Romans condemned for the
        Bacchic orgies

184   Censorship of Cato the Elder. Death
        of Plautus. Basilica of Cato

171                                      Third Macedonian War. Egypt
to                                         accepts Roman suzerainty

165   1000 Greeks, including Polybius the
        historian, brought to Italy as

161   Greek orators and philosophers
        expelled (vainly)

160   _Adelphi_ of Terence performed

148                                      Macedonia becomes a province

146                                      On destruction of Carthage,
                                           Africa becomes a province
      Great influx of Greek Art          Corinth destroyed

133    Tribunate and agrarian programme of       Kingdom of Attalus bequeathed
       Tiberius Gracchus                         to Rome, becomes province
                                                 of Asia

123     Tribunate and agrarian programme of
         Gaius Gracchus. Establishment of
         the _Equites_ as a political power

121                                            Province of Gallia Narbonensis,
                                               formed by conquest of S Gaul

112                                           War with Jugurtha: triumph of
to                                               Marius

113   Army reforms and political power of     War with Cimbri and Teutons
to         Marius

91                                            War against the Italian allies
                                               (Social War)

88   Conquest of Rome by Sulla, and           War with Mithradates of Pontus.
      restoration of the Senate                 Massacre of Romans

87    Revolution of Cinna and Marius
          with great massacre of nobles

82    Return of Sulla and proscription of    Defeat of the Samnites at the
         the democrats                         Colline Gate of Rome

81    Sulla dictator. Cornelian Laws improve  Cisalpine Gaul becomes a
       the judicial system. Cicero’s           province.  Rome refuses
       first speech                             Egypt

78    Date of extant buildings at Rome (1)
       the Tabularium, (2) the Temple
       of Fortuna Virilis

75                                          Bithynia and Cyrene made provinces
                                            (both bequeathed to

73    Insurrection of slaves under Spartacus

67                                          Pompeius defeats the pirates

63   Consulship of Cicero, who crushes      Pompeius ends the Mithradatic
      the conspiracy of Catiline             War. New provinces organised
                                             Cilicia, Bithynia with
                                             Pontus, Syria, and Crete

60    Union of Pompeius, Cæsar, and
       Crassus, “the First Triumvirate”

59    Consulship of Cæsar, and grant of
          the province of Gaul

58    Banishment of Cicero. Theatre of     Cæsar defeats the Helvetians
        Curio built

57    Recall of Cicero                     Cæsar defeats the Nervu

56  Renewal of the “Triumverate” at         Cæsar defeats the Veneti by
        Lucca                                   sea

55    Dedication of theatre of Pompeius      Cæsar invades Britain

54                                             Second invasion of Britain

53                                         Defeat of Crassus by the Parthians.
                                             Cæsar subdues the
                                             Treveri, and crosses the

52    Senate-house burnt in a riot. Pompeius  Great revolt of Gaul under
        passes laws against Cæsar              Vercingetorix crushed at Alesia

51                                           Final subjugation of Gaul
                                               Cicero governor of Cilicia

49    Cæsar begins the Civil War

48    Battle of Pharsalus, defeat of Pompeius  Cæsar regulates Egypt, leaving
                                                  Cleopatra as queen

46    Final defeat of Pompeians at Thapsus
        in Africa. Cæsar dictator. Dedication
        of new Forum Julium, and
        temple of Venus Genetrix

45    Cæsar enlarges the Senate and regulates
        the municipal constitutions
        of the Italian towns

44    Assassination of Cæsar. M. Antonius
        in command of Rome. Cicero’s

43    Octavian, Cæsar’s heir, with the consuls
        defeats Antony at Mutina, and
        is elected consul. Second Triumvirate
        formed, Antony, Octavian,
        and Lepidus. Proscription of
        the tyrannicide party, including

42    Battles of Philippi. Defeat of Brutus
        and Cassius. Temple of Saturn

41    War at Perusia, in which Octavian         M. Antonius with Cleopatra in
        crushes the revolt of L. Antonius          Egypt

37    Library of Pollio founded. Octavian
        marries Livia

36    Sextus Pompeius defeated. Lepidus          Antony defeated in Parthia
        deprived of his army

31                                              Defeat of Antony and Cleopatra
                                                   at Actium by Octavian

30    Publication of Horace’s _Epodes_       Conquest of Egypt

29    Triumph of Cæsar Octavianus

28    Census and restoration of Senate.       Mœsia made a province
      Dedication of temple and library
        of Palatine Apollo, eighty-two
        temples restored

27   “Restoration of the Republic” really   Provinces divided between
       the beginning of the Empire.            Cæsar and Senate.   Cæsar
       Octavian receives the title of         takes Spain, Gaul, Syria, and
    _Augustus_. Pantheon of M. Agrippa      keeps Egypt

23   Augustus resigns the consulship.        Failure of expedition to Arabia
       Death of Marcellus. Vergil’s
    _Æneid_, Horace’s _Odes,_ i, ii, iii

20                                          Augustus in Asia. Submission
                                              of Parthians

19   Death of Vergil                        Conquest of North Spain

17   Julian “Laws of Morality”. Secular
       games. Horace as laureate. Augustus
       adopts Gaius and Lucius his

16                                          German invasion of Gaul. Defeat
                                              of Lothus

13   Theatre of Marcellus built             Drusus in Gaul for conquest of

12   Dedication of Ara Pacis Augustæ

9    End of Livy’s _History_           Death of Drusus after four
                                              campaigns in Germany

8    Death of Horace and Mæcenas            Tiberius in Germany

4                                           Death of Herod. Probable date
                                              of birth of Christ

2    Banishment of Julia


2    Death of Lucius and mortal wounding
          of Gaius. Tiberius adopted

4    Building of “Maison Carrée” at       Tiberius’s annual campaigns in
       Nismes                                Germany

6    Establishment of military chest at    Judæa becomes a province
       Rome. Temple of Castor rebuilt       (census of Quirinius)
                                             Great revolt in Pannonia

8 Banishment of Ovid                       Subjection of Pannonia

9                                          Defeat of Varus by Arminius in

14 Death of Augustus. Succession of           Revolt of Rhine and Danube
   _Tiberius_. Political extinction of   armies quelled by Germanicus
   the _comitia_. Extension of law     and Drusus
   of treason and growth of informing

16                                          Germanicus defeats the Germans
                                              under Arminum’i at Idistavisus

27  Tiberius retires to Capri. Sejanus
      in command of Rome

37    _Gaius Cæsar_ (Caligula), murdered by   Futile expedition towards Britain
      Prætorian guard

41    _Claudius_                              New provinces incorporated
                                            Mauretania, Lycia, Thracia
                                            (46), and Judæa. Conquest
                                            of Britain begun (43)

54    _Nero_

55    Poisoning of Britannicus

61                                          Revolt of Boadicea in Britain

64    Fire at Rome, and first persecution
      of the Christians

68                                          Revolt of Vindex in Gaul and
                                            Galba in Spain

68    Year of the Four Emperors
to    _Galba_, June-Jan. 69
69    _Otho_, Jan-April
      _Vitellius_, April-Dec.

69    _Vespasian_, “The Flavian Dynasty”      Revolt of Batavians under

70    Erection of Colosseum, Arch of        Siege and destruction of Jerusalem
      Titus, and Baths of Titus

79    Titus Eruption of Vesuvius Herculaneum
      buried in mud and Pompeii
      in ashes. Death of Elder Pliny

81    _Domitian_                              Progress of Agricola in Scotland.
                                            Construction of Rhætian _limes_

86                                          Wars against Dacians

96    Murder of Domitian

96    _Nerva_, repealed law of treason and
      reduced taxes

98    _Trajan_, built Forum Trajani, Basilica (101-102) First Dacian War.
      Ulpia, and Column of Trajan           (105-107) Second Dacian
                                            War. Dacia becomes province
                                            (114-116) Invasion
                                            of Parthia, capture of
                                            Ctesiphon. New provinces:
                                            Armenia, Mesopotamia,
                                            Assyria, and Arabia

118   _Hadrian_, built _Moles Hadriani_,         Abandoned Armenia, Mesopotamia
      Temple of Venus and Rome,             and Assyria. Grand
      Pantheon, Villa at Tivoli, and        tour of the empire.
      Temple of Olympian Zeus at            Hadrian’s wall in Britain.
      Athens                                Revolt and destruction of
                                            the Jewish nation

138   _Antoninus Pius_, “The Antonine
      Dynasty.” Built Temple of
      Antoninus and Faustina

161 _Marcus Aurelius._ Plague in Italy.    War against Parthia. War with
    Statue and column of M. Aurelius            Marcomanni and Quadi.
                                                Emperor died at Vienna

180 _Commodus_

193 _Pertinax_ murdered by soldiers _Didius
    Julianus_ bought the throne

193 _Septimius Severus_ proclaimed by the  Expedition to Britain. Emperor
    Illyrian legions. Great jurist            died at York. Strengthening
    Papinian flourishes                       of walls

211 _Caracalla_                            All inhabitants of provinces
                                                  (except Egypt) become

217 Baths of Caracalla finished

218 _Elagabalus._ Attempt to introduce

222 _Severus Alexander._ The jurist          New Persian Empire of the
    Ulpian and the historian Dio                      Sassanidæ begun
    Cassius flourished

235 _Maximinus Thrax_

237 _Gordianus I. and II. and III._

244 _Philippus, the Arabian_

249 _Decius_ Persecution of Christians         Defeat of the Goths in Thrace
                                                    Decius fell in the fighting

251 _Gallus_

253 _Æmilianus_

253 _Valerianus_                               Wars against German invaders,
                                                 Franks, Alemanni, and Goths.
                                                 Expedition to Persia. Emperor

260 _Gallienus._ Time of great confusion       Tetricus sets up a rival empire
    owing to pretenders. “The                    in Gaul and Spain. Odenathus
    thirty tyrants”                              sets up an independent
                                                 kingdom at Palmyra in

268 _Claudius Gothicus_                         Defeats German invaders

270 _Aurelian_ (“Restitutor Orbis”). Wall       Sacrifices Dacia across the
    round Rome                                    Danube to the Goths. Repulses
                                                  Alemanni and Marcomanni
                                                  from Italian soil. Defeats
                                                  Zenobia and destroys
                                                  Palmyra. Defeats Tetricus

273                                              Temple of the Sun constructed
                                                 at Heliopolis (Ba’albek)

275 _Tacitus_ (choice of the Senate)

276 _Probus_                                    Drives back the Barbarians and
                                                      restores the defences

282 _Carus_, then _Numerianus_, then _Carinus_

284  _Diocletian_ resided chiefly at Nicomedia   Persians defeated, Egyptian
to    in Asia Minor, leaving the                    and British revolts crushed
305   west to Maximian, Constantius
      and Galerius appointed Cæsars.
      Persecution of Christians

307   Six “Augusti” claiming the purple,
      Constantine of Britain among them

323   _Constantine the Great_ (sole emperor).
to    Christianity recognised by the
337   State

325   Arian conflict, Council of Nicæa

330   Building of Constantinople

361   _Julian the Apostate_ endeavours to
to    revive Paganism

375                                             Beginning of the great German

379   _Theodosius_ After Theodosius the         Visigoths received in Mœsia
to    division of the Empire becomes              if Christians Massacre of
395   permanent                                   Thessalonica (St. Ambrose of

395   Arcadius rules the East. Honorius
      rules the West


400   Alaric invades Italy

402   Imperial residence transferred from
      Rome to Ravenna

410   Capture and sack of Rome by Alaric

415   Visigoths found a kingdom at

429   Vandals found a kingdom in Africa

449   Anglo-Saxons begin to settle in

451   Attila and the Huns defeated by
      Aetius and the Goths near Châlons

452   Foundation of Venice

476   Odoacer, barbarian general, deposes
      the last Western emperor, Romulus


527                                             Justinian, emperor. Victories
                                                of Belisarius. Codification of


    [The following list of books will serve two purposes, as a guide
    to the reader who wishes to inquire further on any special point,
    and as an acknowledgment of some of the obligations of the writer.
    Only works available in English are here included, and the list is
    selected rather than exhaustive.]

_General Histories of Rome_

PELHAM.    Outlines of Roman History. Rivingtons.

WARDE FOWLER.    Rome.    (Home University Library.)
Williams and Norgate.

_General Histories of the Republic_

MOMMSEN.    A History of Rome.    5 vols.    Bentley.

HEITLAND.    The Roman Republic,    3 vols.   Cambridge
University Press.

MYRES.    A History of Rome.    Rivingtons.

HOW AND LEIGH.    A History of Rome to the Death of
Cæsar.    Longmans.

_General Histories of the Empire_

GIBBON.    Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.    Ed.
Bury.    Methuen.   7 vols.

BURY.    The Student’s Roman Empire (to the Death of
Marcus Aurelius).    Murray.

STUART JONES.    Roman Empire.    Story of the Nations.
Fisher Unwin.

_Special Periods and Biographies_

STRACIIAN-DAVIDSON.    Cicero.    Heroes of the Nations.

WARDE FOWLER. Cæsar. Heroes of the Nations.

BOISSIER. Cicero and his Friends. Innes.

OMAN. Seven Roman Statesmen. Arnold.

MOMMSEN. The Provinces of the Roman Empire.
2 vols. Macmillan.

DILL. Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius.

---- Roman Society in the last Century of the
Western Empire. Macmillan.

RICE HOLMES. Cæsar’s Conquest of Gaul. Macmillan,
and Clarendon Press.

PAIS. Ancient Legends of Roman History. Sonnenschein.

FERRERO. Greatness and Decline of Rome. 5 vols.

TARVER. Tiberius the Tyrant. Constable.

HAVERFIELD. The Romanisation of Roman Britain.
Clarendon Press.


GREENIDGE. Roman Public Life. Macmillan.

ARNOLD. Roman Provincial Administration. Macmillan.

_Morals and Religion_

FRIEDLANDER. Roman Life and Manners. Routledge.

WARDE FOWLER. The Religious Experiences of the
Roman People. Macmillan.

---- The Roman Festivals. Macmillan.

GLOVER. Conflict of Religions under the Roman Empire.

RAMSAY. The Church in the Roman Empire before
A.D. 170. Putnams.

LECKY. History of European Morals. Longmans.


CUNNINGHAM. Western Civilisation in its Economic
Aspects. Vol. I. Cambridge University Press.


SELLAR. Roman Poets of the Augustan Age. Clarendon

CRUTTWELL.    History of Roman Literature. Griffin.

MACKAIL.    Latin Literature.    Murray.

RUSHFORTH. Latin Historical Inscriptions. Clarendon

_Art and Archœology_

MRS. STRONG.    Roman Sculpture.    Duckworth.

WALTERS.    The Art of the Romans.    Methuen.

WICKHOFF.    Roman Art.    Macmillan.

MAU.    Pompeii, its Life and Art.    Macmillan.

HILL.    Handbook of Greek and Roman Coins.    Macmillan.


BURN.    Rome and the Campagna.

MIDDLETON.    Remains of Ancient Rome.   2 vols.   1872.



LANCIANI. Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent
Discoveries.    Macmillan.


BUCKLAND.    Roman Law of Slavery.   1908.   Cambridge
University Press.

ROBY. Roman Private Law. 1902. Cambridge University


Abitene, 194

Accomplishments, early Roman, 34

“Accountants,” 276

Achæan League, 55, 202

Achaia, 193, 202

Actium, Battle of, 129, 166, 184, 188, 202, 240

Actors, 137

Acts of the Apostles, 200

Aden, 204

Adherbal, 91

Adiabene, 267

Adige, 220

Admirals, 187

Adriatic fleet, 186, 187

Adultery, law against, 226

Advertisements, 285

Ædiles, 30, 32, 134

Ædui, 262

Æsopus (actor), 132

Aetius, 314

Ætolian cavalry, 55

Afranius, 123

Africa, province of, 59, 193, 208, 283;
  diocese, 312

Agathocles, 45, 61

Agedincum, 212

Agri Decumates, 264

Agricola, Julius, 260, 261

Agriculture, early Roman, 36, 70

Agrippa, General under Augustus, 165;
  intended successor to Augustus, 174, 175,
  disciplinarian, 183,
  overlord in Asia, 195,
  Herod and, 205;
    and the worship of Jehovah, 207;
    and the conquest of Spain, 221;
  married to Julia, 227, 228,
    temple erected by, 251

Agrippa, Marcus Vipsanius, 129

Agrippa Postumus, 229

Agrippina, 224

Agrippina, (mother of Nero), 256, 272

Alani, 307

Alba Longa, 25

Albinus, Spurius, 92

Alcamenes, 156

Alcantara, Bridge of, 294

Alemanni, 309

Alesia, 116

Alexander the Great, 1, 6

Alexandria, Cæsar at, 122,
    and convention in literature, 151;
  rivalry with Rome, 202, 282,
    Jews in, 268

“Alimenta,” 276

Aliso, 216

“Allies and friends,” 28, 60

Alme, 216

Alpes Cottiæ, 194

Alpes Maritimæ, 194

Alpine tribes, 220

Alps, the, Hannibal’s march, 50,
  roads over, 220

Amazons, 258, 307

Amphitheatre, the Grand, 282

Amphitheatre displays, 74;
  butchery, 137

Amphitheatres, 243, 279;
  in Britain, 261

Ampsaga, river, 208

Amusements, 136, 279

“Analecta,” 137

Anchises, 224

Ancus Martius, 19

Ancyra, 199

Ancyran monument, 188

Andernach, 264

Andronikos, 74

Anglesey, 259, 260

Anna Perenna, 36, 39

Antinous, 293

Antioch, 247, 267, 268, 282

Antiochus of Syria, 54, 55

Antium, 134

Antonine Constitution, 299

Antonine Wall, 261

Antonines, the, 277

Antoninus Pius, 262, 271, 277,
  column of, 292

Antonius (orator), 104

Antonius, L, 164

Antony, Mark, and Cæsar, 124,
  and the succession, 126, 127,
  and Octavian (Augustus), 127, 128, 163, 164,
  the Triumvirate, 128,
  victories, 128,
  and Cleopatra, 128, 129, 164, 203,
  and Actium, 130,
  marriages, 138,
  and Cicero, 148

Antony and Cleopatra, coins of, 155

Aosta, 220

Apelles, 296

Apennines, slave refugees, 106

Apicius, 279

Apollo as a Roman god, 79,
  temple to, 168

Apollodorus, 266

Apollonia, 201, 202

Apollonius, 290

Appian Way, 34

Appius Claudius, 85

Appius Claudius (censor), 34, 42, 46

Appuleian Laws, 95, 99

Apuleius, 290

Aquæ Mattiacæ (Wiesbaden), 264

Aquæ Sextiæ, 94

Aqueducts, 179, 280, 283, 293

Aquilegia, 220

Aquitania, 210

Arabia, 194, 204, 267

Arabs, 307

Aratus, 234

Arausio (Orange), 94

Arcesilaus, 156, 249

Arch, the, 153, 294

Arch, triumphal, 196

Archelaus, 206

Architecture of the Republic, 151-154,
  of the Augustan period, 250-252,
  of the Empire, 293-297,
  later Roman and early Christian, 316

Arena. _See_ Amphitheatre

Aretine pottery, 159

Areus, 209

Arezzo, 120

Argos, 202

Aristocracy, government by, 71, 72,
    debased, 81,
    wealth, 132,
    Augustus and, 224;
  under the Empire, 254
    Domitian and the, 274.
  _See also_ Patricians

Aristotle, 290

Armenia, 194, 198, 199, 200, 267, 268

Arminius, 218, 219, 263

Armour of soldiers, 29, 98

Army, professional, as constituted by Marius, 96-99,
    and government, 99,
    under Augustus, 182,
    soldiering becomes a profession, 184,
    how constituted, 184,
    rate of pay, 185;
  distribution of the legions, 185;
    pay (finance), 188,
    bounties to veterans, 189

Arpinum, 134

Art, Etruscan, 20;
  early Roman, 22, 34, 66,
    of the Republic, 151-159,
    of the Augustan period, 243-252,
    of the Empire, Greek influence, 291,
    sculpture, 292,
    history of, 293,
    influence of Antinous, 293,
    architecture, 294-297,
    painting, 296,
    minor arts, 297,
    Byzantine, 316

“Art, Roman,” 151, 245

Art collectors under the Republic, 155

Artillery, 280

Artists, 248

Arts, the, and politics, 231

Arusine Plain, 46

“Aryan,” 2

_As_, the copper (coin), 17, 34, 154

Aschaffenburg, 264

Ashtaroth, 39

Asia Minor, coins of, 249,
  Jews in, 268,
  Christianity in, 302

Asia, province of, 59;
  wealth, 61, 64;
  taxes, 88,
    control by Augustus, 178;
  senatorial province, 193,
    security in, 200,
    diocese, 312

“Asiarchs,” 201

Assassins, 268

Assessments for taxes, 276

Assyria, 267

Asturians, 220

Asturica Augusta (Astorga), 221

Athens and Rome, contrast between, 2,
  allied with Rome, 55,
  Sulla and, 101,
  and education, 133,
  an allied state, 194,
  position of, under Rome, 201,
  new quarter, 284

Athletics, 286

Atrium, the, 135

Attalids, the, of Pergamum, 246

Attalus, 55

Attalus III., 59

Attica, 201

Atticus, 131, 233

Attila, 314

Attius, 138

Augsburg, 220

Augurs, 133

Augusta Emerita (Merida), 221

Augusta (legion), 183

“Augustals,” 181

“Augustan” age, the. _See_ Augustus

Augustan history, 305

Augusti, 312

Augustine, 316

Augustulus, Romulus, 315

Augustus (Gneius Octavius, Octavianus) adds Egypt to the Empire, 60,
    Cæsar’s heir, 124, 127,
    takes up his inheritance, 127;
  triple alliance, 128,
    pursues the tyrannicides, 128
    master of the West, 129,
    becomes the Emperor Augustus, 100, 130;
  health, 136;
  and literature, 151;
  and monarchy, 161,
    statesmanship, 161, 182,
    Suetonius on, 162;
  character, 163,
    and Cleopatra, 164,
    policy, 164, 165,
    triumph, 165;
  and peace 166,
    and the patricians, 167;
  takes a census, 167,
    strengthens the senate, 167;
  improves Rome, 167,
    establishes the Empire, 168,
    senate names him Augustus, 169,
    “restores the Republic,” 168, 169,
    constitutional position, 170,
    wealth, 172,
    as censor, 172,
    consulships, 173;
  tribunician power, 173,
    successors, 174,
    age and reign, 175;
  and the senate, 175,
    pretended abdication, 177,
    powers, 177,
    patron of the people, 180
    and the laws, 180;
  military position, 182,
    creates a navy, 186,
    and public finance, 188,
    his generosity, 188,
    his provinces, 194,
    account of condition of Italy, 196,
    and the Parthians, 197,
    cult of himself, 201, 225;
  and Egypt, 203,
    and the Soudan, 204,
    and Herod, 206,
    and the Jews, 207;
  in Sicily, 209,
    and Gaul, 209,
    and Germany, 212,
    and Spain, 220;
  results of his rule, 221,
    his work, 223,
    aristocracy and, 224,
    plots against, 224,
    flattery, 224;
  and the regeneration of Roman society, 225;
  as a father, 226;
  marriages, 226;
  and the succession, 228,
    family, 229,
    his habits, 229,
    character, 230,
    education, 231,
    and literature 232;
  in Vergil, 234;
  in Horace, 239,
    and art, 243,
    and rebuilding of Rome, 244, 248,
    culture, 252,
    and the enlargement of the Empire, 259

Aurelian, 307

Aurelius, Marcus, Antonine dynasty, 277;
  philosophy fashionable under, 279,
    Galen, his state physician, 290,
    portrait, 292, 294;
  hostile to Christianity, 302,
    and immortality, 303,
    Rome under, 305,
    and the barbarians, 309, 311

Ausonius, 316

Austria, 217, 220

Autonomy, local, 284

Aventine Hill, 280

Avernus, Lake of, 186

Axiomitæ, 307

Ba’albek, 282, 295

Bacchic mysteries, 79

Bacchus, 240

Bactrians, 307

Bætica, 221

Baiæ, 134, 251, 257, 296;
  Turner’s picture of, 283

Bakery account from Pompeii, 285

Balearic slingers, 98

Balkans, 220

Bank rate, 166

Bankrupts and the senate, 103

Banks, 64

Banquets, 133, 136, 196

Barberini panel, 316

Barcas, the, 49

Barea Soranus, 273, 300

Barristers, 298

Batanæa, 194

Batavian cavalry, 184

Baths, 136, 196, 243, 261, 283

Baths of Titus, the, 293

Battle-array, 29

Beasts for the arena, 133

Bedriacum, 273

Beja, 221

Belgica, 210

Bestia, 91, 92

Bibulus, 111

Bithynia, 60, 193, 200

“Bithyniarchs,” 201

Black Sea, 186, 220, 297

Blemyes, 307

Boadicea, 219, 260

Bœotia, 201

Bohemia, 217

Books, 131,
  Cicero’s books, 134

Bosco Reale, 249

Bosphorus, 194

Brenner Pass, 263

Brennus, 199

Brescia, 196

Bribery and corruption, 79, 133

Brickwork, 294

Bridge, marble, 196

Brigantes, the, 261, 262

Britain, Cæsar’s expeditions to, 117,
    Cæsar on, 150;
  Augustus and, 170, 209, 210,
    conquest of, 259,
    empire-building in, 260;
  and Roman civilisation, 261,
    roads, 262;
  walls, 261, 262,
    and the “Latin right,” 299;
  and separate unity, 308,
    diocese, 312,
    deserted, 314

Britannicus, 272

Britons, the, 114

Bronze-work, 297

Brotherhood of man, 302

Brundisium, 145

Bruttium, 45, 47

Brutus and liberty, 33;
  as hero, 112,
    against Cæsar, 124,
    and the assassination of Cæsar, 126,
    and the succession, 127,
    fall of, 128,
    bust of, 157,
    as martyr, 173,
    and Horace, 237

Budgets under Augustus, 192

Buffer states, 198, 199, 214

Building, early, 19,
    materials (houses), 135, 153,
    principles of, 153;
  brickwork, 294;
  villas, 295

Bureaucracy, 171, 181, 270, 272, 276, 278, 310

Burgundians, 212, 213

Byzantine (Constantinople), 313

Byzantine art, 316

Byzantine Empire, the, 313

Cadiz, 49

Cæcilius, 76

“Cæsar” (Emperor), 112

“Cæsar and the Roman People,” cult of, 207

Cæsar Augusta (Saragossa), 221

Cæsar, Gaius Julius, adds Gaul to the Empire, 60,
    and the monarchy, 100,
    birth and lineage, 109,
    as Pontifex Maximus, 109;
  and the conspiracy of Catiline, 110,
    prætor to Spain, 110,
    the Triumvirate, 110;
  becomes Consul, 110;
  conquests of Gaul, 111, 116,
    honours paid to, by poets and others, 112,
    account of the Gallic Wars, 112;
  as historian, 113, 150,
    his greatness, 113;
  his work, 114,
    as a soldier, 116;
  and Britain, 117, 150,
  and Pompeius, 114, 119,
    civil war, 120,
    devotion of his men, 121,
    conquers at Pharsalus, 121, 122,
    in Egypt, 122,
    and Cleopatra, 122,
    conquests, 122, 123,
    supporters, 124,
    reforms, 125,
    kingship, 125,
    slain, 126,
    his will, 127,
    wealth of, 132,
    epileptic, 135,
    wives, 138,
    and Roman history, 145,
    as orator, 149,
    his _Commentaries_, 149,
    portraits, 157,
    and monarchy, 161,
    temple to, 166;
  The _Commentaries_ and Germany, 214,
    deified, 225,
    as poet, 232.

Cæsar, L., 104

Cæsar-worship, 231, 267, 300

Cæsarea, 206, 268

Cæsarion, 122

Cæsars, the, 254

Calabria, 45

Caledonians, the, 261, 262

Caligula (Gaius Cæsar), 253, 268, 269, 271, 272

Callimachus, 239

Callipolis, 286

Calpurnia, 126

Cameos, 249

Campagna, the Roman, 12, 25,
  shepherds, 37

Campania, 28, 34, 283

Campanian Road, 134

Campus Martius, 36, 153

Camulodunum (Colchester), 259, 260

Candace, 205

Candlestick, the seven-branched golden, 269

_Cannabæ_, 310

Cannæ, 51

Canon law, 299

Cantabrians, 220

Capital punishment, 43

Capitol, the, 25, 153, 293, 307

Capitoline Hill, 282

Cappadocia, 194, 267

Capri, 229

Capua, 51

Caracalla, 292, 299, 306

Caradoc, 260

Carbo, 94

Carducci and Catullus, 144

Carrhæ, 119, 197

Carthage, the early Romans and, 13, 17,
    Roman treaty with, 348 B.C., 26,
    Pyrrhus and the Carthaginians, 46,
    Carthaginian Wars, 47,
    First Punic War, 48,
    Second Punic War, 49,
    and Hannibal, 50,
    defeated, 53,
    Third Punic War, 57,
    siege and destruction, 58,
    a province, 59,
    colony at, 88;
  refounded as colony by Augustus, 208,
    Carthaginian invaders of Sicily, 209

Carus, 308

Carving (food), 137

Caspian Sea, 213

Cassius, 112, 126-128, 271

Castle of St. Angelo, 294

Catiline, conspiracy of, 110;
  Cicero on, 147

Cato (the Censor), prayer on cutting a grove quoted, 40,
    and Carthage, 57,
    and slaves, 71;
  and luxury, 72,
    and prudishness, 80;
  policy of, 83

Cato the younger (of Utica), character, 111,
    and the end of the Republic, 108, 118;
  death, 123,
    wives, 138;
  and Stoicism, 139,
    and the senate, 147;
  austerity, 148

Catullus, 104, 142, 232, 243

Caudine Pass, the, 28

Celibacy, tax on, 190, 226

Celtic religion, 221

Celts, the, 115

Censors, 32, 72, 272

Censorship of letters, 232

Census-taking, 32, 167

Ceres, 38, 39

Chalons, Battle of, 314

Chariot-racing, 279, 280, 314

Charlemagne, 112

Chastity, 33

Chatti, 263

Chauci, 216, 263

Cheruscia, 216, 217, 218, 219

Chester, 260

Christianity and Cæsar worship, 201, 300,
    conflict with Mithraism, 299;

  Rome and the establishment of, 300,
    Stoicism and, 300, 302,
    confounded with Judaism, 300,
    scruples of Christians, 301,
    proselytes, 301,
    inquisitions and martyrdoms, 301,
    Edict of Milan, 302;
  hostility of emperors, 302,
    monotheism, 303,
    rites and saints taken from paganism, 303,
    the Church and the Roman political system, 304,
    Constantine and, 313,
    Rome and the Church, 315

Chronological summary of Roman history, 317-324

Chrysostom, St. John, 316

Church and state, 315

Churches, Christian, 316

Cicero, Latinity of, 9,
    the translation of, 10,
    and pleading in law, 43,
    and Pompeius, 108,
    oration on Manilius, 109,
    and the conspiracy of Catiline, 110,
    policy, 110,
    exile, 118, 127,
    slain, 128,
    his gains as governor of Cilicia, 131,
    his wealth, 131, 134,
    his houses, 134,
    and library, 134,
    health, 135,
    divorces his wife, 138,
    and Plato, 139;
  his influence on Latin literature, 144;
  his policy and rhetoric, 145,
    his character, 145;
  creator of Latin prose, 146, 231,
    his style, 146,
    as a lawyer, 146;
  oratory, 147;
  political life, 148,
    his end, 148,
    bust of, 157;
  and immortality, 231,
    not a client, 232

Cicero, Quintus, 124, 146

Cilicia, a province, 59, 193, 200;
  pirate-state at, 106,
  Cicero’s gains as governor, 131

Cimbri, the invasion by the, 93;
  defeated by Marius, 94

Cincinnatus, 33

Cineas, 46

Cinna (consul), 104

Circus Maximus, 280

Circuses, 243

Cirta, 91

Citizenship, Roman, 27, 30, 299

“City Legion,” 184

City prefect, 182

City-states, the, 6, 27, 69, 278

Civic ardour, 284

Civil law of Rome, 298

Civil service, the, 276

Civil War, First, 120-123

Civil War, Second, 128, 129

Civil wars, restorations after the, 196

Civilisation, early Roman, 34,
  under the Republic, 130,
  under Augustus, 200

Classical education, 291

Classical literature, the golden age of, 150

Classicism, 9

Claudian, 316

Claudian house, the, 227

Claudian law, 132

Claudian Way, 220

Claudii, the, 24, 42, 72

Claudius, Suetonius on, 162,
    forbids Druidism, 211,
    his character, 254;
  best of the Claudian Cæsars, 255,
    and Messalina, 255, 256,
    and Germany, 263,
    and Thrace, 265,
    as Cæsar, 271, 272;
  death, 272,
    building under, 293

Claudius Gothicus, 307

Cleopatra and Cæsar, 122;
  and Antony, 126, 128, 129, 138, 203,
    and Augustus, 164,
    and Herod the Great, 205

Cleopatra’s daughter, 208

Clergy, Christian, 311

Clerks, copying, 131

Client system, 72;
  in literature, 232

Clodia, 138

Clodius, 108, 111, 118, 119

Clœlia, 33

Cohorts, 98;
  urban, 186,
    of watchmen, 186

Coinage, early, 17,
  copper, 34

Coins under the Republic, 154,
    portraits on, 158;
  legionary, 183,
    with Parthian suppliant, 198;
  for Judæa, 207,
    of Asia Minor, 249

Colchester, 259, 260

Collecting art objects, 225, 248

“Collegia,” 284

Collegial system, 31

Colline Gate, the, 105

_Coloni_ (tillers of the soil), 311

Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne), 215, 219, 263

Colonnades, 196, 243, 250

Colosseum, the, 282, 293

Columella, 290

Columns in architectures, 154

Comedy, 75-77

_Comitatus_, the, 312

_Comitia_, 25, 30, 36, 86, 174, 179

Commagene, 194, 199

Commander of legions, 134

Commerce, 131

Commodus, 264, 277

Como, 283, 296

Companies, commercial, 131

Consilium, 176

Constantine, Arch of, 280, 316,
  Basilica of, 282

Constantine, Emperor, Cæsar and, 112,
    and a new senate, 179;
  and Christianity, 302, 313,
    and tillers of the soil, 311,
    founds Constantinople, 313

Constantinople founded, 313,
  mosaics of, 316

Constitution of ancient Rome, 30

Consuls, 25, 30, 31, 63, 125, 134, 181, 193

Copper coinage, 34, 154

Coptos, 204

Corduba, 220

Cordus, Cremutius, 271

Corinth destroyed, 57, 58;
  restored by Julius Cæsar, 302;
  and Greek art, 247

Corinthian column, the, 250

Corn, duty on, 273

Corn-supply, 69, 109, 181, 188, 190, 209, 308

Corn trust, Sicilian, 109

Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, 84

Cornelia, daughter of Scribonia, 240

Cornelii, the, 72

Corocota (Gaius Julius Caracuttus), 221

“Correctors,” 276

Corsica, 48, 59, 193

Coryphæus, 280

Courage an early Roman virtue, 33

Crassus, Marcus, subdues the rising of the slaves, 106,
  defeated at Carrhæ, 107, 119,
  his wealth, 107, 132,
  and Cæsar, 110, 114, 118,
  the conspiracy of Catiline, 110

Crassus (orator), 84, 104

Cremera, Battle of, 24

Cremona, 53

Cretan archers, 98

Crete, 38, 60, 193, 208

Cross, the, Constantine and, 313

Cruttwell, C. T., on Ovid, 240

Ctesiphon, 267

Culture and religion, 35

Cumæ, 134

_Cura annonæ_, 190

“Curators,” 276

_Curiales_, 311

Curies, 30

Curtius, Quintus, 33

Curule chair, the, 22

Customs duties, 272

Cybele, the worship of, 79

Cyclades, the, 201

Cymbeline, 259

Cynics, the, 302

Cynocephalæ, 55

Cyprus, 178, 193, 200

Cyrenaica, 193, 208

Cyrene, 60, 208, 268

Cytheris, 126, 138

Dacia, 265, 266, 267, 312

Dalmatia, 193, 265

Dalmatian War, 187

Damascus, 268

Danish shores, 213

Dante and Cæsar, 112,
  Dante’s debt to Roman poets, 289

Danube, the, 197, 218, 219, 220, 263, 264, 265, 306, 309, 314

Danube frontier, 220

Dead, burial of the, 34

Death, 303

Death-duties, 189

Death-masks, 248

Debtors, punishment of, 43

Decebalus, 265

Decemviri, 42

Decius, 301

_Decuriones_, 195, 311

“Delation,” 204, 272, 275, 277

Delphi, 101, 201

Delphic Amphictyony, the, 202

Demetrius, 51

Democracy, the Gracchi and, 86, 90,
  Julius Cæsar and, 109

Democritus, 139

Denarius, silver, 207

Despotism, benevolent, 311

Development fund, 276

Diana, 38, 39, 238

Diana of Ephesus, Temple of, 201

Dictator, 125

Dill, Dr. Samuel, on Pliny, 279, 284

Dining, 133

Dinner-parties, 136

Dio Cassius, 168, 182

Dio Chrysostom, 290

“Dioceses,” 312

Diocletian, 271, 301, 310, 311

Diocletian, palace of, 316

Diplomacy, Roman, 26

Discipline, Roman, 26, 183,
  of army, 97

Divination, Etruscan, 21

Divodurum, 212

Divorce, 80, 136, 226

Docks, 186

Domitian, unpopular, 177,
  and Britain, 261,
  and imperial expansion, 264,
  and Decebalus, 265,
  a tyrant, 274,
  and the senate, 274,
  assassination, 275,
  and Titus, 293

Doric architecture, 153,
  column, 250

Drama, beginnings, 73,
    Greek tragedies translated for Roman stage, 75;
  comedies, 75,
    under the Republic, 137

Drinking, 136

Druidism, 114, 211, 259

Drusus, 184, 215, 227, 239

Drusus, M. Livius, 102

Dukes (_dux_), 312

Durocortorum, 212

Dutch horsemen, 184

Dutch shores, 213

Dutch territory, 216

Duties, customs, 212, 273

_Duumviri_, 195

Dyarchy, the, 177, 275

Eagle, the silver (standard), 98

Eagles, Roman, captured, 197

East, the, and Roman art, 249

Eating, 136

Eburacum (York), 261

Edict of Milan, 302

Edicts, perpetual, 298, 299

Education beginnings, 74,
    under the Republic, 132,
    in Gaul, 211,
    and schools in 200 a.d., 280;
  Pliny endows a secondary school, 283,
    and schools under the Empire, 285-286

Egnatius Rufus, 180

Egypt allied against Philip of Macedon, 55,
    conquered by Octavian (Augustus), 60, 130, 166,
    Pompeius and Cæsar in, 122,
    private possession of Augustus, 170, 172,
    prefect of, 180, 194,
    corn-supply, 190;
  wealth, 202,
    under Augustus, 203;
  religion, 203,
    taxes, 203;
  canals and irrigation, 203,
    reservoirs, 204,
    position of prefect, 204,
    and Greek art, 247;
  rebels in the triumph of Aurelian, 307,
    a diocese, 312

Elagabalus, 306

Elbe, the, 216, 217, 218

Election posters, 285

Electra (sculpture), 249, 250

Elephantine, Nilometer at, 204

Elephants, 46

Eleusinian mysteries, 55, 231

Emesa, 194, 199;
  fetish-stone, 306

Empire-building, 28, 44, 211

Empire, the early, history, 162;
  establishment of, 168;
  illegitimate, 254;
  during its first century, 259;
  limits of the, 269,
    junior colleagues to Cæsar, 276,
    weak through its vastness, 308;
  decay, 313;
  divided, 313;
  dismembered, 314

Empire, the Eastern, 313

Ems, 216, 264

Ennius, 76, 78, 138, 236

Ephesus, 201, 247, 282

Epictetus, 302

Epicurus, 139

Epirot phalanx, 46

Equality, 33, 71

Equestrian class (Equites), 64, 88, 97, 180

Eros (Egyptian tax-gatherer), 191

Esquiline Camp, 258

Esquiline Hill, 25

Ethics, Christian, 302, 303

Etruria, conquests, 28,
  Sullan colonists in, 110

Etruscans, the, neighbours at beginning of Rome, 13;
  piracy, 13, 17,
    remains, 14, 20,
    conquest of Rome, 19,
    their origin, 20,
    art, 20, 22,
    character, 21,
    divination, 21;
  costumes, 22,
    decline of the Etruscan power, 23,
    Etruscan princes of Rome, 20, 23,
    enemy of Rome, 28;
  gods, 39,
    portraiture, 152, 156,
    and Roman architecture, 153,
    and Roman art, 248

Eudæmones, 307

Euhemerism, 201

Euphrates, the, 197, 267

Europe, Rome and the making of, 5;
  Germany and the history of, 213

Extortion, 133, 191, 209, 212, 273

Extravagances, 279

Fabii, the, 24, 72

Fabius, Pictor, 150

Fabius, Quintus, 51

Family, the, 225

Famine, 190

Farnese Palace, 251

“Father of his country,” 179

Fatherhood, 226

Fatherhood of God, 303

Fathers, power of, 25

Fauns, 37

Faustina, 224

Feasting, 133, 136

Felix, 206

Fencing, 98

Ferrero, Signor G., on Cæsar’s character, 112,
  on Augustus, 199,
  and Gaul, 210

Festivals, early Roman, 36

Festus, 207

Fever, malarial, 135

Fifth Legion, 215

Finance, beginnings, 66,
  under Augustus, 187,
  gifts, 188,
  property-tax and death-duties, 189,
  of the senate, 192

Financial corruption, 64

Financiers, 194

Fire-brigade, 181, 186

_Flamines_, 38

Flaminian Way, 196

Flaminii, the, 72

Flamininus, 55

Flavian age, the, 293

Flavian dynasty, 274

Flax, 212

Flora, 38, 39

Footmen, 137

Fordicidia, 40

Formiæ, 134

Fortifications, frontier, 261, 262, 264

Fortuna Virilis, 39;
  Temple of, 153, 154

Fortune-hunters, 226

Forum, the, 33, 252

Forum Julii (Fréjus), 187

Forums, 280, 282

Fowler, W. Warde, 35

France, roads of, 211

Frankfort, 264

Franks, 212, 213, 307, 309

Fratres Arvales, 39

Frazer, J. G., 35

“Free” states, 60

Freedmen, 181

Freeman, E. A., 19

Fréjus, 187

French Revolution, the, and the Roman Republic, 71

Frescoes, 296

Friezes, 246

Frisians, 216

Frontiers, 223;
  fortified, 261,
  natural, 266

Fulvia, 126, 127, 129, 138, 149

Furniture, 297

Gabii, 25

Gabinian Law, 109

Gadara, 205

Gades, 220, 282

Gætulian nomads, 208

Gaius (Emperor). _See_ Caligula

Gaius, over-lord in Asia, 195
  and the Parthian king, 200,
  and the succession, 228,
  tutor and servants of, 230

Gaius, “Institutes” of, 299

Galatia, 193, 199

Galatians, 184

Galba, 179, 258, 273

Galen, 290

Galilee, 194, 206, 268

Gallia. _See_ Gaul

Gallienus, 306, 307

Gallus, Cornelius, 203, 204, 232, 234

Gamaliel, 207

Games, public, 137

Gardening, 296

Gardthausen, Dr., on Augustus, 162,
  on the Roman Army and the British Empire, 186

Gaul, The Gauls and Etruria, 23, 28,
    Gallic invasion of 390 b.c., 25, 26,
    conquest of the Gauls, 49,
    allies of Hannibal, 50,
    revolt of the Gauls, 53, 117,
    Southern Gaul, 59,
    Cisalpine Gaul, 60;
  _Gallia Narbonensis_, 59, 193, 209,
    _Gallia Comata_, 60, 210,
    conquest by Cæsar, 111,
    Cæsar and the Gallic wars, 112,
    the Gauls, time of Cæsar, 114,
    politics, 116;
  and Augustus, 169, 172,
    province, 193;
  Gauls in Galatia, 199;
  under Augustus, 209-211;
  gods, 211,
    tribes, 211;
  German inroads, 215;
  revolt against Nero, 257,
    and Britain, 259;
  civilisation, 262,
    nationality, 262,
    “Empire of the Gauls,” 262,
    Gallic communities and the “Latin right,” 299;
  Gallic empire destroyed, 307;
  unity, 308,
    diocese, 312

Geese, sacred, 59

Gems, portraits on, 158

Generosity, public, 284

Genius (luck), 37, 156

Geographical knowledge, ancient, 59

Germanicus as General in Germany, 184, 217, 218, 219, 263,
  Augustus and the children of, 226,
  the poisoning of, 255

Germany, Cæsar and the Germans, 117,
    German slaves bodyguard, 184,
    German revolt, 184,
    province _Germania_, 193,
    Augustus and, 197, 212,
    and its conquest, 214-220
    social system and tribes, 214,
    inroads into Gaul, 215,
    unconquered, 263;
  Germans in the triumph of Aurelian, 307,
    unity, 308

Ghosts (Lemures), 37

Gibbon, Edward, influence of, on view of Roman history, 3;
  and the Roman imperial system, 277

Gladiatorial combats, 74

Gladiators, 71, 131, 133, 137, 185, 280, 282

Glaucia, 95

Gluttony, 136, 279

Glycon, 156

Gods, loves of the, in Ovid, 240

Gods, Roman. _See_ Religion

Gold mines of Macedon, 54, 58

Golden House, the, of Nero, 256, 293

Goldsmith art, 249

Gordians, the, 306

Goths, the, 213, 299, 307, 309, 314

Government, Roman, benevolent, 61;
  local autonomy to conquered territories, 62;
  want of policy by senate, 82

Governors, Roman, 63, 134

Gracchi, the, 84

Gracchus, Gaius, takes up reform, 87;
  elected a tribune, 88,
    his policy, 88-89,
    murdered, 89

Gracchus, Tiberius, 84,
  training, 85,
  and the land, 85, 86;
  and democracy, 86,
  elected a tribune, 86,
  murdered, 87

Græco-Roman culture under Augustus, 231,
  and Roman literature, 288

_Gravitas_, 43

Greece, resemblances between Rome and, 1,
    Greece and expansion, 6;
  influence of, on Rome, 72, 74, 81,
    influence of, on Roman literature, 151,
    and Roman architecture, 153, 250, 251,
    influence of, on portraiture, 157,
    Roman veneration for Greece, 201,
    and Roman education, 201,
    position of, in the Roman Empire, 201,
    Greek religion, 207,
    and Roman art, 243-252

Greek cities, 194

Greek culture, extent of, 200,
  in Rome, 231

Greek drama for the Roman stage, 75, 76

Greek mythology and Roman religion, 35, 39

Greek philosophy in Rome, 139

Greek sculpture in Rome, 155

Grotius, 298

Grove, prayer on cutting down a, 40,
  sacred, 211

Gruningen, 264

Guilds (_collegia_), 284, 311

Gundobald, 314

Hadrian visits Britain, 261;
  strengthens the _Limes Trans-Rhenanus_, 264
    and the Parthians, 267,
    as Emperor, 275, 276,
    life under, 279,
    freedom of letters under, 163, 289,
    and Greek art, 293,
    and law, 299;
  and the army, 310

Hadrian, wall of, 261

Hadrian’s villa, 296

Hamilcar, 49

Hannibal, genius of, 47,
    and foreign conquest, 49;
  becomes leader of the Carthaginians, 50;
  his greatness and character, 50,
    march over the Alps, 50;
  as a strategist, 51,
    defeats, 52, 53,
    Antiochus and, 56

Harbour dues, 61

Harbours, 187

Hasdrubal, 50, 52

Head, Barclay, on Roman coins, 154

Heating of houses, 280

Heliopolis. _See_ Ba’albek

“Helladarch,” 202

Hellenism, 10, 72, 74

Helvetians, the, 94, 111

Heraclea, 46

Herculaneum, 297

Hercules, the Farnese, 156

Hercules, Temple of, 250

Hermann. _See_ Arminius

Hermodorus, 153

Herod Antipas, 206

Herod the Great, 184, 198, 205, 206

Herodes Atticus, 284

Hesiod, 234

Hexameter, the Latin, 78, 232

Hiberi, 307

Hiero of Syracuse, 23, 51, 61

Hildesheim, 249

Hippocrates, 290

Hirpinus, 280

Hispania Bætica, 193

Hispania. _See_ Spain

Historians, 138, 150, 305

Historical reliefs (sculpture), 248

History, the arts and politics in, 231

History, early Roman, worthlessness of, 24,
  Tacitus and Roman history, 253, 289,
  lack of interest, 288

Holland, North, 216

Holy of Holies, 207

Homer’s Odyssey translated, 74

Honoria, 314

Horace quoted on the past of Rome, 7;
  Latinity of, 9,
    on Hannibal, 52;
  his health, 136,
    on the Portus Julius, 187;
  and the Parthians, 197, 199,
    and Arabia Felix, 204;
  on the conquest of Britain, 209,
    educated in Greece, 237,
    and Cæsarism, 237;
  Satires, 237,
    lyrical odes, 237;
  drama, 238,
    Odes, 238;
  Century Hymn, 238,
    Secular Games, 238,
    celebrates Augustus, 239,
    pictures the life of Rome, 239;
  losses in the Civil War, 243,
    and satire, 289

Horatii, 24

Horatius and the saving of Rome, 19, 33

Hortensius, 138

Houses, 134, 135, 152, 296

Humanitarianism, 303

Huns, the, 214, 314

Iceni, the, 260

Ictinus, 295

Idealism in Greek art, 158

Ides of March, 36, 126

Idistavisus, 219, 263

Illyria, 48

Illyrian War, 166,
  revolt, 217

Illyricum, 193, 312

_Imagines_, 156, 158

Immortality, 303

Imperator, 183

Imperial administration centralised, 278,
  junior colleagues to Cæsar, 276,
  imperial succession, 306

_Imperium_, 31

India, trade with, 204,
  Greek art, 247

Informers. _See_ “Delation”

Inquisitions, 301

Inscriptions from Pompeii, 285

International law, 298

Intrigue, 224, 229

Ionic columns, 154

Ireland, 261

“Irene,” 169

Irish, Gallic Celts and the, compared, 115

Isis, 39, 139, 203;
  priests of, 282

Isthmian games, 55

Italian “allies” and the franchise, 102

Italians, citizen rights for, 88-89

Italian, the modern, and the ancient Roman compared, 13

Italy, divisions of, 12,
    invasions, 15,
    Civil War, 106,
    under Augustus, 196;
  colonies in, 196,
    a province, 278, 312;
  and the barbarians, 314

Ivories, Byzantine, 316

James, Wm., on war, 54

Janus, 38, 154, 166

Jerome and Lucretius, 142

Jerusalem, Cæsar and, 123,
  under Augustus and the Herods, 205, 206, 207,
  destruction of, 268

Jesus Christ, 205, 206

Jewellery, 297

Jewish law, 207;
  religion, 207

Jews in the Roman provinces, 200, 208,
  under Augustus, 205-207,
  under the Empire, 267-269
  _See also_ Judæa

John, St., and Philo, 300

Johnson, Dr., and Latin, 8

Juba, King, 122, 123, 208

Judæa, province, 194,
    under Augustus, 205-207;
  government and conquest, 267, 268

Judaism, 300

Jugurtha, 84, 91-93

Julia (daughter of Augustus), 175, 227, 228, 229, 230

Julia (the younger), Ovid and, 241, 242

Julian Alps, 220

Julian laws, 226

Julianus, Salvius, 299

Julii, the, 72

Julius Nicanor, 201

Juno, 39

Jupiter, 38, 39, 79, 139, 240, 307

Jupiter Capitolinus, Temple of, 152, 153, 269, 282

Jupiter, Temple of, in Mount Zion, 269

_Jurisprudentes_, 298

_Jus fetiale_, 298;
  _jus gentium_, 298,
  _jus naturæ_, 298

Justice, 270, 272

Justinian, 299, 315

Juvenal and emperors, 11, 138, 163, 242, 278,
    Latin of, 287;
  and satire, 289;
  and ethics, 303

Kent, 150

King, the, 41

Kingship, early, 19

Knuckle-bones, 229

Labienus, 121, 123

Labour, free, and slavery, 71

Lacedæmon, 201

Lacerna, 280

Lacinian Promontory, the, 45

Laconia, Northern, 201

Lahn, river, 264

Lampridius, 305

Land as property, 34,
  land speculation, 67, 131,
  neglect of the, 85,
  Tiberius Gracchus and, 87,
  Gaius Gracchus and, 88,
  Marius and, 95,
  Licinian land law, 86,
  land-tax in Gaul, 190,
  land system of Gaul, 211

Langobardi _See_ Lombards

Lares, 37

Latin, use of, 9,
  culture, 9,
  eclipse of Latin studies, 9

Latin festival, 38

Latin League, the, 25, 26, 27

Latin period, the (literature), 146

“Latin right,” 299

Latin and Teutonic races, contest between, 213

Latinism, 8

Latium, Plain of, 25

Law, Roman devotion to, 33,
  early Roman, 41-43,
  in Gaul, 211,
  Julian laws, 225-226,
  under the Empire, 297-299,
  a legacy to the world, 315

Legates, 193

Legion, composition of a, 98, 172

Legionaries, the, 98

Legiones (Leon), 221

Lemures, 37

Leon, 221

Lepidus, 128, 163

Lesbia, 143

Levies for army, 97

Lex, the, 179

Lex Claudia, 67

Liberty, love of, 33,
  religious, 270

Libraries, 168, 243, 283

Licinian laws, 86

Licinius (tax-gatherer in Gaul), 191, 212

Licinius Macer (annalist), 150

Lictors, 30, 282

Ligurian cavalry, 98

Lilybæum, 46

_Limes Trans-Rhenanus_, 264,
  Rhætian, 264

Linz, 264

Lippe, 216

Literature, early Roman, 34,
    beginnings of, 75;
  of the Republic, 142-151,
    in Rome under Augustus, 231,
    patrons, 232,
    the State and, 241, 243,
    golden age of (“Augustan”), 242,
    popularity of, under the Empire, 286,
    and tyranny, 287,
    its eclipse, 287,
    freedom of, 289,
    lack of originality, 291

Livia Drusilla, 227, 228

Livia, house of, 296

Livii, the, 72

Livius Andronicus, 74

Livy and the foundation of Rome, 17,
    and political equality, 30;
  as historian, 150, 151,
    freedom accorded to, 232;
  and Tacitus compared, 289

Loans, 131

Local government in Roman provinces, 61

_Logos_, the Divine, 300

Lombards, 213, 217

London (Londinium), 260, 282

London, modern, Roman architecture in, 251

Longinus, 94

Lorch, 264

Lucan, Latinity of, 9,
  and Spain, 220, 290,
  and republicanism, 242, 273,
  the _Pharsalia_, 288

Lucca, conference at, 119

Lucceius, 145

Lucian, 290

Lucilius, 237

Lucius, 228

Lucretia, 33

Lucretius and Epicurean philosophy, 139,
  quoted, 140, 141,
  as poet, 141, 142, 243,
  a free poet, 232,
  Vergil’s use of, 236

Lucrine Lake, 186

Lucullus, 153

Lucullus, gardens of, 255

Ludians, 307

Lugdunensis, 210

Lugdunum (Lyons), 210, 211, 262, 282

Lupercalia, 125

Lusitania, 221

Lutetia, 211

Luxury, 72, 134, 136

Lycaonia, 193

Lycia, 194

Lyons _See_ Lugdunum

Lytton, Lord, 279

Maas, the, 263

Macedonia, 56, 59, 61, 193, 202, 312

Macedonian War, Second, 54

Macedonian War, Third, 65

Macrobius, 133

Mæcenas, Octavian’s agent at Rome, 129, 165,
  his rank, 181,
  a poet, 232,
  and literary patronage, 233,
  and Vergil, 234,
  and Horace, 237, 239

Magistracy, the, 41, 72,
  magistracies, 278

Magistrates, 30, 32, 62, 179, 181, 190, 311

Magnesia, 56

Mainz, 216, 219, 263

Maison Cairée, 251

Mamurra, 135

Manes, 37

Manilius (tribune), 109

Maniples, battle formation, 29, 97;
  number of men, 98

Mantua, Vergil and, 233, 234

Marble, 188

Marbod, King, 217, 219

Marcellus, nephew of Augustus, 166;
  probable successor to Augustus, 175;
  married to Julia, 227;
  death, 228,
  in Vergil, 235

Marcellus opposed to Cæsar, 118, 120

Marcellus, Theatre of, 251, 293

Marcomanni, 217

Marcomannia, 309

Marcus, 164

Marius, Gaius, and reform, 90,
  chosen as officer against Jugurtha, 93;
  elected consul, 93,
  commands the army in Africa, 93,
  re-elected consul, 94,
  chief magistrate of the state, 94;
  defeats the Teutons and Cimbri, 94,
    and the land, 95,
    and the senate, 95,
    and a professional army, 96,
  massacre by, and death, 104,
  Cæsar and, 109

Marius the younger, 105

Mark Antony. _See_ Antony

Marriage, 80,
  marriage laws, 226

Mars, 36

Mars, priests of _See_ Salii

Mars the Avenger, 198,
  Temple of, 252

Mars’ woodpeckers, 38

Marsians, 13, 28

Martial, 220, 278, 289

Martyrdoms of Christians, 301

Masinissa, 57, 208

Mater Matuta, shrine of, 152, 250

Materialism and religion, 139

Mau, Prof., 296

Mauretania, 194, 208, 269

Mausoleum, friezes of the, 246

Maxentius, 302

Maximin the Thracian, 179, 306

Media Atropatene, 199

Medicine, 290

Mediomatrici, the, 212

Mediterranean fleet, 186

Mediterranean, Roman command of the, 56

Mediterranean worship, prehistoric, 38

Melville, G. J. W., 279

Memmius, 92

Menander, 76

Mercury, 39

Merida, 221

Mesopotamia, 107, 267

Messalina, 138, 224, 255

Messalla, M. Valerius, 233, 240

Messengers, imperial, 196

Messiah, the, 269

“Messianic Eclogue,” Vergil’s, 160

Messina, 47, 209

Metaphysics, 300

Metaurtus, River, 52

Metellus family, 75

Metellus, Q, 92, 95, 153

Metellus, Q Cæcilius, 226

Metz, 212

Meyer, Dr. Edouard, 171

Michael Angelo, 244, 251

Milan, Edict of, 302, 313

Militarism, 302

Military despotism, 183

Military service under Gaius Gracchus, 88,
  under the Republic, 96-97,
  Roman citizens and, 184,
  Italians and, 196,
  Jews exempt, 268;
  barbarians and, 311

Milo, 119

Milvian Bridge, 313

Minden, 219

Minerals, 188

Minerva, 39, 79

Mines, 117, 131, 221,
  in Gaul, 212

Mint at Lyons, 211

Misenum, 186

Mithradates, King of Pontus, 60, 103,
  massacre by, 65,
  duration of war against, 107,
  defeated by Pompeius, 109,
  portrait on coin, 158

Mithradatic War, 103

Mithraism, 201, 299, 308

Modena, 163

Mœsia, 194, 220, 265

Mogontiacum (Mainz), 263

_Moles Hadriani_, 294

Mommsen, Theodor, on Greece and Rome, 10;
  on Roman religion, 40,
  on Roman luxury, 72,
  on Cæsar, 112,
  on the Gauls, 115,
  on Augustus, 198

Monaco, monument to Augustus at, 220

Monarchy, Cæsar and, 124,
  hereditary, 175,
  Augustus and the, 183,
  growth of, 277

Money, 313

Monotheism, 207, 303

Morality, 79, 136, 138

Morocco _See_ Mauretania

Mosaics, 158, 247, 296, 316

Moselle, the, 215

Mucianus, 274

Mule and tent money, 190

Mummius, 155, 247

Munda, 123

Municipal government, 284

Municipal life, 195

Municipal senators, 311

_Municipia_, 28

Mural painting, 152

Music in schools, 286

Musonius Rufus, 302

Mysia. _See_ Mœsia

Mythology, early Roman, 36, 37, 38.
  _See also_ Religion

Nabatæa, 194

Nævius, 75

Naples, 134, 251, 296

Naples, Bay of, 283

Narbonne, 210

Narcissus, 256

Nations, wandering of the, 309

Natural law, 298

Nature-worship, 240

Navy, 48, 186, 187

Neolithic culture, 14

Nepos, 150

  Suetonius on, 162, 256, 306,
  unpopular, 177;
  Petronius satirises, 242;
  the historians and, 254,
    his Golden House, 256,
    murders, 256,
    attempts upon his mother’s life, 257,
    story of his death, 257;
  posthumous honours, 259,
    and the Jews, 268;
  accession, 272,
    administration, 272-273,
    his fall, 273,
    entertainments, 279,
    tyranny, 287;
  and Seneca, 291,
    Greek curio-hunting, 293,
    Christian persecution, 301

Nero, Claudius, 227

Nero, colossus of, 282

Nerva, 179, 275, 276, 289

Nicolaus, 206

Nicomedia, 312

Nicopolis, 202

Nile, the, 204

Ninth Legion, 122, 260

Niobe, 241

Nismes, Temple of, 251

Nobility, 223, 224

Nola, 106

Nomads, Northern, 197

Noricum, 194, 220

Northern descents on the Mediterranean peoples, 213

Numa, 19

Numantia, 85

Numidia, 92, 208

Numidian cavalry, 52, 98

Nymphs, 37

Ocean, the, 210, 213, 217

Octavia, 126, 129, 138, 175, 224, 228, 235

Octavius, (tribune), 87

Octavius, Octavian. _See_ Augustus

Odenathus, 307

Odoacer, 314

Officialism _See_ Bureaucracy

Oil, free, 308

Olympia, 201

Olympian mythology, 207, 240

Omens, 32, 139

Opimius, L., 92

Ops Consiva, 37, 38

Oratory, 144, 147, 148

Orestes (sculpture), 249

Oriens, 312

Ornament in sculpture, 249,
  painted, 297

Orodes, 200

Osiris, 203

Ostia, 12, 27, 255

Otho, 273

Ovid, Latinity of, 9;
  and Augustus, 169,
    and the defeat of Parthia, 199,
    and the gods, 225,
    an immoral writer, 240;
  and the loves of the gods, 240,
    and nature-worship, 240;
  typical of the civilisation of his day, 241,
    as a barrister, 241,
    banishment, 242;
  and the younger Julia, 242;
    his character, 242

Oysters, Lucrine, 187

Pacuvius, 76, 138

Pagan-Christian rites, 304

Painting (art), 152, 296

Pais, Prof. Ettore, 42

Palatine Hill, 25, 280

Palatine, the, 168

Palazzo dei Conservatori, 294

Pales (god), 36

Palestine, 268

Palmyra, 282, 295, 306, 307, 308

Pamphylia, 193

Pannonia, 193, 220

Pannonian and Illyrian revolt, 184, 217

Pantheon, the, 251, 294

Paphlagonia, 193

Parilia, 36

Paris, 211

Parisii, the, 211

Parthenon frieze, 249

Parthia, 247, 266, 267, 269

Parthians, the, 107, 125, 129, 197-200, 259

Party system started by the Gracchi, 90

Pasiteles, 155

Passports, 196

“Patavinity,” 151

Patras, 202

Patriarchal system, 25, 26

Patricians, 14, 25, 30, 43, 167, 272, 314

Patriciate, the, 224

Patriotism, 231

Patronage in literature, 232

Patrons of art, 246, 247

_Patronus_, or champion, 176, 195

Paul, St., 207, 300,
  appeal to Cæsar, 194

Paulinus, Suetonius, 260

Pausanias, 290

“Pax,” 166

Pax Augusta, 209

Pax Julia (Beja), 221

Pax Romana, 61, 186

Peace under Augustus, 166,
    Augustan Altar of Peace (“Tellus Group”), 244, 245, 248, 251;
  in the Antonine age, 303,
    and defence, 309

Pelignians, 13

Penates, 37

Pensions for soldiers, 99, 185

People, the, 179

Peræa, 194

Pergamum, 55,
  Attalids of, 246

Pericles, 157

Perseus, 56

Persians, 307

Perspective in sculpture, 248

Pertinax, 306

Perugia, 129, 196

Perusine War, 227

Peter, St., 300

Petronius Arbiter, 138, 242, 278, 279

Petronius the legate, 205

Pharisaism, 207

Pharisees, the, 269

Pharsalus, Battle of, 121

Philemon, 76

Philip of Macedon, 50, 54

Philip the Arabian, bust of, 292

Philippi, Battles of, 128

Philistine coast towns, 205

Philistinism in Roman art, 246

Philo Judæus, 290, 300

Philomela, 241

Philosophy, 139, 279, 286, 290, 299, 300

Phœbe, 230

Phraates, 198, 200

Phrygian corybants, 139

Piacenza, 53

Piazza, 252

Piety, 235

Pilate, Pontius, 206

Pile-dwellings, 14

Pilum, the, 98

Piracy, 59, 106, 108

Pisidia, 193

Piso C. Calpurnius, 80

Piso (consul with Augustus), 174

Placidia, Empress, 315

Plague, the, 290, 307

Plantation system of slaves, 71

Platæa, 201

Plautius Silvanus, Aulus, 259

Plautus, 76, 77, 138

Plebeians, 14, 25, 30, 43

Plebiscite, the, 174, 179

Plebs, secession of the, 30

Pliny (the elder) and Etruscan art, 20,
    art critic, 249;
  as compiler, 290

Pliny (the younger), history in, 195, 278,
    and the emperors, 242,
    condition of Italy, 196,
    letters, 270;
  benevolence, 283,
    and schools, 286,
    and reading, 287,
    and toleration, 301

Plutarch, 290

Poetry of the Republic, 142,
  of the Augustan age, 233-243,
  of the Empire, 288-289

Polemo, 200

Police, 182, 186

Political system, reform of, and the Gracchi, 89

Pollio, Asinius, 160, 168, 232, 234

Polybius, 66, 150

Polycarp, 300

Polygnotus, 296

Pompeian law, 120

Pompeii, 134, 195, 283, 285, 296, 297

Pompeius, Gneius, the Great, and new provinces, 60;
  and the monarchy, 100,
    supporter of Sulla, 105, 108,
    ally of Crassus, 108,
    ruler of the sea, 109;
  puts down piracy, 109,
    defeats Mithradates, 109,
    and Cæsar, 114, 119;
  political incapacity, 118,
    sole consul, 119,
    flies before Cæsar, 121;
  murdered, 122,
    and the walls of Jerusalem, 123,
    his wealth, 132,
    Vergil and, 288

Pompeius, Sextus, a pirate, 123,
    joined by “patriots,” 128,
    defeat of, 129,
    his allies against Augustus, 164,
    and Sicily, 209;
  reconciliation with Augustus, 226

Pomponius Mela, 290

Pont du Gard, 294

_Pontifex maximus_, 32.
  _See also_ Cæsar

Pontus, 60, 193, 194, 200, 312

Poor children, Pliny’s benefaction for, 283

Pope, the, 315

Population, decline of, 313

Populus Romanus, 174, 177, 179

Pork, free, 308

Portraiture, Etruscan, 152,
  dread of, 156,
  under the Republic, 156-157,
  under Augustus, 248-250,
  under the Empire, 292

Portugal, 221

Portus Julius, 187

Post, 196

Postumus, 306

Pottery, Etruscan, 20,
  Gallic, 114,
  Aretine, 159

“Præfects, Prætorian,” 312

Præneste, 251, 296

_Prætor peregrinus_, 298

_Prætor urbanus_, 298

Prætorian guard, the, Augustus and, 172,
    dominates politics, 175,
    commanded by prefects, 182,
    its strength, 182, 185,
    murder Caligula and choose Claudius, 271,
    choose Nero, 272;
  and the succession, 273, 306,
    Vespasian and, 274,
    lawyers as prefects, 309

Prætonum, 206

Prætors, 30, 31, 41, 63, 181, 182, 193, 299

Prasina Factio, 280

Praxiteles, 155

Prefects, of the Fleet, 187;
  of the City, 182,
  of the Guard, 182,
  of Egypt, 203, 204

President of the state, 134

Press censorship, 163, 289

Prices, Edict of, 310

Priests, colleges of, 32,
    and the law, 41;
  and dining, 133;
  High Priests, 201

Primus, M., 177

“Princeps,” 171,
  origin of the principate, 177,
  Augustus and the office, 180

“Princes,” 124

“Princes of the Youth,” 181

Principate, the, 177, 270

_Principes_, the, 29

Priscus, Helvidius, 300

Prisoners, Roman, as slaves, 197

Probus, 179, 308

Proconsuls, 193

Procurators, 194

Proletariat, the, 132.
  _See also_ Populus Propertius and the Parthians, 199,
    and Mæcenas, 233,
    as poet, 239-240;
  loss of patrimony, 243

Property-tax, 189,
  in Gaul, 190

Proprætors, 194

Provence, 210

Provinces, early, 58;
  acquisition and government, 59-65,
    local autonomy, 61,
    corruption, 64,
    self-supporting and profitable, 188,
    taxes, 190;
  of the Roman world, 193,
    under the senate, 193,
    Cæsar’s provinces, 193,
    lists of provinces, 193-194,
    under Diocletian, 312.
  _See also the names of provinces as_ Spain, Gaul, Africa

_Provincia_, 59

Prudishness, 80

Ptolemy, alliance with, 47

“Publican and sinner,” 64

Publicans (_Publicani_), 64, 207

Punic War, First, 48,
  Second, 49,
  Third, 57

Pupienus, 306

Puteoli, 134

Pyrrhic War, 44

Pyrrhus, 45, 51

Quæstors, 66, 133, 188

Quintilian, 220, 290

Quintus Curtius, 33

Quintus Fabius, 51

“Race-suicide,” 138

Raphael, 244

Rates, 196

Raudine Plain, 94

Ravenna, 187, 315

Reading, 287

Realism in Roman art, 157, 248, 249

Red Sea, 204

Regensburg, 264

Religion, early Roman, 32, 35,
    and Greek mythology, 35, 39,
    gods, 36 _et seq._,
    its nature, 39,
    business nature of, 40,
    becomes cosmopolitan and debased, 79,
    State religion under the Republic, 133,
    formal and political, 138,
    formulæ, 139;
  materialism and the State religion, 139;
  superstition and rites, 139,
    Augustus and, 201,
    of Gaul, 211,
    and art, 248,
    and architecture, 251,
    Claudius and, 272,
    in schools, 286,
    and international law, 298,
    under the Empire, 299,
    Christianity, 299

Religions, conflict of, 299

Religious liberty under Trajan, 301

Remi, the, 212

Renaissance, Roman art and the, 244, 251

Republic, the, causes for its end, 100

Republican civilisation, later, 130

Republican constitution, 31

Republicanism, Diocletian and, 311

Revenue, public, 192

Rex, 125

Rhætia, 194, 220

Rhætian _limes_, 264

Rheims, 210, 212

“Rhetoric,” 286

Rhine, the, Cæsar’s expeditions, 117;
  flotillas, 187,
    Augustus crosses, 212, 216,
    as frontier, 215, 218, 263;
  Rhine legions, 219, 263,
    _Limes Trans-Rhenanus_, 264;
  invasions of barbarians, 306, 314

Rhodes, 55, 132, 194, 247

Rich and poor under the Republic, 132

Ricimer the Suevian, 314

Ridgeway, Prof. Wm., 2, 14

Riegl, Alois, 244

Rimini, 196

Roads, Italy, 196,
  France, 211,
  imperial, 278

Robigus, 37

Roman Church, ritual, &c. of the, 303,
  a legacy of Rome, 315

Roman conquests, 44 _et seq._

Roman Empire under Augustus, greatness of the, 221

Roman Government, the, and Christianity, 300-301

Roman history, views of, 3, 4, 5,
  historians and, 4, 7, 8,
  worthlessness of much early history, 23,
  Greek influence in manufacturing, 24,
  unreliability of, before 390 B.C., 24,
  chronological summary, 317-324

Roman Peace, the, 61, 186

Roman society, viciousness of, in the age of conquest, 80

Roman suzerainty, 56;
  annexations, 56,
    provinces, 58;
  government, 61

Roman Wall, the (Britain), 261

Romans, origin of the, 13;
  early Romans as warriors, 26;
  conquests by, 28;
  the early Romans, 32,
    the Roman character 33, 43;
  virtues, 33,
    accomplishments, 34,
    religion, 35,
    agriculture, 36,
    law, 41,
    a fighting people, 54

“Rome and Augustus,” cult of, 201

Rome and Greece, resemblances between, 1,
  Greek influence, 6, 7, 11.
  _See also_ Art, Literature

Rome, and the making of Europe, 5;
  as a city-state, 6,
    its greatness, 10;
  origin of, 16,
    under the Etruscans, 17,
    Etruscan princes expelled, 23;
  and the Latin plain, 12,
    and the control of the Mediterranean, 13,
    the Seven Kings of, 19,
    legends and early traditions, 17,
    the earliest city, 25,
    political equality, 30,
    constitution, 30,
    the imperial city, 65;
  wealth, 65,
    taxation, 66,
    finance, 66,
    the populace, 68,
    corn-supply, 69,
    slavery, 70,
    equality, 71,
    luxury, 72,
    civilisation, 72,
    Greek influence, 73, 74, 81;
  causes of degeneracy, 80,
    individual domination, 83,
    end of the Republic, 118,
    and Cæsar, 123,
    wealth and social conditions under the Republic, 132,
    unhealthy, 135,
    social life, 136,
    streets, 152;
  improvements under Augustus, 167,
    magistracy, 182,
    city prefect, 182,
    reform of, by Augustus, 223,
    regeneration of Roman society, 225, 231;
  patriotism, 231,
    Horace and, 239;
  and art, 243,
    rebuilding, 244, 248
  architecture, 250;
  the weakness of the Empire 271,
    riches and loss of power, 278,
    life of the city described by satirists, 278,
    imperial Rome, 278,
    amusements, 279,
    advanced civilisation, 280,
    its splendours, 280,
    buildings and peoples, 282,
    as a place of abode, 296,
    the Eternal City, 304,
    Aurelian Wall, 307

Romulus and Remus, 17

Romulus, hut of, 153

Roofing, 250

Roumania (Dacia), 265

Roxolani, 307

Rubicon, the, 120

Russia, 197, 213

Saalburg, 264

Saale, the, 216

Sabines, 13

Sacred Mount, 30

Sacred Way, 282

Sacrifices, human, 40, 211

Sadducees, 269

Saguntum, 49

St. Angelo, Castle of, 294

St. Bernard Pass, 220

Saints, Christian, 304

Salamis, 201

Salaries of officials, 190

Salii, 34, 39

Salinator, M. Livius, 74

Sallust, 150

Salt, free, 308

Saltus, Teutoburgiensis, 218

Salvage brigade, 131

Samaria, 205

Samnite Wars, 13, 28, 44,
  rebellion, 105

Sanhedrin, 207

Saracens, 307

Saragossa, 221

Sarcophagi, 247

Sardinia, 48, 53, 59, 61, 193

Sarmatia, province, 309,
    Sarmatian cavalry, 266;
  captive Sarmatians, 307

Sarmatians, the, and Ovid, 243

Sarmizegethusa, 266

Satires, 237

Saturn, 38,
  Temple of, 251

Saturninus, 95

Saxons, 213, 309

Scævola, 33, 84

Scapula, Ostorius, 260

Scaurus, 91, 92, 94

Sceptre of ivory, the, 22

Schoolmasters, 286

Schools _See_ Education

Scipio Africanus, 52, 53, 58

Scipios, the, 76, 83, 123

Scopas, 155, 250

Scotland, 261

Scribonia, 226, 227

Sculpture of the Republic, 155-157,
    revival of, 200,
    the Greeks and Roman sculpture, 245,
    copies and imitations, 291;
  busts, 292,
    bas-reliefs, 292;
  narrative on columns, 292

Sea-power, the Romans and, 187

Sebaste (Samaria), 205

Secession of the Plebs, the, 30

Secular games, 238

Sejanus, 271

Semitic question, the, 268

Sena, victory of, 75

Senate, the, beginnings, 25;
  wisdom of, 28;
  its constitution, 31;
  and Pyrrhus, 46,
    aristocracy and government, 72;
  weakness under late Republic, 82;
  the Gracchi and, 86, 89, 90;
  and the Jugurthan War, 91;
  and Marius, 95,
    under Augustus, 167, 169, 175-179, 224,
    position and powers under the Empire, 179;
  military affairs, 184;
  under Vespasian, 274;
  under Domitian and later emperors, 275,
    supplanted by Diocletian, 312

Senators forbidden foreign commerce, 67, 132;
  as landowners, 67, 132,
    flee from Cæsar, 121;
  tax farmers, 132;
  hereditary, 132, 134

Seneca the younger and Nero, 272, 290, 291;
  ethics of, 303

Senecas, the, Spaniards, 220, 290

Senones, the, 212

Sens, 212

Serapis, 139

Sergi, G., on the Mediterranean race, 2

Sertorius, 105, 107

Sestertius, 34

Severi, the, 311

Severus, Alexander, 306, 311

Severus, Septimius, 306

_Seviri, Augustales_, 196

Shakespeare and Cæsar, 112

Shapur, the Persian King, 306

Sheep, 36, 70

Shepherds, 71

Ships, 131

Shophets, 49

Shows, public, 137

Sicily, Pyrrhus and, 46;
  the Romans and, 47, 51, 52,
    acquisition of, 59, 60, 61,
    corn-supply of, 190,
    a province, 193,
    colonies in, 195,
    its history, 208-209

Sidon, 247

Sienckiewicz, Henryk, 279

Siesta, the, 136

Silanus, 94

Silius, 255

Silius Italicus, 287, 288

Silures, the, 260

Silver coinage, 34, 154

Sirmio, 143, 296

Slavery of early Rome, 70,
  and immorality, 79,
  Roman society and, 279

Slaves, Sardinian, 53,
    risings among, 106;
  Gallic conquest and, 117,
    training and use of, 131;
  under Augustus, 181;
  body-guard, 182, 184,
    and the fleet, 187;
  tax on sales, 190,
    Greek slaves and art, 247

Slavs, 214

Social conditions under the Republic, 132

Social laws, 226

Social war, 102

Society under the Republic, 132,
    regeneration of, by Augustus, 225;
  under the Empire, 279,
    grades of, 284

Soldiers. _See_ Army

Soldiers, tribune of the, 133

Solon, 19

Solon’s code, 42

Soudan, the, 204, 205

Spain, Hamilcar Barca and, 49;
  Roman army in, 51,
    Scipio reconquers, 52,
    ceded by Carthage, 53,
    a province, 59,
    incessant warfare, 61,
    defeat of Sertorius, 105, 107,
    Cæsar and, 121,
    Augustus and, 169, 172, 193,
    civilised, 209,
    Augustus and an outbreak in, 210,
    under Augustus, 220-221,
    diocese, 312,
    the Vandals and, 314

Spalato, 316

Spanish army, revolt of the, against Nero, 258

Sparta, 194, 201

Spartacus the gladiator, 106

Statius, 288

Statues, 243, 291,
  portraits, 156

Stephanus, 156, 249

Sternness, early Roman, 33

“Stipendiary” states, 60

Stirlingshire, 262

Stoic republicanism, 123, 275

Stoicism, 139, 207, 231, 300, 302

Strabo, 195, 202, 290

Strong, Mrs. A., and Roman art, 157, 244, 292, 294

“Structor,” 137

Strzygowski, Josef, 249

Suabia, 216

Succession, imperial, 229, 251

Suetonius and the early Empire, 4,
    on Cæsar, 113;
  as historian, 162, 275,
    and the cowardice of Augustus, 182;
  quoted on military science, 184;
  on the tastes of Augustus, 252;
  on Nero, 256, 259,
    studious, 287;
  freedom allowed to, 289

Suevi, the, 215, 307, 309

Sulla, L. Cornelius, makes Cisalpine Gaul a province, 59;
    officer to Marius, 93,
    succeeds Marius, 101;
  his character, 101,
    master of Rome, 103, 105,
    and the Mithradatic War, 104,
    returns to Rome and defeats the Samnites, 105;
  death, 105,
    and the columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, 153;
  failure of, 223

Sulla, Faustus, 123

Sulpicius, Rufus, 103

Sumptuary laws, 226

Sungod, the, 295, 306

Surrentum, 251

Swabians, 213

Switzerland, 220

Sword, the Roman, 98

Sygambri, 216

Syracuse, 209

Syria, 60, 169, 200, 267, 273

Syrian War, 65

Tabularium, the, 153

Tacitus and the imperial _régime_, 4, 11, 242, 273,
    and Augustus, 162, 163, 187,
    and the Senate, 179,
    the _Germania_, 214,
    and Livia, 228,
    and historians, 253;
  and Britain, 260,
    the satire of, 275,
    the “silver Latin” of, 287,
    and the history of his own times, 288,
    as prose writer and historian, 289, 290

Tacitus, Claudius (Emperor), 308

Tanagra, 201

Tarentum, 45

Tarquin, 24

Tarquins, the, 19

Tarraco, 221

Tarraconensis, 221

Tarshish, 49

Tartars, 214, 309

Tax-farming, 132, 191

Tax-gatherers, 191

Taxes (_stipendium_) from provincial territories, 64,
    freedom from (_tributum_), 188, 189;
  in kind, 190;
  indirect, 196,
    under the Empire, 270, 276,
    collection of, 273;
  increase of, 311,
    exemption of certain classes, 311,
    Constantine’s burden of, 313

Teachers, 286

“Tellus Group,” the, 244, 250

Temple, the, Jerusalem, 268

Temples, 67, 152, 166, 168, 196, 243, 250, 251, 280, 282, 294

Temples to Augustus, 201

Tenth Legion, the, 123, 150, 269

Terence, 76, 77, 138

Terentia, 138

Terentius Lucanus, senator, 76

Terminus, 37

Terra-cotta ornaments, Etruscan, 21, 22

“Terramare” civilisation, 14

Tertullian, 316

Tetricus, 308

Teutonic and Latin races, contrast between, 213, 214.
  _See also_ Germany

Teutons, the, invasion by, 93,
  defeated by Marius, 94

Thamugadi, 283

Thapsus, 123

Theatre of Marcellus, 251

Theatres, 75

Theatrical performances, 137

Thebes, 202

Theocritus, 144, 233

Theodosius, 313

Thespiæ, 201

Thessalonica, 202

Third Legion, 283

Thrace, 194, 197, 312

Thrasea, Pætus, 273, 300

Thurii, 106

Thusnelda, 219

Tiber, the River, 12,
  and navigation, 17, 187,
  offerings to the, 40

Tiberius, Suetonius on, 162, 306,
    in the triumph of Augustus, 166;
  suppresses the comitia, 174;
  nominated to succeed Augustus, 175, 229,
    as general, 184;
  overlord in Asia, 195;
  and Germany, 216, 263,
    his mother Livia, 227;
  banishment, 228;
  rivals, 228;
  triumphs, 239,
    character, 253;
  and enlargement of the Empire, 259;
  government, 271,
    retirement, 271,
    and “delation,” 272;
  junior and Rome, 235-236,
    loss of patrimony, 236, 243,
    position, 288,
    and epic poetry, 288

Verres, 209

Verulamium, 260

Vespasian and press censorship, 163,
    in Britain, 259,
    and Germany, 264,
    and Mœsia, 265,
    subdues Palestine, 268,
    becomes Cæsar, 274,
    origin, 274,
    government, 274,
    Rome under, 279,
    and Pliny the elder, 287;
  art under, 293

Vesta, 38,
  Temple of, 152

Vestals, state, 38

Vetera Castra (Xanten), 216, 219, 263

Via Appia. _See_ Appian Way

Via Claudia, 263

Vicars, 312

Vice, 133, 138

Villa Albani, 293

“Villanova” period, 14

Villas, 251, 295

Viminacium, 266

Vindex, 257, 262

Vipsania, 227

Virginia, 33

Viriathus, 84

Virtue, Roman, 33, 80

Visigoths, 314

Vitellius, 262, 273, 289

Vitruvius, 290

Voluptas, 139

Vopiscus, 307

Wales, 260

Walls, Roman, 261, 262

War and culture, 73

Warfare, annals of, in history, 306

Watchmen, 186

Wax images, 156, 248

Wealth under the Republic, 131

Weser, the, 216, 219

Wickhoff, Franz, and Roman art, 157, 244, 293

Wiesbaden (Aquæ Mattiacæ), 264

Wine, 136

Wolf, the, as totem, 19,
  the mother wolf, 38

Women, influence of, 223,
  wickedness of, under the Empire, 254

World-state, the, 278, 308

Worth, 264

Xanten. _See_ Vetera Castra

York, 261

Zacchæus, 207

Zama, 53

Zealots, the, 268

Zela, 123

Zeno the Stoic, 300

Zenobia, Queen, 306, 307, 308

Zeus, Olympian, Temple of, 153

Zeuxis, 296

Zion, Temple of Jupiter on, 269

Zuyder Zee canal, 216

          PRINTED BY


[1] Is there aught which ruinous Time does not impair? Our fathers, a
generation worse than our grandsires, begat us, a race more evil, soon
to produce offspring more wicked still. (_Odes_, III. vi. 45-8.)

[2] Plates 1, 2, 3, 8, and 70.

[3] Plate 2.

[4] Plate 4.

[5] Plate 5.

[6] Plate 6.

[7] Plate 7.

[8] See “The Glory that was Greece,” pp. 10-11, &c.

[9] Plate 8.

[10] Plate 9.

[11] What thou owest to the stock of Nero, O Rome, let Metaurus’ flood
bear witness, and the defeated Hasdrubal, and that fair dawn that drove
the darkness from Latium.... And at length spake treacherous Hannibal:
“We are but deer, the prey of ravening wolves, but lo! we are pursuing
those whom to escape is a rare triumph.... No proud ambassadors now
shall I send to Carthage perished, perished is all our hope and all the
fortune of our race, for Hasdrubal is dead.” (_Odes_, IV. iv. 37-40,
49-52, 69-72).

[12] Plate II.

[13] See “The Glory that was Greece,” p. 261.

[14] Plate 12.

[15] Plate 13.

[16] Plate 22, No. 1.

[17] Plate 14.

[18] Plate 22, No. 2.

[19] Plate 27.

[20] But unless the breast is cleared, what battles and dangers must
then find their way into us in our own despite! What poignant cares
inspired by lust then rend the distrustful man, and then also what
mighty fears! and pride, filthy lust, and wantonness! what disasters
they occasion, and luxury and all sorts of sloth! He therefore who
shall have subdued all these and banished them from the mind by words,
not arms, shall he not have a just title to be ranked among the gods?
(V. 43-51, Munro’s translation.)

[21] The man who is sick of home often issues forth from his large
mansion, and as suddenly comes back to it, finding as he does that he
is no better off abroad. He races to his country house, driving his
jennets in headlong haste, as if hurrying to bring help to a house on
fire; he yawns the moment he has reached the door of his house, or
sinks heavily into sleep and seeks forgetfulness, or even in haste goes
back again to town. In this way each man flies from himself. (III.
1060-8, Munro’s translation.)

[22] Away from this time forth with thy tears, rascal; a truce to thy
complainings.... For old things give way and are supplanted by new
without fail, and one thing must ever be replenished out of other
things; and no one is delivered over to the pit and black Tartarus.
Matter is needed for after generations to grow, all of which, though,
will follow thee when they have finished their term of life; and thus
it is that all these no less than thou have before this come to an end
and hereafter will come to an end. Thus one thing will never cease to
rise out of another; and life is granted to none in fee-simple, to all
in usufruct. (III. 955, 964-71, Munro’s translation.)

[23] Is there aught in this that looks appalling, aught that wears an
aspect of gloom? Is it not more untroubled than any sleep? (III. 976-7,
Munro’s translation.)

[24] Suns may set and rise again; for us, when once our brief day has
waned, there is one long night to be slept through. Give me a thousand
kisses, and then a hundred, and another thousand, and a hundred to
follow yea, and another thousand--and yet a hundred! (_Carmen_, V. 4-9)

[25] Cease to weep, Aurunculeia: _Thou_ need’st not fear that any
lovelier maid should see the bright day coming from Ocean.

Even so the hyacinth is wont to bloom in the rich man’s many-coloured
garden. But thou lingerest. The day is passing. Come forth, thou bride.

Come forth, thou bride, now if it please thee, and hear our songs. Look
how the torches shake their golden hair! Come forth, thou bride.

[26] Plate 15.

[27] At last, Fellow Citizens of Rome, at last we are quit of Lucius
Catiline. Mad with audacity, panting with iniquity, infamously
contriving destruction for the fatherland, hurling his threats of fire
and slaughter against us and our city, we have cast him forth or driven
him forth or escorted him forth on his way with salutations. Gone,
vanished, absconded, escaped! No more shall disaster be plotted against
our bulwarks from within by that monster, that prodigy of wickedness.
No more shall that dagger threaten our hearts. No more in the Campus,
nor in the forum, nor in the senate-house, no more within the walls of
our own homes, shall he fill us with panic and alarm.

[28] I was grieved, Fathers and Senators, grieved that the republic
once saved by your exertions and mine should be doomed so shortly to
perish.... Listen, listen, Fathers and Senators, listen and learn the
wounds of our fatherland!

[29] As a youth I defended the state; I will not fail her in my age:
I spurned the swords of Catiline; I will not tremble at thine. Nay,
sirs, I would gladly give my body to death, if that could assure the
liberty of our country and help the pains o£ the Roman people to bring
the fruit of its long travailing to birth. Why, nearly twenty years ago
in this very temple I declared that death could not come too soon for
a man who had enjoyed a consulship. With how much more truth shall I
declare it in my age! To me death is already covetable; I have finished
with those rewards which I have gained and those honours which I have
achieved. Only these two prayers I make: one, that at my death I may
leave the Roman people free (than this nothing greater could be granted
by the immortal gods), and, secondly, that every man may so be requited
as he may deserve at the hands of the republic!

[30] Plate 44, Fig. 2.

[31] Plate 16.

[32] See page 18.

[33] Plate 22, Nos. 2 and 3.

[34] Plate 18, Fig. 1.

[35] Plate 18, Fig. 2.

[36] Plate 20, Fig. 1.

[37] Plate 19.

[38] Plate 22, Fig. 4.

[39] Plate 22, No. 1.

[40] Plate 21.

[41] Frontispiece, and Plates 23, 24, 25, 26.

[42] Plate 27.

[43] See Frontispiece.

[44] Plate 28, Fig. 1.

[45] Mayst thou [Fortune] preserve Cæsar, who marches against the
Britons at the ends of the earth. (_Odes_, I. xxxv, 29-30.)

[46] Plates 29-32.

[47] Plate 35, Fig. 1.

[48] _Carmen Seculare_, 17-20.

[49] Plate 36.

[50] Plate 35, Fig. 2; Plate 37; and Plate 41, Fig. 2.

[51] See “The Glory that was Greece,” Plates 31 and 32.

[52] Plate 73: for detail see Plates 53, 54, 55, 56.

[53] Plate 41, Fig. 2; Plate 42, Fig. 1; and Plate 43.

[54] Plate 38.

[55] Plates 39, 40.

[56] Plate 18, Fig. 1.

[57] Plate 44, Fig. 2.

[58] Plate 44, Fig. 1.

[59] Plate 45.

[60] Plate 46.

[61] Plate 47.

[62] Plate 48.

[63] Plate 51.

[64] Plate 52.

[65] Plates 53, 54, 55, 56.

[66] Plate 58.

[67] Plate 59.

[68] Plates 60, 61, 62, 63.

[69] Plate 64.

[70] Plates 65, 66.

[71] Plate 67, Fig. 2.

[72] Plate 68, Fig. 1.

[73] Plate 69.

[74] Plate 70.

[75] Plate 71, Fig. 1.

[76] Plate 72.

[77] Plate 73.

[78] Plate 75, Fig. 1.

[79] Plate 76.

[80] Plate 77.

[81] Plate 29.

[82] Plate 81.

[83] Plate 82.

[84] Plate 45.

[85] Plate 83.

[86] Plate 84.

[87] Plate 85.

[88] Plate 89.

[89] Plates 87, 88, 90.

[90] Plate 91.

[91] Plate 92.

[92] See Plate 95, Fig. 2.

[93] Plate 93.

[94] Plate 71, Fig. 2.

[95] Plate 94.

[96] Plate 95, Fig. 1.

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