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Chapter 22



Happy Augustus! who so well inspired, Couldst throw thy pomp and royalties aside. Attentive to the wise, the great of soul. And dignify thy mind. Thrice glorious days. Auspicious to the muses!--Dyer.


1. By the death of Antony, Augus'tus having become master of the Roman empire, returned to Rome in triumph; where, by feasts and magnificent shows, he began to obliterate the impressions of his former cruelty; and thenceforward resolved to secure, by his clemency, a throne, the foundations of which were laid in blood. 2. He was now at the head of the most extensive empire that mankind had ever beheld. The former spirit of the Romans, and those characteristic marks that distinguished them from others, were now totally lost. The city was inhabited by a concourse from all the countries of the world; and being consequently divested of all just patriotic principles, perhaps a monarchy is the best form of government that could be found to unite its members. 3. However, it was very remarkable, that during these long contentions among themselves, and these horrid devastations by civil war, the state was daily growing more formidable and powerful, and completed the destruction of all the kings who presumed to oppose it.

4. The first care of Augus'tus was to assure himself of the friends of Antony; to which end he publickly reported that he had burnt all Antony's letters and papers without reading them, convinced that, while any thought themselves suspected, they would be fearful of even offering him their friendship.

5. He had gained the kingdom by his army, but he resolved to govern it by the senate. This body, though greatly fallen from its ancient splendor, he knew to be the best constituted, and most remarkable for wisdom and justice. To the senate, therefore, he gave the chief power in the administration of his government, while he himself secured the fidelity of the people and the army by donatives, and acts of favour. 6. By these means the odium of severity fell upon the senate, and the popularity of pardon was solely his own. Thus restoring splendor to the senate and discountenancing corruption, he pretended to reserve to himself a very moderate share of authority, to which none could object: namely, power to compel all ranks of the state to do their duty. 7. This was, in fact, reserving absolute dominion in his own hands; but the misguided people began to look upon his moderation with astonishment: they considered themselves as restored to their former freedom, except the capacity of promoting sedition; and the senate supposed their power re-established in all things but their tendency to injustice. It was even said that the Romans, by such a government, lost nothing of the happiness that liberty could produce, and were exempt from all the misfortunes it could occasion. 8. This observation might have some truth under such a monarch as Augustus now appeared to be; but they were afterwards taught to change their sentiments under his successors, when they found themselves afflicted with all the punishments that tyranny could inflict, or sedition make necessary.

9. After having established this admirable order, Augustus found himself agitated by different passions; and considered, a long time, whether he should keep the empire, or restore the people to their ancient liberty. 10. But he adopted the advice of Mæce'nas, which was, to continue in power: and he was afterwards swayed by him on every occasion. By the advice of that minister, he became gentle, affable, and humane: he encouraged men of learning, and gave them much of his time and his friendship. These in their turn relieved his most anxious hours, and circulated his praise throughout the empire.

11. Thus having given peace and happiness to his subjects, and being convinced of the attachment of all orders of the state to his person, he resolved upon impressing the people with an idea of his magnanimity, by making a show of resigning his authority. 12. To this end, having previously instructed his creatures in the senate how to act, he addressed them in a studied speech, importing the difficulty of governing so extensive an empire; a task to which, he said, none but the immortal gods were equal. He modestly urged his own inability, though impelled by every motive to undertake it; and then, with a degree of seeming generosity, freely gave up all that power which his arms had gained, and which the senate had confirmed, giving them to understand, that the true spirit of the Romans was not lost in him. 13. This speech operated upon the senate variously, as they were more or less in the secret. Many believed the sincerity of his conduct as an act of heroism unequalled by any thing that had hitherto appeared; others, though ignorant of his motives, distrusted his designs. Some there were, who, having greatly suffered during the popular commotions, were fearful of their being renewed; but the majority, who were properly instructed by his ministers, frequently attempted to interrupt him while speaking, and received his proposals with pretended indignation. 14. These unanimously besought him not to resign the administration; and, upon his continuing to decline their request, they in a manner compelled him to comply. However, that his person might be in greater security, they immediately decreed that the pay of his guard should be doubled. 15. On the other hand, that he might seem to make concessions on his side, he permitted the senate to govern the weak, internal provinces, while the most powerful provinces, and those that required the greatest armies for their defence, were taken entirely under his own command. Over these he assumed the government for ten years only, leaving the people still in hopes of regaining their ancient freedom; at the same tune, however, laying his measures so well, that his government was renewed every ten years, to his death.

16. This show of resignation only served to confirm him in the empire, and in the hearts of the people. New honours were heaped upon him. He was now first called Augustus (a name I have hitherto used as that by which he is best known in history.) A laurel was ordered to be planted at his gates. That house was called the palace wherever he made his abode. He was confirmed in the title of father of his country, and his person declared sacred and inviolable. 17. In short, flattery seemed on the rack to find out new modes of pleasing him; but, though he despised the arts of the senate, he permitted their homage, well knowing that, among mankind, titles produce a respect which enforces authority.

18. Upon entering into his tenth consulship, the senate, by oath, approved of all his acts, and set him wholly above the power of the laws. They, some time after, offered to swear not only to all the laws he had made, but such as he should make for the future. 19. It was customary with fathers, upon their death-beds, to command their children to carry oblations to the Capitol, with an inscription, that at the day of their deaths they left Augustus in health. It was determined that no man should be put to death on such days as the emperor entered the city. Upon a dearth of provisions, the people entreated him to accept of the dictatorship; but he would by no means assume the title of dictator, which had been abolished by law.

20. An accumulation of titles and employments did not in the least diminish his assiduity in fulfilling the duties of each. Several very wholesome edicts were passed by his command, tending to suppress corruption in the senate, and licentiousness in the people. 21. He ordained that none should exhibit a show of gladiators without an order from the senate; and then not oftener than twice a year, nor with more than a hundred and twenty at a time. This law was extremely necessary at so corrupt a period of the empire, when armies of these unfortunate men were brought at once upon the stage, and compelled to fight, often, till half of them were slain. 22. It had been usual also with the knights, and women of the first distinction, to exhibit themselves as dancers upon the theatre; he ordered that not only these, but their children and grand-children should be restrained from such exercises for the future. 23. He fined many that had refused to marry at a certain age, and rewarded such as had many children. He enacted that the senators should be held in great reverence; adding to their dignity what he had taken from their power. 24. He made a law, that no man should have the freedom of the city without a previous examination into his merit and character. He appointed new rules and limits to the manumission of slaves, and was himself very strict in the observance of them. With regard to dramatic performers, of whom he was very fond, he severely examined their morals, not allowing licentiousness in their lives, nor indecency in their actions. Though he encouraged the athletic exercises, he would not permit women to be present at them. 25. In order to prevent bribery in suing for offices, he took considerable sums of money from the candidates by way of pledge; and if any indirect practices were proved against them, they were obliged to forfeit all. 26. Slaves had been hitherto disallowed to confess anything against their own masters; but he abolished the practice, and first sold the slave to another, which altering the property, his examination became free. 27. These and other laws, all tending to extirpate vice or deter from crimes, gave the manners of the people another complexion; and the rough character of the Roman soldier was now softened into that of the refined citizen.[1]


Questions for Examination.

1. What was the consequence of the death of Antony?

2. What was the character of the Roman people at this time?

3. Did these convulsions weaken the empire?

4. What was the first care of Augustus?

5. In what way did he propose to govern?

6. What were the consequences of this conduct?

7. What advantages did the Romans fancy they enjoyed?

8. Was this observation correct?

9. What conflicting passions agitated the mind of Augustus?

10. Whose advice did he adopt, and what was that advice?

11. What artifice did he employ to confirm his power?

12. How did he make his intentions known?

13. What effect was produced by this proposal?

14. What was their conduct on this occasion?

15. What farther artifices did he employ?

16. What were the consequences of this affected moderation?

17. Was he imposed upon by these arts?

18. What farther instances of abject servility did the senate display?

19. What else was done to his honour?

20. Did these honours render him remiss?

21. What salutary law did he enact?

22. What next?

23. What regulations concerning marriage, and respect to senators, did he enforce?

24. How did he improve the morals of the people?

25. How did he prevent bribery?

26. By what means did he promote justice?

27. What was the consequence of these regulations?




The death of those distinguished by their station, But by their virtue more, awakes the mind To solemn dread, and strikes a saddening awe.--Young.


1. Augustus, by his own example, tended greatly to humanize his fellow-citizens; for being placed above all equality, he had nothing to fear from condescension. He was familiar with all, and suffered himself to be reprimanded with the most patient humility. Though, by his sole authority, he could condemn or acquit whomsoever he thought proper, he gave the laws their proper course, and even pleaded for persons he desired to protect. 2. When the advocate for Pri'mus[2] desired to know, with an insolent air, what brought Augustus into court, the emperor calmly replied, "The public good." When one of his veteran soldiers entreated his protection, Augustus bid him apply to an advocate. "Ah!" replied the soldier, "it was not by proxy that I served you at the battle of Ac'tium." Augustus was so pleased that he pleaded his cause and gained it for him. One day a petition was presented to him with so much awe as to displease him. "Friend," cried he, "you seem as if you were offering something to an elephant rather than to a man; be bolder." 3. Once as he was sitting in judgment, Mæce'nas perceiving that he was inclined to be severe, and not being able to get to him through the crowd, he threw a paper into his lap, on which was written, "Arise, executioner!" Augustus read it without displeasure, and immediately rising, pardoned those whom he was disposed to condemn. 4. But what most of all showed a total alteration, was his treatment of Corne'lius Cinna, Pompey's grandson. This nobleman had entered into a conspiracy against him: Augustus sent for the other conspirators, reprimanded them, and dismissed them. But resolving to mortify Cinna by the greatness of his generosity--"I have twice," says he, "given you your life, as an enemy and as a conspirator: I now give you the consulship; let us therefore be friends for the future; let us contend only in showing whether my confidence or your fidelity shall be victorious."

5. In the practice of such virtues he passed a long reign. In fact, he seemed the first Roman who aimed at gaining a character by the arts of peace, and who obtained the affections of the soldiers without any military talents of his own: nevertheless, the Roman arms, under his lieutenants, were crowned with success.

6. But he had uneasiness of a domestic nature that distressed him. He had married Liv'ia, the wife of Tibe'rius Nero, by the consent of her husband, when she was six months advanced in her pregnancy. She was an imperious woman, and, conscious of being beloved, controlled him at her pleasure. 7. She had two sons, Tibe'rius the elder, and Dru'sus, who was born three months after she had been married to Augustus, and who was thought to be his own son. The elder of these, Tibe'rius, whom he afterwards adopted, and who succeeded him in the empire, was a good general, but of a suspicious and obstinate temper, and of a conduct so turbulent and restless, that he was at last exiled for five years to the island of Rhodes, where he chiefly spent his time in a retired manner, conversing with the Greeks, and addicting himself to literature, of which, however he afterwards made but a bad use.

8. But the greatest affliction that Augustus experienced was from the conduct of his daughter Julia, whom he had by Scribo'nia, his former wife. Julia, whom he married to his general Agrip'pa, and afterwards to Tibe'rius, set no bounds to her misconduct. She was arrived at that excess of wickedness, that the very court where her father presided was not exempt from her infamies. 9. Augustus, at first, had thoughts of putting her to death: but, after consideration, he banished her to Pandata'ria.[3] He ordered that no person should come near her without his permission, and sent her mother Scribo'nia along with her, to bear her company. When any one attempted to intercede for Julia, his answer was, "that fire and water should sooner unite than he with her." 10. Augustus, having survived most of his contemporaries, at length, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, began to think of retiring from the fatigues of state, and of constituting Tibe'rius his partner in the throne. He desired the senate to salute him no longer at the palace, nor take it amiss, if, for the future, he could not converse with them, as formerly.

[Sidenote: U.C. 762.]

11. From that time Tibe'rius was joined in the government of the provinces with him, and invested with nearly the same authority. However, Augustus could not entirely forsake the administration, which habit had rendered a source of pleasure; and he still continued a watchful guardian, and showed himself, to the last, a lover of his people. 12. Finding it now, therefore, very inconvenient to come to the senate, by reason of his age, he desired to have twenty privy-counsellors assigned him for a year; and it was decreed, that whatever measures were resolved upon by them and the consuls, should have entirely the force of a law. 13. He seemed apprehensive of his approaching end, for he made his will, and delivered it to the vestal virgins. He then solemnized the census, or numbering the people, whom he found to amount to four millions one hundred and thirty-seven thousand; which shows Rome to be equal to four of the greatest cities of modern times. 14. While these ceremonies were performing, in the midst of a mighty concourse of people in the Cam'pus Mar'tius, it is said that an eagle flew round the emperor several times, and, directing its flight to a neighbouring temple, perched over the name of Agrippa: this omen was, by the augurs, conceived to portend the death of the emperor. 15. Shortly after, having accompanied Tibe'rius in his march into Illyr'ia, he was taken ill. Returning thence, he sent for Tibe'rius and his most intimate friends. A few hours before his death he ordered a looking-glass to be brought, and his hair to be adjusted with more than usual care. He then addressed his friends, whom he beheld surrounding his bed, and desired to know whether he had properly played his part in life; to which, being answered in the affirmative, he cried out with his last breath, "Then give me your applause." Thus, at the age of seventy-six, after reigning forty-four years, he expired in the arms of Liv'ia, bidding her remember their marriage and their last farewell.[4]

16. The death of the emperor caused inexpressible grief throughout the whole empire. It was, by some, supposed that his wife Liv'ia had some hand in hastening it, with a view to procure the succession more speedily for her son. However this was, she took care, for a time, to keep the important event concealed, by guarding all the passages to the palace; sometimes giving out that he was recovered, and then pretending a relapse. At length, having settled the succession to her mind, she published the emperor's death; and at the same time, the adoption of Tibe'rius to the empire. 17. The emperor's funeral was performed with great magnificence. The senators being in their places, Tibe'rius, on whom that care devolved, pronounced a consolatory oration. After this his will was read, wherein he made Tibe'rius and Liv'ia his heirs. 18. He was studious of serving his country to the very last, and the sorrow of the people seemed equal to his assiduity. It was decreed, that all the women should mourn for him a whole year. Temples were erected to him, divine honours were allowed him, and one Nume'rius At'ticus, a senator, willing to convert the adulation of the times to his own benefit, received a large sum of money for swearing that he saw him ascending into heaven; so that no doubt remained among the people concerning his divinity.

19. Such were the honours paid to Augustus, whose power began in the slaughter, and terminated in the happiness of his subjects; so that it was said of him, "that it had been good for mankind if he had never been born, or if he had never died." 20. It is possible that the cruelties exercised in his triumvirate were suggested by his colleagues. In the case of Cæsar's death, he might think that revenge was virtue. Certain it is, that severities were necessary to restore public tranquillity; for, until the Roman spirit should be eradicated, no monarchy could be secure. 21. He indulged his subjects in the appearance of a republic, while he made them really happy in the effects of a most absolute monarchy, administered with the most consummate prudence. In this last quality he seems to have excelled most monarchs; and indeed, could we separate Octavius from Augustus, he was one of the most faultless princes in history. 22. About this time our Saviour was born in Jude'a.[5]


Questions for Examination.

1. What was the general conduct of Augustus?

2. Mention some instances of his moderation?

3. What farther instance of his moderation is on record?

4. How did he most decidedly show the alteration in his disposition?

5. In what was he particularly remarkable?

6. Was he happy in domestic life?

7. What family had she, and what was the character of her son?

8. Had he no other domestic trials?

9. In what way was she punished?

10. Was the reign of Augustus of considerable length?

11. Did he associate Tiberius with him in the government?

12. By what means did he lighten the burden of government?

13. By what measure did he prepare for his approaching end?

14. What omen portended his death?

15. How did he meet his end?

16. How were the people affected by his death, and why was it for a time concealed?

17. How was his funeral celebrated?

18. What honours were decreed him?

19. Were those honours deserved?

20. What excuses may be made for his early cruelties?

21. By what means did he secure his power?

22. What remarkable event happened in his reign?




Thy acts, Thy fame, Germanicus, will long outlive The venomed shafts of envy; and the praise Of patriot tongues shall follow thee in death.--Clarke.


[Sidenote: U.C. 762. A.D. 10.]

1. Tibe'rius was fifty-six years old when he took upon him the government of the Roman empire. He had lived in a state of profound dissimulation under Augustus, and was not yet hardy enough to show himself in his real character. In the beginning of his reign nothing appeared but prudence, generosity, and clemency.[6] 2. But the successes of his nephew, German'icus, son of his late brother Dru'sus, over the Germans, first brought his natural disposition to light, and discovered the malignity of his mind without disguise. 3. He was hardly settled on his throne, when he received intelligence that the legions in Panno'nia, hearing of the death of Augustus, and desirous of novelty, had revolted; but these were soon quieted, and Percen'nius, their leader, slain. 4. A commotion in Germany was attended with much more important consequences. The legions in that part of the empire were conducted by German'icus, a youth of most admirable qualities, who had been at the late emperor's request, adopted, in order to succeed to the empire. These forces had taken the opportunity of his absence to revolt, and now began to affirm that the whole Roman empire was in their power, and that its principal grandeur was owing to the success of their arms; when German'icus returned, therefore, they unanimously resolved to choose him emperor. 5. This general was the darling of the soldiers, and almost idolized, so that he might, with very little difficulty, have raised himself to the highest dignity in the state; but his duty prevailed over his ambition; he rejected their offers with the utmost indignation, and used the most indefatigable endeavours to quell the sedition. This he effected, though with extreme hazard, by cutting off many of the principal revolters, and then by leading the troops against the Germans, who were considered as the common enemies of the empire.

6. Tiberius was as much pleased with the loyalty of German'icus, as he was distressed at his superior popularity; his success, also, immediately after, against the Germans, still more excited the emperor's envy and private disgust. He overthrew the enemy in several battles, subduing many wild and extensive countries. 7. These victories, however, only served to inflame the emperor's jealousy: and every virtue in the general now became a new cause of offence. This dislike began to appear by Tiberius's making use of every pretence to draw German'icus from the legions: but he was obliged to postpone his purpose on account of a domestic insurrection made in Italy by one Cle'mens, whom he put to death by a private execution in a secret apartment of the palace.

9. Having thus got rid of his domestic enemy, he turned his thoughts to the most specious means of bringing home German'icus from the legions in Germany. He began by procuring him a triumph for his late victories, and when writing to him to return in order to enjoy those honours which the senate had decreed; adding, that he had reaped enough of glory in a country to which he had been sent nine times, and been each time victorious; concluding, that so great a number of triumphs was sufficient; and the most signal vengeance which could be inflicted on this turbulent people was to permit them to continue their intestine divisions. 10. German'icus was met on his return, many miles from the city, by a vast multitude, who received him with marks of adoration rather than respect. The gracefulness of his person; his triumphal chariot, in which were carried his five children; and the recovered standards of the army of Va'rus, threw the people into a phrenzy of joy and admiration.[7]

11. German'icus was now appointed to a new dignity. He departed from Rome on an expedition to the east, carrying with him his wife Agrippi'na, and his children. 12. But Tibe'rius, to restrain his power, had sent Cne'ius Pi'so governor into Syr'ia. This Pi'so was a person of furious and headstrong temper, and, in every respect, fit to execute those fatal purposes for which he was designed. 13. His instructions were, to oppose German'icus upon every occasion, to excite hatred against him, and even to procure his death if an opportunity should offer. He accordingly took every opportunity of abusing German'icus; and taxed him with diminishing the Roman glory, by his peculiar protection of the Athe'nians. 14. German'icus disregarded his invectives, being more intent on executing the business of his commission, than on counteracting the private designs of Pi'so. 15. Piso, however, and his wife Planci'na, who is recorded as a woman of an implacable and cruel disposition, continued to defame him. German'icus opposed only patience and condescension to all their invectives, and, with that gentleness which was peculiar to him, repaid their resentments by courtesy. 16. He was not ignorant of their motives, and was rather willing to evade than oppose their enmity. He, therefore, took a voyage into Egypt, under pretence of viewing the celebrated antiquities of that country; but, in reality, to avoid the machinations of Pi'so, and those of his wife, which were still more dangerous. 17. Upon his return he fell sick, and, whether from a mind previously alarmed, or from more apparent marks of treachery, he sent to let Pi'so know, that he broke off all further connections. Growing daily worse, his death appeared to be inevitable. 18. Finding his end approaching, he addressed his friends, who stood around his bed, to the following effect: "Had my death been natural, I might have reason to complain of being thus snatched away from all the endearments of life, at so early an age; but my complaints are aggravated, in falling the victim of Pi'so's and Planci'na's treachery. Let the emperor, therefore, I conjure you, know the manner of my death, and the tortures I suffer. Those who loved me when living--those who even envied my fortune--will feel some regret, when they hear of a soldier, who had so often escaped the rage of the enemy, falling a sacrifice to the treachery of a woman. Plead then my cause before the people--you will be heard with pity--and if my murderers should pretend to have acted by command, they will either receive no credit or no pardon." 19. As he spoke these words, he stretched forth his hand, which his weeping friends tenderly pressing, most earnestly vowed that they would lose their lives rather than their revenge. The dying prince, then turning to his wife, conjured her, by her regard to his memory, and by all the bonds of nuptial love, to submit to the necessity of the times, and to evade the resentment of her more powerful enemies by not opposing it.[8] 20. Nothing could exceed the distress of the whole empire, upon hearing of the death of German'icus, and the people of Rome seemed to set no bounds to it. 21. In this universal confusion, Pi'so seemed marked for destruction. He and his wife stood charged with the death of German'icus, by giving him a slow poison. Indeed, even the emperor himself, with his mother Liv'ia, incurred a share of the general suspicion. 22. This was soon after greatly increased by the arrival of Agrippi'na, the widow of German'icus, a woman of invincible courage, and in high esteem for her virtue. She appeared bearing the urn containing the ashes of her husband, and, attended by all her children, went to the tomb of Augustus. 23. When she approached the city, she was met by the senate and people of Rome, both with acclamations and expressions of sorrow. The veteran soldiers, who had served under German'icus, gave the sincerest testimonies of their concern. The multitude, while the ashes were depositing, regarded the ceremony in profound silence; but presently broke out into loud lamentations, crying out, The commonwealth is now no more.

24. Tibe'rius permitted the accusation of Pi'so, though he was justly supposed to be merely the instrument of his own vengeance. This general was accused before the senate of the death of German'icus, and of other crimes.

25. He put an end to his trial, which had been drawn out to a great length, by committing suicide.[9] His wife Planci'na, who was universally believed to be most culpable, escaped punishment by the interest of Liv'ia.

26. Tibe'rius, having now no object of jealousy to keep him in awe, began to pull off the mask, and appear more in his natural character than before. 27. In the beginning of his cruelties, he took into his confidence Seja'nus, a Roman knight, who found out the method of gaining his affection by the most refined degree of dissimulation, and was an overmatch for his master in his own arts.[10] It is not well known whether he was the adviser of all the cruelties that ensued; but certain it is, that from the beginning of his ministry, Tibe'rius seemed to become more fatally suspicious.


Questions for Examination.

1. What were the age and character of Tiberius on his accession?

2. What first showed him in his true colours?

3. What was the first news he heard?

4. Was there not a more formidable revolt?

5. Did Germanicus accept this dignity?

6. Did Tiberius properly appreciate this conduct?

7. Was he pleased with his success?

8. How did this appear?

9. What followed this execution?

10. How was Germanicus received?

11. How was he next employed?

12. What restraints were imposed on him?

13. What were Piso's instructions, and how did he execute them?

14. How did Germanicus act on the occasion?

15. Did Piso persevere in his base attempts?

16. Was Germanicus aware of their design?

17. What happened on his return?

18. Repeat his speech on his death-bed.

19. What farther passed on this occasion?

20. Was his untimely end lamented?

21. Who incurred the popular hatred on this occasion?

22. How was this increased?

23. What honours were paid her?

24. Was the tyrant's vile agent rewarded for his services?

25. What was the issue?

26. How did Tiberius conduct himself after this?

27. Who was his prime minister?




Some ask for envied power; which public hate Pursues, and hurries headlong to their fate; Down go the titles; and the statue crowned, Is by base hands in the next river drowned.--Juvenal.


1. Seja'nus began his administration by using all his address to persuade Tiberius to retire to some agreeable retreat, remote from Rome; from this he expected many advantages, since there could be no access to the emperor but through him. 2. The emperor, either prevailed upon by his persuasions, or pursuing the natural turn of his temper, left Rome and went into Campa'nia, under pretence of dedicating temples to Ju'piter and Augustus. Growing weary, however, of places where mankind might follow him with their complaints and distresses, he withdrew himself into the delightful island of Ca'preæ; and buried in this retreat, gave himself up to abandoned pleasures, regardless of the miseries of his subjects. 3. From this time he became more cruel, and Seja'nus increased his distrusts. Secret spies and informers were placed in all parts of the city, who converted the most harmless actions into subjects of offence. 4. In consequence of this, Ne'ro and Dru'sus, the children of German'icus, were declared enemies to the state, and afterwards starved to death in prison; while Agrippi'na, their mother, was sent into banishment. Sabi'nus, Asin'ius, Gal'lus, and Syria'eus, were, upon slight pretences, condemned and executed. 5. In this manner Seja'nus proceeded, removing all who stood between him and the empire; and every day increasing his confidence with Tibe'rius, and his power with the senate. The number of his statues exceeded even those of the emperor; people swore by his fortune, in the same manner as they would have done had he been upon the throne; and he was more dreaded than even the tyrant who actually enjoyed the empire. 6. But the rapidity of his rise seemed only preparatory to the greatness of his downfall. All we know of his first disgrace with the emperor is, that Sati'rus Secun'dus was the man who had the boldness to accuse him of treason; and Anto'nia, the mother of German'icus, seconded the accusation. 7. The senate, who had long been jealous of his power, and dreaded his cruelty, immediately took this opportunity of going beyond the orders of Tibe'rius; instead of sentencing him to imprisonment, they directed his execution.[11] 8. Whilst he was conducting to his fate, the people loaded him with insult and execration; pursued him with sarcastic reproaches; and threw down his statues. He himself was strangled by the executioner.

9. His death only lighted up the emperor's rage for farther executions. Planci'na, the wife of Pi'so, and others, were put to death for being attached to Seja'nus. He began to grow weary of single executions, and gave orders that all the accused should be put to death together, without further examination. The whole city was, in consequence, filled with slaughter and mourning. 10. When one Carnu'lius killed himself, to avoid the torture, "Ah!" cried Tibe'rius, "how has that man been able to escape me!" When a prisoner had earnestly entreated that he would not defer his death: "Know," said the tyrant, "I am not sufficiently your friend to shorten your torments."

11. In this manner he lived, odious to the world, and troublesome to himself; an enemy to the lives of others, a tormentor of his own.[12] At length, in the 22d year of his reign, he began to feel the approaches of dissolution, and his appetite totally forsook him. 12. He now, therefore, found it was time to think of a successor, and fixed upon Calig'ula:[13] willing, perhaps, by the enormity of Calig'ula's conduct, with which he was well acquainted, to lessen the obloquy of his own.

13. Still, however, he seemed desirous to avoid his end; and strove, by change of place, to cut off the inquietude of his own reflections. He left his favourite island, and went upon the continent; and at last, fixed at the promontory of Mise'num.[14] There he fell into faintings, which all believed to be fatal. 14. Calig'ula supposing him actually dead, caused himself to be acknowledged by the Prætorian soldiers,[15] and went forth from the emperor's apartment amidst the applauses of the multitude; when, all of a sudden, he was informed that the emperor was likely to recover. 15. This unexpected account filled the whole court with terror and alarm; every one who had before been earnestly testifying his joy, now reassumed his pretended sorrow, and forsook the new emperor, through a feigned solicitude for the fate of the old. 16, Calig'ula seemed thunderstruck; he preserved a gloomy silence, expecting nothing but death, instead of the empire at which he aspired. 17. Marco, however, who was hardened in crimes, ordered that the dying emperor should be despatched, by smothering him with pillows; or, as some will have it, by poison. Thus died Tibe'rius in the seventy-eighth year of his age, after reigning twenty-two years.

[Sidenote: U.C. 780 A.D. 37.]

18. It was in the eighteenth year of this emperor's reign that Christ, (after having spent two years in the public ministry, instructing the multitude in the way of salvation,) was crucified; as if the universal depravity of mankind wanted no less a sacrifice than this to reclaim them. Pi'late sent to Tibe'rius an account of Christ's passion, resurrection, and miracles, and the emperor made a report of the whole to the senate, desiring that Christ might be accounted a god by the Romans. 19. But the senate, displeased that the proposal had not come first from themselves, refused to allow of his apotheosis; alleging an ancient law, which gave them the superintendence in all matters of religion. They even went so far as to command, by an edict, that all Christians should leave the city; but Tibe'rius, by another edict, threatened death to such as should accuse them; by which means they continued unmolested during the rest of his reign.

20. The vices of Calig'ula were concealed under the appearance of virtue in the beginning of his reign. In less than eight months, however, every trace of moderation and clemency vanished; while furious passions, unexampled avarice, and capricious cruelty, reigned uncontrolled; and pride, impiety, lust, and avarice, appeared in all their native deformity.

21. Calig'ula's pride first appeared in his assuming to himself the title of ruler; which was usually granted only to kings. He would also have taken the crown and diadem, had he not been advised, that he was already superior to all the monarchs of the world. 22. Not long after he assumed divine honours, and gave himself the names of such divinities as he thought most agreeable to his nature. For this purpose he caused the heads of the statues of Jupiter, and some other gods, to be struck off, and his own to be put in their places. He frequently seated himself between Castor and Pollux, and ordered that all who came to this temple to worship should pay their adorations only to himself. 23. However, such was the extravagant inconsistency of this unaccountable idiot, that he changed his divinity as often as he changed his clothes; being at one time a male deity, at another a female; sometimes Jupiter or Mars; and not unfrequently Venus or Diana. 24. He even built and dedicated a temple to his own divinity, in which his statue of gold was every day dressed in robes similar to those which he himself wore, and worshipped by crowds of adorers. His priests were numerous; the sacrifices made to him were of the most exquisite delicacies that could be procured; and the dignity of the priesthood was sought by the most opulent men of the city. However, he admitted his wife and his horse to that honour; and to give a finishing stroke to his absurdities, became a priest to himself. 25. His method of assuming the manners of a deity was not less ridiculous; he often went out at full moon, and courted it in the style of a lover. He employed many inventions to imitate thunder, and would frequently defy Jupiter, crying out with a speech of Homer, "Do you conquer me, or I will conquer you." He frequently pretended to converse in whispers with the statue of Jupiter, and usually seemed angry at its replies, threatening to send it back into Greece, whence it came. Sometimes, however, he would assume a better temper, and seem contented that Jupiter and he should dwell together in amity.

26. Of all his vices, prodigality was the most remarkable, and that which in some measure gave rise to the rest. The luxuries of former emperors were simplicity itself when compared to those which he practised. He contrived new ways of bathing, when the richest oils and most precious perfumes were lavished with the utmost profusion. His luxuries of the table were of immense value, and even jewels, as we are told, were dissolved in his sauces. He sometimes had services of pure gold presented before his guests, instead of meat, observing that a man should be an economist or an emperor.

27. The manner in which he maintained his horse will give some idea of his domestic extravagance. He built a stable of marble, and a manger of ivory; and whenever the animal, which he called Incita'tus, was to run in the race, he placed sentinels near its stable, the night preceding, to prevent its slumbers from being broken.[16]


Questions for Examination.

1. What was the first measure of Sejanus?

2. Did the emperor yield to his persuasions?

3. What consequences ensued from this measure?

4. Who were the first sufferers?

5. Did Sejanus increase his influence?

6. Was this elevation permanent?

7. To what punishment was he condemned?

8. What occurred at his execution?

9. Was this the only victim to the cruelty of Tiberius?

10. How did Tiberius aggravate his cruelties?

11. Did these cruelties long continue?

12. How did he act on this?

13. Was he resigned to his fate?

14. What followed on this?

15. How was this news received?

16. Did Caligula boldly meet the consequences?

17. How was this averted?

18. What highly remarkable event happened in this reign?

19. Was his desire gratified?

20. What was the conduct of Caligula on this occasion?

21. By what acts did he display his pride?

22. Did his arrogance carry him farther than this?

23. Under what name did he assume divine honours?

24. Of what farther absurdities was he guilty?

25. Relate other follies of his?

26. What was his principal vice?

27. Give an instance of his domestic extravagance?




For him no prayers are poured, no pæans sung, No blessings chanted from a nation's tongue.--Brereton.


1. The impiety, however, of Calig'ula was but subordinate to his cruelties. He slew many of the senate, and afterwards cited them to appear. He cast great numbers of old and infirm men to the wild beasts, to free the state from such unserviceable citizens. He usually fed his wild beasts with the bodies of those wretches whom he condemned; and every tenth day sent off numbers of them to be thus devoured, which he jocosely called clearing his accounts. One of those who was thus exposed, crying out that he was innocent,[17] Calig'ula ordered him to be taken up, his tongue to be cut out, and then thrown into the amphitheatre as before. 2. He took delight in killing men with slow tortures, that, as he expressed it, they might feel themselves dying, being always present at such executions himself, directing the duration of the punishment, and mitigating the tortures merely to prolong them. 3. In fact, he valued himself for no quality more than his unrelenting temper, and inflexible severity, when he presided at an execution. 4. Upon one occasion, being incensed with the citizens, he wished that the Roman people had but one neck, that he might dispatch them at one blow.

5. Such insupportable and capricious cruelties produced many secret conspiracies against him; but they were for a while deferred upon account of his intended expedition against the Germans and Britons.

[Sidenote: U.C. 793. A.D. 41]

6. For this purpose he caused numerous levies to be made, and talked with so much resolution, that it was universally believed he would conquer all before him. 7. His march perfectly indicated the inequality of his temper; sometimes it was so rapid that the cohorts were obliged to leave their standards behind them; at other times it was so slow, that it more resembled a pompous procession than a military expedition. 8. In this disposition he would cause himself to be carried on a litter, on eight men's shoulders, and ordered all the neighbouring cities to have their streets well swept and watered, that he might not be annoyed with dust. 9 However, all these mighty preparations ended in nothing. Instead of conquering Britain, he merely gave refuge to one of its banished princes; and this he described, in his letter to the senate, as taking possession of the whole island. 10. Instead of conquering Germany, he only led his army to the seashore in Gaul: there, disposing his engines and warlike machines with great solemnity, and drawing up his men in order of battle, he went on board his galley, with which coasting along, he commanded his trumpets to sound, and the signal to be given as if for an engagement. 11. His men, who had previous orders, immediately fell to gathering the shells that lay upon the shore into their helmets, as their spoils of the conquered ocean, worthy of the palace and the capitol. 12. After this doughty expedition, calling his army together, like a general after victory, he harangued them in a pompous manner, and highly extolled their achievements; then, distributing money among them, and congratulating them upon their riches, he dismissed them, with orders to be joyful: and, that such exploits should not pass without a memorial, he ordered a lofty tower to be erected by the seaside.[18]

13. Cassius Cher'ea, a tribune of the Prætorian bands, was the person who at last freed the world from this tyrant. Besides the motives which he had in common with other men, he had received repeated insults from Calig'ula, who took all occasions of turning him into ridicule, and impeaching him with cowardice, merely because he happened to have an effeminate voice. Whenever Cher'ea came to demand the watch-word from the emperor, according to custom, he always gave him either Venus, Adonis, or some such, implying softness and effeminacy.

14. Cher'ea secretly imparted his design to several senators and knights, whom he knew to have received personal injuries from Calig'ula. While these were deliberating upon the most certain and speedy method of destroying the tyrant, an unexpected incident gave new strength to the conspiracy. 15. Pempe'dius, a senator of distinction, being accused before the emperor of having spoken of him with disrespect, the informer cited one Quintil'ia, an actress, to confirm the accusation. 16. Quintil'ia, however, was possessed of a degree of fortitude not frequently found even in the other sex. She denied the fact with obstinacy; and, being put to the torture, bore the severest tortures of the rack with unshaken constancy. 17. Indeed, so remarkable was her resolution, that though acquainted with all the particulars of the conspiracy, and although Cher'ea was the person appointed to preside at her torture, she revealed nothing; on the contrary, when she was led to the rack, she trod upon the toe of one of the conspirators, intimating at once her knowledge of their conspiracy, and her resolution not to divulge it. 18. Thus she suffered, until all her limbs were dislocated; and, in that deplorable state, was presented to the emperor, who ordered her a gratuity for what she had endured.

19. Cher'ea could no longer contain his indignation, at being thus made the instrument of a tyrant's cruelty. After several deliberations of the conspirators, it was at last resolved to attack him during the Palatine games, which lasted four days,[19] and to strike the blow when his guards should not have the opportunity to defend him. 20. The first three days of the games passed. Cher'ea began to apprehend that deferring the completion of the conspiracy might be the means of divulging it; he even dreaded that the honour of killing the tyrant might fall to the lot of some other person bolder than himself. At last he resolved to defer the execution of his plot only to the day following, when Calig'ula should pass through a private gallery, to some baths near the palace.

21. The last day of the games was more splendid than the rest; and Calig'ula seemed more sprightly and condescending than usual. He enjoyed the amusement of seeing the people scramble for the fruits and other rarities by his order thrown among them, being no way apprehensive of the plot formed for his destruction. 22. In the mean time the conspiracy began to transpire: and, had he any friends remaining, it could not have failed of being discovered. A senator who was present, asking one of his acquaintance if he had heard any thing new, and the other replying in the negative, said "you must know, that this day will be represented the death of a tyrant." The other immediately understood him, but desired him to be cautious. 23. The conspirators waited many hours with extreme anxiety; and Calig'ula seemed resolved to spend the whole day without any refreshment. So unexpected a delay exasperated Cher'ea; and, had he not been restrained, he would suddenly have perpetrated his design in the midst of all the people. 24. At that instant, while he was hesitating, Aspore'nus,[20] one of the conspirators, persuaded Calig'ula to go to the bath, and take some slight refreshment, that he might the better enjoy the rest of the entertainment. 25. The emperor, rising up, the conspirators used every precaution to keep off the throng, and to surround him themselves, under pretence of great assiduity. Upon his entering a little vaulted gallery that led to the bath, Cher'ea struck him to the ground with his dagger, crying out, "Tyrant, think upon this." The other conspirators closed in upon him; and while the emperor was resisting, and crying out that he was not yet dead, they dispatched him with thirty wounds.

26. Such was the merited death of Calig'ula, in the 29th year of his age, after a short reign of not four years. His character may be summed up in the words of Sen'eca; namely, "Nature seemed to have brought him forth, to show what mischief could be effected by the greatest vices supported by the greatest authority."


Questions for Examination.

1. Of what enormities was Caligula guilty?

2. How did he heighten his cruelties?

3. On what did he chiefly value himself?

4. What monstrous wish did he express?

5. What was the consequence of such atrocities?

6. What preparations did he make?

7. How did his disposition display itself on this occasion?

8. How did he sometimes travel?

9. What exploits did he perform?

10. Did he not make a show of some great enterprise?

11. How did it end?

12. Of what farther follies was he guilty?

13. By whom was he assassinated, and by what provocations was his fate hastened?

14. Were others made privy to the design?

15. Relate this incident.

16. Did Quintilia confirm the accusation?

17. What rendered this resolution more remarkable?

18. What was the result?

19. Was the _crisis_ much longer deferred?

20. Was this resolution put in practice?

21. Was Caligula at all apprehensive of what was in agitation?

22. Was the secret inviolably kept?

23. How was the design nearly frustrated?

24. What induced Caligula to alter his intention?

25. Relate the manner of his death.

26. Repeat the summary of his character as given by Seneca.



U.C. 794.--A.D. 42.


Old as I am, And withered as you see these war-worn limbs, Trust me, they shall support the mightiest load Injustice dares impose.--Mason's Caractacus.


1. As soon as the death of Calig'ula was made public it produced the greatest confusion. The conspirators, who only aimed at destroying a tyrant, without attending to the appointment of a successor, had all sought safety by retiring to private places. 2. Some soldiers happening to wander about the palace, discovered Clau'dius, Calig'ula's uncle, lurking in a secret place where he had hid himself. Of this person, who had hitherto been despised for his imbecility, they resolved to make an emperor: and accordingly they carried him upon their shoulders to the camp, where they proclaimed him at a time when he expected nothing but death.

3. Clau'dius was now fifty years old. The complicated diseases of his infancy had, in some measure, affected all the faculties of his mind as well as body, and he seemed, both in public and domestic life, incapable of conducting himself with propriety.[21]

4. The commencement of his reign, however, as had been the case with all the bad emperors, gave the most promising hopes. It began by an act of oblivion for all former words and actions, and by disannulling all the cruel edicts of Calig'ula. 5. He showed himself more moderate than his predecessors with regard to titles and honours. He forbade all persons, under severe penalties, to sacrifice to him, as they had done to Calig'ula. He was assiduous in hearing and examining complaints; and frequently administered justice in person with great mildness. To his solicitude for the internal advantages of the state, he added that of a watchful guardianship over the provinces. He restored Jude'a to Her'od Agrip'pa,[22] which Calig'ula had taken from Her'od Antipas, his uncle, the man who had put John the Baptist to death, and who was banished by order of the present emperor.[23]

6. He even undertook to gratify the people by foreign conquest. The Britons, who had for nearly a hundred years been left in quiet possession of their own island, began to seek the mediation of Rome, to quell their intestine commotions. 7. The principal man who desired to subject his native country to the Roman dominion, was one Ber'icus, who persuaded the emperor to make a descent upon the island, magnifying the advantages that would attend the conquest of it. 8. In pursuance of his advice, therefore, Plau'tius, the prætor, was ordered to go into Gaul, and make preparations for this great expedition. At first, indeed, his soldiers seemed backward to embark, declaring that they were unwilling to make war beyond the limits of the world; for so they judged Britain to be. However, they were at last persuaded to go, and the Britons were several times overthrown.

[Sidenote: A.D. 46.]

9. These successes soon after induced Claud'ius to go into Britain in person, under pretence that the natives were still seditious, and had not delivered up some Roman fugitives, who had taken shelter among them. 10. However, this exhibition seemed rather calculated for show than service: the time he continued in Britain, which was in all but sixteen days, was more taken up in receiving homage than extending his conquests. 11. Great rejoicings were made upon his return to Rome: the senate decreed him a splendid triumph; triumphal arches were erected to his honour, and annual games instituted to commemorate his victories. 12. In the mean time the war was vigorously prosecuted by Plau'tius, and his lieutenant Vespasian, who, according to Sueto'nius, fought thirty battles, and reduced a part of the island into the form of a Roman province.

[Sidenote: A.D. 51]

13. However, this war broke out afresh under the government of Osto'rius, who succeeded Plau'tius. The Britons, either despising him for want of experience, or hoping to gain advantages over a person newly come to command, rose up in arms, and disclaimed the Roman power. 14. The Ice'ni, who inhabited Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, and Huntingdonshire; the Can'gi, in Wiltshire and Somersetshire; and the Brigan'tes, in Yorkshire, &c. made a powerful resistance, though they were at length overcome; but the Silu'res, or inhabitants of South Wales, under their king Carac'tacus, were the most formidable opponents the Roman generals had ever yet encountered. 15. This brave barbarian not only made a gallant defence, but often claimed a doubtful victory. He, with great conduct, removed the seat of war into the most inaccessible parts of the country, and for nine years kept the Romans in continued alarm.

16. Upon the approach of Osto'rius, however, Carac'tacus, finding himself obliged to come to a decisive engagement, addressed his countrymen with calm resolution, telling them that this battle would either establish their liberty, or confirm their servitude; that they ought to remember the bravery of their ancestors, by whose valour they were delivered from taxes and tribute; and that this was the time to show themselves equal to their progenitors. 17. But nothing that undisciplined valour could perform availed against the conduct of the Roman legions. After an obstinate fight, the Britons were entirely routed: the wife and daughter of Carac'tacus were taken prisoners; and he himself, seeking refuge from Cartisman'dua, queen of the Brigan'tes, was treacherously delivered up to the conquerors. 18. When he was brought to Rome, nothing could exceed the curiosity of the people to behold a man who had, for so many years, braved the power of the empire. Carac'tacus testified no marks of base dejection. When he was led through the streets, and observed the splendor of every object around him--"Alas!" cried he, "how is it possible that people possessed of such magnificence at home, could think of envying Carac'tacus a humble cottage in Britain!" 19. When he was brought before the emperor, while the other prisoners sued for pity with the most abject lamentations, Carac'tacus stood before the tribunal with an intrepid air, and though he was willing to accept of pardon, was not mean enough to sue for it. "If," said he, "I had yielded immediately, and without opposing you, neither would my fortune have been remarkable, nor your glory memorable; you could not have been victorious, and I had been forgotten. If now, therefore, you spare my life, I shall continue a perpetual example of your clemency." Clau'dius generously pardoned him, and Osto'rius was decreed a triumph.

20. In the beginning of his reign Clau'dius gave the highest hopes of a happy continuance; but he soon began to lessen his care for the public, and to commit to his favourites all the concerns of the empire. This prince, weak from his infancy, was little able, when called to govern, to act but under the direction of others. 21. One of his chief instructors was his wife Messa'lina: whose name is become a common appellation for women of abandoned character. By her was Clau'dius urged on to commit cruelties, which he considered only as wholesome severities; while her crimes became every day more notorious, and exceeded what had ever been in Rome. For her crimes and enormities, however, she, together with her accomplice Cai'us Sil'ius, suffered that death they both had so justly deserved.

22. Clau'dius afterwards married Agrippi'na, the daughter of his brother German'icus, a woman of a cruel and ambitious spirit, whose only aim being to procure the succession of Nero, her son by a former marriage, she treated Claudius with such haughtiness, that he was heard to declare, when heated with wine, that it was his fate to smart under the disorders of his wives, and to be their executioner. 23. This expression sunk deep in her mind, and engaged all her faculties to prevent the blow; she therefore resolved not to defer a deed which she had meditated long before, which was to poison him. She for some time debated within herself in what quantity the poison should be administered, as she feared that too strong a dose would discover the treachery, while one too weak would fail of its effect. 24. At length she determined upon a poison of singular efficacy to destroy his intellects, and yet not suddenly to terminate his life; it was given among mushrooms, a dish the emperor was particularly fond of. 25. Shortly after he had eaten, he dropped down insensible; but this caused no alarm, as it was usual with him to eat till he had stupified his facilities, and been obliged to be carried from the table to his bed. 26. His constitution, however, seemed to overcome the effects of the potion; but Agrippi'na resolving to make sure of him, directed a wretch of a physician, her creature, to introduce a poisoned feather into his throat, under pretence of making him vomit, and thus to dispatch him, which had its intended effect. Thus died Clau'dius the First, the complicated diseases of whose infancy seemed to have affected and perverted all the faculties of his mind. He was succeeded by Nero, the son of Agrippi'na by her first husband. Nero had been adopted by Clau'dius.


Questions for Examination.

1. What happened on the death of Caligula?

2. Who was appointed his successor?

3. What was the character of Claudius?

4. How did he conduct himself?

5. By what farther acts did he distinguish his accession?

6. Did he adopt any warlike measure?

7. By whom was he persuaded to interfere?

8. Who was sent into that country, and what occurred in consequence?

9. What resolution did Claudius form?

10. Did he perform any memorable exploits?

11. Was his return celebrated?

12. Was the war in Britain now at an end?

13. Did this finish the war?

14. Who were the most formidable adversaries of the Romans?

15. How did he distinguish himself?

16. By what means did he strengthen the courage of his troops?

17. Were his efforts successful?

18. What happened on his arrival in Rome?

19. What was his behaviour before the emperor?

20. Did Claudius continue to govern well?

21. Who was the chief instigator of his cruelties?

22. Who was the second wife of Claudius, and what was her conduct towards him?

23. What was the consequence of this unguarded expression?

24. On what did she at length resolve?

25. What effect did it produce?

26. Did he recover?



U.C. 793--A.D. 55.


That so, obstructing those that quenched the fire, He might at once destroy rebellious Rome.--Lee.


1. Nero, though but seventeen years old, began his reign with the general approbation of mankind. He appeared just, liberal, and humane. When a warrant for the execution of a criminal was brought to be signed, he would cry out with compassion, "Would to heaven that I had never learned to write!"

2. But as he increased in years, his native disposition began to show itself. The execution of his mother Agrippi'na was the first alarming instance he gave of his cruelty. After attempting to get her drowned at sea, he ordered her to be put to death in her palace; and coming to gaze upon the dead body, was heard to say, that he had never thought his mother so handsome a woman.

The manner of his attempt to drown her was extremely singular. He caused a vessel to be constructed that, by withdrawing some bolts, would separate in the open sea, and thus give her death the appearance of a shipwreck. Agrippi'na, naturally suspicious, at first refused to go on board; but, lulled into security by the artful blandishments of her son, she embarked. The attempt was made; but Agrippi'na was taken up by some fisher-boats, and conveyed to her own villa. The very great calmness of the sea prevented the possibility of its being considered as an accident. Agrippi'na, however, dissembled her suspicions, and informed the emperor of her wonderful escape. Three years after the death of his mother, he murdered his tutor Burrhus, and also his wife Octavia, a young princess of admirable virtue and beauty that he might marry the infamous Poppæ'a.

3. The mounds of virtue being thus broken down, Nero gave a loose to appetites that were not only sordid, but inhuman. There was a sort of odd contrast in his disposition: for while he practised cruelties sufficient to make the mind shudder with horror, he was fond of those amusing arts which soften and refine the heart. He was particularly addicted, even from childhood, to music, and not totally ignorant of poetry; chariot-driving was his favourite pursuit; and all these he frequently exhibited in public.

4. Happy had it been for mankind, had he confined himself to these; and contented with being contemptible, sought not to become formidable also. His cruelties exceeded all his other extravagancies. 5. A great part of the city of Rome was consumed by fire in his time, and to him most historians ascribe the conflagration. It is said that he stood upon a high tower, during the continuance of the flames, enjoying the sight, and singing, in a theatrical manner to his harp, verses upon the burning of Troy. Of the fourteen quarters into which Rome was divided, only four remained entire. None were permitted to lend assistance towards extinguishing the flames; and several persons were seen setting fire to the houses, alleging that they had orders for so doing. 6. However this be, the emperor used every art to throw the odium of so detestable an action from himself, and fix it upon the Christians, who were at that time gaining ground in Rome.

7. Nothing could be more dreadful than the persecution raised against them upon this false accusation. Some were covered with the skins of wild beasts, and, in that disguise, devoured by the dogs; some were crucified, and others burnt alive. "When the day was not sufficient for their tortures, the flames in which, they perished," says Ta'citus, "served to illuminate the night:" while Nero, dressed in the habit of a charioteer, regaled himself with a view of their tortures from his gardens, and entertained the people at one time with their sufferings, at another with the games of the circus. 8. In this persecution St. Paul was beheaded, and St. Peter crucified, with his head downwards; a mode of death he chose, as being more dishonourable than that of his divine master. Upon the ruins of the demolished city, Nero founded a palace, which he called his Golden House. It contained within its inclosure, artificial lakes, large wildernesses, spacious parks, gardens, orchards, vineyards, &c. &c. The entrance of the stately edifice was sufficiently lofty to admit a colossal statue of Nero, 120 feet high. The galleries, erected on three rows of tall pillars, were each a mile in length. The palace itself was tiled with gold (probably gilding), the walls covered with the same metal, and richly adorned with precious stones and mother-of-pearl: and the ceiling of one of the banqueting rooms represented the firmament beset with, stars, turning about incessantly night and day, and showering sweet waters on the guests.

9. A conspiracy formed against Nero, by Piso, a man of great power and integrity, which was prematurely discovered, opened a train of suspicions that destroyed many of the principal families in Rome. 10. The two most remarkable personages who fell on this occasion, were Sen'eca[24], the philosopher, and Lucan the poet, his nephew.

Epicha'ris, a woman of infamous character, who by some means was implicated in the conspiracy, deserves to be mentioned as an instance of female fortitude. She was condemned to the torture, but the united force of racks, stripes and fire, could not extort a word from her. The next day she was conducted in a chair to be tortured afresh, (for her limbs were so mangled and disjointed, that she could not stand,) she hung herself with her girdle to the top of the chair, voluntarily suspending the whole weight of her body to the noose: thus a woman once a slave, cheerfully endured the most exquisite torture, and even death, to save persons she scarcely knew, and from whom she had never received any favours.

Nero, either having real testimony, or else hating him for his virtues, sent a tribune to Sen'eca[24], informing him that he was suspected as an accomplice. The tribune found the philosopher at table with Pauli'na, his wife; and informing him of his business, Sen'eca replied without emotion, that his welfare depended upon no man; that he had never beenaccustomed to indulge the errors of the emperor, and would not do it now. 11. When this answer was brought to Nero, he demanded whether Sen'eca seemed afraid to die; the tribune replying that he did not appear in the least terrified; "Then go to him again," cried the emperor, "and give him my orders to die." Accordingly he sent a centurion to Sen'eca, signifying that it was the emperor's plea sure that he should die. Sen'eca seemed no way discomposed, but displayed the fortitude of conscious integrity. He endeavoured to console his wife, and exhorted her to a life of persevering virtue. 12. She seemed resolved, however, not to survive him, and pressed her request to die with him so earnestly, that Sen'eca, who had long looked upon death as a benefit, at last gave his consent; and the veins of both their arms were opened at the same time. 13. As Sen'eca was old, and much enfeebled by the austerities of his life, the blood flowed but slowly; so that he caused the veins of his legs and thighs to be opened also. His pains were long and violent, but they were not capable of repressing his fortitude or his eloquence. He dictated a discourse to two secretaries, which was read with great avidity after his death, but which has since perished in the lapse of time. 14. His agonies being now drawn out to a great length, he at last demanded poison from his physician; but this also failed of its effect, his body being already exhausted, and incapable of exciting its operation. He was from this carried into a warm bath, which only served to prolong his sufferings; at length, therefore, he was put in a stove, the vapour of which quickly dispatched him. 15. In the mean time his wife, Pauli'na, having fallen into a swoon with the loss of blood, had her arms bound up by her domestics, and by this means survived her husband for some years; but by her conduct during the rest of her life, she seemed never to forget her affection and his example.

16. The death of Lucan was not less remarkable. After he had lost a great quantity of blood from the veins of his arms, perceiving his hands and legs already dead, while the vital parts still continued warm and vigorous, he called to mind the description of his own poem of the Pharsa'lia, of a person dying in similar circumstances, and expired while he was repeating the passage.

[Sidenote: U.C. 817. A.D. 66.]

17. The death of C. Petro'nius, about this time, is too remarkable to be passed over in silence. This person, whom some historians suppose to be the author of the piece entitled T. Petro'nii Arbi'tri Saty'ricon, was an Epicu'rean, both in principle and practice. In a court like that of Nero, he was esteemed for his refinements in luxury, and became the emperor's tutor in this exquisite art. 18. Accused of being privy to Piso's conspiracy, he was committed to prison. Petro'nius, who could not endure the anxiety of suspense, resolved upon putting himself to death, by causing his veins to be opened. 19. In the mean time, he conversed with his friends, not upon maxims of philosophy, or grave subjects, but upon such topics as had amused his gayest revels. He listened while they recited the lightest poems; and by no action, no word, no circumstance, showed the perplexity of a dying person. 20. Shortly after him, Numi'cius Thermus, Bare'a Sora'nus, and Pe'tus Thra'sea, were put to death. The valiant Cor'bulo, who had gained Nero so many victories over the Parthians, followed next. Nor did the empress Poppæ'a herself escape. 21. At length human nature grew weary of bearing her persecutor; and the whole world seemed to rouse, as if by common consent, to rid the earth of a monster.


Questions for Examination.

1. What was Nero's conduct at the commencement of his reign?

2. Did this disposition continue?

3. What was there peculiar in his disposition?

4. Were these his greatest faults?

5. Of what heinous crime is he accused?

6. On whom was the odium of this barbarous action cast?

7. What was the consequence to these unhappy men?

8. What eminent persons suffered on this occasion?

9. Did not these cruelties give birth to conspiracies?

10. What persons of note suffered in consequence?

11. Did this defence save his life?

12. Were his exhortations effectual?

13. Relate the circumstances of Seneca's death?

14. Were not other means resorted to?

15. Did not Paulina survive him?

16. Describe the death of Lucan.

17. What other victim of Nero's cruelty deserves mention?

18. What brought him into danger?

19. How did he meet death?

20. Were not other illustrious persons sacrificed?

21. Were these cruelties committed with impunity?




O breath of public praise, Short-lived and vain; oft gained without desert, As often lost unmerited: composed But of extremes---Havard.


1. Ser'vius Galba, at that time governor of Spain, was remarkable for his wisdom in peace, and his courage in war; but as a display of talents under corrupt princes is dangerous, he, for some years, had seemed to court obscurity and an inactive life. 2. Willing, however, to rid his country of the monster that now occupied the throne, he accepted the invitation of Vindex, to march with an army towards Rome. 3. From the moment he declared against Nero, the tyrant considered himself as fallen. He received the account as he was at supper, and instantly struck with terror, overturned the table with his foot, breaking two crystal vases of immense value. He fell into a swoon, and on his recovery tore his clothes and struck his head, crying out, "that he was utterly undone." 4. He now called for the assistance of Locus'ta, a woman famous in the art of poisoning, to furnish him with the means of death; but being prevented in this, and the revolt becoming general, he went in person from house to house; but the doors were shut against him. Being reduced to a state of desperation, he desired that one of his favourite gladiators might dispatch him; but even in this request not one would obey. "Alas," cried he, "have I neither friend nor enemy?" then running desperately forth, he seemed resolved to plunge headlong into the Ti'ber. 5. But his courage failed him; he made a sudden stop, as if willing to re-collect his reason, and asked for some sacred place where he might reassume his courage, and meet death with becoming fortitude. 6. In this distress, Pha'on, one of his freedmen, offered him his country-house, about four miles distant, where he might for some time remain concealed. Nero accepted the offer; and, with his head covered, hiding his face with his handkerchief, he mounted on horseback, attended by four of his domestics, of whom the wretched Sporus was one. 7. His journey, though short, was crowded with adventures. An earthquake gave him the first alarm. The lightning from heaven next flashed in his face. Round him he heard nothing but confused noises from the camp, the cries of the soldiers imprecating a thousand evils upon his head. 8. A traveller, meeting him on the way, cried, "Those men are in pursuit of Nero." Another asked him if there was any news of Nero in the city. His horse taking fright at a dead body that lay near the road, he dropped his handkerchief, when a soldier addressing him by name, he quitted his horse, and forsaking the highway, entered a thicket that led towards the back part of Pha'ron's house, making the best of his way among the reeds and brambles with which the place was overgrown. 9. During this interval, the senate, finding the Præto'rian guards had taken part with Galba, declared him emperor, and condemned Nero to die, _mo're majo'rum;_ that is, according to the rigour of the ancient laws. 10. When he was told of the resolution of the senate, he asked what was meant by being punished according to the rigour of the ancient laws? To this it was answered, that the criminal was to be stripped naked, his head fixed in a pillory, and in that posture he was to be scourged to death. 11. Nero was so terrified at this, that he seized two poniards, which he had brought with him: after examining their points, he returned them, however, to their sheaths, pretending that the fatal moment was not yet arrived. 12. He then desired Sporus to begin the lamentations which were used at funerals; he next entreated that one of his attendants would die, to give him courage by his example, and afterwards began to reproach his own cowardice, crying out, "Does this become Nero? Is this trifling well-timed? No!--let me be courageous!" In fact, he had no time to spare; for the soldiers who had been sent in pursuit of him, were just then approaching the house. 13. Upon hearing, therefore, the sound of the horses' feet, he set a dagger to his throat, with which, by the assistance of Epaphrod'itus, his freedman and secretary, he gave himself a mortal wound. 14. However, he was not yet dead when one of the centurions, entering the room and pretending that he came to his relief, attempted to stop the blood with his cloak. But Nero, regarding him with a stern countenance, said, "It is now too late! Is this your fidelity?" Upon which, with his eyes fixed and frightfully staring, he expired; exhibiting, even after death, a ghastly spectacle of innoxious tyranny. 15. He reigned thirteen years, seven months, and twenty-eight days, and died in the thirty-second year of his age.

[Sidenote: U.C. 820, A.D. 69]

16. Galba was seventy-two years old when he was declared emperor, and was then in Spain with his legions. He soon found that his being raised to the throne was but an inlet to new disquietudes. 17. He seemed to have three objects in view: to curb the insolence of the soldiers; to punish those vices which had risen to an enormous height in the last reign; and to replenish the exchequer, which had been drained by the prodigality of his predecessors. 18. However, permitting himself to be governed by favourites, he at one time showed himself severe and frugal; at another remiss and prodigal; condemning some illustrious persons without any hearing, and pardoning others, though guilty. In consequence of this, seditions were kindled, and factions promoted. 19. Galba was sensible that, besides his age, his want of an heir rendered him less respected: he resolved, therefore, to adopt a person whose virtues might deserve such advancement, and protect his declining age from danger; but his favourites wished to give him an heir of their own choosing; so that there arose a great contention among them upon this occasion. 20. Otho made earnest application for himself, alleging the great services he had done the emperor, as being the first man of note who came to his assistance when he declared against Nero. 21. However, Galba, being fully resolved to consult the public good alone, rejected his suit; and, on a day appointed, ordered Piso Lucia'nus to attend him. The character given by historians of Piso is, that he was every way worthy of the honour designed him. 22. Taking this youth by the hand, Galba adopted him to succeed in the empire, giving him the most wholesome lessons for guiding his future conduct. Piso showed that he was highly deserving this distinction, in all his deportment there appeared such modesty, firmness, and equality of mind as bespoke him rather capable of discharging than ambitious of obtaining his present dignity. 23. But the army and the senate did not seem equally disinterested upon this occasion; they had been so long used to bribery and corruption, that they could now bear no emperor who was not in a capacity of satisfying their avarice. The adoption, therefore, of Piso, was coldly received; for his virtues were no recommendation in a time of universal depravity. 24. Otho, who had long been a favourite of Galba, and hoped to be adopted a successor in the empire, finding himself disappointed, and stimulated by the immense load of debt which he had contracted by his riotous way of living, resolved upon obtaining the empire by force, since he could not do it by peaceable succession. Having corrupted the fidelity of the army, he stole secretly from the emperor while he was sacrificing, and, assembling the soldiers, he, in a short speech, urged the cruelties and the avarice of Galba. 25. Finding his invectives received with universal shouts by the army, he entirely threw off the mask, and avowed his intention of dethroning him. The soldiers being ripe for sedition, immediately seconded his views, and taking Otho upon their shoulders, declared him emperor; and to strike the citizens with terror, carried him, with their swords drawn, into the camp.

26. Soon after, finding Galba in some measure deserted by his adherents, the soldiers rushed in upon him, trampling under foot the crowds of people that then filled the forum. 27. Galba seeing them approach, seemed to recollect all his former fortitude; and bending his head forward, bid the assassins strike it off, if it were for the good of the people. 28. The command was quickly obeyed. The soldier who struck it off stuck it upon the point of a lance, and contemptuously carried it round the camp; his body remaining unburied in the streets till it was interred by one of his slaves. His short reign of seven months was as illustrious by his own virtues as it was contaminated by the vices of his favourites, who shared in his downfall.

29. Otho, who was now elected emperor, began his reign by a signal instance of clemency, in pardoning Marius Celsus, who had been highly favoured by Galba; and not content with barely forgiving, he advanced him to the highest honours, asserting that "fidelity deserved every reward."

30. In the mean time, the legions in Lower Germany having been purchased by the large gifts and specious promises of Vitel'lius their general, were at length induced to proclaim him emperor; and, regardless of the senate, they declared that they had an equal right to appoint to that high station, with the cohorts at Rome.

31. Otho departed from Rome with all haste to give Vitel'lius battle. The army of Vitel'lius, which consisted of seventy thousand men, was commanded by his generals Va'lens and Cecin'na, he himself remaining in Gaul, in order to bring up the rest of his forces. Both sides hastened to meet each other with so much animosity and precipitation, that three considerable battles were fought in the space of three days, in all of which Otho and the Romans had the advantage. 32. These successes, however, were but of short continuance, for Va'lens and Cecin'na, who had hitherto acted separately, joining their forces, and strengthening their armies with fresh supplies, resolved to come to a general engagement. Otho's forces were partially over thrown at Bedria'cum, a village near Cremo'na, in Lombardy, in Italy; and though he had still numerous armies at his devotion, he killed himself shortly after, having reigned three months and five days, and was succeeded by Vitel'lius.


Questions for Examination.

1. What was the character of Sergius Galba?

2. Did he at length emerge from his obscurity?

3. Was he formidable to Nero?

4. What was the conduct of Nero on this emergency?

5. Did he actually do so?

6. Was his request complied with?

7. What befell him by the way?

8. What farther happened?

9. What occurred in the interval?

10. How did Nero receive this intelligence?

11. Did he resolve to await this terrible punishment?

12. How did he contrive to put off the fatal moment?

13. What at length put an end to this irresolution?

14. Was he dead when the soldiers arrived?

15. How long did he reign?

16. What was the age of Galba on his accession?

17. What were his principal views?

18. Was his conduct regular and consistent?

19. What important measure did he adopt?

20. Who was the chief candidate on the occasion?

21. Was he chosen?

22. Was Piso the chosen successor, and what was his character?

23. Was this adoption generally approved?

24. Did not Otho attempt to set him aside?

25. Was he favourably received?

26. Did Galba suppress this rebellion?

27. What was his behaviour on the occasion?

28. Was this command obeyed, and what treatment did Galba experience?

29. How did Otho commence his reign?

30. Did he reign without a rival?

31. What was the consequence of this rivalship?

32. Was Otho finally successful?



A.D. 70.


Afflicted Israel shall sit weeping down, Fast by the stream where Babel's waters run; Their harps upon the neighbouring willows hung. Nor joyous hymn encouraging their tongue. Nor cheerful dance their feet; with toil oppressed, Their wearied limbs aspiring but to rest.--Prior.


1. Vitel'lius was declared emperor by the senate, and received the marks of distinction which were now accustomed to follow the appointments of the strongest side.

2. He had been accustomed from his youth to dissipation and applause. Caligula was pleased with his skill in driving a chariot; Claudius loved him because he was a great gamester; and he gained the favour of Nero by wishing him to sing publicly in the theatre. Upon his arrival at Rome, he entered the city, not as a place he came to govern with justice, but as a town that was become his own by the laws of conquest.

3. Vitel'lius soon gave himself up to all kinds of luxury and profuseness; but gluttony was his favourite vice. His entertainments, seldom indeed at his own cost, were prodigiously expensive. He frequently invited himself to the tables of his subjects; in the same day breakfasting with one, dining with another, and supping with a third. 4. By such vices and by enormous cruelties, he became a burthen to himself, and odious to all mankind. Having become insupportable to the inhabitants of Rome, the legions of the east unanimously resolved to make Vespa'sian emperor.

Vespa'sian was by no means of an illustrious family, his father being only a collector of the tax called quadragesima. Nor was his conduct, previous to his accession to the imperial throne, calculated to do him honour, as he was guilty of the meanest flattery and servility to ingratiate himself with men in power. Yet, as a general, he was indefatigable in his duties, and of unquestionable valour; abstemious in his diet, and plain in his dress. On attaining to the imperial dignity he appears to have laid aside every vice except avarice. His elevation neither induced him to assume arrogant and lofty airs, nor to neglect those friends who had shown themselves deserving of his favour.

Desirous of convincing the world that he owed his good fortune to merit alone, he disdained to court the soldiers by largesses; in short, he displayed a nobleness of disposition worthy of the most illustrious birth, and befitting the exalted station to which he had arrived. This prince was the founder of the noble amphitheatre, called the Coliseum, which remains to this day. Twelve thousand Jewish captives were employed in its erection, and it was capable of containing 80,000 spectators seated, and 30,000 standing. It is now in ruins.

5. During the preparations against him, Vitel'lius, though buried in sloth and luxury, resolved to make an effort to defend the empire; and his chief commanders, Va'lens and Cecin'na, were ordered to make all possible preparations to resist the invaders. 6. The first army that entered Italy with a hostile intention was under the command of Anto'nius Pri'mus, who was met by Cecin'na, near Cremo'na. A battle was expected to ensue; but a negociation taking place, Cecin'na was prevailed upon to change sides, and declared for Vespa'sian.[25] His army, however, quickly repented of what they had done, and, imprisoning their general, attacked Anto'nius, though without a leader. 7. The engagement continued the whole night; and in the morning, after a short repast, both armies engaged a second time; when the soldiers of Anto'nius saluting the rising sun, according to custom, the Vitel'lians supposed that they had received new reinforcements, and betook themselves to flight, with the loss of thirty thousand men.

8. In the mean time, Vitel'lius made offers to Vespa'sian of resigning the empire in his favour, provided his life were spared, and a sufficient revenue allotted for his support. In order to enforce this proposal, he issued from his palace in deep mourning, with all his domestics weeping round him. 9. He then went to offer the sword of justice to Cecil'ius, the consul, which he refusing, the abject emperor prepared to lay down the ensigns of empire in the Temple of Concord; but being interrupted by some who cried out, that he himself was Concord, he resolved, upon so weak an encouragement, still to maintain his power, and immediately prepared for his defence.

10. During this fluctuation of counsels, one Sabi'nus, who had advised Vitel'lius to resign, perceiving his desperate situation, resolved, by a bold step, to favour Vespa'sian; and accordingly seized upon the capitol. But he was premature in his attempt; for the soldiers of Vitel'lius attacked him with great fury; and prevailing by their numbers, soon laid that beautiful building in ashes. 11. During this dreadful conflagration, Vitel'lius was feasting in the palace of Tibe'rius, and beheld all the horrors of the assault with satisfaction. 12. Sabi'nus was taken prisoner, and shortly after executed by the emperor's command. Young Domi'tian, his nephew, who was afterwards emperor, escaped by flight, in the habit of a priest; and the rest, who survived the fire, were put to the sword.

13. But Anto'nius, Vespa'sian's commander, being arrived before the walls of the city, the forces of Vitel'lius resolved upon defending it to the utmost extremity. It was attacked with fury; while the army within, sallying out upon the besiegers, defended it with equal obstinacy. The battle lasted the whole day; the besieged were driven back into the city, and a dreadful slaughter made of them in the streets which they vainly attempted to defend.

14. Vitel'lius was soon found hidden in an obscure corner, whence he was taken by a party of the conquering soldiers. Still, however, desirous of adding a few hours to his miserable life, he begged to be kept in prison till the arrival of Vespa'sian at Rome, pretending that he had secrets of importance to discover. 15. But his entreaties were vain; the soldiers binding his hands behind him, and throwing a halter round his neck, led him along, half naked, into the public forum, loading him with all the bitter reproaches their malice could suggest, or his cruelty might deserve. At length, being come to the place of punishment, they put him to death with blows: and then dragging the dead body through the streets with a hook, they threw it, with all possible ignominy, into the river Tiber.

[Sidenote: A.D. 70.]

16. Vespa'sian was now declared emperor by the unanimous consent both of the senate and the army; and dignified with all those titles which now followed rather the power than the merit of those who were appointed to govern. 17. Having continued some months at Alexan'dria, in Egypt, where it is said he cured a blind man and a cripple by touching them, he set out for Rome. Giving his son, Ti'tus, the command of the army that was to lay siege to Jerusalem, he himself went forward, and was met many miles from Rome by all the senate, and the inhabitants, who gave the sincerest testimony of their joy, in having an emperor of such great and experienced virtue. 18. Nor did he in the least disappoint their expectations; as he showed himself equally assiduous in rewarding merit and pardoning his adversaries; in reforming the manners of the citizens, and setting them the best example in his own.

19. In the mean time Titus carried on the war against the Jews with vigour. This obstinate and infatuated people had long resolved to resist the Roman power, vainly hoping to find protection from heaven, which their impieties had utterly offended. 20. Their own historian represents them as arrived at the highest pitch of iniquity; while famines, earthquakes, and prodigies, all conspired to forebode their approaching ruin. 21. Nor was it sufficient that heaven and earth seemed combined against them; they had the most bitter dissensions among themselves, and were divided into two parties, who robbed and destroyed each other with impunity: constantly pillaging, yet boasting their zeal for the religion of their ancestors.

22. At the head of one of these parties was an incendiary, whose name was John. This fanatic affected sovereign power, and filled the whole city of Jeru'salem, and all the towns around, with tumult and pillage. In a short time a new faction arose, headed by one Si'mon, who, gathering together multitudes of robbers and murderers who had fled to the mountains, attacked many cities and towns, and reduced all Idume'a under his power. 23. Jeru'salem, at length, became the theatre in which these two demagogues exercised their mutual animosity: John was possessed of the temple, while Si'mon was admitted into the city; both equally enraged against each other; while slaughter and devastation were the consequence of their pretensions. Thus did a city formerly celebrated for peace and unity, become the seat of tumult and confusion.

24. In this miserable situation, Ti'tus began his operations within six furlongs of Jeru'salem, during the feast of the passover, when the place was filled with an infinite multitude of people, who had come from all parts to celebrate that great solemnity. 25. The approach of the Romans produced a temporary reconciliation between the contending factions within the city; so that they unanimously resolved to oppose the common enemy, and decide their domestic quarrels at a more convenient season. 26. Their first sally, which was made with much fury and resolution, put the besiegers into great disorder, and obliged them to abandon their camp, and fly to the mountains; however, rallying immediately after, the Jews were forced back into the city, while Ti'tus, in person, showed surprising instances of valour and conduct.

27. The city was strongly fortified with three walls on every side, except where it was fenced by precipices. Ti'tus began by battering down the outward wall, which, after much fatigue and danger, he effected; in the mean time showing the greatest clemency to the Jews, and offering them repeated assurances of pardon. Five days after the commencement of the siege, Ti'tus broke through the second wall; and though driven back by the besieged, he recovered his ground, and made preparations for battering the third wall, which was their last defence. 28. But first he sent Jose'phus, their countryman, into the city, to exhort them to yield; who using all his eloquence to persuade them, was answered only with scoffs and reproaches. 29. The siege was now therefore carried on with greater vigour than before; formidable engines for throwing darts and stones were constructed, and as quickly destroyed by the enemy. At length it was resolved in council to surround the whole city with a trench, and thus prevent all relief and all succours from abroad. 30. This, which was quickly executed, seemed no way to intimidate the Jews. Though famine, and pestilence its necessary attendant, began now to make the most horrid ravages among them, yet this desperate people still resolved to hold out. 31. Ti'tus now cut down all the woods within a considerable distance of the city; and causing more batteries to be raised, he at length beat down the wall, and in five days entered the citadel by force. 32. The Jews, however, continued to deceive themselves with absurd expectations, while many false prophets deluded the multitude, by declaring that they should soon have assistance from God. The heat of the battle was now gathered round the inner wall of the temple, while the defendants desperately combatted from the top. 33. Ti'tus was desirous of saving this beautiful structure; but a soldier casting a brand into some adjacent buildings, the fire communicated to the temple; and notwithstanding the utmost endeavours on both sides, the whole edifice was quickly consumed. 34. The sight of the temple in ruins effectually served to damp the ardour of the Jews. They now began to suppose that heaven had forsaken them, while their cries and lamentations echoed from the adjacent mountains. Even those who were almost expiring, lifted up their dying eyes to bewail the loss of their temple, which they valued more than life itself. 35. The most resolute, however, still endeavoured to defend the upper and stronger part of the city, named Sion; but Ti'tus, with his battering engines, soon made himself entire master of the place. 36. John and Simon were taken from the vaults where they had concealed themselves; the former was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and the latter reserved to grace the conqueror's triumph. The greatest part of the populace were put to the sword; and the city was, after a six month's siege, entirely razed, and its site ploughed up; so that according to our Saviour's prophecy, not one stone remained upon another. Those who perished in this siege amounted to about a million; the captives to almost a hundred thousand.[26]


Questions for Examination.

1. Who succeeded Otho?

2. In what way did he assume the sovereignty?

3. How did he conduct himself in his new station?

4. What were the consequences of this conduct?

5. Did Vitellius tamely submit to his rival?

6. Who first commenced hostilities?

7. What followed?

8. What was the conduct of Vitellius on this occasion?

9. What farther measures did he adopt?

10. Were the friends of Vespasian idle at this juncture?

11. How was Vitellius engaged at the time of this disaster?

12. What became of Sabinus?

13. What was the consequence of this success on the part of Vitellius?

14. What became of the fallen emperor?

15. Was his request granted?

16. Did Vespasian quietly succeed?

17. What were his first measures?

18. Were they disappointed in their expectations?

19. What was the state of the Jewish war?

20. What was the state of the Jewish nation?

21. Were they united among themselves?

22. Who were at the head of these factions?

23. What was the chief theatre of their enormities?

24. At what remarkable season did Titus commence his attack?

25. What effect did this attack produce?

26. Did the Jews bravely defend their city?

27. What progress did Titus make in the siege?

28. Did he make no attempt to persuade the Jews to surrender?

29. What measures were then adopted?

30. Did these formidable measures terrify the Jews?

31. By what means did Titus gain the city?

32. Was all opposition now at an end?

33. Was the temple destroyed?

34. What effect did this sad event produce?

35. Were there none who attempted farther resistance?

36. What became of the inhabitants and their chiefs?




This world, 'tis true. Was made for Cæsar--but for Titus too; And which more blest? who chain'd his country, say, Or, he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day!--Pope.


1. Upon the taking of Jerusalem, the soldiers would have crowned Titus as conqueror; but he modestly refused the honour, alleging, that he was only an instrument in the hand of heaven, that manifestly declared its wrath against the Jews. 2. At Rome, however, all men's mouths were filled with the praises of the conqueror, who had not only showed himself an excellent general, but a courageous combatant. His return, therefore, in triumph, with Vespa'sian his father, was marked with all the magnificence and joy in the power of men to express. All things that were esteemed valuable or beautiful were brought to adorn this great occasion. 3. Among the rich spoils were exposed vast quantities of gold, taken out of the temple; but the Book of the Holy Law was not the least remarkable among the magnificent profusion. 4. This was the first time that ever Rome saw the father and the son triumphant together. A triumphal arch was erected upon this occasion, on which were described the victories of Titus over the Jews; and it remains almost entire to this day.

5. Few emperors have received a better character from historians than Vespasian; yet his numerous acts of generosity and magnificence could not preserve his character from the imputation of rapacity and avarice; for it is well known that he descended to some very unusual and dishonourable imposts.

6. Having reigned ten years, beloved by his subjects, and deserving their affection, he was seized with an indisposition at Campa'nia, which he perceived would be fatal. 7. Finding his end approaching, he exerted himself, and cried out, "An emperor ought to die standing;" whereupon, raising himself upon his feet, he expired in the arms of those who sustained him.

[Sidenote: A.D. 79.]

8. Titus was joyfully received as emperor, and began his reign with the practice of every virtue that became a sovereign and a man. During the life of his father, there had been many imputations against him both for cruelty, lust, and prodigality; but upon his exaltation to the throne, he seemed to have entirely taken leave of his former vices, and became an example of the greatest moderation and humanity. 9. His first step towards gaining the affections of his subjects, was the moderating of his passions, and bridling his inclinations. 10. He discarded those who had been the ministers of his pleasures, though he had formerly taken great pains in the selection. 11. This moderation, added to his justice and generosity, procured him the love of all good men, and the appellation of the _Delight of Mankind_; which all his actions seemed calculated to insure.

12. Ti'tus took particular care to punish all informers, false witnesses, and promoters of dissension. Wretches who had their rise in the licentiousness and impunity of former reigns, were now become so numerous, that their crimes called loud for punishment. 13. Of these he daily made public example, condemning them to be scourged in the public streets, dragged through the theatre, and then banished into the uninhabited parts of the empire, or sold as slaves. 14. His courtesy and readiness to do good have been celebrated even by Christian writers; his principal rule being, not to send away a petitioner dissatisfied. One night, recollecting that he had done nothing beneficial to mankind during the day, he cried out, "I have lost a day!" A sentence too remarkable not to be had in remembrance.

15. In the first year of his reign, an eruption of Mount Vesu'vius overwhelmed many towns,[27] throwing its ashes into countries more than a hundred miles distant. Upon this memorable occasion, Pliny, the naturalist, lost his life; being impelled by too eager a curiosity to observe the eruption, he was suffocated in the flames. 16. This and other disasters were, in some measure, counterbalanced by the successes in Britain, under Agrico'la. This excellent general, having been sent into Britain towards the latter end of Vespasian's reign, showed himself equally expert in quelling the refractory, and civilizing those who had formerly submitted to the Roman power. 17. The Ordovi'ces, or inhabitants of North Wales, were the first that were subdued. He then made a descent upon the isle of An'glesey, which surrendered at discretion. 18. Having thus rendered himself master of the whole country, he took every method to restore discipline to his whole army, and to introduce politeness among those whom he had conquered. He exhorted them, both by advice and example, to build temples, theatres, and stately houses. He caused the sons of their nobility to be instructed in the liberal arts, and to be taught the Latin language; and induced them to imitate the Roman modes of dress and living. 19. Thus, by degrees, this barbarous people began to assume the luxurious manners of their conquerors, and even to outdo them in all the refinements of sensual pleasure. 20. Upon account of the successes in Britain, Titus was saluted Impera'tor[28] for the fifteenth time; but he did not long survive this honour, being seized with a violent fever at a little distance from Rome. He expired shortly after, but not without suspicion of treachery from his brother Domi'tian, who had long wished to govern. He died in the forty-first year of his age, having reigned two years, two months, and twenty days.

[Sidenote: A.D. 81.]

21. The beginning of Domi'tian's reign was universally acceptable to the people, as he appeared equally remarkable for his clemency, liberality and justice.[29] 22. But he soon began to show the natural deformity of his mind. Instead of cultivating literature, as his father and brother had done, he neglected all kinds of study, addicting himself wholly to meaner pursuits, particularly archery and gaming. 23. He was so very expert an archer, that he would frequently cause one of his slaves to stand at a great distance, with his hand spread as a mark, and would shoot his arrows with such exactness, as to stick them all between his fingers. 24. He instituted three sorts of contests to be observed every five years, in music, horsemanship and wrestling; but at the same time he banished all philosophers and mathematicians from Rome. 25. No emperor before him entertained the people with such various and expensive shows. During these diversions he distributed great rewards, sitting as president himself, adorned with a purple robe and crown, with the priests of Ju'piter, and the college of Fla'vian priests about him. 26. The meanness of his occupations in solitude, was a just contrast to his exhibitions of public ostentation. He usually spent his hours of retirement in catching flies, and sticking them through with a bodkin; so that one of his servants, being asked if the emperor were alone, answered, that he had not so much as a fly to bear him company. 27. His vices seemed every day to increase, and his ungrateful treatment of Agrico'la afforded a convincing proof of his natural malevolence. 28. Domi'tian was always particularly fond of obtaining a military reputation, and therefore felt jealous of it in others. He had marched some time before into Gaul, upon a pretended expedition against the Catti, a people of Germany, and without even seeing the enemy, resolved to have the honour of a triumph upon his return to Rome. For that purpose he purchased a number of slaves, whom he dressed in German habits, and at the head of this miserable procession he entered the city, amid the apparent acclamations and concealed contempt of all his subjects.


Questions for Examination.

1. How did Titus conduct himself after this important conquest?

2. How was he received at Rome?

3. What were the most remarkable among the spoils?

4. What peculiarity attended this triumph?

5. What was the character of Vespasian?

6. How many years did Vespasian reign?

7. Did he not display great resolution at the hour of death?

8. How did Titus commence his reign?

9. By what means did he gain the love of his subjects?

10. What sacrifices did he make for this purpose?

11. Did he succeed in his views?

12. What class of delinquents met his most decided disapprobation?

13. What punishment was inflicted on them?

14. What were his chief virtues?

15. What remarkable event occurred in this reign, and what eminent personage became its victim?

16. By what successes was this disaster counterbalanced?

17. What were his first enterprizes?

18. What methods did he take to civilize the conquered countries?

19. Were his measures successful?

20. Did Titus long enjoy the glory of this conquest?

21. How did Domitian commence his reign?

22. Did he persevere in his meritorious conduct?

23. In what exercise did he excel?

24. Did he encourage the arts and sciences?

25. Was he magnificent in his exhibitions?

26. How did he employ himself in private?

27. Did time render him less vicious?

28. By what means did he attempt to acquire military fame?




What wretch would groan Beneath the galling load of power, or walk Upon the slippery pavements of the great!--Somerville.


1. The success of Agric'ola in Britain affected Domit'ian, with an extreme degree of envy. This excellent general pursued the advantages which he had already obtained; he subdued the Caledo'nians, and overcame Gal'gacus, the British chief, who commanded an army of thirty thousand men; afterwards sending out a fleet to scour the coast, he discovered Great Britain to be an island. He likewise discovered and subdued the Orkneys; and thus reduced the whole into a civilized province of the Roman empire. 2. When the account of these successes was brought to Domitian, he received it with a seeming pleasure, but real uneasiness. He thought Agric'ola's rising reputation a tacit reproach upon his own inactivity; and instead of attempting to emulate, he resolved to suppress the merits of his services. 3. He ordered him, therefore, external marks of approbation, and took care that triumphal ornaments, statues, and other honours should be decreed him; but at the same time he removed him from his command, under a pretence of appointing him to the government of Syria. 4. By these means Agric'ola surrendered up his province to Sallus'tius Lucul'lus, but soon found that Syria was otherwise disposed of. Upon his return to Rome, which was privately and by night, he was coolly received by the emperor; and dying some time after in retirement, it was generally supposed that his end was hastened by Domi'tian's direction.

5. Domi'tian soon found the want of so experienced a commander, in the many irruptions of the barbarous nations that surrounded the empire. The Sarma'tians in Europe, joined with those of Asia, made a formidable invasion, at once destroying a whole legion, and a general of the Romans. The Da'cians, under the conduct of Dece'balus, their king, made an irruption, and overthrew the Romans in several engagements. 6. At last, however, the barbarians were repelled, partly by force, and partly by the assistance of money, which only served to enable them to make future invasions with greater advantage. 7. But in whatever manner the enemy might have been repelled, Domi'tian was resolved not to lose the honours of a triumph. He returned in great splendour to Rome; and, not contented with thus triumphing twice without a victory, he resolved to take the surname of German'icus, for his conquests over a people with whom he never contended.

8. In proportion as the ridicule increased against him, his pride seemed every day to demand greater homage. He would permit his statues to be made only of gold and silver; he assumed to himself divine honours; and ordered that all men should address him by the same appellations which they gave to the Divinity. 9. His cruelty was not inferior to his arrogance; he caused numbers of the most illustrious senators and others to be put to death, upon the most trifling pretences. One Æ'lius La'ma was condemned and executed only for jesting, though there was neither novelty nor poignancy in his humour. Occea'nus was murdered only for celebrating the nativity of O'tho. Pomposia'nus shared the same fate, because it was foretold by an astrologer that he should be emperor. Sallus'tius Lucul'lus his lieutenant in Britain, was destroyed only for having given his name to a new sort of lances of his own invention. Ju'nius Rus'ticus died for publishing a book, in which he commended Thra'sea and Pris'cus, two philosophers, who opposed Vespa'sian's coming to the throne.

10. Lu'cius Anto'nius, governor of Upper Germany, knowing how much the emperor was detested at home, resolved upon striking for the throne; and accordingly assumed the ensigns of imperial dignity. 11. As he was at the head of a formidable army, his success remained a long time doubtful; but a sudden overflow of the Rhine dividing his army, he was set upon at that juncture by Norman'dus, the emperor's general, and totally routed. The news of this victory, we are told, was brought to Rome by supernatural means, on the same day that the battle was fought. 12. Domi'tian's severity was greatly increased by this short-lived success. In order to discover the accomplices of the adverse party, he invented new tortures: sometimes cutting off the hands--at other times thrusting fire into the bodies of those whom he suspected of being his enemies. 13. In the midst of these severities, he aggravated his guilt by hypocrisy--never pronouncing sentence without a preamble full of gentleness and mercy. The night before he crucified the comptroller of his household, he treated him with the most flattering marks of friendship, and ordered him a dish of meat from his own table. He carried Areti'nus Cle'mens with him in his own litter the day he resolved upon his death. 14. He was particularly terrible to the senate and nobility, the whole body of whom he frequently threatened to extirpate entirely. At one time he surrounded the senate-house with his troops, to the great consternation of the senators. At another, he resolved to amuse himself with their terrors in a different manner. 15. Having invited them to a public entertainment, he received them all very formally at the entrance of his palace, and conducted them into a spacious hall, hung round with black, and illuminated by a few melancholy lamps, that diffused no more light than was just sufficient to show the horrors of the place. All around were to be seen coffins, with the names of each of the senators written upon them, together with other objects of terror, and instruments of execution. 16. While the company beheld all these preparations with silent agony, several men having their bodies blackened, each with a drawn sword in one hand, and a flaming torch in the other, entered the hall, and danced round them. 17. After some time, when, from the knowledge of Domi'tian's capricious cruelty, the guests expected nothing less than instant death, the doors were set open, and one of the servants came to inform them, that the emperor gave all the company leave to withdraw.

18. His cruelties were rendered still more odious by his avarice. 19. The last part of the tyrant's reign was more insupportable than any of the preceding. Ne'ro exercised his cruelties without being a spectator; but a principal part of the Roman miseries, during his reign, was to behold the stern air and fiery visage of the tyrant, which he had armed against sensibility by continued intemperance, directing the tortures, and maliciously pleased with adding poignance to every agony.

20. But a period was soon to be put to this monster's cruelties. Among the number of those whom he at once caressed and suspected, was his wife, Domi'tia, whom he had taken from Æ'lius La'ma, her former husband. 21. It was the tyrant's method to put down the names of all such as he intended to destroy, in his tablets, which he kept about him with great circumspection. Domi'tia fortunately happening to get a sight of them, was struck at finding her own name in the catalogue of those destined to destruction. 22. She showed the fatal list to Norba'nus and Petro'nius, præfects of the prætorian bands, who found themselves among the number of devoted victims; as likewise to Steph'anus, the comptroller of the household, who came into the conspiracy with alacrity. They fixed upon the eighteenth day of September for the completion of their great attempt. 23. Upon the emperor's preparing to go to the bath on the morning of that day, Petro'nius his chamberlain came to inform him that Steph'anus desired to speak upon an affair of the utmost importance. The emperor having given orders that his attendants should retire, Steph'anus entered with his hand in a scarf, which he had worn thus for some days, the better to conceal a dagger, as none were permitted to approach the emperor with arms. 24. He began by giving information of a pretended conspiracy, and exhibited a paper, in which the particulars were specified. While Domi'tian was reading the contents with eager curiosity, Steph'anus drew his dagger and struck him with much violence; but the wound not being mortal, Domi'tian caught hold of the assassin and threw him upon the ground, calling out for assistance. But Parthe'nius, with his freedman, a gladiator, and two subaltern officers, now coming in, they ran furiously upon the emperor and dispatched him: Steph'anus, however, was slain by the guards, but the other conspirators escaped in the tumult.

25. It is rather incredible, what some writers relate concerning Apollo'nius Tyane'us, who was then at Ephesus. This person, whom some call a magician, and some a philosopher, but who more probably was only an impostor, was, just at the minute in which Domi'tian was slain, lecturing in one of the public gardens of the city; but stopping short, on a sudden he cried out, "Courage, Steph'anus, strike the tyrant!" then, after a pause, "Rejoice, my friends, the tyrant dies this day;--this day do I say?--the very moment in which I kept silence he suffered for his crimes! He dies!"

26. Many prodigies are said to have portended his death; and if the Roman historians are to be credited, more preternatural appearances and predictions announced this event, than its importance deserved.[30] The truth seems to be, that a belief in omens and prodigies was again become prevalent, as the people were evidently relapsing into pristine barbarity, ignorance being ever the proper soil for a harvest of imposture.


Questions for Examination.

1. What advantages did Agricola gain in Britain?

2. How did Domitian receive the account of Agricola's success?

3. In what way did the emperor treat him?

4. To whom did Agricola surrender up his province?

5. What nations afterwards made irruptions into the Roman provinces?

6. By what means were the barbarians at length repelled?

7. What surname did Domitian assume?

8. To what extravagance did his pride lead him?

9. What trifling pretexts were made use of by Domitian to put to death some of the most illustrious Romans?

10. Who now assumed the ensigns of the imperial dignity?

11. By what general was Lucius Antonius defeated?

12. What new cruelties were resorted to by the emperor?

13. By what hypocritical conduct was he distinguished?

14. To whom was he particularly terrible?

15, 16, 17. What terrific ceremonies did he invent on one occasion?

18. Was the result fatal to them?

19. Did not his cruelties become still more insupportable at the latter part of his reign?

20. Who was among the number that he at the same time caressed and suspected?

21. Whose name did Domitia discover among his list of victims?

22. To whom did she show the fatal list, and what was resolved on?

23. What means were used by Stephanus to assassinate the emperor?

24. Relate the particulars of the assassination.

25. What exclamation is Apollonius Tyaneus said to have made at Ephesus, at the time of Domitian's death?

26. Did not the Romans relapse into their pristine state of barbarity about this period?



[1] In his sixth consulship Augustus commanded a census to be made, when there was found the astonishing number of 4,060,000 inhabitants in Rome, which was fifty miles in circumference.

[2] M. Primus, while governor of Macedon, had made an irruption into the country of the Odrysians; for this he was prosecuted, and pleaded that it was by the emperor's orders. Augustus denying this, L. Murena put the impudent question to him mentioned in the text.

[3] An island on the coast of Lucania, in Italy; now called Santa Maria.

[4] The date of Augustus's reign is here reckoned from the death of Antony, when he became sole monarch; but if it be reckoned from his first coming into power, soon after the death of Julius Cæsar, it is nearly 56 years. Augustus carried on his wars principally by his lieutenants, but he went personally into Spain and Gaul. His bravery, however, has been greatly called in question, and many flagrant instances of his cowardice recorded. How true they may be is not easy to determine.

[5] The temple of Janus was now shut for the third time since the foundation of the city.

[6] He began his reign, however, with the murder of Agrippa Posthumus, the grandson of Augustus.

[7] Varus had been surprised by the Germans, defeated, and his whole army cut to pieces. Augustus was so grieved at this disgrace and loss, that, for a long time, he wore mourning, and frequently was heard to cry out, in the agony of his grief, "Restore me my legions, Varus."

[8] Germanicus died in the 34th year of his age, and was universally mourned for, not only by the Roman people, but by the princes in alliance with Rome, and even by the proud monarch of Parthia. (Suet. l. 4. c. 5.)

[9] He was found in the morning with his throat cut, and his sword lying by him; but whether this was done by his own hand, or by the orders of Tiberius, is not known. (Tacitus.)

[10] Sejanus, though simply a Roman knight, was descended from an illustrious family, and was, in the very beginning of Tiberius's reign, associated with his father in the command of the prætorian guards. By removing these from their usual quarters in the city, and uniting them in one body in a camp, he laid the foundation of that power, which they afterwards usurped, of disposing of the empire at their pleasure.

[11] To such a pitch of meanness were the Roman senators arrived, that when the emperor's letter arrived, the senators, thinking it contained orders for bestowing on Sejanus the tribunitial power, crowded around him, each striving to be foremost in congratulating him on his new dignity; but they no sooner learned the real contents of the fatal letter than all forsook him; even those who sat near him removed to another part of the house, lest they should be accounted his friends. (Dio.) The populace likewise broke in pieces those very statues which, a few hours before, they had adored.

[12] It has been well said of Tiberius, "This great prince--this sovereign of Rome--with his numerous armies, his prætorian bands, and his unlimited power, was in hourly fear of secret assassins, incessantly prompted by his own apprehensions; with all the eclat of empire, the most miserable being in his dominions. His power, indeed, was unlimited, but so was his misery; the more he made others suffer, the faster he supplied his own torments. Such was his situation and life, and such were the natural consequences of the abuse of power."

[13] He was so named from _caliga_, a sort of military boot which he usually wore.

[14] A promontory, port, and town in Italy, near Naples.

[15] The Prætorian bands were instituted by Augustus, to guard his person, and maintain his authority. Under bold and warlike emperors, they were kept in tolerable subjection: but when the reins of government were held by feeble hands, they became the disturbers, instead of preservers, of the public peace; and, at length, deposed and set up emperors at their pleasure.

[16] Some still more extraordinary accounts are given of this horse: it is said that he appointed it a house, furniture, and kitchen, in order to treat all its visitors with proper respect. Sometimes he invited Incita'tus to his own table, and presented it with gilt oats, and wine in a golden cup. He would often swear, "by the safety of his horse!" and it is even said that it was his intention to have appointed it to the consul-ship, had not his death prevented it.

[17] One day on visiting the amphitheatre, finding there were no criminals condemned to fight with wild beasts, he ordered numbers of the spectators to be thrown to them, previously causing their tongues to be cut out, that they might not, by their cries, disturb his inhuman diversions.

[18] It is said that the tower which stands at the entry of the port of Bologne, called La tour d'ordre, is that built by Calig'ula on this occasion.

[19] Palatine games were so called from their being celebrated on the Palatine Hill, which was the most considerable of the seven hills on which Rome was built. This was the first hill occupied by Rom'ulus, and where he fixed his residence, and kept his court; as also did Tul'lus, Hostil'ius, Augus'tus, and all the succeeding emperors; and hence it is that the residence of princes is called Palatium or Palace.

[20] He is by some called Am'pronus.

[21] His mother Anto'nia, used to call him a human monster; and his nephew, Calig'ula, when he had butchered many of his kindred, saved him merely for a laughing-stock. The kindest word Agustus gave him was that of Misel'lus, (poor wretch.) This example was followed by others. If he happened to come to table when the guests had taken their places, no one showed him the least civility; and when he slept, as he sometimes did, after meals, they would divert themselves by throwing the stones of fruit at him, or by wakening him with a blow of a rod or whip.

[22] Her'od Agrip'pa was the grandson of Herod the Great; who, at the birth of our Saviour, caused all the infants of Bethlehem to be massacred, in hopes that he would fall in the number. Her'od Agrip'pa to please the Jews, also persecuted the Christians; and put to death St. James the Great.

[23] He put to death Cher'ea and some others of the murderers of his nephew.

[24] Sen'eca, a celebrated philosopher, and a son of Sen'eca the orator, was born at Corduba, in Spain, A.D. 8. This town was also the birthplace of his father. (Strabo and Lucan.) Corduba was founded by the Romans, B.C. 150, and in process of time it became the residence of the Moorish kings, and where they continued till their expulsion into Africa. It was in the vicinity of this city that Cæsar fought his last battle with the sons of Pompey.

[25] Vespasian was at that time conducting the war in Jude'a, in Asia.

[26] The destruction of Jerusalem happened in the year of our Lord 70.

[27] Hercula'neum, Pompe'ii, &c. This eruption happened August 24, A.D. 79. These towns, after having been buried under the lava for more than 1600 years, were discovered in the beginning of the last century: Hercula'neum, in 1713, about 24 feet under ground, by labourers digging a well, and Pompe'ii 40 years after, about 12 feet below the surface; and from the houses and streets which, in a great measure, remain perfect, have been drawn busts, statues, manuscripts, paintings, &c. which contribute much to enlarge our notions concerning the ancients, and develope many classical obscurities. (Mala.) In the year following this dreadful eruption, a fire happened at Rome, which consumed the capitol, the pantheon, the library of Augustus, the theatre of Pompey, and a great many other buildings. In the ruins of Hercula'neum there have lately been found loaves which were baked under the reign of Titus, and which still bear the baker's mark, indicating the quality of the flour, which was probably prescribed by the regulation of the police. There have also been found utensils of bronze, which, instead of being tinned, like ours, are all silvered; the ancients doubtless preferred this method, as more wholesome and more durable. The excavations at Pompe'ii continue to furnish the royal museum at Naples with all kinds of valuable objects: some buildings have lately been discovered at Pompe'ii, remarkable for the richness of their architecture. At Paggo'ia, another town buried by the lava from Vesuvius, some sepulchres have been found, which are stated to be magnificently adorned with sculpture of the finest kind.

[28] Impera'tor, a title of honour among the Romans, conferred on victorious generals by their armies, and afterwards by the senate.

[29] It is a remarkable fact, that the most odious tyrants that ever sat on the Roman throne, commenced their reigns with a display of all the virtues that adorn humanity: on the contrary, Augustus, who was truly the father of his people, began his reign with cruelties that afforded but a melancholy presage of his future administration.

[30] In the reign of Domi'tian, a violent persecution raged against the Christians. During this persecution St. John was confined to the Isle of Patmos, in the Archipelago, where he wrote the Apoc'alypse, or Revelation.

Oliver Goldsmith