HISTORICAL NARRATIVE ORIGINALLY COMPOSED IN GREEK DURING THE REIGNS OF SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, GETA AND CARACALLA, MACRINUS, ELAGABALUS AND ALEXANDER SEVERUS:
NOW PRESENTED IN ENGLISH FORM
HERBERT BALDWIN FOSTER, A.B. (Harvard), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins), Acting Professor of Greek in Lehigh University
I. Books 77-80 (A.D. 211-229).
II. Fragments of Books 1-21 (Melber's Arrangement).
III. Glossary of Latin Terms.
IV. General Index.
PAFRAETS BOOK COMPANY TROY NEW YORK
DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY
Antoninus begins his reign by having various persons assassinated, among them his brother Geta (chapters 1-3).
Cruelty of Antoninus toward Papinianus, Cilo, and others (chapters 4-6).
Antoninus as emulator of Alexander of Macedon (chapters 7, 8).
His levies and extravagance (chapters 9-11).
His treachery toward Abgarus of Osrhoene, toward the Armenian king, the Parthian king, and the Germans (chapters 12, 13).
The Cenni conquer Antoninus in battle (chapter 14).
He strives to drive out his disease of mind by consulting spirits and oracles (chapter 15).
Slaughter of vestals, insults to the senate, demise of others contrary to his mother's wishes (chapters 16-18).
Antoninus's Parthian war (chapters 19-21).
Massacres of Alexandrians caused by Antoninus (chapters 22-24).
DURATION OF TIME.
Q. Epidius Rufus Lollianus Gentianus, Pomponius Bassus (A.D. 211 = a. u. 964 = First of Antoninus, from Feb. 4th).
C. Iulius Asper (II), C. Iulius Asper. (A.D. 212 = a.u. 965 = Second of Antoninus.)
Antoninus Aug. (IV), D. Coelius Balbinus (II). (A.D. 213 = a.u. 966 = Third of Antoninus.)
Silius Messala, Sabinus. (A.D. 214 = a.u. 967 = Fourth of Antoninus.)
Laetus (II), Cerealis. (A.D. 215 = a.u. 968 = Fifth of Antoninus.)
C. Attius Sabinus (II), Cornelius Annullinus. (A.D. 216 = a.u. 969 = Sixth of Antoninus.)
(BOOK 78, BOISSEVAIN.)
[Sidenote: A.D. 211 (a.u. 964)] [Sidenote:—1—] After this Antoninus secured the entire power. Nominally he ruled with his brother, but in reality alone and at once. With the enemy he came to terms, withdrew from their country, and abandoned the forts. But his own people he either dismissed (as Papinianus the prefect) or else killed (as Euodus, his nurse, Castor, and his wife Plautilla, and the latter's brother Plautius). In Rome itself he also executed a man who was renowned for no other reason than his profession, which made him very conspicuous. This was Euprepes, the charioteer; he killed him when the man dared to show enthusiasm for a cause that the emperor opposed. So Euprepes died in old age after having been crowned in an endless number of horse-races. He had won seven hundred and eighty-two of them,—a record equaled by none other.
Antoninus had first had the desire to murder his brother while his father was still alive, but had been unable to do so at that time because of Severus, or later, on the road, because of the legions. The men felt very kindly toward the younger son, especially because in appearance he was the very image of his father. But when Antoninus arrived in Rome, he got rid of this rival also. The two pretended to love and commend each other, but their actions proved quite the reverse to be true, and anybody could see that some catastrophe would result from their relations. This fact was recognized even prior to their reaching Rome. When it had been voted by the senate to sacrifice in behalf of their harmony both to the other gods and to Harmony herself, the assistants made ready a victim to be sacrificed to Harmony and the consul arrived to do the slaughtering; yet he could not find them, nor could the assistants find the consul. They spent nearly the whole night looking for each other, so that the sacrifice could not be performed on that occasion. The next day two wolves climbed the Capitol, but were chased away from that region: one of them was next encountered somewhere in the Forum, and the other was later slain outside the pomerium. This is the story about those two animals.
[Sidenote:—2—-] It was Antoninus's wish to murder his brother at the Saturnalia, but he was not able to carry out his intention. The danger had already grown too evident to be concealed. As a consequence, there were many violent meetings between the two,—both feeling that they were being plotted against,—and many precautionary measures were taken on both sides. As many soldiers and athletes, abroad and at home, day and night, were guarding Geta, Antoninus persuaded his mother to send for him and his brother and have them come along to her house with a view to being reconciled. Geta without distrust went in with him. When they were well inside, some centurions suborned by Antoninus rushed in a body. Geta on seeing them had run to his mother, and as he hung upon her neck and clung to her bosom and breasts he was cut down, bewailing his fate and crying out: "Mother that bore me, mother that bore me, help! I am slain!!"
[Sidenote: A.D. 212 (a.u. 965)] Tricked in this way, she beheld her son perishing by most unholy violence in her very lap, and, as it were, received his death into her womb whence she had borne him. She was all covered with blood, so that she made no account of the wound she had received in her hand. She might neither mourn nor weep for her son, although, untimely he had met so miserable an end (he was only twenty-two years and nine months old): on the contrary, she was compelled to rejoice and laugh as though enjoying some great piece of luck. All her words, gestures, and changes of color were watched with the utmost narrowness. She alone, Augusta, wife of the emperor, mother of emperors, was not permitted to shed tears even in private over so great a calamity.
[Sidenote:—3—] Antoninus, although it was evening, took possession of the legions after bawling all the way along the road that he had been the object of a plot and was in danger. On entering the fortifications, he exclaimed: "Rejoice, fellow-soldiers, for now I have a chance to benefit you!" Before they heard the whole story he had stopped their mouths with so many and so great promises that they could neither think nor speak anything decent. "I am one of you," he said, "it is on your account alone that I care to live, that so I may afford you much happiness. All the treasuries are yours." Indeed, he said this also: "I pray if possible to live with you, but if not, at any rate to die with you. I do not fear death in any form, and it is my desire to end my days in warfare. There should a man die, or nowhere!"
To the senate on the following day he made various remarks and after rising from his seat he went towards the door and said: "Listen to a great announcement from me. That the whole world may be glad, let all the exiles, who have been condemned on any complaint whatever in any way whatever, be restored to full rights." Thus did he empty the islands of exiles and grant pardon to the worst condemned criminals, but before long he had the isles full again.
[Sidenote:—4—] The Caesarians and the soldiers that had been with Geta were suddenly put to death to the number of twenty thousand, men and women alike, wherever in the palace any of them happened to be. Antoninus slew also various distinguished men, among them Papinianus.
While the Pretorians accused Papianus (sic) and Patruinus [Footnote: This is Valerius Patruinus.] for certain actions, Antoninus allowed the complainants to kill them, and added the following remark: "I hold sway for your advantage and not for my own; therefore, I defer to you both as accusers and as judges."
He rebuked the murderer of Papinianus for using an axe instead of a sword to give the finishing stroke.
He had also desired to deprive of life Cilo, his nurse and benefactor, who had served as prefect of the city during his father's reign, whom he had also often called father. The soldiers sent against him plundered his silver plate, his robes, his money, and everything else that belonged to him. Cilo himself they conducted along the Sacred Way, making the palace their destination, where they prepared to give him his quietus. He had low slippers [Footnote: Reading [Greek: blahytast] in the place of the MS. [Greek: chlhapast]. This emendation is favored by Cobet (Mnemosyne, N.S., X, p. 211) and Naber (Mnemosyne, N.S., XVI, p. 113).] on his feet, since he had chanced to be in the bath when apprehended, and wore an abbreviated tunic. The men rent his clothing open and disfigured his face, so that the people and the soldiers stationed in the city made clamorous objections. Therefore Antoninus, out of respect and fear for them, met the party, and, shielding Cilo with his cavalry cloak,—he was wearing military garb,—cried out: "Insult not my father! Strike not my nurse!" The tribune charged with slaying him and the soldiers in his contingent lost their lives, nominally for making plots but really for not having killed their victim.
[Sidenote:—5—] [But Antoninus was so anxious to appear to love Cilo that he declared: "Those who have plotted against him have plotted against me." Commended for this by the bystanders, he proceeded: "Call me neither Hercules nor the name of any other god;" not that he was unwilling to be termed a god, but because he wished to do nothing worthy of a god. He was naturally capricious in all matters, and would bestow great honors upon people and then suddenly disgrace them, quite without reason. He would save those who least deserved it and punish those whom one would never have expected.
Julianus Asper was a man by no means contemptible, on account of his education and good sense as well. He exalted him, together with his sons, and after Asper had walked the streets surrounded by I don't know how many fasces he without warning insulted him outrageously and dismissed him to his native place [Footnote: I.e., Tusculum.] with abuse and in mighty trepidation. Laetus, too, he would have disgraced or even killed, had this man not been extremely sick. So the emperor before the soldiers called his sickness "wicked," because it did not allow him to display wickedness in one more case.
Again he made way with Thrasea Priscus, a person second to none in family or intelligence.
Many others also, previously friends of his, he put to death.]
"Nay, I could not recite nor give the names all over"
[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, II, verse 488.] of the distinguished men whom he killed without any right. Dio, because the slain were very well known in those days, even makes a list of them. For me it suffices to say that he crushed the life out of everybody he chose, without exception,
"whether the man was guilty or whether he was not ";
[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, XV, verse 137.] and that he simply mutilated Rome, by rendering it bereft of excellent men. [Antoninus was allied to three races. And he possessed not a single one of their good points, but included in himself all their vices. The lightness, the cowardice, and recklessness of Gaul were his, the roughness and cruelty of Africa, the abominations of Syria (whence he was on his mother's side).] Veering from slaughter to sports, he pursued his murderous course no less in the latter. Of course one would pay no attention to an elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, and hippotigris being killed in the theatre, but he took equal pleasure in having gladiators shed the greatest amount of one another's blood. One of them, Bato, he forced to fight three successive men on the same day, and then, when Bato met death at the hands of the last, he honored him with a conspicuous burial.
[Sidenote:—7—] He had Alexander on the brain to such an extent that he used certain weapons and cups which purported to have belonged to the great conqueror, and furthermore he set up many representations of him both among the legions and in Rome itself. He organized a phalanx, sixteen thousand men, of Macedonians alone, named it "Alexander's phalanx," and equipped it with the arms which warriors had used in his day. These were: a helmet of raw oxhide, a three-ply linen breastplate, a bronze shield, long pike, short spear, high boots, sword. Not even this, however, satisfied him, but he called his hero "The Eastern Augustus." Once he wrote to the senate that Alexander had come on earth again in, the body of the Augustus, [Footnote: Antoninus meant himself.] so that when he had finished his own brief existence he might enjoy a larger life in the emperor's person. The so-called Aristotelian philosophers he hated bitterly, wishing even to burn their books, and he abolished the common messes they had in Alexandria and all the other privileges they enjoyed: his grievance, as stated, was the tradition that Aristotle had been an accomplice in the death of Alexander.
This was the way he behaved in those matters. And, by Jupiter, he took around with him numbers of elephants, that in this respect, too, he might seem to be imitating Alexander, or rather, perhaps, Dionysus.
[Sidenote:—8—] On Alexander's account he was fond of all the Macedonians. Once after praising a Macedonian tribune because the latter had shown agility in jumping upon his horse, he enquired of him first: "From what country are you?" Then, learning that he was a Macedonian, he pursued: "What is your name?" Having thereupon heard that it was Antigonus, he further questioned: "How was your father called?" When the father's name was found to be Philip, he declared: "I have all my desire." He straightway bestowed upon him the whole series of exalted military honors and before a great while appointed him one of the senators with the rank of an ex-praetor.
There was another man who had no connection with Macedonia, but had committed many dreadful crimes, and for this reason was tried before him in an appealed case. His name proved to be Alexander, and when the orator accusing him said repeatedly "the bloodthirsty Alexander, the god-detested Alexander," the emperor became angry, as if he were personally slandered, and spoke out: "If Alexander doesn't suit you, you may regard yourself as dismissed."
[Sidenote:—9—] Now this great Alexandrophile, Antoninus, [kept many men about him, alleging reasons after reasons, all fictitious, and wars upon wars. He had also this most frightful characteristic, that he was fond of spending money not only upon the soldiers but for all other projects with one sole end in view,—to] strip, despoil and grind down all mankind, and the senators by no means least. [In the first place, there were gold crowns that he kept demanding, on the constant pretext that he had conquered some enemy or other (I am not speaking about the actual manufacture of the crowns,—for what does that amount to?—but the great sums of money constantly being given under that name by the cities, for the "crowning" (as it is called) of their emperors). Then there was the provisions which we were all the time levying in great abundance from all quarters, sometimes seizing them without compensation and sometimes spending a little something on them: all this supply he presented or else peddled to the soldiers. And the gifts, which he demanded from wealthy individuals and from states. And the taxes, both the new ones which he published and the ten per cent. tax that he instituted in place of the twenty per cent. to apply to the emancipation of slaves, to bequests left to any one, and to all gifts; for he abolished in such cases the right of succession and exemption from taxes which had been accorded to those closely related to persons deceased. This accounts for his giving the title of Romans to all the men in his empire. Nominally it was to honor them, but his real purpose was to get an increased income by such means, since foreigners did not have to pay most of those taxes. But aside from all these] we were also compelled to build at our own expense all sorts of dwellings for him whenever he took a trip from Rome, and costly lodgings in the middle of even the very shortest journeys. Yet not only did he never live in them but he had no idea of so much as looking at a single one. Moreover, without receiving any appropriation from him we constructed hunting-theatres and race-courses at every point where he wintered or expected to winter. They were all torn down without delay and apparently the sole purpose of their being called into existence was to impoverish us.
[Sidenote:—10—] The emperor himself kept spending the money upon the soldiers (as we said) and upon beasts and horses. He was forever killing great collections of wild beasts, of horses, and also of domestic animals, forcing us to contribute the majority of them, though now and then he bought a few. One day he slew a hundred boars at once with his own hands. He raced also in chariots, and then he would wear the Blue costume. In all undertakings he was exceedingly hot-headed and exceedingly fickle, and besides this he possessed the rascality of his mother and of the Syrians, to which race she belonged. He would put up some kind of freedman or other wealthy person as director of games merely that in this occupation, too, the man might spend money. From below he would make gestures of subservience to the audience with his whip and would beg for gold pieces like one of the lowliest citizens. He said that he used the same methods of chariot-driving as the Sun god, and he took pride in the fact. Accordingly, during the whole extent of his reign the whole earth, so far as it yielded obedience to him, was plundered. Hence the Romans once at a horse-race uttered this among other cries: "We are destroying the living in order to bury the dead." The emperor would often say: "No man need have money but me, and I want it to bestow it on the soldiers." Once when Julia chided him for his great outlays upon them and said: "No longer is any resource, either just or unjust, left to us," he replied, exhibiting his sword: "Cheer up, mother: for, as long as we have this, money is not going to fail us."
[Sidenote:—11—] To those who flattered him, however, he distributed possessions and money.
Julius Paulus [Footnote: Undoubtedly a mistake for the Julius Paulinus subsequently mentioned.] was a man of consular rank, who was a great chatterer and joker and would not refrain from aiming his shafts of wit at the very emperors: therefore Severus had him taken into custody, though without constraints. When he still continued, even under guard, to make the sovereigns the objects of his jests, Severus sent for him and swore that he would cut off his head. But the man replied: "Yes, you can cut it off, but as long as I have it, neither you nor I can restrain it," and so Severus laughed and released him.
He granted to Julius Paulinus twenty-five myriads because the man, who was a jester, had been led, though involuntarily, to make a joke upon him. Paulinus had said that he actually resembled a man getting angry, for somehow he was always assuming a fierce expression. [Footnote: None of the editors, any more than the casual reader, has been able to find anything of a sidesplitting nature in this joke. The trouble is, of course, that the utterance sounds like a plain statement of fact. Caracalla's natural disposition was harsh and irritable. Some have changed the word "man" to "Pan (in anger)", but without gaining very much. I offer for what it is worth the suggestion that a well-known truth, especially in the case of personal characteristics, may sound very amusing when pronounced in a quizzical or semi-ironical fashion by a person possessing sufficient vis comica. Thus we may conceive Paulinus, a professional jester, on meeting Antoninus to have blurted out in a tone of mock surprise: "Why, anybody would really think you are angry. You look so cross all the time!" There would then be a point in the jest, but the point would lie not in the words but in the voice and features of the speaker. Apart from this explanation of the possible humor of the remark an excerpt of Peter Patricius (Exc. Vat. 143) gives us to understand that it would be taken as a compliment by Antoninus from the mouth of a person to whom he was accustomed to accord some liberties, since Antoninus made a point of maintaining at all times this character of harshness and abruptness.]—Antoninus made no account of anything excellent: he never learned anything of the kind, as he himself admitted. So it was that he showed a contempt for us, who possessed something approaching education. Severus, to be sure, had trained him in all pursuits, bar none, that tended to inculcate virtue, whether physical or mental, so that even after he became emperor he went to teachers and studied philosophy most of the day. He also took oil rubbings without water and rode horseback to a distance of seven hundred and fifty stades. Moreover, he practiced swimming even in rough water. In consequence of this, Antoninus was, as you might say, strong, but he paid no heed to culture, since he had never even heard the name of it. Still, his language was not bad, nor did he lack judgment, but he showed in almost everything a keen appreciation and talked very readily. For through his authority and recklessness and his habit of saying right out without reflection anything at all that occurred to him, and not being ashamed to air his thoughts, he often stumbled upon some felicitous expression. [But the same Antoninus made many mistakes through his headstrong opinions. It was not enough for him to know everything: he wanted to be the only one who knew anything. It was not enough for him to have all power: he would be the only one with any power. Hence it was that he employed no counselor and was jealous of such men as knew something worth while. He never loved a single person and he hated all those who excelled in anything; and most did he hate those whom he affected most to love. Many of these he destroyed in some way or other. Of course he had many men murdered openly, but others he would send to provinces not suited to them, fatal to their physical condition, having an unwholesome climate; thus, while pretending to honor them excessively, he quietly got rid of them, exposing such as he did not like to excessive heat or cold. Hence, though he spared some in so far as not to put them to death, yet he subjected them to such hardships that the stain [Footnote: This is very likely an incorrect translation of an incorrect reading. The various editors of Dio have a few substitutes to propose, but as all the interpretations seem to me extremely lumbering I have turned the MS. [Greek] chelidoysthai (taken as a passive) in a way that may be not quite beyond the bounds of possibility. The noun [Greek] chelhist like the English "stain," often passes from its original sense of "blemish" to that of the consequent "disgrace."] of murder still rested on him.
The above describes him in general terms.
[Sidenote: A.D. 213(?)] [Sidenote:—12—] Now we shall state what sort of person he showed himself in war. [Abgarus, king of the Osrhoeni, when he had once got control of the kindred tribes, inflicted the most outrageous treatment upon his superiors. Nominally he was compelling them to change to Roman customs, but in fact he was making the most of his authority over them in an unjustifiable way.] He tricked the king of the Osrhoeni, Abgarus, inducing him to visit him as a friend, and then arrested and imprisoned him. This left Osrhoene without a ruler and he subdued it.
The king of the Armenians had a dispute with his own children and Antoninus summoned him in a friendly letter with the avowed purpose of making peace between them: he treated these princes in the same fashion as he had Abgarus. The Armenians, however, instead of yielding to him had recourse to arms and not one of them thereafter would trust him in the slightest particular. Thus he was brought by experience to understand how great the penalty is for an emperor's practicing deceit toward friends. [The same ruler assumed the utmost credit for the fact that at the death of Vologaesus, king of the Parthians, his children proceeded to fight about the sovereignty; what was purely accidental he pretended had come about through his own connivance. He ever took vehement delight in the actions and dissensions of the brothers and generally in the mutual slaughter of foreign potentates.] He did not hesitate, either, to write to the senate regarding the rulers of the Parthians (who were brothers and at variance) that the brothers' quarrel would work great harm to the Parthian state. Just as if barbarian governments could be destroyed by such procedure and yet the Roman state had been preserved! Just as if it had not been, on the contrary, almost utterly overthrown! It was not merely that the great sums of blood money given under such conditions to the soldiers for his brother's murder served to demoralize mankind: in addition, vast numbers of citizens had information laid against them,—not only those who had sent the brother letters or had brought him presents [Footnote: Reading [Greek: dorophorhesantest] (Reimar) for the MS. [Greek: doruphoraesantes].] when he was still Caesar or again after he had become emperor, but all the rest who had never had any dealings with him. If anybody even so much as wrote the name of Geta, or spoke it, that was the end of him then and there. Hence the poets no longer used it even in comedies. [Footnote: Geta was a common name for slaves in Latin comedy. It came into Rome through Greek channels and was originally merely the national adjective applied to a tribe of northern barbarians.] The property, too, of all those in whose wills the name was found written was confiscated.
[Many of his acts were committed with a view to getting money. And he exhibited his hatred for his dead brother by abolishing the honor paid to his birthday, by getting angry at the stones which had supported his images, and by melting up the coinage that displayed his features. Not even this sufficed him, but more than ever from this time he began his practice of unholy rites and often forced others to share his pollution by making a kind of annual offering to his brother's Manes.]
[Sidenote: A.D. 213 (a.u. 966)] [Sidenote:—13—] Though holding such views and behaving in such a way with regard to the latter's murder he took delight in the dissension of the barbarian brothers, on the ground that the Parthians would suffer some great injury as a result of it.
[The Celtic nations, however, afforded him neither pleasure nor any pretence of cleverness or courage but proved him to be nothing more nor less than a cheat, a simpleton, and an arrant coward. Antoninus made a campaign among the Alamanni and wherever he saw a spot suitable for habitation he would order: "There let a fort be erected: there let a city be built." To those spots he applied names relating to himself, yet the local designations did not get changed; for some of the people were unaware of the new appellations and others thought he was joking. Consequently he came to entertain a contempt for them and would not keep his hands off this tribe even; but, whereas he had been saying that he had come as an ally, he accorded them treatment to be expected of a most implacable foe. He called a meeting of their men of military age under promise that they were to receive pay, and then at a given signal,—his raising aloft his own shield,—he had them surrounded and cut down; he also sent cavalry around and arrested all others not present.
Antoninus commended in the senate by means of a letter Pandion, a fellow who had previously been an understudy of charioteers but in the war against the Alamanni drove his chariot for him and in this capacity was his comrade and fellow soldier. And he asserted that he had been saved by this man from a portentous danger and was not ashamed to evince greater gratitude to him than to the soldiers, whom in their turn he regarded as our superiors.[Footnote: There is a gap of a word or two here (Dindorf text), filled by reading [Greek: helen hechon] (with Boissevain).]
Some of the most distinguished men whom Antoninus slew he ordered to be cast out unburied.
He made a search for the tomb of Sulla and repaired it, and reared a cenotaph to Mesomedes, who had written a compilation of citharoedic modes. He honored the latter because he was himself learning to sing to the zither and the former because he was emulating his cruelty.]
Still, in cases of necessity and urgent campaigns, he was simple and frugal, toiling with painstaking care in menial offices as much as the rest. He trudged beside the soldiers and ran beside them, not taking a bath nor changing his clothing, but helping them in every labor and choosing absolutely the same food as they had. Often he would send to distinguished champions on the enemy's side and challenge them to single combat. The details of generalship in which he certainly ought to have been most versed he managed least well, as if he thought that victory lay in the performance of those services mentioned and not in this science of commanding.
[Sidenote:—14—] He conducted war also against a certain Celtic tribe of Cenni. These warriors are said to have assailed the Romans with the utmost fierceness, using their mouths to pull from their flesh the missiles with which the Osrhoeni wounded them, that they might give their hands no respite in slaughtering the foe. Nevertheless even they, after selling the name of defeat at a high figure, made an agreement with him to go into Germany on condition of being spared. Their women [and those of the Alamanni] all who were captured [would not, in truth, await a servile doom, but] when Antoninus asked them whether they desired to be sold or slain, chose the latter alternative. Afterward, as they were offered for sale, they all killed themselves and some of their children as well. [Many also of the people dwelling close to the ocean itself, near the mouth of the Albis, sent envoys to him and asked his friendship, when their real concern was to get money. For after he had done as they desired, they would frequently attack him, threatening to begin a war; and with all such he came to terms. Even though his offer was contrary to their principles, yet when they saw the gold pieces they were captivated. To them he gave true gold pieces, but the silver and gold money with which he provided the Romans was alloyed.] He manufactured the one of lead with a silver plating and the other of bronze with a gold plating.
[Sidenote:—15—] [The same ruler published some of his devices directly, pretending that they were excellent and worthy of commendation, however base their actual character. Other intentions he rather unwillingly made known through the very precautions which he took to conceal them, as, for example, in the case of the money. He plundered the whole land and the whole sea and left nothing whatever unharmed. The chants of the enemy made Antoninus frenzied and beside himself, hearing which some of the Alamanni asserted that they had used charms to put him out of his mind.] He was sick in body, partly with ordinary and partly with private diseases, and was sick also in mind, suffering from distressing visions; and often he thought he was being pursued by his father and his brother, armed with swords. Therefore he called up spirits to find some remedy against them, among others the spirit of his father and of Commodus. But not one would speak a word to him except Commodus. [Geta, so they say, attended Severus, though unsummoned. Yet not even he offered any suggestion to relieve the emperor, but on the contrary terrified him the more.] This is what he said:
"Draw nearer judgment, which the gods demand of thee [Footnote: Emended (by Fabricius and Reiske) from a corruption in the MS.] for Severus,"
then something else, and finally—
"having in secret places a disease hard to heal."
[For letting these facts become public many suffered unseemly outrage. But to Antoninus not one of the gods gave any response pertaining to the healing of either his body or his mind, although he showered attention upon all the most distinguished shrines. This showed in the clearest light that they regarded not his offerings, nor his sacrifices, but only his purposes and his deeds. He got no aid from Apollo Grannus [Footnote: Grannus was really a Celtic god, merely identified with Apollo. He was honored most in Germany and Dacia (also known in Rhaetia, Noricum), and, inasmuch as many inscriptions bearing his name have been found near the Danube, it may probably be conjectured that he had a temple of some importance in that vicinity. For further details see Pauly, II, p. 46; Roscher, I, col. 1738.] nor Asclepius nor Serapis, in spite of his many supplications and his unwearying persistence. Even when abroad he sent to them prayers and sacrifices and votive offerings and many runners traveled to them daily, carrying things of the sort. He also went himself, hoping to prevail by appearing in person, and he performed all the usual practices of devotees, but he obtained nothing that would contribute to health.
[Sidenote:—16—] While declaring that he was the most scrupulous of all mankind, he ran to an excess of blood-guiltiness,] killing four of the vestal virgins, one of whom—so far as he was able—he had forcibly outraged. For latterly all his sexual power had disappeared, as a result of which it was reported that he satisfied his vileness in a different way; and associated with him were others of similar inclinations, who not only admitted that they were given to such practices but maintained that they did so for the sake of their ruler's welfare.
A young knight carried a coin with his image into a brothel and people informed against him.[Footnote: Conjecture, on the basis of Reiske and Bekker.] For this he was at the time imprisoned to await execution, but later was released, as the emperor died before he did.] This maiden of whom I speak was named Clodia Laeta. She, crying out loudly, "Antoninus himself knows that I am a virgin, [he himself knows that I am pure,]" was buried alive. [Three others shared her sentence. Two of them, Aurelia Severa and Pomponia Rufina, met a similar death, but Cannutia Crescentina threw herself from the top of the house.
And in the case of adulterers he did the same. For though he showed himself the most adulterous of men (so far, at least, as he was physically able) he both detested others who bore the same charge and killed them contrary to established laws.—Though displeased at all good men, he affected to honor some few of them after their death.—
Antoninus censured and rebuked them all because they asked nothing of him. And he said, in the presence of all: "It is evident from the fact that you ask nothing of me that you lack confidence in me. And if you lack confidence, you are suspicious of me; and if you are suspicious of me, you fear me; and if you fear me, you hate me." He made this an excuse for severe measures.
Antoninus being about to cause Cornificia to take leave of earth bade her (as a token of honor) choose what death she wished to die. She, after many lamentations, inspired by the memory of her father, Marcus, her grandfather, Antoninus, and her brother, Commodus, ended with this speech: "Pining, unhappy soul of mine, shut in a vile body, make forth, be free, show them that you are Marcus's daughter, whether they will or no!" Then she laid aside all the adornment in which she was arrayed, and having composed her limbs in seemly fashion severed her veins and died.
[Sidenote: A.D. 214 (a.u. 967)] Next, Antoninus arrived in Thrace, paying no further heed to Dacia. Having crossed the Hellespont, not without danger, he did honor to Achilles with sacrifices and races, in armor, about the tomb, in which he as well as the soldiers participated. For this he gave them money, assuring them that they had won a great success and had in very truth captured that famous Ilium of old, and he set up a bronze statue of Achilles himself.] Antoninus by arriving at Pergamum, while there was some dispute about it, [Footnote: The sense of these words is not clear. Boissevain conjectures that there may have been some who doubted whether an emperor so diseased would ever live to reach Mysia.] seemed to bring to fulfillment the following verse, according to some oracle:
"O'er the Telephian land shall prowl the Ausonian beast."
He took a lasting delight and pride in the fact that he was called "beast," and his victims fell in heaps. The man who had composed the verse used to laugh and say that he was in very truth himself the verse-maker (thereby indicating that no one may die contrary to the will of fate, but that the common saying is true, which declares that liars and deceivers are never believed, even if they tell the truth).
[Sidenote:—17—] He held court but little or not at all. Most of his leisure he devoted to meddlesomeness as much as anything. People from all quarters brought him word of all the most insignificant occurrences. For this reason he gave orders that the soldiers who kept their eyes and ears wide open for these details should be liable to punishment by no one save himself. This enactment, too, produced no good result, but we had a new set of tyrants in them. But the thing that was especially unseemly and most unworthy, both of the senate and of the Roman people,—we had a eunuch to domineer over us. He was a native of Spain, by name Sempronius Rufus, and his occupation that of a sorcerer and juggler (for which he had been confined on an island by Severus). This fellow was destined to pay the penalty for his conduct, as were also the rest who laid information against others. As for Antoninus, he would send word that he should hold court or transact any other public business directly after dawn; but he kept putting us off till noon and often till evening, and would not even admit us to the ante-chamber, so that we had to stand about outside somewhere. Usually at a late hour he decided that he would not even exchange greetings with us that day. Meanwhile he was largely engaged in gratifying his inquisitiveness, as I said, or was driving chariots, killing beasts, fighting as a gladiator, drinking, enjoying the consequent big head, mixing great bowls (beside their other food) for the soldiers that kept guard over him within, and sending round cups of wine (this last before our very face and eyes). At the conclusion of all this, once in a while he would hold court.
[Sidenote: A.D. 214-215] [Sidenote:—18—] That was his behavior while in winter-quarters at Nicomedea. He also trained the Macedonian phalanx. He constructed two very large engines for the Armenian and for the Parthian war, so that he could take them to pieces and carry them over on boats into Syria. For the rest, he was staining himself with more blood and transgressing laws and using up money. Neither in these matters nor in any others did he heed his mother, who gave him much excellent advice. This in spite of the fact that he entrusted to her the management of the books and letters both, save the very important ones, and that he inscribed her name with many praises in his letters to the senate, mentioning it in the same connection as his own and that of his armies, i.e., with a statement that she was safe. Need it be mentioned that she greeted publicly all the foremost men, just as her son did? But she continued more and more her study of philosophy with these persons. He kept declaring that he needed nothing beyond necessities, and gave himself airs over the fact that he could get along with the cheapest kind of living. Yet there was nothing on earth or in the sea or in the air that we did not keep furnishing him privately and publicly. [Of these articles he used extremely few for the benefit of the friends with him (for he no longer cared to dine with us), but the most of them he consumed with his freedmen. Such was his delight in magicians and jugglers that he commended and honored Apollonius [Footnote: The famous Apollonius of Tyana.] of Cappadocia, who had flourished in Domitian's reign and was a thoroughgoing juggler and magician; and he erected a heroum to his memory.
[Sidenote: A.D. 215 (a.u. 968)] [Sidenote:—19—] The pretext for his campaign against the Parthians was that Vologaesus had not acceded to his request for the extradition of Tiridates and a certain Antiochus with him. Antiochus was a Cilician and pretended at first to be a philosopher of the cynic school. In this way he was of very great assistance to the soldiers in warfare. He strengthened them against the despair caused by the excessive cold, for he threw himself into the snow and rolled in it; and as a result he obtained money and honors from Severus himself and from Antoninus. Elated at this, he attached himself to Tiridates and in his company deserted to the Parthian prince.
[Sidenote:—20—] [Antoninus surely maligned himself in asserting that he had overcome by slyness the audacity, rapacity and faithlessness of the Celtae, against which arms were of no avail. The same man commended Fabricius Luscinus because he had refused to let Pyrrhus be treacherously murdered by his friend.—He took pride in having put enmity between the Vandili and Marcomani, who were friends, and in having executed Gaiobomarus, the accused king of the Quadi. And since one of the latter's associates, under accusation at the same time with him, hanged himself before execution, Antoninus delivered his corpse to the barbarians to be wounded, that the man might be regarded as having been killed in pursuance of a sentence instead of dying voluntarily (which was deemed a creditable act among them).
He killed Caecilius AEmilianus, governor of Baetica, on suspicion that he had asked an oracular reply from Hercules at Gades.]
[Sidenote:—19—] Before leaving Nicomedea the emperor held a gladiatorial contest there in honor of his birthday, for not even on that day did he refrain from slaughter. Here it is said that a combatant, being defeated, begged for his life, whereupon Antoninus said: "Go and ask your adversary. I am not empowered to spare you."
[Sidenote: A.D. 216 (a.u. 969)] And so the wretch, who would probably have been allowed by his antagonist to go, if the above words had not been spoken, lost his life. The victor did not dare release him for fear of appearing more humane than the emperor.
[Sidenote:—20—] For all that, while so engaged and steeped in the luxury of Antioch even to the point of keeping his chin wholly bare, he gave utterance to laments, as if he were in the midst of great toils and dangers. And he reproved the senate, saying for one thing that they were slothful, did not understand readily, and did not give their votes separately. Finally he wrote: "I know that my behavior doesn't please you. But the reason for my having arms and soldiers alike is to enable me to disregard anything that is said about me."
[Sidenote:—21—] When the Parthian monarch in fear surrendered both Tiridates and Antiochus, he disbanded the expedition at once. But he despatched Theocritus with an army into Armenian territory and suffered defeat amounting to a severe reverse at the hands of the inhabitants. Theocritus was of servile origin and had been brought up in the orchestra; [he was the man who had taught Antoninus dancing and had been a favorite of Saoterus, and through the influence thus acquired he had been introduced to the theatre at Rome. But, as he was disliked there, he was driven out of Rome and went to Lugdunum, where he delighted the people, who were rather provincial. And, from a slave and dancer, he came to be an army leader and prefect.] He advanced to such power in the household of Antoninus that both the prefects were as nothing compared to him. Likewise Epagathus, himself also a Caesarian, had equal influence with him and committed equal transgressions. Thus Theocritus, who kept traveling back and forth in the interest of securing provisions and selling them at retail, proved the death of many persons because of his authority and for other reasons. One victim was Titianus Flavius. The latter, while procurator in Alexandria, offended him in some way, whereupon Theocritus, leaping from his seat, drew his sword. At that Titianus remarked: "This, too, you have done like a dancer." Hence the other in a rage ordered him to be killed.
[Sidenote:—22—] Now Antoninus, in spite of his declaration that he cherished an overwhelming love for Alexander, all but destroyed utterly the whole population of Alexander's city. Hearing that he was spoken against and ridiculed by them for various reasons, and not least of all for murdering his brother, he set out for Alexandria, concealing his wrath and pretending to long to see them. But when he reached the suburbs whither the leading citizens had come with certain mystic and sacred symbols, he greeted them as if he intended to entertain them at a banquet and then put them to death. After this he arrayed his whole force in armor and marched into the city; he had sent previous notice to all the people there to remain at home and had occupied all the streets and in addition all the roofs in advance. And, to pass over the details of the calamities that then befell the wretched city, he slaughtered so many individuals that he dared not even speak about the number of them, but wrote the senate that it was of no interest how many of them or who had died, for they all deserved to suffer this fate. Of the property, part was plundered and part destroyed.
[Sidenote:—23—] With the people perished also many foreigners, and not a few who had accompanied Antoninus were destroyed for want of identification. As the city was large and persons were being murdered all over it by night and by day, it was impossible to distinguish anybody, no matter how much one might wish it. They simply expired as chance directed and their bodies were straightway cast into deep trenches to keep the rest from being aware of the extent of the disaster.—That was the fate of the natives. The foreigners were all driven out except the merchants, and even they had all their wares plundered. Also some shrines were despoiled. In the midst of most of these atrocities Antoninus was present and looked on and personally took a hand, but sometimes he issued orders to others from the temple of Serapis. He lived in this god's precinct even during the nights and days that witnessed the shedding of Egyptian blood. [And he sent word to the senate that he was observing purity during the days when he was in reality sacrificing there domestic beasts and human beings at the same time to the god.] Yet why should I have spoken of this, when he actually dared to devote to the god the sword with which he had killed his brother?
Next he abolished the spectacles and the public messes of the Alexandrians and ordered Alexandria to be broken up [Footnote: The reading is [Greek: dioikisthaenai].] into villages, with a wall fully garrisoned bisecting the city, that the inhabitants might no longer visit one another with security. Such was the treatment accorded unhappy Alexandria by the Ausonian Beast, as the tag of the oracle about him called him; and he said he liked the title and was glad to be distinguished by the honorific appellation of "Beast." Never mind how many persons he murdered on the pretext that they had fulfilled the oracle.
[Sidenote:—24—] [The same man gave prizes to the soldiers for their campaign, allowing those stationed in the pretorian guard to get some six thousand two hundred and fifty [Footnote: The common reading is "twelve hundred and fifty," but since it seems incredible that the Pretorians should have obtained less, instead of more, than the ordinary soldiers, Lange with much reason proposed the change carried out above,—a change which requires the insertion (or restitution) of but one Greek numeral-letter that might easily have been overlooked by some copyist.] and the rest five thousand [lacuna]
[That model of temperance (as he was wont to put it), the rebuker of licentiousness in others, at the consummation of a most vile and at the same time most dangerous outrage, appeared, in truth, to be indignant; but by not giving that indignation sufficient free play and further by allowing the youths to do what no one had ever yet dared to propose, he greatly corrupted the latter, who had imitated the habits of women of the demi-monde and of professional male buffoons.]
[On the occasion of the Culenian [Footnote: Nobody knows what the Culenian games were; Valois guesses that they may have been an Alexandrian festival. The text of this whole chapter is in a very ragged condition, and should not be held too strictly accountable in the matter of sense or cohesion.] spectacle severe censure was passed, not only upon those who there carried on their accustomed pursuits, but also upon the spectators.]
DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY
Antoninus's treacherous campaign against Artabanus, the Parthian (chapters 1-3).
Antoninus's death (chapters 4-6). Foreshadowings of his death, and the abuse heaped upon him dead (chapters 7-10).
About Macrinus Augustus, and his excellencies and faults (chapters 11-15).
His letters and commands to the senate, and other official acts (chapters 16-22).
Death of Julia Augusta (chapters 23, 24).
Inauspicious signs: peace arranged with Artabanus after submitting to a defeat (chapters 25-27).
Uprising of the soldiers: Pseudantoninus is proclaimed as emperor by the soldiers (chapters 28-31).
How Macrinus, conquered in battle, took to flight and was cut down after the capture of his son (chapters 32-41).
DURATION OF TIME.
C. Attius Sabinus (II), Cornelius Annullinus (A.D. 216 = a.u. 969 = Sixth of Antoninus.)
C. Bruttius Praesens, T. Messius Extricatus (II). (A.D. 217 = a.u. 970 = Seventh of Antoninus, from Feb. 4th to April 8th.)
M. Opellius Macrinus Aug., Q.M. Coclatinus Adventus. (A.D. 218 = a.u. 971. The first year of Macrinus ends April 11th and his second year is abruptly terminated June 8th.)
(BOOK 79, BOISSEVAIN.)
[Sidenote: A.D. 216 (a.u. 969)] [Sidenote:—1—] The next thing was a campaign against the Parthians and the pretext that was used was that Artabanus had refused to view favorably his wooing and give him his daughter in marriage. (But he knew well enough that, while pretending to want to marry her, he in fact was anxious to detach the Parthian kingdom.) So he damaged a large section of the country around Media by means of a sudden incursion, sacked many citadels, won over Arbela, dug open the royal tombs of the Parthians, and flung the bones about. The Parthians would not engage him at close quarters, and therefore I have had nothing of especial interest to record concerning the doings of that expedition except, perhaps, one anecdote. Two soldiers who had seized a skin of wine came to him, each claiming the booty as entirely his own. Being bidden by him to divide the wine equally they drew their swords and cut the wine skin in two, apparently expecting each to get a half with the wine in it. They so dreaded their emperor that they troubled him even with such details and showed such scrupulousness as to lose both wineskin and wine.
Now the barbarians took refuge in the mountains and across the Tigris in order to perfect their preparations. But Antoninus suppressed this fact and, assuming that he had utterly vanquished a foe whom he had not even seen, he displayed becoming pride; and, as he himself wrote, he was particularly gratified because a lion ran down from the mountains and fought on his side.
[Sidenote:—2—] Not only in other ways did he live unnaturally and transgress laws, but in his very campaigns [[lacuna] but truth; [Footnote: Here begins the parchment codex, Vaticanus 1288. See Volume I, page 8.] for I have run across the book written by him about it. He understood so well how he stood with all the senators that, in spite of many protests, their slaves and freedmen and intimate friends were arrested by him and were asked under torture whether "so-and-so loves me" or "so-and-so hates me." For the charts of the stars under which any of his foremost courtiers had been born gave evidence, he said, as to who was friendly to him and who was hostile. And on this basis he honored many persons and destroyed many others.
[Sidenote: A.D. 217 (a.u. 970)] [Sidenote:—3—] When the Parthians and the Medes, greatly enraged at the treatment they had received, equipped a large body of troops, he fell into an ecstasy of terror. He was very bold in threats and very reckless in daring, but very cowardly in following a slow course involving danger, and very weak in hard labor. He could no longer bear either great heat or armor, and consequently wore sleeved tunics made in such a shape as more or less to resemble breastplates. Thus having the appearance of armor without its weight he could be safe from plots and also arouse admiration. He often used these garments when not in battle. He wore also a cavalry cloak, now all purple, now purple with white threads, and again of white with purple threads, and also red. In Syria and in Mesopotamia he used Celtic clothing and shoes. He furthermore invented a costume of his own by cutting out cloth and stitching it up, barbaric fashion, into a kind of cloak. He himself wore it very constantly, so that it led to his being called Caracalla, [Footnote: A word of Celtic origin, signifying a long, ulster-like tunic plus a hood. This was a Gallic dress.] and he prescribed it by preference as the dress for the soldiers. The barbarians saw what sort of person he was and also heard that his men were enervated through their previous luxury; for, to give an instance of their behavior, the Romans passed the winter in houses, making use of everything belonging to their entertainers as if it were their own. [They further perceived that their opponents had become so physically worn and so dejected in spirit by their toils and by the hardships which they were now undergoing that they no longer heeded the presents which they kept receiving from their commander.] Elated, therefore, to think that they should find them rather helpers than foes, they made ready to attack. [Footnote: The last five words are a conjecture of Bekker's.]
[Sidenote:—4—] Antoninus made preparations in his turn, but it did not fall to his lot to enter upon the war: he was struck down in the midst of his soldiers, whom he most honored and in whom he reposed vast confidence. A seer in Africa had declared (in such a way that it became noised abroad) that both Macrinus the prefect and his son Diadumenianus [Footnote: His full name was M. Opellius Diadumenianus.] must reign. Macrinus, sent to Rome, had revealed this to Flavius Maternianus, who at the time commanded the soldiers in the city, and he had at once sent word to Antoninus. It happened that this letter was diverted to Antioch and came to [his mother] Julia, since she had been given orders to read over everything that arrived and thus prevent a mass of unimportant letters being sent to him while in a hostile country. Another letter written by Ulpius Julianus, who then had charge of appraisements, went by other carriers straight to Macrinus and informed him of the state of the case. It was in this way that the letter to the emperor suffered a delay and the despatch to his rival came to the attention of the latter in good season. Now Macrinus, becoming afraid that he might be put to death by Antoninus on account of all this, especially since a certain Egyptian Serapio had told the prince to his face that Macrinus should succeed him, did not find it well to delay.—Serapio had first been thrown to a lion for his pains, but when he merely held out his hand, as is reported, and the animal did not touch him, he was slain. He might have escaped even this fate (or so he declared) by calling upon certain spirits, if he had lived one day longer.
[Sidenote:—5—] Macrinus came to no harm but hastened his preparations, having a presentiment that otherwise he should perish, especially since Antoninus had suddenly, one day before [Footnote: "One day before" is a conjecture of Bekker's. (The birthday of Antoninus seems to have been on the sixth of April.)] his birthday, removed those of Macrinus's companions that were in the latter's company, alleging one reason in one case and another in another with the general pretext of doing them honor. Not but [lacuna] expecting that it was fated for him to get it he had also made a name which owed its origin to this fact. Accordingly, he suborned two tribunes stationed in the pretorian guard, Nemesianus and Apollinarius, brothers belonging to the Aurelian gens, and Julius Martialius, who was enrolled among the evocati and had a private grudge against Antoninus for not giving him the post of centurion on request. Thus he made his plot, and it was carried out as follows. On the eighth of April, when the emperor had set out from Edessa to Carrhae and had dismounted from his horse to go and ease himself, Martialius approached as if he wanted to say something to him and struck him smartly with a small knife. The assassin at once fled and would have escaped detection, had he thrown away the sword. The weapon led to his being recognized by one of the Scythians on the staff of Antoninus, and he was brought down with a javelin. As for Martialius [lacuna] the military tribunes pretending to come to the rescue slew [lacuna]
[This Scythian attended him, not merely to be an ally of his, but as keeping guard over him to a certain extent. [Sidenote:—6—] For he maintained Scythians and Celtae about him, free and slaves alike, whom he had taken away from children and wives and had equipped with arms; and he affected to place more dependence upon them than upon the soldiers. To illustrate, he kept honoring them with posts as centurions, and he called them "lions." Moreover, he would often converse with emissaries sent from the very provinces, and in the presence of no one else but the interpreters would urge them, in case any catastrophe befell him, to invade Italy and march upon Rome, assuring them that it was very easy to capture. And to prevent any inkling of his talk spreading to our ears he would immediately put to death the interpreters. For all that, we did ascertain it later from the barbarians themselves: and the matter of the poisons we learned from Macrinus.] It seemed that he partly sent for and partly bought quantities of all kinds of poisons from the inhabitants of Upper Asia, spending altogether seven hundred and fifty myriads upon them, in order that he might secretly kill in different ways great numbers of men,—in fine, whomsoever he would. They were subsequently discovered in the royal apartments and were all consumed by fire. [At this time the soldiers, both for this reason and, beyond other considerations, because they were vexed at having the barbarians preferred to themselves, were not altogether so enthusiastic over their leader as of yore and did not aid him when he became the victim of a plot.] Such was the end that he met after a life of twenty-nine years [and four days (for he had been born on the fourth of April)], and after a reign of six years, two months, and two days.
[Sidenote:—7—] There are many things at this point, too, in the story that occur to excite my surprise. When he was about to start from Antioch on his last journey, his father confronted him in a vision, girt with a sword and saying: "As you killed your brother, so will I smite you unto death;" and the soothsayers told him to beware of that day, using so direct a form of speech as this: "The gates of the victim's liver are shut." After this he went out through some door, paying no heed to the fact that the lion, which he was wont to call "Rapier," and had for a table companion and bedfellow, knocked him down as he went out, and, moreover, tore some of his clothing. He kept many other lions besides and always had some of them around him, but this one he would often caress even publicly. It was thus that these events occurred.
And a little before his death, as I have heard, a great fire suddenly fastened upon the entire interior of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria, and did no other harm whatever save only to destroy that sword with which he had slain his brother. [Later, when it stopped, many stars shone out.] In Rome, too, [a spirit wearing the likeness of a man led an ass up the Capitol and later up the Palatine, seeking, as he said, its master and stating that Antoninus was dead and Jupiter reigned. Arrested for his behavior, he was sent by Maternianus to Antoninus, and he declared: "I depart, as you bid, but I shall face not this emperor but another." Afterwards on coming to Capua he vanished.
[Sidenote:—8—] This took place while the prince was still alive.] At the horse-race [held in memory of Severus's reign] the statue of Mars, while being carried in procession, fell down. This perhaps would not arouse such great wonder, but listen to the greatest marvel of all. The Green faction had been defeated, whereupon, catching sight of a jackdaw, which was screeching very loud on the tip of a javelin, they all gazed at him and all of a sudden, as if by previous arrangement, cried out: "Hail Martialius, Martialius hail, long it is since we beheld thee!" It was not that the jackdaw was ever so called, but through him they were greeting, apparently under some divine inspiration, Martialius, the assassin of Antoninus. To some, indeed, Antoninus seemed to have foretold his own end, inasmuch as in the last letter that he sent to the senate he had said: "Cease praying that I may reign a hundred years." The petition mentioned had always been uttered from the beginning of his sovereignty and this was the first and only time that he found fault with it. Thus, while his words were simply meant to chide them for offering a prayer impossible of accomplishment, he was really indicating that he should no longer rule for any length of time. And when certain persons had once called attention to this fact, it also came to my mind that when he was giving us a banquet in Nicomedea at the Saturnalia and had talked a good deal, as was usual at a symposium, then on our rising to go he had addressed me and said: "With great acumen and truth, Dio, has Euripides remarked that
"'Neath divers forms the spirit world is lurking, Much passing hope the gods are ever working. Oft disappointment strikes down sure ambition: The unthought chance God brings to full fruition. This story leaves things in just that condition.'"
[Footnote: Lines that occur at the end of several of Euripides's dramas.]
At the time this quotation seemed to have been mere nonsense, but when not long after he perished the fact that this was the last speech he uttered to me was thought to infuse into it a certain truly oracular significance with regard to what was to befall him. Similar importance was attached to the utterance of Jupiter called Belus, [Footnote: The same as Baal.] a god revered in Apamea [Footnote: This is the Apamea on the Orontes, built by Seleucus Nicator.] of Syria. He, years before, when Severus was still a private citizen, had spoken to him these verses:
"Touching eyes and head, like Zeus, whose delight is in thunder, Like unto Ares in waist, and in chest resembling Poseidon." [Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, II, verses 478-9.]
And later, after his accession as emperor, the god had made this response to an enquiry: "Thy house shall perish utterly in blood." [Footnote: Adapted from Euripides, Phoenician Maidens, verse 20.]
[Sidenote:—9—] [Accordingly the body of Antoninus was then burned, and his bones, brought secretly by night into Rome, were deposited in the mausoleum of the Antonines. All the senators and private individuals, men and women, without exception entertained so violent a hatred of him that all their words and actions relating to him were such as would befit the downfall of a most implacable foe. He was not officially disgraced, because the soldiers did not get from Macrinus the state of peace which they had hoped to secure by a change. Deprived of the profits which they were wont to receive from Antoninus, they began to long for him again. Indeed, their wishes subsequently prevailed to the extent of having him enrolled among the heroes: of course this was voted by the senate.]
[Sidenote: A.D. 217, a.u. 970] In general, abundant ill was consistently spoken of him by everybody. They would no longer term him Antoninus, but [some called him Bassianus, [Footnote: He was originally Septimius Bassianus, named after his maternal grandfather.] his old name, others] Caracalla, as I have mentioned, [Footnote: In chapter 3.] [others] also Tarautas, from the appellation of a gladiator who was [in appearance] very small and very ugly and [in spirit very audacious and] very bloodthirsty.
[Sidenote:—10—] Now his affairs, however one may name him, were in this state. As for me, even before he came to the throne, it was foretold me in a way by his father that I should write this account. Just after his death methought I saw in a great plain the whole power of Rome arrayed in arms, and it seemed as if Severus were sitting [on a knoll there and] on a lofty tribunal conversing with them. And, seeing me standing by to hear what was said, he spoke out: "Come hither, Dio, to this spot; approach nearer, that you may both ascertain accurately and write a history of all that is said and done."—Such was the life and the overthrow of Tarautas. [After him there perished also those who had shared in the plot against him, some at once and others before a great while. His intimate companions and the Caesarians likewise perished. He had been, as it were, coupled with a spirit of murder that operated equally against enemies and against friends.]
[Sidenote:—11—] Macrinus, by race a Moor from Caesarea, came from most obscure parents [so that with considerable justice he was likened to the ass that was led to the Palatine by the apparition]. For one thing his left ear had been bored, according to the custom [generally] in vogue among the Moors. His affability was even more striking. As to duties, his comprehension of them was not so accurate as his performance of them was faithful. [Thus it was, thanks to the advocacy of a friend's cause, that he became known to Plautianus, and at first he took the position of manager of the latter's property; subsequently he ran a risk of perishing together with his employer, but was unexpectedly saved by the intercession of Cilo and was given charge of the vehicles of Severus that passed back and forth along the Flaminian Way.] From Antoninus [after securing some titles of a short-lived procuratorship] he obtained an appointment as prefect and administered the affairs of this responsible position excellently and with entire justice, [so far as he was free to act independently. This, then, was his general character and these the steps of his advancement. Even during the life of Tarautas he was led, in the way that I have described, to harbor in his mind the hope of empire;] and at his death [he did not, to be sure, either that day or the two following days occupy the office, in order to avoid the imputation of having killed him with such intentions: but for that space of time the Roman state remained completely bereft of a ruler possessing authority, though without the people's knowing it. He communicated with the soldiers in every direction,—that is to say, the ones who were in Mesopotamia on account of the war but instead of being in one body were scattered all about; and he won their allegiance through the agency of his [Footnote: Reading [Greek: ohi] (Dindorf) instead of [Greek: hos].] friends], among his various offers being a suggestion that they might secure a respite from the war, which was an especial cause of dissatisfaction to them: and so on the fourth day [the anniversary of Severus's birthday] he was chosen emperor by them [after making a show of resistance].
[Sidenote:—12—] [He delivered an address full of good points and held out hopes of many advantages to the rest of mankind as well. Those who had been doomed to some life punishment for an act of impiety, of the kind that is so named with reference to attitude toward emperors, were absolved from their sentence; and complaints of that nature which were pending were dismissed. He rescinded the measures enacted by Caracalla relating to inheritances and emancipations and, by asseverating that it was a sacrilege to kill a senator, he succeeded in his appeal for the pardon of Aurelianus, whose surrender was demanded by the soldiers because he had proved most obnoxious to them in many previous campaigns. Not for long, however, was it in his power to behave as an honest man [lacuna] and Aurelianus [lacuna] soldiers [lacuna] this man [lacuna] by him [lacuna] absolute power [lacuna] wrath [lacuna] and two hundred and fifty denarii [lacuna] there had been public notice of giving more [lacuna] fearing that [lacuna] Aurelianus, the only one then present not only of ex-consuls but of those who were senators at all [lacuna] by aid of money [lacuna] upon him [lacuna] glad to divert the blame for Caracalla's death [lacuna] and about the [lacuna] them [lacuna] the [lacuna] the [lacuna] great masses both of furniture and of property of the emperors. But as not even this on account of the soldiers sufficed for the [lacuna] of senators [lacuna] kill [lacuna] no one, but putting some under guard [lacuna] of the knights and the freedmen and the Caesarians and [lacuna] causing those who erred in even the slightest respect to be punished, so that to all [lacuna] of them [lacuna] the procuratorships and the excessive expenditures and the majority of the burdens recently laid upon them by Tarautas [lacuna] of the games [lacuna] multitude [lacuna], gathering the presents which had unnecessarily been bestowed upon any persons, and he forbade any silver image of him being made over five pounds in weight, or any golden image of over three. Greatest of all, the hire of those serving in the pretorian guard [lacuna] to that appointed [lacuna] by Severus [lacuna]
[Sidenote:—13—] Though in truth he was praised by some for this (and not without reason), still he incurred (on the part of the sensible) a censure that quite counterbalanced it. The adverse sentiment in question was due to the fact that he enrolled certain persons in the ranks of ex-consuls and immediately assigned them to governorships of provinces. Yet he refused the following year to have the reputation of being consul twice because he had the honors of ex-consul: this was a practice begun during the reign of Severus and followed also by the latter's son. This procedure, however, both in his own case and in that of Adventus was lawful enough, but he showed great folly in sending Marcius Agrippa first into Pannonia and later into Dacia to govern. The previous officials of the districts mentioned,—Sabinus and Castinus,—he summoned at once to his side, pretending that he wanted their company, but really because he feared their surpassing spirit and their friendship for Caracalla. It was in this way that he came to despatch Agrippa to Dacia and Deccius Triccianus [Footnote: AElius Deccius Triccianus.] to Pannonia. The former had been a slave acting as master of wardrobe for some woman and for this cause [Footnote: It is hard to see why, unless in the age of Severus slaves were forbidden to have charge of women's attire.] had been tried by Severus, although at the time he was attached to the fiscus; he had then been driven out to an island for betraying some interest, was subsequently restored, together with the rest, by Tarautas, had taken charge of his decisions and letters, and finally had been degraded to the position of senator, with ex-consular rank, because he had admitted overgrown lads into the army. Triccianus served in the rank and file of the Pannonian contingent, had once been porter to the governor of that country, and was at this time commanding the Alban legion.
[Sidenote:—14—] These were some of the grounds that led many persons to find fault with him. Another was his elevation of Adventus. Adventus had drawn pay as one of the spies and detectives, had left his position there and served among the letter-carriers, had later been appointed cubicularius, and still later was advanced to a position as procurator. Now although old age prevented him from seeing, lack of education from reading, and want of experience from being able to accomplish anything, the emperor made him senator, fellow-consul, and prefect of the city. This upstart had dared to say to the soldiers after the death of Caracalla: "The sovereignty properly belongs to me, since I am elder than Macrinus: but inasmuch as I am extremely old, I make way for him." His behavior was regarded as nonsensical, as was also that of Macrinus, in granting the greatest dignity of the senate to such a man, who could not when consul carry on a plain conversation with anybody in the senate, and consequently on the day of elections pretended to be sick. Hence, before long Macrinus assigned the direction of the city to Marius Maximus in his stead. It looked as if he had made him praefectus urbi with the sole purpose of polluting the senate-house. And this pollution took place not only in virtue of the fact that he had served in the mercenary force and had performed the duties belonging to executioners, scouts, and centurions, but in that he had secured control of the city prior to fulfilling the demands of the consulship. In other words, he became city prefect before senator. Macrinus connived at his promotion with the definite intention of blinding the public in regard to his own record, which would have shown that he had seized the imperial office while yet a knight.
[Sidenote:—15—] Besides these not unmerited censures that some passed upon him, he also attracted adverse criticism for designating as prefects Ulpius Julianus and Julianus Nestor, who possessed no particular excellence and had not been tested in many undertakings, but had become quite notorious for rascality in Caracalla's reign; for, being at the head of the late prince's messengers [Footnote: Mommsen thinks that by this expression Dio probably means the position of princeps peregrinorum.] they had been of great assistance to him in his unholy meddling. However, only a few citizens took account of these details, which did not tend wholly to encourage them. The majority of individuals, in view of their having recently got rid of Tarautas, which was more than they could have hoped, and comparing the new ruler in the few indications afforded with the old, and in view of all the other considerations and expectations, did not deem it fitting to condemn him so soon. And for this reason they mourned him exceedingly when he was killed, though they would certainly have felt hatred for him had he lived longer.]
For he began to live rather more luxuriously and he took official notice of those who reproved him. His putting Maternianus and Datus out of the way was not reasonable,—for what wrong had they done in being attentive to their emperor?—but it was not unlike human nature, since he had been involved in great danger. But he made a mistake in venting his wrath upon the rest, who were suspected of disliking his low birth and his unexpected attempt upon the sovereign power. He ought to have done precisely the opposite; realizing what he had been at the outset and what his position then was, he should not have been supercilious, but should have behaved moderately, cultivated the genius of his household, and encouraged men by good deeds and a display of excellence unchanged by circumstances.
[Sidenote:—16—] These things [lacuna] in regard to him [lacuna] have been said by me [lacuna] in detail [lacuna] of any [lacuna] just as [lacuna] nominally throughout his entire reign [lacuna] of all [lacuna] of it [lacuna] that he said in conversation with the soldiers [lacuna] it was proved [lacuna] and he dared to utter not a few laudations of himself and to send still more of them in letters, saying among other things: "I have been quite sure that you also would agree with the legions, since I enjoy the consciousness of having conferred many benefits upon the commonwealth." He subscribed himself in the letter as Caesar and emperor and Severus, adding to the name of Macrinus the titles of Pious, and Fortunate, and Augustus, and Proconsul, of course without awaiting any vote on our part. He sent the letter without being ignorant that he was, on his own responsibility, assuming so many and great designations nor [lacuna] name [lacuna] of Pretorians as formerly some [lacuna] not but what [lacuna] so wrote [lacuna] in the beginning [lacuna] war chiefly [lacuna] of barbarians [lacuna] near [lacuna] in the letter he used simply the same terms as the emperors before Caracalla, and this he did the whole year through [lacuna] memoranda found among the soldiers. Thus [lacuna] of things accustomed to be said with a view to flattery and not inspired by truthfulness they became so suspicious as to ask that they be made public, and he sent them to us, and the quaestor read them aloud, as he did other similar documents in their turn. And a certain praetor, as the senate was then in session and none of the quaestors was present, also read an epistle once composed by Macrinus himself.
[Sidenote:—17—] The first letter having been read, appropriate measures were passed with reference to both Macrinus and his son. He was designated Patrician, and Princeps Iuventutis, and Caesar. He accepted everything save the horse-race voted in honor of the beginning of his reign; from this he begged to be excused, saying that the event had been sufficiently honored by the spectacle on the birthday of Severus. Of Tarautas he made no mention at this time, in the way of either honor or dishonor, save only that he called him Emperor. He ventured to term him neither Hero nor Foe, and, as I conjecture, it was because the deeds of his predecessor and the hatred of much of mankind made him shrink from the former epithet, and the thought of the soldiers restrained him from the latter. Some suspected that it was because he wanted the disgracing to be the act of the senate and the people rather than his own, especially since he was in the midst of the legions. He did say that Tarautas by his wrongdoing had been chiefly responsible for the war and had terribly burdened the public treasury by increasing the money given to the barbarians, inasmuch as it was of equal amount with the pay of the soldiers under arms. No one dared, however, to give utterance publicly to any such statement against him and vote that he was an enemy, for fear of immediate annihilation at the hands of the soldiers in the City. Still, they abused him in their own fashion and heaped insults upon him as much as they could, going over the list of his bloody deeds, with the name of each victim, and ranging him alongside all the evil tyrants that had ever held sway over them.
[Sidenote:—18—] At the same time the public demanded that the horse-race given on his birthday be abolished, that absolutely all the statues, both gold and silver, erected [Footnote: Supplying, with Reiske, [Greek: hidruthentas].] in his honor be melted down, and that those who had served with him in any capacity as informers be made known and punished with the utmost speed. For great numbers, not only slaves and freedmen and soldiers and Caesarians, but likewise knights and senators and numerous very distinguished women, were believed to have given secret hints during his reign and to have blackmailed various persons. And although they did not attach to Antoninus the name of Enemy, they did keep vociferating that Martialius (on account of the similarity of his name to that of Mars, as they pretended,) ought to be honored with enconiums and with statues for worship. They also showed for the moment no indication of annoyance at Macrinus], the reason being that they were so overwhelmed by joy on account of the death of Tarautas as not to have leisure to think anything about his humble origin, and they were glad to accept him as emperor. They were less concerned about whose slaves they should be next than about whose yoke they had shaken off, and were impressed with the idea that any chance comer who might present himself would be preferable to their former master. [All the unusual expenditures were rehearsed that had been made, not only by the Roman Treasury but privately for any persons and on the part of any foreign nations as a result of the former sovereign's direction: and thus the overthrow of those charged with carrying out the enactments made by him and the hope that in the future nothing similar would be done inclined people to be satisfied with the existing arrangement.
[Sidenote:—19—] However, they soon learned that Aurelianus was dead and that Diadumenianus, son of Macrinus, had been appointed Caesar. This last was nominally the act of the soldiers, through whose ranks he passed when summoned from Antioch to meet his father, but really it was accomplished by Macrinus. People further learned that their ruler had assumed the name of Antoninus. (He had done this to win the favor of the soldiers, partly to avoid seeming to dishonor his predecessor's memory entirely, especially in view of the fact that he had secretly thrown down some of the statues offered to him in Rome by Alexander and set on pedestals by Antoninus himself: and again he wanted to get an excuse for promising them seven hundred and fifty denarii more.) So persons began to think differently and reflected that previously they had held him in no esteem. Taking account, furthermore, of all the additional ignoble manifestations on his part that they suspected and thought likely, they began to be ashamed and did not [lacuna] Caracalla any more than [lacuna] things pertaining to him differently [lacuna] by deprecating the [lacuna] of Severus [lacuna] of Antoninus [lacuna] they displayed [lacuna] and hero and what befitted his reign, not to be sure [lacuna] and wholly the judgments of all men in Rome [lacuna] underwent a change [lacuna] senate [lacuna] to him [lacuna] me [lacuna] however, when all were questioned man by man regarding his honors, both others answered ambiguously and [lacuna] Saturninus [lacuna] in a way attributing [lacuna] praetors [lacuna] that it was not permissible for him to put any vote about anything, in order that they might avoid the consul's jealousy. This procedure was contrary to precedent, for it was not lawful that there should take place in the senate-chamber an inquiry into any matter, except at the command of the emperor.
[Sidenote:—20—] The crowd, because they could obscure their identity at the contest and by their numbers, gained the greater boldness, raised a loud cry at the horse-race on the birthday of Diadumenianus, which fell on the fourteenth of September: they uttered many lamentations, asserting that they alone of all mankind were destitute of a leader, destitute of a king; and they invoked the name of Jupiter, declaring that he alone should be their leader and uttering aloud these words: "As a master thou wert angry, as a father take pity on us." Nor would they pay any heed at first to either the equestrian or the senatorial order [lacuna] and commending the emperor and the Caesar to the extent of [lacuna] in Greek saying: "Ah, what a glorious day is to-day! What noble kings!" and desiring that the others also should share their opinion. But they stretched out their arms toward the sky and exclaimed: "[lacuna]. this is the Roman Augustus: having him we have all!" So true it is that among mankind respect is a distinct characteristic of the better element and contempt a characteristic of the worse. For these two now regarded Macrinus and Diadumenianus as henceforth absolutely non-existent and trampled upon their claims as though they were already dead. This was one great reason why his soldiers despised him, and paid no heed to what was done to win their favor. Another still more important cause lay in the frequent and extraordinary insolence shown toward him by the Pergamenians, who were deprived of what they had formerly received from Tarautas; and for this conduct he imposed upon them public sentence of loss of citizenship. [Sidenote:—21—] The attitude of the soldiers is straightway to be described. At this time Macrinus neither sent to the senate, as they were demanding, nor published otherwise any document of the informers, saying either truly or falsely (to avoid a great disturbance) that none such had been found in the royal residence. For Tarautas had either destroyed the majority of those containing any accusation or had returned them to the senders themselves, as I have stated, [Footnote: The passage to which Dio refers is lost.] to the end that no proof of his baseness should be left. But he did reveal the names of three senators whom, from what he had himself discovered, he deemed to be especially deserving of hatred. These were Manilius and Julius, and moreover Sulpicius Arrhenianus, who had blackmailed, among others, Bassus, the son of Pomponius, whose lieutenant he had been when Bassus was governor of Moesia. These men were banished to islands, as the emperor expressly forbade their being put to death. "We would avoid,"—he wrote—these were his very words,—"ourselves appearing to do the things for which we censure them."—And Lucius Priscillianus [whose name was presented by the senate itself,] was as much renowned for his insulting behavior as he was for his killing of wild beasts. [He fought them at Tusculum every now and then, and contended with so many each time that he bore the scars of their bites.] Once he, unassisted, joined battle with a bear and panther, a lioness and lion at once, but far more numerous were the men, both knights and senators, whom he destroyed as a result of his slanders. [For both of these achievements] he was greatly honored by Caracalla [was enrolled among the ex-praetors and became (contrary to precedent) governor of Achaea. He incurred the violent hatred of the senate, was summoned for trial] and was confined upon an island. These men, then, came to their end as described.
[Sidenote:—22—] And Flaccus was entrusted also with the dispensation of food stuffs,—an office which Manilius had formerly held,—for he had secured [Footnote: Reading [Greek: eilaephos] (Reimar).] it (with the added ratification of Macrinus) as a reward of his information against him; and he was subsequently made superintendent of the distribution of dole which took place at the games given by the major praetors, save those celebrated in honor of Flora [lacuna] moreover the iuridici possessing authority in Italy had to stop rendering decisions outside the traditional limits set by Marcus. [Footnote: The text of the early part of this chapter may be characterized as "jagged." The sentences lack clearness and the relation of the individual words is not always certain. The reader may be interested to see a translation of Hirschfeld's interpretation of the section, taken from his book entitled Untersuchungen auf dem Gebiete der Roemischen Verwaltungsgeschichte (pp. 117-120).
a [Flaccus]—It is here a question of a high senatorial office, which can only be the praefectura alimentorum.
b [The iuridici]—Perhaps the person entrusted with the execution of this ruling was C. Octavius Sabinus, who had the title of electus ad corrigendum statum Italiae.
c [The orphans]—Probably during the latter portion of Caracalla's reign, as also under Commodus, the funds for food had been available either not at all or at irregular intervals, and therefore the restitution of district prefects was determined upon.
From these Food Prefects for a particular district those officials must be distinguished who bear the general title of praefectus alimentorum without any local limitation, and show a marked difference from the rest in that they are invariably of consular rank, whereas the position of district prefect, like that of curator of roads, was usually held by a candidate that had only passed the praetorship. The inscriptions of these consular prefects begin not earlier than the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius, perhaps not till Commodus, and extend to the time of Macrinus, while during this whole time (a period, that is, of about forty years) all trace of the district prefects vanishes. Under these circumstances the conclusion seems to me inevitable that towards the end of the second century (probably from the first years of Marcus Aurelius on) the district prefecture was abolished and the administration was centralized in Rome under a consular praefectus alimentorum, whose authority extended over the whole of Italy.
Now very probably it was the introduction under Marcus Aurelius of the iuridici which occasioned this change, even if not immediately, and that these duties of distribution, as well as other administrative functions, were placed in their hands; one thing that would seem to recommend this view particularly is that their position in general tended to make them official examiners of the affairs of the municipia. When, in addition, we have evidence that Macrinus in the year 217 reduced the authority of the iundici to the limits originally imposed by Marcus Aurelius and that further the same emperor instituted certain rulings for the amelioration of food distribution; when, moreover, we consider in connection with this the coincidence of the disappearance of the consular food prefects for Italy on the one hand and the reappearance of the pretorial district prefects on the other, it will not appear overbold to suppose that Macrinus, in the course of the reform affecting the iuridici, also detached from them the right to supervise foods, restored it to the curators of roads (as in the original arrangement) and abolished the central bureau in Rome.]—A certain Domitius Florus had formerly had charge of the senate records and ought to have been next appointed aedile, but before entering upon office had been deprived of all hope on account of Plautianus; he now had recourse to sedulous office-seeking, recovered his lost standing and was appointed tribune. Anicius Faustus was sent into Asia to govern in place of Asper. The latter had at first obtained very great honor from Macrinus, who thought he could settle affairs in Asia: afterwards, when he was already en route and was approaching the province (Macrinus had not accorded a favorable reception to the petition forwarded to Caracalla and delivered to him, in which the inhabitants begged that Asper be not sent them as proconsul), the emperor offered him a terrible affront in rejecting him. It was reported to the prince that Asper had made some improper remarks, and moreover he affected to think that old age and disease constituted a second reason for relieving him of his duties, and therefore he delivered Asia into the keeping of Faustus, a man who had been overlooked in the order of allotment by Severus. As the time for him to govern turned out to be short, Macrinus bade him hold the office for the following year in place of Aufidius Fronto. To the latter he would entrust neither Africa (which he had drawn by lot), because the Africans begged that he be not allowed to come, nor yet Asia, though he had first transferred him thither. As a fitting recognition, however, Macrinus proposed that twenty-five myriads be given him to stay at home. Fronto, however, would not accept that, saying that he wanted not money but a position of authority, and accordingly later he received the province from Sardanapalus.