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| Domitianus natus est VIIII. Kal. Novemb. patre consule designato inituroque mense insequenti honorem, regione urbis sexta ad Malum Punicum, domo quam postea in templum gentis Flaviae convertit. Pubertatis ac primae adulescentiae tempus tanta inopia tantaque infamia gessisse fertur, ut nullum argenteum vas in usu haberet; satique constat Clodium Pollionem praetorium virum, in quem est poema Neronis quod inscribitur Luscio, chirographum eius conversasse et nonnumquam protulisse noctem sibi pollicentis; nec defuerunt qui affirmarent, corruptum Domitianum et a Nerva successore mox suo. Bello Vitelliano confugit in Capitolium cum patruo Sabino ac parte praesentium copiarum, sed irrumpentibus adversariis et ardente templo apud aedituum clam pernoctavit, ac mane Isiaci celatus habitu interque sacrificulos variae superstitionis, cum se trans Tiberim ad condiscipuli sui matrem comite uno contulisset, ita latuit, ut scrutantibus qui vestigia subsecuti erant, deprehendi non potuerit. Post victoriam demum progressus et Caesar consalutatus, honorem praeturae urbanae consulari potestate suscepit titulo tenus (nam iuris dictionem ad collegam proximum transtulit); ceterum omnem vim dominationis tam licenter exercuit, ut iam tum qualis esset ostenderet. Ne exsequar singula, contrectatis multorum uxoribus, Domitiam Longinam Aelio Lamiae nuptam etiam in matrimonium abduxit, atque uno die super XX. officia urbana aut peregrina distribuit, mirari se Vespasiano dictitante, quod successorem non et sibi mitteret.||(479) I. Domitian was born upon the ninth of the calends of November [24th October] , when his father was consul elect, (being to enter upon his office the month following,) in the sixth region of the city, at the Pomegranate , in the house which he afterwards converted into a temple of the Flavian family. He is said to have spent the time of his youth in so much want and infamy, that he had not one piece of plate belonging to him; and it is well known, that Clodius Pollio, a man of pretorian rank, against whom there is a poem of Nero's extant, entitled Luscio, kept a note in his hand-writing, which he sometimes produced, in which Domitian made an assignation with him for the foulest purposes. Some, likewise, have said, that he prostituted himself to Nerva, who succeeded him. In the war with Vitellius, he fled into the Capitol with his uncle Sabinus, and a part of the troops they had in the city . But the enemy breaking in, and the temple being set on fire, he hid himself all night with the sacristan; and next morning, assuming the disguise of a worshipper of Isis, and mixing with the priests of that idle superstition, he got over the Tiber , with only one attendant, to the house of a woman who was the mother of one of his school-fellows, and lurked there so close, that, though the enemy, who were at his heels, searched very strictly after him, they could not discover him. At last, after the success of his party, appearing in public, and being unanimously saluted by the title of Caesar, he assumed the office of praetor of the City, with consular authority, but in fact had nothing but the name; for the jurisdiction he transferred to his next colleague. He used, however, his absolute (480) power so licentiously, that even then he plainly discovered what sort of prince he was likely to prove. Not to go into details, after he had made free with the wives of many men of distinction, he took Domitia Longina from her husband, Aelias Lamia, and married her; and in one day disposed of above twenty offices in the city and the provinces; upon which Vespasian said several times, "he wondered he did not send him a successor too."|
| Expeditionem quoque in Galliam Germaniasque neque necessariam et dissuadentibus paternis amicis inchoavit, tantum ut fratri se et opibus et dignatione adaequaret. Ob haec correptum, quo magis et aetatis et condicionis admoneretur, habitabat cum patre una, sellamque eius ac fratris, quotiens prodirent, lectica sequebatur ac triumphum utriusque Iudaicum equo albo comitatus est. In sex consulatibus non nisi unum ordinarium gessit, eumque cedente ac suffragante fratre. Simulavit et ipse mire modestiam, in primisque poeticae studium, tam insuentum antea sibi quam postea spretum et abiectum, recitavitque etiam publice. Nec tamen eo setius, cum Vologaesus Parthorum rex auxilia adversus Alanos ducemque alterum ex Vespasiani liberis depoposcisset, omni ope contendit ut ipse potissimus mitteretur; et quia discussa res est, alios Orientes reges ut idem postularent donis ac pollicitationibus sollicitare temptavit. Patre defuncto, diu cunctatus an duplum donativum militi offerret, numquam iactare dubitavit relictum se participem imperii, sed fraudem testamento adhibitam; neque cessavit ex eo insidias struere fratri clam palamque, quoad correptum gravi valitudine, prius quam plane efflaret animam, pro mortuo deseri iussit; defunctumque nullo praeterquam consecrationis honore dignatus, saepe etiam carpsit obliquis orationibus et edictis.||II. He likewise designed an expedition into Gaul and Germany , without the least necessity for it, and contrary to the advice of all his father's friends; and this he did only with the view of equalling his brother in military achievements and glory. But for this he was severely reprimanded, and that he might the more effectually be reminded of his age and position, was made to live with his father, and his litter had to follow his father's and brother's carriage, as often as they went abroad; but he attended them in their triumph for the conquest of Judaea , mounted on a white horse. Of the six consulships which he held, only one was ordinary; and that he obtained by the cession and interest of his brother. He greatly affected a modest behaviour, and, above all, a taste for poetry; insomuch, that he rehearsed his performances in public, though it was an art he had formerly little cultivated, and which he afterwards despised and abandoned. Devoted, however, as he was at this time to poetical pursuits, yet when Vologesus, king of the Parthians, desired succours against the Alani, with one of Vespasian's sons to command them, he laboured hard to procure for himself that appointment. But the scheme proving abortive, he endeavoured by presents and promises to engage other kings of the East to make a similar request. After his father's death, he was for some time in doubt, whether he should not offer the soldiers a donative double to that of his brother, and made no scruple of saying frequently, "that he had been left his partner in the empire, but that his father's will had been fraudulently set aside." From that time forward, he was constantly engaged in plots against his brother, both publicly and privately; until, falling dangerously ill, he ordered all his attendants to (481) leave him, under pretence of his being dead, before he really was so; and, at his decease, paid him no other honour than that of enrolling him amongst the gods; and he often, both in speeches and edicts, carped at his memory by sneers and insinuations.|
| Inter initia principatus cotidie secretum sibi horarum sumere solebat, nec quicquam amplius quam muscas captare ac stilo praeacuto configere; ut cuidam interroganti, essetne quis intus cum Caesare, non absurde responsum sit a Vibio Crispo, ne muscam quidem. Deinde uxorem Domitiam, ex qua in secundo suo consulatus filium tulerat duxit, alteroque anno consalutavit Augustam; eandem, Paridis histrionis amore deperditam, repudiavit, intraque breve tempus impatiens discidii, quasi efflagitante populo, reduxit. Circa administrationem autem imperii aliquamdiu se varium praestitit, mixtura quoque aequabili vitiorum atque virtutum; donec virtutes quoque in vitia deflexit: quantum coniectare licet, super ingenii naturam inopia rapax, metu saevus.||III. In the beginning of his reign, he used to spend daily an hour by himself in private, during which time he did nothing else but catch flies, and stick them through the body with a sharp pin. When some one therefore inquired, "whether any one was with the emperor," it was significantly answered by Vibius Crispus, "Not so much as a fly." Soon after his advancement, his wife Domitia, by whom he had a son in his second consulship, and whom the year following he complimented with the title of Augusta, being desperately in love with Paris, the actor, he put her away; but within a short time afterwards, being unable to bear the separation, he took her again, under pretence of complying with the people's importunity. During some time, there was in his administration a strange mixture of virtue and vice, until at last his virtues themselves degenerated into vices; being, as we may reasonably conjecture concerning his character, inclined to avarice through want, and to cruelty through fear.|
| Spectacula assidue magnifica et sumptuosa edidit non in amphitheatro modo, verum et in circo; ubi praeter sollemnes bigarum quadrigarumque cursus proelium etiam duplex, equestre ac pedestre, commisit; at in amphitheatro navale quoque. Nam venationes gladiatoresque et noctibus ad lychnuchos; nec virorum modo pugnas, sed et feminarum. Praeterea quaestoriis muneribus, quae olim omissa revocaverat, ita semper interfuit, ut populo potestatem faceret bina paria e suo ludo postulandi, eaque novissima aulico apparatu induceret. Ac per omne gladiatorum spectaculum ante pedes ei stabat puerulus coccinatus parvo portentosoque capite, cum quo plurimum fabulabatur, nonnumquam serio. Auditus est certe, dum ex eo quaerit, ecquid sciret, cur sibi virum esset ordinatione proxima Aegypto praeficere Maecium Rufum. Edidit navales pugnas paene iustarum classium, effosso et circumstructo iuxta Tiberim lacu, atque inter maximos imbres perspectavit. Fecit et ludos Saeculares, computata ratione temporum at annum non quo Claudius proxime, sed quo olim Augustus ediderat; in iis circensium die, quo facilius centum missus peragerentur, singulos a septenis spatiis ad quina corripuit. Instituit et quinquennale certamen Capitolino Iovi triplex, musicum, equestre, gymnicum, et aliquanto plurium quam nunc est coronatorum. Certabant enim et prosa oratione Graece Latineque, ac praeter citharoedos chorocitharistae quoque et psilocitharistae; in stadio vero cursu etiam virgines. Certamini praesedit crepidatus purpureaque amictus toga Graecanica capite gestans coronam auream cum effigie Iovis ac Iunonis Minervaeque; adsidentibus Diali sacerdote et collegio Flavialium pari habitu, nisi quod illorum coronis inerat et ipsius imago. Celebrabat et in Albano quotannis Quinquatria Minervae, cui collegium instituerat, ex quo sorte ducti magisterio fungerentur ederentque eximias venationes et scaenicos ludos, superque oratorum ac poetarum certamina. Congiarium populo nummorum trecentorum ter dedit, atque inter spectacula muneris largissimum epulum. Septimontiali sacro quidem, senatui equitique panariis, plebei sportellis cum obsonio distributis, initium vescendi primus fecit; dieque proximo omne genus rerum missilia sparsit, et quia pars maior intra popularia decidebat, quinquagenas tesseras in singulos cuneos equestris ac senatorii ordinis pronuntiavit.||IV. He frequently entertained the people with most magnificent and costly shows, not only in the amphitheatre, but the circus; where, besides the usual races with chariots drawn by two or four horses a-breast, he exhibited the representation of an engagement between both horse and foot, and a sea- fight in the amphitheatre. The people were also entertained with the chase of wild beasts and the combat of gladiators, even in the night-time, by torch- light. Nor did men only fight in these spectacles, but women also. He constantly attended at the games given by the quaestors, which had been disused for some time, but were revived by him; and upon those occasions, always gave the people the liberty of demanding two pair of gladiators out of his own school, who appeared last in court uniforms. Whenever he attended the shows of gladiators, there stood at his feet a little boy dressed in scarlet, with a prodigiously small head, with whom he used to talk very much, and sometimes seriously. We are assured, that he was (482) overheard asking him, "if he knew for what reason he had in the late appointment, made Metius Rufus governor of Egypt?" He presented the people with naval fights, performed by fleets almost as numerous as those usually employed in real engagements; making a vast lake near the Tiber , and building seats round it. And he witnessed them himself during a very heavy rain. He likewise celebrated the Secular games , reckoning not from the year in which they had been exhibited by Claudius, but from the time of Augustus's celebration of them. In these, upon the day of the Circensian sports, in order to have a hundred races performed, he reduced each course from seven rounds to five. He likewise instituted, in honour of Jupiter Capitolinus, a solemn contest in music to be performed every five years; besides horse-racing and gymnastic exercises, with more prizes than are at present allowed. There was also a public performance in elocution, both Greek and Latin and besides the musicians who sung to the harp, there were others who played concerted pieces or solos, without vocal accompaniment. Young girls also ran races in the Stadium, at which he presided in his sandals, dressed in a purple robe, made after the Grecian fashion, and wearing upon his head a golden crown bearing the effigies of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva; with the flamen of Jupiter, and the college of priests sitting by his side in the same dress; excepting only that their crowns had also his own image on them. He celebrated also upon the Alban mount every year the festival of Minerva, for whom he had appointed a college of priests, out of which were chosen by lot persons to preside as governors over the college; who were obliged to entertain the people with extraordinary chases of wild-beasts, and stage-plays, besides contests for prizes in oratory and poetry. He thrice bestowed upon the people a largess of three hundred sesterces each man; and, at a public show of gladiators, a very plentiful feast. At the festival of the Seven Hills , he distributed large hampers of provisions (483) to the senatorian and equestrian orders, and small baskets to the common people, and encouraged them to eat by setting them the example. The day after, he scattered among the people a variety of cakes and other delicacies to be scrambled for; and on the greater part of them falling amidst the seats of the crowd, he ordered five hundred tickets to be thrown into each range of benches belonging to the senatorian and equestrian orders.|
| Plurima et amplissima opera incendio absumpta restituit, in quis et Capitolium, quod rursus arserat; sed omnia sub titulo tantum suo ac sine ulla pristini auctoris memoria. Novam autem excitavit aedem in Capitolio Custodi Iovi, et forum quod nunc Nervae vocatur, item Flaviae templum gentis et stadium et Odeum et naumachiam, e cuius postea lapide maximus circus, deustis utrimque lateribus, exstructus est.||V. He rebuilt many noble edifices which had been destroyed by fire, and amongst them the Capitol, which had been burnt down a second time ; but all the inscriptions were in his own name, without the least mention of the original founders. He likewise erected a new temple in the Capitol to Jupiter Custos, and a forum, which is now called Nerva's , as also the temple of the Flavian family , a stadium , an odeum , and a naumachia ; out of the stone dug from which, the sides of the Circus Maximus, which had been burnt down, were rebuilt.|
| Expeditiones partim sponte suscepit, partim necessario: sponte in Chattos, necessario unam in Sarmatas, legione cum legato simul caesa, in Dacos duas, primam Oppio Sabino consulari oppresso, secundam Cornelio Fusco, praefecto cohortium praetorianarum, cui belli summam commiserat. De Chattis Dacisque post varia proelia duplicem triumphum egit. De Sarmatis lauream modo Capitolino Iovi rettulit. Bellum civile motum a L. Antonio, superioris Germaniae praeside, confecit absens felicitate mira, cum ipsa dimicationis hora resolutus repente Rhenum transituras ad Antonium copias barbarorum inhibuisset. De qua victoria praesagiis prius quam nuntiis comperit, siquidem ipso quo dimicatum erat die statuam eius Romae insignis aquila circumplexa pinnis clangores laetissimos edidit; pauloque post accisum Antonium adeo vulgatum est, ut caput quoque adportatum eius vidisse se plerique contenderet.||VI. He undertook several expeditions, some from choice, and some from necessity. That against the Catti  was unprovoked, but that against the Sarmatians was necessary; an entire legion, with its commander, having been cut off by them. He sent two expeditions against the Dacians; the first upon the defeat of Oppius Sabinus, a man of consular rank; and (484) the other, upon that of Cornelius Fuscus, prefect of the pretorian cohorts, to whom he had entrusted the conduct of that war. After several battles with the Catti and Daci, he celebrated a double triumph. But for his successes against the Sarmatians, he only bore in procession the laurel crown to Jupiter Capitolinus. The civil war, begun by Lucius Antonius, governor of Upper Germany, he quelled, without being obliged to be personally present at it, with remarkable good fortune. For, at the very moment of joining battle, the Rhine suddenly thawing, the troops of the barbarians which were ready to join L. Antonius, were prevented from crossing the river. Of this victory he had notice by some presages, before the messengers who brought the news of it arrived. For upon the very day the battle was fought, a splendid eagle spread its wings round his statue at Rome, making most joyful cries. And shortly after, a rumour became common, that Antonius was slain; nay, many positively affirmed, that they saw his head brought to the city.|
| Multa etiam in communi rerum usu novavit: sportulas publicas sustulit, revocata rectarum cenarum consuetudine; duas circensibus gregum factiones aurati purpuereique panni ad quattuor pristinas addidit; interdixit histrionibus scaenam, intra domum quidem exercendi artem iure concesso; castrari mares vetuit; spadonum, qui residui apud mangones erant, pretia moderatus est. Ad summam quondam ubertatem vini, frumenti vero inopiam, existimans nimio vinearum studio neglegi arva, edixit, ne quis in Italia novellaret, utque in provinciis vineta succiderentur, relicta ubi plurimum dimidia parte; nec exsequi rem perseveravit. Quaedam ex maximis officiis inter libertinos equitesque R. communicavit. Geminari legionum castra prohibuit, nec plus quam mille nummos a quoquam ad signa deponi; quod L. Antonium apud duarum legionum hiberna res novas moliens fiduciam cepisse etiam ex depositorum summa videbatur. Addidit et quartum stipendium militi, aureos ternos.||VII. He made many innovations in common practices. He abolished the Sportula , and revived the old practice of regular suppers. To the four former parties in the Circensian games, he added two new, who were gold and scarlet. He prohibited the players from acting in the theatre, but permitted them the practice of their art in private houses. He forbad the castration of males; and reduced the price of the eunuchs who were still left in the hands of the dealers in slaves. On the occasion of a great abundance of wine, accompanied by a scarcity of corn, supposing that the tillage of the ground was neglected for the sake of attending too much to the cultivation of vineyards, he published a proclamation forbidding the planting of any new vines in Italy, and ordering the vines in the provinces to be cut down, nowhere permitting more than one half of them to remain . But he did not persist in the execution of this project. Some of the greatest offices he conferred upon his freedmen and soldiers. He forbad two legions to be quartered in the same camp, and more than a thousand sesterces to be deposited by any soldier with the standards; because it was thought that Lucius Antonius had been encouraged in his late project by the large sum deposited in the military chest by the two legions which he had in the same winter-quarters. He made an addition to the soldiers' pay, of three gold pieces a year.|
| Ius diligenter et industrie dixit, plerumque et in foro pro tribunali extra ordinem; ambitiosas centumvirorum sententias rescidit; reciperatores, ne se perfusoriis assertionibus accommodarent, identidem admonuit; nummarios iudices cum suo quemque consilio notavit. Auctor et tr. pl. fuit aedilem sordium repetundarum accusandi iudicesque in eu a senatu petendi. Magistratibus quoque urbicis provinciarumque praesidibus coercendis tantum curae adhibuit, ut neque modestiores umquam neque iustiore extiterint; e quibus plerosque post illum reos omnium criminum vidimus. Suscepta correctione morum, licentiam theatralem promiscue in equitem spectandi inhibuit; scripta famosa vulgoque edita, quibus primores viri ac feminae notabantur, abolevit, non sine auctorum ignominia; quaestorium virum, quod gesticulandi saltandique studio teneretur, movit senatu: probrosis feminis lecticae usum ademit iusque capiendi legata hereditatesque; equitem R. ob reductam in matrimonium uxorem, cui dimissae adulterii crimen intenderat, erasit iudicum albo; quosdam ex utroque ordine lege Scantinia condemnavit; incesta Vestalium virginum, a patre quoque suo et fratre neglecta, varie ac severe coercuit, priora capitali supplicio, posteriora more veteri. Nam cum Oculatis sororibus, item Varronillae liberum mortis permisisset arbitrium corruptoresque earum relegasset, mox Corneliam maximam virginem, absolutam olim, dein longo intervallo repetitam atque convictam defodi imperavit, stupratoresque virgis in comitio ad necem caedi, excepto praetorio viro; cui, dubia etiam tum causa et incertis quaestionibus atque tormentis de semet professo, exilium indulsit. Ac ne qua religio deum impune contaminaretur, monimentum, quod libertus eius e lapidibus templo Capitolini Iovis destinatis filio exstruxerat, diruit per milites, ossaque et reliquias quae inerant mari mersit.||VIII. In the administration of justice he was diligent and assiduous; and frequently sat in the Forum out of course, to cancel the judgments of the court of The One Hundred, which had been procured through favour, or interest. He occasionally cautioned the judges of the court of recovery to beware of being too ready to admit claims for freedom brought before them. He set a mark of infamy upon judges who were convicted of taking bribes, as well as upon their assessors. He likewise instigated the tribunes of the people to prosecute a corrupt aedile for extortion, and to desire the senate to appoint judges for his trial. He likewise took such effectual care in punishing magistrates of the city, and governors of provinces, guilty of malversation, that they never were at any time more moderate or more just. Most of these, since his reign, we have seen prosecuted for crimes of various kinds. Having taken upon himself the reformation of the public manners, he restrained the licence of the populace in sitting promiscuously with the knights in the theatre. Scandalous libels, published to defame persons of rank, of either sex, he suppressed, and inflicted upon their authors a mark of infamy. He expelled a man of quaestorian rank from the senate, for practising mimicry and dancing. He debarred infamous women the use of litters; as also the right of receiving legacies, or inheriting estates. He struck out of the list of judges a Roman knight for taking again his wife whom he had divorced and prosecuted for adultery. He condemned several men of the senatorian and equestrian orders, upon the Scantinian law . The lewdness of the Vestal Virgins, which had been overlooked by his father and brother, he punished severely, but in different ways; viz. offences committed before his reign, with death, and those since its commencement, according to ancient custom. For to the two sisters called Ocellatae, he gave liberty to choose the mode of death which they preferred, and banished (486) their paramours. But Cornelia, the president of the Vestals, who had formerly been acquitted upon a charge of incontinence, being a long time after again prosecuted and condemned, he ordered to be buried alive; and her gallants to be whipped to death with rods in the Comitium; excepting only a man of praetorian rank, to whom, because he confessed the fact, while the case was dubious, and it was not established against him, though the witnesses had been put to the torture, he granted the favour of banishment. And to preserve pure and undefiled the reverence due to the gods, he ordered the soldiers to demolish a tomb, which one of his freedmen had erected for his son out of the stones designed for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and to sink in the sea the bones and relics buried in it.|
| Inter initia usque adeo ab omni caede abhorrebat, ut
absente adhuc patre recordatus Virgilii versum:
Impia quam caesis gens est epulata juvencis...
Impia quam caesis gens est epulata iuvencis. edicere destinarit, ne boves immolarentur. Cupiditatis quoque atque avaritiae vix suspicionem ullam aut privatus umquam aut princeps aliquamdiu dedit, immo e diverso magna saepe non abstinentiae modo sed etiam liberalitatis experimenta. Omnis circa se largissime prosecutus, nihil prius aut acrius monuit quam ne quid sordide faceret. Relictas sibi hereditates ab iis, quibus liberi erant, non recepit. Legatum etiam ex testamento Rusci Caepionis, qui caverat ut quotannis ingredientibus curiam senatoribus certam summam viritim praestate heres suus, irritum fecit. Reos, qui ante quinquennium proximum apud aerarium pependissent, universos discrimine liberavit, nec repeti nisi intra annum eaque condicione permisit, ut accusatori qui causam non teneret exilium poena esset. Scribas quaestorios negotiantes, ex consuetudine sed contra Clodiam legem, venia in praeteritum donavit. Subsiciva, quae divisis per veteranos agris carptim superfuerunt, veteribus possessoribus ut usu capta concessit. Fiscales calumnias magna calumniantium poena repressit, ferebaturque vox eius: "princeps qui delatores non castigat, irritat."
|IX. Upon his first succeeding to power, he felt such an abhorrence
for the shedding of blood, that, before his father's arrival in Rome,
calling to mind the verse of Virgil,
Impia quam caesis gens est epulata juvencis... 
Ere impious man, restrain'd from blood in vain,
Began to feast on flesh of bullocks slain...
he designed to have published a proclamation, "to forbid the sacrifice of oxen." Before his accession to the imperial authority, and during some time afterwards, he scarcely ever gave the least grounds for being suspected of covetousness or avarice; but, on the contrary, he often afforded proofs, not only of his justice, but his liberality. To all about him he was generous even to profusion, and recommended nothing more earnestly to them than to avoid doing anything mean. He would not accept the property left him by those who had children. He also set aside a legacy bequeathed by the will of Ruscus Caepio, who had ordered "his heir to make a present yearly to each of the senators upon their first assembling." He exonerated all those who had been under prosecution from the treasury for above five years before; and would not suffer suits to be renewed, unless it was done within a year, and on condition, that the prosecutor should be banished, if he could not make good his cause. The secretaries of the quaestors having engaged in trade, according to custom, but contrary to (487) the Clodian law , he pardoned them for what was past. Such portions of land as had been left when it was divided amongst the veteran soldiers, he granted to the ancient possessors, as belonging to then by prescription. He put a stop to false prosecutions in the exchequer, by severely punishing the prosecutors; and this saying of his was much taken notice of "that a prince who does not punish informers, encourages them."
| Sed neque in clementiae neque in abstinentiae tenore permansit, et tamen aliquanto celerius ad saevitiam descivit quam ad cupiditatem. Discipulum Paridis pantomimi impuberem adhuc et cum maxime aegrum, quod arte formaque non absimilis magistro videbatur, occidit; item Hermogenem Tarsensem propter quasdam in historia figuras, librariis etiam, qui eam descripserat, cruci fixis. Patrem familias, quod Thraecem myrmilloni parem, munerario imparem dixerat, detractum e spectaculis in harenam, canibus obiecit, cum hoc titulo: Impie locutus parmularius. Complures senatores, in iis aliquot consulares, interemit; ex quibus Civicam Cerealem in ipso Asiae proconsulatu, Salvidienum Orfitum, Acilium Glabrionem in exilio, quasi molitores rerum novarum; ceteros levissima quemque de causa; Aelium Lamiam ob suspiciosos quidem, verum et veteres et innoxios iocos, quod post abductam uxorem laudanti vocem suam "eutacto" dixerat, quodque Tito hortanti se de alterum matrimonium responderat: Me kai sy gamesai theleis; Salvium Cocceianum, quod Othonis imperatoris patrui sui diem natalem celebraverat; Mettium Pompusianum, quod habere imperatoriam genesim vulgo ferebatur, et quod depictum orbem terrae in membrana contionesque regum ac ducum ex Tito Livio circumferret, quodque servis nomina Magonis et Hannibalis indidisset; Sallustium Lucullum Britanniae legatum, quod lanceas novae formae appellari Luculleas passus esset; Iunium Rusticum, quod Paeti Thraseae et Helvidii Prisci laudes edidisset appellassetque eos sanctissimos viros; cuius criminis occasione philosophos omnis urbe Italiaque summovit. Occidit et Helvidium filium, quasi scaenico exodio sub persona Paridis et Oenones divortium suum cum uxore taxasset; Flavium Sabinum alterum e patruelibus, quod eum comitiorum consularium die destinatum perperam praeco non consulem ad populum, sed imperatorem pronuntiasset. Verum aliquando post civilis belli victoriam saevior, plerosque paris adversae, dum etiam latentes conscios investigat, novo questionis genere distortis, immisso per obscaena igne; nonnullis et manus amputavit. Satisque constat, duos dolos e notioribus venia donatos, tribunum laticlavium et centurionem, qui se, quo facilius expertes culpae ostenderet, impudicos probaverant et ob id neque apud ducem neque apud milites ullius momenti esse potuisse.||X. But he did not long persevere in this course of clemency and justice, although he sooner fell into cruelty than into avarice. He put to death a scholar of Paris, the pantomimic , though a minor, and then sick, only because, both in person and the practice of his art, he resembled his master; as he did likewise Hermogenes of Tarsus for some oblique reflections in his History; crucifying, besides, the scribes who had copied the work. One who was master of a band of gladiators, happening to say, "that a Thrax was a match for a Marmillo , but not so for the exhibitor of the games", he ordered him to be dragged from the benches into the arena, and exposed to the dogs, with this label upon him, "A Parmularian  guilty of talking impiously." He put to death many senators, and amongst them several men of consular rank. In this number were, Civica Cerealis, when he was proconsul in Africa, Salvidienus Orfitus, and Acilius Glabrio in exile, under the pretence of their planning to revolt against him. The rest he punished upon very trivial occasions; as Aelius Lamia for some jocular expressions, which were of old date, and perfectly harmless; because, upon his commending his voice after he had taken his wife from him , he replied, "Alas! I hold my tongue." And when Titus advised him to take another wife, he answered him thus: "What! have you a mind to marry?" Salvius Cocceianus was condemned to death for keeping the birth-day of his uncle Otho, the emperor: Metius Pomposianus, because he was commonly reported to have an imperial nativity , and to carry about with (488) him a map of the world upon vellum, with the speeches of kings and generals extracted out of Titus Livius; and for giving his slaves the names of Mago and Hannibal; Sallustius Lucullus, lieutenant in Britain, for suffering some lances of a new invention to be called "Lucullean;" and Junius Rusticus, for publishing a treatise in praise of Paetus Thrasea and Helvidius Priscus, and calling them both "most upright men." Upon this occasion, he likewise banished all the philosophers from the city and Italy. He put to death the younger Helvidius, for writing a farce, in which, under the character of Paris and Oenone, he reflected upon his having divorced his wife; and also Flavius Sabinus, one of his cousins, because, upon his being chosen at the consular election to that office, the public crier had, by a blunder, proclaimed him to the people not consul, but emperor. Becoming still more savage after his success in the civil war, he employed the utmost industry to discover those of the adverse party who absconded: many of them he racked with a new-invented torture, inserting fire through their private parts; and from some he cut off their hands. It is certain, that only two of any note were pardoned, a tribune who wore the narrow stripe, and a centurion; who, to clear themselves from the charge of being concerned in any rebellious project, proved themselves to have been guilty of prostitution, and consequently incapable of exercising any influence either over the general or the soldiers.|
| Erat autem non solum magnae, sed etiam callidae inopinataeque saevitiae. Auctorem summarum pridie quam cruci figeret in cubiculum vocavit, assidere in toro iuxta coegit, securum hilaremque dimisit, partibus etiam de cena dignatus est. Arrecinum Clementem consularem, unum e familiaribus et emissariis suis, capitis condemnaturus, in eadem vel etiam maiore gratia habuit, quoad novissime simul gestanti, conspecto delatore eius, "Vis, inquit, nequissimum servum cras audiamus?" Et quo contemptius abuteretur patentia hominum, numquam tristiorem sententiam sine praefatione clementiae pronuntiavit, ut non aliud iam certius atrocis exitus signum esset quam principii lenitas. Quosdam maiestatis reos in curiam induxerat, et cum praedixisset, experturum se illa die quam carus senatui esset, facile perfecerat ut etiam more maiorum puniendi condemnarentur; deinde atrocitate poenae conterritus, ad leniendam invidiam, intercessit his verbis (neque enim ab re fuit ipsa cognoscere): "Permittite, patres conscripti, a pietate vestra impetrari, quod scio me difficulter impetraturum, ut damnatis liberum mortis arbitrium indulgentis; nam et parcetis oculis vestris et intellegent me omnes senatui interfuisse."||XI. His cruelties were not only excessive, but subtle and unexpected. The day before he crucified a collector of his rents, he sent for him into his bed-chamber, made him sit down upon the bed by him, and sent him away well pleased, and, so far as could be inferred from his treatment, in a state of perfect security; having vouchsafed him the favour of a plate of meat from his own table. When he was on the point of condemning to death Aretinus Clemens, a man of consular rank, and one of his friends and emissaries, he retained him about his person in the same or greater favour than ever; until at last, as they were riding together in the same litter, upon seeing the man who had informed against him, he said, "Are you willing that we should hear this base slave tomorrow?" Contemptuously abusing the patience of men, he never pronounced a severe sentence without prefacing it (489) with words which gave hopes of mercy; so that, at last, there was not a more certain token of a fatal conclusion, than a mild commencement. He brought before the senate some person accused of treason, declaring, "that he should prove that day how dear he was to the senate;" and so influenced them, that they condemned the accused to be punished according to the ancient usage . Then, as if alarmed at the extreme severity of their punishment, to lessen the odiousness of the proceeding, he interposed in these words; for it is not foreign to the purpose to give them precisely as they were delivered: "Permit me, Conscript Fathers, so far to prevail upon your affection for me, however extraordinary the request may seem, as to grant the condemned criminals the favour of dying in the manner they choose. For by so doing, ye will spare your own eyes, and the world will understand that I interceded with the senate on their behalf."|
| Exhaustus operum ac munerum impensis stipendioque,
quod adiecerat, temptavit quidem ad relevandos castrenses sumptus,
numerum militum deminuere; sed cum et obnoxium se barbaris per hoc
animadverteret neque eo setius in explicandis oneribus haereret, nihil
pensi habuit quin praedaretur omni modo. Bona vivorum ac mortuorum
usquequaque quolibet et accusatore et crimine corripiebantur. Satis
erat obici qualecumque factum dictumve adversus maiestatem principis.
Confiscabantur alienissimae hereditates vel uno existente, qui diceret
audisse se ex defuncto, cum viveret, heredem sibi Caesarem esse.
Praeter ceteros Iudaicus fiscus acerbissime actus est; ad quem
deferebantur, qui vel improfessi Iudaicam viverent vitam, vel
dissimulata origine imposita genti tributa non pependissent.
Interfuisse me adulescentulum memini, cum a procuratore
frequentissimoque consilio inspiceretur nonagenarius senex an
circumsectus esset. Ab iuventa minime civilis animi, confidens etiam,
et cum verbis tum rebus immodicum, Caenidi patris concubinae, ex
Histria reversae osculumque ut assuerat offerenti, manum praebuit;
generum fratris indigne ferens albatos et ipsum ministros habere,
Ouk agathon polykoiranie.
|XII. Having exhausted the exchequer by the expense of his buildings
and public spectacles, with the augmentation of pay lately granted to the
troops, he made an attempt at the reduction of the army, in order to
lessen the military charges. But reflecting, that he should, by this
measure, expose himself to the insults of the barbarians, while it would
not suffice to extricate him from his embarrassments, he had recourse to
plundering his subjects by every mode of exaction. The estates of the
living and the dead were sequestered upon any accusation, by whomsoever
preferred. The unsupported allegation of any one person, relative to a
word or action construed to affect the dignity of the emperor, was
sufficient. Inheritances, to which he had not the slightest pretension,
were confiscated, if there was found so much as one person to say, he had
heard from the deceased when living, "that he had made the emperor his
heir." Besides the exactions from others, the poll-tax on the Jews was
levied with extreme rigour, both on those who lived after the manner of
Jews in the city, without publicly professing themselves to be such
, and on those who, by (490) concealing their
origin, avoided paying the tribute imposed upon that people. I remember,
when I was a youth, to have been present , when
an old man, ninety years of age, had his person exposed to view in a very
crowded court, in order that, on inspection, the procurator might satisfy
himself whether he was circumcised.  From his
earliest years Domitian was any thing but courteous, of a forward,
assuming disposition, and extravagant both in his words and actions. When
Caenis, his father's concubine, upon her return from Istria, offered him
a kiss, as she had been used to do, he presented her his hand to kiss.
Being indignant, that his brother's son-in-law should be waited on by
servants dressed in white , he exclaimed,--
Ouk agathon polykoiranie. 
Too many princes are not good.
| Principatum vero adeptus, neque in senatu iactare dubitavit, et patri se et fratri imperium dedisse, illo sibi reddidisse; neque in reducenda post divortium uxore edicere revocatam eam in pulvinar suum. Adclamari etiam in amphitheatro epuli die libenter audiit: Domino et dominae feliciter! Sed et Capitolino certamine cunctos ingenti consensus precantes, ut Palfurium Suram restitueret, pulsum olim senatu ac tunc de oratoribus coronatum, nullo responso dignatus, tacere tantum modo iussit voce praeconis. Pari arrogantia, cum procuratorum suorum nomine formalem dictaret epistulam, sic coepit: "Dominus et deus noster hoc fieri iubet." Vnde institutum posthac, ut ne scripto quidem ac sermone cuiusquam appellaretur aliter. Status sibi in Capitolino non nisi aureas et argenteas poni permisit ac ponderi certi. Ianos arcusque cum quadrigis et insignibus triumphorum per regiones urbis tantos ac tot exstruxit, ut cuidam Graece inscriptum sit: arkei. Consulatus septemdecim cepit, quot ante eum nemo; ex quibus septem medios continuavit, omnes autem paene titulo tenus gessit, nec quemquam ultra Kal. Mai., plerosque ad Idus usque Ianuarias. Post autem duos triumphos Germanici cognomine assumpto Septembrem mensem et Octobrem ex appellationibus suis Germanico Domitianumque transnominavit, quod altero suscepisset imperium, altero natus esset.||XIII. After he became emperor, he had the assurance to boast in the senate, "that he had bestowed the empire on his father and brother, and they had restored it to him." And upon taking his wife again, after the divorce, he declared by proclamation, "that he had recalled her to his pulvinar."  He was not a little pleased too, at hearing the acclamations of the people in the amphitheatre on a day of festival, "All happiness to our lord and lady." But when, during the celebration of the Capitoline trial of skill, the whole concourse of people entreated him with one voice to restore Palfurius Sura to his place in the senate, from which he had been long before expelled--he having then carried away the prize of eloquence from all the orators who had contended for it,--he did not vouchsafe to give them any answer, but only commanded silence to be proclaimed by the voice of the crier. With equal arrogance, when he dictated the form of a letter to be used by his procurators, he began it thus: "Our lord and god commands so and so;" whence it became a rule that no one should (491) style him otherwise either in writing or speaking. He suffered no statues to be erected for him in the Capitol, unless they were of gold and silver, and of a certain weight. He erected so many magnificent gates and arches, surmounted by representations of chariots drawn by four horses, and other triumphal ornaments, in different quarters of the city, that a wag inscribed on one of the arches the Greek word Axkei, "It is enough."  He filled the office of consul seventeen times, which no one had ever done before him, and for the seven middle occasions in successive years; but in scarcely any of them had he more than the title; for he never continued in office beyond the calends of May [the 1st May], and for the most part only till the ides of January [13th January]. After his two triumphs, when he assumed the cognomen of Germanicus, he called the months of September and October, Germanicus and Domitian, after his own names, because he commenced his reign in the one, and was born in the other.|
| Per haec terribilis cunctis et invisus, tandem
oppressus est amicorum libertorumque intimorum conspiratione, simul et
uxoris. Annum diemque ultimum vitae iam pridem suspectum habebat,
horam etiam, nec non et genus mortis. Adulescentulo Chaldaei cuncta
praedixerant; pater quoque super cenam quondam fungis abstinentem
palam irriserat ut ignarum sortis suae, quod non ferrum potius
timeret. Quare pavidus semper atque anxius, minimis etiam
suspicionibus praeter modum commovebatur; ut edicti de excidendis
vineis propositi gratiam faceret, non alia magis re compulsus
creditur, quam quod sparsi libelli cum his versibus erant:
Kan me phages eti rizan, omos epi kartophoreso,
Osson epispeisai soi, trage, thyomeno.
Eadem formidine oblatum a senatum novum et excogitatum honorem, quamquam omnium talium appetentissimus, recusavit, quo decretum erat ut, quotiens gereret consulatum, equites R. quibus sors obtigisset, trabeati et cum hastis militaribus praecederent eum inter lictores apparitoresque. Tempore vero suspecti periculi appropinquante sollicitior in dies porticuum, in quibus spatiari consuerat, parietes phengite lapide distinxit, e cuius splendore per imagines quidquid a tergo fieret provideret. Nec nisi secreto atque solus plerasque custodias, receptis quidem in manum catenis, audiebat. Vtque domesticis persuaderet, ne bono quidem exemplo audendam esse patroni necem, Epaphroditum a libellis capitali poena condemnavit, quod post destitutionem Nero in adipiscenda morte manu eius adiutus existimabatur.
|XIV. Becoming by these means universally feared and odious, he was at
last taken off by a conspiracy of his friends and favourite freedmen, in
concert with his wife . He had long entertained a
suspicion of the year and day when he should die, and even of the very
hour and manner of his death; all which he had learned from the
Chaldaeans, when he was a very young man. His father once at supper
laughed at him for refusing to eat some mushrooms, saying, that if he
knew his fate, he would rather be afraid of the sword. Being, therefore,
in perpetual apprehension and anxiety, he was keenly alive to the
slightest suspicions, insomuch that he is thought to have withdrawn the
edict ordering the destruction of the vines, chiefly because the copies
of it which were dispersed had the following lines written upon
Kan me phages eti rizan, omos epi kartophoreso,
Osson epispeisai soi, trage, thyomeno. 
Gnaw thou my root, yet shall my juice suffice
To pour on Caesar's head in sacrifice.
(492) It was from the same principle of fear, that he refused a new honour, devised and offered him by the senate, though he was greedy of all such compliments. It was this: "that as often as he held the consulship, Roman knights, chosen by lot, should walk before him, clad in the Trabea, with lances in their hands, amongst his lictors and apparitors." As the time of the danger which he apprehended drew near, he became daily more and more disturbed in mind; insomuch that he lined the walls of the porticos in which he used to walk, with the stone called Phengites , by the reflection of which he could see every object behind him. He seldom gave an audience to persons in custody, unless in private, being alone, and he himself holding their chains in his hand. To convince his domestics that the life of a master was not to be attempted upon any pretext, however plausible, he condemned to death Epaphroditus his secretary, because it was believed that he had assisted Nero, in his extremity, to kill himself.
| Denique Flavium Clementem patruelem suum, contemptissimae inertiae, cuius filios etiam tum parvulos successores palam destinaverat abolitoque priore nomine alterum Vespasianum appellari iusserat, alterum Domitianum, repente ex tenuissima suspicione tantum non in ipso eius consulatu interemit. Quo maxime facto maturavit sibi exitium. Continuis octo mensibus tot fulgura facta nuntiataque sunt, ut exclamaverit: "Feriat iam, quem volet." Tactum de caelo Capitolium templumque Flaviae gentis, item domus Palatina et cubiculum ipsius, atque etiam e basi statuae triumphalis titulus excussus vi procellae in monimentum proximum decidit. Arbor, quae privato adhuc Vespasiano eversa surrexerat, tunc rursus repente corruit. Praenestina Fortuna, toto imperii spatio annum novum commendanti laetam eandemque semper sortem dare assueta, extremo tristissimam reddidit nec sine sanguinis mentione. Minervam, quam superstitiose colebat, somniavit excedere sacrario ***** negantemque ultra se tueri eum posse, quod exarmata esset a Iove. Nulla tamen re perinde commotus est, quam responso casuque Ascletarionis mathematici. Hunc delatum nec infitiantem, iactasse se quae providisset ex arte, sciscitatus est, quis ipsum maneret exitus; et affirmantem fore ut brevi laceraretur a canibus, interfici quidem sine mora, sed ad coarguendam temeritatem artis sepeliri quoque accuratissime imperavit. Quod cum fieret, evenit ut, repentina tempestate deiecto funere, semiustum cadaver discerperent canes, idque ei cenanti a mimo Latino, qui praeteriens forte animadverterat, inter ceteras diei fabulas referretur.||XV. His last victim was Flavius Clemens , his cousin- german, a man below contempt for his want of energy, whose sons, then of very tender age, he had avowedly destined for his successors, and, discarding their former names, had ordered one to be called Vespasian, and the other Domitian. Nevertheless, he suddenly put him to death upon some very slight suspicion , almost before he was well out of his consulship. By this violent act he very much hastened his own destruction. During eight months together there was so much lightning at Rome, and such accounts of the phaenomenon were brought from other parts, that at last he cried out, "Let him now strike whom he will." The Capitol was struck by lightning, as well as the temple of the Flavian family, with the Palatine- house, and his own bed-chamber. The tablet also, inscribed upon the base of his triumphal statue was carried away by the violence of the storm, and fell upon a neighbouring (493) monument. The tree which just before the advancement of Vespasian had been prostrated, and rose again , suddenly fell to the ground. The goddess Fortune of Praeneste, to whom it was his custom on new year's day to commend the empire for the ensuing year, and who had always given him a favourable reply, at last returned him a melancholy answer, not without mention of blood. He dreamt that Minerva, whom he worshipped even to a superstitious excess, was withdrawing from her sanctuary, declaring she could protect him no longer, because she was disarmed by Jupiter. Nothing, however, so much affected him as an answer given by Ascletario, the astrologer, and his subsequent fate. This person had been informed against, and did not deny his having predicted some future events, of which, from the principles of his art, he confessed he had a foreknowledge. Domitian asked him, what end he thought he should come to himself? To which replying, "I shall in a short time be torn to pieces by dogs," he ordered him immediately to be slain, and, in order to demonstrate the vanity of his art, to be carefully buried. But during the preparations for executing this order, it happened that the funeral pile was blown down by a sudden storm, and the body, half-burnt, was torn to pieces by dogs; which being observed by Latinus, the comic actor, as he chanced to pass that way, he told it, amongst the other news of the day, to the emperor at supper.|
| Pridie quam periret, cum oblatos tubures servari iussisset crastinum, adiecit: "Si modo uti licuerit," et conversus ad proximos affirmavit, fore ut sequenti die luna se in aquario cruentaret factumque aliquod existeret, de quo loquerentur homines per terrarum orbem. At circa mediam noctem ita est exterritus ut et strato prosiliret. Dehinc mane haruspicem ex Germania missum, qui consultus de fulgure mutationem rerum praedixerat, audiit condemnavitque. Ac dum exulceratam in fronte verrucam vehementius scalpit, profluente sanguine, "Vtinam," inquit, "hactenus." Tunc horas requirenti pro quinta, quam metuebat, sexta ex industria nuntiata est. His velut transacto iam periculo laetum festinantemque ad corporis curam Parthenius cubiculo praepositus convertit, nuntians esse qui magnum nescio quid afferret, nec differendum. Itaque summotis omnibus, in cubiculum se recepit atque ibi occisus est.||XVI. The day before his death, he ordered some dates , served up at table, to be kept till the next day, adding, "If I have the luck to use them." And turning to those who were nearest him, he said, "To-morrow the moon in Aquarius will be bloody instead of watery, and an event will happen, which will be much talked of all the world over." About midnight, he was so terrified that he leaped out of bed. That morning he tried and passed sentence on a soothsayer sent from Germany, who being consulted about the lightning that had lately (494) happened, predicted from it a change of government. The blood running down his face as he scratched an ulcerous tumour on his forehead, he said, "Would this were all that is to befall me!" Then, upon his asking the time of the day, instead of five o'clock, which was the hour he dreaded, they purposely told him it was six. Overjoyed at this information; as if all danger were now passed, and hastening to the bath, Parthenius, his chamberlain, stopped him, by saying that there was a person come to wait upon him about a matter of great importance, which would admit of no delay. Upon this, ordering all persons to withdraw, he retired into his chamber, and was there slain.|
| De insidiarum caedisque genere haec fere divulgata sunt. Cunctantibus conspiratis, quanto et quo modo, id est lavantemne an cenantem, adgrederentur, Stephanus, Domitillae procurator, et tunc interceptarum pecuniarum reus, consilium operamque optulit. Ac sinisteriore brachio, velut aegro, lanis fasciisque per aliquot dies ad avertendam suspicionem obvoluto, ad ipsam horam dolorem interiecit; professusque conspirationis indicium et ob hos admissus, legenti traditum a se libellum et attonito suffodit inguina. Saucium ac repugnantem adorti Clodianus cornicularius et Maximus Partheni libertus et Satur decurio cubiculariorum et quidam e gladiatorio ludo vulneribus septem contrucidarunt. Puer, qui arae Larum cubiculi ex consuetudine assistens interfuit caedi, hoc amplius narrabat, iussum se a Domitiano ad primum statim vulnus pugionem pulvino subditum porrigere ac ministros vocare, neque ad caput quidquam excepto capulo, et praeterea clausa omnia repperisse; atque illum interim arrepto deductoque ad terram Stephano colluctatum diu, dum modo ferrum extorquere, modo quamquam laniatis digitis oculos effodere conatur. Occisus est XIIII. Kal. Octob. anno aetatis quadragensimo quinto, imperii quinto decimo. Cadaver eius populari sandapila per vespillones exportatum Phyllis nutrix in suburbano suo Latina via funeravit, sed reliquias templo Flaviae gentis clam intulit cineribusque Iuliae Titi filiae, quam et ipsam educarat, conmiscuit.||XVII. Concerning the contrivance and mode of his death, the common account is this. The conspirators being in some doubt when and where they should attack him, whether while he was in the bath, or at supper, Stephanus, a steward of Domitilla's , then under prosecution for defrauding his mistress, offered them his advice and assistance; and wrapping up his left arm, as if it was hurt, in wool and bandages for some days, to prevent suspicion, at the hour appointed, he secreted a dagger in them. Pretending then to make a discovery of a conspiracy, and being for that reason admitted, he presented to the emperor a memorial, and while he was reading it in great astonishment, stabbed him in the groin. But Domitian, though wounded, making resistance, Clodianus, one of his guards, Maximus, a freedman of Parthenius's, Saturius, his principal chamberlain, with some gladiators, fell upon him, and stabbed him in seven places. A boy who had the charge of the Lares in his bed-chamber, and was then in attendance as usual, gave these further particulars: that he was ordered by Domitian, upon receiving his first wound, to reach him a dagger which lay under his pillow, and call in his domestics; but that he found nothing at the head of the bed, excepting the hilt of a (495) poniard, and that all the doors were fastened: that the emperor in the mean time got hold of Stephanus, and throwing him upon the ground, struggled a long time with him; one while endeavouring to wrench the dagger from him, another while, though his fingers were miserably mangled, to tear out his eyes. He was slain upon the fourteenth of the calends of October [18th Sept.], in the forty-fifth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign . His corpse was carried out upon a common bier by the public bearers, and buried by his nurse Phyllis, at his suburban villa on the Latin Way. But she afterwards privately conveyed his remains to the temple of the Flavian family , and mingled them with the ashes of Julia, the daughter of Titus, whom she had also nursed.|
| Statura fuit procera, vultu modesto ruborisque
pleno, grandibus oculis, verum acie hebetiore; praeterea pulcher ac
decens, maxime in iuventa, et quidem toto corpore, exceptis pedibus,
quorum digitos restrictiores habebat; postea calvitio quoque deformis
et obesitate ventris et crurum gracilitate, quae tamen ei valitudine
longa remacruerant. Commendari se verecundia oris adeo sentiebat, ut
apud senatum sic quondam iactaverit: "Vsque adhuc certe et animum meum
probastis et vultum." Calvitio ita offendebatur, ut in contumeliam
suam traheret, si cui alii ioco vel iurgio obiectaretur; quamvis
libello, quem de cura capillorum ad amicum edidit, haec etiam, simul
illum seque consolans, inserverit:
Ouch oraas oios kago kalos te megas te?
Eadem me tamen manent capillorum fata, et forti animo fero comam in adulescentia senescentem. Scias nec gratius quicquam decore nec brevius.
|XVIII. He was tall in stature, his face modest, and very ruddy; he
had large eyes, but was dim-sighted; naturally graceful in his person,
particularly in his youth, excepting only that his toes were bent
somewhat inward, he was at last disfigured by baldness, corpulence, and
the slenderness of his legs, which were reduced by a long illness. He was
so sensible how much the modesty of his countenance recommended him, that
he once made this boast to the senate, "Thus far you have approved both
of my disposition and my countenance." His baldness so much annoyed him,
that he considered it an affront to himself, if any other person was
reproached with it, either in jest or in earnest; though in a small tract
he published, addressed to a friend, "concerning the preservation of the
hair," he uses for their mutual consolation the words following:
Ouch oraas oios kago kalos te megas te;
Seest thou my graceful mien, my stately form?
"and yet the fate of my hair awaits me; however, I bear with fortitude this loss of my hair while I am still young. Remember that nothing is more fascinating than beauty, but nothing of shorter duration."
| Laboris impatiens, pedibus per urbem non temere ambulavit, in expeditione et agmine equo rarius, lectica assidue vectus est. Armorum nullo, sagittarum vel praecipuo studio tenebatur. Centenas variis generis feras saepe in Albano secessu conficientem spectavere plerisque, atque etiam ex industria ita quarundam capita figentem, ut duobus ictibus quasi cornus efficeret. Nonnumquam in pueri procul in stantis praebentisque pro scopulo dispansam dexterae manus palmam, sagittas tanta arte derexit, ut omnes per intervalla digitorum innocue evaderent.||XIX. He so shrunk from undergoing fatigue, that he scarcely ever walked through the city on foot. In his (496) expeditions and on a march, he seldom rode on horse-back; but was generally carried in a litter. He had no inclination for the exercise of arms, but was very expert in the use of the bow. Many persons have seen him often kill a hundred wild animals, of various kinds, at his Alban retreat, and fix his arrows in their heads with such dexterity, that he could, in two shots, plant them, like a pair of horns, in each. He would sometimes direct his arrows against the hand of a boy standing at a distance, and expanded as a mark, with such precision, that they all passed between the boy's fingers, without hurting him.|
| Liberalia studia imperii initio neglexit, quamquam bibliothecas incendio absumptas impensissime reparare curasset, exemplaribus undique petitis, missisque Alexandream qui describerent emendarentque. Numquam tamen aut historiae carminibusque noscendis operam ullam aut stilo vel necessario dedit. Praeter commentarios et acta Tiberii Caesaris nihil lectitabat; epistolas orationesque et edicta alieno formabat ingenio. Sermonis tamen nec inelegantis, dictorum interdum etiam notabilium, "Vellem," inquit, "tam formosus esse, quam Maetius sibi videtur"; et cuiusdam caput varietate capilli subrutilum et incanum, perfusas nivem mulso dixit; condicionem principum miserrimam aiebat, quibus de coniuratione comperta non crederetur nisi occisis.||XX. In the beginning of his reign, he gave up the study of the liberal sciences, though he took care to restore, at a vast expense, the libraries which had been burnt down; collecting manuscripts from all parts, and sending scribes to Alexandria , either to copy or correct them. Yet he never gave himself the trouble of reading history or poetry, or of employing his pen even for his private purposes. He perused nothing but the Commentaries and Acts of Tiberius Caesar. His letters, speeches, and edicts, were all drawn up for him by others; though he could converse with elegance, and sometimes expressed himself in memorable sentiments. "I could wish," said he once, "that I was but as handsome as Metius fancies himself to be." And of the head of some one whose hair was partly reddish, and partly grey, he said, "that it was snow sprinkled with mead."|
| Quotiens otium esset, alea se oblectabat, etiam profestis diebus matutinisque horis, ac lavabat de die, prandebatque ad satietatem, ut non temere super cenam praeter Matianum malum et modicam in ampulla potiunculam sumeret. Convivabatur frequenter ac large, sed paene raptim; certe non ultra solis occasum, nec ut postea comisaretur. Nam ad horam somni nihil aliud quam solus secreto deambulabat.||XXI. "The lot of princes," he remarked, "was very miserable, for no one believed them when they discovered a conspiracy, until they were murdered." When he had leisure, he amused himself with dice, even on days that were not festivals, and in the morning. He went to the bath early, and made a plentiful dinner, insomuch that he seldom ate more at supper than a Matian apple , to which he added a (497) draught of wine, out of a small flask. He gave frequent and splendid entertainments, but they were soon over, for he never prolonged them after sun-set, and indulged in no revel after. For, till bed-time, he did nothing else but walk by himself in private.|
| Libidinis nimiae, assiduitatem concubitus velut exercitationis genus clinopalen vocabat; eratque fama, quasi concubinas ipse develleret nataretque inter vulgatissimas meretrices. Fratris filiam, adhuc virginem oblatam in matrimonium sibi cum devictus Domitiae nuptiis pertinacissime recusasset, non multo post alii conlocatam, corrupit ultro et quidem vivo etiam tum Tito, mox patre ac viro orbatam ardentissime palamque dilexit, ut etiam causa mortis extiterit coactae conceptum a se abigere.||XXII. He was insatiable in his lusts, calling frequent commerce with women, as if it was a sort of exercise, klinopalen, bed-wrestling; and it was reported that he plucked the hair from his concubines, and swam about in company with the lowest prostitutes. His brother's daughter  was offered him in marriage when she was a virgin; but being at that time enamoured of Domitia, he obstinately refused her. Yet not long afterwards, when she was given to another, he was ready enough to debauch her, and that even while Titus was living. But after she had lost both her father and her husband, he loved her most passionately, and without disguise; insomuch that he was the occasion of her death, by obliging her to procure a miscarriage when she was with child by him.|
| Occisum eum populus indifferenter, miles gravissime
tulit statimque Divum appellare conatus est, paratus et ulcisci, nisi
duces defuissent; quod quidem paulo post fecit, expostulatis ad poenam
pertinacissime caedis auctoribus. Contra senatus adeo laetatus est, ut
repleta certatim curia non temperaret, quin mortuum contumeliosissimo
atque acerbissimo adclamationum genere laceraret, scalas etiam inferri
clipeosque et imagines eius coram detrahi et ibidem solo affligi
iuberet, novissime eradendos ubique titulos abolendamque omnes
memoriam decerneret. Ante paucos quam occideretur menses cornix in
Capitolino elocuta est: Estai panta kalos, nec defuit qui
ostentum sic interpretaretur:--
Nuper Tarpeio quae sedit culmine cornix.
"Est bene," non potuit dicere; dixit, "Erit."
Ipsum etiam Domitianum ferunt somniasse gibbam sibi pone cervicem auream enatam, pro certoque habuisse beatiorem post se laetioremque portendi rei publicae statum, sicut sane brevi evenit abstinentia et moderatione insequentium principum.
|XXIII. The people shewed little concern at his death, but the
soldiers were roused by it to great indignation, and immediately
endeavoured to have him ranked among the gods. They were also ready to
revenge his loss, if there had been any to take the lead. However, they
soon after effected it, by resolutely demanding the punishment of all
those who had been concerned in his assassination. On the other hand, the
senate was so overjoyed, that they met in all haste, and in a full
assembly reviled his memory in the most bitter terms; ordering ladders to
be brought in, and his shields and images to be pulled down before their
eyes, and dashed in pieces upon the floor of the senate-house passing at
the same time a decree to obliterate his titles every where, and abolish
all memory of him. A few months before he was slain, a raven on the
Capitol uttered these words: "All will be well." Some person gave the
following interpretation of this prodigy:--
(498) Nuper Tarpeio quae sedit culmine cornix.
"Est bene," non potuit dicere; dixit, "Erit."
Late croaked a raven from Tarpeia's height,
"All is not yet, but shall be, right."
They say likewise that Domitian dreamed that a golden hump grew out of the back of his neck, which he considered as a certain sign of happy days for the empire after him. Such an auspicious change indeed shortly afterwards took place, through the justice and moderation of the succeeding emperors.
If we view Domitian in the different lights in which he is represented, during his lifetime and after his decease, his character and conduct discover a greater diversity than is commonly observed in the objects of historical detail. But as posthumous character is always the most just, its decisive verdict affords the surest criterion by which this variegated emperor must be estimated by impartial posterity. According to this rule, it is beyond a doubt that his vices were more predominant than his virtues: and when we follow him into his closet, for some time after his accession, when he was thirty years of age, the frivolity of his daily employment, in the killing of flies, exhibits an instance of dissipation, which surpasses all that has been recorded of his imperial predecessors. The encouragement, however, which the first Vespasian had shown to literature, continued to operate during the present reign; and we behold the first fruits of its auspicious influence in the valuable treatise of QUINTILIAN.
Of the life of this celebrated writer, little is known upon any authority that has a title to much credit. We learn, however, that he was the son of a lawyer in the service of some of the preceding emperors, and was born in Rome, though in what consulship, or under what emperor, it is impossible to determine. He married a woman of a noble family, by whom he had two sons. The mother died in the flower of her age, and the sons, at the distance of some time from each other, when their father was advanced in years. The precise time of Quintilian's own death is equally inauthenticated with that of his birth; nor can we rely upon an author of suspicious veracity, who says that he passed the latter part of his life in a state of indigence which was alleviated by the liberality of his pupil, Pliny the Younger. Quintilian opened a school of rhetoric at Rome, where he not only discharged that labourious employment with great applause, (499) during more than twenty years, but pleaded at the bar, and was the first who obtained a salary from the state, for executing the office of a public teacher. He was also appointed by Domitian preceptor to the two young princes who were intended to succeed him on the throne.
After his retirement from the situation of a teacher, Quintilian devoted his attention to the study of literature, and composed a treatise on the Causes of the Corruption of Eloquence. At the earnest solicitation of his friends, he was afterwards induced to undertake his Institutiones Oratoriae, the most elaborate system of oratory extant in any language. This work is divided into twelve books, in which the author treats with great precision of the qualities of a perfect orator; explaining not only the fundamental principles of eloquence, as connected with the constitution of the human mind, but pointing out, both by argument and observation, the most successful method of exercising that admirable art, for the accomplishment of its purpose. So minutely, and upon so extensive a plan, has he prosecuted the subject, that he delineates the education suitable to a perfect orator, from the stage of infancy in the cradle, to the consummation of rhetorical fame, in the pursuits of the bar, or those, in general, of any public assembly. It is sufficient to say, that in the execution of this elaborate work, Quintilian has called to the assistance of his own acute and comprehensive understanding, the profound penetration of Aristotle, the exquisite graces of Cicero; all the stores of observation, experience, and practice; and in a word, the whole accumulated exertions of ancient genius on the subject of oratory.
It may justly be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance in the progress of scientific improvement, that the endowments of a perfect orator were never fully exhibited to the world, until it had become dangerous to exercise them for the important purposes for which they were originally cultivated. And it is no less remarkable, that, under all the violence and caprice of imperial despotism which the Romans had now experienced, their sensibility to the enjoyment of poetical compositions remained still unabated; as if it served to console the nation for the irretrievable loss of public liberty. From this source of entertainment, they reaped more pleasure during the present reign, than they had done since the time of Augustus. The poets of this period were Juvenal, Statius, and Martial.
JUVENAL was born at Aquinum, but in what year is uncertain; though, from some circumstances, it seems to have been in the reign of Augustus. Some say that he was the son of a freedman, (500) while others, without specifying the condition of his father, relate only that he was brought up by a freedman. He came at an early age to Rome, where he declaimed for many years, and, pleaded causes in the forum with great applause; but at last he betook himself to the writing of satires, in which he acquired great fame. One of the first, and the most constant object of is satire, was the pantomime Paris, the great favourite of the emperor Nero, and afterwards of Domitian. During the reign of the former of these emperors, no resentment was shown towards the poet; but he experienced not the same impunity after the accession of the latter; when, to remove him from the capital, he was sent as governor to the frontiers of Egypt, but in reality, into an honourable exile. According to some authors, he died of chagrin in that province: but this is not authenticated, and seems to be a mistake: for in some of Martial's epigrams, which appear to have been written after the death of Domitian, Juvenal is spoken of as residing at Rome. It is said that he lived to upwards of eighty years of age.
The remaining compositions of this author are sixteen satires, all written against the dissipation and enormous vices which prevailed at Rome in his time. The various objects of animadversion are painted in the strongest colours, and placed in the most conspicuous points of view. Giving loose reins to just and moral indignation, Juvenal is every where animated, vehement, petulant, and incessantly acrimonious. Disdaining the more lenient modes of correction, or despairing of their success, he neither adopts the raillery of Horace, nor the derision of Persius, but prosecutes vice and folly with all the severity of sentiment, passion, and expression. He sometimes exhibits a mixture of humour with his invectives; but it is a humour which partakes more of virulent rage than of pleasantry; broad, hostile, but coarse, and rivalling in indelicacy the profligate manners which it assails. The satires of Juvenal abound in philosophical apophthegms; and, where they are not sullied by obscene description, are supported with a uniform air of virtuous elevation. Amidst all the intemperance of sarcasm, his numbers are harmonious. Had his zeal permitted him to direct the current of his impetuous genius into the channel of ridicule, and endeavour to put to shame the vices and follies of those licentious times, as much as he perhaps exasperated conviction rather than excited contrition, he would have carried satire to the highest possible pitch, both of literary excellence and moral utility. With every abatement of attainable perfection, we hesitate not to place him at the head of this arduous department of poetry.
Of STATIUS no farther particulars are preserved than that he (501) was born at Naples; that his father's name was Statius of Epirus, and his mother's Agelina, and that he died about the end of the first century of the Christian era. Some have conjectured that he maintained himself by writing for the stage, but of this there is no sufficient evidence; and if ever he composed dramatic productions, they have perished. The works of Statius now extant, are two poems, viz. the Thebais and the Achilleis, besides a collection, named Silvae.
The Thebais consists of twelve books, and the subject of it is the Theban war, which happened 1236 years before the Christian era, in consequence of a dispute between Eteocles and Polynices, the sons of Oedipus and Jocasta. These brothers had entered into an agreement with each other to reign alternately for a year at a time; and Eteocles being the elder, got first possession of the throne. This prince refusing to abdicate at the expiration of the year, Polynices fled to Argos, where marrying Argia, the daughter of Adrastus, king of that country, he procured the assistance of his father-in- law, to enforce the engagement stipulated with his brother Eteocles. The Argives marched under the command of seven able generals, who were to attack separately the seven gates of Thebes. After much blood had been spilt without any effect, it was at last agreed between the two parties, that the brothers should determine the dispute by single combat. In the desperate engagement which ensued, they both fell; and being burnt together upon the funeral pile, it is said that their ashes separated, as if actuated by the implacable resentment which they had borne to each other.
If we except the Aeneid, this is the only Latin production
extant which is epic in its form; and it likewise approaches nearest in merit
to that celebrated poem, which Statius appears to have been ambitious of
emulating. In unity and greatness of action, the Thebais corresponds to the
laws of the Epopea; but the fable may be regarded as defective in some
particulars, which, however, arise more from the nature of the subject, than
from any fault of the poet. The distinction of the hero is not sufficiently
prominent; and the poem possesses not those circumstances which are requisite
towards interesting the reader's affections in the issue of the contest. To
this it may be added, that the unnatural complexion of the incestuous progeny
diffuses a kind of gloom which obscures the splendour of thought, and
restrains the sympathetic indulgence of fancy to some of the boldest
excursions of the poet. For grandeur, however, and animation of sentiment and
description, as well as for harmony of numbers, the Thebais is eminently
conspicuous, and deserves to be held in a much higher degree of estimation
than it has (502) generally obtained. In the contrivance of some of the
episodes, and frequently in the modes of expression, Statius keeps an
attentive eye to the style of Virgil. It is said that he was twelve years
employed in the composition of this poem; and we have his own authority for
affirming, that he polished it with all the care and assiduity practised by
the poets in the Augustan age:--
Quippe, te fido monitore, nostra
Thebais, multa cruciata lima,
Tentat audaci fide Mantuanae
--Silvae, lib. iv. 7.
For, taught by you, with steadfast care
I trim my "Song of Thebes," and dare
With generous rivalry to share
The glories of the Mantuan bard.
The Achilleis relates to the same hero who is celebrated by Homer in the Iliad; but it is the previous history of Achilles, not his conduct in the Trojan war, which forms the subject of the poem of Statius. While the young hero is under the care of the Centaur Chiron, Thetis makes a visit to the preceptor's sequestered habitation, where, to save her son from the fate which, it was predicted, would befall him at Troy, if he should go to the siege of that place, she orders him to be dressed in the disguise of a girl, and sent to live in the family of Lycomedes, king of Scyros. But as Troy could not be taken without the aid of Achilles, Ulysses, accompanied by Diomede, is deputed by the Greeks to go to Scyros, and bring him thence to the Grecian camp. The artifice by which the sagacious ambassador detected Achilles amongst his female companions, was by placing before them various articles of merchandise, amongst which was some armour. Achilles no sooner perceived the latter, than he eagerly seized a sword and shield, and manifesting the strongest emotions of heroic enthusiasm, discovered his sex. After an affectionate parting with Lycomedes' daughter, Deidamia, whom he left pregnant of a son, he set sail with the Grecian chiefs, and, during the voyage, gives them an account of the manner of his education with Chiron.
This poem consists of two books, in heroic measure, and is
written with taste and fancy. Commentators are of opinion, that the Achilleis
was left incomplete by the death of the author; but this is extremely
improbable, from various circumstances, and appears to be founded only upon
the word Hactenus, in the conclusion of the poem:--
(503) Hactenus annorum, comites, elementa meorum
Et memini, et meminisse juvat: scit caetera mater.
Thus far, companions dear, with mindful joy I've told
My youthful deeds; the rest my mother can unfold.
That any consequential reference was intended by hactenus, seems to me plainly contradicted by the words which immediately follow, scit caetera mater. Statius could not propose the giving any further account of Achilles's life, because a general narrative of it had been given in the first book. The voyage from Scyros to the Trojan coast, conducted with the celerity which suited the purpose of the poet, admitted of no incidents which required description or recital: and after the voyagers had reached the Grecian camp, it is reasonable to suppose, that the action of the Iliad immediately commenced. But that Statius had no design of extending the plan of the Achilleis beyond this period, is expressly declared in the exordium of the poem:--
Magnanimum Aeaciden, formidatamque Tonanti
Progeniem, et patrio vetitam succedere coelo,
Diva, refer; quanquam acta viri multum inclyta cantu
Maeonio; sed plura vacant. Nos ire per omnem
(Sic amor est) heroa velis, Scyroque latentem
Dulichia proferre tuba: nec in Hectore tracto
Sistere, sed tota juvenem deducere Troja.
Aid me, O goddess! while I sing of him,
Who shook the Thunderer's throne, and, for his crime,
Was doomed to lose his birthright in the skies;
The great Aeacides. Maeonian strains
Have made his mighty deeds their glorious theme;
Still much remains: be mine the pleasing task
To trace the future hero's young career,
Not dragging Hector at his chariot wheels,
But while disguised in Scyros yet he lurked,
Till trumpet-stirred, he sprung to manly arms,
And sage Ulysses led him to the Trojan coast.
The Silvae is a collection of poems almost entirely in heroic verse, divided into five books, and for the most part written extempore. Statius himself affirms, in his Dedication to Stella, that the production of none of them employed him more than two days; yet many of them consist of between one hundred and two hundred hexameter lines. We meet with one of two hundred and sixteen lines; one, of two hundred and thirty-four; one, of two hundred and sixty-two; and one of two hundred and seventy-seven; a rapidity of composition approaching to what Horace mentions of the poet Lucilius. It is no small encomium to observe, that, considered as extemporaneous productions, (504) the meanest in the collection is far from meriting censure, either in point of sentiment or expression; and many of them contain passages which command our applause.
The poet MARTIAL, surnamed likewise Coquus, was born at Bilbilis, in Spain, of obscure parents. At the age of twenty-one, he came to Rome, where he lived during five-and-thirty years under the emperors Galba, Otho, Vitellius, the two Vespasians, Domitian, Nerva, and the beginning of the reign of Trajan. He was the panegyrist of several of those emperors, by whom he was liberally rewarded, raised to the Equestrian order, and promoted by Domitian to the tribuneship; but being treated with coldness and neglect by Trajan, he returned to his native country, and, a few years after, ended his days, at the age of seventy-five.
He had lived at Rome in great splendour and affluence, as well as in high esteem for his poetical talents; but upon his return to Bilbilis, it is said that he experienced a great reverse of fortune, and was chiefly indebted for his support to the gratuitous benefactions of Pliny the Younger, whom he had extolled in some epigrams.
The poems of Martial consist of fourteen books, all written in the epigrammatic form, to which species of composition, introduced by the Greeks, he had a peculiar propensity. Amidst such a multitude of verses, on a variety of subjects, often composed extempore, and many of them, probably, in the moments of fashionable dissipation, it is not surprising that we find a large number unworthy the genius of the author. Delicacy, and even decency, is often violated in the productions of Martial. Grasping at every thought which afforded even the shadow of ingenuity, he gave unlimited scope to the exercise of an active and fruitful imagination. In respect to composition, he is likewise liable to censure. At one time he wearies, and at another tantalises the reader, with the prolixity or ambiguity of his preambles. His prelusive sentiments are sometimes far-fetched, and converge not with a natural declination into the focus of epigram. In dispensing praise and censure, he often seems to be governed more by prejudice or policy, than by justice and truth; and he is more constantly attentive to the production of wit, than to the improvement of morality.
But while we remark the blemishes and imperfections of this
poet, we must acknowledge his extraordinary merits. In composition he is, in
general, elegant and correct; and where the subject is capable of connection
with sentiment, his inventive ingenuity never fails to extract from it the
essence of delight and surprise. His fancy is prolific of beautiful images,
and his (505) judgment expert in arranging them to the greatest advantage. He
bestows panegyric with inimitable grace, and satirises with equal dexterity.
In a fund of Attic salt, he surpasses every other writer; and though he seems
to have at command all the varied stores of gall, he is not destitute of
candour. With almost every kind of versification he appears to be familiar;
and notwithstanding a facility of temper, too accommodating, perhaps, on many
occasions, to the licentiousness of the times, we may venture from strong
indications to pronounce, that, as a moralist, his principles were virtuous.
It is observed of this author, by Pliny the Younger, that, though his
compositions might, perhaps, not obtain immortality, he wrote as if they
would. [Aeterna, quae scripsit, non erunt fortasse: ille tamen scripsit
tanquam futura.] The character which Martial gives of his epigrams, is just
Sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala plura,
Quae legis: hic aliter non fit, Avite, liber.
Some are good, some indifferent, and some again still worse;
Such, Avitus, you will find is a common case with verse.