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matarius ita allusit ut diceret : "Non agnosco seiiem
armatum, non chlamydatum ' inter cetera, " sed

4 agnosco togatum." et Floriani liberi et Taciti multi
exstiterunt, quorum sunt poster!, credo, millesimum
annum exspectantes. in quos multa epigrammata
scripta suiit, 2 quibus 3 iocati sunt haruspices imperium

5 pollicentes. haec sunt quae de vita Taciti atque
Floriani digna memoratu comperisse me memiiii.

6 Nunc nobis adgrediendus est Probus, vir domi foris-
que conspicuus, vir Aureliano, Traiano, Hadriano,
Antoninis, Alexandro Claudioque praeferendus, quia 4
in illis varia, in hoc omnia praecipua iuiicta 5 fuere,
qui post Taciturn omnium iudicio bonorum imperator
est factus orbemque terrarum pacatissimum guber-
navit, delet : s barbaris gentibus, deletis etiam plurimis
tyrannorum, qui eius temporibus exstiterunt, de quo

1 pollicentes . . . historic, transp. by Salm. ; after niendacia
in P. "scripta sunt 2, Hohl ; om. in P and by Peter.
8 quibus Hohl ; quo P, Peter ; queis Cas. 4 So Peter ; nisi

quia P, Hohl. 5 iunc ! a Baehrens, Peter 2 ; tune P.

1 Commemorated by coins with the legend Annona Augusti ;
see Matt.-S.yd., v. p. 339, nos. 123-125.

- Unknown. 8 See note to Prob., i. 3.



a time when such a story will scarce be remembered,
whereas, if they had said one hundred years, their
falsehood could perhaps be detected. All this, never-
theless, I thought should be included in this volume
for the reason that someone who reads me might think
that I had not read.

XVI. Tacitus scarcely gave a largess ] to the Roman
people in six months' time. His portrait was placed
in the house of the Quintilii, 2 representing him in five
ways on a single panel, once in a toga, once in a
military cloak, once in armour, once in a Greek
mantle, and once in the garb of a hunter. Of this
picture, indeed, a writer of epigrams made mock,
saying : " I do not recognise the old man in the
armour, I do not recognise the man in the military
cloak," and so forth, " but I do recognise the man in
the toga." Both Florian and Tacitus left many
children, whose descendants, I suppose, are awaiting
the coming of the thousandth year. About them
many epigrams were written, ridiculing the sooth-
sayers who made the promise of the imperial power.
This is all that I remember learning about the lives
of Tacitus and Florian that is worthy of record.

Now we must take up Probus, a man of note both
at home and abroad, and one to be preferred to
Aurelian, to Trajan, to Hadrian, to the Antonines, to
Alexander, and to Claudius, for the reason that, while
they had various virtues, he had all combined and to
a surpassing degree. 3 He was made emperor after
Tacitus by the vote of all good men, and he ruled
a world to which he had brought perfect peace by
destroying barbarian tribes and by destroying also
the very many pretenders who arose in his time, and
about him it was said that he was worthy to be called


dictum est dignum esse 1 ut Probus diceretur, etiamsi
Probus nomine non fuisset. quern quidem multi
ferunt etiam Sibyllinis Libris promissum, qui si diutius

7 fuisset, orbis terrae barbaros non haberet. haec ego
in aliorum vita de Probo credidi praelibanda, ne dies,
hora, momentum aliquid sibi vindicaret in me neces-

8 sitate fatali ac Probo indicto deperirem. nunc quon-
iam interim meo studio satisfeci, claudam istud volu-
men, 2 satisfactum arbitrans studio et cupiditati meae.

XVII. Omina imperii Tacito haec fuerunt : fanati-

cus quidam in Templo Silvani tensis membris ex-

clamavit, " Tacita purpura, tacita purpura/' idque

septimo ; quod quidem postea omini deputatum est.

2 vinum, quo libaturus Tacitus fuerat in templo Herculis

8 Fundani, subito purpureum factum est. vitis, quae

uvas Aminnias albas ferebat, eo anno quo ille im-

perium meruit purpureas tulit. 3 plurima purpurea

4 facta sunt. mortis omina haec fuerunt : patris sepul-

chrum disruptis ianuis se aperuit. matris umbra se

per diem et Tacito et Floriano velut viventis obtulit,

nam diversis patribus nati ferebantur. in larario di

omnes seu terrae motu seu casu aliquo conciderunt.

1 dignum esse ins. by Gas., Peter 3 ; om. in P. 2 satisfeci

. . . uolumen 2, Hohl ; om. in P and by Peter. 3 So Salm. ;
purascere P; purpurascere . . . Peter, Hohl.

1 i.e., Upright ; cf. Prob., iv. 4 ; x. 4.

2 There were in Rome many private shrines of Silvanus,
which are attested by inscriptions, but there was no official cult
of the god or any temple.

3 A dedicatory inscription to Hercules Fundauius has been
found in Rome (C.I.L., vi. 311 = Dessau, In<. Sel., 3449), but
the adjective may refer to the town of Fundi (mod. Fondi) on
the Via Appia.



Probus 1 even if that had not been his name. Many,
indeed, declare that he was even foretold by the
Sibylline books, and had he but lived longer the
world would contain no barbarians. These state-
ments about him I thought should be given in the
life of others as a foretaste, lest the day, the hour,
and the moment should put forth some claim against
me because my fate is destined, and I should die
without mention of Probus. Now, since I have for
the time satisfied my zeal, I will bring this book to
a close, believing that I have given satisfactory ex-
pression to my devotion and my desire.

XVII. The omens that predicted the rule of Tacitus
were the following : A certain madman in the Temple
of Silvanus 2 was seized with a stiffening of the limbs
and shouted out, " There is tacit purple, there is tacit
purple," and so on for seven times; and this, .indeed,
was later regarded as an omen. The wine, moreover,
with which Tacitus was about to pour a libation in
the Temple of Hercules Fundanius, 3 suddenly turned
purple, and a vine, which had previously borne white
Aminnian grapes, 4 in the year in which he gained the
imperial power bore grapes of a purple colour. Very
many other things, too, turned purple. Now the
omens predicting his death were these : His father's
tomb burst its doors asunder and opened of its own
accord. His mother's shade appeared in the daytime
as though alive to Tacitus and to Florian as well it
is said, indeed, that they had different fathers. 5 All
the gods in their private chapel fell down, overthrown
either by an earthquake or by some mischance. The

4 One of the most famous of the Italian grapes ; see Vergil,
Georg., ii. 97, and Pliny, Nat. Hist., xiv. 21-22.

5 See note to c. xiii. 6.



5 imago Apollinis, quae ab his colebatur, ex summo
fastigio in lectulo posita sine hominis cuiuspiam manu
deprehensa est. sed quousque ultra progredimur ?
sunt a quibus ista dicantur. nos ad Probum et ad
Probi gesta insignia reservemus. 1

XVIII. Et quoniam me promisi aliquas epistulas
esse positurum, quae create Tacito principe gaudia
senatus ostenderent, his additis finem scribendi
faciam .

Epistulae publicae :

2 " Senatus amplissimus curiae Carthaginiensi salutem
dicit. quod bonum, faustum, felix salutareque sit rei
publicae orbique Romano, dandi ius imperii, appel-
landi principis, nuncupandi Augusti ad nos revertit.

Sad nos igitur referte quae magna sunt. omnis pro-
vocatio praefecti 2 urbis erit, quae tamen a procon-

4 sulibus et ab ordinariis iudicibus emerserit. in quo
quidem etiam vestram in antiquum statum redisse
credimus dignitatem, si quidem primus hie ordo est,
qui recipiendo vim suam ius suum ceteris servat."

5 Alia epistula :

" Senatus amplissimus curiae Trevirorum. ut estis
liberi et semper fuistis, laetari vos credimus. creandi
principis iudicium ad senatum rediit, simul etiam

1 reseruemns Z, Petschenig, Hohl ; reseruemur P ; reuertemur
Peter. * praefecti 2 ; quae P.

J c. xii. 2.

2 As the representative of the senate; so also Prob., xiii. 1.
The principle had been laid down by Nero that appeals from
Italy and the senatorial provinces should be made to the consuls
(i.e., the senate), while those from the imperial provinces should
be made to the emperor ; see Tacitus, Annals, xiii. 4. This was



statue of Apollo, worshipped by them both, was found
removed from the top of its pedestal and laid on a
couch, all without the agency of any human hand.
But to what end shall I proceed further? There are
others to relate these things ; let us save ourselves
for Probus and for Probus' famous deeds.

XVIII. Now since 1 have promised l to quote some
of the letters which showed the joy of the senate
when Tacitus was created emperor, I will append the
following and then make an end of writing.

The official letters :

" From the most noble senate to the council of
Carthage, greeting. May it prove happy, auspicious,
of good omen, and to the welfare of the common-
wealth and the Roman world ! The right of con-
ferring the imperial power, of naming an emperor,
and of entitling him Augustus has been restored to
us. To us, therefore, you will now refer all matters
of importance. Every appeal shall now be made to
the prefect of the city, 2 but it shall come up to him
from the proconsuls and the regular judges. And
herein, we believe, your authority also has been re-
stored to its ancient condition, for this body is now
supreme, and in recovering its own power it is pre-
serving the rights of others as well."

Another letter :

" From the most noble senate to the council of the
Treviri. 3 We believe that you are rejoicing that you
are free and have ever been free. The power to
create the emperor has been restored to the senate,

now extended, on the theory that the senate was the supreme
governing body, to all the provinces.
3 See note to Tyr. Trig., xxxi. 3.



praefecturae urbanae appellatio universa decreta

6 Eodem modo scriptum est Antiochensibus, Aqui-
leiensibus, Mediolanensibus, Alexandrinis, Thessaloni-
censibus, Corinthiis et Atheniensibus.

XIX. Privatae autem epistulae haec fuerunt :
" Autronio lusto patri Autronius Tiberianus salutem.
nunc te, pater sancte, interesse decuit senatui amplis-
simo, nunc sententiam dicere, cum tantum auctoritas
amplissimi ordinis creverit ut reversa in antiquum
statum re l publica nos principes demus, nos faciamus

2imperatores, nos denique mmcupemus Augustos. fac
igitur ut convalescas, Curiae interfuturus antiquae.
nos recepimus ius proconsulare, redierunt ad prae-
fectum urbi appellationes omnium potestatum et
omnium dignitatum."

3 Item alia :

" Claudius Sapilianus Cereio Maeciano patruo salu-
tem. obtinuimus,' 2 pater sancte, quod semper optavi-
mus ; in antiquum statum senatus revertit. nos
principes facimus, nostri ordinis sunt potestates.

4 gratias exercitui Romano et vere Romano ; reddidit
5nobis quam semper habuimus potestatem. abice

Baianos Puteolanosque secessus, da te urbi, da te
Curiae. floret Roma, floret tota res publica. impera-
tores damus, principes facimus ; possumus et prohibere
qui coepimus facere. dictum sapienti sat est."

1 So Peter ; reuera . . . rei P. 2 optinuimus 2 ;

optimus P.

1 Neither these persons nor those mentioned in the next letter
are otherwise known.



and at the same time the prefect of the city has been
authorized to hear all appeals."

After the same manner letters were written to the
people of Antioch, of Aquileia, of Milan, of Alexandria,
of Thessalonica, of Corinth, and of Athens.

XIX. The private letters, moreover, were as
follows :

" From Autronius Tiberianus to Autronius Justus l
his father, greeting. Now at last it is fitting, my
revered father, for you to be present in the most noble
senate, and now to speak your opinion, for so greatly
has the authority of that noble body increased that,
now that the commonwealth has been restored to its
ancient position, we name the princes, we create the
emperors, we, in fine, give the Augusti their title.
Now look to it that you grow strong, ready to be
present once more in the ancient Senate-house. We
have recovered the proconsular command, and to the
prefect of the city have been restored the appeals
from every office and from every rank."

Likewise another letter :

" From Claudius Sapilianus to Cereius Maecianus
his uncle, greeting. We have obtained, revered sir,
what we have always desired ; the senate has been
restored to its ancient position. We now create the
emperors and in our body is vested every power.
All thanks to the Roman army, aye, Roman in truth 1
It has restored to us the power which we always held.
Now away with retirement to Baiae and Puteoli 1
Present yourself in the city, present yourself in the
Senate-house. Happy is Rome, happy the entire
commonwealth. We name the emperors, we create
the princes ; and we who have begun to create are
also able to depose. To the wise a word is sufficient."



6 Longum est omnes epistulas conectere quas rep-
peri, quas legi. tantum illud dico, senatores omnes
ea esse laetitia elatos ut in domibus suis omnes albas
hostias caederent, imagines frequenter aperirent, 1
albati sederent, convivia sumptuosiora praeberent, 2
antiquitatem sibi redditam crederent.

1 aperirent 2; aperient P. * praeberent Gas., Peter.

praeuenerent, P 1 .



It would be too long to include all the letters that
I have found and read. I will say only this much,
that all the senators were so carried away by joy that
they all in their houses sacrificed white victims, un-
covered everywhere the portraits of their ancestors,
sat arrayed in white garments, served more sumptuous
banquets, and supposed that the ancient times had
been restored.




I. Certum est quod Sallustius Crispus quodque
Marcus Cato et Gellius historic! sententiae modo in
litteras rettulerunt, omnes omnium virtutes tantas esse
quantas videri eas voluerint eorum ingenia qui unius

2Cuiusque T facta descripserint. inde est quod Alex-
ander Magnus Macedo, cum ad Achill s sepulchrum
venisset, graviter ingemescens " Felicem te," inquit,
"iuvenis, qui talem praeconem tuarum virtutum rep-
peristi," Homerum intellegi volens, qui Acliillem
tantum in virtutum studio fecit 2 quantum ipse valebat

3 Quorsum haec pertiueant, mi Celsine, fortassis requi-

l cuiusque 27; cuius P. 2 fecit Peter; fuit P.

1 What follows is not a quotation, but a reflection based on
Sallust, CatiL, 8, 4 and Cato's Origines quoted by Aulus Gellius,
iii. 7, 19. The actual words of Sallust are cited by Jerome in his
Vita Hilarivnis, 1, in immediate connection with the anecdote
related in 2, though without the reference to Cato. The co-
incidence and the exactness of Jerome's quotation from Sallsut
have suggested the possibility that the biographer has taken





I. It is true as Sallustius Crispus and the historians
Marcus Cato and Gellius l have put into their writings
as a sort of maxim that all the virtues of all men are
as great as they have been made to appear by the
genius of those who related their deeds. Hence it was
that Alexander the Great of Macedonia, as he stood at
the tomb of Achilles, said with a mighty groan,
" Happy are you, young man, in that you found such
a herald of your virtues," 2 making allusion to Homer,
who made Achilles outstanding in the pursuit of
virtue in proportion as he himself was outstanding in

"But to what does all this apply," you may perhaps

this passage from the Vita Hilarionis (written about 390), and
that, accordingly, the Probus was not composed before the end of
the fourth century; see B. Schmiedler in Phil. Woch., 1927,

p. 955 f.

2 Related also by Plutarch, Alexander, 15, 4; Arrian, Anab.
Alex., i. 12, 1 ; Cicero, pro Archia, 24, and referied to by Cicero
in Epist. ad Familiares, v. 12, 7.



ris. Probum principem, cuius imperio oriens, occidens,
meridies, septentrio omnesque orbis partes in totam
securitatem 1 redactae sunt, scriptorum inopia iam

4 paene nescimus. occidit, pro pudor ! tanti viri et talis
historia qualem non habent bella Punica, lion terror
Gallicus, non motus Pontici, non Hispaniensis astutia.

5 sed non patiar ego ille, a quo dudum solus Aurelianus
est expetitus, cuius vitam quantum potui persecutus,
Tacito Florianoque iam scriptis non me ad Probi facta
conscendere, si vita suppetet, omnes qui supersunt
usque ad Maximianum Diocletianumque dicturus.

6neque ego nunc facultatem eloquentiamque polliceor
sed res gestas, quas perire non patior.

II. Us us autem sum, ne in aliquo fallam carissimam
mihi familiaritatem tuam, praecipue libris ex Biblio-
theca Ulpia, aetate mea Thermis Diocletianis, et item
ex Domo Tiberiana, usus etiam regestis scribarum
Porticus Porphyreticae, actis etiam senatus ac populi.

2 et quoniam me ad colligenda talis viri gesta ephemeris
Turduli Gallicani plurimum iuvit, viri honestissimi ac
sincerissimi, beneficium amici senis tacere non debui.

1 securitatem Z" ; seiieritatem P.

1 Like the other persons to whom Vopiscus' biographies are
addressed (Aur. t 1, 9, arid Firm., ii. 1), unknown, unless he is the
Celsiuus of Aur. t xliv. 3.

2 M. Aurelius Probus Augustus (276-282). The name Valerius,
by which he is called in c. xi. 5, is incorrectly given to him, as
also to Claudius ; see note to Claud., i. 1. Probus is the hero of
this group of biographies and this vita is little more than a
panegyric; see especially c. xxii-xxiii; cf. Tac., xvi. 6; Car.,
i. 2.

3 See Aur. t i. 7 and note. This is the only authority for its
removal to the Baths of Diocletian (on which see note to Tyr.
Trig., xxi. 7).



be inquiring, my dear Celsinus. 1 It means that
Probus, 2 an emperor whose rule restored to perfect
safety the east, the west, the south, and the north,
indeed all parts of the world, is now, by reason of
a lack of writers, almost unknown to us. Perished
shame be upon us ! has the story of a man so great
and such as is not to be found either in the Punic
Wars or in the Gallic terror, not in the commotions of
Pontus or the wiles of the Spaniard. But I will not
permit myself I who at first sought out Aurelian alone,
relating the story of his life to the best of my powers,
and have since written of Tacitus and Florian also to
fail to rise to the deeds of Probus, purposing, should
the length of my life suffice, to tell of all who remain
as far as Maximian and Diocletian. No fluency or
elegance of style can I promise, but only the record of
their deeds, which I will not suffer to die.

II. I have used, moreover not to deceive in any
respect your friendly interest which I hold most dear
chiefly the books from the Ulpian Library 3 (in my
time in the Baths of Diocletian) and likewise from the
House of Tiberius, 4 and I have used also the registers
of the clerks of the Porphyry Portico 5 and the transac-
tions of the senate 6 and of the people : and since in
collecting the deeds of so great a man I have received
most aid from the journal of Turdulus Gallicanus, 7
a most honourable and upright man, I ought not to
leave unmentioned the kindness of this aged friend.

4 See Pius, x. 4 and note. This library is also mentioned
in Aulus Gellius, xiii. 20, 1, and Fronto, Epist. ad M. Caes.,
iv. 5.

6 This portico (called Purpuretica) is mentioned in an inscrip-
tion as part of the Forum of Trajan (of. Hadr. t vii. 6) ; see
C.T.L., vi. 7191 = Dessau, Ins. Sel. 8729.

6 See note to Alex., Ivi. 2. 7 Otherwise unknown.



8 Cn. Pompeium, tribus fulgentem triumphis belli
piratici, 1 belli Sertoriani, belli Mithradatici multarum-
que rerum gestarum maiestate sublimem, quis tandem
nosset, nisi eum Marcus Tullius et Titus Livius in

4 litteras rettulissent ? Publium Scipionem Africanum,
immo Scipiones omnes, seu Lucios seu Nasicas, nonne
tenebrae possiderent ac tegerent, nisi commendatores
eorum historici nobiles atque ignobiles exstitissent ?

5 longum est omnia persequi, quae ad exemplum huiusce

6 modi etiam nobis taceiitibus usurpanda sunt. illud
tantum contestatum volo, me et rem scripsisse, quam
si quis voluerit honestius eloquio celsiore demonstret.

7 et mihi quidem id animi fuit ut 2 non Sallustios, Livios,
Tacitos, Trogos atque omnes disertissimos imitarer
viros in vita principum et temporibus disserendis, sed
Marium Maximum, Suetonium Tranquillum, Fabium
Marcellinum, Gargilium Martialem, lulium Capitoli-
num, Aelium Lampridium ceterosque, qui haec et talia

8 non tarn diserte quam vere memoriae tradiderunt. sum
enim unus ex curiosis, quod infitias 3 ire non possum,
incendentibus vobis, qui, cum multa sciatis, scire multo

9 plura cupitis. et ne diutius ea, quae ad meum consilium

1 piratici Z; Parthici P. 2 ut ins. by Peter; om. in P.

s infitias Peter; infinitas P 1 .

1 Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus, the brother of Af ricanus,
was nominally in command of the Roman army at the battle
of Magnesia, 190 B.C.

2 There were no less than six men named P. Cornelius Scipio
Nasica, the most famous of whom were the consul of 191 B.C.,
who in 204 had been declared by the senate to be the best man
in Rome and so qualified to receive the image of the Magna



Who, pray, would know of Gnaeus Porapey, re-
splendent in the three triumphs that he won by his
war against the pirates, his war against Sertorius, and
his war against Mithradates, and exalted by the
grandeur of his many achievements, had not Marcus
Tullius and Titus Livius brought him into their
works ? And as for Publius Scipio Africanus, or rather
all the Scipios, whether called Lucius 3 or Nasica, 2
would they not lie hidden in darkness, had not
historians, both famous and obscure, arisen to grace
their deeds ? It would, indeed, be too long to
enumerate all the cases which might be brought up
by way of example of this sort of thing, even if I were
silent. I do but wish to call to witness that I have
also written on a theme which anyone, if he so desire,
may narrate more worthily in loftier utterance. As for
me, indeed, it has been my purpose, in relating the
lives and times of the emperors, to imitate, not a
Sallust, or a Livy, or a Tacitus, or a Trogus, 3 or any
other of the most eloquent writers, but rather Marius
Maximus, 4 Suetonius Tranquiilus, Fabius Marcellinus, 6
Gargilius Martialis, 6 Julius Capitolinus, Aelius Lam-
pridius, and the others who have handed down to
memory these and other such details not so much with
eloquence as with truthfulness. For I am now an
investigator I cannot deny it incited thereto by you,
who, though you know much already, are desirous of
learning much more besides. And now, lest I speak
at too great length concerning all that has to do with

Mater, and his son, consul in 162 and 155 B.C., conqueror of
Dalmatia and a famous orator.

3 See note to Aur., ii. 1. * See note to Hadr., ii. 10.

8 See note to Alex., xlviii. 6.

8 See note to Alex., xxxvii. 9.



pertinent, loquar, magnum et praeclarum principem et
qualem historia nostra non novit, arripiam.

III. Probus oriundus e Pannonia, civitate Sirmiensi,
nobiliore matre quam patre, patrimonio moderate,
adfinitate non magna, tarn privatus quam imperator

2nobilissimus virtutibus claruit. Probo, ut quidam in
iitteras rettulerunt, pater nomine Maximus fuit, qui,
cum ordines honestissime duxisset, tribunatum adep-
tus apud Aegyptum vita functus est uxore ac filio et

Sfilia derelictis. multi dicunt Probum Claudii propin-
quum fuisse, optimi et sanctissimi principis, quod,
quia per unum taiitum Graecorum relatum est, iios in

4 medio relinquemus. unum tamen dico, quod in ephe-
meride legisse me memini, a Claudia sorore Probum

6 sepultum. adulescens Probus corporis viribus tarn
clarus est factus ut Valeriani iudicio tribunatum prope

6 imberbis acciperet. exstat epistula Valeriani ad Gal-
lienum, qua Probum laudat adhuc adulescentem et

7 imitationi omnium proponit. ex quo apparet nemi-
nem umquam pervenisse ad virtutum summam iam
maturum, nisi qui puer seminario virtutum generosiore
concretus aliquid inclitum desigiiasset.

IV. Epistula Valeriani :

" Valerianus pater Gallieno filio, Augustus Augusto.
et meum secutus iudicium, quod semper de Probo
adulescente primo habui, et omnium bonorum, qui

1 Mitrovitz ; see note to Aur., iii. 1.

8 See note to Av. Ca^s., i. 1.

8 Evidently a fiction, due to a desire on the part of the bio-
grapher 10 connect his hero with Pollio's.

4 Probably fictitious, on account of her name, unless we may
suppose that she was a half-sister.




my plan, I will hasten on to an emperor great and
illustrious, the like of whom our history has never

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