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ET NUMERIANUS

FLAVII VOPISCI SYRACUSII

I. Fato rem publicam regi eamque nunc ad sum-
mum evehi, nunc ad minima retrahi Probi mors satis

2prodidit. nam cum ducta per tempora variis vel
erecta motibus vel adflicta, nunc tempestate aliqua
nunc felicitate variata omnia prope passa esset quae
patitur in homine uno mortaLtas, videbatur post diver-
sitatem malorum iam secura continuata felicitate man-
sura post Aurelianum vehementem principem Probo
ex sententia senatus ac populi 1 leges et gubernacula

3 temperante. sed ruina ingens vel naufragii modo vel
incendii accensis fataliter militibus sublato e medio
tali principe in earn desperationem votum publicum
redegit ut timerent omnes Domitianos, Vitellios et

1 senatus acpopulo after gnbe macula in P.



1 On the tendency of the author of this group of biographers
to eulogise Probus see note to Prob. , i. 3.

416



CARUS, CARINUS
AND NUMERIAN

BY

FLAVIUS VOPISCUS OF SYRACUSE

I. That it is Fate which governs the commonwealth,
now exalting it to the heights and again thrusting it
down to the depths, was made very clear by the death
of Probus. For the state, in its course through the
ages, was by turns raised up and dashed down by
divers commotions, and, in the changes wrought now
by some tempest and again by a time of prosperity, it
suffered well nigh all the ills that human life may
suffer in the case of a single man ; but at last, after a
diversity of evils, it seemed about to abide in assured
and unbroken felicity, when, after the reign of
Aurelian, a vigorous prince, both the laws and the
helm of the state were directed by Probus in accord-
ance with the wish of the senate and people. 1
Nevertheless, a mighty disaster, coming like a ship-
wreck or a conflagration, when the soldiers had been
fired with a fated madness and this great prince had
been removed from our midst, reduced the hopes of
the state to such despair that all feared a Domitian,

417



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

4 Nerones. plus enim timetur de incertis moribus prin-
cipis quam speratur, maxime in ea re publica quae
recentibus confossa vulneribus Valerian! captivitatem,
Gallieni luxuriam, triginta etiam prope tyraniiorum
caesa civium l membra sibimet vindicantium imperia 2
perpessa maeruerit.

II. Nam si velimus ab ortu urbis repetere quas
varietates sit passa Romana res publica, inveniemus
nullam magis vel bonis floruisse vel malis laborasse.

2et, ut a Romulo incipiam, vero patre ac parente rei
publicae, quae illius felicitas 3 fuit, qui fundavit, coii-
stituit roboravitque rem publicam atque uiius omnium

8 conditorum perfectam urbem reliquit ! quid deinde
Numam loquar, qui frementem bellis et gravidam

4triumphis civitatem religione munivit? viguit igitur
usque ad Tarquinii Superbi tempora nostra res publica,
sed passa tempestatem de moribus regiis non sine

5 gravi exitio semet ulta est. adolevit deinde usque ad
tempora Gallicani belli, sed quasi quodam mersa nau-
fragio capta praeter arcem urbe plus prope mali sens it

6 quam tumebat bonis. 4 reddidit se deinde in integrum,
sed eo usque gravata est Punicis bellis ac terrore
Pyrrhi ut mortal itatis mala praecordiorum timore

III. sentiret. crevit deinde victa Carthagine trans maria
missis imperiis, sed socialibus adfecta discordiis exte-



1 ciuium Editor; ciuiliitm P, editors. 2 imperia ins. by

Walter ; orn. in P ; coluuionem ins. after tyrannorum by
Bichter, foil, by Peter. 8 Here follows in P a misplaced

portion, consisting of c. xiii., 1 Augustum to c. xv. 5 fuisse ;
see Intro, to Vol. I., p. xxxiii. f. 4 So Editor; tuniebat boni
P ; habuerat boni Peter ; timebant boni Hohl (from Z 1 ).

"8



CARUS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN I. 4 III. 1

or a Vitellius, or a Nero. For they felt more fear
than hope from the ways of a prince yet unknown,
especially since the commonwealth, stricken by recent
wounds, was still in a state of sorrow from having
endured the capture of Valerian, the excesses of
Gallienus, and also the power of well nigh thirty
pretenders, who could lay claim to naught but the
mangled limbs of their fellow-citizens.

II. Now if we should wish, beginning with the
origin of the city, to review all the changes that the
Roman commonwealth endured, we shall find that no
state abounded more in blessings or suffered more
from evils. For, to begin with Romulus, the true
father and founder of the commonwealth, what
felicity was his, who founded, established and
strengthened this state, and alone among founders
left a completed city ! Why should I speak of Numa,
the next in order, who by means of religious observ-
ances safeguarded a state which resounded with wars
and was swollen with triumphs ? From then on,
therefore, our commonwealth prospered until the
time of Tarquinius Superbus, when it endured a
tempest arising from the evil ways of the monarch
and avenged itself only at the cost of grave disaster.
Then it increased in strength until the time of the
Gallic war, when it was overwhelmed, as it were, by
shipwreck, the city, save only the citadel, being cap-
tured, and it suffered evils greater, indeed, than the
prosperity with which it was swollen. Again it re-
turned to its former strength, but was brought so low
by the Punic Wars and the terror caused by Pyrrhus
that in the fear of its heart it came to know all the
ills of human life. III. Next, having conquered
Carthage and extended its empire over the seas, it

419



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

nuato felicitatis sensu usque ad Augustum bellis civili-
bus adfecta consenuit. per Augustum deinde reparata,

2 si reparata dici potest libertate deposita. tamen ut-
cumque, etiamsi domi tristis f'uit, apud exteras gentes
effloruit. passa deinceps tot Nerones per Vespasianum

Sextulit caput. nee omni Titi felicitate laetata, Domi-
tiani vulnerata inmanitate, per Nervam atque Traia-
num usque ad Marcum solito melior, Commodi vecordia

4et crudelitate lacerata est. nihil post haec praeter
Severi lUligentiam usque ad Alexandrum Mamaeae

5 sensit bonum. longum est quae sequuntur universa
conectere ; uti enim principe Valeriano non potuit et

6 Gallienum per annos quindecim passa est. invidit
Claudio longinquitatem imperil amans varietatum et

7 prope l semper inimica fortuna iustitiae. sic enim Au-
relianus occisus est, sic Tacitus absumptus, sic Probus
caesus, ut appareat nihil tarn gratum esse fortunae,
quam ut ea quae sunt in publicis actibus eventuum

8 varietate mutentur. sed quorsum talibus querelis et
temporum casibus detinemur ? veniamus ad Carum,
medium, ut ita dixerim, virum et inter bonos magis
quam inter malos principes conlocandum et longe
meliorem, si Carinum non reliquisset lieredem.

IV. Cari patria sic ambigue a plerisque proditur, ut
prae summa varietate 2 dicere nequeam quae ilia vera

1 So Lenze and Tiduer ; prope et semper P, Hohl ; xemper et
prope Peter. 2 So Obrecht foil, by Peter ; praesumptae

grauitate P.



1 i.e., the Julio Claudian emperors.

2 See Tac.y xiii., 5 and note.

3 M. Aurelius Carus Augustus (282-283).

420



CARUS, CARINUS, Nt-MERIAN III. 2 IV. 1

waxed great, but afflicted by strife with allies it lost
all sense of happiness, and crushed by civil wars it
wasted away in weakness until the time of Augustus.
He then restored it once more, if indeed we may say
that it was restored when it gave up its freedom.
Nevertheless, in some way or other, though mourning
at home, it enjoyed great fame among nations abroad.
Next, after enduring so many of the house of Nero, 1
it reared its head again under Vespasian, and though
having no joy from all the good fortune of Titus and
bleeding from Domitian's brutality, it was happier
than had been its wont under Nerva and Trajan and
his successors as far as Marcus, but was sorely stricken
by the madness and cruelty of Commodus. There-
after, save for the diligent care of Severus, it knew
naught that was good until Alexander, the son of
Mamaea. All that ensued thereafter is too long to
relate ; for it was not permitted to enjoy the rule of
Valerian and it endured Gallienus for fifteen years.
Then Claudius was begrudged a long-lasting rule by
Fortune, which loves a change and is almost always
a foe to justice. For in such wise was Aurelian slain
and Tacitus carried off by disease 2 and Probus put
to death, that it became clear that Fortune takes
pleasure in nothing so much as in changing, by means
of a varied succession of events, all that pertains to
the public business. To what end, however, do we
dwell on such lamentations and the misfortunes of
the times ? Let us, rather, pass on to Carus, 3 a
mediocre man, so to speak, but one to be ranked with
the good rather than the evil princes, yet a better
ruler by far, had he not left Carinus to be his heir.

IV. In regard to Cams' birthplace there is such
divergence of statement among the various writers

4-3*1



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

2 sit. Onesimus enim, qui diligentisslme vitam Probi
scripsit, Romae ilium et natum et eruditum sed

Slllyricianis parentibus fuisse contendit. sed Fabius
Ceryllianus, qui tempora Cari, Carini et Numeriani
sollertissime persecutus est, neque Romae sed in
Illyrico genitum, neque Pannoniis sed Poenis parenti-

4 bus adserit natum. in ephemeride quadam legisse
me 1 memini Carum Mediolanensem fuisse, sed albo

Scuriae 2 Aquileiensis civitatis insertum. ipse se, quod
negari non potest, ut epistula eius indicat, quam pro
consule ad legatum suum scripsit, cum eum ad bona
hortaretur officia, Romanum vult videri.

8 Epistula Cari :

" Marcus Aurelius Carus pro consule Ciliciae lunio
legato suo. maiores nostri, Romani illi principes, in
legatis creandis hac usi sunt consuetudine, ut morum
suorum specimen per eos ostenderent quibus rem

7 publicam delegabant. ego vero, si ita non esset,
aliter non fecissem ; nee feci aliter, si 3 te iuvante non
fallar. fac igitur, ut maioribus nostris, id est Romanis
non discrepemus viris."

8 Vides tota epistula maiores suos Romanes ilium

V. velle intellegi. indicat et oratio eius ad senatum

data istam generis praerogativam. nam cum primum

1 me ins. by Lessing and Hohl ; om. in P and by Peter.
8 albo curiae Madvig, Hohl ; auo iuria P ; auo iuri Peter.
* So Bitschoisky ; feci alii si P, Z\ specialiter Peter.



1 See note to Firm., xiii. 1.

a Unknown.

3 At Narbona (more correctly Narona), now the ruins of Vid
in Dalmatia, near the mouth of the river Naretva, according to
Epit.i 3S, 1, probably the most correct version (see note to Aur.,
iii. 1).

422



CARDS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN IV. 2 V. 1

that by reason of the very great difference among
them I am unable to tell what it really was. For
Onesimus, 1 who wrote with great diligence a Life of
Probus, maintains that, whereas Cams' parents were
Illyrians, he himself was both born and educated at
Rome. Fabius Ceryllianus, 2 however, who has described
with the greatest skill the period of Carus, Carinus
and Numerian, declares that he was born, not in
Rome, but in Illyricum, 3 and that his parents were not
Pannonians but Carthaginians. I myself remember
having read in a certain journal 4 that Car us was born
at Milan but enrolled in the official list of the council
of the city of Aquileia. Carus himself, it cannot be
denied, wished to appear a Roman, for this is shown
by a letter of his, which he wrote when proconsul to
his legate, urging him to a faithful performance of
duty.

The letter of Carus :

" From Marcus Aurelius Carus proconsul of Cilicia 5 to
Junius his legate. Our forefathers, those great men
of Rome, in choosing their legates observed the follow-
ing principle, namely, to display a sample of their own
characters in those to whom they delegated the conduct
of public affairs. And even if this were not so, I my-
self should not do otherwise ; and, indeed, I have not
done otherwise, if by your aid I shall make no mistake.
Wherefore look to it that we may not be found to
differ from our forefathers, that is, the men of Rome."

You see that throughout this letter he wishes it to
be understood that his forefathers were native Romans.
V. A speech of his, moreover, addressed to the senate,
affords this same assurance regarding his birth. For

4 Fictitious, like most of the author's " sources."

3 There was no such office in his time ; see note to Aur., xlii. 2.

423



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMKRIAN

imperator esset cr^atus, sic ad senatoriurn ordinem

2scripsit. inter cetera: " Gaudendum est itaque,
patres conscript!, quod unus ex vestro ordine, vestri
etiam generis, imperator est factus. quare adnitemur
ne meliores peregrini quam vestri esse videaiitur."

Shoe quoque loco satis clarum est ilium voluisse intel-
legi se esse Romanum, id est Roma oriundum.

4 Hie igitur per civiles et l militares gradus, ut tituli
statuarum eius indicant, praefectus praetorii a Probo
factus tantum sibi apud milites amoris locavit, ut
interfecto Probo tanto principe solus dignissimus
videretur imperio.

VI. Non me praeteriit suspicatos esse plerosque et
eos in fastos rettulisse, Cari factione interemptum
Probum, sed neque >J meritum Probi erga Carum
neque Cari mores id credi patiuntur, simul quia Probi
mortem et acerrime et constantissime vindicavit.

2 quid autem de eo Probus senserit indicant litterae de
eius honoribus ad senatum datae :

" Probus Augustus amantissimo senatui suo salutem
dicit." inter cetera: " Felix autem esset nostra res
publica, si, qualis Carus est aut plerique vestrum,

splures haberem in actibus conlocatos. quare eques-
trem statuam viro morum veterum, si vobis placeat,
decernendam censeo, addito eo ut j;ublico sumptu
eidem 3 exaedificetur domus marmoribus a me delatis.

1 et om. in P. 2 quod P. :t So S and Cas., foil, by

editors ; uel eidem P.



1 None are known to us. - See note to Prob. t xxi. 3.

424



CARDS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN V. 2 VI. 3

when he was first made emperor, he wrote to the
senatorial order among other things the following:
"And so, Conscript Fathers, you should rejoice that
one of your own order and your own race has been
created emperor. Wherefore we will do our best that
no foreigner shall seem to be a better man than one
of yourselves." This passage also makes it sufficiently
clear that he wished to be thought a Roman, that is,
one born in Rome.

He, then, after rising through the various civil and
military grades, as the inscriptions l on his statues
show, was made prefect of the guard by Probus, and
he won such affection among the soldiers that when
Probus, that great emperor, was slain, he alone seemed
wholly worthy of the imperial power.

VI. I am not unaware that many have suspected
and, in fact, have put it into the records that Probus
was slain by the treachery of Carus. 2 This, however,
neither the kindness of Probus toward Carus nor
Carus' own character will permit us to believe, and
there is the further reason that he avenged the death
of Probus with the utmost severity and steadfastness.
Probus' opinion of him, moreover, is shown by a letter
written to the senate with regard to the honours con-
ferred on him :

" From Probus Augustus to his most devoted senate,
greeting." Among other recommendations : " Happy,
indeed, were our commonwealth if I had more men
engaged in the public business similar to Carus or, in
fact, to most of yourselves. Wherefore I recommend,
if it be your pleasure, that an equestrian statue be
voted to this man of old-time character, adding the
further request that a house be erected for him at the
public expense, the marble to be furnished by me.



CARDS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

decet enim nos tails integritatem remunerari viri " et

reliqua.

VII. Ac ne minima quaeque conectam et ea quae
apud alios poterunt inveniri, ubi primum accepit
imperium, consensu omnium militum bellum Persi-
cum, quod Probus parabat, adgressus est, liberis
Caesaribus nuncupatis, et ita quidem ut Carinum ad
GalHas tuendas cum viris lectissimis destinaret, secum
vero Numerianum, adulescentem cum lectissimum

2 turn etiam disertissimum, duceret. et dicitur quidem
saepe dixisse se miserum, quod Carinum ad Gallias
principem mitteret, neque ilia aetas esset Numeriani
ut illi Gallicanum, quod maxime constantem prin-

3 cipem quaerit, crederetur imperium. sed haec alias ;
nam exstant etiam l litterae Cari, quibus apud prae-
fectum suum de Carlni moribus queratur, ut appareat
verum esse quod Onesimus dicit, habuisse in animo
Carum ut Carino Caesareanum abrogaret imperium.

4 sed haec, ut diximus, alias in ipsius Carini vita
dicenda sunt. nunc ad ordinem revertemur.

VIII. Ingenti apparatu et totis viribus Probi profli-
gate magna ex parte bello Sarmatico, quod gerebat,

1 etiam Gas. ; iam P.



1 See Prob., xx. 1.

'The titles Nobilissimus Caesar and Princeps luventutis
appear ou their coins minted before they were entitled Augustus.

3 Cf. c. xvii. 6.

4 See c. ix. 4. This war seems to have included a campaign
against the Quadi also, for Numerian (as Augustus) issued coins
with the legend Triunfu. (.sic) Qua d >r(um) and a representation
of his father and himself in a quadriga with an attendant
Victory and captives ; see Cohen, vi 2 . p. 378, no. 91. It would

426



CARUS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN VII. 1 VIII. 1

For it behooves us to reward the uprightness of so
great a man," and so forth.

VII. And so not to include what is of little im-
portance or what can be found in other writers as
soon as he received the imperial power, by the
unanimous wish of all the soldiers he took up the war
against the Persians for which Probus had been pre-
paring. 1 He gave to his sons the name of Caesar, 2
planning to despatch Carinus, with some carefully
selected men, to govern the provinces of Gaul, and
to take along with himself Numerian, a most ex-
cellent and eloquent young man. It is said, more-
over, that he often declared that he was grieved
that he had to send Carinus to Gaul as prince, and
that Numerian was not of an age to be entrusted
with the Gallic empire, which most of all needed a
steadfast ruler. But of this at another time ; for there
is still in existence a letter of Carus', in which he com-
plains to his prefect about the character of Carinus, so
that it seems to be true, as Onesimus says, that Carus
intended to take from Carinus the power of a Caesar.
But of this, as I have already said, 1 must tell later on
in the Life of Carinus himself. 3 Now we will return
to the order of events.

VIII. With a vast array and all the forces of Probus
he set out against the Persians after finishing the
greater part of the Sarmatian war, 4 in which he had

appear that Carus fought this war on the Danube and then set
out for the East without going to Rome. We are told by
Zonaras (xii. 30) that he defeated the Persians and then re-
turned to Rome, whence he set out against the Sarmatiaus but
was killed during a campaign against the Huns, or, as some
say, on the river Tigris, as the result of a stroke of lightning ;
but this can hardly be correct, as his reign of one year was not
long enough to permit of so much activity.

4-27



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

contra Persas profectus nullo sibi occurrente Meso-
potamiam Caruscepit et Ctesiphontem usque pervenit
occupatisque Persis domestica seditione imperatoris

2Persici nomen emeruit. verum cum avidus gloriae,
praefecto suo maxime urgente, 1 qui et ipsi et filiis 2
eius quaerebat exitium cupiens imperare, longius
progressus esset, ut alii dicunt morbo, ut plures

sfulmine, interemprus est. negari non potest eo
tempore quo periit tantum fuisse subito tonitruum ut
multi terrore ipso exanimati esse dicantur. cum igitur
aegrotaret atque in teiitorio iaceret, ingenti exorta
tempestate inmani coruscatione, inmaniore, ut dixi-

4mus, tonitru exanimatus est. lulius Calpurnius, qui
ad memoriam dictabat, talem ad praefectum urbis
super morte Cari epistulam dedit :

5 Inter cetera " Cum," inquit, " Carus, princeps
noster vere carus, aegrotaret, tanti turbinis subito
exorta tempestas est ut caligarent omnia, neque
alterutrum iiosceret ; coruscationum deinde ac toni-
truum in modum fulgurum igniti sideris continuata
vibratio omnibus nobis veritatis scientiam sustulit.

1 urgente Eyssenhardt, Peter ; iurganteP. 2 filiis
filii P, Z ; filio Peter.



1 He captured it, according to all our authorities, and also
Seleucia, according to Zonaras, and Coche, according to
Eutropius. The importance of his successes aided by the strife
between Bahram II., the Persian king, and his brother Hormizd
is shown by the fact that all Mesopotamia was under Roman
sway at the accession of Diocletian ; see Mommsen, Hist. Rom.
Prov. (Eng. Trans.), ii. p. 123.

2 He bears the title of Persicus Maxirnus iu his inscriptions,
and on his coins (after deification) those of Persicus and
Parthicus.

3 Aper ; see c. xii.

428



CARUS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN VIII. 2-5

been engaged, and without opposition he conquered
Mesopotamia and advanced as far as Ctesiphon l ; and
while the Persians were busied with internal strife he
won the name of Conqueror of Persia. 2 But when he
advanced still further, desirous himself of glory and
urged on most of all by his prefect, 3 who in his wish
to rule was seeking the destruction of both Carus and
his sons as well, he met his death, according to some,
by disease, according to others, through a stroke of
lightning. 4 Indeed, it cannot be denied that at the
time of his death there suddenly occurred such violent
thunder that many, it is said, died of sheer fright. And
so, while he was ill and lying in his tent, there came
up a mighty storm with terrible lightning and, as I
have said, still more terrible thunder, and during this
he expired. Julius Calpurnius, who used to dictate for
the imperial memoranda, 5 wrote the following letter
about Carus' death to the prefect of the city, saying
among other things :

"When Carus, our prince for whom we truly care,
was lying ill, there suddenly arose a storm of such
violence that all things grew black and none could
recognize another ; then continuous flashes of lightning
and peals of thunder, like bolts from a fiery sky, took
from us all the power of knowing what truly befell.

4 This is the story given by all our authorities, including
Zonaras, though he gives an alternate version ; see note to 1.
The rationalized version that he died of disease occurs only in
this vita. His death seems to have taken place not much later
than 29 August, 283, as there are no Alexandrian coins beyond
liis first year; see J. Vogt, Die Alexandr. Munzen, i. p. 220 .
This would agree with the rule of tea months and five days
assigned him by the " Chronographer of 354."

5 See Pesc. Nig., vii. 4 and note. Julius Calpurnius is other-
wise unknown and, like the letter, probably fictitious.

429



CARUS, CARINUS AND NUMERIAN

6 subito enim conclamatum est imperatorem mortuum,
et post illud praecipue tonitruum quod cuncta ter-

Truerat. 1 his accessit quod cubicularii dolentes prin-
cipis mortem incenderunt tentorium. unde unde fuit, 2
fama emersit fulmine interemptum eum quem, quan-
tum scire possumus, aegritudine constat absumptum."
IX. Hanc ego epistulam idcirco indidi quod pleri-
que dicunt vim fati quandam esse, ut Romanus prin-
ceps Ctesiphontem transire non possit, ideoque Carum
iulmine absumptum quod eos fines transgredi cuperet

2qui fataliter constituti suiit. sed sibi habeat artes

3suas timiditas, calcanda virtutibus. licet plane ac
licebit, ut 3 per sacratissimum Caesarem Maximianum
constitit, Persas vincere atque ultra eos progredi, et
futurum reor, si a nostris non deseratur promissus
numinum favor.

4 Bonum principem Carum fuisse cum multa indicant
turn illud etiam, quod statim ut 3 est adeptus im-
perium, Sarmatas adeo morte Probi feroces ut in-
vasuros se non solum Illyricum sed Thracias quoque
Italiamque minarentur, ita scienter bella partiendo 4
contudit, ut paucissimis diebus Pannonias securitate
donaverit occ.sis Sarmatarum sedecim milibus, captis
diversi sexus viginti milibus.

1 quod . . . terruerat Purser, Hohl ; quo . . . terruerat P ;
quo . . . territi erant Peter. 2 unde unde fuit Purser ; unde
fuit P ; unde subito Peter, Hohl. 3 ut 2, foD. by Peter ;

om. in P. 4 So Madvig, foil, by Hohl ; sic inter bella

pariendi P.



1 He was warned by an oracle according to Aur. Victor, Goes.,
88,4.

430



CARUS, CARINUS, NUMERIAN VIII. 6 IX. 4

For suddenly, after an especially violent peal which
had terrified all, it was shouted out that the emperor
was dead. It came to pass, in addition, that the
chamberlains, grieving for the death of their prince,
fired his tent ; and the rumour arose, whatever its



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