Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Roman history, with an English translation online

. (page 18 of 35)
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they are distrusted just because they can not be ;
verified ; for it is suspected that everything is said
and done with reference to the vrishes of the men :
in power at the time and of their associates. As a
result, much that never occurs is noised abroad, and
much that happens beyond a doubt is unknown, and
in the case of nearly every event a version gains
currency that is different from the way it really
happened. Furthermore, the very magnitude of the
empire and the multitude of things that occur
render accuracy in regard to them most difficult.
In Rome, for example, much is going on, and much
in the subject territory, while, as regards our
enemies, there is something happening all the time,
in fact, every day, and concerning these things no
one except the participants can easily have correct
information, and most people do not even hear of
them at all. Hence in my own narrative of later /
events, so far as they need to be mentioned, every- !
thing that I shall say will be in accordance with the '
reports that have been given out, whether it be
really the truth or otherwise. In addition to these
reports, however, my own opinion will be given, as
far as possible, whenever I have been able, from the
abundant evidence which I have gathered from my
reading, from hearsay, and from what I have seen,
to form a judgment that differs from the common

Caesar, as I have said, received the name of
Augustus, and a sign of no little moment to him
occurred that very night ; for the Tiber overflowed
and covered all of Rome that was on low ground, so
that it was navigable for boats. From this sign the


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soothsayers prophesied that he would rise to great b.c. 27
heights and hold the whole city under his sway.
And while various persons were trying to outbid
one another in different kinds of flattery toward
him, one Sextus Pacuvius, or, as others say, Apudius,^
surpassed them all. In the open senate, namely, he
dedicated himself to him after the fashion of the
Spaniards" and advised the others to do the same.
And when Augustus hindered him, he rushed out to
the crowd that was standing near, and, as he was
tribune, comj>elled first them and then the rest, as
he went up and down the streets and lanes, to dedi-
cate themselves to Augustus. From this episode we
are wont even now to say, in appealing to the
sovereign, ^^ We have dedicated ourselves to you."

Pacuvius ordered all to offer sacrifice in view of this
occurrence, and before the multitude he once declared
that he was going to make Augustus his heir on equal
terms with his own son, — not that he had much of any-
thing, but because he hoped to receive still more ; and
so it actually turned out. Augustus attended to all the
business of the empire with more zeal than before,
as if he had received it as a free gift from all the ^
Romans, and in particular he enacted many laws. I
need not enumerate them all accurately one by one,
but only those which have a bearing upon my history;
and I shall follow this same course also in the case
of later events, in order not to become wearisome

1 Inasmuch as Sextus Pacuvius Taurus is first heard of (as
tribune) in b.c. 9, it is probable that Apudius is the proper
form to be read here. ,^ ^, n^M\.

2 According to Valerius Maximus (ii. 6, 11), the ^«^^
berians thought it wrong to survive a battle when the ^^a*^^
for whose preservation they had vowed their lite Ksp^r^
devQverarU) had perished. Cf. Caesar, B.O. lu. s^-

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by introducing all that kind of- detail that even the b.c. 27
men who devote themselves to such studies do not
know to a nicety. He did not, however, enact all
these laws on his sole responsibility, but some of
them he brought before the public assembly in
advance, in order that, if any features caused dis-
pleasure, he might learn it in time and connect them ;
for he encouraged everybody whatsoever to give him -
advice, in case any one thought of any possible im-
provement in them, and he accorded them complete
liberty of speech, and actually changed some pro-
visions of the proposed laws. Most important of
all, he took as advisers for periods of six months the
consuls (or the other consul, when he himself also held
the office), one of each of the other kinds of officials,
and fifteen men chosen by lot from the remainder of
the senatorial body, with the result that all legislation
proposed by the emperors is usually communicated
after a fashion through this body to all the other
senators ; for although he brought certain matters
before the whole senate, yet he generally followed
this plan, considering it better to take under pre-
liminary advisement most matters and the most im-
portant ones in consultation with a few ; and some-
times he even sat with these men in the trial of cases.
The senate as a body, it is true, continued to sit-in
judgment as before, and in certain cases transacted
business with embassies and heralds, from both
peoples and kings ; and the people and the plebs,
moreover, continued to meet for the elections ; but
nothingwas jlone fJ l^t jjjdnntpleaRe^ Caesar. It f
was he, at any rate, who~~selected~^nd' "placed in
nomination some of the men who were to hold
office, and though in the case of others he adhered


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to the ancient custom and left them under the con- vb.c. 27
trol of the people and the plebs, yet he took care
that none should be appointed who were unfit or
as the result of partisan cliques or bribery.

It was in this way, broadly speaking, that he ad-
ministered the empire. I shall now relate in detail
also such of his acts as call for mention, together
with the names of the consuls under whom they
were performed. In the year already named, per-
ceiving that the roads outside the walls had become
difficult to travel as the result of neglect, he ordered
various senators to repair the others at their own
exj>ense, and he himself looked after the Flaminian
Way, since he was going to lead an army out by that
route. This road was finished promptly at that time,
and statues of Augustus were accordingly erected on -^
arches on the bridge over the Tiber and at Ariminum ;
but the qthe rroads we re repaired later^ a t the expose
either ofTEJ^blicfPor none of the senators liked
to spend^oney upon them) or of Augustus^ . asuone
chooses to put it. For I am unable to_ distinguish
between the two funds, Ho^'maLler'TTow extensively
Augustus coined into money silver statues of himself
which had been set up by certain of his friends and
by certain of the subject peoples, purposing thereby
to make it appear that all the expenditures which
he claimed to be making were from his own means.
Therefore I have no opinion to record as to whether
a particular^mperor on a particular occasion got the
money from the public funds or gaye~ it himself^
For'tfoth'd Ourg es were fi ' e queiTny FoIIowedTand why
should one enter such expenditures as loans or as gifts
respectively, when both the people and the emperor


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are constantly resorting to both the one and the b.c. 27
other indiscriminately ?

These were the acts of Augustus at that time. He
also set out to make an expedition into Britain, but
on coming to the provinces of Gaul lingered there.
For the Britons seemed likely to make terms with
him, and the affairs of the Gauls were still unsettled,
as the civil wars had begun immediately after their
subjugation. He took a census of the inhabitants
and regulated their life and government. From
Gaul he proceeded into Spain, and established order
there also.

After this he became consul for the eighth time, b.c. 26
together with Statilius Taurus, and Agrippa dedicated
the structure called the Saepta ; for instead of under-
taking to repair a road, Agrippa had adorned with
marble tablets and paintings this edifice in the Cam-
pus Martius, which had been constructed by Lepidus
with porticos all around it for the meetings of the
cormtia tribtday and he named it the Saepta lulia in
honour of Augustus. And Agrippa not only incurred
no jealousy on this account, but was greatly honoured
both by Augustus himself and by all the rest of the
people. The reason was that he consulted and
cooperated with Augustus in the most humane, the
most celebrated, and the most beneficial projects^
and yet did not claim in the slightest degree a share
in the glory of them, but used the honours which
the emperor bestowed, not for personal gain or en-
joyment, but for the benefit of the donor himself and


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of the public. On the other hand, Cornelius Gallus b.c. 26
was encouraged to insolence by the honour shown
him. Thus^ he indulged in a great deal of dis- \
respectful gossip about Augustus and was guilty of
many reprehensible actions besides ; for he not only
set up images of himself practically everywhere in
^gypt, but also inscribed upon the pyramids a list of
his achievements. For this act he was accused by
Valerius Largus, his comrade and intimate, and was
disfranchised by Augustus, so that he was prevented
*rom living in the emperor's provinces. After this
«ad happened, many others attacked him and brought
numerous indictments against him. The senate unani-
mously voted that he should be convicted in the
courts, exiled, and deprived of his estate, that this
estate should be given to Augustus, and that the
senate itself should offer sacrifices. Overwhelmed by
grief at this, Gallus committed suicide before the
decrees took effect ; and the insincerity of the majority
or people was again proved by his case, in that they
now treated the man whom formerly they had been
y^on t to flatter in such a way that they forced him to
die bjr his own hand, and then went over to Largus
beeause He was beginning to grow powerful — ^thougli
thej^ were certain to vote the same measures against
niin also^ if a similar situation should arise in his case.
r*rocuIeius^ however, conceived such contempt for
I^rg-us tliat once, on meeting him, he clapped liis
hand over his nose and mouth, thereby hinting to t\\e
bystanders that it was not safe even to breathe in the


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^ 'Eypdrios H. Steph., aiyvdrios VM cod. Peir.
• i.v€ypd<l>ri Naber, 4v€ypd<p7i VM.

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man's presence. Another man, although unknown to B.a i

him, approached him with witnesses and asked Largus

if he knew him ; then, when the other repHed that

he did not, he recorded his denial on a tablet, as

though the rascal could not blackmail even a man

whom he had not previously known. But we see

now most men rather emulate the deeds of others,

^y^^ though they be evil deeds, than guard against

their fate, by what Marcus Egnatius Rufus did at this

very time. He had been an aedile, and in addition

to having performed his duties well in many other

'w^ays, had with his own slaves and other persons

whom he hired helped to save the houses that took

fire during his year of office, and in return for all this

he had received from the people the amount of the

expenditures incurred in the discharge of his office

and had been elected praetor contrary to law. But

he became so elated over these very honours and so

contemptuous of Augustus, that he issued a bulletin

to the effect that he had handed the city over

unimpaired and intact to his successor. All the most

prominent men became indignant at this, Augustus

himself most of all ; and he was not long afterward to

teach the fellow a lesson, not to exalt his mind above

the mass of mankind. For the time being, however, he

ordered the aediles to take care that no building

took fire, and if anything of the sort did happen, to

put the fire out.

In this same year Polemon, the king of Pontus,
was enrolled among the friends and allies of the
Roman people ; and the privilege was granted the
senators of occupying the front seats in all the
theatres of his realm. Augustus was planning an



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expedition into Britain, since the people there b.c. 26
would not come to terms, but he was detained by
the revolt of the Salassi and by the hostility of
the Cg^ntabri and Astures. The former dwell at the
foot of the Alps, as I have stated,^ whereas both the
other tribes occupy the strongest part of the
Pyrenees on the side of Spain, together with the
plain which lies below. For these reasons Augus- b.c. 25
tus, who was now consul for the ninth time, with
Marcus Silanus as colleague, sent Terentius Varro
against the Salassi. Varro invaded their country at
many points at the same time, in order that they

Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Roman history, with an English translation → online text (page 18 of 35)