Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Roman history, with an English translation online

. (page 25 of 35)
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as notify the senate of what had been accomplished, b.c. 14
and in consequence subsequent conquerors, treating
his course as a precedent, also gave up the practice
of sending reports to the public ; and he would
not accept the celebration of the triumph. For this
reason, — at least, such is my opinion, — no one else
of his peers was permitted to do so any longer,
either, but they enjoyed merely the distinction oif
triumphal honours.

Now when Augustus had finished all the business
w^hich occupied him in the several provinces of Gaul,
of Germany and of Spain,^ having spent large sums
upon special districts and received large sums from
others, having bestowed freedom and citizenship
upon some and taken them away from others, he left
Drusus in Germany and returned to Rome himself in
the consulship of Tiberius and Quintilius Varus. b.c. 13
Now it chanced that the news of his coming reached
the city during those days when Cornelius Balbus
was celebrating with spectacles the dedication of
the theatre which is even to-day called by his
name ; and Balbus accordingly began to put on airs,
as if it were he himself that was going to bring
Augustus back, — although he was unable even to
enter his theatre, except by boat, on account of
the flood of water caused by the Tiber, which
had overflowed its banks, — and Tiberius put the
vote to him first, in honour of his building the
theatre. For the senate convened, and among its
other decrees voted to place an altar in the senate-
chamber itself, to commemorate the return of Augus-

1 Literally, "in the Gauls, in the Germanies, and the
Spains." ** Germany " here and just below refers to the
provinces of Upper and Lower Germany, west of the Rhine.
Bee note on liii. 12, 6.


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tus, and also voted that those who approached him b.c. is
as suppliants while he was inside the pomerium
should not be punished. Nevertheless, he accepted
neither of these honours, and even avoided en-
countering the people on this occasion also ; for he
entered the city at night.; This he did nearly always
whenever he went out to the suburbs or anjnvbere
else, both on his way out and on his return, so that
he might trouble none of the citizens. The next
day he welcomed the people in the palace, and then,
ascending the Capitol, took the laurel from around
his fasces and placed it upon the knees of Jupiter ;
and he also placed baths and barbers at the service
of the people free of charge on that day. After
this he convened the senate, and though he made no
address himself by reason of hoarseness, he gave his
manuscript to the quaestor to read and thus enu-
merated his achievements and promulgated rules as
to the number of years the citizens should serve in
the army and as to the amount of money they should
receive when discharged from service, in lieu of
the land which they were always demanding. His
object was that the soldiers, by being enlisted hence-
forth on certain definite terms, should find no excuse
for revolt on this score. The number of years was
twelve for the Pretorians and sixteen for the rest ;
and the money to be distributed was less in some
cases and more in others. These measures caused
the soldiers neither pleasure nor anger for the time
being, because they neither obtained all they desired
nor yet failed of all ; but in the rest of the popula-
tion the measures aroused confident hopes that they
would not in future be robbed of their possessions.

He next dedicated the theatre named after Mar-
cellus. In the course of the festival held for this


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purpose the patrician boys, including his grandson b.c. is
Gaius, performed the equestrian exercise called
"Troy,**^ and six hundred wild beasts from Africa
were slain. And to celebrate the birthday of
Augustus, lullus, the son of Antony, who was
praetor, gave games in the Circus and a slaughter
of wild beasts, and entertained both the emperor
and the senate, in pursuance of a decree of that
body, upon the Capitol.

After this there was another purging of the lists
of the senate. At first, as we have seen, the rating , -
ofTenators had been fixed at four hundred thousand ■

sesterces, because many of them had been stripped of -
their ancestral estates by the wars, and then, as time
went on and men acquired wealth, it had been raised
to one million sesterces. Consequently no one wajs
any longer found who would of his own choice be-
come a senator ; on the contrary, sons and grandsons
of senators, some of them really poor and others re-
duced to humble station by the misfortunes of their
ancestors, not only would not lay claim to the
senatorial dignity, but also, when already entered on
the lists, swore that they were ineligible. Therefore,
previous to this time, while Augustus was still absent
from the city, a decree had been passed that the
Vigintiviri, as they were called, should be appointed
from the knights; and thus none of these men
eligible to be senators was any longer enrolled in
the senate without having also held one of the other
ofRces that led to it. These Vigintiviri are what is
left of the Vigintisexviri, of whom three ^ are in
charge of criminal trials, another three ^ attend to

^ See xliii. 23, 6, and note. • Treaviri capitales.
' Tresviri monetales.


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the coinage of the money, four ^ look after the b.c. is
streets in the city, and ten 2 are assigned to the
courts which are allotted to the Centum viri ; for the
two ^ who were once entrusted with the roads out-
side the walls and the four ^ who used to be sent to
Campania had been abolished. This was one decree
that was passed during the absence of Augustus;
there was also another providing that, since no one
was any longer ready to seek the tribuneship, some
of the ex-quaestors who were not yet forty years old
should be appointed to the office by lot. But on the
present occasion Augustus himself made an investi-
gation of the whole senatorial class. With those
who were over thirty-five years of age he did not
concern himself, but in the case of those who were
under that age and possessed the requisite rating he r
compelled them to become senators, unless one of i
them was physically disabled. He examined their
persons himself, but in regard to their property he
accepted sworn statements, the men themselves and
others as witnesses taking an oath and rendering an
account of their poverty as well as of their manner
of life.

Nor did he, while showing such strictness in the
public business, neglect his private affairs; indeed,
he rebuked both Tiberius, because at the festival,
given under Tiberius' management, in fulfilment of
a vow for the emperor s return, he had seated Gains
at the emperor's side, and the people for honouring
Gaius with applause and eulogies.^ On the death of

^ QucUtuyrviri viis in urbe purgandis ; cf. chap. 8, 4.

' Decemmri sUitihus iudicandis.

' Duoviri vita extra urbem purgcmdis.

* QtuUvor praefecti Ccupuam Cumas,

» Cf. Suet., Aug, 56.



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Lepidus he was appointed high priest and the senate b.c. is
accordingly wished to vote him [other honours (?)] ;
but he declared that he would not accept any of
them^ and when the senators urged him^ he rose and
left the meeting. That measure^ therefore, now
failed of passage, and he also received no official
residence ; but, inasmuch as it was absolutely neces-
sary that the high priest should live in a public
residence, he made a part of his own house public
property. The house of the rex sacrificultusj how-
ever, he gave to the Vestal Virgins, because it was
separated merely by a wall from their apartments.

When Cornelius Sisenna was censured for the
conduct of his wife, and stated in the senate that
he had married her with the knowledge and on
the advice of the emperor, Augustus became
exceedingly angry. He did not, to be sure, say or
do an3rthing violent, but rushed out of the senate-
house, and then returned a little later, choosing to
take this course, though it was not the correct thing
to do, as he said to his friends afterward, rather
than to remain where he was and be compelled to
do something harsh.

Meanwhile he increased the power of Agrippa,^
who had returned from Syria, by giving him the
tribunician power again for another five years, and
he sent him out to Pannonia, which was eager for
war, entrusting him with greater authority than
the officials outside Italy ordinarily possessed. And
Agrippa set out on the campaign in spite of the fact
that the winter had already begun (this was the
year in which Marcus Valerius and Publius Sulpicius b.c. 12
were the consuls); but when the Pannonians be-
came terrified at his approach and gave up their


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* \a^6vra M, ovTa V.


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plans for rebellion, he returned, and upon reaching b.c. 12
Campania, fell ill. Augustus happened to be ex-
hibiting, in the name of his sons, contests of armed
warriors at the Panathenaic festival,^ and when he
learned of Agrippa's illness, he set out for Italy; '•
and finding him dead, he conveyed his body to the
capital and caused it to lie in state in the Forum.
He also delivered the eulogy over the dead, after
first hanging a curtain in front of the corpse. Why
he did this, I do not know. Some, however, have
stated that it was because he was high priest, others
that it was because he was performing the duties of
censor. But both are mistaken, since neither the
high priest is forbidden to look at a corpse, nor the
censor, either, except when he is about to complete
the census; but if he looks upon a corpse then,
before his purification, all his work has to be done
over again. Now Augustus not only did what I have
recorded, but also had the fimeral procession of
Agrippa conducted in the manner in which his own
was afterward conducted, and he buried him in his
own sepulchre, though Agrippa had taken one for
himself in the Campus Martins.

Such was the end of Agrippa, who had in every —
way clearly shown himself the noblest of the men
of his day and had used the friendship of Augustus
with a view to the greatest advantage both of the
emperor himself and of the commonwealth. For ,
the more he surpassed others in excellence, the
more inferior he kept himself of his own free will
to the emperor ; and while he devoted all the
wisdom and valour he himself possessed to the
highest interests of Augustus, he lavished all the

* In Athens.


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honour and influence he received from him upon
benefactions to others. It was because of this in
particular that he never became obnoxious to
Augustus himself nor invidious to his fellow-citizens ;
on the contrary, he helped Augustus to establish the
monarchy, as if he were really a devoted adherent of
the principle of autocratic rule, and he won over the
people by his benefactions,^ as if he were in the
highest degree a friend of popular government. At
any rate, even at his death he left them gardens and
the baths named after him, so that they might bathe
free of cost, and for this purpose gave Augustus
certain estates.^ And the emperor not only turned
these over to the state, but also distributed to the
people four hundred sesterces apiece, giving it to be
understood that Agrippa had so ordered. And, in- '
deed, he had inherited most of Agrippa's prpperty^ ^
including "tEe"CEersonese on the Hellespont, which '
had come in some way or other into Agrippa's hands.
Augustus felt his loss for a long time and hence
caused him to be honoured in the eyes of the
people ; and he named the posthumous son born to
him Agrippa. Nevertheless, he did not allow the
citizens at large, although none of the prominent
men wished to attend the festivals, to omit any of
the time-honoured observances, and he in person
superintended the gladiatorial combats, though they
were often held without his presence. The death of
Agrippa, far from being merely a private loss to his
own household, was at any rate such a public loss
to all the Romans that portents occurred on this
occasion in such numbers as are wont to happen

^ For the baths, see iiii. 27, 1. The estates here mentioned
were to provide an income for the maintenance of the baths.


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Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Roman history, with an English translation → online text (page 25 of 35)