Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Roman history, with an English translation online

. (page 28 of 35)
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cuser, though this man had indulged in the utmost b.c. 9
frankness in his speech, that later on, when the same
man appeared before him, as censor, for a scrutiny
of his morals, the emperor acquitted him, saying
openly that the other's frankness was necessary
for the Romans on account of the baseness of the
majority of them. However, he punished others .
who were reported to be conspiring against him. I
He also caused quaestors to serve along the coast
near the city and in certain other parts of Italy ;
and this practice was followed for many years.

At the time in question he was unwilling, as I
have stated,^ to enter the city because of Drusus*
death ; but the next year, when Asinius Gallus and b.c. s
Gaius Marcius were consuls, he made his formal
return and carried the laurel, contrary to custom,
into the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. He himself
did not celebrate any festival in honour of the
achievements mentioned, feeling that he had lost
far more in the death of Drusus than he had gained
in his victories ; but the consuls performed the cere-
monies usual on such occasions, among other things
exhibiting combats between some of the captives.
And later, when both they and the rest of the
officials were accused of having secured their election
by bribery, Augustus failed to investigate the matter,
and furthermore pretended not even to know of it
at all ; for he was unwilling either to punish any of
them or yet to pardon them if they were convicted.
In the case of candidates for office, however, he
demanded of them in advance of the elections a
deposit of money on the understanding that they
should forfeit this money in case they resorted to

^ In chap. 2.


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2 :i6yafxfipoi Reim., aiyyafifipoi M and U°.
» mriffav U», ii^'fidfiffav M,

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any illegal methods. This action of his was approved b.c. 8
by all ; but it was otherwise with another of his
laws. As it was not permitted that a slave should
be tortured for evidence against his master, he
ordered that, as often as the necessity for such a
course should arise, the slave should be sold either
to the state or to him, in order that, being now no
longer the property of the defendant, he might be
examined. Some found fault with this, on the
ground that the change of masters would in effect
nullify the law ; but others declared it to be neces-
sary, because many were taking advantage of the
old arrangement and conspiring against both the
emperor himself and the magistrates.

After this, now that his second period of ten years
had expired, Augustus once more accepted the
supreme power, — though with a show of reluctance, V
— in spite of his oft-expressed desire to lay it down ;
and he made a campaign against the Germans. He
himself remained behind in Roman territory, while
Tiberius crossed the Rhine. Accordingly all the
barbarians except the Sugambri, through fear of
them, made overtures of peace ; but they gained
nothing either at this time, — for Augustus refused
to conclude a truce with them without the Sugambri,
— or, indeed, later. To be sure, the Sugambri also
sent envoys, but so far were they from accom-
plishing anything that all these envoys, who were
both many and distinguished, perished into the
bargain. For Augustus arrested them and placed
them in various cities ; and they, being greatly dis-
tressed at this, took their own lives. The Sugambri
were thereupon quiet for a time, but later they
ampl^ requited the Romans for their calamity.


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^ fxnva R. Steph., fihv firiva M.

^ i«l omitted Dy M, but added in margin by early corrector.


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Besides doing this^ Augustus granted money to b.c. 8
the soldiers, not as to victors, though he himself
had taken the title of imperator and had also con-
ferred it upon Tiberius, but because then for the
first time they had Gains taking part with them in
their exercises. So he advanced Tiberius to the
position of commander in place of Drusus, and
besides distinguishing him with the title of imper-
ator, appointed him consul once more, and in
accordance with the ancient practice caused him
to post up a proclamation before entering upon the
office. He also accorded him the distinction of a
triumph ; for he did not wish to celebrate one him-
self, though he accepted the privilege of having his
birthday permanently commemorated by Circensian
games. He enlarged the pomerium and changed the .
name of the month called Sextilis to August. The '
people generally wanted September to be so named,
because he had been born in that month ; but he
preferred the other month in which he . had first
been elected consul and had won many great

All these things filled him with pride ; but he was
grieved at the death of Maecenas. He had received
many benefits at his hands, for which reason he had
entrusted him, though but a knight, with the over-
sight of the city for a long period ; but he had found
him of especial service on occasions when his own
temper was more or less uncontrollable. For
Maecenas would always banish his anger and bring
him to a gentler frame of mind. Here is an in-
stance. Maecenas once came upon him as he was
holding court, and seeing that he was on the point

1 Cf. Suet., Aug, 31.


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* iv supplied by Reim. (and so Zon. cod. B).

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of condemning many people to death, he attempted^ b.c
to push his way through the bystanders and get \
near him. When he was unable to do this, he j
wrote on a tablet, ^^ Pray rise at last, executioner ! '*
Then he threw the tablet into the lap of Augustus,
as if it contained some indifferent matter, and the
emperor imposed no death sentences, but arose and
departed. Indeed, he not only was not displeased at
such liberties, but was actually glad of them, because
whenever he was led into unseemly outbursts of
passion by his natural disposition or by the stress of
his affairs, these were corrected by the frank speech
of his friends. This also was a supreme proof of
Maecenas* excellence, that he not only made himself
liked by Augustus, in spite of resisting his impulsive-
ness, but also pleased everybody else, and though he
had the greatest influence with the emperor, so that
he bestowed offices and honours upon many men,
yet he did not lose his poise, but was content to
remain in the equestrian order to the end of his life.
Not only for these reasons, then, did Augustus regret
his loss exceedingly, but also because Maecenas, ^
although vexed at the emperor's relations with his 1
wife, had left him as his heir and had empowered !
him to dispose of all his property, with very few i
reservations, in c^se he wished to make gifts to any \
of his friends or otherwise. Such was the character
of Maecenas and such was his treatment of Augustus.
He was the first to construct a swimming-pool of
warm water in the city, and also the first to devise ^
a system of symbols to give speed in writing,^ and

^ This invention is usually ascribed to Tiro, Cicero's
freedman ; and Aquila is said to have made improvements
upon his system.


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^ *OKraovUiov Dind., oitraoviov M.
^ Bipi$tr<ipiov Bk. , h€ipifiir^ptov M.
» al Dind., oi M.

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he used Aquila^ a freedman^ to train a considerable b.c. s
number in the system.

Tiberius on the first day of the year in which he was b.c. 7
consul with Gnaeus Piso convened the senate in the
Curia Octaviae, because it was outside the pomerium.
After assigning to himself the duty of repairing the
temple of Concord, in order that he might inscribe
upon it his own name and that of Drusus, he cele- '
brated his triumph, and in company with his mother
dedicated the precinct called the precinct of Livia.
He gave a banquet to the senate on the Capitol, and
she gave one on her own account to the women
somewhere or other. A little later, when there was
some disturbance in the province of Germany, he
took the field. The festival held in honour of the
return of Augustus was directed by Gains, in place
of Tiberius, with the assistance of Piso. The Cam-
pus Agrippae and the Diribitorium were made public
{>roperty by Augustus himself. The Diribitorium
was the largest building under a single roof ever
constructed ; ^ indeed, now that the whole covering
has been destroyed, the edifice is wide open to
the sky, since it could not be put together again.
Agrippa had left it still in process of construction,
and it was completed at this time. The portico in
the Campus, however, which was being built by
Polla, Agrippa' s sister^ who also adorned the race-
courses, was not yet finished. Meanwhile the
funeral combats in honour of Agrippa were given, all
except Augustus putting on black clothing and even
Agrippa's sons doing the same. There were not

1 The Diribitorium was used for the sorting {diribere) of
the ballots used in voting. Pliny {Nat. HiaL xvi. 201 and
xxxvi. 102) speaks of its remarkable roof ; this was destroyed
by fire in 80 a.d. (cf. Dio, Ixvi. 24).


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* dtKar4ffaapa R. Steph., h^Karicctpa M.

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only combats between single champions but also b.c. 7
between groups of equal numbers on either side ;
and they were held in the Saepta both as an honour
to Agrippa and because many of the structures
around the Forum had been burned. The blame
for the fire was laid upon the debtor class, who
were suspected of having contrived it on purpose,
in order that they might have some of their debts
remitted when they appeared to have lost heavily.
They, for their part, however, gained nothing from
the fire ; but the streets were put in charge of
supervisors, chosen from the people, whom we call
street commissioners.^ These men were allowed
to use the official dress and two lictors, but only in
the regions under their administration and on certain
days, and they were given control over the force of
slaves which had previously been associated with
the aediles to save buildings that caught fire. The
aediles, however, together with the tribunes and
praetors, were still assigned by lot to have charge
of the whole city, which was divided into fourteen
wards. This is also the present arrangement.

These were all events of that year, for nothing
worthy of mention happened in Germany. The next b.o. c
year, in which Gains Antistius and Laelius Balbus
were consuls, Augustus was vexed when he saw that
Gains and Lucius were by no means inclined of
their own choice to emulate his own conduct, as
became young men who were being reared as mem-
bers of the imperial house. They not only indulged
in too great luxury in their lives, but were also
inclined to insolence; for example, Lucius on one
occasion entered the theatre unattended. They

* Curatores viarum.

VOL. VI. i> i>

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were being flattered by everybody in the city, some-, b.c. 6
times sincerely and sometimes to curry favour, and;
consequently were being spoiled more and more.
Among other things of this sort, the people had
elected Gains consul before he was as yet of military
age. All this, as I have said, vexed Augustus, and
he even prayed that no compelling circumstances
might arise, as had once occurred in his own case,
such as to require that a man less than twenty
years old should become consul. When even so the
people insisted, he then said that one ought not to
receive the office until one was able not only to
avoid error oneself but also to resist the ardent im-
pulses of the populace. After that he gave Gains a
priesthood and also tlie right to attend the meetings
of the senate and to behold spectacles and be
present at banquets with that body. And wishing
in some way to bring Gaius and Lucius to their senses
still more sharply, he bestowed upon Tiberius the
tribunician power for five years, and assigned to him
Armenia, which was becoming estranged since the
death of Tigranes. The result was that he need-
lessly offended not only his grandsons but Tiberius as
well ; for the former felt they had been slighted, and
Tiberius feared their anger. At any rate he was
sent to Rhodes on the pretext that he needed in-
cidentally a bit of instruction ; and he did not even
take his entire retinue, to say nothing of friends,
the object being that Gaius and Lucius should be
relieved both of the sight of him and of his doings.
He made the journey as a private citizen, though he

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Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Roman history, with an English translation → online text (page 28 of 35)