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Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form online

. (page 1 of 24)
Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form → online text (page 1 of 24)
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DIO'S ROME



HISTORICAL NARRATIVE ORIGINALLY COMPOSED IN GREEK

DURING THE REIGNS OF SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS. GETA

AND CARACALLA. MACRINUS, ELAGA-

BALUS AND ALEXANDER SEVERUSi



NOW PRESENTED IN ENGLISH FORM



HERBERT BALDWIN FOSTER,

A.B. (Harvard), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins),

Acting Professor of Greek in Lehigh University



FIFTH VOLUME
EttfiafU Bookg 61-76 (A. D. S^tll).



TROY NEW YORK

PAFRAETS BOOK COMPANY

1906



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I en I



CormxeHT 1906



PAFRAETS BOOK COMPANY
Tkot New You



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VOLUME CONTENTS



PAGE

Book Sixty-one - - - - - 1

Book Sixty-two 27

Book Sixty-three 67

Book Sixty-four 86

Book Sixty-five 99

Book Sixty-six 141

Book Sixty-seven 161

Book Sixty-eight 177

Book Sixty-nine 211

Book Seventy 286

Book Seventy-one 248

Book Seventy-two 261

Book Seventy-three 277

Book Seventy-four 806

Book Seventy-five 826

Book Seventy-six 861

Book Seventy-seven 869



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DIO'S

ROMAN HISTORY

61



VOL. 5—1 1



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Hero leuet tlie ftoyereignty (ohapten 1, 2).

At the beginning he is aocnttomed to yield to the influence
of hit mother, whom Seneca and Bnmii thruet ande from con-
trol of affain (chapter 3).

Hero's exhibitions of wantonness and his extravagance : the
death of Silanns (chapters 4-6).

love for Acte: Britannicns slain: discord with Agrippina
(chapters 7, 8).

How Hero's mind began to give way (chapter 9).

About the faults and immoralities of the philosopher Seneca
(chapter 10).

Sabina an object of love: Agrippina murdered (ohaptert
11-16).

Domitia put to death: festivities: Hero sings to the accom-
paniment of his lyre (chapters 17-21).

DURATION OF TIME.

X. Asinius Marcellus, Kanius Acilius Aviola. (A. D. 64=
a. u. 807 =; First of Hero, from Oct. 13th.)

Hero Cssar Aug., L. Antistius Yetus. (A. B. 66 = a. u.
808 =3 Second of Hero.)

Q. Yolusius Satuminus^ P. Cornelius Scipio. (A. B. 66 =
a. u. 809 = Third of Hero.)

Hevo Cssar Aug. (11), L. Calpumius Fiso. (A. D. 67 =
a. u. 810 = Fourth of Hero.)

Hero Cssar Aug. (m), K. Valerius Messala. (A. B. 68 =
a. u. 811 = Fifth of Hero.)

C. Yipsanius Apronianus, L. Fonteius Capito. (A. D. 69 :=
a. u. 812 = Sixth of Hero.)

Hero Cesar Aug. (IV), Cornelius Lentulus Cossui. (A. D*
60=qa. XL. 818 = 8eTenth of Hero.)



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At the death of Claudius the leadership on most just ^ *~
principles belonged to Britannicus, who had been bom (a.' u.' 807)
a legitimate son of Claudius and in physical develop-
ment was beyond what would have been expected of
his years. Yet by law the power passed to Nero on
account of his adoption. No claim, indeed, is stronger
than that of arms. Every one who possesses superior
force has always the appearance of both saying and
doing what is more just. So Nero, having first dis-
posed of Claudius's will and having succeeded him as
master of the whole empire, put Britannicus and his
sisters out of the way. IWhy, then, should one stop to
lament the misfortunes of other victims t

The following signs of dominion had been observed in ^ 8 —
his career. At his birth just before dawn rays not
cast by any beam of sunlight yet visible surrounded his
form. And a certain astrologer from this and from
the motion of the stars at that time and their relation
to one another divined two things in regard to him, —
that he would rule and that he would murder his
mother. Agrippina on hearing this became for the
moment so beside herself as actually to cry out : ^ ^ Let
him kill me, if only he shall rule." Later she was
destined to repent bitterly of her prayer. Some people
become so steeped in folly that if they expect to obtain
some blessing mingled with evil, they at once through
their anxiety for the advantage pay no heed to the
detriment. When the time for the latter also comes,
tiiey are cast down and would choose not to have se-
cured even the greatest good thing. Yet Domitius, the

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,-^- ^* $n-v father of Nero, had a sufficient previous intimation of

(a. u, 807) ^ ' ^

his son's coming baseness and licentiousness, not by
any oracle but through the nature of his own and
Agrippina's characters. And he declared: ** It is im-
possible for any good man to be bom from me and
from her/' As time went on, the finding of a serpent
skin around Nero's neck when he was but a boy caused
the seers to say: **He shall acquire great power
from the aged man." Serpents are thought to slough
off their old age with their old skin, and so get power*
—3— Nero was seventeen years of age when he began to
rule. He first entered the camp, and, after reading to
the soldiers all that Seneca had written, he promised
them as much as Claudius had been accustomed to
give. Before the senate he read such a considerable
document, — this, too, written by Seneca, — that it was
voted the statements should be inscribed on a silver
tablet and should be read every time the new consuls
took up the duties of their office. Consequently those
who heard him made themselves ready to enjoy a good
reign according to the letter of the compilation. At
first Agrippina [in company with Pallas, a vulgar and
tiresome man,] managed all affairs pertaining to the
empire, and she and her son went about together, often
reclining in the same litter; usually, however, she
would be carried and he would follow alongside. It
was she who transacted business with embassies and
sent letters to peoples and governors and kings. When
this had gone on for a considerable time, it aroused the
displeasure of Seneca and Burrus, who were both the

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most sensible and the most influential of the advisers ,^' ^' fi,,

{a. u. 807)

of Nero. The one was his teacher and the other was
prefect of the Pretorians. They took the following oc-
casion to stop this method of procedure. An embassy
of Armenians had arrived and Agrippina wished to
ascend the platform from which Nero was talking with
them. The two men, seeing her approach, persuaded
the young man to go down before she could reach there
and meet his mother, pretending some form of greet-
ing. After that was done they did not return again,
making some excuse to prevent the foreigners from
seeing the flaw in the empire. Subsequently they la-
bored to keep any public business from being again
committed to her hands.

When they had accomplished this, they themselves — 4—
took charge of the entire empire and gave it the very
best and fairest management that they could. Nero
was not in general fond of affairs and was glad to
live at leisure. [The reason, indeed, that he had previ-
ously distrusted his mother and now was fond of her
lay in the fact that now he was free to enjoy himself,
and the government was being carried on no less well.
And his advisers after consultation made many
changes in existing customs, abolishing some things
altogether and passing a number of new laws.] They
let Nero sow his wild oats with the intention of bring-
ing about in him through the satisfaction of all his de-
sires a changed attitude of mind, while in the mean-
time no great damage should be done to public inter-
ests. Surely they must have known that a young and

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(^ ^* soTJ self-willed spirit, when reared in unreproved license
and in absolute authority, so far from becoming sati-
ated by the indulgence of its passions is ruined more
and more by tiiese very agencies. Indeed, Nero at first
gave but simple dinners ; his revels, his drunkenness,
his amours were moderate. Afterward, as no one re-
proved him for them and public business was carried
forward none the worse for all of it, he began 'to be-
lieve that what he did was right and that he could carry
his practices to even greater lengths. [Consequently
he began to indulge in each of these pursuits in a more
open and precipitate fashion. And in case his guar-
dians gave him any warning or his mother any rebuke,
he would appear abashed while they were present and
promise to reform; but as soon as they were gone, he
would again become the slave of his desire and yield
to those who were dragging him in the other direction,
— a straight course down hill.] Next he came to de-
spise instruction, inasmuch as he was always hearing
from his associates, ** Do you submit to this! '* or ** Do
you fear these people! 'V* Don't you know that you
are CaBsart 'V* Have not you the authority over them
rather than they over yout *' He was also animated
by obstinacy, not wishing to acknowledge his mother
as superior and himself as inferior, nor to admit the
greater good sense of Seneca and Burrus.
—6— Finally he passed the possibility of being shamed,
dashed to the ground and trampled under foot all their
suggestions, and began to follow in the steps of Gains.
When he had once felt a desire to emulate him, he quite

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outdid him, for he believed that the imperial power A ^* 5*,.
must manifest itself among other ways by allowing
no one to surpass it even in the vilest deeds. [As he
was praised for this by the crowds, and received many
pleasant compliments from them, he gave himself no
rest. His doings were at first confined to his home and
associates, but were later on carried abroad. Thus he
attached a mighty disgrace to the whole Eoman race
and committed many outrages upon the individuals
composing it. Innumerable acts of violence and insult,
of rape and murder, were committed both by the em-
I)eror himself and by those who at one time or another
had influence with him. And, as certainly and inevi-
tably follows in all such practices], great sums of
money naturally were spent, great sums unjustly pro-
cured, and great sums seized by force. For under no
circumstances was Nero niggardly. Here is an illus-
tration. He had ordered no less than two hundred and
fifty myriads at one time to be given to Doryphorus,
who attended to the state documents of his empire.
Agrippina had it all piled in a heap, hoping by show-
ing him the money all together to make him change his
mind. Instead, he asked how much the mass before
him amounted to, and when he was informed he
doubled it, saying: ** I was not aware that I had al-
lowed him so little.^' It can clearly be seen, then, that
as a result of the magnitude of his expenditures he
would quickly exhaust the treasures in the royal vaults
and quickly need new revenues. Hence unusual taxes
were imposed and the property of the well-to-do was

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ia' u' 807) ^^* ^®^* ^**^' Some lost their possessions to spite
him and others destroyed themselves with their liveli-
hoods. Shnilarly he hated and made away with some
others who had no considerable wealth ; for, if they pos*
sessed any excellent trait or were of a good f amily, he
became suspicions that they disliked him.
— ^— Sndh were the general characteristics of Nero. I
shall now proceed to details.

In the matter of horse-races Nero grew so enthusi-
astic that he adorned famous race-horsee that had
passed their prime with the regular street costume for
men and honored them with money for their fodder.
The horsebreeders and charioteers, elated at this en-
thusiasm of his, proceeded to abuse unjustifiably even
the praetors and consuls. But Aulus Fabricius, when
praetor, finding that they refused to hold contests on
fair terms, dispensed with them entirely. He trained
dogs to draw chariots and introduced them in place of
horses. When this was done, the wearers of the white
and of the red immediately entered their chariots : but,
as the Greens and the Blues would not even then par-
ticipate, Nero at his own cost gave the prizes to the
horses, and the regular program of the circus was
carried out.

1[ Agrippina showed readiness to attack the greatest
undertakings, as is evidenced \>y her causing the death
of Marcus Julius Silanus, to whom she sent some of
the poison with which she had treacherously murdered
her husband.

V Silanus was governor of Asia, and was in no respect

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inferior to the general character of his family. It was ,^ ^- 5a^,

^ " (a. u, o07)

for this, more than for anything else, she said, that she
killed him, not wishing to have him preferred before
Nero, by reason of the latter 's manner of life. More-
over, she turned everything into trade and gathered
money from the most insignificant and basest sources.

IF LsBlianns, who was despatched to Armenia in place
of Pollio, had been assigned to the command of the
night watch. And he was no better than Pollio, for,
while surpassing him in reputation, he was all the
more insatiable in respect to gain.

Agrippina found a grievance iu the fact that she aTd.Ts
was no longer suprane in affairs of the palace. It was <*• **• ^^®>
chiefly because of Acte. Acte had been brought as a
slave from Asia. She caught the fancy of Nero, was
adopted iato the family of Attains, and was cherished
much more carefully than was Nero's wife Octavia.
Agrippina, indignant at this and at other matters, first
attempted to rebuke him, and set herself to humiliat-
ing his associates, some by beatings and by getting rid
of others. But when she accomplished nothing, she
took it greatly to heart and remarked to him: ** It
was I who made you emperor," just as if she had the
power to take away the authority from him again. She
did not comprehend that every form of independent
I)ower given to any one by a private citizen immedi-
ately ceases to be the property of the giver and belongs
to the one who receives it to use against his benefactor.

Britannicus Nero murdered treacherously by poison,
and then, as the skin was turned livid by the action of

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(^ ^' imft\ *^® drug, he smeared the body with gypsum. But as it



was being carried through the Forum a heavy rain
falling while the gypsum was still damp washed it all
away, so that the horror was exposed not only to com-
ment but to view. [After Britannicus was dead Seneca
and Burrus ceased to give careful attention to public
interests and were satisfied if they might manage them
conservatively and still preserve their lives. Conse-
quently Nero now made himself conspicuous by giving
free rein to all his desires without fear of retribution.
His behavior began to be absolutely insensate, as is
shown, for instance, by his punishing a certain knight,
Antonius, as a seller of poisons and by further burn-
ing the poisons publicly. He took great credit for this
action as well as for prosecuting some persons who
had tampered with wills ; but other people only laughed
to see him punishing his own acts in the persons of
others.
—8— His secret acts of licentiousness were many, both at
home and throughout the City, by night and by day.
He used to frequent the taverns and wandered about
everywhere like a private person. Any number of
beatings and insults took place in this connection and
the evil spread to the theatres, so that those who
worked as dancers and who had charge of the horses
paid no attention either to praetors or to consuls.
They were disorderly themselves and led others to be
the same, while Nero not only did not restrain them
even by words, but stirred them up all the more. He
delighted in their actions and used to be secretly con-

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A. D. 65

(a. u. 808)



veyed in a litter into the theatres, where unseen by the
rest he watched the proceedings. Indeed, he forbade
the soldiers who had usually been in attendance at all
public gatherings to appear there any longer. The
reason he as&igned was that they ought not to super-
intend anything but strictly military affairs, but his
true purpose was to afford those who wished to raise
a disturbance the amplest scope. He made use of the
same excuse in reference to his not allowing any
soldier to attend his mother, saying that no one except
the emperor ought to be guarded by them. In this
way he displayed his enmity toward the masses,] and
as for his mother he was already openly at variance
with her. Everything that they said to each other,
or that the imperial pair did each day, was reported
outside the palace, yet it did not all reach the public
and hence conjectures were made to supply missing
details and different versions arose. What was con-
ceivable as happening, in view of the baseness and
lewdness of the pair, was noised abroad as having
already taken place, and reports possessing some credi-
bility were believed as true. The populace, seeing
Agrippina now for the first time witiiout Pretorians,
took care not to fall in with her even by accident; and
if any one did chance to meet her he would hastily get
out of the way without saying a word.

At one spectacle men on horseback overcame bulls _ q_
while riding along beside them, and the knights who
served as Nero's personal guard brought down with
their javelins four hundred bears and three hundred

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(a.' u'ios) li^^s- ^ ^^ same occasion tiiirty kni^ts belonging
to fhe military fought in the arena. The emperor
sanctioned such proceedings openly. Secretly, how-
ever, he carried on nocturnal revels throughout the
length and breadth of the city, insulting the women,
practicing lewdness on boys, stripping those whom he
encountered, striking, wounding, murdering. He had
an idea that his incognito was impenetrable, for he
used all sorts of different costumes and false hair at
different times: but he would be recognized by his
retinue and by his deeds. No one else would have
dared to commit so many and such gross outrages so
recklessly. It was becoming unsafe even for a person
A. D. 66 to stay at home, since he would break into shops and
houses. It came about that a certain Julius Montanas,^
a senator, enraged oi\his wife's account, fell upon this
reveler and inflicted many blows upon him, so that he
had to remain several days in concealment by reason
of the black eyes he had received. Montanus did not
suffer for it, since Nero thought the violence had been
all an accident and was for showing no anger at the
occurrence, had not the other sent him a letter begging
his pardon. Nero on reading the epistle remarked:
** So he knew that he was striking Nero.'* The suicide
of Montanus followed hard after.
^ j^ 57 In the course of producing a spectacle at one of the

(a. u. 810) theatres, he suddenly filled the place with sea-water so

1 C. luUua Montamu 0, F, (Op. Suetonius, Life of Nero, chapter 60.)

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that the fishes and sea-monsters^ swam in it, and had a , ^ ^- ^,]..

' (o. f*. 810)

naval battle between *' Persians '* and ** Athenians/'
At the dose of it he suddenly withdrew the water,
dried the snbsoil, and continued land contests, not only
between two men at a time but with crowds pitted
against other crowds.

Subsequent to this, oratorical contests took place, r"}?T;
and as a result even of these numbers were exiled and («• <*• sn)
put to death. — Seneca also was held to account, one of
the charges against him being that he was intimate
with Agrippina. [It had not been enough for him to
debauch Julia, nor had he become better as a result
of exile, but he went on to make advances to such a
woman as Agrippina, with such a son.] Not only in
this instance but in others he was convicted of doing
precisely the opposite of what he taught in his philo-
sophical doctrines. He brought accusations against
tyranny, yet he made himself a teacher of tyrants : he
denounced such of his associates as were powerful,
yet he did not hold aloof from the palace himself : he
had nothing good to say of flatterers, yet he had so
fawned upon Messalina and Claudius's freedmen [that
he had sent them from the island a book containing
eulogies upon them; this latter caused him such morti-
fication that he erased the passage.] While finding
fault with the rich, he himself possessed a property
of seven thousand five hundred myriads ; and though

1 xnjtng of the MSS. was changed to xijttj on the conjecture of
^ylbuigiuB, who was followed by Bekker, Dindorf, and Boiasevain.
(Ccnnpare also Suetonius, life of Nero, chapter 12.)

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A. D. w he censured the extravagances of others, he kept five

(a. u. 811) ^

hundred three-legged tables of cedar wood, every one
of them with identical ivory feet, and he gave banquets
on them. In mentioning these details I have at least
given a hint of their inevitable adjuncts, — the licen-
tiousness in which he indulged at the very time that
he made a most brilliant marriage, and the delight
that he took in boys past their prime (a practice which
he also taught Nero to follow). Nevertheless, his aus-
terity of life had earlier been so severe that he had
asked his pupil neither to kiss him nor to eat at the
same table with him. [(For the latter request he had a
good reason, namely, that Nero's absence would enable



Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form → online text (page 1 of 24)