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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

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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 10 of 24)
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horse-race on Titus's birthday.) People in general
were not safe whether they sympathized with his indig-
nation or with his joy. In one case they* were sure to
offend his feelings and in the other to let their lack of
genuineness appear.

His wife, Domitia, he planned to put to death on the aT^.'^s
ground of adultery, but, having been dissuaded by ^^' ^- ®^^^
Ursus, he sent her away and midway on the road
murdered Paris, the dancer, because of her. And
when many people paid honor to that spot with flowers

lA gap must probably be construed here. Bekker (followed by Din-
dorf) regarded it as coming after ''secretly" and consisting of but a
word or two (e.ff. "he hated them") but Boissevain locates it as in*
dicated above and believes that considerably more is missing.

A Reading SfisXXov (Dindorf, Boissevain).

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ia'u'^e) ^^^ perfumes, he gave orders that they, too, should
be slain. After this he took into his house, quite un-
disguisedly, his own niece,— Julia, that is to say.
[Then on petition of the people he became reconciled,
to be sure, with Domitia, but continued none the less
his relations with Julia.]

HHe was removing many of the foremost men on
many pretexts and by means of murders and banish-
ments. [He also conveyed many to some out-of-the-way
place, where he got rid of them ; and not a few he caused
to die in some way or other by their own acts that they
might seem to have suffered death by their own wish
and not through outside force.] He did not spare even
the vestal virgins, but punished them on charges of
their having had intercourse with men. It is further
reported that since their examination was conducted in
a harsh and unfeeling manner, and many of them were
accused and constantly being punished, one of the pon-
tifices, Helvius Agrippa, could not endure it, but,
horror-stricken, expired there in the senate where he
sat. [Domitian also took pride in the fact that he did
not bury alive, as was the custom, the virgins he found
guilty of debauchery, but ordered them to be killed by
some different way.]

After this he set out for Gaul and plundered some of the tribes
across the Rhine enjoying treaty rights, — a performance which filled
him with conceit as if he had achieved some great success. Presumably
on account of the victory he increased the soldiers' wages, so that
whereas each had been receiving seventy-five denarii he commanded that
a hundred be given them. Later he thought better of it, but instead of
diminishing the amount he curtailed the number of men-at-arms. Both
of these steps entailed great injury to the public weal: he had made
the defenders of the State too few, while rendering their support an item
of great expense.

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Next he made a campaign into Germany and re- — 4—
turned without having seen a trace of war anywhere. («. «*. 837)
And what need is there of mentioning the honors be-
stowed upon him at this juncture for his exploit or
from time to time upon the other emperors who were
like him t For the object in any case was simply not to
arouse the rage of those despots by letting them sus-
pect, in consequence of the small number and insig-
nificance of the rewards, that the people saw through
theuL Yet Domitian had this worst quality of all,
that he desired to be flattered, and was equally dis-
pleased with both sorts of men, those who paid court to
him and those who did not. He disliked the former
because their attitude seemed one of cajolery and the
latter because it seemed one of contempt Notwith-
standing [he affected to take pleasure in the honorary
decrees voted him by the senate. Ursus he came near
killing because he was not pleased with his sovereign's
exploits, and then, at the request of Julia, he appointed
him consul.] Subsequently, being still more puffed up
by his folly, he was elected consul for ten years in suc-
cession, and first and only censor for life of all private
citizens and emperors: and he obtained the right to
employ twenty-four lictors and the triump^l garb
whenever he entered the senate-house. He gave
October a new name, Domitianum, because he had been
bom in that month. Among the charioteers he insti-
tuted two more parties, calling one the Golden and the
other the Purple. To the spectators he gave many ob-
jects by means of balls thrown among them; and once

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^ ^- ** . he gave them a banquet while they remained in their
seats and at night provided for them wine that flowed
out in several different places. All this caused pleasure
seemingly to the populace, but was a source of ruin to
the powerful. For, as he had no resources for his ex-
penditureSy he murdered numbers of men, bringing
some of them before the senate and accusing others in
their absence. Lastly, he put som© out of the way by
concocting a plot and administering to them secret
drugs.

Hany of the peoples tributary to the Romans revolted when contriba-
tions of money were forcibly extorted from them. The Nasamones are
an instance in point. They massacred aU the collectors of the money
and so thoroughly defeated Flaccus,! govemor of Numidia, who attacked
them, that they were able to plunder his camp. Having gorged them-
selves on the provisions and the wine that they found there they fell
into a slmnber, and Flaccus becoming aware of this fact assailed and
annihilated them all and destroyed the non-combatants. Domitian ex-
perienced a thrill of delight at the news and remarked to the senate:
** Well, I have put a ban on the existence of the Nasamones."

Even as early as this he was insisting upon being regarded as a god
and took a huge pleasure in being called " master " and " god." These
titles were used not merely orally but also in documents.

—6— The greatest war that the Bomans had on their
(o.\. 839) hands at this time was one against the Dacians. Dece-
balus was now king of the latter [since Dour as, to
whom the sovereignty belonged, had voluntarily with-
drawn from it in favor of DecebaJus, because]. He
had a good comprehension of the rules of warfare and
was good at putting them in practice, displayed sa-
gacity in advancing, took the right moment for retreat-
ing, was an expert in ambuscades, a professional war-
rior, knew how to make good use of a victory and how

1 Probably Cn, SueUius Flaoow.
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to turn a defeat to advanta^a Hence he sHowed him- , ^ ^- „^^,

^ (a. u. 839)

self for a long time a worthj antagonist of the Romans.

I call the people Dacians, just as they name them-
selves and as the Romans do; bnt I am not ignorant
that some of the Greeks refer to them as Qetsd, whether
that is the right term or not. I myself know GetsB that
live along the Ister, beyond the Hsemus range.

Domitian made an expedition against them, to be
sure, bnt did not enter into real conflict. [Instead, he
remained in a city of Moesia, rioting, as was his wont.]
(Not only was he averse to physical labor and timorons
in spirit, but also most prc^gate and lewd toward
women and boys alike.) But he sent others to officer
the war and for the most part he got the worst of it.

T DecebaluB, king of the Dacians, carried on negotiations with Domitian, A. D. 87 1
promising him peace. Domitian sent against him Fuscusi with a large
force. On learning of it Decebalus sent an embassy to him anew, sar-
' castically proposing to make peace with the emperor in case each of
the Romans should choose to pay two asses as tribute to Decebalus each
year; if they should not choose to do so, he affirmed that he should
make war and afflict them with great ills.

Dio 07th Book ** When the soldiers making the cam-

paign with Fuscus asked him to lead them."

Meacitimie he conceived a wish to take meaBurea — 7—

A. D. 00

against the Quadi and the Marcomani because they had (a. «. 843)
not assisted him against the Dacians. So he entered
Pannonia to make war upon them, and the second set
of envoys that they sent in regard to peace he killed.

H The same man laid the blame for his defeat, how- — a—
ever, upon his commanders. All the superior plans he
claimed for himself, though he executed none of them,

t ComeUua Fu8cu$, pretorian prefect.

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A. D. 90 lyjj^ for the inferior management he blamed others, even

(a. II. 843) ^ '

though it was through his orders that some accident
had taken place. Those who succeeded incurred his
hatred and those who failed his censure.

H Domitian, being defeated by the Mareomani, took
to flight and by hastily sending messages to Decebalus^
king of the Dacians, induced him to make a truce with
him. The monarch's frequent previous requests had
always met with refusal. Decebalus now accepted the
arrangement, for he was indeed hard pressed, yet he
did not wish personally to hold a conference with Domi-
tian, but sent Diegis with other men to give him the
arms and a few captives, whom he pretended were the
only ones he had. When this had been accomplished,
Domitian set a diadem on the head of Diegis, just as if
he had in very truth conquered and could make some
one king over the Dacians. To the soldiers he granted
honors and money. Like a victor, again, he sent on
ahead to Bome, besides many other things, envoys from
Decebalus, and something which he affirmed was a
letter of his, though rumor declared it had been forged.
He graced the festival that followed with many articles
X>ertaining to a triumph, though they did not belong to
any booty he had taken; — quite the reverse; and be-
sides allowing the truce he made an outlay of a great
deal of money immediately and also presented to De-
cebalus artisans of every imaginable profession, peace-
ful and warlike, and promised that he would give him
a great deal more. These exhibits came from the
imperial furniture which he at all times treated as

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captive goods, because he had enslaved the empire ,^ ®- *>
itself.] '^ "■''''

So many rewards were voted him that almost the —8—
whole world (»o far « w>dor hi, douumon) w« flUod ,^.°-^,
with his images and statues of both silver and gold.
He also gave an extremely costly spectacle in regard
to which we have noted nothing that was striking for
historical record, save that virgins contended in the
foot-race. After this, in the conrse of holding what
seem to have been triumphal celebrations, he arranged
nnmerons contests. First of all, in the hippodrome he
had battles of infantry against infantry, and again
battles of cavalry, and next he gave a naval battle in
a new place. And there perished in it practically all
the naval combatants and numbers of the spectators.
A great rain and violent storm had suddenly come up,
yet he allowed no one to leave the spectacle ; indeed,
though he himself changed his dothing to a thick
woolen cloak, he would not permit the people to alter
their attire. As a result, not a few fell sick and died.
By way of consoling them for this, he provided them
at public expense a dinner lasting all night Often,
too, he would conduct games at night, and sometimes he
would pit dwarfs^ and women against each other.

So at this time he feasted the populace as described,
but on another occasion he entertained the foremost
men of the senate and the knights in the following
fashion. He prepared a room that was pitch black on
every side, ceiling, walls and floor, and had ready bare

t Reading vdvou^ (Dindorf).

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(^ ^'iu\ ^^^®^> ^^ alike, resting on the uncovered ground;
then he invited in his guests alone, at night, without
their attendants. And first he set beside each of them a
slab shaped like a gravestone, bearing a i>erson's name,
and also a small lamp, such as hangs in tombs. Next,
well-shaped, naked boys, likewise painted black, entered
after the manner of phantoms, and, after passing
around the guests in a kind of terrifying dance, took
up their stations at their feet After that, whatever is
commonly dedicated in the course of ojfferings to de-
parted spirits was set before them also, all black, and
in dishes of a similar hue. Consequently, every single
one of the guests feared and trembled and every mo-
ment felt certain that he was to be slain, especially
as on the part of everybody save Domitian there was
dead silence, as if they were already in the realms of
the dead, and the emperor himself limited his con-
versation tq matters pertaining to death and slaughter.
Finally he dismissed them. But he had previously re-
moved their servants, who stood at the doorway, and
gave them in charge of other, unknown slaves, to con-
vey either to carriages or litters, and by this act he
filled them with far greater fear. Scarcely had eadi
one reached home and was beginning to a certain extent
to recover his spirits, when a message was brought
him that some one was there from the Augustus.
While they were expecting, as a result of this, that now
at last they should surely perish, one person brought
in the slab, which was of silver, then another some-
thing else, and another one of the dishes set before

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A. D. 91

(a. u. 844)



them at the dinner, which proved to be made of some
costly material. Finally came* that particular boy who
had been each one's familiar spirit, now washed and
decked out. Thus, while in terror all night long, they
received their gifts.

Such was the triumph or, as the crowd said, such was
the expiatory service that Domitian celebrated for
those who had died in Dacia and in Rome. Even at
this time, too, he killed off some of the foremost men.
And he took away the property of whoever buried
Ihe body of any one of them, because the victim had
died on ground belonging to the sovereign.

Here are some more events worth recording, that — lo—
took place in the Dadan War. Julianus, assigned by
the emperor to take dbarge of the war, made many ex-
cellent regulations, one being his command that the
soldiers should inscribe their own names and those of
the centurions upon their shields, in order that those
of them who committed any particular good or bad
action might be more readily observed by him. En-
countering the enemy at Tapai,' he killed a very great
number of them. Among them Vezinas^ who ranked
next to Decebalus, since he could not get away alive,
fell down purposely as if dead. In this way he escaped
notice and fled during the night. Decebalus, fearing
that the Romans now they had conquered would pro-
cci>d against his residence, cut down the trees that
were on the site and attached weapons to the trunks,

1 Verb supplied by Xylander.

2Pape thinks that the proper Latin form of this word would be
Tabm.

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f A 4-htk an A
844)



A. D. 91 ^ ^^ ^jj^ ^jj^t j^g f ^^^ might think them soldiers, and



so be frightened and withdraw. This actually took
place.

(—5—) Chariomerus, king of the Cherusci, had been driven
out of his kingdom by the Chatti on account of his
friendship for the Bomans. At first he gathered some
companions and was successful in his attempt to return.
Later he was deserted by these men for having sent
hostages to the Bomans and so became the suppliant of
Domitian. He was not accorded an alliance but re-
ceived money.

«-ii— Aiktonius, a certain oonmiander of this period in
Germany, revolted against Domitian: him Lucius, Max-
imus overcame and overthrew. For his victory he
does not deserve any remarkable praise; [for many
others have unexpectedly won victories, and his sol-
diers contributed largely to his success:] but for his
burning all the documents that were found in the chests
of Antonius, thus esteeming his own safety as of slight
importance in comparison with having no blackmail
result from them, I do not see how I may celebrate his
memory as it deserves. But Domitian, as he had got a
pretext from that source, proceeded to a series of
slaughters even without the documents, and no one
could well say how many he killed. [Lideed, he con-
denmed himself so for this act that, to prevent any
remembrance of the dead surviving, he prohibited the
inscribing of their names in the records. Furthermore,
he did not even make any communication, to the senate
regarding those put out of the way, although he sent

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fheir heads as well as that of Antonins to Eome and ex- , ^ ^- ^}^ ,

(a. u. 844)

posed them in the Fomm.] But one young man, Julius
Calvaster, who had served as military tribune in the
hope of getting into the senate^ was saved in a most un-
expected fashion. Inasmuch as it was being proved
that he had frequent meetings with Antonius alone and
be had no other way to free himself from the charge
of conspiracy, he declared that he had met him for
amorous intercourse. The fact that he was of an ap-
pearance to inspire passion lent color to his statement.
In this way he was acquitted.

After just one more remark about the events of that
time, I will cease. Lusianus Proculus, an aged senator,
who spent most of his time in the country, had come
out with Domitian from Rome under compulsion so as
to avoid the appearance of deserting him when in
danger and the death that might very likely be the re-
sult of such conduct When the news came, he said:
** You have conquered, emperor, as I ever prayed.
Therefore, restore me to the country. ^ ' Thereupon he
left him without more ado and retired to his farm.
And after this, although he survived for a long time,
he never came near him.

During this period some had become accustomed to
smear needles with poison and then to prick with them
whomsoever they would. Many persons thus attacked
died without even knowing the cause, and many of the
murderers were informed against and punished. And
this went on not only in Bome but over practically the
entire civilized world.

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—J*— To Ulpins Trajan and to Acilins Glabrio, who were

A, JL/* vl

{a, u. 844) consuls then, the same signs are said to have appeared.
They foretold to Glabrio destruction, but to Trajan the
imperial (^ce. [Numerous wealthy men and women
both were punished for adultery, and some of the wo-
men had been debauched by hdm. Many more were
fined or executed on other charges.] A woman was
tried and lost her life because she had stripped in
front of an image of Domitian [and another for having
had dealings with astrologers]. Among the many who
perished at this time was also Mettius Pompusianus,
whom Vespasian had refused to harm in any way after
learning from some report that he would one day be
sole ruler, but^ rather honored, saying: **You will
certainly remember me and will certainly honor me in
return. ^ ^ But Domitian first exiled him to Corsica and
later put him to death, one of the complaints being that
he had the inhabited world painted on the walls of his
bedchamber and another that he had excerpted and was
wont to read the speeches of kings and other eminent
men that are written in Livy. Also Matemus, a soph-
ist, met his death because in a practice speech^ he had
said something against tyrants. The emperor himself
used to visit both those who were to accuse and those
who were to give evidence for condemnation^ and he

1 Reading dXXd (Dindorf).

^Hartman (Mnemosyne, N. S. XXI, p. 395) would read d^etov
for dtrxwv, "Maternus met his death because he had made wmt
witty remark against tyrants." H. maintains that Domitian could not
know what Matemus said in his closet; but to the present translator
the MS. tradition seems to lend to this incident a greater homogene-
ousness of detail with the preceding, and he retains it simply on that
basis.

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(o. u. 844)



wotdd frame and compose everything that required to a. D. 9i



be said. Often, too, he would talk to the prisoners
alone, keeping tight hold of their chains with his hands.
In the former case he would not entrust to others what
was to be said, and in the latter he feared the men even
in their bonds.

Uln Mcesia,* the Lygians, who had been at war with (—5—)
some of the Suebi, sent envoys, asking Domitian for
an alliance. They obtained one that was strong, not
in numbers, but in dignity: in other words, they were
granted only a hundred knights. The Suebi, indignant
at this, added to their contingent the lazygae and began
to prepare well in advance to cross the Ister.

tTMasyus, king of the Semnones, and Ganna, a virgin
(she was priestess in Celtica after Veleda), came to
Domitian and having been honored by him returned.

As censor, likewise, his behavior was noteworthy. He _ 13 _
expelled Caecilius Eufinus from the senate because he .^ ^' ^^.
danced, and restored Claudius Pacatus, though an ex-
centurion, to his master because he was proved to be
a slave. What came after, to be sure, can not be de-
scribed in similar terms,— his deeds, that is to say, as
emperor. Then he killed Arulenus Busticus for being
a philosopher and for calling Thrasea sacred, and Her-
ennius Senecio because in his long career he had stood
for no office after the qusestorship and because he had
compiled the life of Helvidius Priscus. Many others
also perished as a result of this same charge of phi*
losophizing, and all remaining members of that pro*

1 An error of the excerptor. The Lygians lived north of Mooti*.

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, ^ ^- ^?^^ fession were again driven from Eome. One Juventius

r (a. u. 846) °

Celsus, however, who had been conspicuous in conspir-
ing with certain persons against Domitian and had
been accused of it, saved his life in a remarkable way*
When he was on the point of being condemned, he
begged that he might speak a few words with the em-
peror in private. Having gained the opportunity he
did obeisance before him and after repeatedly calling
him ** master,^' and ** god '^ (terms that were already
being applied to him by others) , he said : * * I have done
nothing of the sort. And if I obtain a respite, I will
pry into everything and both inform against and con-
vict many persons for you. ^ ' He was released on these
conditions, but did not report any one; instead, by ad-
vancing different excuses at different times> he lived
until Domitian was killed.
— 14— During this period the road leading from Sinuessa
(a. u. ' 848) to Puteoli was paved with stones. And the same year
Domitian slew among many others Flavins Clemens
the consul, though he was a cousin and had to wife
Flavia Domitilla, who was also a relative of the em-
peror's.^ The complaint brought against them both
was that of atheism, under which many others who
drifted into Jewish ways were condemned. Some of
these were killed and the remainder were at least de-
prived of their property. Domitilla was merely ban-
ished to Pandateria; but Glabrio, colleague of Trajan
in the consulship, after being accused on various regu-
lar stock charges, and also of fighting with wild beasts,

1 Hifl sister's daughter.

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A. D. 95

(a. u. 848)



suffered death. This ability in the arena was the chief
cause of the emperor ^s anger against him,— an anger
prompted by jealousy. In the victim ^s consulship
Domitian had summoned him to Albanum to attend the
so-called Juvenalia and had imposed on him the task
of killing a large lion. Glabrio not only had escaped all
injury but had despatched the creature with most
accurate aim.

As a consequence of his cruelty the emperor was
suspicious of all mankind and ceased now to put hopes
of safety in either the f reedmen or the prefects, whom
he usually caused to be tried during their very term
of office. Moreover, Epaphroditus, who belonged to
Nero, he first drove out and then slew, censuring him
for not having defended Nero; his object was by the
vengeance that he took in this person *s case to terrify
his own f reedmen long enough in advance to prevent
their ever attempting a similar deed. It did h\m no
good, however, for he became the object of a conspiracy
in the following year and perished in the consulship of
Gaius^ Valens (who died after holding the consular
office in his ninetieth year) and of Gains Antistius.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 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 10 of 24)