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 11 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 11 of 24)
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Those who attacked him and prepared the undertaking — 15 —
were Parthenius his cubicularius (though he was the
recipient of such marks of imperial favor as to be
allowed to wear a sword) and Sigerus,* who was also
a member of the excubiae, as well as Entellus, the per-
son entrusted with the care of the state documents, and

1 An error, possibly emanating from Dio. The man's right name is
T, ManliuM Vaient.

9 Probably the person who is called Saturius in Suetonius, Domitian,
chapter 17.


A. D. M
(a. u. 849)


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. ^ ^- ^a. Stephanus, a freedman. The plot was not unknown to

(a. u. 849) *^ ^ ^

Domitiay the emperor's wife, nor to the prefect Nor-
banus, nor to the latter 's partner in oflSee, Petronius
Secundus : at least, this is the tradition. Domitia was
ever an object of the imperial hatred and consequently
stood in terror of her life ; the rest no longer loved their
sovereign, some of them because complaints had been
lodged against them and others because they were ex-
pecting th&oQ. to be lodged. For my part, I have heard
also the following account,— that Domitian, having
become suspicious of all these persons^ conceived a
desire to kill them, and wrote their names on a two-
leaved tablet of linden wood, and put it under his
pillow on the couch where he was wont to repose; and
one of the naked prattling* boys, while the emperor was
asleep in the daytime, filched it away and kept it with-
out knowing what it contained. Domitia then chanced
upon it and reading what was written gave informa-
tion of the matter to those involved. As a result^
they changed their plans somewhat and hastened the
plot; yet they did not proceed to action until they had
determined who was to succeed to the oflSce. Having
conversed with various persons, when they found that
no one would accept it (everybody was afraid of them,
thinking that they were simply testing people's loy-
alty) they betook themselves to Nerva. He was of
most noble birth and most suitable character and had,
besides, encountered danger through being slandered
by astrologers [who declared that he should be sover-

1 Compare Book Forty-eight, chapter 44.



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eign]. Thus they the more easily persuaded him to a. D. m

{a. u. 849)

be the next to receive the power. In truth, Domitian,
who conducted an investigation of the days and the
hours when the foremost men had been bom^ had con-
sequently ere this despatched not a few even of those
who entertained no hopes of gaining any power.^ And
he would have slain Nerva, had not one of the astrolo-
gers who favored the latter declared that he would die
within a few days. [Believing that this would really
prove true, he did not desire to be guilty of this addi-
tional murder, inasmuch as Nerva in any event was
to meet death so very soon.]

Since no occurrence of such magnitude is without — 16—
previous indications, various unfavorable tokens ap-
peared in his case, too. In a vision he himself beheld
Busticus approaching him with a sword; and he
thought that Minerva, whose statue he kept in his bed-
chamber, had thrown away her weapons and, mounted
upon a chariot drawn by black horses, was being swal-
lowed up in an abyss. But the feature which of all
claims our wonder is connected with the name of Lar-
ginus Proculus. He had publicly foretold in Germany
that the emperor should die on the day when he actually
did die, and was, therefore, sent on to Rome by the
governor. Brought before Domitian he declared once
more that this should be so. A death sentence was
postponed in order that he might be put to death after
the emperor had escaped the danger. Meanwhile
Domitian was slain, his life was saved, and he received

^ As the HS. tradition of this sentenoe is corrupt, the emendations of
Polak have been adopted.



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A. D. 06 a hundred thousand denarii from Nerva. Some one

(a. u. 849)

else had on a previous occasion told the ruler both
when and how he should perish, and then being asked
what manner of death he, the prophet, should meet, he
answered that he would be despatched by dogs. There-
upon command was given that the fellow should be
burned alive, and the fire was applied to him. But
just then there was a great downpour of rain, the pyre
was extinguished, and later dogs found him lying upon
it with his hands bound behind him and tore him to

—17— I have one more astonishing fact to record, which I
shall touch on after I have given the account of Domi-
tian^s end. As soon as he rose to leave the court-
house and was ready to take his afternoon nap, as was
his custom, first Parthenius took the blade out of the
sword, which always lay under his pillow, so that he
should not have the use of that Next he sent in
Stephanus, who was stronger then the rest The latter
smote Domitian, and though it was not an opportune
blow the emperor was knocked to the ground, where
he lay. Then, fearing an escape, Parthenius leaped in,
or, as some believe, he sent in Maximus, a f reedman.
Thus both Domitian was murdered, and Stephanus
perished likewise in a rush that those who had not
shared in the conspiracy made upon him.

— 18 — The matter of which I spoke, saying that it surprises
me more than anything else, is this. A certain Apollo-
nius of Tyana on the very day and at that very hour
when Domitian was being murdered (this was later



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confirmed by other events that happened in both a. d. 06

^ (a. u. 849)

places) climbed a lofty stone at Ephesns (or possibly
some other town) and having gathered the populace,
uttered these words: ^* Bravo, Stephanus! Good,
Stephanus ! Smite the wretch ! You have struck, you
have wounded, you have killed him!! ^' This is what
really took place, though there should be ten thousand
doubters. Domitian had lived forty-four years, ten
months, and twenty-six days. His reign had lasted
fifteen years and five days. His body was stolen away
and buried by his nurse, Phyllis.



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VOL. 5 — 12 177


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Koft of Domitian't meafaret are anniilled (oliapter 1).

The ezoellenoiei of Herra Angnitiis C«iar: hit kindneii to
Verginiiu (chapter 2).

The conspiracy of Craesoi: rebellion of the Pretorians: adop-
tion of Trajan (chapter 3.)

Birthplace and praiee of Trajan: Herva diet (chapter 4).

How Trajan entered npon hit soTcreignty (chapter 5).

He nndertakes a war againit Decebalni, proving himself for-
midable to the latter bnt worthy the affection of his own people
(chapters 6, 7).

He oonqners the Dacians and holds a trinmph over them
(chapters 8-10).

A second war against the Dadanf (chapters 11, 12).

Hew Trajan saddled the Dannbe with a stone bridge (chap-
ter 18).

With the disappearance from the scene of Decebalns the
Dacians are rednced to the condition of a province: Arabia is
taken (chapter 14).

Embassies: the Pontine marshes filled: statues to the well-
deserving: the column of Trajan (chapters 15, 16).

Campaign against the Parthians on account of the expulsion
of Ezedares from Armenia and the introduction there of Partho-
masiris (chapters 17, 18).

Parthomasiris gains access to Trajan and Armenia is taken
away from him (chapters 19, 20).

How Abgarus the Osrhoenian obtained pardon from Trajan
(chapter 21).

About the envoys of Hannus and Kanisarus sent to Trajan
(chapter 22).

Trajan is named Optimus, and, after the capture of Hisibis
and Batns, Parthicus (chapter 23).

About the huge earthquake at ibitioch (chapters 24, 25).

After the bridging of the Tigris he reduces Adiabene, Meso-
potamia, and Ctesiphon (chapters 26-28).

He loses and regains several districts: he bestows a king upon
the Parthians (chapters 29, 30).

He besieges the Atreni without result (chapter 31).


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The Tews in Cyrene, Egypt, vid Cypnu rebel, and are cra&lied,
chiefly throngh tlie aotivity of Lnrius (chapter 32).

The Parthians oast out tiie king imposed npon them: Trajan
dies (chapter 33).


C. Hanlins Valens, C. Antistins Yetns. (A. D. 96 = a. n.
849=: First of Nerva, from Sept. 18th).

Nerva C»s. Ang. (m), L. Yerginins Enfns (m). A. D.
87 =: a. n. 850 = Second of Nerva.)

Nerva C»s. Ang. (IV), Nerva Traianns C»s. (11). (A. D.
98 =: a. n. 861 = Third of Nerva, to Tannary 27th.)

C. Sosins Seneeio (IE), A. Comelins Palma. (A. D. 99 = a. n.
852 =: Second of Trajan.)

Nerva Traianns Ang. (m), Sex. Inl. Frontinns (III) . (A. D.

100 = a. n. 853 = Third of Trajan.)

Nerva Traianns Ang. (IV), Sex. Articnleins Pstns. (A. D.

101 = a. n. 854 = Ponrth of Trajan.)

C. Sosins Seneeio (m), L. licinins Snra (11). (A. D. 102 ==
a. n. 855 =i Fifth of Trajan.)

Nerva Traianns Ang. (V), Q. Hessins Haximns (11). (A. D.
103 ==: a. n. 856 = Sixth of Trajan.)

Snbnranns (IE), P. Neratins Uarcellns. (A. D. 104=; a. n.
857 = Seventh of Trajan.)

Ti. Inlins Candidns (11), A. Inlins Qnadratns (11). (A. D.
105 = a. n. 858 =< Eighth of Trajan.)

L. Ceionins Commodns Vems, L. Cerealis. (A. D. 106 =: a. n.
859 =: Ninth of Trajan.)

C. Sosins Seneeio (IV), I. Licinins Snra (m) . (A. D. 107 =
a. n. 860 = Tenth of Trajan.)

Ap. Trebonins Oallns, H. Atilins Bradna. (A. D. 108 = a. n.
861 =Eleventh of Trajan.)

A. Comelins Palma (11), C. Calvisins Tnllns (11). (A. D.
109 = a. n. 862 = Twelfth of Trajan.)

Clodins Priscinns, Solenns Orfitns. (A. D. 110 =: a. n. 863 =
Thirteenth of Trajan.)

C. Calpnmins Piso, H. Vettins Bolanns. (A. D. Ill =:a. u.
864 = Fonrteenth of Trajan.)


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Nerva Traianut Aug. (VI), C. Inliiu Africanns. (A. D. 112
= a. u. 865 = Fifteenth of Trajan.)

L. CeLrai (11), Clodini Criflpinns. (A. D. 113 = a. n« 866=s
Sixteenth of Trajan.)

Q. Ninnini Easta, P. Hanilius Yopiioni. (A. D. 114 = a. n.
867 =3 Seventeenth of Trajan.)

L. Vipsanini Hessala, K. Pedo Yirgilianni. (A. D. 115 =
a. n. 868 = Eighteenth of Trajan.)

L. JElins Lamia, iElianni Vetns. (A. D. 116 = a. n. 869 =
Nineteenth of Trajan.)

Qninctins Niger, C. Vipsanini Apronianns. (A. D. 117=3
= a. n. 870 =; Twentieth of Trajan, to Ang. 11th.)


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After Donutian, the Bomanfl appointed Nerva Coo- — i—

A, D. 96

oeius emperor. The hatred felt for Domitian caused (a. u, 849)
his images, many of which were of silver and many of
gold, to be melted down; and from this source large
amounts of money were obtained. The arches, too,
of which more had been erected to the late emperor
than previously to any one man^ were torn down.
Nerva also released sudi as were on trial for maiestaa
and restored the exiles. All the slaves and freedmen
that had conspired against their masters he put to
death, and allowed that dass of persons to lodge no
complaint whatever against their masters. Others
were not permitted to accuse anybody for maiestas or
for * * Jewish living. ^ ^ Many who had been sycophants
were condemned to death, among whom was Seras
. . }j the philosopher. Now, as a quite extraordi-
nary disturbance arose from the fact that everybody
was accusing everybody else, Fronto, the consul, is said
to have remarked that it was bad to have an emperor
under whom no one could do anything, but worse to
have one under whom any one could do everything.
Nerva, on hearing this, prohibited the future recur-
rence of such scenes. But Nerva, as a result of old
age and sickness (which was always making him vomit
his food), was rather weak.

He also forbade gold statues being made in his — «—
honor. He paid back to such as under Domitian had

1 The name is suspicious and possibly a corrupt reading.



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been causelessly deprived of their property all that
was still found in the imperial treasury. To the very
poor Romans he granted allotments of land worth in
the aggregate fifteen httAdred myriads, and put certain
senators in charge oftneir purchase and distribution.
When he ran short of funds he sold many robes and
plate, both silver and gold, besides furniture, both his
own and what belonged to the imperial residence, many
fields and houses,— in fact, everything save what was
quite necessary. He did not, however, haggle over the
prices of them, and in this very point benefited many
persons. He abolished many sacrifices, many horse-
races, and some other spectacles, in an attempt to re-
duce exi)enses as far as possible. In the senate he
took oath that he would not cause the death of any of
the senators and he kept his pledge in spite of plots.
And he did nothing without the advice of prominent
men. Among his various laws were those prohibiting
any one from being made a eunuch and from marrying
one^s niece. When consul he did not hesitate to take as
his colleague Verginius Rufus, though the latter had

A. D. 97 been frequently saluted as emperor.^ Upon his monu-
ment was inscribed when he died : * * Having conquered
Vindex he ascribed the credit of victory not to himself
but to his country.*^

_.8— Nerva ruled so well that he once remarked: ** I have
done nothing that could prevent me from laying down
the imperial office and returning to private life in

iCk>mpare Book Sixty-three, chapter 25 of Dio, and also Tacitus,
EiMtoruB 1, 9.
s Compare also Pliny's Letters, Book Six, number 10.



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safety.** When Crassus Calpumius, a grandson of /^ J^'^o)
the famous Crassi, formed a plot with some others
against him, he made them sit beside him at a spectacle
— they were still ignorant of the fact that they had
been informed upon — and gave them some swords,
nominally to look at and see if they were sharp (as was
often done), but really by way of showing that he did
not care if he died that moment where he was.

jElianus Casperius, who was governor under him as
he had been under Domitian, and had become one of
the Pretorians, incited the soldiers to mutiny against
him; his plan was to have them demand some persons
for execution. Nerva resisted them stoutly, even to
the point of baring his collar-bone and offering them
his throat: but he accomplished nothing and those
whom -^liaaus wished were put out of the way.
Wherefore Nerva, subjected to such profound humilia-
tion because of his old age, ascended the Capitol and
cried aloud: **To the good fortune of the Roman
people and senate and myself I adopt Marcus Ulpius
Nerva Trajan.**

Subsequently in the senate he designated him Caesar
and sent a message to him^ written with his own hand
(Trajan was governor of Germany) :

" The Danaans by thy weapons shall requite my tears." i

Thus did Trajan become Caesar and afterwards em- — 4—
peror, although there were relatives of Nerva. But
the man did not esteem family relationship above
the safety of the State, nor was he less inclined to

1 From Homer's Iliad, Book One, verse 42.



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A. D. 97
(a. u. 850)


adopt Trajan because the latter was a Spaniard instead
of an Italian or Italiot,* or because no foreigner had
previously held the Roman sovereignty. It was a per-
son *8 virtue and not his country that he thought needed
A. D. 98 Soon after this act he passed away, having ruled
during the period of one year, four months and nine
days. His life prior to that time^ had comprised
sixty-five years, ten months, and ten days.
-. 5 — Trajan, before he became emperor, had had a dream
of the following nature. He thought that an old man
in purple robe and vesture, moreover adorned with a
crown, as the senate is represented in pictures, im-
pressed a seal upon him with a finger ring, first on the
left side of his throat and then on the right. When he
had been made emperor, he sent a despatch to the
senate written with his own hand, whidi stated, among
other things, that he would not slay nor dishonor any
man of worth. This he confirmed by oaths not merely
at that time but also later.

He sent for j^lianus and the Pretorians who had

mutinied against Nerva, pretending that he was going

to employ them in some way, and relieved the world of

their presence. When he had entered Rome he did

. ^' ^* n^«v much toward the administration of state affairs and to

(a. u. 852)

please the excellent. To the former business he gave
unusual attention, making many grants even to Italian
cities for the support of their children, and to good citi-

1 Dio means by Italian one bom in Italy, by Italiot one who setUea
in Italy,
a Reading itpotfitfittixtt ( Boisseyain ) .



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zens he did continual favors. Plotina, his wife, on first ^' ^' ^^

(«. «. 852)

going into the palace turned around so as to face* the
Scalae and the populace, and said : ** My wish is to issue
hence the same sort of person as I am now when I
enter/* And she so conducted herself during the
entire sovereignty as to incur no censure.

[IF The ambassadors who came from the kings were (—15—)
given seats by Trajan in the s^iatorial row at

After spending some time in Borne he instituted a aTd Too
campaign against the Dacians; for he made their deeds <<»• ^ ^^3)
the object of thought and was irritated at the amount
of money they were aonually getting. He likewise
saw that their power and their pride were increas-
ing. Decebalus, learning of his advance, was fright-
ened, since he well knew that formerly he had con-
quered not the Romans but Domitian, whereas now
he would be fighting against both Romans and Trajan
as emperor.

And Trajan had a great reputation for justice, for
bravery, and for simple living. He was strong in body
(being in his forty-second year when he b^an to rule)
[so that in every enterprise he toiled almost as much
as the rest;] and his intellectual powers were at their
highest, so that he had neither the recklessness of
youth nor the sluggishness of old age. He did not
envy nor kill any one, but honored and exalted all with-
out exception that were men of worthy and hence he
neither feared nor hated one of them. To slanders
he paid very little heed and was no slave of anger. He



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it' u' l^) ^®'™^^ equally from the money of others and frwn
—7— unjust murders. He expended vast sums on wars and
vast sums on works of peace; and while making very
many most necessary repairs on roads and harbors and
public buildings, he drained no one's blood for these
undertakings. His nature was so noble and magnani-
mous that even upon the hippodrome he merely in-
scribed the statement that he had made it suitable for
the Roman people when it had crumbled away in spots,
and had rendered it larger and more beautiful. For
these deeds he was better satisfied to be loved than
honored. His meetings with the people were marked
by affability and his intercourse with the senate by
dignity. He was loved by all and dreaded by none save
the enemy. He joined people in hunting and banquets,
and in work and plans and jokes. Often he would
make a fourth in somebody's litter, and sometimes he
would enter persons' houses even without a guard and
make himself at home. He lacked education in the
exact sense, — book-learning, at least,— but he both
understood and carried out its spirit, and there was
no quality of his that was not excellent I know well
enough that he was given to wine and boys, but if he
had ever committed or endured any base or wicked
deed as a result of this, he would have incurred cen-
sure. As the case stood, he drank all the wine he
wanted, yet remained sober, and his pursuit of peder-
asty harmed no one. And even if he did delight in
war, still he was satisfied with success in it,— with
overthrowing a most hostile element and bettering his
own side. Nor did the usual thing under sudi circum-



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stances.— conceit and arrogance on the part of the ,^ ^' i^o

' ^ ° ^ {a, u, 853)

soldiers,— ever manifest itself during his reign; with
such a firm hand did he rule them. For these reasons
Decebalus was somewhat justified in fearing him.

When Trajan, in the course of his campaign against —8^
the Dacians had come near Tapai, where, the barbar-
ians were encamping, a large mushroom was brought
to him, on which it said in Latin characters that the
Buri and other allies advised Trajan to turn back and
make peace. At Trajan's first encounter with the foe
he visited many of the wounded on his own side and
killed many of the enemy. And when the bandages
gave out, he is said not to have spared even his own
clothing, but to have cut it up into strips. In honor
of the soldiers that had died in battle he ordered an
altar erected and the performance of funeral rites

[IF Decebalus had sent envoys also before the defeat, — 9—
and no longer the long-haired men, as before, but the
chief among the cap-wearers.^ These threw down their
arms and casting themselves upon the earth begged
Trajan that if possible Decebalus himself be allowed to
meet and confer with him, promising that he would do
everything that might be commanded ; or, if not, that at
least some one should be despatched to agree upon
terms with him. Those sent were Sura and Claudius
Livianus, the prefect ; but nothing was accomplished,

1 Latin, pileaii. The distinction drawn is that between the plebeians
and the nobles, to whom reference is made respectively by die terms
** unshorn " and " coTered." Compare here the make up of the Mar-
comanian embassy in Book Seventy-two^ chapter two.



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{ti ?.' 8&3) ^^^ Decebalns did not dare even to come near theoL
He sent representatives also on this occasion.

Trajan had now seized some fortified mountains and
on them f onnd the arms and the captured eugines, as
well as the standard which had been taken in the time

it", u! 8M) ^^ Fuscus. Undertaking to ascend the Heights them-
selves, he secured one crest after another amid daagers
and approached the capital of the Dacians. Lusius,
attacking in another quarter, slaughtered numbers
and captured still more alive. Then Decebalus sent

DecebaluSy for this reason, and particularly because
Maximus at the same time had possession of his sister
and a strong position, was ready to agree without ex-
ception to every demand made. It was not that he
intended to abide by his agreement, but he wanted to
secure a respite from his temporary reverses.] So,
though against his will, he made a compact to sur-
render his arms, engines, and manufacturers of en-
gines, to give back the deserters, to demolish his
forts, to withdraw from captured territory, and further-
more to consider the same persons enemies and friends
as the Romans did [besides neither giving shelter to
any of the deserters,* nor employing any soldiers from
the Roman empire, for he had acquired the largest and
best part of his force by persuading them to come from
that quarter]. When he came into Trajan's presence,
he fell upon the earth and did obeisance [and cast away
his arms. He also sent envoys to the senate to secure

1 Reading abrofi6Xiftv rtvd (Boiseeraiii).


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these terms, in order that he might have the further ,^' ^- ^^^

(a. u. 854)

ratification of the peace by that body. At the conclu-
sion of this compact the emperor left a camp in Sar-
mizegethusa, and, having placed garrisons at intervals
through the remainder of the territory, returned to

The envoys from Decebalus were introduced in the — lo —
senate. They laid down their arms, clasped their hands („; ^[ gse)
in the posture of captives, and spoke some words of
supplication; thus they obtained peace and received
back their arms. Trajan celebrated a triumph and was
given the title of Dacicus ; in the theatre he had contests
of gladiators, in whom he delighted, and he brought
back dancers once more to the theatre, being in love
with one of them, Pylades. However, he did not pay
less attention to general administration, as might have
been expected of a warlike personage, nor did he hold
court the less : on the contrary, he conducted trials now
in the forum of Augustus, now in the porch named the
Porch of Livia, and often elsewhere on a platform.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 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 11 of 24)