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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 12 of 24)
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And since Decebalus was reported to him to be act-
ing in many ways contrary to the treaty, since he was
gathering arms, receiving such as deserted, repairing
the forts, sending ambassadors to the neighbors, and
injuring those who had previously differed with him,
since also he was devastating some land of the lazygse
(which Trajan later would not give back to them when
they asked for it), therefore, the senate voted that he
was again an enemy. And Trajan again conducted the
war against him, commanding in person and not repre-
sented by others.

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a"d^io4 f^® numerous Dadans kept transferring their al-
io, u. 867) legiance to Trajan, and for certain other reasons, De-
cebalus again requested peace. But since he could not
be persuaded to surrender both his arms and himself,
he proceeded openly to collect troops and called the
surrounding nations to his aid, saying that if they
deserted him they themselves would come into danger
and that it was safer and easier by fighting on his side
to preserve their freedom, before suffering any harm,
than if they should allow his people to be destroyed
and then later be subjugated when bereft of allies.]
And Decebalus in the open field came off poorly, but by
craft and deceit he almost compassed the death of
Trajan. He sent into Mcesia some deserters to see
whether they could make away with him, inasmuch as
the emperor was generally accessible, and now, on ac-
count of the needs of warfare, admitted to conference
absolutely every one who desired it But this plan they
were unable to carry out, since one of them was ar-
rested on suspicion and, under torture, revealed the
entire plot.
— 18-. Longinus was the commandant of the Roman camp
who had made himself a terror to the Dacian leader
in warfare. The latter, therefore, sent him an invita-
tion and persuaded him to meet him, on the pretext
that he would perform whatever should be enjoined.
He then arrested him and questioned him publicly
about Trajan's plans. As the Roman would not yield
at all, he took him about with him under guard, though
not in bonds. And [Decebalus sending an envoy to

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TrajaHy asked that he might get back the territary as ^ ^- ^^*
far as the Ister and receive indemnity for all the money
he had spent on the war,] in recompense for restoring
Longinus to him. An ambiguous answer was returned,
of a kind that would not make Decebalus think that the
emperor regarded Longinus as of either great value or
small, the object being to prevent his being destroyed
on the one hand, or being preserved on excessive
terms, on the other. So Decebalus delayed, still con-
sidering what he should do.

Meanwhile Longinus, having [through his f reedman]
secured a poison [ — he had promised Decebalus that he
would reconcile Trajan to the proposition, in order that
the Dacian should be as far as possible from suspect-
ing what was to happen, and so not keep an especially
careful watch over him. Also, to enable his servant to
attain safety, he wrote a letter containing a supplica-
tion, and gave it to the freedman to carry to Trajan.
Then, when he had gone, at night he took the poison,]
drank it and died. [After this event Decebalus asked
Trajan to give him back his freedman, promising to
give him in return the body of Longinus and ten cap-
tives. He sent at once the centurion who had been cap-
tured with the dead general, assuming that this man
would arraoge the matter for him ; and it was from the
centurion that the whole story of Longinus was learned.
However, Trajan neither sent him back, nor surren-
dered the freedman, deeming his safety more valuable
for establishing the dignity of tiie empire than the
burial of Longinus.]

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A^h^i04 ^^^9 Trajan constructed over the Ister a stone
(a. I*. 867) bridge, for which I cannot snflSciently admire him. His
other works are most brilliant, but this surpasses them.
There are twenty square pieces of stone, the height of
which is one hundred and fifty feet above the founda-
tions and the breadth sixty, and these, standing at a
distance of one hundred and seventy feet from one to
another, are connected by arches. How then could one
fall to be astonished at the expenditure made upon
them? Or the manner in which each of them was
placed in a river so deep, in water so full of eddies, on
ground so slimy 7 It was impossible, you note, to divert
the course of the river in any direction. I have spoken
of the breadth of the river; but the stream is not uni-
formly so limited, since it covers in some places twice
and elsewhere thrice as much ground, but the narrow-
est point, and the one in that region most adapted to
bridge-building, has just those dimensions. Yet the
very fact that the river here shrinks from a great flood
to such a narrow channel and is here confined, though
it again expands into a greater flood, makes it all the
more violent and deep ; and this feature must be con-
sidered in estimating the diflSculty of preparing a
bridge. This achievement, then, shows the greatness
of Trajan's designs, though the bridge is of no
particular use to us. Merely the piers are standing,
aflfording no means of crossing, as if they were erected
for the sole puri>ose of demonstrating that there is
nothing which human energy can not accomplish. Tra-
jan's reason for constructing the bridge was his fear

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that* some time when the Ister was frozen, war might ^^ ^' l^^

, (a. u, B67)

be made on the Romans across the water, and his de-
sire to enjoy the easy access to them that this work
would i)ermit. Hadrian, on the contrary, was afraid
that the barbarians might overpower the gaard at the
bridge and cross into Moesia, and so he removed the
surface work.

Trajan, having crossed the Ister on this bridge, con- — 14 —
ducted the war with prudence, rather than with haste, (a. u! 858)
and eventually, after a hard struggle, vanquished the
Dacians. In the course of these encounters he person-
ally performed many deeds of good generalship and
bravery, and his soldiers ran many risks and displayed
great prowess on his behalf. It was here that a certain
horseman, dangerously wounded, was carried from the
battle on the supposition that he could be healed; but,
when he found that he could not recover^ he rushed
from his quarters (since his hurt had not incapacitated
him) and stationing himself in the line again he per-
ished, after having displayed great valor. Decebalus,
when his capital and all his territory had been occupied a. d. io6
and he was himself in danger of being captured, com-
mitted suicide, and his head was brought to Rome.

In this way Dacia became subject to Rome and Tra-
jan founded cities there. The treasures of Decebalus
were also discovered, though hidden beneath the Sar-
getia river, which ran past his palace. He had made
some captives divert the course of the river and had
then excavated its bed. There he had placed a large
amount of silver and of gold and other objects of great
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A ^* Ik^\ value, that could endure some moisture, had heaped

(O. U. 859) ' ' ^

stones over them and piled on earth. After that he had
let the river flow over theuL The same captives were
compelled to deposit his robes and other similar objects
in neighboring caves ; and when he had effected this,
he made away with them to prevent their talking. But
Bicilis, a comrade of his, who knew what had been
done, was seized and gave this information.— About
this same time, Palma, who was governor of Syria,
subdued the portion of Arabia, near Petra, and made it
subservient to the Romans.

— 16 — Upon Trajan *s return to Rome the greatest imagin-
(o.' u! 860) able number of embassies came to him from the bar-
barians, even the Indi being represented. And he gave
spectacles on one hundred and twenty-three days.
At these affairs thousands, yes, possibly tens of thou-
sands of animals, both wild and tame, were slaugh-
tered, and fully ten thousand gladiators fought in
combat.

IfAbout the same period he made the Pontine
marshes traversable by means of a stone foundation,
and built roads alongside, which he furnished with
most magnificent bridges.— All the obsolete money he
had melted down.

(— 5 — ) [If He had sworn not to commit bloodshed and he con-
firmed his promise by his actions in spite of plots. He
was by nature not at all given to duplicity or guile or
harshness. He loved and greeted and honored the good,
and the rest he neglected. His age made him still more

— 15 — inclined to mildness.] When Licinius Sura died, he be-

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stowed upon him a public funeral and a statue. This ^' ^- ^?I

(€k u. 860)

man had attained such a degree of wealth and pride
that he built a gymnasium for the Romans. So great
was the friendship and confidence [which Sura showed
toward Trajan and Trajan toward him that although
the man was often slandered,— as naturally happens in:
the case of all those who possess any influence with the
emperors,— Trajan never felt a mementos suspicion or
hatred. On the contrary, when those who envied him
became insistent, Trajan] went [uninvited to his house]
to dinner. And having dismissed his whole body-guard
he first called Sura's physician and had him anoint his
eyes and then his barber shave his chin. Anciently the
emperors themselves as well as all other people used
to do this. It was Hadrian who first set the fashion of
wearing a beard. When he had done this, he next took
a bath and had dinner. So the next day he said to his
friends who were always in the habit of making states
ments detrimental to Sura: ** If Sura had wanted to
kill me, he would have killed me yesterday.*' Now he
did a great thing in running this risk in the case of a
man who had been calumniated, but a still greater thing
in believing that he would never be harmed by him.

So it was that the confidence of his mind was strengthened by his own
knowledge of his dealings with Sura instead of being influenced by the
fancies of others.

Indeed, when he first handed to him^ who was to be
prefect of the Pretorians the sword which the latter
was required to wear by his side, he bared the blade,
and holding it up said: ^^ Take this sword, to the end

iSaburanus. (!)

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(^ ^' 860> *^* ^ ^ ^® ^^^' y^^ °^y ^^^ ^* ^^^ °^^^ ^^* ^ ^^

against me/'

He also set up images of Sosia and Palma and Cel-
sns,^ — so greatly did he esteem them above others.
Those, however, who conspired against him (among
whom was Crassus) he brought before the senate and
caused to be punished.
i^' ^' lil Again he gathered collections of books. And he set

(o. u, oo7)

up in the Forum an enormous column, to serve at once
as a sepulchral monument to himself and as a reminder
of his work in the Forum. The whole region there was
hilly and he dug it down for a distance equaling the
height of the column, thus making the Forum level.

Next he made a campaign against the Armenians
and Parthians on the pretext that the Armenian king^
had obtained his diadem not at his hands but from the
Parthian king.' His real reason, however, was a desire
to win fame. [On his campaign against the Parthians,
when he had reached Athens, an embassy from Osrhoes
met him asking for peace and proffering gifts. This
king had learned of his advance and was terrified be-
cause Trajan was wont to make good his threats by
deeds. Therefore he humbled his pride and sent a
supplication that war be not made against him: he
asked Armenia for Parthomasiris, who was likewise a
son of Pacorus, and requested that the diadem be sent
to him. He had put a stop, he said, to the reign of
Exedares, who was beneficial neither to the Romans
nor to the Parthians.

1 L, Pia>lil%u9 CehuB.
i^Oarhota.

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The emperor neither received the gifts, nor sent any
answer or command, save that friendship is determined
by deeds and not by words ; and that accordingly when
he should reach Syria he would do what was proper.
And being of this mind he proceeded through Asia,
Syria, and adjoining provinces to Seleucia, Upon his
coming to Antioch, Abgams the Osrhoenian did not
appear in person, but sent gifts and a friendly com-
munication. For, as he dreaded both him and the Par-
thians, he was trying to play a double game and for
that reason would not come to confer with him.]

ir[Lusius Quietus was a Moor, himself a leader of the
Moors> and had belonged to^ a troop in the cavalry.
Condemned for base conduct he was temporarily re-
lieved of his command and dishonored.^ But later, when
the Dacian war came on and the army stood in need of
the Moorish alliance, he came to it of his own accord
and gave great exhibitions of prowess. For this he
was honored, and in the second war performed far
greater and more numerous exploits. Finally, he ad-
vanced so far in bravery and good fortune during this
war which we are considering that he was enrolled
among the ex-praetors, became consul, and governed
Palestine. To this chiefly was due the jealousy and
hatred felt for him, and his destruction.] Now when
Trajan had invaded the hostile territory, the satraps
and kings of that region approached him with gifts.
One of these gifts was a horse taught to do obeisance.
It would kneel with its front l^gs and place its head
beneath the feet of whoever stood near.

iSome puEzlinff corruption in the MS.
s Probably in tiie dajrs of Bomitian.

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A. D. 114
(a. u. 867)



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— 1© — Parthomasiris behaved in rather violent fashion. In

A. D. 114

(a. M. 867) his first letter to Trajan he had signed himself as king,
but when no answer came to his epistle, he wrote again,
omitting this title, and asked that Marcus Junius, the
governor of Cappadocia, be sent to him, implying that
he wanted to prefer some request through him. Trajan,
accordingly, sent him the son of Junius, and himself
went ahead to Arsamosata, of which he took possession
without a struggle. Then he came to Satala and re-
warded with gifts Anchialus, the king of the Heniochi
and Machelones. At Elegeia in Armenia he awaited
Parthomasiris. He was seated upon a platform in the
trenches. The prince greeted him, took off his diadem
from his head, and laid it at his feet. Then he stood
there in silence, expecting to receive it back. At this
the soldiers shouted aloud, and hailed Trajan impera-
tor as if on account of some victory. (They termed
it an uncrowned,* bloodless victory to see the king, a
descendant, of Arsaces, a son of Pacorus, and a nephew
of Osrhoes, standing beside Trajan without a diadem,
like a captive.) The shout terrified the prince, who
thought that it heralded insult and destruction for him.
He turned about as if to flee, but, seeing that he was
hemmed in on all sides, begged as a favor not to be
obliged to speak before the crowd. Accordingly, he
was escorted into the tent, where he had none of his
—20— wishes granted. So out he rushed in a rage, and from
there out of the camp, but Trajan sent for him, and
again ascending the platform bade him speak in the

1 Reading d<riXtvov (Bekker) =" without the parsley crown " (such
as was bestowed upon victors in some of the Greek games).

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hearing of all everything that he desired. This was '^- ^' HI

° "^ ° (a. u. 867)

to prevent any person from spreading a false report
through ignorance of what had been said in private
conference. On hearing this exhortation Parthoma-
siris no longer kept silence, but with great frankness
made many statements, some of them being to the
effect that he had not been defeated or captured, but
had come there voluntarily, believing that he should
not be wronged and should receive back the kingdom,
as Tiridates had received it from Nero. Trajan made
appropriate replies to all his remarks and said that
he should abandon Armenia to no one. It belonged
to the Romans and should have a Roman governor.
He would, however, allow Paxthomasiris to depart to
any place he pleased. So he sent the prince away to-
gether with his Parthian companions and gave them
an escort of cavalry to ensure their meeting no one
and adopting no rebellious tactics. All the Armenians
who had come with him he commanded to remain where
they were, on the ground that they were already his
subjects.]

When he had captured the whole country of Armenia ^^ ^® ""^
and had won over also many of the kings, some of
whom, since they submitted, he treated as his friends,
and others, though disobedient, he subdued without
resort to arms, the senate voted to him many honors —23—
of various descriptions, and they bestowed upon him
the title of Optimus, i. e., Excellent. — He was always
accustomed to trudge on foot with his entire army and
he had the ordering and arrangement of the troops

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(a.' « ' 867) throughout the entire expedition, leading thOTi some-
times in one order and sometimes in another; and he
forded as many rivers as they did. Sometimes he even
had his scouts circulate false reports, in order that
the soldiers might at the same time practice military
manoeuvres and be so impervious to alarm as to be
ready for anything. After he had captured Nisibis
and Batnae he was given the title of Parthicus. But
he took greater pride in the name of Optimus than in
all the rest, inasmuch as it belonged rather to his
character than to his arms.

—21— [Leaving garrisons at opportune points Trajan
came to Edessa^ and there for the first time he set eyes
upon Abgarus. Previously this person had sent en-
voys and gifts to the prince frequently, but he himself
for different reasons at different times failed to put
in an appearance. The same was true also of Mannus,
the phylarch of adjoining Arabia, and Sporaces, phy-
larch of Anthemusia. On this occasion, however, he
was persuaded partly by his son Arvandes, who was
beautiful and in the prime of youth and therefore on
good terms with Trajan, and partly by the fear of the
latter 's presence near by; consequently he met him
on the road, made his apologies, and obtained pardon.
He had a powerful intercessor in the boy. Accord-
ingly, he became a friend of Trajan *s and entertained
him with a banquet. At the dinner in question he pre-
sented his boy in some kind of barbaric dance.]

— M - [When Trajan came into Mesopotamia, Mannus
sent a herald to him, and Manisarus despatched envoys

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in regard to peace, because, he said, Osrhoes was mak- ,^- ^- Hi

. . {a. u. 867)

iDg a campaign against him, and he was ready to with-
draw from Armenia and Mesopotamia so far as cap-
tured. Thereupon the emperor replied that he would
not believe him until he should come to h\m and con-
firm his offers by deeds, as he was promising. He was
also suspicious of Mannus, especially because the lat-
ter had sent an auxiliary force to Mebarsapes, king
of Adiabene, and then had lost it all at the hands of
the Romans. Therefore Mannus never waited for the
Romans to draw near but took his course to Adiabene
to find shelter with the other two princes. Thus were
Singara and some other points occupied by Lusius,
without a battle.]
While he was staying in Antioch, a dreadful earth- .— ^rr

A* iJ. 115

quake occurred. Maay cities were damaged, but Anti- («. «. 8«8)
och was most of all unfortunate. Since Trajan was
wintering there and many soldiers and many private
persons had flocked thither from all directions for law-
suits, embassies, business, or sightseeing, there was no
nation nor people that went unscathed. Thus in Anti-
och the whole world under Roman sway suffered dis-
aster.

There were many thunderstorms to start with and
portentous winds, but no one could have expected that
so many evils would result from them. .First came,
on a sudden, a great bellowing roar, and there followed
it a tremendous shock. The whole earth was up-
heaved and buildings leaped into the air. Those that
were lifted up collapsed and were smashed to pieces,

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A. D. 115 while others were beaten this way and that as if by the

(a. u. 868)

surges and were turned about The wrecks were
strewn a long distance over the countryside. The
crash of grinding and breaking timbers, tiles, and
stones together became most frightful, and an incon-
ceivable mass of dust arose^ so that no one could see
any person nor say or hear anything. Many persons
were hurt even outside the houses, being picked up and
tossed violently about, and then with a momentum as
in a fall from a cliff dashed to the earth. Some were
maimed, others killed. Not a few trees leaped into
the air, roots and alL

The number of those found in the houses who per-
ished was beyond discovery. Multitudes were de-
stroyed by the very force of the collapse and crowds
were suffocated in the debris. Those who lay with a
part of their bodies buried under the stones or tim-
bers suffered fearful agony, being able neither to live
nor to find an immediate death.
- 85— Nevertheless many even of these were saved, as waa
natural in such overwhelming numbers of people*
And those outside did not all get off safe and sound*
Numbers lost their legs or their shoulders and some
. . . their . . . heads. Others vomited blood*
One of these was Pedo the consul, and he died at once.
In brief, there was no form of violent experience that
those people did not undergo at that time. And as
Heaven continued the earthquake for several days and
nights, the people were dismayed and helpless, some
crushed and perishing under the weight of the build-
ings pressing upon them, and others dying of hunger

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in case it chanced that by the inclination of the timbers ,^ ^- HI.

•' (a. u. ooo)

they were left alive in a clear space, it might be in a
kind of arch-shaped colonnade. When at last the
trouble had subsided, some one who ventured to mount
the ruins caught sight of a live woman. She was not
alone but had also an infant, and had endured by feed-
ing both herself and her child with her milk. They
dug her out and resuscitated her together with her
offspring, and after that they searched the other heaps
but were no longer able to find in them any living
creature save a child sucking at the breasts of its
mother, who was dead. As they drew out the corpses
they no longer felt any pleasure at their own escape.

So great were the disasters that had overwhelmed
Antioch at this time. Trajan made his way out
through a window of the room where he was. Some
being of more than human stature had approached him
and led him forth, so that he survived with only a few *
small bruises. As the shocks extended over a number
of days, he lived out of doors in the hippodrome.
Casium itself, too, was so shaken that its peaks seemed
to bend and break and to be falling upon the dty. Other
hills settled, and quantities of water not previously
in existence came to light, while quantities more es-
caped by flowing away.

Trajan about spring time proceeded into the enemy 's — 26 —
country. Now since the region near the Tigris is bar-
ren of timbers fit for shipbuilding, he brought the boats
which had been constructed in the forests surrounding
Nisibis on wagons to the river. The vessels had been
arranged in such a way that they could be taken apart

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A. D. 115 and put together. He had very hard work in bridg-
ing the stream opposite Mount Carduennm, for the
opposing barbarians tried to hinder him. Trajan,
however, had a great abnndance of both ships and
soldiers, and so some boats were fastened together
with great speed while others lay motionless in front
of them, carrying heavy infantry and archers. Still
others kept making dashes this way and that, as if they
intended to cross. As a result of these tactics and
from their very astonishment at seeing so many ships
at once appear en masse from a land devoid of treea
the barbarians gave way and the Romans crossed over.


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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 12 of 24)