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 14 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 14 of 24)
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their country seats and houses. As might have been
expected, then, he set up in his forum images for
many who were dead and many still alive. No one of
his associates, moreover, displayed insolence nor sold
aught that he should pronounce or perform^ as the
Caesarians and other attendants in the suite of em-
perors have made it their custom to do.

This is a kind of preface, of a summary nature, »8—
that I have been giving in regard to his character.



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A. D. 117 I shall also touch upon all the details that require

{a. u. 870) . ^ ^


IThe Alexandrians had been rioting and nothing would make them
stop until they received a letter from Hadrian rebuking them. So true
it is that an emperor's word has more power than force of arms.

(t' ?.' 871) ^ coming to Eome he canceled debts owing to the
imperial treasury and to the public treasury of the
Romans, setting a limit of sixteen years, from which
and as far back as which this provision was to be ob-
served. On his own birthday he gave a spectacle to
the people free of charge, and slaughtered numbers
of wild beasts,— one hundred lions and a like number
of lionesses biting the dust on this one occasion. Gifts,
likewise, he brought about by means of balls both in
the theatres and in the hippodrome, one lot for the men
and one lot for the women. Indeed, he had also com-
manded them to battle separately.

This, then, was what happened that year. Euphrates
the philosopher also died a death of his own choos-
ing; and Hadrian assented to his drmking hemlock
in consideration of his extreme age and sickliness.
—9— Hadrian went from one province to another, visiting
the districts and cities and observing all the garrisons
and fortifications. Some of these he removed to more
desirable locations, some he abolished, and he founded
some new ones. He personally oversaw and investi-
gated absolutely everything, not merely the usual ap-
purtenances of camps,— I mean weapons and engines
and ditches and enclosures and palisades, — but also
the private affairs of each one, and the lives, the dwell-



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ings and the characters both of the men serving in the a. d. lis
organization, and of the commanders themselves.
Many cases of too delicate living and equipment he
harmonized with military needs and reformed in vari-
ous ways. He exercised the men in every variety of
battle, honoring some and reproving others. He
taught all of them what they ought to do. And to
make sure that they should obtain bene^t from ob-
serving feim, he led everywhere a severe existence and
walked or rode horseback on all occasions. Never at
this period did he enter either a chariot or a four-
wheeled vehicle. He covered his head neither in heat
nor in cold, but alike in Celtic snows and under scorch-
ing Egyptian suns he went about with it bare. In '^' ^- U^

^ ""^^ (a. u, 872)

fine, so thoroughly by action and exhortations did he
train and discipline the whole military force through-
out the whole empire that even now the methods then
introduced by him are the soldiers* law of campaign-
ing. This best explains why he lived for the most
part at peace with foreign nations. As they saw what
support he had and were victims of no injustice, but
instead received money, they made no uprising. So
excellently had his soldiery been trained, that the cav-
alry of the so-called Batavians swam the Ister with
their heavy armor on. Seeing this the barbarians
stood in terror of the Eomans, and turning their at-
tention to their own affairs^ they employed Hadrian
as an arbitrator of their differences.
He also constructed theatres and held games as he — lo—

1 Reading M (Dindorf) instead of ^c/>^



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ia V* 872) t^^^^l^ about from city to city, dispensing, however^
with the imperial paraphernalia. This he never used
outside of Borne. His own country, though he did her
great honor and bestowed many proud possessions on
her, he nevertheless did not set eyes upon.

He is said to have been enthusiastic over hunting.

Indeed, he broke his collar-bone in this pursuit and

came near losing a leg. And to a city that he founded

A. D. 121 in Mysia he gave the name of Adrianotherae. How-

(o. «. 874) ^^^^^ j^^ ^^ ^^^ while so occupied, leave undone any of

the duties pertaining to his office. Of his enthusiasm
for hunting his horse Borysthenes, which was his fav-
orite steed for the chase, gives us an indication.
When the animal died, he prepared a tomb for him,
set up a slab, and placed an inscription upon it Hence
it i« scarcely surprising that when Plotina died, the
woman through whom he had secured the imperial
office, and who was passionately in love with him, he
honored her to the extent of wearing mourning gar-
ments for nine days, building a temple to her, and com-
posing several hymns to her memory.

tWhen Plotina was dead, Hadrian praised her and said: "Though
she asked much of me, she was never refused anght." By this he surely
meant to say: ^ Her requests were of such a character that they neither
burdened me nor afforded me any justification for saying no."

He was so skillful in hunting that once he brought
down a huge boar with a single blow.
—11— Q^ reaching Greece he became a spectator at the
_ _^ Mysteries.

A. D. 122

(a. u. 876) After this he passed through Judsea into Egypt and



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offered sacrifice to Pompey, about whom lie is said to ,^- ^- ]22
have nttered this verse:

strange lack of tomb for one with shrines o'erwhelmed 1 1

And he restored his monument, which had fallen to
min. In Egypt also he restored the so-called City of
Antinous. Antinons was from Bithynimn, a city of
Bithynia which we also call Claadioupolis ; he had been
a favorite of the emperor and had died in Egypt,
either by falling into the Nile, as Hadrian writes, or,
as is more probably the truth, by being offered in sac-
rifice. For Hadrian, as I have stated, was in general ^
a great dabbler in superstitions and employed divina-
tions and incantations of all kinds. Accordingly, he
honored Antinous either because of his love for him
or because he had voluntarily submitted to death (it
being necessary that a life be surrendered voluntarily
for the accomplishment of the ends he had in view),
by building a city on the spot where he had suffered
this fate and naming it after him: and he further set
up likenesses, or rather sacred statues of him, practi-
cally all over the world. Finally, he declared that he
had seen a star which he assumed to belong to An-
tinous, and gladly lent an ear to the fictitious tales
woven by his associates to the effect that the star had
really come into being from the spirit of Antinous and
had then appeared for the first time. On this account
he became the object of some ridicule [as also because
at the death of his sister Paulina he had not immedi- (a.' u\ 886)
ately paid her any honor. . . •]

1 Compare Appian, Civil Wars, Book Two, chapter 86 (also Spar-
tianus, 14, 4).

VOL. 5—15 225


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""^t;. In Jemsalem he founded a city in place of the one

Am mJ» 133

(a. II. 886) razed to the ground, naming it JBlia Capitolina, and on
the site of the temple of the god he raised a new temple
to Jupiter. This brought on a war that was not slight
nor of brief duration, for the Jews deemed it intoler-
able that foreign races should be settled in their city
and foreign religious rites be planted there. While
Hadrian was close by in Egypt and again in Syria, they
remained quiet, save in so far as they purposely made
the weapons they were called upon to furnish of poorer
quality, to the end that the Bomans might reject them
and they have the use of them. But when he went
farther away, they openly revolted. To be sure, they
did not dare try conclusions with the Bomans in the
open field, but they occupied advantageous positions
in the country and strengthened them with mines and
walls, in order that they might have places of refuge
whenever they should be hard pressed, and meet to-
gether unobserved under ground; and in these subter-
ranean passages they sunk shafts from above to let in

^18— air and light. At first the Bomans made no account
of them. Soon, however, all Judsea had been up-
heaved, and the Jews all over the world were showing
signs of disturbance, were gathering together, and
giving evidence of great hostility to the Bomans,
partly by secret and partly by open acts ; many other
outside nations, too, were joining them through eager-
ness for gain, and the whole earth, almost, waa becom-
ing convulsed over the matter. Then, indeed, did
Hadrian send against them his best generals, of whom



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Julius Severus was the first to be despatched, from ,^- ^- H^,

^ ^ {a, u. 886)

Britain, of which he was governor, against the Jews.
He did not venture to attack his opponents at any one
point, seeing their numbers and their desperation, but
by taking them in separate groups by means of the
number of his soldiers and his under-offioers and by
depriving them of food and shutting them up he was
able, rather slowly, to be sure, but with comparatively
little danger, to crush and exhaust and exterminate
theuL Very few of them survived Fifty of their —in-
most important garrisons and nine hundred and eighty-
five of their most renowned towns were blotted out.
Fifty-eight myriads of men were slaughtered in the
course of the invasions and battles^ and the number of
those that perished by famine and disease and fire
was past all investigating. Thus nearly the whole of
JudsBa was made desolate, an event of which the people
had had indications even before the war. The tomb
of Solomon, which these men regarded as one of their
sacred objects, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed
and many wolves and hyenas rushed howling into their

Many Romans, moreover, perished in the war.
Wherefore Hadrian in writing to the senate did not
employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the
emperors: ** If you and your children are in health,
it shall be well: I and the armies are in health.'^

Severus^ he sent into Bithynia, which needed no force ^ d. i34(^)
of arms but a governor and presiding officer who was

iNot the same person as is mentioned in the previous chapter.



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A. D. i34(T) jijgt aj^^ prudent and had a reputation. All these
qualifications Severus possessed And he managed
and administered both their private and their public
affairs in such a way that we^ are still, even to-day,
wont to remember him. [Pamphylia in place of
Bithynia was given into the jurisdiction of the senate
and the lot]
— 15 — This, then, was the ending that the war with the Jews
took. A second war was started among the Alani
(they are MassagetaB) by Pharasmanes. On Albanis
and Media he inflicted severe injury and then laid hold
on Armenia and Cappadocia, after which, as the Alani
were on the one hand persuaded by gifts from Volo-
gsesus and on the other stood in dread of Flavins Arri-
anus, the governor of Cappadocia, he stopped.
[Envoys were sent from Vologaesus and from the
lazygae; the former made some charges against
Pharasmanes and the latter wanted to confirm the
peace. [T]* introduced them to the senate and was
empowered by that body to return appropriate
answers; and accordingly he prepared and read to
them his responses.]
— 16— Hadrian completed the Olympieum in Athens, in
which his own statue also stands, and consecrated
there a serpent, which was brought from India. He
also presided at the Dionysia, the greatest office within
the gift of the people, and arrayed in the local costume
carried it through brilliantly. He allowed the Greeks,

1 1, e,, " we natives of Bithynia *' (Dio's country).
3 It is impossible to determine, from the date of this fragment^
whether the subject should be Hadrian or Antoninus Pius.



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too, to build his sepulchre (called the Panellenium), ^ ^- ^^^<^>

and instituted a series of games to be connected with

it; and he granted to the Athenians large sums of

money, annual com distribution, and the whole of

Cephallenia,— Among various laws that he enacted

was one to the effect that no senator, either personally

or through the medium of another, should have any tax

farmed out to him. After he had come to Rome, the (^ ^'^ HI)

crowd at a spectacle shouted their request for the

emancipation of a certain charioteer: but he replied

by means of a writing on a board : * * It is not right for

you either to ask me to free another *s slave or to force

his master to do so/*

He now began to be sick, having suffered even before — 17 —
this from blood gushing from his nostrils: this flow
now grew very much more copious, so that he despaired
of his life. Consequently, he appointed as Caesar for
the Romans Lucius Commodus, although this man f re^
quently vomited blood. Servianus and his grandson a. d. 136
Fuscus, the former a nonagenarian and the latter
eighteen years of age, were put to death on the ground
that they were displeased at this action. Servianus
before being executed asked for fire, and as he offered
incense he exclaimed : *' That I am guilty of no wrong,
ye, Gods, are well aware: and as for Hadrian I
pray only this, that he may desire to die and not be
able. * * And, indeed, Hadrian did come to his end only
after often praying that he might expire and often feel-
ing a desire to kill himself. There is in existence also
a letter of his which lays stress on this very matter,



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it u! 889) showing what a dreadful thing it is for a man to desire
to die and not he ahle. This Servianus had been by
Hadrian deemed capable of filling the imperial office.
He had once at a banquet told his friends to name for
him ten men who were competent to be sole rulers, and
then after a moment's pause, had added : '^ I want to
know nine : I have one already, Servianus.*'

— 18— Other excellent men, also, had come to light during
that period, of whom the most distinguished were
Turbo and Similis, who, indeed, were honored with

Turbo was a man of great qualities as a general,
who had become prefect (or commander of the Pre-
torians). He committed no act of luxury or haughti-
ness, but lived like one of the multitude: the entire day
he spent in proximity to the palace and often he would
go there even shortly before midnight, when some of
the others were beginning to sleep. A characteristic
anecdote is that which brings in the name of Cornelius
Fronto, at this time reputed to be the foremost Boman
advocate in lawsuits. One evening very late he was
returning home from dinner and ascertained from a
man whose counsel he had promised to be that Turbo
was holding court. Accordingly, just as he was, in his
dress for dinner, he went into his courtroom and
greeted him not with the morning salutation, / wish
you joy, but with that belonging to the evening, / trust
your health continues good.

Turbo was never seen at home in the daytime even
when he was sick; and to Hadrian, who advised him to
remain quiet, he replied: *' The prefect ought to die
on his feet"



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Similis, who was of greater age and more advanced ~i^~

JL, iJ, 13o

rank, in character was second to none of the great men, (a. w. 889)

I think. Very slight things may serve ns as evidence.

When he was centurion, Trajan had summoned him to

enter his presence before the prefects, whereupon he

said: '* It is a shame for you, Caesar, to be talking with.

a centurion, while the prefects stand outside. '^ And

he took unwillingly at that time the conmiand of the

Pretorians, and after taking it resigned it. Having

with difficulty secured his release he spent the rest of

his life, seven years, quietly in the country, and upon

his tomb he had this inscription placed: ^'Similis lies

here, who existed so-and-so many years, but lived for


1[ Julius ( t) Fabius ( t), not being able to endure his (—23—)
son's effeminacy, desired to throw himself into the

Hadrian became consumptive as a result of the ^^T^g
great loss of blood, and that led to dropsy. And as it (a. u. 89i)
happened that Lucius Commodus was suddenly re-
moved from the scene by the outgushing of a large
quantity of blood all at once^ he convened at his house
the foremost and most renowned of the senators; and
lying on a couch he spoke to them as follows : *' I, my
friends, was not permitted by nature to secure off-
spring, but you have made it possible by l^gal enact-
ment There is this difference between the two ways,—
that a begotten son turns out to be whatever sort of
person Heaven pleases, whereas one that is adopted a
man takes to himself because he chooses just that sort
of being. Thus in process of nature a maimed and



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A. D. 138 senseless creature is often given to a parent, but by
process of voluntary decision one of sound body and
sound mind is certain to be selected. For this cause
I formerly chose out Lucius from among all, a person
of such attainments as I could never have prayed to
find in a child. But since the Heavenly Power has
taken him from among us, I have found an emperor in
his place whom I now give you, one who is noble, mild,
tractable, prudent, neither young enough to do any-
thing reckless nor old enough to neglect aught,— one
brought up according to the laws, who has held posses-
sion of authority according to his country *s traditions,
so that he is not ignorant of any matters pertaining to
his office, but can handle them all effectively. I refer
to Aurelius Antoninus here. Although I know him to
be the most retiring of men and to be far from desiring
any such thing, still I do not think that he will de^
liberately disregard either me or you but will accept
the office even against his will. ' '

So it was that Antoninus became emperor. Since he
was destitute of male children, Hadrian adopted for
him Commodus's son Commodus and, moreover, be-
sides the latter, Marcus Annius Verus ; for he wished to
appoint those who were afterwards to be emperors for
as long a time ahead as possible. (This Marcus Annius,
earlier named Catilius, was a grandson of Annius
Verus who had thrice been consul and prefect of the
city.) And though Hadrian urged Antoninus to adopt
them both, he preferred Verus on account of his kin-
ship and his age and because he already exhibited an
extremely strong cast of mind. This led him to apply


— 21 —


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to the young man the name Verissimns, with a play ,^- ^- l^f.
upon the meaning of the Latin word.

By certain charjns and species of magic Hadrian was — 2a —
relieved of the water, but shortly was full of it again.
Since, therefore, he was constantly growing worse and
might be said to be slowly perishing day by day, he
began to long for death. Often he would ask for poison
and a sword, but no one would give them to him. As
no one would obey him, although he promised money
and immunity, he sent for Master, an lazygian bar-
barian that had become a captive, whom he had em-
ployed in hunts on account of his strength and daring.
Then, partly by threatening him and partly by making
promises, he compelled the man to undertake the duty
of killing him. He drew a colored line around a spot
beneath the nipple that had been shown him by Herimo-
genes the physician, in order that he might there be
struck a finishing blow and perish painlessly. But
even this plan did not succeed, for Master became
afraid of the project and in terror withdrew. The em-
peror lamented bitterly the plight in which the disease
had placed him and bitterly his powerlessness, in that
he was not able to make away with himself, though he
might still, even when so near death, destroy anybody
else. Finally he abandoned his careful regimen and
through using unsuitable foods and drinks met his
death, saying and shouting aloud the popular saying:
' * Many physicians have ruined a king. * *

He had lived sixty-two years, five months and nine- _28—
teen^ days, and had been emperor twenty years and

iSerenteen, aooording to the oommon tradition.



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A. D. 138 eleven months. He was buried near the river itself,
close to the Julian bridge ; that was where he had pre-
pared his tomb, for the one belonging to Augustus was
full and no other body was deposited there.

This emperor was hated [by the people, in spite of
his excellent reign] on account of the early and the late
murders, since they had been unjustly and impiously
brought about. Yet he had so little of a bloodthirsty
disposition that even in the case of some who took
pains to thwart him he deemed it sufficient to write to
their native lands the bare statement that they did not
please him. And if any man who had children was ab-
solutely obliged to receive punishment, still, in propor-
tion to the number of his children he would also lighten
the penalty imposed. [Notwithstanding, the senate
persisted for a long time in its refusal to vote him di-
vine honors, and in its strictures upon some of those
who had committed excesses during his reign and had
been honored therefor, when they ought to have been

Aft«r Hadrian's death there waa erected to him a huge equestrian
statue representing him with a four-horse team. It was so large that
the bulkiest man could walk through the eye of each horse, yet because
of the extreme height of the monument persons passing along on the
ground below are wont to think that the hones themselyet as weU as
Hadrian are Tery smalL



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Antoninus Pins, ineeeeding by adoption, effects the deification
of Hadrian (cliapter 1).

The cognomen Pins is bestowed npon Antoninns by the senate
(chapter 2).

He showed little hosti&ty toward the Christians: was carefnl
in trifles: met a qniet death in old age (chapter 3).

Earthquake that damaged Bithynia, the Hellespontine region,
and especially Cyricns (chapter 4).

He is compared with Huma: his gentleness and kindlinesa
(chapter 5).

He was intent npon justice, not upon enlarging the empire:
hence the barbarians brought their quarrels to him to settle
(chapters 6, 7).


Camerinus, Niger. (A. D. 138 = a. u. 891 =; First of Ant<K
ninusy from July 10th.)

Antoninus Pius Aug. (II), Bruttius Pnesens. (A. D. 139=^
a. u. 892 =^ Second of Antoninus.)

Antoninus Pius Aug. (IH), Aurelius Csssar (11). (A. D.

140 ==? a. u. 893 =; Third of Antoninus.)

K. Peducseus Sylloga Priscinus, T. Hoenius Severus. (A. D.

141 =; a. u. 894 =? Fourth of Antoninus.)

£. Cuspius Buflnus, £. Statins Quadratus. (A. D. 142 = a. u.
895 == Fifth of Antoninus.)

C. Bellicius Torquatus, lib. Claudius Atticus Herodes. (A. B.
143 =3 a. u. 896 = Sixth of Antoninus.)

Ayitus, Haximus. (A. B. 144 :=^ a. u. 897 = Seventh of An*

Antoninus Piiu Aug. (IV ), K. Aurelius Caesar (II). (A. B.
146 =? a. u. 898 = Eighti^ of Antoninus.)

Sex. Erucius Clams (11), Cn. Claudius Severus. (A. B. 146
=3 a. u. 899 = Ninth of Antoninus.)

Largus, Hessalinus. (A. B. 147 = a. u. 900 = Tenth of An-

I. Torquatus (III), C. lulianus Veins. (A. B. 148=:a. iu
901 = Eleventh of Antoninus.)


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Sergini Sdpio Orlltni, Q. Nonins Prisoni. ( A. D. 149 = a. v.
802 =: Twelftli of Antoniniu.)

Gallioanns, Vetnt. (A. D. 150 = a. a. 903 = Thirteenth of

Quintilins Condianiu^ Quintiliiis Haximiu. (A. D. 161 =
a. u. 904 =^ Fourteenth of Antoninus.)

K.' Aoilius Glabrio, U. Valeriui Eomullus. (A. D. 152?=
a. u. 905 ==? Fifteenth of Antoninus.)

C. Bruttius Frsesens, A. luniiu Eufinui. (A. D. 153 = a. u.
906 == Sixteenth of Antoninus.)

£. 2:1. Aurelius Commodus, T. Sextiiu Lateranus. (A. D. 154
= a. u. 907 = Seventeenth of Antoninus.)

C. lulius Severus, U. Eufinius Sabinianus. (A. D. 155 = a. u.
908 = Eighteenth of Antoninus.)

U. Ceionius Silvanus, C. SeiiuA Augrurinus. (A. D. 156 =
a. u. 909==? Nineteenth of Antoninus.)

Barbaras, Eegulus. (A. D. 157 = a. u. 910 = Twentieth of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 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 14 of 24)