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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 16 of 24)
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perceiving that they were being pursued, awaited the
foe's onset, expecting easily to overcome them, since
their opponents were not accustomed to ice. Accord-
ingly, some of the barbarians dashed straight at them,
while others rode around to attack the flanks, for their

2 See Galen, On Antidotes, Book Two, chapter 17, and On Theriac
(to Piso), chapter 2.

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horses were trained to mn safely even over a surface ^RP^^ ^>
of this kind. The Bomans, seeing this, were not
alarmed, but made a close formation, placing them-
selves so as to face all of them at once. The majority
laid down their shields and resting one foot upon them,
so that they might slip less, received the enemy's as-
sault. Some seized bridles, others shields and spear-
shafts, and drew them towards them. Then, becoming
involved in close conflict, they knocked down both men
and horses, for on account of their momentum the
enemy could not help slipping. The Romans also
slipped down : but in case one of them fell on his back
he dragged his adversary down on top of him and then
by winding his legs about him as in a wrestling match
would get him underneath; and if one fell on his face,
he made his opponent fall before he did, also on his
face. The barbarians, being unused to a contest of
this sort, and having lighter equipment, were unable to
resist, so that but few escaped out of a large force.

[Envoys were also sent to Marcus by the lazyges,
requesting peace, but they did not obtain any. For
Marcus, knowing their race to be untrustworthy, and,
furthermore, because he had been deceived by the
Quadi, wished to annihilate them absolutely.* The
Quadi had not only made alliances at this tune with
the lazyges, but previously, too, were wont to receive
in their own land Marcomanian fugitives who might be
hard pressed, while that tribe was at war with the
Romans. Nor did they do aught else that they had
agreed, for they did not restore all the captives, but

1 Reading i^eXetv (Boissevain) in place of the MS. i^tXetXv.

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A.D.i72( ?) only a few, and these were such as they could not sdl

I 173 (?) "^ ' .

nor use for any work as helpers. And whenever they
did give back any of those in good condition, they
would keep their relatives at home in order that the
men given up might desert again to join their friends.
They also expelled their king, Furtius, and on their
own responsibility made Ariogaesus king instead.
Consequently the emperor did not confirm him, since
he had not been legally installed, nor renew tiie treaty
of peace, though they promised to return fifty thousand
captives if he would.]
— 14— [Against Ariogaesus Marcus was so bitter that he
issued a proclamation to the effect that any one who
would bring him alive should receive a thousand gold
pieces, and any one who killed him and exhibited his
head, five hundred. Yet in other cases this emperor
was always accustomed to treat even his most stubborn
foes humanely; for instance, he did not kill, but merely
sent to Britain Tiridates, a satrap who roused a tumult
in Armenia and the person who slew the king of the
Henioehi and then held the sword in Verus's^ face,
when the latter rebuked him for it. This, then, shows
the extent of his irritation against Ariogsesus at the
time. However, when the man was later captured he
did him no harm, but sent him away to Alexandria.]
_3_ So Marcus made the Marcomani and lazyges sub-
^' ^' 027 ^ servient by a series of great struggles and dangers. A
great war against the so-called Quadi also fell to his lot
and it was his good fortune to win an unexpected vic-
tory, or rather it was given him from Heaven. At a

I p. MarHu9 Verut.
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time when the Bomans had nm into danger in the bat- a. d. 174

{a. u. 927)

tie the Heavenly Power most unexpectedly saved them.
The Qnadi had surronnded them at an opportune spot
and the Bomans were fighting valiantly with their
shields locked together: and the barbarians ceased
fighting, expecting to capture their enemies easily by
heat and thirst. So they posted guards all about and
hemmed them in to prevent their getting water any-
where, for the barbarians were far superior in num-
bers. The Bomans fell into dire distress from their
fatigue and wounds and the sxm's heat and their thirst,
and for these reasons could neither fight nor march in
any direction but were standing and being scorched in
line of battle and at their several posts, when suddenly
numbers of clouds rushed together and a great rain,
certainly of divine origin, came pouring down. Indeed,
there is a story that Amouphis, an Egyptian wizard,
who was a companion of Marcus, invoked by means of
enchantments various deities and in particular Mer-
cury, god of the air, and by this means attracted the
rain.

This is what Dio says about it, but he seems to be — 9—
telling an untruth, whether voluntarily or involun-
tarily ; I am more inclined to think it is voluntarily. It
surely must be so, for he was not ignorant of the fact
that one company of the soldiers had the special name
of The Thunderbolt *' (he mentions it in the list along
with the rest),* and this was due to no other cause (nor

iTbe reference is evidently to Book Fifty-five, chapter 23, but it

Bhould be observed that the names, though very possibly having the

same sense, are not identical. The legion is here called xepaouo^dko^

(= Fulminatrix or Fulminata) but in 65, 23 xtpawo^6po^ (=Ful-

minifera).

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A ^' Hi. is any other reported) save that event which gave rise

(a. u. 927) ^ r / o

to the title in this very war,— an event which enabled
the Bomans to survive on this occasion and brought de-
stmction upon the barbarians. It was not Amouphis,
the wizard, for Marcus is not accounted to have taken
pleasure in the company of wizards and charms. But
what I have reference to is as follows : Marcus had a
company (and the Boman name for company is ** le-
gion ' ') of soldiers from Melitene. They were all wor-
shipers of Christ. Now it is stated that in that battle,
when Marcus was in a quandary over having been sur-
rounded and feared the loss of his whole army, the
prefect approached him and said that those called
Christians can accomplish anything whatever by their
prayers, and that among them there chanced to be a
whole company of this sect Marcus, on hearing this,
made an appeal to them to pray to their God- And
when they had prayed, the God immediately gave
ear, hurling a thunderbolt upon thfe enemy and encour-
aging the Bomans with rain. Marcus was astounded
at what happened and honored the Christians by an
official decree, while the legion he named ** The Thun-
derbolt." It is said also that there is a letter of Mar-
cus extant on this matter. But the Greeks, though they
know that the company was called *' Thunderbolt*'
and bear witness to the fact themselves, make no state-
ment whatever about the reason for the appellation.
— 10— Dio goes on to say that when the rain poured down
at first all bent their faces upwards and received it in
their mouths. Then some held their shields and some
their helmets as pails, and they themselves took full-

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mouthed draughts of it and gave their horses to drink. A ^- ^^f

(a. 14. 927)

The barbarians making a diarge upon them, they drank
and fought at the same time; and some who were
wounded gulped down together the water and the blood
that flowed into their helmets. The most of them had
given so much attention to drinking that they would
have suffered some great damage from the enemy's
onset had not a violent hail and numbers of thunder-
bolts fallen upon the latter 's ranks. In the same spot
one might see water and fire descending from Heaven
at the same time : the one side was being drenched and
drinking, the other was being burned with fire and
dying. The fire did not touch the Romans, but if it fell
anywhere among them it was straightway extinguished.
On the other hand, the shower did the barbarians no
good, but like oil served rather to feed the flames that
fed on them, and they searched for water while in the
midst of rain. Some wounded themselves in the at-
tempt to put out the fire with blood, and others ran
over to the side of the Romans, convinced that they
alone had the saving water. Marcus finally took pity
on theuL He was for the seventh time saluted as
imperator by the soldiers. And although he was not
wont to accept any such honor before the senate voted
it,* nevertheless this time he took it under the assump-
tion that it was bestowed from Heaven, and he sent a
despatch to that effect to the senate.— Moreover Faus-
tina was named ^' Mother of the Legions."

When Pertinax in consideration of his brave exploits — m —
obtained the consulship, there were nevertheless some 176( t)

1 Cp. Momiii8eii9 Btaa*9re6hi, is, p. 123 (ot I^ p. 124) ; also ni, p.
1108.

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A. D. 174 (?) who showed displeaBure at the fact that he was of
obscure family, and quoted the line from tragedy:

"Such things the wretched war brings in its train."!

They did not know that he should yet be sovereign.
— 15 — [At the request of the Marcomani, as expressed by

A.D.i76( ?) ^jj^jj^ envoys and in view of the fact that they had fol-
lowed all the injunctions laid upon them, even if sul-
lenly and hesitatingly, he released to them one half of
the adjoining territory, so that they could settle for a
distance of about thirty-eight stades^ from the Ister,
and established the places and the days for their
meeting together (these had not been previously de-
termined), and he exchanged hostages with them.]
— le— [The lazyges, also, when they had experienced re-

{a. u. 928) verses, came to an agreement, Zanticus himself appear-
ing as suppliant before Antoninus. Previously they
had imprisoned Banadaspus, their second king, for
making proposals to him. Now, however, all the f or^
most men came in company with Zanticus and made the
same compact as that accepted by the Quadi and the
Marcomani, except in so far as they were required' to
dwell twice as far away from the Ister as those tribes.
It was his wish to root them out utterly. That they
were still strong at this time and could have done the
Eomans great harm is evident from the fact that they
gave back one hundred thousand captives out of a body
in which many had been sold, many were dead, and
many had run away and been recaptured. They sup-

1 From Euripides^ The Suppliants^ verse 119.

2 Or five miles.

8 Reading ijfieXXov (Boissevain) .

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plied Antoninus at once with a cavalry force of eight ,^- ^- ilf ,
thonsand allies, fifty-five hundred of whom he sent to
Britain.]

[The revolt of Cassius and Syria forced Marcus —17 —
Antoninus, even contrary to his wishes, to come to
terms with the lazyges. He was so upset at the news
that he did not even communicate to the senate the
basis of the reconciliation made with them, as he was
wont to do in all other cases.]

Upon the rebellion of Cassius in Syria, Marcus, in (—22—)
great alarm, summoned his son Commodus from Bome,
since he was now able to enter the ranks of the iuvenes.
Now Cassius, who was a Syrian from Cyrrhus, had
shown himself an excellent man and the sort of person
one would desire to have as emperor: only he was
a son of one Heliodorus,* who had been delighted to
secure the governorship of Egypt as a result of his
oratorical skill. But in this uprising he made a ter-
rible mistake, and it was all due to his having been de-
ceived by Faustiua. The latter, who was a daughter
of Antoninus Pius, seeing that her husband had fallen
ill, and expecting that he might die at any moment, was
afraid that the imperial office might revert to some out-
sider and she be left in private life ; for Commodus was
both young and rather callow, besides. So she secretly
induced Cassius to make preparations to the end that
if anything should happen to Antoninus he might take
both her and the sovereignty. Now while he was in «.23 —
this frame of mind, a message came that Marcus was

IC. Avidiua Heliodarua (q>. Book Sixty-nine, chapter 3).

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^ ^' il?v dead (in such circmustances reports always make mat-

(o. «. 928) ^ ^ ''

ters worse than they really are) and immediately, with-
out waiting to confirm the rumor, he laid claim to the
empire on the ground that it had been bestowed upon
him by the soldiers at this time quartered in Pannonia.
And in spite of the fact that before long he learned the
truth, nevertheless, since he had once made a move, he
• would not change his attitude but speedily won over
the whole district bounded by the Taurus, and was
making preparations to maintain his ascendancy by
war. Marcus, on being informed of his uprising by
Verus, the governor of Cappadocia, for a time con-
cealed it; but, as the soldiers were being mightily dis-
turbed by the reports and were doing a deal of talking,
he called them together and read an address of the
following nature :
—84— *' Fellow-soldiers, I have not come before you to ex-
press indignation, nor yet in a spirit of lamentation.
Why rage against Fate, that is all-powerful T But
perchance it is needful to bewail the lot of those who
are undeservedly unfortunate, a lot which is now mine.
Is it not afficting for us to meet war after wart Is it
not absurd to be involved in civil conflict? Are not
both these conditions surpassed in affliction and in
absurdity by the proof before us that there is naught
to be trusted among mankind, since I have been plotted
against by my dearest friend and have been thrust into
a conflict against my will, though I have committed no
crime nor even error? What virtue, what friendship
shall henceforth be deemed secure after this experi^

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«nce of minef Has not faith, has not hope perished? ^ ^- ^|
If the danger were mine alone, I should give the matter
no heed,— I was not bom to be immortal,— but since
there has been a public secession (or rather obsession)
and war is fastening its clutches upon all of us alike^^ I
should desire, were it possible, to invite C^^ius here
and argue the case with him in your presence or in the
presence of the senate; and I would gladly, without a
contest, withdraw from my office in his favor, if this
seemed to be for the public advantage. For it is on
behalf of the public that I continue to toil and undergo
dangers and have spent so much time yonder outside
of Italy, during mature manhood and now in old age
and weakness, though I can not take food without pain
nor get sleep free from anxiety.

** But since Cassius would never be willing to agree —20 —
to this (for how could he trust me after having shown
himself so untrustworthy towards met), you, at least,
fellow-soldiers, ought to be of good cheer. Cilicians,
Syrians, Jews and Egyptians have never proved your
superiors nor shall so prove, even if they assemble in
numbers ten times your own, whereas they are now by
the same proportion inferior. Nor yet would Cassiua
himself now appear worthy of any particular consid-
eration, however much he may seem to possess the
qualities of generalship, however many successes he
may seem to have gained. An eagle is not formidable
at the head of an army of daws, nor a lion command-
ing fawns; and it was not Cassius, but you, that
brought to an end the Arabian or the famous Parthian
War. Again, even though he is renowned as a resxdt
of his achievements against the Parthians, yet you

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^' ^' 9281 ^^^ Verus, who has won more victories than he and
has acquired more territory in a not less, but more
distinguished manner. — But probably he has already
changed his mind, on hearing that I am alive, for
surely he has done this on no other assumption than
that I was dead And if he resists still further, yet
when he learns that we are approaching, he will surely
hesitate both out of fear of you and out of respect for
me.

— M— << There is only one thing I fear, fellow-soldiers (you
shall be told the whole truth), and that is that he may
either kill himself because ashamed to come into our
presence, or some one else upon learning that I shall
come and am setting out against him may do it. Then
should I be deprived of a great prize both of war and
of victory, and of a magnitude such as no human being
ever yet obtained. What is this? Why, to forgive a
man that has done you an injury, to remain a friend
to one who has transgressed friendship, to continue
faithful to one who has broken faith. Perhaps this
seems strange to you, but you ought not to disbelieve
it. For all goodness has not yet perished from among
mankind, but there is still in us a remnant of the
ancient virtue. And if any one does disbelieve it, that
renders the more ardent my desire that men may see
accomplished what no one would believe could come to
pass. That would be one profit I could derive from
present ills, if I could settle the affair well and show
to all mankind that there is a right way to handle
even civil wars.^*

—27— This is what Marcus boih said to the soldiers and
wrote to the senate, in no place abusing Cassius, save

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that he constantly termed him ungrateful. Nor, indeed, A- i>- 175
did Cassins ever utter or write anything of a nature
insulting to Marcus.

t Marcus at the time he was preparing for the war against Cassius
would accept no barbarian alliance although he found a concourse of
foreign nations offering their services; for he said that the barbarians
ought not to know about troubles arising between Romans.

While Marcus was making preparations for the civil
war, many victories over various barbarians were re-
ported at one and the same time with the death of
Cassius. The latter while walking had encountered
Antonius, a centurion, who gave him a sudden wound in
the neck, though the blow was not entirely effective.
And Antonius, borne away by the impetus of his horse,
left the deed incomplete, so that his victim nearly es-
caped; but meantime the decurion had finished what
was left to do. They cut off his head and set out to
meet the emperor.

Marcus Antoninus [was so much grieved at the de- —28—
struction of Cassius that he would not even endure to
see the severed head, but before the murderers drew
near gave orders that it should be buried.]

Thus was this pretender slain after a dream of (—27—)
sovereignty lasting three months and six days, and
his son was murdered somewhere else. And Marcus
upon reaching the provinces that had joined in Cas-
sius *s uprising treated them all very kindly and put no
one, either obscure or prominent, to death.

[The same man would not slay nor imprison nor did — 28 —
he put under any guard any one of the senators asso-
ciated with Cassius. He did not so much as bring them
before his own court, but merely sent them before the
senate, nominally under some other complaint, and ap-

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,^' ^* }1L pointed them a fixed day on which to have their case

(a. u. 928)

heard. Of the rest he brought to justice a very few,
who had not only cooperated with Cassius to the extent
of some overt action but were personally guilty of some
crime. A proof of this is that he did not murder nor
deprive of his property Flavius Calvisius, the governor
of Egypt, but merely confined him on an island. The
records made about his case Marcus caused to be
burned, in order that no reproach might attach to him
from them. Furthermore he released all his relatives.]
a"d^i76 About this same time Faustina died, either of the
{a. u. 929) gout from which she had suffered or from less natural
causes and to avoid being convicted of her compact
with Cassius.— Moreover, Marcus destroyed the docu-
ments [found in the chests of Pudens],^ not even read-
ing them, in order that he might not learn even a name
of any of the conspirators who had written something
against him and that he might not [therefore] be re-
luctantly forced to hate any one. Another account is
that Verus, who was sent ahead into Syria, of which he
had secured the governorship, found them among the
effects of Cassius and put them out of the way, saying
that this course would most probably be agreeable to
the emperor, but even if he should be angry, it would
be better that he [Verus] himself should perish than
many others. Marcus was so averse to slaughter
that he saw to it that the gladiators in Rome contended
without danger, like athletes ; for he never permitted
any of them to have any sharp iron, but they fought
with blunt weapons, rounded off at the ends. [And so

1 Reimar suggested that perhaps Pudens was secretary of the Greek
letters of Cassius, as Manlius (Book Seventy-two, chapter 7) was of his
Latin letters.

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far was he from countenancing any slanghter that ^' ^- ^^
though at the request of the populace he ordered to be
brought in a lion trained to eat men, he would not look
at the beast nor emancipate its teacher, in spite of the
long-continued and urgent demands of the people. In-
stead, he commanded proclamation to be made that the
man had done nothing to deserve freedom.]

In his great grief over the death of Faustina he — 30—
wrote to the senate that no one of those who had
cooperated with CaBsius was dead^ as if in this fact
alone he could find some consolation for Faustina's
loss. ** May it never happen,'* he continued, *' that
any one of you is slain during* my lifetime either by
my vote or by your own.'* Finally he said: *' If I do
not obtain this request, I shall hasten on to death." So
pure and excellent and godfearing did he show himself
throughout his career. [Nothing could force him to
do anything inconsistent with his character, neither the
wickedness of daring attempts nor the expectation of
similar events to follow as the result of pardon. To
such an extent did he refrain from inventing any
imaginary conspiracy and concocting any tragedy that
had not taken place, that he released even those who
most openly rose against him and took arms against
him and against his son, whether they were generals
or heads of tribes or kings, and he put none of them to
death either by his own action or by that of the senate
or by any other arrangement whatever. Wherefore J
actually believe that if he had captured Cassius himself
alive, he would certainly have saved him from injury.]
For he conferred benefits upon many who had been

1 Reading ^^r* ifiiou (Dindorf).

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.^' ^' UL murderers,— so far as lay in their power,— of himself

{a, u. 929) , , . *- >

and his son.

—81 — A law was at this time passed that no one should be
governor in the province from which he had originally
come, because the revolt of Cassius had occurred dur-
ing his administration of Syria, which included his
native district. It was voted by the senate that silver
images of Marcus and Faustina should be set up in the
temple of Venus and Boma, and that an altar should
be erected whereon all the maidens married in the city
and their bridegrooms should oflfer sacrifice ; also that
a golden image of Faustina should be carried in a chair
to the theatre on each occasion that the emperor should
be a spectator, and that it should be placed in the seat
well forward, where she herself was wont to take her
place when alive, and that the women of chief influence
should all sit round about it.

Marcus went to Athens, where after being initiated
into the mysteries he bestowed honors upon the Athe-
nians and gave teachers to all men in Athens, for every
species of knowledge, these teachers to receive an

^3d— annual salary. On his return to Rome he made an
address to the people; and while he was saying, among
other things, that he had been absent many years, they
cried out: '* Eight 1*' and indicated this also with their
hands, in order that they might receive an equal num-
ber of gold pieces for a banquet. He smiled and him-
self uttered the word '' Eight.'' After that he dis-


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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 16 of 24)