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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

. (page 5 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 5 of 24)
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Helins having for some time sent Nero ^^P®^*^ A^n^BTT?^
messages urging him to retam as qnickly as possible,
when he found that no attention was paid to them,
went himself to Greece on the seventh day and fright-
ened him by saying that a great conspiracy against him
was on foot in Bome. This news made him embark at
double quick rate. There was some hope of his perish-
ing in a storm and many rejoiced, but to no purpose :
he came safely to land. And cause for destroying some
few persons was found in the very fact that they had
prayed and hoped that he might perish. So, when he —20—
marched into Bome, a portion of the wall was torn (a.'i«.'82i)
down and a section of the gates broken in, because
some asserted that each of these ceremonies was cus-
tomary upon the return of garlanded victors from the
games. First entered men wearing the garlands which
had been won, and after them others with boards
bome aloft on spears, upon which were inscribed the
name of the set of games, the kind of contest, and a
statement that ** Nero Caesar first of all the Romans
from the beginning of the world has conquered in it.''
Next came the victor himself on a triumphal car in

which Augustus once had celebrated his many victo-
ries : he wore a vesture of purple sprinkled with gold
and a garland of wild olive; he held in his hand the
Pythian laurel. By his side in the vehicle sat Diodorus
the citharcedist. After passing in this manner through
the hippodrome and through the Forum in company
with the soldiers and the knights and the senate he as-
cended the Capitol and proceeded thence to the palace.

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A. D. 68 The city was all decked with garlands, was ablaze with

(a. n. 821)

lights and smoky with incense^ and the whole popula-
tion, — the senators themselves most of all, — kept
shonting aloud: ** Vah, Olympian Victor! Vah,
Pythian Victor! Augustus! Augustus! Hail to Nero
the Hercules, hail to Nero the Apollo!! The one Na-
tional Victor, the only one from the beginning of time!
Augustus! Augustus! 0, Divine Voice! Blessed are
they that hear thee! **

— Why should I employ circumlocutions instead of
letting you see their very words? The actual expres-
sions used do not disgrace my history: no, the con-
cealment of none of them rather lends it distinction.
— «i— When he had finished these ceremonies, he an-
nounced a series of horse-races, and transferring to the
hippodrome these crowns and all the rest that he had
secured by victories in chariot racing, he put them
about the Egyptian obelisk. The number of them was
one thousand eight hundred and eight After doing
this he appeared as charioteer. — A certain Larcius, a
Lydian, approached him with an offer of twenty-five
myriads if he would play and sing for them. Nero
would not take the money, disdaining to do anything
for pay; and so Tigillinus collected it, as the price of
not putting Larcius to death. However, the emperor
did appear on the stage with an accompanied song and
he also gave a tragedy. In the equestrian contests he
was seldom absent, and sometimes he would volunta-
rily let himself be defeated in order to make it more
credible that he really won at other times.

Dio 62nd Book: "And he inflicted uncounted woes on many cities."

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{BOOK 6S, BOISSEVAIN.)

This was the kind of life Nero led, this was the way _22—
he ruled. I shall narrate also how he was put down , ^ ^' JJ® ,
and driven from his throne.

While Nero was still in Greece, the Jews revolted openly and he sent
Vespasian against them. The inhabitants of Britain and of Qaul, like-
wise, oppressed by the taxes, experienced an even keener distress, which
added fuel to the already kindled fire of their indignation.

— There was a Ganl named Gains Jnlins Vindex
'[an Aqnitanian], descended from the native royal race
and on his father's side entitled to rank as a Boman
senator. He was strong of body, had an intelligent
mind, was skilled in warfare and was fnll of daring
for every enterprise. [He was to the greatest degree
a lover of freedom and was ambitions ; and he stood at
the head of the Ganls.] Now this Vindex made an as-
sembly of the Ganls, who had snjffered much during the
numerous forced levies of money, and were still suf-
fering at Nero's hands. And ascending a tribunal
he delivered a long and detailed speech against Nero,
saying that they ought to revolt from the emperor and
join him in an attack [upon him], — ** because," said
he, '' he has despoiled the whole Boman world, because
he has destroyed all the flower of their senate, because
he debauched and likewise killed his mother, and does
not preserve even the semblance of sovereignty. Mur-
ders, seizures and outrages have often been committed
and by many other persons: but how may one find

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t^' ^' ^o^^ words to describe the remainder of his conduct as it
deserves T I have seen, my friends and allies, — be-
lieve me,— I have seen that man (if he u a man, who
married Sporus and was given in marriage to Pythag-
oras) in the arena of the theatre and in the orchestra,
sometimes with the zither, the loose tnnic, the cothur-
nus,^ sometimes with wooden shoes^ and mask. I have
often heard him sing, I have heard him make proclama-
tions, I have heard him perform tragedy. I have seen
him in chains, I have seen him dragged about, preg-
nant, bearing children, going through all the situations
of mythology, by speech, by being addressed, by being
acted upon, by acting. Who, then, will call such a per-
son Caesar and emperor and Augustus T Let no one for
any consideration so abuse those sacred titles. They
were held by Augustus and b^ Claudius. This fellow
might most properly be termed Thyestes and (Edipus,
Alcmeon and Orestes. These are the persons he rep-
resents on the stage and it is these titles that he has
assumed rather than the others. Therefore now at
length rise against him: come to the succor of your-
selves and of the Bomans; liberate the entire world! *'
— 28 — Such words falling from the lips of Vindex met with
entire approval from all. Vindex was not working to
get the imperial office for himself but chose Servius
Sulpicius Galba for that position : this man was dis-

1 The two kinds of footwear mentioned here appear in the Greek as
x6$opvo9 and ififidn^^ respectively. These words are often synonymous,
and both may refer, as a rule, to high boots. In the present passage,
however, some kind of contraist is evidently intended, and the most
acceptable solution of the question is that given by Sturz, in his editi<m,
who says that the x6$opvo^ seems to have been used by Nero only in
singing, whereas he wore the ififid-nj^ (as also the mask) while acting.

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tingnished for his upright behavior and knowledge of , ^ i>- ^^^ ,

^ ^ -« ^ {a, u, 821)

war, was governor of Spain, and had a not inconsider-
able force. He was also nominated by the soldiers as
emperor.

Bnf US) governor of Gtermany, set out to make war on — 24 —
Vindex; but when he reached Vesontio he sat down to
besiege the city, for the alleged reason that it had not
received him. Vindex came against him to the aid of
the city and encamped not far off. They then sent
messages back and forth to each other and finally held
a conference together at which no one else was present
and made a mutual agreement,— against Nero, as it
was thought* After this Vindex set his army in motion
for the apparent purpose of occupying the town: and
the soldiers of Rufus, becoming aware of their ap-
proach, and thinking the force was marching straight
ugainst them, set out without being ordered to oppose
their progress. They fell upon the advancing troop
while the men were off their guard and in disarray,
and so cut down great numbers of them. Vindex see-
ing this was afflicted with so great grief that he slew

himself. For he felt» besides, at odds with Heaven itself, in that
he had not been able to attain his goal in an undertaking of so great
magnitude, involying the overthrow of Nero and the liberation of the
Bomans.

This is the truth of the matter. Many afterwards
inflicted wounds on his body, and so gave currency to
the erroneous supposition^ that they had themselves
killed him.

Bufus mourned deeply his demise, but refused to — 25 —
accept the office of emperor, although his soldiers f re-

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(^* ^*82n ^^®^*^y urged it upon him and he might easily have
obtained it^ He was an energetic man and had a large^
wide-awake body of troops. His soldiers tore down
and shattered the image of Nero and called their gen-
eral CaBsar and Augustas. When he would not heed
them, one of the soldiers thereupon quickly inscribed
these words on one of his standards. He erased the
terms, however, and after a great deal of trouble
brought the men to order and persuaded them to sub-
mit the question^ to the senate and the people. It is
hard to say whether this was merely because he did not
deem it right for the soldiers to bestow the supreme
authority upon any one (for he declared this to be the
prerogative of the senate and the people), or because
he was entirely highminded and felt no personal desire
for the imperial power, to secure which others were
willing to do everything.
— 26 — [Nero was informed of the Vindex episode as he was
in Naples viewing the gymnastic contest just after
luncheon. He was naturally far from sorry, and leap-
ing from his seat vied in prowess with some athlete.
He did not hurry back to Rome but merely sent a letter
to the senate, in which he asked them to regard
leniently his non»-arrival, because he had a sore throat,
implying that when he did come he wanted to sing to
them. And he continued to devote the same care and
attention to his voice, to his songs, and to the zither
tunes, not only just then but also subsequently: so he
would not try a tone of his intended program. If he

1 rd itpdyfiara supplied by Polak.

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was at any time compelled by circmnstanoes to make , ^ i>- J^^

•^ *^ "^ (a. u. 821)

some exclamation, yet somebody, reminding him that
he was to appear as citharoedist, wonld straightway
dieck and control him.

It is stated that Nero having offered by prodama- (— 23 — )
tion two hundred and fifty myriads to the person who
should kill Vindex, the latter when he heard of it
remarked : '^ The person who kills Nero and brings his
head to me may take mine in retnm." That was the
sort of man Vindex was.

In general he still behaved in his accustomed manner — 26 —
and he was pleased with the news brought him because
he had been expecting in any event to overcome Vindex
and because he thought he had now secured a justifiable
ground for money-getting and murders. He enjoyed
the same degree of luxury; and upon the completion
and adornment of the heroiim of Sabina he gave it a
brilliant dedication, taking care to have inscribed upon
it: ** The Women have built This to Sabina, the
Groddess Venus.'' And the writing told the truth:
for the building had been constructed with money of
which a great part had been stolen from women. Also
he had his numerous little jokes, of which I shall men-
tion only one, omitting the rest.] One night he sud-
denly summoned in haste the foremost senators and
knights, apparently to make some communication to
them regarding the political situation. When they
were assembled, he said : ' ' I have discovered a way by
which the water organ '' — I must write exactly what
he said — ** will produce a greater and more har-

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A. D. 68 monious volume of sound.*' Such were his jokes about

(a. u. 821)

this period. And little did he reck that both sets of
doors, those of the monument and those of the bed-
chamber of Augustus, opened of their own accord in
one and the same night, or that at Albanum it rained
so much blood that rivers of it flowed over the land,
or that the sea retreated a good distance from Egypt
— 87— and covered a large portion of Lycia. But when he
heard about Galba's being proclaimed emperor by the
soldiers and about the desertion of Bufus, he fell into
great fear: he made preparations in person at Rome
and he sent against the rebels Rubrius Gallus and some
others.

On learning that Petronius,i whom he had sent ahead against the
rebels with the larger portion of the army, also favored the cause of
Galba, Nero reposed no further hope in arms.

Being abandoned by all without exception he began
forming plans to kill the senators, bum the city to the
ground, and sail to Alexandria. He dropped this hint
in regard to his future course: ** Even though we be
driven from our empire, yet this little artistic gift of
ours shall support us there.** To such a pitch of folly
had he come as to believe that he could live for a
moment as a private citizen and would be able to ap-
pear as a musician.

He was on the point of putting those measures into effect when the
senate first withdrew the guard that surrounded Nero, then entered the
camp, and declared Nero an enemy but chose Galba in his place as
emperor.

But when he perceived that he had been deserted
also by his body-guards (he happened to be asleep in

IP. Petroniua Turpilianiu,

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some garden), he undertook to make his escape. Ac- ,^ ^- ??,.

° ^' ^ {a, u. 821)

eordingly, he assumed shabby clothing and mounted a
horse no better than his attire. Closely veiled he rode
while it was yet night towards an estate of Phao, a
Caesarian, in company with the owner of the place, and
Epaphroditos and Sporus. While he was on the — as—
way an extraordinary earthquake occurred, so that
one might have thought the whole world was break-
ing apart and all the spirits of those murdered by
him were leaping up to assail him. Being recog-
nized, they say, in spite of his disguise by some one
who met him he was saluted as emperor; conse-
quently he turned aside from the road and hid him-
self in a kind of reedy place. There he waited till
daylight, lying flat on the ground so as to run the least
risk of being seen. Every one who passed he sus-
pected had come for him; he started at every voice,
thinking it to be that of some one searching for him:
if a dog barked anywhere or a bird chirped, or a bush
or twig was shaken by the breeze, he was thrown into a
violent tremor. These sounds would not let him have
rest, yet he dared not speak a word to any one of those
that were with him for fear some one else might hear:
but he wept and bewailed his fortune, considering
among other things how he had once stood resplendent
in the midst of so vast a retinue and was now dodging
from sight in company with three freedmen. Such
was the drama that Fate had now prepared for him, to
the end that he should no longer represent all other
matricides and beggars, but only himself at last. Now
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(i^^*82n ^^ repented of his haughty insolence, as if he could
make one of his acts undone. Such was the tragedy
in which Nero found hiinself involved, and this verse
constantly ran through his mind:

" Both spouse and father bid me pitiabl7 die."

After a long time, as no one was seen to be searching
for him, he went over into the cave, where in his hun-
ger he ate such bread as he had never before tasted
and in his thirst drank water such as he had never
drunk before. This gave him such a qualm that he
said : '* So this is my famous frigid decocta.^'^
— »— While he was in this plight the Boman people were
going wild with delight and offering whole oxen in
sacrifice. Some carried small liberty caps, and they
voted to Oalba the rights pertaining to the imperial
office. For Nero himself they instituted a search in all
directions and for some time were at a loss to know
whither he could have betaken himself. When they
finally learned, they sent horsemen to dispose of him.
He, then, perceiving that they were drawing near, com-
manded his companions to kill him. As they refused
to obey, he uttered a groan and said: *' I alone have
neither friend nor foe.'' iBy this time the horsemen
were close at hand, and so he killed himself, uttering
that far-famed sentence: ** Jupiter, what an artist
perishes in me! '' And as he lingered in his agony
Epaphroditus dealt him a finishing stroke. He had
lived thirty years and nine months, out of which he had
ruled thirteen years and eight months. Of the de-

1 Reading intipBov (Reimar, Cobet et al. ) .

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scendants of -^neas and of Augustus he was the last, ,^ ^•«^?,

^ M«. t*. 821)

as was plainly indicated by the fact that the laurels
planted by Livia and the breed of white birds perished
somewhat before his death.

Yin 80 great an upheaval as then took place there was no one but
had some hopes of laying hands on the sovereign office.

IF [Bufus visited Oalba and could obtain from him no
important privileges, unless you reckon as such the
fact that a man who had frequently been hailed as
emperor was allowed to live. Among the rest of man-
kind, however, he had acquired a great name, —
greater than if he had accepted the sovereignty,— for
refusing to receive it.]

Galba, since Nero had been destroyed and the senate had voted him
authority and Rufus had made advances to him^ plucked up courage;
however, he did not adopt the name " Cflssar " until the representatives
of the senate had paid him a visit. Nor had he, previous to this time,
inscribed the name "emperor" in any document.



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ROMAN HISTORY

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Omeni aanotmeing Oalbt'i tovereignty: hif tTarice: the in-
•olenoe of freedmeiiy of Vymphidiniy of Capito (ohapten 1, 2).

Hii ferocioot entrance into the city: pnniihment of the Ve-
ronians (chapter 3).

About the uprising of Vitelliut againtt Oalba' (chapter 4).

L. Piso Cssar adopted by Chdba: Otho uiurpt the lovereignty
(chapter 6).

Death of Oalba and Piio (chapter 6).

Otho assumes the sovereignty amid unfavorable auspices and
flattery (chapters 7, 8).

Insolence of the soldiers: the Pseudio-Vero (chapter 9).

Battles between Otho and Vitellius at Cremona (chapters 10,

11).
Otho's speech to his soldiers (chapters 12, 13).
How Otho with his dagger took his own life (chapters 14^

15). .
The rapacity of Valens (chapter 16).

DURATION OF TIME.

C. Silius Italieus, Oalerius Trachalus Turpilianus. (A. D.
68 = a. u. 821, from the 9th of June.)

Oalba C«s. Ai^^. (11) , T. Viniui. (A. D. 69 = a. u. 822, to
January ISth.)



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Thus was Oalba declared emperor just as Tiberius ^^ ~g
had foretold when he said to him: ** You also shall (»• «• 821 )
have a little taste of sovereignty/' The event was
likewise foretold by unmistakablp omens. He beheld
in visions the Goddess of Fortune telling him that she
had now stuck by him for a long time yet no one ap-
peared ready to take her into his house; and if she
should be barred out much longer she should take up
her abode with some one else. During those very days
also boats full of weapons and under the guidance of
no human being came to anchor off the coast of Spain.
And a mule brought forth young, an occurrence which
had been previously interpreted as destined to portend
the possession of authority by him. Again, a boy that
was bringing him incense in the course of a sacrifice
suddenly had his hair turn gray; whereupon the seers
declared that dominion over the younger generation
should be given to his old age.

These, then, were the signs given beforehand that — 2 —
had a bearing on his sovereignty. Personally his con-
duct was in most ways moderate and he avoided giving
offence since he bore in mind that he had not taken the
emperor's seat but it had been given him; — indeed, he
said so frequently:— unfortunately, he collected money
greedily since his wants were numerous, though he
spent comparatively little after all, bestowing upon
some persons not even denarii but merely asses. His
freedmen, however, committed a great number of
wrongs, the responsibility for which was laid upon
him. Ordinary individuals need only keep themselves

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A. D. 68 from crime, but those who hold sovereign power must

(a. M. 821) ' -o x-

see to it that no dependent of theirs practices villany
either. For it makes little difference to the ones who
suffer wrong at whose hands they happen to be ill
treated. Consequently^ even though Galba abstained
from inflicting injury, yet he was ill spoken of because
he allowed these others to commit crimes, or at least
was ignorant of what was taking place. Nymphidius
and Capito, in particular, were allowed by him to run
riot. For instance, Capito, when one day some one
appealed a case frdm his jurisdiction, changed his seat
hastily to a high chair near by and then cried out:
'* Now plead your case before Caesar!'' He went
through the form of deciding it and had the man put to
death. Galba felt obliged to proceed against them for
this.
—3— As he drew near the City, the guards of Nero met
him and asked that their organization be preserved in-
tact. At first he was for postponing his decision and
averred that he wanted to think the matter over.
Since, however, they would not obey but kept up a
clamor, the army submitted to them. As a consequence
about seven thousand of his soldiers lost their lives and
the guardsmen were decimated. This shows that even
if Galba was bowed down with age and disease, yet his
spirit was keen and he did not believe in an emperor's
being compelled to do anything unwillingly. A fur-
ther proof is that when the Pretorians asked him for
the money which Nymphidius had promised them, he

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would not give it, but replied: " I am accustomed to ^ i>- ^^

(a, u. 821)

levy soldiers, not to buy them.'* And when the popu-
lace brought urgent pressure to bear on him to kill
Tigillinus and some others who had before been
wantonly insolent, he would not yield, though he would
probably have disposed of them had not their enemies
made this demand. Helius, however, as well as Nar-
cissus, Patrobius, Lucusta the poison merchant, and
some others who had been active in Nero^s day, he
ordered to be carried in chains all over the city and
afterwards to receive punishment. The slaves, likewise, who

had been gfaHty of any act or speech detrimental to their masters were
handed over to the latter for punishment.

tSome disdained receiving their own slaves, wishing to be rid of
rascally slaves.

Galba demanded the return of all moneys and objects of value which
any persons had received from Nero. However, if anybody had been
exiled by the latter on the charge of impiety towards the emperor, he
restored him to citizeni^ip; and he also transferred to the tomb of
Augustus the bones of members of the imperial family who had been
murdered, and he set up their images anew.

For this he was praised. On the other hand he was
the victim of uproarious laughter for wearing a sword
whenever he walked on the street, since he was so old
and weak of sinew.

I shall relate also the circumstances of his death. — 4—

A. D. 69

The soldiers in Germany under control of Bufus he- (a. u. 822)
came more and more excited because they could not
obtain any favors from Galba; and, having failed to
secure the object of their desire through the medium
of Bufus, they sought to obtain it through somebody
else. This they did. With Aulus Vitellius, governor

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. ^' ^' SL. of Lower Germany, at their head they revolted. All

(a. 1*. 822) "^^ "^

that they had in mind regarding him was the nobility
of his birth, and they paid no attention to the fact that
he had been a favorite of Tiberins and was a slave to
the licentious habits of his former master; or perhaps
they thought that on this very account he would suit
their purpose all the better. Indeed, Vitellius himself
deemed himself of so little account that he made fun of
the astrologers and used their prediction as evidence



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 5 of 24)