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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 9 of 24)
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pitiful speech in their behalf: ** These little ones,
Caesar, I both brought forth and reared in the monu-
ment, that we might be a greater number to supplicate
you.*' She caused both him and the rest to weep; no
mercy, however, was shown to the family.

Meantime the emperor was also the object of a con- ,^ PJ^^
spiracy on the part of Alienus and Marcellus, although
he considered them among his best friends and be-
stowed honors upon them quite unstintedly. They did
not succeed in killing him, though. Upon their being de-
tected, Alienus was slain at once, in the imperial resi-
dence itself, as he rose from a meal with his intended
victim. Titus issued this order to prevent his carry-
ing his rebellion any further during the night; Alienus
had already made arrangements with not a few of the
soldiers. Marcellus was brought to trial before the
senate and was condemned, whereupon he cut his own
throat with a razor. Not even benefits, it may be re-
marked, can subdue those who are naturally vicious, as
is shown by the plotting of these men against him who
had done them so many kindnesses.

iThe meaning is dear. Cobet (Mnemosyne, N. S. X.) thinks that
iftopdOjj expresses the idea more accurately than the conmuMily;
accepted ifovepmdrj (Boissevain also i^wpdOri.)

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{BOOK 66, BOISSEVAIN.)

It was after the episode just narrated that Vespasian — 17 —

A. D 79

fell sick, not, if the truth be known, of his ordinary (a. i*/823)
gout but of fever and passed away at Aqu© Cutiliae,^
so-called, in Sabine territory. Some, who endeavor
falsely to incriminate Titus (among them the emperor
Hadrian) have spread a report that he was poisoned at
a banquet. Portents had occurred in his career indi-
cating his approaching end, such as the comet star
which was seen for a considerable period and the open-
ing of the monument of Augustus of its own accord.
When the sick man's physician chided him for con-
tinuing his usual course of living and attending to all
the duties that belonged to his office, he answered:

* * The emperor ought to die on his feet. ' ' To those who
said anything to him about the comet he responded:

* * This is an omen not for me but for the Parthian king.
He has flowing hair like the comet, whereas I am bald-
headed.'* When he at length came to the belief that
he was to die, he said only: ** Now I shall become a
god.'' He had lived to the age of sixty-nine years and

1 These are mineral springs^ chiefly sulphurous in nature, both hot
and cold, situated near the town of Cutilie, famous for its pool with
the ** floating island." Celsus (On Medicine, Book Four, chapter 6
(=12) ) recommends bathing and standing in such cold mineral
springs as those at Cutilie in cases where a patient suffers from in-
ability of the stomach to assimilate food. — The town itself is between
Keate and Interocrea among the Sabines. (And compare Suetonius,
Vespasian, chapter 24.)

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A. D. 70 eiffht months. His reign lasted ten years lacking six

(a. u* 823) -« .r w

days. Accordingly, it results that from the death of
Nero to Vespasian's becoming emperor a year and
twenty-two days elapsed. I have recorded this fact to
prevent a misapprehension on the part of any persons
who might reckon the time with reference to the men
who were in power. They, however, did not legiti-
mately succeed one another, but each of them while his
rival was alive and still ruling believed himself to be
emperor from the moment that the thought first en-
tered his head. One must not enumerate all the days
of their reigns as if those days had followed one after
another in orderly succession, but make a single sweep-
ing calculation with the exact time, as I have stated it,
in mind.

— 18 — At bis death Titos suooeeded to the imperial power.

Titus as a ruler committed no act of murder or pas-
sion, but showed himself upright, though the victim
of plots, and self -controlled, though Berenice came to
Rome again. Perhaps this was because he had under-
gone a change. (To share a reign with somebody else
is a very different thing from being one's self an inde-
pendent ruler. In the former case persons are heed-
less of the good niame of the sovereignty and enjoy
greedily the authority it gives them, thus doing many
things that make their position the object of envy and
slander. Actual monarchs, on the other hand, knowing
that everything depends on their decision, have some
eye to good repute as well as to other matters. So
Titus said to somebody whose society he had previously

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affected: '* It is not the same thing to desire some- ,A- ^- !£,,

(a. iii» 8S2)

thing from another as to decide a case yonrself, nor
to ask something from another as it is to give it to some
one yourself/*) Perhaps his satisfactory conduct was
also due to his surviving so short a time compared with
most rulers, for he was thus given little opportunity
for wrongdoing. For he lived after this only two
years, two months and twenty days in addition to his
thirty-nine years, five months and twenty-five days.
People compare this feature of Titus's career with the
fullness of years of Augustus, and say that the latter
would never have won affection if he had lived a
shorter time, nor the former, if he had lived longer.
Augustus, though at the outset he had shown himself
rather harsh because of the wars and the political fac-
tions, was able later in the course of time to become
distinguished for his kindnesses: Titus ruled with
forbearance and died at the summit of his glory,
whereas if he had enjoyed a longer life, it might have
been proved that he owes his present fame more to
good fortune than to virtue.

It is worth noting that Titus during his reign put no — 19^
senator to death, nor was any one else slain by him all
the time that he was emperor. Cases involving ma-
iestas he would never entertain himself nor allow
others to entertain, for he said: ** It is impossible for
me to be insulted or outraged in any way. I do naught
that deserves censure and I care not for what is falsely
reported. As for the emperors that are dead and
gone, they will avenge themselves in case any one does

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A. D. 79 than wrong, if in very truth they be heroes and pos-

(a. 1*. 832) •! TT 1 J

sess some power/'— He also made various arrange-
ments, to render men more secure and free from
trouble. One of these was the posting of a notice con-
firming all gifts bestowed upon any person by the for-
mer emperors. This also enabled him to avoid the
nuisance of having people petition him individually
about the matter. — Informers he banished from the
city.

In money matters he was frugal and sanctioned no unnecessary ex-
penditure, yet he did not punish any one for opposite tendencies.

In his reign also the False Nero appeared, who was an Asiatic and
called himself Terentius Maximus. He resembled Nero in form and
voice: he even sang to the zither's accompaniment. He gained a few
followers in Asia and in his onward progress to the Euphrates he
secured a far greater nimiber and at length sought a retreat with
Artabanus, the Parthian chief, who^ out of the anger that he felt to-
ward Titus, both received the pretender and set about preparations for
restoring him to Rome. (Compare John of Antioch, frag. 104 Mueller.)

_20— Meantime war had again broken out in Britain, and
Gnseus Julius Agricola overran the whole of the hostile
region. He was the first of the Romans whom we
know to discover that Britain was surrounded by water.
Some soldiers had rebelled and after killing centurions
and a military tribune had taken refuge in boats. In
these they put out to sea and sailed around to the west-
em portion of the country just as the billows and the
wind bore them. And without knowing it they came
around from the opposite side and stopped at the
camps on this side again. At that Agricola sent others
to try the voyage around Britain and li^med from
them, toO; that it was an island.

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As a result of these events in Britain Titus received ,^' ^' Jo

(a. u. 832)

the title of imperator for the fifteenth time. Agricola
for the rest of his life lived in dishonor and even in
want because he had accomplished greater things than
a mere general should. Finally he was murdered on
this account by Domitian^ in spite of having received
triumphal honors from Titus. ^

In Campania remarkable and frightful occurrences — «i —
took place. A great fire was suddenly created just at
the end of autumn. It was this way. The mountain
Yeeuvius stands over against Naples near the sea and
has unquenchable springs of fire. Once it was equally
high at all points and the fire rose from the center of
it. This is the only portion of it that is in a blaze, for
the outside parts of the mountain remain even now
unkindled. Consequently, as the latter are never
burned, while the interior is constantly growing brittle
and being reduced to ashes, the surrounding peaks re^
tain their original height to this day, but the whole see-
tion that is on fire, as it is consumed in the course of
time, has grown hollow from continual collapse. Thus
the entire mountain, if we may compare great things
to small, resembles a hunting-theatre. The outlying
heights of it support both trees and vines, — many of
them, — but the crater is given over to fire and sends
up smoke by day, flame by night. It looks as if quanti-
ties of incense of all sorts were being burned in it.
This goes on all the time, sometimes more, sometimes
less. Often it throws up ashes, when there is a general
settling in the interior, or again it sends up stones
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.^ ^' I?ox when the air forces them out. It echoes and bellows,

(a. u. 832) '

too, because its vents are not all together but are nar-
row and hidden^
— «2— Such is Vesuvius, and these phenomena regularly
occur there at least once a year. But all the other
happenings that took place in former time, though they
may have seemed great and unusual to those who on
each occasion observed them, nevertheless would be
reckoned as but slight in comparison with what now
occurred even though they should all be rolled into one.
This was what befell. Numbers of huge men quite sur-
passing any human stature,— sudi creatures as giants
are depicted to be, — appeared now on the mountain,
now in the country surrounding it, and again in the
cities, wandering over the earth day and night and also
traversing the air. After this fearful droughts and
earthquakes sudden and violent occurred, so that all
the level ground in that region undulated and the
heights gave a great leap. Reverberations were fre-
quent, some subterranean resembling thunder and some
on the surface like bellowings. The sea joined the roar
and the sky resounded with it. Then suddenly a por-
tentous crash was heard, as if the mountains were
tumbling in ruins. And first there were belched forth
stones of huge size that rose to the very summits before
they fell; after them came a deal of fire and smoke in
inexhaustible quantities so that the whole atmosphere
was obscured and the whole sun was screened from
view as if in an eclipse. Thus night succeeded day
and darkness light Some thought the giants were

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rising in revolt (for even at this time many of their a. d. 7»
forms could be discerned in the smoke and moreover
a kind of sound of trumpets was heard) , while others
believed that the whole world was disappearing in
chaos or fire. Therefore they fled, some from the
houses into the streets, others from without into the
house; in their confusion, indeed, they hastened from
the sea to the land or from the land to the sea, deem-
ing any place at a distance from where they were safer
than what was near by. While this was going on an
inconceivable amount of ashes was blown out and cov-
ered the land and the sea everywhere and filled all the
air. It did harm of all sorts, as chance dictated, to
men and places and cattle, and the fish and the birds
it utterly destroyed. Moreover, it buried two whole
cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the populace
was seated in the theatre. The entire amount of dust
was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria
and Egypt, and it also entered Bome, where it occupied
all the air over the city and cast the sun into shadow.
There, too, no little fear was felt for several days, since
the people did not know and could not conjecture what
had happened. They like the rest thought that every-
thing was being turned upside down, that the sun was
disappearing in the earth and the earth was bounding
up to the sky. This ashes for the time being did
them no great harm : later it bred among them a ter-
rible pestilence.

Another fire, above ground, in the following year ^^'^
spread over a very large portion of Bome while Titus («. «*• 833)

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, ^' ^' n^. ^^ absent on business connected with the catastrophe

(a. u, 833) ^

that had befallen in Campania. It consumed the
temple of Serapis, the temple of Isis^ the SsBpta, the
temple of Neptune, the Baths of Agrippa, the Pan-
theon, the Diribitorium, the theatre of Balbus, the
stage-building of Pompey^s theatre, the Octavian
buildings together with their books, and the temple
of Capitoline Jupiter with its surrounding temples.
Hence the disaster seemed to be not of human but of
divine contrivance. Any one can estimate from the
list of buildings that I have given, how many more must
have been destroyed. Titus, accordingly, sent two ex-
consuls to the Campanians to supervise the founding
of settlements and bestowed upon the inhabitants
money that came (besides various other sources) from
those citizens that had died without heirs. As for him-
self, he took nothing from individual or city or king,
although many kept offering and promising him large
sums. In spite of this, he restored everything from
_85-. funds already at hand. Most of his deeds had no un-
usual quality to mark them, but in dedicating the hunt-
ing-theatre and the baths that bear his name he pro-
duced many remarkable spectacles. Cranes fought with
one another, and four elephants, as well as other graz-
ing animals and wild beasts, to the number of nine
thousand, were slaughtered, and women (not of any
prominence, however,) took part in despatching them.
Of men several fought in single combat and several
groups contended together in infantry and naval
battles. For Titus filled the above mentioned theatre

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suddenly with water and introduced horses and bulk , ^ ^' «!? v
and some other tractable creatures that had been
taught to behave in the liquid element precisely as upon
land. He introduced also human beings on boats.
These persons had a sea-fight there, impersonating
two parties, Corcyreans and Corinthians : others gave
the same performance outside in the grove of Gains
and Lucius, a spot which Augustus had formerly ex-
cavated for this very purpose. There, on the first day,
a gladiatorial combat and slaughter of beasts took
place; this was done by building a structure of planks
over the lake that faced the images and placing benches
round about it. On the second day there was a horse-
race, and on the third a naval battle involving three
thousand men. Afterwards there was also an infantry
battle. The Athenians conquered the Syracusans
(these were the names that were used in the naval
battle), made a landing on the islet, and having as-
saulted a wall constructed around the monument took
it. These were the sights offered to spectators, and
they lasted for a hundred days.

Titus also contributed some things that were of
practical use to the people. He would throw down into
the theatre from aloft little wooden balls that had a
mark, one signifying something to eat, another cloth-
ing, another a silver vessel, or perhaps a gold one, or
again horses, pack-animals, cattle, slaves. Those who
snatched them had to carry them back to the dispensers
of the bounty to secure the article of which the name
was inscribed.

When he had finished this exhibition, he wept so —26—
bitterly on the last day that all the people saw him,

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A. D. 81
(a. u. 834)



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

and after this time he performed no other great deed;
but the following year, in the consulship of Flavins^
and PolliOy' subsequent to the dedication of the build-
ings mentioned^ he passed away at the same Aquae that
was the scene of his father's demise. The common
report had it that he was done to death by his brother,
for he had previously been the object of that person's
plot : but some writers state that a disease carried him
off. The tradition is that, while he was still breathing
and had a possible chance of recovery, Domitian, to
hasten his end, put him in a box packed with a quantity

of snow, pretending that the disease required a chill to be ad-
ministered; and, before his victim was dead, he rode off
to Bome, entered the camp, and received the title and
authority of emperor, having given the soldiers all that
his brother had been wont to give them. Titus, as he
expired, said: ** I have made but one error." What
this was he did not reveal, and no one else feels quite
sure about it. Some have conjectured one thing and
some another. The prevailing impression, according
to one set of historians, is that he referred to keeping
his brother's wife, Domitia. Others (whom I am for
following) say what he meant was that, after finding
Domitian openly plotting against him, he had not killed
him, but had chosen rather himself to suffer that fate
at his rival's hands and to surrender the government
of Bome to a man whose nature will be portrayed in the
continuation of my narrative. Titus had ruled for two
years, two months, and twenty days, as has been pr^
viously stated.

1 L, Flavius Silva Voniua Basau.
2 Aainiua Pollio Verrucosus,

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ROMAN HISTORY

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Somitiaii'g cniel diaiaoter: hit hatred of hit fatlier and
teother (ohapten 1, 2).

He puts adde Bomitia: falli in lore with Julia: ilayi tha
Yeitali (chapters).

The Oerman war (chapten 4, 5).

Daoian war with Seeebalni (ohapten 6, 7).

SomitiaiL'g nootnmal ipeotaolet and entertainmenti (ohap-
ten 8, 8).

Eventi of the Daoian war (chapter 10).

Antoning, governor of Oermanyi rebelg: many are glain
(ohapterg 11-14).

How Bomitian wag killed throngh gnaree laid by certain men
(ohapterg lS-18).

DURATION OF TIMa

L. n. Silva Honing Baggng, Agining PoUio Termoogng Cogg.
(A. D. 81 = a. n. 834=; lirgt of Domitian, from Sept. ISth.)

Domitianng Ang. (Vm), T. Flaying Sabinng. (A. D. 82 =
a. n. 835 =? Second of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (IX), Q. Petiling Enfng (11). (A. D. 83 =
a. n. 836 =; Third of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (X), T. Anreling Sabinng. (A. D. 84 =
a. n. 837 =; Fonrth of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (XI), T. Anreling Fnlvng. (A. D. 8B=>
a. n. 838 = Fifth of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (XII), Ser. Comeling Dolabella. (A. D. 86
= a. n. 838 = Sixth of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (XTTT), A. Tolnging Satnminng. (A. D. 87
=3 a. n. 840 =: Seventh of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (XI7), L. Hinnoing Bnfng. (A. D. 88=:
a. n. 841 =i Eighth of Domitian.)

T. Anreling Fnlvng (11), A. Semproning Atratinng. (A. D.
89 = a. n. 842 = Ninth of Domitian.)

Domitianng Ang. (XV), M. Cooceing Nenra (11). (A. D. 90
= a. n. 843=: Tenth of Domitian.)

H. XHping Traianng, Maning Aciling Olabrio. (A. D. 91 =
a. n. 844 =^ Eleventh of Domitian.)



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Somitianni Aug. (ZVI), Q. Yolnsing Satnniiniu. (A.B. 9&=r
a. n. 846 =) Twdfth of Somitian.)

Sex. Pompeiiii Collega, Cameliiu Pritoni. ( A. S. 83 = a. u.
848 = Thirteenth of I>oinitiaiL)

L. Noniiu Aipieiuus H. Arrioinini Clemeiui. ( A. D. 84 =? a. u.
847 =: Fourteenth of Bomitian.)

Bomitianiu Aug. (XVII), T. Flavini Clemoini. (A. S. 85 =
a. n. 848 =3 lifteenth of Bomitiaa.)

ICaaliiu Talent, Antiitini Tetoi. (A. S. 86=;a. n. 848 =
Sixteenth of Bomitiany to Sept. 18th.)



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{BOOK 67, BOISSEVAIN.)

Domitiaii was both bold and passionate^ both treach- — i ^
erons and given to dissembling. Hence^ from these two (a. ,».' 334)
characteristics^ rashness on the one hand and crafti-
ness on the other, he did much harm, falling upon some
persons with the swiftness of a thunderbolt and
damaging others by carefully prepared plots. The
divinity that he chi^y revered was Minerva, so that
he was wont to celebrate the Panathensea on a magni-
ficent scale: on this occasion he had contests of poets
and chroniclers and gladiators almost every year at
Albanum. This district^ situated below the Alban
Mount, from which it was named, he had set apart as a
kind of acropolis. He had no genuine affection for any
human being save a few women, but he always pre-
tended to love the person whom at any time he was
most determined to slay. He could not be relied upon
even by those who did him some favor or helped him
in his most revolting crimes, for whenever any persons
furnished him with large sums of money or lodged in-
formation against numbers of men, he was sure to de-
stroy these benefactors, being especially careful to do
so in the case of slaves who had given information
against their masters. [Accordingly, such individuals,
though they received money and honors and offices all
at once from him, lived in no greater honor and security
than other men. The very offences to which they had

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^ ^' 836) ^^^^"^ tirged by Domitian commonly were made pretexts
for their destruction, the emperor's object being to
have the actual perpetrators appear solely respon-
sible for their wrongdoing. It was the same intention
which led him once to issue a public notice to the effect
that, when an emperor does not punish informers, he
is the cause of the existence of such a class.]

~9— Though this was his behavior to all throughout the
course of his reign, still he quite outdid himself in deal-
ing dishonor and ruin to his father's and brother's
friends. [To be sure, he himself posted a notice that
he would ratify all the gifts made to any persons by
them and by other emperors. But this was mere
show.] He hated them because they did not supply all
his demands, many of which were unreasonable, as also
because they had been held in. some honor. [Whatever
had enjoyed their affection and the benefit of their
influence beyond the ordinary he r^arded as hostile
to him.] Therefore, although he himself had a pas-
sion for a eunuch named Earinus, nevertheless, because
Titus had also shown great liking for castrated persons,
he carried his desire to cast reflections on his brother's
character to the extent of forbidding any one thereafter
in the Boman empire to be castrated. In general, he
was accustomed to say that those emperors who failed
to punish large numbers of men were not good, but
merely fortunate. [Personally, he paid no attention to
those who praised Titus for not causing a single sen-
ator's death, nor did he care that the senate frequently
saw fit to pass decrees that the emperor should not be

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permitted ta put to deatb any of his peers. The eel- ^ ^* ^5^
peror, as he believed, was far and away superior to
them and might put any one of them out of the way
either on his own responsibility or with the consent of
the rest; it was ridiculous to suppose that they could
offer any opposition or refuse to condemn a man. Some
would praise Titus, only not in Domitian's hearing;
for such effrontery would be deemed as grave an
offence as if they were to revile the emperor in his

presence and within hearing :but^ .^

because he trnderstood that they were doing this se-
cretly Then there was another thing] that re-
sembled play-acting. Domitian pretended that he too
loved his brother and mourned him. He read, with
tears, the eulogies upon him [and hastened to have him
enrolled among the heroes], pretending just the oppo-
site of what he really wished. (Indeed, he abolished the



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 9 of 24)