The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

[100] Josephus frequently mentions the benefits conferred on his
countrymen by Julius Caesar. Antiq. Jud. xiv. 14, 15, 16.

[101] Appian informs us that it was burnt by the people in their fury,
B. c. xi. p. 521.

[102] Suetonius particularly refers to the conspirators, who perished at
the battle of Philippi, or in the three years which intervened. The
survivors were included in the reconciliation of Augustus, Antony, and
Pompey, A.U.C. 715.

[103] Suetonius alludes to Brutus and Cassius, of whom this is related
by Plutarch and Dio.

[104] For observations on Dr. Thomson’s Essays appended to Suetonius’s
History of Julius Caesar, and the succeeding Emperors, see the Preface to
this volume.

[105] He who has a devoted admiration of Cicero, may be sure that he has
made no slight proficiency himself.

[106] A town in the ancient Volscian territory, now called Veletra. It
stands on the verge of the Pontine Marshes, on the road to Naples.

[107] Thurium was a territory in Magna Graecia, on the coast, near

[108] Argentarius; a banker, one who dealt in exchanging money, as well
as lent his own funds at interest to borrowers. As a class, they
possessed great wealth, and were persons of consideration in Rome at this

[109] Now Laricia, or Riccia, a town of the Campagna di Roma, on the
Appian Way, about ten miles from Rome.

[110] A.U.C. 691. A.C. (before Christ) 61.

[111] The Palatine hill was not only the first seat of the colony of
Romulus, but gave its name to the first and principal of the four regions
into which the city was divided, from the time of Servius Tullius, the
sixth king of Rome, to that of Augustus; the others being the Suburra,
Esquilina, and Collina.

[112] There were seven streets or quarters in the Palatine region, one
of which was called “Ad Capita Bubula,” either from the butchers’ stalls
at which ox-heads are hung up for sale, or from their being sculptured on
some edifice. Thus the remains of a fortification near the tomb of
Cecilia Metella are now called Capo di Bove, from the arms of the Gaetani
family over the gate.

[113] Adrian, to whom Suetonius was secretary.

[114] Augusto augurio postquam inclyta condita Roma est.

[115] A.U.C. 711.

[116] A.U.C. 712.

[117] After being defeated in the second engagement, Brutus retired to a
hill, and slew himself in the night.

[118] The triumvir. There were three distinguished brothers of the name
of Antony; Mark, the consul; Caius, who was praetor; and Lucius, a
tribune of the people.

[119] Virgil was one of the fugitives, having narrowly escaped being
killed by the centurion Ario; and being ejected from his farm. Eclog. i.

[120] A.U.C. 714.

[121] The anniversary of Julius Caesar’s death.

[122] A.U.C. 712-718-

[123] The Romans employed slaves in their wars only in cases of great
emergency, and with much reluctance. After the great slaughter at the
battle of Cannae, eight thousand were bought and armed by the republic.
Augustus was the first who manumitted them, and employed them as rowers
in his gallies.

[124] In the triumvirate, consisting of Augustus, Mark Antony, and

[125] A.U.C. 723.

[126] There is no other authority for Augustus having viewed Antony’s
corpse. Plutarch informs us, that on hearing his death, Augustus retired
into the interior of his tent, and wept over the fate of his colleague
and friend, his associate in so many former struggles, both in war and
the administration of affairs.

[127] The poison proved fatal, as every one knows, see Velleius, ii. 27;
Florus, iv. 11. The Psylli were a people of Africa, celebrated for
sucking the poison from wounds inflicted by serpents, with which that
country anciently abounded. They pretended to be endowed with an
antidote, which rendered their bodies insensible to the virulence of that
species of poison; and the ignorance of those times gave credit to the
physical immunity which they arrogated. But Celsus, who flourished about
fifty years after the period we speak of, has exploded the vulgar
prejudice which prevailed in their favour. He justly observes, that the
venom of serpents, like some other kinds of poison, proves noxious only
when applied to the naked fibre; and that, provided there is no ulcer in
the gums or palate, the poison may be received into the mouth with
perfect safety.

[128] Strabo informs us that Ptolemy caused it to be deposited in a
golden sarcophagus, which was afterwards exchanged for one of glass, in
which probably Augustus saw the remains.

[129] A custom of all ages and of people the most remote from each

[130] Meaning the degenerate race of the Ptolomean kings.

[131] The naval trophies were formed of the prows of ships.

[132] A.U.C. 721.

[133] Because his father was a Roman and his mother of the race of the
Parthini, an Illyrian tribe.

[134] It was usual at Rome, before the elections, for the candidates to
endeavour to gain popularity by the usual arts. They would therefore go
to the houses of the citizens, shake hands with those they met, and
address them in a kindly manner. It being of great consequence, upon
those occasions, to know the names of persons, they were commonly
attended by a nomenclator, who whispered into their ears that
information, wherever it was wanted. Though this kind of officer was
generally an attendant on men, we meet with instances of their having
been likewise employed in the service of ladies; either with the view of
serving candidates to whom they were allied, or of gaining the affections
of the people.

[135] Not a bridge over a river, but a military engine used for gaining
admittance into a fortress.

[136] Cantabria, in the north of Spain, now the Basque province.

[137] The ancient Pannonia includes Hungary and part of Austria, Styria
and Carniola.

[138] The Rhaetian Alps are that part of the chain bordering on the

[139] The Vindelici principally occupied the country which is now the
kingdom of Bavaria; and the Salassii, that part of Piedmont which
includes the valley of Aost.

[140] The temple of Mars Ultor was erected by Augustus in fulfilment of
a vow made by him at the battle of Philippi. It stood in the Forum which
he built, mentioned in chap. xxxix. There are no remains of either.

[141] “The Ovatio was an inferior kind of Triumph, granted in cases
where the victory was not of great importance, or had been obtained
without difficulty. The general entered the city on foot or on
horseback, crowned with myrtle, not with laurel; and instead of bullocks,
the sacrifice was performed with a sheep, whence this procession acquired
its name.”–Thomson.

[142] “The greater Triumph, in which the victorious general and his army
advanced in solemn procession through the city to the Capitol, was the
highest military honour which could be obtained in the Roman state.
Foremost in the procession went musicians of various kinds, singing and
playing triumphal songs. Next were led the oxen to be sacrificed, having
their horns gilt, and their heads adorned with fillets and garlands.
Then in carriages were brought the spoils taken from the enemy, statues,
pictures, plate, armour, gold and silver, and brass; with golden crowns,
and other gifts, sent by the allied and tributary states. The captive
princes and generals followed in chains, with their children and
attendants. After them came the lictors, having their fasces wreathed
with laurel, followed by a great company of musicians and dancers dressed
like Satyrs, and wearing crowns of gold; in the midst of whom was one in
a female dress, whose business it was, with his looks and gestures, to
insult the vanquished. Next followed a long train of persons carrying
perfumes. Then came the victorious general, dressed in purple
embroidered with gold, with a crown of laurel on his head, a branch of
laurel in his right hand, and in his left an ivory sceptre, with an eagle
on the top; having his face painted with vermilion, in the same manner as
the statue of Jupiter on festival days, and a golden Bulla hanging on his
breast, and containing some amulet, or magical preservative against envy.
He stood in a gilded chariot, adorned with ivory, and drawn by four white
horses, sometimes by elephants, attended by his relations, and a great
crowd of citizens, all in white. His children used to ride in the
chariot with him; and that he might not be too much elated, a slave,
carrying a golden crown sparkling with gems, stood behind him, and
frequently whispered in his ear, ‘Remember that thou art a man!’ After
the general, followed the consuls and senators on foot, at least
according to the appointment of Augustus; for they formerly used to go
before him. His Legati and military Tribunes commonly rode by his side.
The victorious army, horse and foot, came last, crowned with laurel, and
decorated with the gifts which they had received for their valour,
singing their own and their general’s praises, but sometimes throwing out
railleries against him; and often exclaiming, ‘Io Triumphe!’ in which
they were joined by all the citizens, as they passed along. The oxen
having been sacrificed, the general gave a magnificent entertainment in
the Capitol to his friends and the chief men of the city; after which he
was conducted home by the people, with music and a great number of lamps
and torches.”–Thomson.

[143] “The Sella Curulis was a chair on which the principal magistrates
sat in the tribunal upon solemn occasions. It had no back, but stood on
four crooked feet, fixed to the extremities of cross pieces of wood,
joined by a common axis, somewhat in the form of the letter X; was
covered with leather, and inlaid with ivory. From its construction, it
might be occasionally folded together for the convenience of carriage,
and set down where the magistrate chose to use it.”–Thomson.

[144] Now Saragossa.

[145] A great and wise man, if he is the same person to whom Cicero’s
letters on the calamities of the times were addressed. Fam. Epist. c.
vi, 20, 21.

[146] A.U.C. 731.

[147] The Lustrum was a period of five years, at the end of which the
census of the people was taken. It was first made by the Roman kings,
then by the consuls, but after the year 310 from the building of the
city, by the censors, who were magistrates created for that purpose. It
appears, however, that the census was not always held at stated periods,
and sometimes long intervals intervened.

[148] Augustus appears to have been in earnest on these occasions, at
least, in his desire to retire into private life and release himself from
the cares of government, if we may believe Seneca. De Brev. Vit. c. 5.
Of his two intimate advisers, Agrippa gave this counsel, while Mecaenas
was for continuing his career of ambition.–Eutrop. 1. 53.

[149] The Tiber has been always remarkable for the frequency of its
inundations and the ravages they occasioned, as remarked by Pliny, iii.
5. Livy mentions several such occurrences, as well as one extensive
fire, which destroyed great part of the city.

[150] The well-known saying of Augustus, recorded by Suetonius, that he
found a city of bricks, but left it of marble, has another version given
it by Dio, who applies it to his consolidation of the government, to the
following effect: “That Rome, which I found built of mud, I shall leave
you firm as a rock.”–Dio. lvi. p. 589.

[151] The same motive which engaged Julius Caesar to build a new forum,
induced Augustus to erect another. See his life c. xx. It stood behind
the present churches of St. Adrian and St. Luke, and was almost parallel
with the public forum, but there are no traces of it remaining. The
temple of Mars Ultor, adjoining, has been mentioned before, p. 84.

[152] The temple of the Palatine Apollo stood, according to Bianchini, a
little beyond the triumphal arch of Titus. It appears, from the reverse
of a medal of Augustus, to have been a rotondo, with an open portico,
something like the temple of Vesta. The statues of the fifty daughters
of Danae surrounded the portico; and opposite to them were their husbands
on horseback. In this temple were preserved some of the finest works of
the Greek artists, both in sculpture and painting. Here, in the presence
of Augustus, Horace’s Carmen Seculare was sung by twenty-seven noble
youths and as many virgins. And here, as our author informs us,
Augustus, towards the end of his reign, often assembled the senate.

[153] The library adjoined the temple, and was under the protection of
Apollo. Caius Julius Hegenus, a freedman of Augustus, and an eminent
grammarian, was the librarian.

[154] The three fluted Corinthian columns of white marble, which stand
on the declivity of the Capitoline hill, are commonly supposed to be the
remains of the temple of Jupiter Tonans, erected by Augustus. Part of
the frieze and cornice are attached to them, which with the capitals of
the columns are finely wrought. Suetonius tells us on what occasion this
temple was erected. Of all the epithets given to Jupiter, none conveyed
more terror to superstitious minds than that of the Thunderer–

Coelo tonantem credidimus Jovem
Regnare.–Hor. 1. iii. Ode 5.

We shall find this temple mentioned again in c. xci. of the life of

[155] The Portico of Octavia stood between the Flaminian circus and the
theatre of Marcellus, enclosing the temples of Jupiter and Juno, said to
have been built in the time of the republic. Several remains of them
exist, in the Pescheria or fish-market; they were of the Corinthian
order, and have been traced and engraved by Piranesi.

[156] The magnificent theatre of Marcellus was built on the site where
Suetonius has before informed us that Julius Caesar intended to erect one
(p. 30). It stood between the portico of Octavia and the hill of the
Capitol. Augustus gave it the name of his nephew Marcellus, though he
was then dead. Its ruins are still to be seen in the Piazza Montanara,
where the Orsini family have a palace erected on the site.

[157] The theatre of Balbus was the third of the three permanent
theatres of Rome. Those of Pompey and Marcellus have been already

[158] Among these were, at least, the noble portico, if not the whole,
of the Pantheon, still the pride of Rome, under the name of the Rotondo,
on the frieze of which may be seen the inscription,


Agrippa also built the temple of Neptune, and the portico of the

[159] To whatever extent Augustus may have cleared out the bed of the
Tiber, the process of its being encumbered with an alluvium of ruins and
mud has been constantly going on. Not many years ago, a scheme was set
on foot for clearing it by private enterprise, principally for the sake
of the valuable remains of art which it is supposed to contain.

[160] The Via Flaminia was probably undertaken by the censor Caius
Flaminius, and finished by his son of the same name, who was consul
A.U.C. 566, and employed his soldiers in forming it after subduing the
Ligurians. It led from the Flumentan gate, now the Porta del Popolo,
through Etruria and Umbria into the Cisalpine Gaul, ending at Ariminum,
the frontier town of the territories of the republic, now Rimini, on the
Adriatic; and is travelled by every tourist who takes the route, north of
the Appenines, through the States of the Church, to Rome. Every one
knows that the great highways, not only in Italy but in the provinces,
were among the most magnificent and enduring works of the Roman people.

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