The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

[401] The Carpentum was a carriage, commonly with two wheels, and an
arched covering, but sometimes without a covering; used chiefly by
matrons, and named, according to Ovid, from Carmenta, the mother of
Evander. Women were prohibited the use of it in the second Punic war, by
the Oppian law, which, however, was soon after repealed. This chariot
was also used to convey the images of the illustrious women to whom
divine honours were paid, in solemn processions after their death, as in
the present instance. It is represented on some of the sestertii.

[402] See cc. xiv. and xxiii. of the present History.

[403] Ib. cc. vii. and xxiv.

[404] Life of TIBERIUS, c. xliii.

[405] See the Life of AUGUSTUS, cc. xxviii. and ci.

[406] Julius Caesar had shared it with them (c. xli.). Augustus had
only kept up the form (c. xl.). Tiberius deprived the Roman people of
the last remains of the freedom of suffrage.

[407] The city of Rome was founded on the twenty-first day of April,
which was called Palilia, from Pales, the goddess of shepherds, and ever
afterwards kept as a festival.

[408] A.U.C. 790.

[409] A.U.C. 791.

[410] A.U.C. 793.

[411] A.U.C. 794.

[412] The Saturnalia, held in honour of Saturn, was, amongst the Romans,
the most celebrated festival of the whole year, and held in the month of
December. All orders of the people then devoted themselves to mirth and
feasting; friends sent presents to one another; and masters treated their
slaves upon a footing of equality. At first it was held only for one
day, afterwards for three days, and was now prolonged by Caligula’s

[413] See AUGUSTUS, cc. xxix and xliii. The amphitheatre of Statilius
Taurus is supposed to have stood in the Campus Martius, and the elevation
now called the Monte Citorio, to have been formed by its ruins.

[414] Supposed to be a house, so called, adjoining the Circus, in which
some of the emperor’s attendants resided.

[415] Now Puzzuoli, on the shore of the bay of Naples. Every one knows
what wealth was lavished here and at Baiae, on public works and the
marine villas of the luxurious Romans, in the times of the emperors.

[416] The original terminus of the Appian Way was at Brundusium. This
mole formed what we should call a nearer station to Rome, on the same
road, the ruins of which are still to be seen. St. Paul landed there.

[417] Essedis: they were light cars, on two wheels, constructed to carry
only one person; invented, it is supposed, by the Belgians, and by them
introduced into Britain, where they were used in war. The Romans, after
their expeditions in Gaul and Britain, adopted this useful vehicle
instead of their more cumbrous RHEDA, not only for journeys where
dispatch was required, but in solemn processions, and for ordinary
purposes. They seem to have become the fashion, for Ovid tells us that
these little carriages were driven by young ladies, themselves holding
the reins, Amor. xi. 16. 49.

[418] Suetonius flourished about seventy years after this, in the reign
of Adrian, and derived many of the anecdotes which give interest to his
history from cotemporary persons. See CLAUDIUS, c. xv. etc.

[419] See TIBERIUS, c. xlvii. and AUGUSTUS, c. xxxi.

[420] This aqueduct, commenced by Caligula and completed by Claudian, a
truly imperial work, conveyed the waters of two streams to Rome,
following the valley of the Anio from above Tivoli. The course of one of
these rivulets was forty miles, and it was carried on arches, immediately
after quitting its source, for a distance of three miles. The other, the
Anio Novus, also began on arches, which continued for upwards of twelve
miles. After this, both were conveyed under ground; but at the distance
of six miles from the city, they were united, and carried upon arches all
the rest of the way. This is the most perfect of all the ancient
aqueducts; and it has been repaired, so as to convey the Acqua Felice,
one of the three streams which now supply Rome. See CLAUDIUS, c. xx.

[421] By Septa, Suetonius here means the huts or barracks of the
pretorian camp, which was a permanent and fortified station. It stood to
the east of the Viminal and Quirinal hills, between the present Porta Pia
and S. Lorenzo, where there is a quadrangular projection in the city
walls marking the site. The remains of the Amphitheatrum Castrense stand
between the Porta Maggiore and S. Giovanni, formerly without the ancient
walls, but now included in the line. It is all of brick, even the
Corinthian pillars, and seems to have been but a rude structure, suited
to the purpose for which it was built, the amusement of the soldiers, and
gymnastic exercises. For this purpose they were used to construct
temporary amphitheatres near the stations in the distant provinces, which
were not built of stone or brick, but hollow circular spots dug in the
ground, round which the spectators sat on the declivity, on ranges of
seats cut in the sod. Many vestiges of this kind have been traced in

[422] The Isthmus of Corinth; an enterprize which had formerly been
attempted by Demetrius, and which was also projected by Julius Caesar,
c. xliv., and Nero, c. xix.; but they all failed of accomplishing it.

[423] On the authority of Dio Cassius and the Salmatian manuscript, this
verse from Homer is substituted for the common reading, which is,

Eis gaian Danaon perao se.
Into the land of Greece I will transport thee.

[424] Alluding, in the case of Romulus, to the rape of the Sabines; and
in that of Augustus to his having taken Livia from her husband.–
AUGUSTUS, c. lxii.

[425] Selene was the daughter of Mark Antony by Cleopatra.

[426] See c. xii.

[427] The vast area of the Roman amphitheatres had no roof, but the
audience were protected against the sun and bad weather by temporary
hangings stretched over it.

[428] A proverbial expression, meaning, without distinction.

[429] The islands off the coast of Italy, in the Tuscan sea and in the
Archipelago, were the usual places of banishment. See before, c. xv.;
and in TIBERIUS, c. liv., etc.

[430] Anticyra, an island in the Archipelago, was famous for the growth
of hellebore. This plant being considered a remedy for insanity, the
proverb arose–Naviga in Anticyram, as much as to say, “You are mad.”

[431] Meaning the province in Asia, called Galatia, from the Gauls who
conquered it, and occupied it jointly with the Greek colonists.

[432] A quotation from the tragedy of Atreus, by L. Attius, mentioned by
Cicero. Off. i. 28.

[433] See before, AUGUSTUS, c. lxxi.

[434] These celebrated words are generally attributed to Nero; but Dio
and Seneca agree with Suetonius in ascribing them to Caligula.

[435] Gladiators were distinguished by their armour and manner of
fighting. Some were called Secutores, whose arms were a helmet, a
shield, a sword, or a leaden ball. Others, the usual antagonists of the
former, were named Retiarii. A combatant of this class was dressed in a
short tunic, but wore nothing on his head. He carried in his left hand a
three-pointed lance, called Tridens or Fuscina, and in his right, a net,
with which he attempted to entangle his adversary, by casting it over his
head, and suddenly drawing it together; when with his trident he usually
slew him. But if he missed his aim, by throwing the net either too short
or too far, he instantly betook himself to flight, and endeavoured to
prepare his net for a second cast. His antagonist, in the mean time,
pursued, to prevent his design, by dispatching him.

[436] AUGUSTUS, c. xxiii.

[437] TIBERIUS, c. xl.

[438] See before, c. xix.

[439] Popae were persons who, at public sacrifices, led the victim to
the altar. They had their clothes tucked up, and were naked to the
waist. The victim was led with a slack rope, that it might not seem to
he brought by force, which was reckoned a bad omen. For the same reason,
it was allowed to stand loose before the altar, and it was thought a very
unfavourable sign if it got away.

[440] Plato de Repub. xi.; and Cicero and Tull. xlviii.

[441] The collar of gold, taken from the gigantic Gaul who was killed in
single combat by Titus Manlius, called afterwards Torquatus, was worn by
the lineal male descendants of the Manlian family. But that illustrious
race becoming extinct, the badge of honour, as well as the cognomen of
Torquatus, was revived by Augustus, in the person of Caius Nonius
Asprenas, who perhaps claimed descent by the female line from the family
of Manlius.

[442] Cincinnatus signifies one who has curled or crisped hair, from
which Livy informs us that Lucius Quintus derived his cognomen. But of
what badge of distinction Caligula deprived the family of the Cincinnati,
unless the natural feature was hereditary, and he had them all shaved–a
practice we find mentioned just below–history does not inform us, nor
are we able to conjecture.

[443] The priest of Diana Nemorensis obtained and held his office by his
prowess in arms, having to slay his competitors, and offer human
sacrifices, and was called Rex from his reigning paramount in the
adjacent forest. The temple of this goddess of the chase stood among the
deep woods which clothe the declivities of the Alban Mount, at a short
distance from Rome–nemus signifying a grove. Julius Caesar had a
residence there. See his Life, c. lxxi. The venerable woods are still
standing, and among them chestnut-trees, which, from their enormous girth
and vast apparent age, we may suppose to have survived from the era of
the Caesars. The melancholy and sequestered lake of Nemi, deep set in a
hollow of the surrounding woods, with the village on its brink, still
preserve the name of Nemi.

[444] An Essedarian was one who fought from an Esseda, the light
carriage described in a former note, p. 264.

[445] See before, JULIUS, c. x., and note.

[446] Particularly at Baiae, see before, c. xix. The practice of
encroaching on the sea on this coast, commenced before,–

Jactis in altum molibus.–Hor. Od. B. iii. 1. 34.

[447] Most of the gladiators were slaves.

[448] The part of the Palatium built or occupied by Augustus and

[449] Mevania, a town of Umbria. Its present name is Bevagna. The
Clitumnus is a river in the same country, celebrated for the breed of
white cattle, which feed in the neighbouring pastures.

[450] Caligula appears to have meditated an expedition to Britain at the
time of his pompous ovation at Puteoli, mentioned in c. xiii.; but if
Julius Caesar could gain no permanent footing in this island, it was very
improbable that a prince of Caligula’s character would ever seriously
attempt it, and we shall presently see that the whole affair turned out a

[451] It seems generally agreed, that the point of the coast which was
signalized by the ridiculous bravado of Caligula, somewhat redeemed by
the erection of a lighthouse, was Itium, afterwards called Gessoriacum,
and Bononia (Boulogne), a town belonging to the Gaulish tribe of the
Morini; where Julius Caesar embarked on his expedition, and which became
the usual place of departure for the transit to Britain.

[452] The denarius was worth at this time about seven pence or eight
pence of our money.

[453] Probably to Anticyra. See before, c. xxix. note

[454] The Cimbri were German tribes on the Elbe, who invaded Italy
A.U.C. 640, and were defeated by Metellus.

[455] The Senones were a tribe of Cis-Alpine Gauls, settled in Umbria,
who sacked and pillaged Rome A.U.C. 363.

[456] By the transmarine provinces, Asia, Egypt, etc., are meant; so
that we find Caligula entertaining visions of an eastern empire, and
removing the seat of government, which were long afterwards realized in
the time of Constantine.

[457] See AUGUSTUS, c. xviii.

[458] About midnight, the watches being divided into four.

[459] Scabella: commentators are undecided as to the nature of this
instrument. Some of them suppose it to have been either a sort of cymbal
or castanet, but Pitiscus in his note gives a figure of an ancient statue
preserved at Florence, in which a dancer is represented with cymbals in
his hands, and a kind of wind instrument attached to the toe of his left
foot, by which it is worked by pressure, something in the way of an

[460] The port of Rome.

[461] The Romans, in their passionate devotion to the amusements of the
circus and the theatre, were divided into factions, who had their
favourites among the racers and actors, the former being distinguished by
the colour of the party to which they belonged. See before, c. xviii.,
and TIBERIUS, c. xxxvii.

[462] In the slang of the turf, the name of Caligula’s celebrated horse
might, perhaps, be translated “Go a-head.”

[463] Josephus, who supplies us with minute details of the assassination
of Caligula, says that he made no outcry, either disdaining it, or
because an alarm would have been useless; but that he attempted to make
his escape through a corridor which led to some baths behind the palace.
Among the ruins on the Palatine hill, these baths still attract
attention, some of the frescos being in good preservation. See the
account in Josephus, xix. 1, 2.

[464] The Lamian was an ancient family, the founders of Formiae. They
had gardens on the Esquiline mount.

[465] A.U.C. 714.

[466] Pliny describes Drusus as having in this voyage circumnavigated
Germany, and reached the Cimbrian Chersonese, and the Scythian shores,
reeking with constant fogs.

[467] Tacitus, Annal. xi. 8, 1, mentions this fosse, and says that
Drusus sailed up the Meuse and the Waal. Cluverius places it between the
village of Iselvort and the town of Doesborg.

[468] The Spolia Opima were the spoils taken from the enemy’s king, or
chief, when slain in single combat by a Roman general. They were always
hung up in the Temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Those spoils had been
obtained only thrice since the foundation of Rome; the first by Romulus,
who slew Acron, king of the Caeninenses; the next by A. Cornelius Cossus,
who slew Tolumnius, king of the Veientes, A.U. 318; and the third by M.
Claudius Marcellus, who slew Viridomarus, king of the Gauls, A.U. 330.

[469] A.U.C. 744.

[470] This epistle, as it was the habit of Augustus, is interspersed
with Greek phrases.

[471] The Alban Mount is the most interesting feature of the scenery of
the Campagna about Rome, Monti Cavo, the summit, rising above an
amphitheatre of magnificent woods, to an elevation of 2965 French feet.
The view is very extensive: below is the lake of Albano, the finest of
the volcanic lakes in Italy, and the modern town of the same name. Few
traces remain of Alba Longa, the ancient capital of Latium.

[472] On the summit of the Alban Mount, on the site of the present
convent, stood the temple of Jupiter Latialis, where the Latin tribes
assembled annually, and renewed their league, during the Feriae Latinae,
instituted by Tarquinus Superbus. It was here, also, that Roman
generals, who were refused the honours of a full triumph, performed the
ovation, and sacrificed to Jupiter Latialis. Part of the triumphal way
by which the mountain was ascended, formed of vast blocks of lava, is
still in good preservation, leading through groves of chestnut trees of
vast size and age. Spanning them with extended arms–none of the
shortest–the operation was repeated five times in compassing their

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