The Roman Empire
The Roman empire in the beginning of the era
Ancient texts from the Roman empire part of the Public domain .
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A short description of the timeline of the Roman empire in the first and second century AD.:
44 BC JULIUS CAESAR the first emperor murdered.
27 BC AUGUSTUS emperor.
1 Augustus in the 28th year of his rule as Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus Pontifex Maximus Pater Patriae. His wife, since 38 bc, Livia Drusilla. War in Germany.
2 Peace made with Persia. Forum of Augustus dedicated. Scandal of Augustus' daughter Julia. Death of Lucius at Marseilles. Tiberius returns from Rhodes.
3 Ariobarzanes made King of Armenia. Proconsulare Imperium renewed for ten years. Augustus's new house on the Palatine destroyed by fire.
4 Death of Gaius in Lycia. Augustus adopts Tiberius and Agrippa Postumus, Tiberius adopts Germanicus. Tiberius in Germany - he subdues the Bructeri and Cherusci. Conspiracy of Cn Cornelius Cinna.
5 Tiberius in Germany, He reaches the Elbe. Sentius receives triumphal honours. Famine in Italy.
6 Pannonia and Dalmatia revolt. Alarm at Rome, Famine in the city. Judaea made a province.
7 Tiberius and Germanicus in Pannonia. Agrippa Postumus banished to Planasia, Ovid banished to Tomi on the Black Sea.
8 Subjection of Pannonia under the general Marcus Lepidus. The orator Cassius Severus banished for libel.
9 Pannonian War ends. Arminius defeats Varus in Germany. The Lex Pappia Poppaea Ara Pacis inaugurated.
10 Pannonia established as an imperial province. Tiberius secures the Rhine defences. Arch of Dolabella and SIlanus on the ancient Celimontana gate. The obelisk of the Horologium Augusti brought from Heliopolis to Rome.
11 Tiberius and Germanicus re-cross the Rhine. The Theatre of Marcellus, begun by Julius, is finished.
12 Germanicus consul Tiberius granted supreme power alongside Augustus. Tiberius celebrates a triumph for Pannonia. Birth of Caligula, son of Germanicus. The Basilica Julia enlarged and rebuilt.
13 Tiberius (again) receives Tribunician Power and Proconsulare Imperium in all provinces.
14 Census of Caesar and Tiberius. Death of Augustus at Nola in Campania; buried in his own mausoleum. TIBERIUS accedes as Tiberius Caesar Augustus.
15 Achaea and Macedonia become Imperial Provinces. Tiberius becomes Pontifex Maximus. The Tiber floods it's banks.
16 Germanicus campaigns in Germany; the Elbe is abandoned as the German frontier.
17-18 Germanicus in Rome celebrates his triumph. Sejanus Prefect of the Praetorian guard. Germanicus campaigns in the East. Cappadocia and Commagene annexed Livy and Ovid die.
19 Germanicus dies at Antioch. Decrees against the profligacy of women. Tiberius restores the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Forum. Arches erected in The Forum Of Augustus to Drusus and Germanicus.
20-24 Wars in Africa against Tacfarinas. Tiberius' son Drusus celebrates a triumph. Drusus' mother Vipsania dies. Failed rising in Gaul under Sacrovir and Florus. Death of Arminius.
21 Drusus shares the consulship with Tiberius.
22 Drusus given Tribunician Power. The Basilica Aemilia in the Forum re-built.
23 Juba of Mauretania dies. Drusus poisoned by his wife Livilla and Sejanus. Elder Pliny born. Strabo dies. Castra Praetoria barracks built for the Guard.
24 Trial and suicide of Silius and Silvanus. Death of Tacfarinas. Slave revolt in South Italy under T.Curtisius.
25 Rebellion in Thrace, suppressed by 26. Tiberius refuses Sejanus's request to marry Livilla. Thrace rebels against military service.
26 Poppaeus Sabinus given triumphal insignia for crushing Thracian revolt.
27 Tiberius settles in Capri. Fire in Rome.
28 The Frisians revolt against tribute. L. Apronius, campaigns in Germany.
29 Livia dies aged 86. Agrippina, widow of Germanicus banished to Pandateria.
30 Drusus and Asinius Gallus imprisoned.
31 Sejanus becomes a senator and consul; the fall of Sejanus. Macro Praetorian Prefect Sales tax increased back to Augustan level.
32 Death of Asinius Gallus and Drusus. General terror Price riots in the city.
33 Agrippina starves herself to death.
34 Artaxias of Armenia dies.
35 Birth of the author Quintilian. Death of Poppaeus Sabinus in the Balkans.
36 Fire in Rome. Peace between Rome and Parthia. Settlement of Judaea; imprisonment of Herod Agrippa.
37 Tiberius dies at his villa in Misenum. His ashes placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus. CALIGULA succeeds as Gaius Caesar Germanicus Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, and Pater Patriae (born 12 at Antium). He marries Livia Orestilla Antonia. Mother of Germanicus dies.
38 Death of Caligula's sister Drusilla. He marries Lollia Paulina. Anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria. Death of the Praetorian Prefect Macro. Claudius marries Valeria Messalina.
39 Caligula marries Milonia Caesonia. He 'campaigns' on the Rhine. Lepidus and Gaetulicus executed for conspiracy. Herod Antipas deposed. Caligila builds the 'Bridge of Boats' at Baiae.
40 Caligula orders that the temple of Jerusalem be turned into an Imperial shrine. Ptolemy of Mauretania executed at Rome.
41 Caligula assassinated in Rome. Ashes placed in the mausoleum of Augustus. Praetorian guard make CLAUDIUS emperor. He accedes as Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus Pontifex Maximus Pater Patriae (born Lyons, 10 bc). Birth of his son, Tiberius Claudius Germanicus (Brittanicus). Herod Agrippa given Judaea and Samaria.
42 Revolt by Lucius Scribonianus, governor of Dalmatia. Leading senators implicated. Famine in Rome. New harbour begun at Ostia. Mauretania annexed and made into two provinces. Suetonius Paulinus crosses the Atlas.
43 Conquest of Britain begun under Aulus Plautius; Claudius in Britain defeats Caractacus. Lycia merged into Pamphylia.
44 Death of Herod Agrippa. Claudius returns to Rome; his British triumph.
45 Mithridates of Bosphorus deposed and Cotys set up.
46 Asinius Gallus exiled for conspiracy. Annexation of Thrace. Citizenship given to the Gallic Anauni. Birth of the writer Plutarch.
47 Claudius holds the Secular Games to mark 800 years of the city of Rome. Plautus returns from Britain to a triumph.
48 Claudius' wife Messalina conspires with C. Silius, both executed.
49 Claudius marries his niece Julia Agrippina. Seneca made Nero's tutor. Lollia Paulina exiled and killed.
50 Claudius adopts Agrippina's son, Domitius Ahenobarbus as 'Nero'. The Chatti invade from Germany, crushed by Pomponius.
51 Nero given the title Princeps Iuventutis. Burrus Praetorian Prefect. Famine in Rome. Caractacus captured in Britain.
52 The Acqueducts 'Aqua Claudia' and the 'Anio Novus' completed. Arcus Claudii erected to commemorate British victory.
53 Nero marries Claudius' daughter Octavia.
54 Claudius poisoned by his wife. NERO succeeds as Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus etc. (born 37). Seneca publishes the Apocolocyntosis.
55 Britannicus poisoned at dinner. Cnaius Corbulo given full command in the East as 'Legate of Cappadocia'.
56 Actors expelled from Rome. The Emperor takes control of the Public Treasury (Aerarium).
57 Nero builds amphitheatre in Campus Martius.
58 Initial conquest of Armenia by Corbulo - war with Parthia. The Hermundiri and the Chatti at war in Germany.
59 Nero murders Agrippina. The market 'Macellum Magnum' built on the Caelio.
60 Financial crisis and depreciation of coinage. Corbulo sets up Tigranes in Armenia.
61 Suppression of British revolt under Boudicca.
62 Nero divorces Octavia and marries Poppaea Sabina. Death of Burrus.
63 Treaty with Parthia and settlement of the Armenian question under Tiridates. Trapezus becomes base of Roman fleet on the Black Sea.
64 Nero makes his musical debut in public at Naples. Great fire of Rome. Nero begins building of the Golden House.
65 Conspiracy of Calpurnius Piso. Suicide of Seneca and Lucan (born 39). Nero kicks his wife Poppaea to death. Epidemic in the City.
66 Jewish revolt begins. Vespasian appointed commander in Palestine. Nero marries Statilia Messalina. The general Corbulo ordered to commit suicide. Suicide of Petronius ('Arbiter' of taste and author of Satyricon). Nero goes to Greece.
67 Josephus the Jew deserts to the Romans. Vespasian reduces Galilee. Nero victorious at the Games in Greece.
68 Julius Vindex raises rebellion in Gallia Lugdun. The Senate declares Nero a public enemy. 9th June, suicide of Nero.
68-79 AD Battle for Emperorship between Galba, Vitellius, Otho (the hairy giant), Vespasian and Titus.
69 Galba , Vitellius, Otho and Vespasian contest for power. Victory for Vespasian at Betriacum and sack of Cremona. War with the Garamantes in Libya. Batavian revolt under Julius Civilis. Fire on the Capitoline destroys archives.
70 VESPASIAN emperor as Imperator Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar, soon after as Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (born 17 at Falacrinae). Begins to construct new palace. TITUS becomes Caesar. Defeat of Civilis and of the rising of Treviri in Gaul. Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.
71 Temple of Peace begun. Titus 'Prefect of the Praetorians'.
72 Commagene annexed by Caessenius Paetus. The Flavian Amphitheatre begun.
73 Vespasian and Titus censors. High taxation. Achaea loses the freedom given to it by Nero. The Jews riot in Alexandria. Alans invade Armenia and Parthia.
74 Fall of the stronghold of Masada in Palestine. Vespasian grants Latin rights to all Spain.
75 Titus calls his lover, Queen Berenice, to Rome. Temple of Peace finished. Temple of Jupiter rebuilt. The legate of Syria, M. Ulpius Traianus, defeats the Parthians.
78 Agricola becomes Legatus Propraetore in Britain. The author Tacitus marries his daughter.
79 Vespasian dies of illness in Campania. TITUS succeeds as Imperator Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, later Pontifex Max and Pater Patriae (born Rome 39) His wife is Domitia Longina. Eruption of Vesuvius; end of Pompeii. Death of Elder Pliny.
80 Fire in Rome and destruction of the Capitoline temple. Inauguration of Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum). 100 day games. Dedication of the Baths of Titus.
81 Titus dies in Campania. General mourning. DOMITIAN accedes as Imperator Caesar Domitianus Augustus (born Rome 51). Agricola campaigns in Scotland.
82 Domitian restores the Capitol.
83 Campaign against the German Chatti. Domitian takes name "Germanicus". Domitia Longina exiled.
84 Battle of Mons. Graupius in Scotland. Domitian censor for life.
85 Agricola returns from Britain to Rome. Domitian makes himself Censor for life.
86 Domitian at war with the Dacians under Decebalus; The Praetorian prefect, Cornelius Fuscus, defeated and killed. Nasamones revolts in Africa. Stadium in the Campus Martius rebuilt in brick and stone (Piazza Navona). The Agon Capitolinus instituted.
87 The Praetorian prefect, Cornelius Fuscus, killed in Dacia. First major 'conspiracy' unearthed.
88 Tacitus Praetor. Victory over Dacians at Tapae.
89-90 Philosophers banished from the City. Mutiny in Upper Germany under Saturninus. Domitian in Germany. War with Suevi Marcomanni and Iazyges: Domitian makes peace with Dacians.
91 The consul Acilius Glabro forced to fight in the Amphitheatre. The Equus Domitiani statue erected in the Forum.
92 Iazyges invade. Dacia Domitian, in person, ends the war against Suebi and Sarmatians. His Palace on the Palatine completed by Rabirius. Quintilian the lawyer publishes "Institutio Oratoria", a programme of oratory.
93-95 Death of Agricola. Domitian begins 'terror'. Domitian executes his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, for Christianity.
96 The poet Statius dies in his native Naples. Domitian assassinated, His acts annulled.
96-161 AD Rule of the "Good Emperors" Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
Marcus Cocceius NERVA (born 30) proclaimed by the Senate as Imperator Nerva Caesar Augustus. Hailed as Pater Patriae. Limitation of games and corn doles.
97 Trajan legate in Upper Germany. Revolt of the Praetorians under Aelianus. Nerva adopts Trajan. Both receive the surname 'Germanicus'. Institution of Alimenta "De Aquaeductibus" written by Sex. Julius Frontinus the Curator Aquarum. The Forum of Nerva (begun by Domitian) is completed. A Chinese embassy attempts to visit Rome but is dissuaded in Mesopotamia. Tacitus consul; he delivers the funeral oration on his predecessor, Verginius Rufus.
98 Death of Nerva, Jan. 28th, from apoplexy.Marcus Ulpius Nerva. TRAJAN accedes at Cologne aged 45. (Born, Italica, Spain, in 53). His full title Imperator Caesar Divi Nervae filius Nerva Traianus Augustus. Trajan winters on the Danube. Tacitus publishes the 'Agricola' and writes the 'Germania'.
99 Trajan returns to Rome. Is named Pater Patriae. Marcus Priscus, proconsul of Africa, exiled. Galatia and Pontus Polemoniacus separated from Cappadocia. Julius Frontinus completes a survey of the Roman water supply. The Kushans send a delegation to Rome.
100 The younger Pliny consul. His panegyric on Trajan Death of Quintilian, born c.35. Colonies built in Africa - the Third Augusta based at Thamugadi, Numidia.
101 1st Dacian War. Trajan defeats Decebalus at Tapae. Extension of the Alimenta. Death of Silius Italicus. Death of Martial (born c.40).
102 Trajan captures Sarmizigethusa, the Dacian capital. Trajan receives title of Dacicus. Emperor orders extension of the port at Ostia.
103 Pliny successfully defends. C.Julius Bassus, proconsul of Bithynia. Harbour built at Centumcellae.
104 Trajan goes to Moesia. Death of Martial (born c.40), at Bibilis in Spain. Nero's Palace destroyed by fire.
105 2nd Dacian War. Defeat and death of Decebalus. Dacia a province. Hadrian is Tribunus Plebis. Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina becomes Augusta. Bridge of Alcantara built over the River Tagus.
106 Arabia (the Nabataean Kingdom) made an Imperial province (under the Syrian governor, Cornelius Palma).
107 Trajan celebrates a Triumph for the Dacian War. Law requires senators to invest 1/3 of their property in Italian land. Basilica Ulpia built (c. until 118). Osroes becomes King of Parthia.
108 Hadrian Legate in Pannonia Inferior. Drives back Sarmatians.
109 The Aqua Traiana acqueduct completed. Hadrian consul.
110 The Legio X11 garrisons Dacia Baths of Trajan built over Nero's Golden House (by Apollodorus).
111 Pliny arrives in Bythinia as Legate with Consular Power.
112 Pliny corresponds with the Emperor regarding Christians. Forum of Trajan dedicated.
113 War declared against Parthia. Column of Trajan completed. The re-built Forum of Caesar is inaugurated.
114 Trajan in the East. Armenia made a province. Lusius Quietus conquers Media. Senate votesa triumphal arch at Beneventum, on the new Via Traiana.
115 Trajan occupies Mesopotamia and makes it a province. Trouble among the Jews in Cyrene and Egypt. Lusius Quietus institutes brutal repression in Judaea. The harbour of Encona enlarged.
116 The Parthian capital Ctesiphon captured. Trajan annexes Adiabene and forms the province of Assyria. Tigris becomes the Eastern boundary. Trajan visits Charax. Bloody risings of Jews in Greece Cyprus and Egypt are suppressed.
117 Parthamaspates son of Chosroes accepts the Parthian crown from Trajan. Trajan dies at Selinus in Cilicia, from a stroke. P. Aelius Hadrianus, legatus of Syria is hailed by the soldiers and then by the Senate. He decides to abandon Armenia Mesopotamia and Assyria. HADRIAN suceeds as Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, Pontifex Max.(born Rome 76). His wife is Vibia Sabina. Death of Tacitus .
118-120 Hadrian takes oath not to execute Senators. Hadrian begins complete re-building of the Pantheon of Agrippa. The Temple of Matidia (Hadrian's mother-in-law) dedicated.
121 Temple of Venus and Rome begun. Birth of Marcus Aurelius. Hadrian's 1st journey through the provinces.
122 Emperor's visit to Britain. He commissions wall. He orders the colony of Aelia Capitolina at Jerusalem. Emperor dismisses Suetonius as his private secretary.
123 The Augusta Plotina dies, Hadrian wears black for nine days. Peace treaty between Hadrian and Osroes of Parthia, Armenia under the protection of Rome.
124 Hadrian in Greece; initiated into Eleusinian mysteries.
125 Work begins on Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli. Plutarch dies in Greece.
126 Hadrian presides over the Great Dionysia.
127 Hadrian in Rome. Becomes Pater Patriae.
128 Hadrian's Wall completed Emperor in Athens. He dedicates the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Hadrian takes title "Olympius".
129 Hadrian's 2nd journey through the Empire.
130 Death of Juvenal, born c.65. Hadrian's boyfriend Antinous drowns in the Nile.
131 Foundation of Antinoopolis in Egypt.
132 Jewish revolt under Bar Kochba and Eleazar.
133 Jerusalem and Caesarea held by the Romans.
134 Hadrian back in Rome. Arrian, governor of Cappadocia, defeats an invasion by the Alans from Russia.
135 Temple of Venus and Rome dedicated. Bar Kochba revolt ends - dispersal of Jewish people. Death of the Stoic Epictetus (born c.55) in Nicopolis, Epirus.
136 Death of Vibia Sabina. Hadrian falls ill; adopts Lucius Ceionius Commodus.
137 Completion of Via Hadriana.
138 Death of Commodus, adoption of Antoninus. Hadrian dies at Baia. ANTONINUS succeeds as Imperator Titus Aelius Caesar Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius Pont. Max. (born Lanuvium 86). His wife: Annia Galeria Faustina.
139 Hadrian and Sabina buried in The Mausoleum of Hadrian. Hadrian declared 'divus' against will of Senate. Antoninus 'Pater Patriae'.
140 Death of Empress Faustina, Temple voted in her honour.
143 The Brigantes in Britain become subjects. Antonine Wall built in Scotland.
144 Speech of the Greek orator Aelius Aristides in praise of Rome.
145 Aurelius marries Antoninus' daughter Faustina.
146 War in Africa. Templum Divi Hadriani dedicated (Piazza di Pietra).
147 Aurelius made Caesar and Consort in the Empire.
148 Celebration of Rome's 900th anniversary.
155 War with Parthia. Antoninus in the East.
161 Antoninus dies from eating too much cheese at his palace in Lorium near Rome. The scholar Lucius Aelius Stilo born. MARCUS AURELIUS emperor.
Library Books 34/35. 2. 1-48
1. When Sicily, after the Carthaginian collapse, had enjoyed sixty years of
good fortune in all respects, the Servile War broke out for the following reason.
The Sicilians, having shot up in prosperity and acquired great wealth, began to
purchase a vast number of slaves, to whose bodies, as they were brought in droves
from the slave markets, they at once applied marks and brands.
2. The young men they used as cowherds, the others in such ways as they happened
to be useful. But they treated them with a heavy hand in their service, and granted
them the most meagre care, the bare minimum for food and clothing. As a result
most of them made their livelihood by brigandage, and there was bloodshed everywhere,
since the brigands were like scattered bands of soldiers.
3. The governors (praetores) attempted to repress them, but since they
did not dare to punish them because of the power and prestige of the gentry who
owned the brigands, they were forced to connive at the pillaging of the province.
For most of the landowners were Roman knights (equites), and since it was
the knights who acted as judges when charges arising from provincial affairs were
brought against the governors, the magistrates stood in awe of them.
4. The slaves, distressed by their hardships, and frequently outraged and beaten
beyond all reason, could not endure their treatment. Getting together as opportunity
offered, they discussed the possibility of revolt, until at last they put their
plans into action.
5. There was a certain Syrian slave, belonging to Antigenes of Enna; he was
an Apamean by birth and had an aptitude for magic and the working of wonders.
He claimed to foretell the future, by divine command, through dreams, and because
of his talent along these lines deceived many. Going on from there he not only
gave oracles by means of dreams, but even made a pretence of having waking visions
of the gods and of hearing the future from their own lips.
6. Of his many improvisations some by chance turned out true, and since those
which failed to do so were left unchallenged, while those that were fulfilled
attracted attention, his reputation advanced apace. Finally, through some device,
while in a state of divine possession, he would produce fire and flame from his
mouth, and thus rave oracularly about things to come.
7. For he would place fire, and fuel to maintain it, in a nut -- or something
similar -- that was pierced on both sides; then, placing it in his mouth and blowing
on it, he kindled now sparks, and now a flame. Prior to the revolt he used to
say that the Syrian goddess appeared to him, saying that he should be king, and
he repeated this, not only to others, but even to his own master.
8. Since his claims were treated as a joke, Antigenes, taken by his hocus-pocus,
would introduce Eunus (for that was the wonder-worker's name) at his dinner parties,
and cross-question him about his kingship and how he would treat each of the men
present. And since he gave a full account of everything without hesitation, explaining
with what moderation he would treat the masters and in sum making a colourful
tale of his quackery, the guests were always stirred to laughter, and some of
them, picking up a nice tidbit from the table, would present it to him, adding,
as they did so, that when he became king, he should remember the favour.
9. But, as it happened, his charlatanism did in fact result in kingship, and
for the favours received in jest at the banquets he made a return of thanks in
good earnest. The beginning of the whole revolt took place as follows.
10. There was a certain Damophilus of Enna, a man of great wealth but insolent
of manner; he had abused his slaves to excess, and his wife Megallis vied even
with her husband in punishing the slaves and in her general inhumanity towards
them. The slaves, reduced by this degrading treatment to the level of brutes,
conspired to revolt and to murder their masters. Going to Eunus they asked him
whether their resolve had the favour of the gods. He, resorting to his usual mummery,
promised them the favour of the gods, and soon persuaded them to act at once.
11. Immediately, therefore, they brought together four hundred of their fellow
slaves and, having armed themselves in such ways as opportunity permitted, they
fell upon the city of Enna, with Eunus at their head and working his miracle of
the flames of fire for their benefit. When they found their way into the houses
they shed much blood, sparing not even suckling babes.
12. They tore them from the breast and dashed them to the ground, while as
for the women -- and under their husbands' very eyes -- but words cannot tell
the extent of their outrages and acts of lewdness! By now a great multitude of
slaves from the city had joined them, who, after first demonstrating against their
own masters their utter ruthlessness, then turned to the slaughter of others.
13. When Eunus and his men learned that Damophilus and his wife were in the
garden that lay near the city, they sent some of their band and dragged them off,
both the man and his wife, fettered and with hands bound behind their backs, subjecting
them to many outrages along the way. Only in the case of the couple's daughter
were the slaves seen to show consideration throughout, and this was because of
her kindly nature, in that to the extent of her power she was always compassionate
and ready to succour the slaves. Thereby it was demonstrated that the others were
treated as they were, not because of some "natural savagery of slaves," but rather
in revenge for wrongs previously received.
14. The men appointed to the task, having dragged Damophilus and Megallis into
the city, as we said, brought them to the theatre, where the crowd of rebels had
assembled. But when Damophilus attempted to devise a plea to get them off safe
and was winning over many of the crowd with his words, Hermeias and Zeuxis, men
bitterly disposed towards him, denounced him as a cheat, and without waiting for
a formal trial by the assembly the one ran him through the chest with a sword,
the other chopped off his head with an axe. Thereupon Eunus was chosen king, not
for his manly courage or his ability as a military leader, but solely for his
marvels and his setting of the revolt in motion, and because his name seemed to
contain a favourable omen that suggested good will towards his subjects.
15. Established as the rebels' supreme commander, he called an assembly and
put to death all the citizenry of Enna except for those who were skilled in the
manufacture of arms: these he put in chains and assigned them to this task. He
gave Megallis to the maidservants to deal with as they might wish; they subjected
her to torture and threw her over a precipice. He himself murdered his own masters,
Antigenes and Pytho.
16. Having set a diadem upon his head, and arrayed himself in full royal style,
he proclaimed his wife queen (she was a fellow Syrian and of the same city), and
appointed to the royal council such men as seemed to be gifted with superior intelligence,
among them one Achaeus (Achaeus by name and an Achaean by birth), a man who excelled
both at planning and in action. In three days Eunus had armed, as best he could,
more than six thousand men, besides others in his train who had only axes and
hatchets, or slings, or sickles, or fire-hardened stakes, or even kitchen spits;
and he went about ravaging the countryside. Then, since he kept recruiting untold
numbers of slaves, he ventured even to do battle with Roman generals, and on joining
combat repeatedly overcame them with his superior numbers, for he now had more
than ten thousand soldiers.
17. Meanwhile a man named Cleon, a Cilician, began a revolt of still other
slaves. And though there were high hopes everywhere that the revolutionary groups
would come into conflict one with the other, and that the rebels, by destroying
themselves, would free Sicily of strife, contrary to expectations the two groups
joined forces, Cleon having subordinated himself to Eunus at his mere command,
and discharging, as it were, the function of a general serving a king; his particular
band numbered five thousand men. It was now about thirty days since the outbreak.
18. Soon after, engaging in battle with a general arrived from Rome, Lucius
Hypsaeus, who had eight thousand Sicilian troops, the rebels were victorious,
since they now numbered twenty thousand. Before long their band reached a total
of two hundred thousand, and in numerous battles with the Romans they acquitted
themselves well, and failed but seldom.
19. As word of this was bruited about, a revolt of one hundred and fifty slaves,
banded together, flared up in Rome, of more than a thousand in Attica, and of
yet others in Delos and many other places. But thanks to the speed with which
forces were brought up and to the severity of their punitive measures, the magistrates
of these communities at once disposed of the rebels and brought to their senses
any who were wavering on the verge of revolt. In Sicily, however, the trouble
20. Cities were captured with all their inhabitants, and many armies were cut
to pieces by the rebels, until Rupilius, the Roman commander, recovered Tauromenium
for the Romans by placing it under strict siege and confining the rebels under
conditions of unspeakable duress and famine: conditions such that, beginning by
eating the children, they progressed to the women, and did not altogether abstain
even from eating one another. It was on this occasion that Rupilius captured Comanus,
the brother of Cleon, as he was attempting to escape from the beleaguered city.
21. Finally, after Sarapion, a Syrian, had betrayed the citadel, the general
laid hands on all the runaway slaves in the city, whom, after torture, he threw
over a cliff. From there he advanced to Enna, which he put under siege in much
the same manner, bringing the rebels into extreme straits and frustrating their
hopes. Cleon came forth from the city with a few men, but after an heroic struggle,
covered with wounds, he was displayed dead, and Rupilius captured this city also
by betrayal, since its strength was impregnable to force of arms.
22. Eunus, taking with him his bodyguards, a thousand strong, fled in unmanly
fashion to a certain precipitous region. The men with him, however, aware that
their dreaded fate was inevitable, inasmuch as the general, Rupilius, was already
marching against them, killed one another with the sword, by beheading. Eunus,
the wonder-worker and king, who through cowardice had sought refuge in certain
caves, was dragged out with four others, a cook, a baker, the man who massaged
him at his bath, and a fourth, whose duty it had been to amuse him at drinking
23. Remanded to prison, where his flesh disintegrated into a mass of lice,
he met such an end as befitted his knavery, and died at Morgantina. Thereupon
Rupilius, traversing the whole of Sicily with a few picked troops, sooner than
had been expected rid it of every nest of robbers.
24. Eunus, king of the rebels, called himself Antiochus, and his horde of rebels
Syrians. Approaching Eunus, who lived not far away, they asked whether their project
had the approval of the gods. He put on a display of divine transports, and when
he learned why they had come, stated clearly that the gods favoured their revolt,
provided they made no delay but applied themselves to the enterprise at once;
for it was decreed by Fate that Enna, the citadel of the whole island, should
be their land. Having heard this, and believing that Providence was assisting
them in their project, they were so keenly wrought up for revolt that there was
no delay in executing their resolve. At once, therefore, they set free those in
bonds, and collecting such as lived near by they assembled some 400 men in a certain
field not far from Enna. After making a compact and exchanging pledges sworn by
night over sacrificial victims, they armed themselves in such fashion as the occasion
allowed; but all were equipped with the best of weapons, fury, which was bent
on the destruction of their arrogant masters. Their leader was Eunus. With cries
of encouragement to one another they broke into the city about midnight and put
many to the sword.
25. There was never a sedition of slaves so great as that which occurred in
Sicily, whereby many cities met with grave calamities, innumerable men and women,
together with their children, experienced the greatest misfortunes, and all the
island was in danger of falling into the power of fugitive slaves, who measured
their authority only by the excessive suffering of the freeborn. To most people
these events came as an unexpected and sudden surprise, but to those who were
capable of judging affairs realistically they did not seem to happen without reason.
26. Because of the superabundant prosperity of those who exploited the products
of this mighty island, nearly all who had risen in wealth affected first a luxurious
mode of living, then arrogance and insolence. As a result of all this, since both
the maltreatment of the slaves and their estrangement from their masters increased
at an equal rate, there was at last, when occasion offered, a violent outburst
of hatred. So without a word of summons tens of thousands of slaves joined forces
to destroy their masters. Similar events took place throughout Asia at the same
period, after Aristonicus laid claim to a kingdom that was not rightfully his,
and the slaves, because of their owners' maltreatment of them, joined him in his
mad venture and involved many cities in great misfortunes.
27. In like fashion a each of the large landowners bought up whole slave marts
to work their lands; . . . to bind some in fetters, to wear out others by the
severity of their tasks; and they marked all with their arrogant brands. In consequence,
so great a multitude of slaves inundated all Sicily that those who heard tell
of the immense number were incredulous. For in fact the Sicilians who had acquired
much wealth were now rivalling the Italians in arrogance, greed, and villainy.
And the Italians who owned large numbers of slaves had made crime so familiar
to their herdsmen that they provided them no food, but permitted them to plunder.
28. With such licence given to men who had the physical strength to accomplish
their every resolve, who had scope and leisure to seize the opportunity, and who
for want of food were constrained to embark on perilous enterprises, there was
soon an increase in lawlessness. They began by murdering men who were travelling
singly or in pairs, in the most conspicuous areas. Then they took to assaulting
in a body, by night, the homesteads of the less well protected, which they destroyed,
seizing the property and killing all who resisted.
29. As their boldness grew steadily greater, Sicily became impassable to travellers
by night; those who normally lived in the country found it no longer safe to stay
there; and there was violence, robbery, and all manner of bloodshed on every side.
The herdsmen, however, because of their experience of life in the open and their
military accoutrements, were naturally all brimming with high spirits and audacity;
and since they carried clubs or spears or stout staves, while their bodies were
protected by the skins of wolves or wild boars, they presented a terrifying appearance
that was little short of actual belligerence.
30. Moreover, each had at his heels a pack of valiant dogs, while the plentiful
diet of milk and meat available to the men rendered them savage in temper and
in physique. So every region was filled with what were practically scattered bands
of soldiers, since with the permission of their masters the reckless daring of
the slaves had been furnished with arms.
31. The praetors attempted to hold the raging slaves in check, but not daring
to punish them because of the power and influence of the masters were forced to
wink at the plundering of their province. For most of the landowners were Roman
knights in full standing, and since it was the knights who acted as judges when
charges arising from provincial affairs were brought against the governors, the
magistrates stood in awe of them.
32. The Italians who were engaged in agriculture purchased great numbers of
slaves, all of whom they marked with brands, but failed to provide them sufficient
food, and by oppressive toil wore them out .. . their distress.
33. Not only in the exercise of political power should men of prominence be
considerate towards those of low estate, but so also in private life they should
-- if they are sensible -- treat their slaves gently. For heavy-handed arrogance
leads states into civil strife and factionalism between citizens, and in individual
households it paves the way for plots of slaves against masters and for terrible
uprisings in concert against the whole state. The more power is perverted to cruelty
and lawlessness, the more the character of those subject to that power is brutalized
to the point of desperation. Anyone whom fortune has set in low estate willingly
yields place to his superiors in point of gentility and esteem, but if he is deprived
consideration, he comes to regard those who harshly lord it over him with bitter
34. There was a certain Damophilus, a native of Enna, a man of great wealth
but arrogant in manner, who, since he had under cultivation a great circuit of
land and owned many herds of cattle, emulated not only the luxury affected by
the Italian landowners in Sicily, but also their troops of slaves and their inhumanity
and severity towards them. He drove about the countryside with expensive horses,
four-wheeled carriages, and a bodyguard of slaves, and prided himself, in addition,
on his great train of handsome serving-boys and ill-mannered parasites.
35. Both in town and at his villas he took pains to provide a veritable exhibition
of embossed silver and costly crimson spreads, and had himself served sumptuous
and regally lavish dinners, in which he surpassed even the luxury of the Persians
in outlay and extravagance, as indeed he outdid them also in arrogance. His uncouth
and boorish nature, in fact, being set in possession of irresponsible power and
in control of a vast fortune, first of all engendered satiety, then overweening
pride, and, at last, destruction for him and great calamities for his country.
36. Purchasing a large number of slaves, he treated them outrageously, marking
with branding irons the bodies of men who in their own countries had been free,
but who through capture in war had come to know the fate of a slave. Some of these
he put in fetters and thrust into slave pens; others he designated to act as his
herdsmen, but neglected to provide them with suitable clothing or food.
37. Because of his arbitrary and savage humour not a day passed that this same
Damophilus did not torment some of his slaves without just cause. His wife Metallis,
who delighted no less in these arrogant punishments, treated her maidservants
cruelly, as well as any other slaves who fell into her clutches. And because of
the despiteful punishments received from them both, the slaves were filled with
rage against their masters, and conceiving that they could encounter nothing worse
than their present misfortunes began to form conspiracies to revolt and to murder
38. On one occasion when approached by a group of naked domestics with a request
for clothing, Damophilus of Enna impatiently refused to listen. "What!" he said,
"do those who travel through the country go naked? Do they not offer a ready source
of supply for anyone who needs garments?" Having said this, he ordered them bound
to pillars, piled blows on them, and arrogantly dismissed them.
39. There was in Sicily a daughter of Damophilus, a girl of marriageable age,
remarkable for her simplicity of manner and her kindness of heart. It was always
her practice to do all she could to comfort the slaves who were beaten by her
parents, and since she also took the part of any who had been put in bonds, she
was wondrously loved by one and all for her kindness. So now at this time, since
her past favours enlisted in her service the mercy of those to whom she had shown
kindness, no one was so bold as to lay violent hands upon the girl, but all maintained
her fresh young beauty inviolate. And selecting suitable men from their number,
among them Hermeias, her warmest champion, they escorted her to the home of certain
kinsmen in Catana.
40. Although the rebellious slaves were enraged against the whole household
of their masters, and resorted to unrelenting abuse and vengeance, there were
yet some indications that it was not from innate savagery but rather because of
the arrogant treatment they had themselves received that they now ran amuck when
they turned to avenge themselves on their persecutors.
Even among slaves human nature needs no instructor in regard to a just repayment,
whether of gratitude or of revenge.
41. Eunus, after being proclaimed king, put them all to death, except for the
men who in times past had, when his master indulged him, admitted him to their
banquets, and had shown him courtesy both in respect of his prophecies and in
their gifts of good things from the table; these men he spirited away and set
free. Here indeed was cause for astonishment: that their fortunes should be so
dramatically reversed, and that a kindness in such trivial matters should be requited
so opportunely and with so great a boon.
42. Achaeus, the counsellor of King Antiochus [Eunus], being far from pleased
at the conduct of the runaway slaves, censured them for their recklessness and
boldly warned them that they would meet with speedy punishment. So far from putting
him to death for his outspokenness, Eunus not only presented him with the house
of his former masters but made him a royal counsellor.
43. There was, in addition, another revolt of fugitive slaves who banded together
in considerable numbers. A certain Cleon, a Cilician from the region about Taurus,
who was accustomed from childhood to a life of brigandage and had become in Sicily
a herder of horses, constantly waylaid travellers and perpetrated murders of all
kinds. On hearing the news of Eunus' success and of the victories of the fugitives
serving with him, he rose in revolt, and persuading some of the slaves near by
to join him in his mad venture overran the city of Acragas and all the surrounding
44. Their pressing needs and their poverty forced the rebel slaves to regard
everyone as acceptable, giving them no opportunity to pick and choose.
45. It needed no portent from the heavens to realize how easily the city could
be captured. For it was evident even to the most simple-minded that because of
the long period of peace the walls had crumbled, and that now, when many of its
soldiers had been killed, the siege of the city would bring an easy success.
46. Eunus, having stationed his army out of range of their missiles, taunted
the Romans by declaring that it was they, and not his men, who were runaways from
battle. For the inhabitants of the city, at a safe distance (?), he staged a production
of mimes, in which the slaves acted out scenes of revolt from their individual
masters, heaping abuse on their arrogance and the inordinate insolence that had
led to their destruction.
47. As for unusual strokes of ill fortune, even though some persons may be
convinced that Providence has no concern with anything of the sort, yet surely
it is to the interest of society that the fear of the gods should be deeply embedded
in the hearts of the people. For those who act honestly because they are themselves
virtuous are but few, and the great mass of humanity abstain from evil-doing only
because of the penalties of the law and the retribution that comes
from the gods.
48. When these many great troubles fell upon the Sicilians, the common people
were not only unsympathetic, but actually gloated over their plight, being envious
because of the inequality in their respective lots, and the disparity in their
modes of life. Their envy, from being a gnawing canker, now turned to joy, as
it beheld the once resplendent lot of the rich changed and fallen into a condition
such as was formerly beneath their very notice. Worst of all, though the rebels,
making prudent provision for the future, did not set fire to the country estates
nor damage the stock or the stored harvests, and abstained from harming anyone
whose pursuit was agriculture, the populace, making the runaway slaves a pretext,
made sallies into the country and with the malice of envy not only plundered the
estates but set fire to the buildings as well.
Book 34/35. 3. 8, 11
8. The runaway "Syrian slaves cut off the hands of their captives, but not
content with amputation at the wrist included arms and all in the mutilation.
11. There was a certain Gorgus of Morgantina, surnamed Cambalus, a man of wealth
and good standing, who, having gone out hunting, happened upon a robber-nest of
fugitive slaves, and tried to escape on foot to the city. His father, Gorgus,
chancing to meet him on horseback, jumped down and offered him the horse that
he might mount and ride off to the city. But the son did not choose to save himself
at his father's expense, nor was the father willing to make good his escape from
danger by letting his son die. While they were still pleading with one another,
both in tears, and were engaged in a contest of piety and affection, as paternal
devotion vied with a son's love for his father, the bandits appeared on the scene
and killed them both.
Book 6. 2. 6-7
6. In the interior is Enna, where is the temple of Demeter, with only a few
inhabitants; it is situated on a hill, and is wholly surrounded by broad plateaus
that are tillable. It suffered most at the hands of Eunus and his runaway slaves,
who were besieged there and only with difficulty were dislodged by the Romans.
The inhabitants of Catana and Tauromenium and also several other peoples suffered
this same fate.
Eryx, a lofty hill, is also inhabited. It has a temple of Aphrodite that is
held in exceptional honour, and in early times was full of female temple-slaves,
who had been dedicated in fulfilment of vows not only by the people of Sicily
but also by many people from abroad; but at the present time, just as the settlement
itself, so the temple is in want of men, and the multitude of temple-slaves has
disappeared. In Rome, also, there is a reproduction of this goddess, I mean the
temple before the Colline Gate which is called that of Venus Erycina and is remarkable
for its shrine and surrounding colonnade.
But the rest of the settlements as well as most of the interior have come into
the possession of shepherds; for I do not know of any settled population still
living in either Himera, or Gela, or Callipolis or Selinus or Euboea or several
other places. Of these cities Himera was founded by the Zanclaeans of Mylae, Callipolis
by the Naxians, Selinus by the Megarians of the Sicilian Megara, and Euboea by
the Leontines. Many of the barbarian cities, also, have been wiped out; for example
Camici, the royal residence of Cocalus, at which Minos is said to have been murdered
by treachery. The Romans, therefore, taking notice that the country was deserted,
took possession of the mountains and most of the plains and then gave them over
to horseherds, cowherds, and shepherds; and by these herdsmen the island was many
times put in great danger, because, although at first they only turned to brigandage
in a sporadic way, later they both assembled in great numbers and plundered the
settlements, as, for example, when Eunus and his men took possession of Enna.
And recently, in my own time, a certain Selurus, called the son of Aetna," was
sent up to Rome because he had put himself at the head of an army and for a long
time had overrun the regions round about Aetna with frequent raids; I saw him
torn to pieces by wild beasts at an appointed combat of gladiators in the Forum;
for he was placed on a lofty scaffold, as though on Aetna, and the scaffold was
made suddenly to break up and collapse, and he himself was carried down with it
into cages of wild beasts -- fragile cages that had been prepared beneath the
scaffold for that purpose.
7. As for the fertility of the country, why should I speak of it, since it
is on the lips of all men, who declare that it is no whit inferior to that of
Italy? And in the matter of grain, honey, saffron, and certain other products,
one might call it even superior. There is, furthermore, its propinquity; for the
island is a part of Italy, as it were, and readily and without great labour supplies
Rome with everything it has, as though from the fields of Italy. And in fact it
is called the storehouse of Rome, for everything it produces is brought hither
except a few things that are consumed at home, and not the fruits only, but also
cattle, hides, wool, and the like. Poseidonius says that Syracuse and Eryx are
each situated like an acropolis by the sea, whereas Enna lies midway between the
two above the encircling plains.
Florus, Epitome of Roman History
2. 7. 1-8
Though, in the preceding war, we fought with our allies, (which was bad enough,)
yet we contended with free men, and men of good birth: but who can with patience
hear of a war against slaves on the part of a people at the head of all nations?
The first war with slaves occurred in the infancy of Rome, in the heart of the
city, when Herdonius Sabinus was their leader, and when, while the state was distracted
with the seditions of the tribunes, the Capitol was besieged and wrested by the
consul from the servile multitude. But this was an insurrection rather than a
war. At a subsequent period, when the forces of the empire were engaged in different
parts of the world, who would believe that Sicily was much more cruelly devastated
by a war with slaves than in that with the Carthaginians? This country, fruitful
in grain, and, in a manner, a suburban province, was covered with large estates
of many Roman citizens; and the numerous slave-houses, and fettered tillers of
the ground, supplied force enough for a war. A certain Syrian, by name Eunus,
(the greatness of our defeats from him makes us remember it,) counterfeiting a
fanatical inspiration, and tossing his hair in honour of the Syrian goddess, excited
the slaves, by command of heave as it were, to claim their liberty and take up
arms. And that he might prove this to be done by supernatural direction, he concealed
a nut in his mouth, which he had filled with brimstone and fire, and breathing
gently, sent forth flame together with his words. This prodigy at first attracted
two thousand of such as came in his way; but in a short time, by breaking open
the slavehouses, he collected a force of above sixty thousand, and being adorned
with ensigns of royalty, that nothing might be wanting to his audacity, he laid
waste, with lamentable desolation, fortresses, towns, and villages. The camps
even of praetors (the utmost disgrace of war) were taken by him nor will I shrink
from giving their names, they were the camps of Manilius, Lentulus, Piso, and
Hypsaeus. Thus those, who ought to have been dragged home by slavetakers, pursued
praetorian generals routed in battle. At last vengeance was taken on them by our
general Perperna for having conquered them, and at last besieged them in Enna,
and reduced them with famine as with a pestilence, he threw the remainder of the
marauders into chains, and then crucified them. But over such enemies he was content
with an ovation, that he might not sully the dignity of a triumph with the name
Book 5. 6
In the consulship of Servius Fulvius Flaccus and Q. Calpurnius Piso, there
was born at Rome of a maid servant a boy with four feet, four eyes, a like number
of ears, twice as many as in the nature of man. In Sicily, Mount Etna cast forth
and spread vast fires which, like torrents flowing precipitously down the neighboring
slopes, burned up everything with their consuming fire and scorched more distant
places with glowing ashes which flew far and wide with a heavy vapor. This kind
of portent, ever native to Sicily, customarily does not foretell evil, but brings
it on. In the land of Bononia, the products of the field came forth on trees.
And in Sicily, the slave war broke out, which was so serious and fierce, because
of the number of the slaves, the equipment of the troops, and the strength of
its forces, that, not to mention the Roman praetors whom it thoroughly routed,
it terrified even consuls. For seventy thousand slaves are reported to have been
among the conspirators at that time, not including the city of Messana which kept
its slaves in peace by treating them kindly. But Sicily was more wretched also
in this respect, in that it was an island and never with respect to its own status
had a law of its own and thus, at one time, was subject to tyrants and, at another,
to slaves, or when the former exacted slavery by their wicked domination or the
latter effected an interchange of liberty by a perverse presumption, especially
because it was hemmed in on all sides by sea, its internal evils could not easily
pass out. Indeed, Sicily nourished a viperous growth to its own destruction, increased
by its own lust and destined to live with its death. But in this respect, the
emotions of a slave tumult, insofar as it is of rarer occurrence among others,
to this extent is more ferocious, because a mob of free men is moved by the urge
to advance the fatherland; a mob of slaves to destroy it.
5. 9. 4-8
In addition, the contagion of the Slave War in Sicily infected many provinces
far and wide. For at Minturnae, four hundred and fifty slaves were crucified,
and at Sinuessa, four thousand slaves were crushed by Q. Metellus and Cn. Servilius
Caepio; in the mines of the Athenians also, a like uprising of the slaves was
dispersed by Heraclitus; at Delos also, the slaves, rising in another revolt,
were crushed by the citizens who anticipated the movement without that first fire
of the evil in Sicily, from which the sparks flaring forth fostered these various
fires. For in Sicily, after Fulvius, the consul, Piso, the consul, captured the
town of Mamertium, where he killed eight thousand fugitives, but those whom he
was able to capture he crucified. When Rupilius, the consul, succeeded him, he
regained by war Tauromenium and Enna, the strongest places of refuge for fugitive
slaves; more than twenty thousand slaves are reported to have been slaughtered
at that time. Surely, the cause of such an inextricable war was pitiable. Undoubtedly,
the masters would have had to perish had they not met the haughty slaves with
the sword. But yet in the very losses of battle, which were most unfortunate,
and in the more unfortunate gains of victory, the victors lost as many as perished
among the conquered.
B. Sicily 104-100
Diodorus Siculus, Library
Book 36. 1-11
1. In Rome, at about the same time that Marius defeated the Libyan kings Bocchus
and Jugurtha in a great battle and slew many tens of thousands of Libyans, and,
later, took thence and held captive Jugurtha himself (after he had been seized
by Bocchus who thereby won pardon from the Romans for the offences that had brought
him into war with them), at the time, furthermore, that the Romans, at war with
the Cimbri, were disheartened, having met with very serious reverses in Gaul --
at about this time, I repeat, men arrived in Rome from Sicily bearing news of
an uprising of slaves, their numbers running into many tens of thousands. With
the advent of this fresh news the whole Roman state found itself in a crisis,
inasmuch as nearly sixty thousand allied troops had perished in the war in Gaul
against the Cimbri and there were no legionary forces available to send out.
2. Even before the new uprising of the slaves in Sicily there had occurred
in Italy a number of short-lived and minor revolts, as though the supernatural
was indicating in advance the magnitude of the impending Sicilian rebellion. The
first was at Nuceria, where thirty slaves formed a conspiracy and were promptly
punished; the second at Capua, where two hundred rose in insurrection and were
promptly put down. The third was surprising in character. There was a certain
Titus Minucius, a Roman knight and the son of a very wealthy father. This man
fell in love with a servant girl of outstanding beauty who belonged to another.
Having lain with her and fallen unbelievably in love, he purchased her freedom
for seven Attic talents (his infatuation being so compelling, and the girl's master
having consented to the sale only reluctantly), and fixed a time by which he was
to pay off the debt, for his father's abundant means obtained him credit. When
the appointed day came and he was unable to pay, he set a new deadline of thirty
days. When this day too was at hand and the sellers put in a claim for payment,
while he, though his passion was in full tide, was no better able than before
to carry out his bargain, he then embarked on an enterprise that passes all comprehension:
he made designs on the life of those who were dunning him, and arrogated to himself
autocratic powers. He bought up five hundred suits of armour, and contracting
for a delay in payment, which he was granted, he secretly conveyed them to a certain
field and stirred up his own slaves, four hundred in number, to rise in revolt.
Then, having assumed the diadem and a purple cloak, together with lictors and
the other appurtenances of office, and having with the co-operation of the slaves
proclaimed himself king, he flogged and beheaded the persons who were demanding
payment for the girl. Arming his slaves, he marched on the neighbouring farmsteads
and gave arms to those who eagerly joined his revolt, but slew anyone who opposed
him. Soon he had more than seven hundred soldiers, and having enrolled them by
centuries he constructed a palisade and welcomed all who revolted. When word of
the uprising was reported at home the senate took prudent measures and remedied
the situation. Of the praetors then in the city they appointed one, Lucius Lucullus,
to apprehend the fugitives. That very day he selected six hundred soldiers in
Rome itself, and by the time he reached Capua had mustered four thousand infantry
and four hundred cavalry. Vettius, on learning that Lucullus was on his way, occupied
a strong hill with an army that now totalled more than thirty-five hundred men.
The forces engaged, and at first the fugitives had the advantage, since they were
fighting from higher ground; but later Lucullus, by suborning Apollonius, the
general of Vettius, and guaranteeing him in the name of the state immunity from
punishment, persuaded him to turn traitor against his fellow rebels. Since he
was now cooperating with the Romans and turning his forces against Vettius, the
latter, fearing the punishment that would await him if he were captured, slew
himself, and was presently joined in death by all who had taken part in the insurrection,
save only the traitor Apollonius. Now these events, forming as it were a prelude,
preceded the major revolt in Sicily, which began in the following manner.
2a. There were many new uprisings of slaves, the first at Nuceria, where thirty
slaves formed a conspiracy and were promptly punished, and the second at Capua,
where two hundred slaves rose in insurrection and also were promptly punished.
A third revolt was extraordinary and quite out of the usual pattern. There was
a certain Titus Vettius, a Roman knight, whose father was a person of great wealth.
Being a very young man, he was attracted by a servant girl of outstanding beauty
who belonged to another. Having lain with her, and even lived with her for a certain
length of time, he fell marvellously in love and into a state bordering, in fact,
on madness. Wishing because of his affection for her to purchase the girl's freedom,
he at first encountered her master's opposition, but later, having won his consent
by the magnitude of the offer, he purchased her for seven Attic talents, and agreed
to pay the purchase price at a stipulated time. His father's wealth obtaining
him credit for the sum, he carried the girl off, and hiding away at one of his
father's country estates sated his private lusts. But when the stipulated time
for the debt came round he was visited by men sent to demand payment. He put off
the settlement till thirty days later, and when he was still unable to furnish
the money, but was now a very slave to love, he embarked on an enterprise that
passes all comprehension. Indeed, the extreme severity of his affliction and the
embarrassment that accompanied his failure to pay promptly caused his mind to
turn to childish and utterly foolish calculations. Faced by impending separation
from his mistress, he formed a desperate plot against those who were demanding
3. In the course of Marius' campaign against the Cimbri the senate granted
Marius permission to summon military aid from the nations situated beyond the
seas. Accordingly Marius sent to Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia, requesting assistance.
The king replied that the majority of the Bithynians had been seized by tax farmers
and were now in slavery in the Roman provinces. The senate then issued a decree
that no citizen of an allied state should be held in slavery in a Roman province,
and that the praetors should provide for their liberation. In compliance with
the decree Licinius Nerva, who was at this time governor of Sicily, appointed
hearings and set free a number of slaves, with the result that in a few days more
than eight hundred persons obtained their freedom. And all who were in slavery
throughout the island were agog with hopes of freedom. The notables, however,
assembled in haste and entreated the praetor to desist from this course.
Whether he was won over by their bribes or weakly succumbed in his desire to
favour them, in any case he ceased to show interest in these tribunals, and when
men approached him to obtain freedom he rebuked them and ordered them to return
to their masters. The slaves, banding together, departed from Syracuse, and taking
refuge in the sanctuary of the Palici canvassed the question of revolution. From
this point on the audacity of the slaves was made manifest in many places, but
the first to make a bid for freedom were the thirty slaves of two very wealthy
brothers in the region of Halicyae, led by a man named Varius. They first murdered
their own masters by night as they lay sleeping, then proceeded to the neighbouring
villas and summoned the slaves to freedom. In this one night more than a hundred
and twenty gathered together. Seizing a position that was naturally strong, they
strengthened it even further, having received in the meantime an increment of
eighty armed slaves. Licinius Nerva, the governor of the province, marched against
them in haste, but though he placed them under siege his efforts were in vain.
When he saw that their fortress could not be taken by force, he set his hopes
on treason. As the instrument for his purpose he had one Gaius Titinius, surnamed
Gadaeus, whom he won over with promises of immunity. This man had been condemned
to death two years before, but had escaped punishment, and living as a brigand
had murdered many of the free men of the region, while abstaining from harm to
any of the slaves.
Now, taking with him a sufficient body of loyal slaves, he approached the fortress
of the rebels, as though intending to join them in the war against the Romans.
Welcomed with open arms as a friend, he was even chosen, because of his valour,
to be general, whereupon he betrayed the fortress. Of the rebels some were cut
down in battle, and others, fearing the punishment that would follow on their
capture, cast themselves down from the heights. Thus was the first uprising of
the fugitives quelled.
4. After the soldiers had disbanded and returned to their usual abodes, word
was brought that eighty slaves had risen in rebellion and murdered Publius Clonius,
who had been a Roman knight, and, further, that they were now engaged in gathering
a large band. The praetor, distracted by the advice of others and by the fact
that most of his forces had been disbanded, failed to act promptly and so provided
the rebels an opportunity to make their position more secure. But he set out with
the soldiers that were available, and after crossing the river Alba passed by
the rebels who were quartered on Mount Caprianus and reached the city of Heracleia.
By spreading the report that the praetor was a coward, since he had not attacked
them, they aroused a large number of slaves to revolt, and with an influx of many
recruits, who were equipped for battle in such fashion as was possible, within
the first seven days the had more than eight hundred men under arms, and soon
thereafter numbered not less than two thousand. When the praetor learned at Heracleia
of their growing numbers he appointed Marcus Titinius as commander, giving him
a force of six hundred men from the garrison at Enna. Titinius launched an attack
on the rebels, but since they held the advantage both in numbers and by reason
of the difficult terrain, he and his men were routed, many of them being killed,
while the rest threw down their arms and barely made good their escape by flight.
The rebels, having gained both a victory and so many arms all at once, maintained
their efforts all the more boldly, and all slaves everywhere were now keyed up
to revolt. Since there were many who revolted each day, their numbers received
a sudden and marvellous increase, and in a few days there were more than six thousand.
Thereupon they held an assembly, and when the question was laid before them first
of all chose as their king a man named Salvius, who was reputed to be skilled
in divination and was a flute-player of frenetic music at performances for women.
When he became king he avoided the cities, regarding them as the source of sloth
and self-indulgence, and dividing the rebels into three groups, over whom he set
a like number of commanders, he ordered them to scour the country and then assemble
in full force at a stated time and place. Having provided themselves by their
raids with an abundance of horses and other beasts, they soon had more than two
thousand cavalry and no fewer than twenty thousand infantry, and were by now making
a good showing in military exercises. So, descending suddenly on the strong city
of Morgantina, they subjected it to vigorous and constant assaults. The praetor,
with about ten thousand Italian and Sicilian troops, set out to bring aid to the
city, marching by night; discovering on his arrival that the rebels were occupied
with the siege, he attacked their camp, and finding that it was guarded by a mere
handful of men, but was filled with captive women and other booty of all sorts,
he captured the place with ease. After plundering the camp he moved on Morgantina.
The rebels made a sudden counterattack and, since they held a commanding position
and struck with might and main at once gained the ascendant, and the praetor's
forces were routed. When the king of the rebels made proclamation that no one
who threw down his arms should be killed, the majority dropped them and ran. Having
outwitted the enemy in this manner, Salvius recovered his camp, and by his resounding
victory got possession of many arms. Not more than six hundred of the Italians
and Sicilians perished in the battle, thanks to the king's humane proclamation,
but about four thousand were taken prisoner. Having doubled his forces, since
there were many who flocked to him as a result of his success, Salvius was now
undisputed master of the open country, and again attempted to take Morgantina
by siege. By proclamation he offered the slaves in the city their freedom, but
when their masters countered with a like offer if they would join in the defence
of the city, they chose rather the side of their masters, and by stout resistance
repelled the siege. Later, however, the praetor, by rescinding their emancipation,
caused the majority of them to desert to the rebels.
5. In the territory of Segesta and Lilybaeum, and of the other neighbouring
cities, the fever of insurrection was also raging among the masses of slaves.
Here the leader was a certain Athenion, a man of outstanding courage, a Cilician
by birth. He was the bailiff of two very wealthy brothers, and having great skill
in astrology he won over first the slaves who were under him, some two hundred,
and then those in the vicinity, so that in five days he had gathered together
more than a thousand men. When he was chosen as king and had put on the diadem,
he adopted an attitude just the opposite to that of all the other rebels: he did
not admit all who revolted, but making the best ones soldiers, he required the
rest to remain at their former labours and to busy themselves each with his domestic
affairs and his appointed task; thus Athenion was enabled to provide food in abundance
for his soldiers. He pretended, moreover, that the gods forecasted for him, by
the stars, that he would be king of all Sicily; consequently, he must needs conserve
the land and all its cattle and crops, as being his own property. Finally, when
he had assembled a force of more than ten thousand men, he ventured to lay siege
to Lilybaeum, an impregnable city. Having failed to achieve anything, he departed
thence, saying that this was by order of the gods, and that if they persisted
in the siege they would meet with misfortune. While he was yet making ready to
withdraw from the city, ships arrived in the harbour bringing a contingent of
Mauretanian auxiliaries, who had been sent to reinforce the city of Lilybaeum
and had as their commander a man named Gomon. He and his men made an unexpected
attack by night on Athenion's forces as they were on the march, and after felling
many and wounding quite a few others returned to the city. As a result the rebels
marvelled at his prediction of the event by reading the stars.
6. Turmoil and a very Iliad of woes possessed all Sicily. Not only slaves but
also impoverished freemen were guilty of every sort of rapine and lawlessness,
and ruthlessly murdered anyone they met, slave or free, so that no one should
report their frenzied conduct. As a result all city-dwellers considered what was
within the city walls scarcely their own, and whatever was outside as lost to
them and subject only to the lawless rule of force. And many besides were the
strange deeds perpetrated in Sicily, and many were the perpetrators.
11. Not only did the multitude of slaves who had plunged into revolt ravage
the country, but even those freemen who possessed no holdings on the land resorted
to rapine and lawlessness. Those without means, impelled alike by poverty and
lawlessness, streamed out into the country in swarms, drove off the herds of cattle,
plundered the crops stored in the barns, and murdered without more ado all who
fell in their way, slave or free alike, so that no one should be able to carry
back news of their frantic and lawless conduct. Since no Roman officials were
dispensing justice and anarchy prevailed, there was irresponsible licence, and
men everywhere were wreaking havoc far and wide. Hence every region was filled
with violence and rapine, which ran riot and enjoyed full licence to pillage the
property of the well-to-do. Men who aforetime had stood first in their cities
in reputation and wealth, now through this unexpected turn of fortune were not
only losing their property by violence at the hands of the fugitives, but were
forced to put up with insolent treatment even from the free born. Consequently
they all considered whatever was within the gates scarcely their own, and whatever
was without the walls as lost to them and subject only to the lawless rule of
force. In general there was turmoil in the cities, and a confounding of all justice
under law. For the rebels, supreme in the open country, made the land impassable
to travellers, since they were implacable in their hatred for their masters and
never got enough of their unexpected good fortune. Meanwhile the slaves in the
cities, who were contracting the infection and were poised for revolt, were a
source of great fear to their masters.
7. After the siege of Morgantina, Salvius, having overrun the country as far
as the plain of Leontini, assembled his whole army there, no fewer than thirty
thousand picked men, and after sacrificing to the heroes, the Palici, dedicated
to them in thank offering for his victory a robe bordered with a strip of sea-dyed
purple. At the same time he proclaimed himself king and was henceforth addressed
by the rebels as Tryphon. As it was his intention to seize Triocala and build
a palace there, he sent to Athenion, summoning him as a king might summon a general.
Everyone supposed that Athenion would dispute the primacy with him and that in
the resulting strife between the rebels the war would easily be brought to an
end. But Fortune, as though intentionally increasing the power of the fugitives,
caused their leaders to be of one mind. Tryphon came promptly to Triocala with
his army, and thither also came Athenion with three thousand men, obedient to
Tryphon as a general is obedient to his king; the rest of his army he had sent
out to cover the countryside and rouse the slaves to rebellion. Later on, suspecting
that Athenion would attack him, given the opportunity, Tryphon placed him under
detention. The fortress, which was already very strong, he equipped with lavish
constructions, and strengthened it even more. This place, Triocala, is said to
be so named because it possesses three fine advantages: first, an abundance of
flowing springs, whose waters are
exceptionally sweet; second, an adjacent countryside yielding vines and olives,
and wonderfully amenable to cultivation; and third, surpassing strength, for it
is a large and impregnable ridge of rock. This place, which he surrounded with
a city wall eight stades in length, and with a deep moat, he used as his royal
capital, and saw that it was abundantly supplied with all the necessities of life.
He constructed also a royal palace, and a market place that could accommodate
a large multitude. Moreover, he picked out a sufficient number of men endowed
with superior intelligence, whom he appointed counsellors and employed as his
cabinet. When holding audience he put on a toga bordered in purple and wore a
wide-bordered tunic, and had lictors with axes to precede him; and in general
he affected all
the trappings that go to make up and embellish the dignity of a king.
8. To oppose the rebels the Roman senate assigned Lucius Licinius Lucullus,
with an army of fourteen thousand Romans and Italians, eight hundred Bithynians,
Thessalians, and Acarnanians, six hundred Lucanians (commanded by Cleptius, a
skilled general and a man renowned for valour), besides six hundred others, for
a total of seventeen thousand. With these forces he occupied Sicily. Now Tryphon,
having dropped the charges against Athenion, was making plans for the impending
war with the Romans. His choice was to fight at Triocala, but it was Athenion's
advice that they ought not to shut themselves up to undergo siege, but should
fight in the open. This plan prevailed, and they encamped near Scirthaea, no fewer
than forty thousand strong; the Roman camp was at a distance of twelve stades.
There was constant skirmishing at first, then the two armies met face to face.
The battle swayed now this way, now that, with many casualties on both sides.
Athenion, who had a fighting force of two hundred horse, was victorious and covered
the whole area about him with corpses, but after being wounded in both knees and
receiving a third blow as well, he was of no service in fighting, whereupon the
runagate slaves lost spirit and were routed. Athenion was taken for dead and so
was not detected. By thus feigning death he made good his escape during the coming
night. The Romans won a brilliant victory, for Tryphon's army and Tryphon himself
turned and fled. Many were cut down in flight, and no fewer than twenty thousand
were finally slain. Under cover of night the rest escaped to Triocala, though
it would have been an easy matter to dispatch them also if only the praetor had
followed in pursuit. The slave party was now so dejected that they even considered
returning to their masters and placing themselves in their hands. But it was the
sentiment of those who had pledged themselves to fight to the end and not to yield
themselves abjectly to the enemy that at last prevailed. On the ninth day following,
the praetor arrived to lay siege to Triocala. After inflicting and suffering some
casualties he retired worsted, and the rebels once more held their heads high.
The praetor, whether through indolence or because he had been bribed, accomplished
nothing of what needed doing, and in consequence he was later haled to judgement
by the Romans and punished.
9. Gaius Servilius, sent out as praetor to succeed Lucullus, likewise achieved
nothing worthy of note. Hence he, like Lucullus, was later condemned and sent
into exile. On the death of Tryphon, Athenion succeeded to the command, and, since
Servilius did nothing to hinder him, he laid cities under siege, overran the country
with impunity, and brought many places under his sway.
The praetor Lucullus, on learning that Gaius Servilius, the praetor appointed
to succeed him in the war, had crossed the Strait, disbanded his army, and set
fire to the camp and the constructions, for he did not wish his successor in the
command to have any significant resources for waging war. Since he himself was
being denounced for his supposed desire to enlarge the scope of the war, he assumed
that by ensuring the humiliation and disgrace of his successor he was also dispelling
the charge brought against himself.
10. At the end of the year Gaius Marius was elected consul at Rome for the
fifth time, with Gaius Aquillius as his colleague. It was Aquillius who was sent
against the rebels, and by his personal valour won a resounding victory over them.
Meeting Athenion, the king of the rebels, face to face, he put up an heroic struggle;
he slew Athenion, and was himself wounded in the head but recovered after treatment.
Then he continued the campaign against the surviving rebels, who now numbered
ten thousand. When they did not abide his approach, but sought refuge in their
strongholds, Aquillius unrelentingly employed every means till he had captured
their forts and mastered them. But a thousand were still left, with Satyrus at
their head. Aquillius at first intended to subdue them by force of arms, but when
later, after an exchange of envoys, they surrendered, he released them from immediate
punishment and took them to Rome to do combat with wild beasts. There, as some
report, they brought their lives to a most glorious end; for they avoided combat
with the beasts and cut one another down at the public altars, Satyrus himself
slaying the last man. Then he, as the final survivor, died heroically by his own
hand. Such was the dramatic conclusion of the Sicilian Slave War, a war that lasted
about four years.
2. 7. 9-12
Scarcely had the island recovered itself; when it passed from the hands of
a Syrian slave to those of a Cilician. Athenio, a shepherd, having killed his
master, formed his slaves, whom he had released from the slave-house, into a regular
troop. Then, equipped with a purple robe and a silver sceptre, and with a crown
on his head like a king, he drew together no less an army than the fanatic his
predecessor, and laying waste, with even greater fury, (as if taking vengeance
for his fate,) villages, fortresses, and towns, he vented his rage upon the masters,
but still more violently on the slaves, whom he treated as renegades. By him,
too, some armies of praetors were overthrown, and the camps of Servilius and Lucullus
taken. But Aquilius, following the example of Perperna, reduced the enemy to extremities
by cutting off his supplies, and easily destroyed by famine forces which were
well defended by arms. They would have surrendered, had they not, from dread of
punishment, preferred a voluntary death. Not even on their leader could chastisement
be inflicted, though he fell alive into our hands, for while the people were disputing
who should secure him, the prey was torn to pieces between the contending parties.
Cassius Dio, Roman History
Book 27 fragment 101
Publius Licinius Nerva, who was praetor in the island, on learning that the
slaves were not being justly treated in some respects, or else because he sought
an occasion for profit -- for he was not inaccessible to bribes -- sent round
a notice that all who had any charges to bring against their masters should come
to him and he would assist them. Accordingly, many of them banded together, and
some declared they were being wronged and others made known other grievances against
their masters, thinking they had secured an opportunity for accomplishing all
that they wished against them without bloodshed. The freemen, after consultation,
resisted them and would not make any concessions. Therefore Licinius, inspired
with fear by the united front of both sides and dreading that some great mischief
might be done by the defeated party, would not receive any of the slaves, but
sent them away, thinking that they would suffer no harm or that at any rate they
would be scattered and so could cause no further disturbance. But the slaves,
fearing their masters because they had dared to raise their voices at all against
them, organized a band and by common consent turned to robbery.
The people of Messana, not expecting to meet with any harm, had deposited in
that place for safe-keeping all their most valuable and precious possessions.
Athenio, a Cilician who held the chief command of the robbers, on learning this,
attacked them while they were celebrating a public festival in the suburbs, killed
many of them as they were scattered about, and almost took the city by storm.
After building a wall to fortify Macella, a strong position, he proceeded to do
great injury to the country.
C. The War with Spartacus
8. The insurrection of the gladiators and the devastation of Italy, commonly
called the war of Spartacus, began upon this occasion. One Lentulus Batiates trained
up a great many gladiators in Capua, most of them Gauls and Thracians, who, not
for any fault by them committed, but simply through the cruelty of their master,
were kept in confinement for this object of fighting one with another. Two hundred
of these formed a plan to escape, but being discovered, those of them who became
aware of it in time to anticipate their master, being seventy-eight, got out of
a cook's shop chopping-knives and spits, and made their way through the city,
and lighting by the way on several waggons that were carrying gladiators' arms
to another city, they seized upon them and armed themselves. And seizing upon
a defensible place, they chose three captains, of whom Spartacus was chief, a
Thracian of one of the nomad tribes, and a man not only of high spirit and valiant,
but in understanding, also, and in gentleness superior to his condition, and more
of a Grecian than the people of his country usually are. When he first came to
be sold at Rome, they say a snake coiled itself upon his face as he lay asleep,
and his wife, who at this latter time also accompanied him in his flight, his
country- woman, a kind of prophetess, and one of those possessed with the bacchanal
frenzy, declared that it was a sign portending great and formidable power to him
with no happy event.
9. First, then, routing those that came out of Capua against them, and thus
procuring a quantity of proper soldiers' arms, they gladly threw away their own
as barbarous and dishonourable. Afterwards Clodius, the praetor, took the command
against them with a body of three thousand men from Rome, and besieged them within
a mountain, accessible only by one narrow and difficult passage, which Clodius
kept guarded, encompassed on all other sides with steep and slippery precipices.
Upon the top, however, grew a great many wild vines, and cutting down as many
of their boughs as they had need of, they twisted them into strong ladders long
enough to reach from thence to the bottom, by which, without any danger, they
got down all but one, who stayed there to throw them down their arms, and after
this succeeded in saving himself. The Romans were ignorant of all this, and, therefore,
coming upon them in the rear, they assaulted them unawares and took their camp.
Several also, of the shepherds and herdsmen that were there, stout and nimble
fellows, revolted over to them, to some of whom they gave complete arms, and made
use of others as scouts and light-armed soldiers.
Publius Varinius, the praetor, was now sent against them, whose lieutenant,
Furius with two thousand men, they fought and routed. Then Cossinius was sent
with considerable forces, to give his assistance and advice, and him Spartacus
missed but very little of capturing in person, as he was bathing at Salinae; for
he with great difficulty made his escape, while Spartacus possessed himself of
his baggage, and following the chase with a great slaughter, stormed his camp
and took it, where Cossinius himself was slain. After many successful skirmishes
with the praetor himself, in one of which he took his lictors and his own horse,
he began to be great and terrible; but wisely considering that he was not to expect
to match the force of the empire, he marched his army towards the Alps, intending,
when he had passed them, that every man should go to his own home, some to Thrace,
some to Gaul.
But they, grown confident in their numbers, and puffed up with their success,
would give no obedience to him, but went about and ravaged Italy; so that now
the senate was not only moved at the indignity and baseness, both of the enemy
and of the insurrection, but, looking upon it as a matter of alarm and of dangerous
consequence sent out both the consuls to it, as to a great and difficult enterprise.
The consul Gellius, falling suddenly upon a party of Germans, who through contempt
and confidence had straggled from Spartacus, cut them all to pieces. But when
Lentulus with a large army besieged Spartacus, he sallied out upon him, and, joining
battle, defeated his chief officers, and captured all his baggage. As he made
toward the Alps, Cassius, who was praetor of that part of Gaul that lies about
the Po, met him with ten thousand men, but being overcome in the battle, he had
much ado to escape himself, with the loss of a great many of his men.
10. When the senate understood this, they were displeased at the consuls, and
ordering them to meddle no further, they appointed Crassus general of the war,
and a great many of the nobility went volunteers with him, partly out of friendship,
and partly to get honour. He stayed himself on the borders of Picenum, expecting
Spartacus would come that way, and sent his lieutenant, Mummius, with two legions,
to wheel about and observe the enemy's motions, but upon no account to engage
or skirmish. But he, upon the first opportunity, joined battle, and was routed,
having a great many of his men slain, and a great many only saving their lives
with the loss of their arms. Crassus rebuked Mummius severely, and arming the
soldiers again, he made them find sureties for their arms, that they would part
with them no more, and five hundred that were the beginners of the flight he divided
into fifty tens and one of each was to die by lot, thus reviving the ancient Roman
punishment of decimation, where ignominy is added to the penalty of death, with
a variety of appalling and terrible circumstances, presented before the eyes of
the whole army, assembled as spectators.
When he had thus reclaimed his men, he led them against the enemy; but Spartacus
retreated through Lucania toward the sea, and in the straits meeting with some
Cilician pirate ships, he had thoughts of attempting Sicily, where, by landing
two thousand men, he hoped to rekindle the war of the slaves, which was but lately
extinguished, and seemed to need but little fuel to set it burning again. But
after the pirates had struck a bargain with him, and received his earnest, they
deceived him and sailed away. He thereupon retired again from the sea, and established
his army in the peninsula of Rhegium; there Crassus came upon him, and considering
the nature of the place, which of itself suggested the undertaking, he set to
work to build a wall across the isthmus; thus keeping his soldiers at once from
idleness and his foes from forage. This great and difficult work he perfected
in a space of time short beyond all expectation, making a ditch from one sea to
the other, over the neck of land, three hundred furlongs long, fifteen feet broad,
and as much in depth, and above it built a wonderfully high and strong wall. All
which Spartacus at first slighted and despised, but when provisions began to fail,
and on his proposing to pass further, he found he was walled in, and no more was
to be had in the peninsula, taking the opportunity of a snowy, stormy night, he
filled up part of the ditch with earth and boughs of trees, and so passed the
third part of his army over.
11. Crassus was afraid lest he should march directly to Rome, but was soon
eased of that fear when he saw many of his men break out in a mutiny and quit
him, and encamped by themselves upon the Lucanian lake. This lake they say changes
at intervals of time, and is sometimes sweet, and sometimes so salt that it cannot
be drunk. Crassus falling upon these beat them from the lake, but he could not
pursue the slaughter, because of Spartacus suddenly coming up and checking the
flight. Now he began to repent that he had previously written to the senate to
call Lucullus out of Thrace, and Pompey out of Spain; so that he did all he could
to finish the war before they came, knowing that the honour of the action would
redound to him that came to his assistance. Resolving, therefore, first to set
upon those that had mutinied and encamped apart, whom Gaius Cannicius and Castus
commanded, he sent six thousand men before to secure a little eminence, and to
do it as privately as possible, which that they might do they covered their helmets,
but being discovered by two women that were sacrificing for the enemy, they had
been in great hazard, had not Crassus immediately appeared, and engaged in a battle
which proved a most bloody one. Of twelve thousand three hundred whom he killed,
two only were found wounded in their backs, the rest all having died standing
in their ranks and fighting bravely.
Spartacus, after this discomfiture retired to the mountains of Petelia, but
Quintius, one of Crassus' officers, and Scrofa, the quaestor, pursued and overtook
him. But when Spartacus rallied and faced them, they were utterly routed and fled,
and had much ado to carry off their quaestor, who was wounded. This success however,
ruined Spartacus, because it encouraged the slaves, who now disdained any longer
to avoid fighting, or to obey their officers, but as they were upon the march,
they came to them with their swords in their hands, and compelled them to lead
them back again through Lucania, against the Romans, the very thing which Crassus
was eager for. For news was already brought that Pompey was at hand; and people
began to talk openly that the honour of this war was reserved to him, who would
come and at once oblige the enemy to fight and put an end to the war. Crassus,
therefore, eager to fight a decisive battle, encamped very near the enemy, and
began to make lines of circumvallation; but the slaves made a sally and attacked
As fresh supplies came in on either side, Spartacus, seeing there was no avoiding
it, set all his army in array; and when his horse was brought him, he drew out
his sword and killed him, saying, if he got the day he should have a great many
better horses of the enemies', and if he lost it he should have no need of this.
And so making directly towards Crassus himself, through the midst of arms and
wounds, he missed him, but slew two centurions that fell upon him together. At
last being deserted by those that were about him, he himself stood his ground,
and, surrounded by the enemy, bravely defending himself, was cut in pieces.
But though Crassus had good fortune, and not only did the part of a good general,
but gallantly exposed his person, yet Pompey had much of the credit of the action.
For he met with many of the fugitives, and slew them, and wrote to the senate
that Crassus indeed had vanquished the slaves in a pitched battle, but that he
had put an end to the war. Pompey was honoured with a magnificent triumph for
his conquest over Sertorius and Spain, while Crassus could not himself so much
as desire a triumph in its full form, and indeed it was thought to took but meanly
in him to accept of the lesser honour, called the ovation, for a servile war,
and perform a procession on foot.
2. 8. 20
We may, however, support the dishonour of a war with slaves, for though they
are, by their circumstances, subjected to all kinds of treatment, they are yet,
as it were, a second class of men, and may be admitted to the enjoyment of liberty
with ourselves. But the war raised by the efforts of Spartacus I know not by what
name to call, for the soldiers in it were slaves, and the commanders gladiators;
the former being persons of the meanest condition, and the latter men of the worst
character, and adding to the calamity of their profession by its contemptibleness.
Spartacus, Crixus, and Oenomaus, breaking out of the fencing school of Lentulus
escaped from Capua, with not more than thirty of the same occupation, and, having
called the slaves to their standard, and collected a force of more than ten thousand
men, were not content with merely having escaped, but were eager to take vengeance
on their masters. The first theatre for action that attracted them was Mount Vesuvius
where, being besieged by Clodius Glaber, they slid down a passage in the hollow
part of the mountain, by means of ropes made of vine branches, and penetrated
to the very bottom of it; when, issuing forth by an outlet apparently impracticable,
they captured, by a sudden attack, the camp of the Roman general, who expected
no molestation. They afterwards took other camps, and spread themselves to Cora,
and through the whole of Campania. Not content with plundering the country seats
and villages, they ravaged, with terrible devastation, Nola and Nuceria, Thurii
and Metapontum. Being joined by new forces day after day, and forming themselves
into a regular army, they made themselves, out of osiers and beasts' hides, a
rude kind of shield, and out of the iron from the slave-houses forged swords and
other weapons. And that nothing proper might be wanting to the complement of the
army, they procured cavalry by breaking in the herds of horses that came in their
way, and conferred upon their leader the ensigns and fasces that they took from
the praetors. Nor did he, who of a mercenary Thracian had become a Roman soldier,
of a soldier a deserter and robber, and afterwards, from consideration of his
strength, a gladiator, refuse to receive them. He afterwards, indeed, celebrated
the funerals of his own officers, who died in battle, with the obsequies of Roman
generals, and obliged the prisoners to fight with arms at their funeral piles,
just as if he could atone for all past dishonour by becoming, from a gladiator,
an exhibitor of shows of gladiators. Engaging next with the armies of the consuls,
he cut to pieces that of Lentulus, near the Apennines, and destroyed the camp
of Gaius Cassius at Mutina. Elated by these successes, he deliberated (which is
sufficient disgrace for us) about assailing Rome. At length an effort was made
against this swordsman with the whole force of the empire, and Licinius Crassus
avenged the honour of Rome, by whom the enemies (I am ashamed to call them so)
being routed and put to flight, betook themselves to the furthest parts of Italy.
Here, being shut up in a corner of Bruttium, and attempting to escape to Sicily,
but having no ships, and having in vain tried, on the swift current of the strait,
to sail on rafts made of hurdles and casks tied together with twigs, they at last
sallied forth, and died a death worthy of men. As was fitting for a gladiator
captain, they fought without sparing themselves. Spartacus himself, fighting with
the utmost bravery in the front of the battle, fell as became their general.
Appian, The Civil Wars
The following year, which was in the 176th Olympiad, two countries were acquired
by the Romans by bequest. Bithynia was left to them by Nicomedes, and Cyrene by
Ptolemy Apion, of the house of the Lagidae. There were wars and wars; the Sertorian
was raging in Spain, the Mithridatic in the East, that of the pirates on the entire
sea, and another one around Crete against the Cretans themselves, besides the
gladiatorial war in Italy, which started suddenly and became very serious.
116. At the same time Spartacus, a Thracian by birth, who had once served as
a soldier with the Romans, but had since been a prisoner and sold for a gladiator,
and was in the gladiatorial training-school at Capua, persuaded about seventy
of his comrades to strike for their own freedom rather than for the amusement
of spectators. They overcame the guards and ran away, arming themselves with clubs
daggers that they took from people on the roads and took refuge on Mount Vesuvius.
There many fugitive slaves and even some freemen from the fields joined Spartacus,
and he plundered the neighboring country, having for subordinate officers two
gladiators named Oenomaus and Crixus. As he divided the plunder impartially he
soon had plenty of men. Varinius Faber was first sent against him and afterward
Publius Valerius, not with regular armies, but with forces picked up in haste
and at random, for the Romans did not consider this a war as yet, but a raid,
something like an outbreak of robbery. When they attacked Spartacus they were
beaten. Spartacus even captured the horse of Varinius; so narrowly did a Roman
praetor escape being captured by a gladiator.
After this still greater numbers flocked to Spartacus till his army numbered
70,000 men. For these he manufactured weapons and collected apparatus.
117. Rome now sent out the consuls with two legions. One of them overcame Crixus
with 30,000 men near Mount Garganus, two-thirds of whom perished together with
himself. Spartacus endeavored to make his way through the Apennines to the Alps
and the Gallic country, but one of the consuls anticipated him and hindered his
march while the other hung upon his rear. He turned upon them one after the other
and beat them in detail. They retreated in confusion in different directions.
Spartacus sacrificed 300 Roman prisoners to the shade of Crixus, and marched on
Rome with 120,000 foot, having burned all his useless material, killed all his
prisoners, and butchered his pack animals in order to expedite his movement. Many
deserters offered themselves to him, but he would not accept them. The consuls
again met him in the country of Picenum. Here was fought another great battle
and there was too, a great defeat for the Romans.
Spartacus changed his intention of marching on Rome. He did not consider himself
ready as yet for that kind of a fight, as his whole force was not suitably armed,
for no city had joined him, but only slaves, deserters, and riffraff. However,
he occupied the mountains around Thurii and took the city itself. He prohibited
the bringing in of gold or silver by merchants, and would not allow his own men
to acquire any, but he bought largely of iron and brass and did not interfere
with those who dealt in these articles. Supplied with abundant material from this
source his men provided themselves with plenty of arms and continued in robbery
for the time being. When they next came to an engagement with the Romans they
were again victorious, and returned laden with spoils.
118. This war, so formidable to the Romans (although ridiculous and contemptible
in the beginning, considered as the work of gladiators), had now lasted three
years. When the election of new praetors came on, fear fell upon all, and nobody
offered himself as a candidate until Licinius Crassus, a man distinguished among
the Romans for birth and wealth, assumed the praetorship and marched against Spartacus
with six new legions. When he arrived at his destination he received also the
two legions of the consuls whom he decimated by lot for their bad conduct in several
battles. Some say that Crassus, too, having engaged in battle with his whole army,
and having been defeated, decimated the whole army and was not deterred by their
numbers, but destroyed about 4,000 of them. Whichever way it was, he demonstrated
to them that he was more dangerous to them than the enemy. Presently he overcame
l0,000 of the Spartacans, who were encamped somewhere in a detached position,
and killed two-thirds of them. He then marched boldly against Spartacus himself,
vanquished him in a brilliant engagement, and pursued his fleeing forces to the
sea, where they tried to pass over to Sicily. He overtook them and enclosed them
with a line of circumvallation consisting of ditch, wall, and paling.
119. Spartacus tried to break through and make an incursion into the Samnite
country, but Crassus slew about 6,000 of his men in the morning and as many more
towards evening. Only three of the Roman army were killed and seven wounded, so
great was the improvement in their morale inspired by the recent punishment. Spartacus,
who was expecting from somewhere a reinforcement of horse no longer went into
battle with his whole army, but harassed the besiegers by frequent sallies here
and there. He fell upon them unexpectedly and continually, threw bundles of fagots
into the ditch and set them on fire and made their labor
difficult. He crucified a Roman prisoner in the space between the two armies
to show his own men what fate awaited them if they did not conquer. When the Romans
in the city heard of
the siege they thought it would be disgraceful if this war against gladiators
should be prolonged. Believing also that the work still to be done against Spartacus
was great and severe they ordered up the army of Pompey which had just arrived
from Spain, as a reinforcement.
120. On account of this vote Crassus tried in every way to come to an engagement
with Spartacus so that Pompey might not reap the glory of the war. Spartacus himself,
thinking to anticipate Pompey, invited Crassus to come to terms with him. When
his proposals were rejected with scorn he resolved to risk a battle, and as his
cavalry had arrived he made a dash with his whole army through the lines of the
besieging force and pushed on to Brundusium with Crassus in pursuit. When Spartacus
learned that Lucullus had just arrived in Brundusium from his victory over Mithridates
he despaired of everything and brought his forces, which were even then very numerous,
to close quarters with Crassus. The battle was long and bloody, as might have
been expected with so many thousands of desperate men. Spartacus was wounded in
the thigh with a spear and sank upon his knee, holding his shield in front of
him and contending in this way against his assailants until he and the great mass
of those with him were surrounded and slain. The remainder of his army was thrown
into confusion and butchered in crowds. So great was the slaughter that it was
impossible to count them. The Roman loss was about 1,000. The body of Spartacus
was not found. A large number of his men fled from the battlefield to the mountains
and Crassus followed them thither. They divided themselves in four parts, and
continued to fight until they all perished except 6000, who were captured and
crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome.
121. Crassus accomplished his task within six months, whence arose a contention
for honors between himself and Pompey.
5. 24. 1-8
1. In the six hundred and seventy-ninth year after the founding of the City,
in the consulship of Lucullus and Cassius, seventy-four gladiators at Capua escaped
from the training school of Cn. Lentulus. These immediately, under the leadership
of Crixus and Oenomaus who were Gauls, and Spartacus, a Thracian, occupied Mount
Vesuvius. Rushing down from there, they captured the camp of Clodius, the praetor,
who had encircled them in a siege, and when he had been driven into flight, they
turned their complete attention to plundering.
2. Then, going about through Consentia and Metapontum, they gathered together
huge forces in a short time. For Crixus was reported to have had a multitude of
ten thousand, and Spartacus three times as many; Oenomaus had already been killed
in an earlier battle.
3. And so when the fugitives were confusing everything with slaughters, conflagrations,
plunderings, and defilements, at the funeral of a captive woman who had killed
herself out of grief for her outraged honor, they presented a gladiatorial performance
with four hundred captives, that is, those who had been the ones to be viewed,
were to view, namely, as trainers of gladiators rather than as commanders of troops.
4. The consuls, Gellius and Lentulus, were sent against them with their army.
Of these, Gellius overcame Crixus who fought very bravely, and Lentulus, when
overcome by Spartacus, fled. Later also, both consuls, after having joined forces
in vain, fled, suffering heavy losses. Then the same Spartacus, after defeating
C. Cassius, the proconsul, in battle, killed him.
5. And so, with the City terrified with almost no less fear than when Hannibal
was raging at the gates, they became alarmed and sent Crassus with the legions
of the consuls and a new complement of soldiers. 6. He presently, after entering
battle with the fugitives, killed six thousand of them, but captured only nine
hundred. Then, before he approached Spartacus himself in battle, who was laying
out a camp at the head of the Silarus River, he overcame the Gallic and German
auxiliaries of Spartacus, of whom he killed thirty thousand men with their leaders.
7. After he had organized his battle line, he met Spartacus himself and killed
him with most of the forces of the fugitives. For sixty thousand of them are reported
to have been killed and six thousand captured, and three thousand Roman citizens
were recovered. 8. The remaining gladiators, who had slipped away from this battle
and wandered off, were killed by many generals in persistent pursuit.
18-19. Apart from those three very vast wars, that is, the Pamphylian, the
Macedonian, and the Dalmatian, although, too, that great Mithridatic War, by far
the longest of all, the most dangerous, and the most dreadful, was concealed as
to its true character; still, while the Sertorian War in Spain was not yet ended,
rather while Sertorius himself was still living, that war against the fugitive
slaves, to describe it more accurately, that war against the gladiators, caused
great horrors which were to be seen by few, but everywhere to be feared. Because
this war is called the war against the fugitive slaves, let it not be held of
little consequence because of the name. Often in that war, individual consuls
and sometimes both consuls with their battle lines joined in vain were overcome
and a great many nobles were slain. Moreover, there were more than one hundred
fugitives who were slain.
Under Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE.) the Roman Empire reached its acme of prosperity.
The Emperor, himself a man of remarkable and varied genius, although not always
of just and even temperament, seemed anxious to conceal the real despotism of
his government by the enlightened use of his power. No new conquests were made,
but many internal reforms were executed. Hadrian also was a great traveler, and
spent much of his reign going up and down his vast empire, heaping benefits upon
the communities with which he sojourned.
In many places where he visited the frontiers, which were not separated from
the Barbarians by rivers, Hadrian raised a kind of wall, by driving into the ground
great piles. He set up a king over the Germans, and he quenched the seditious
movements of the Moors, for which deed the Senate ordered thanksgivings to the
Gods. A single interview was sufficient for Hadrian to stop a war with the Parthians
that seemed to threaten. Then he sailed by way of Asia and the Islands to Achaia;
and after the example of Hercules and Philip he was admitted to the Eleusinian
mysteries. He bestowed many benefits upon the Athenians and presided at their
games. It was noticed in Achaia, that though many persons with swords assisted
at the religious ceremonies, nevertheless none of the suite of Hadrian came armed.
He passed next into Sicily, where he ascended Mt. Aetna to see the sun rise, which
seems there to form a bow of variegated colors. Next he went to Rome, and thence
to Africa, where he heaped benefactions upon the province. Never did a Prince
traverse over the Empire with such celerity!
After that, returning from Africa to Rome, he went quickly again to the East,
and passing by way of Athens, he dedicated the public works which he had formerly
commenced there; such as a temple to Jupiter the Olympian, and an altar upon which
he bestowed his own name. In Cappadocia he took some slaves which he intended
for camp service. He proffered his friendship to the princes and kings of the
region, and he did the same to Chosroes, king of Parthia, to whom he returned
the latter's daughter, who had been made captive by Trajan.
While traversing the provinces he punished according to their crimes the various
governors and procurators; and did so with such severity that he seemed to actually
stimulate their accusers. After having crossed Arabia, the Emperor came to Pelusium,
where he erected a splendid monument to Pompey. While sailing on the Nile he lost
his beloved favorite Antino, whom he mourned as over a woman. There are various
stories about this young man. Some say he sacrificed himself to save Hadrian's
life; others give widely differing accounts as to the Emperor's liking for him.
The Greeks, with their sovereign's consent accorded the memory of Antino divine
This ruler loved poetry, and cultivated carefully all branches of literature.
He understood likewise arithmetic, geometry, and painting. He danced and sang
extremely well, his bent for sensuous pleasure being extreme. He made many verses
for his favorites, and wrote love poems. He handled weapons with much skill, and
was a master of the military art. He also devoted some little time to the exercises
of gladiators. Now severe, now merry, now voluptuous, now self-contained, now
cruel, now merciful, this Emperor seemed never the same. He enriched his friends
liberally, but finally growing suspicious of some put them to death or ruined
He enjoyed literary and philosophical discussions, but it was not safe to defeat
him in them. Favorinus (a famous philosopher and orator), when his friends blamed
him for surrendering to Hadrian's criticism as to his use of a word when he had
good authority on his side, laughed and replied, "You can never persuade me, good
friends, that the commander of thirty legions is not the best-qualified critic
in the world!"
When he sat as judge he was aided not merely by his friends and his courtiers,
but by many famous Jurisconsulti, all approved by the Senate. He enacted among
other things that no one should destroy houses in one city to transport the materials
to another city. He awarded to children of proscribed persons, a twelfth part
of their father's estate. He did not admit accusations tor the crime of lese-majest
He refused the bequests of persons whom he had not known, and did not accept those
of personal acquaintances, if they had children. He enacted that whoever found
a treasure on his own land should keep it. If one found treasure on the property
of some one else, he could keep half---the rest went to the proprietor.
He took away the right of masters to kill their slaves, requiring that if the
slaves deserved it, they should be condemned to death by the regular judges. He
abolished the special dungeons for slaves and freedmen. Also, hereafter, not all
the slaves of a master who was murdered in his home by a slave were to suffer
death as formerly, but only those within reach of his outcries.
Hadrian had also a most agreeable style of conversation, even towards persons
of decidedly humble rank. He hated those who seemed to envy him this natural pleasure,
under pretext of causing "the Majesty of the Throne" to be respected. At the Museum
of Alexandria he proposed many questions to the professors there, and satisfied
himself as to the facts. He had a remarkable memory, and great talents (for oratory),
preparing his own orations and responses without aid of a secretary. He had a
great faculty for remembering names without prompting; it was enough to have met
persons once, he could then even aid the nomenclators if they made a mistake.
He remembered all the old veterans whom he had pensioned off. He wrote, dictated,
heard others, and conversed with his friends; and all at the same time!
From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative
Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II:
Rome and the West, pp.??
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof.
Arkenberg has modernized the text.
I. The original home of the family of the Emperor Hadrian was Picenum, the
later, Spain; for Hadrian himself relates in his autobiography that his forefathers
came from Hadria, but settled in Italica in the time of the Scipios. The father
of Hadrian was Aelius Hadrianus, surnamed Afer, a cousin of the Emperor Trajan;
his mother was Domitia Paulina, a native of Cadiz; his sister was Paulina, the
wife of Servianus, his wife was Sabina, and his great-grandfather's grandfather
was Marullinus, the first of his family to be a Roman senator.
Hadrian was born on the ninth day before the Kalends of February in the seventh
consulship of Vespasian and the fifth of Titus. Bereft of his father at the age
of ten, he became the ward of Ulpius Trajanus, his cousin, then of praetorian
rank, but afterwards emperor, and of Caelius Attianus, a knight. He then grew
rather deeply devoted to Greek studies, to which his natural tastes inclined so
much that some called him "Greekling."
II. He returned to his native city in his fifteenth year and at once entered
military service, but was so fond of hunting that he incurred criticism for it,
and for this reason Trajan recalled him from Italica. Thenceforth he was treated
by Trajan as his own son, and not long afterwards was made one of the ten judges
of the inheritance-court, and, later, tribune of the Second Legion, the Adjutrix.
After this, when Domitian's principate was drawing to a close, he was transferred
to the province of Lower Moesia. There, it is said, he heard from an astrologer
the same prediction of his future power which had been made, as he already knew,
by his great-uncle, Aelius Hadrianus, a master of astrology. When Trajan was adopted
by Nerva, Hadrian was sent to convey to him the army's congratulations and was
at once transferred to Upper Germany. When Nerva died, he wished to be the first
to bring the news to Trajan, but as he was hastening to meet him he was detained
by his brother-in-law, Servianus, the same man who had revealed Hadrian's extravagance
and indebtedness and thus stirred Trajan's anger against him. He was further delayed
by the fact that his travelling-carriage had been designedly broken, but he nevertheless
proceeded on foot and anticipated Servianus' personal messenger. And now he became
a favourite of Trajan's, and yet, owing to the activity of the guardians of certain
boys whom Trajan loved ardently, he was not free from . . . which Gallus fostered.
Indeed, at this time he was even anxious about the Emperor's attitude towards
him, and consulted the Vergilian oracle. This was the lot given out:
But who is yonder man, by olive wreath / Distinguished, who the sacred
vessel bears? / I see a hoary head and beard. Behold / The Roman King whose laws
shall establish Rome / Anew, from tiny Cures' humble land / Called to a mighty
realm. Then shall arise ...
Others, however, declare that this prophecy came to him from the Sybilline
Verses. Moreover, he received a further intimation of his subsequent power, in
a response which issued from the temple of Jupiter at Nicephorium and has been
quoted by Apollonius of Syria, the Platonist. Finally, through the good offices
of Sura, he was instantly restored to a friendship with Trajan that was closer
than ever, and he took to wife the daughter of the Emperor's sister -- a marriage
advocated by Plotina, but, according to Marius Maximus, little desired by Trajan
III. He held the quaestorship in the fourth consulship of Trajan and in the
first of Articuleius, and while holding this office he read a speech of the Emperor's
to the senate and provoked a laugh by his somewhat provincial accent. He thereupon
gave attention to the study of Latin until he attained the utmost proficiency
and fluency. After his quaestorship he served as curator of the acts of the senate,
and later accompanied Trajan in the Dacian war on terms of considerable intimacy,
seeing, indeed, that falling in with Trajan's habits, as he says himself, he partook
freely of wine, and for this was very richly rewarded by the Emperor. He was made
tribune of the plebs in the second consulship of Candidus and Quadratus, and he
claimed that he received an omen of continuous tribunician power during this magistracy,
because he lost the heavy cloak which is worn by the tribunes of the plebs in
rainy weather, but never by the emperors. And down to this day the emperors do
not wear cloaks when they appear in public before civilians. In the second Dacian
war, Trajan appointed him to the command of the First Legion, the Minervia, and
took him with him to the war; and in this campaign his many remarkable deeds won
great renown. Because of this he was presented with a diamond which Trajan himself
had received from Nerva, and by this gift he was encouraged in his hopes of succeeding
to the throne. He held the praetorship in the second consulship of Suburanus and
Servianus, and again received from Trajan two million sesterces with which to
give games. Next he was sent as praetorian legate to Lower Pannonia, where he
held the Samartians in check, maintained discipline among the soldiers, and restrained
the procurators, who were overstepping too freely the bounds of their power. In
return for these services he was made consul. While he was holding this office
he learned from Sura that he was to be adopted by Trajan, and thereupon he ceased
to be an object of contempt and neglect to Trajan's friends. Indeed, after Sura's
death Trajan's friendship for him increased, principally on account of the speeches
which he composed for the Emperor.
IV. He enjoyed, too, the favour of Plotina, and it was due to her interest
that later, at the time of the campaign against Parthia, he was appointed legate
to the Emperor. At this same time he enjoyed, besides, the friendship of Sosius
Papus and Platorius Nepos, both of the senatorial order, and also of Attianus,
his former guardian, of Livianus, and of Turbo, all of equestrian rank. And when
Palma and Celsus, always his enemies, on whom he later took vengeance, fell under
suspicion of aspiring to the throne, his adoption seemed assured; and it was taken
wholly for granted when, through Plotina's favour, he was appointed consul for
the second time. That he was bribing Trajan's freedmen and courting his favourites
all the while that he was in close attendance at court, was told and generally
On the fifth day before the Ides of August, while he was governor of Syria,
he learned of his adoption by Trajan, and he later gave orders to celebrate this
day as the anniversary of his adoption. On the third day before the Ides of August
he received the news of Trajan's death, and this day he appointed as the anniversary
of his accession.
There was, to be sure, a widely prevailing belief that Trajan, with the approval
of many of his friends, had planned to appoint as his successor not Hadrian but
Neratius Priscus, even to the extent of once saying to Priscus: "I entrust the
provinces to your care in case anything happens to me." And, indeed, many aver
that Trajan had purposed to follow the example of Alexander of Macedonia and die
without naming a successor. Again, many others declare that he had meant to send
an address to the senate, requesting this body, in case aught befell him, to appoint
a ruler for the Roman Empire, and merely appending the names of some from among
whom the senate might choose the best. And the statement has even been made that
it was not until Trajan's death that Hadrian was declared adopted, and then only
by means of a trick of Plotina's; for she smuggled in someone who impersonated
the Emperor and spoke in a feeble voice.
V. On taking possession of the imperial power Hadrian at once resumed the policy
of the early emperors, and devoted his attention to maintaining peace throughout
the world. For the nations which Trajan had conquered began to revolt; the Moors,
moreover, began to make attacks, and the Sarmatians to wage war, the Britons could
not be kept under Roman sway, Egypt was thrown into disorder by riots, and finally
Libya and Palestine showed the spirit of rebellion. Whereupon he relinquished
all the conquests east of the Euphrates and the Tigris, following, as he used
to say, the example of Cato, who urged that the Macedonians, because they could
not be held as subjects, should be declared free and independent. And Parthamasiris,
appointed king of the Parthians by Trajan, he assigned as ruler to the neighbouring
tribes, because he saw that the man was held in little esteem by the Parthians.
Moreover, he showed at the outset such a wish to be lenient, that although
Attianus advised him by letter in the first few days of his rule to put to death
Baebius Macer, the prefect of the city, in case he opposed his elevation to power,
also Laberius Maximus, then in exile on an island under suspicion of designs on
the throne, and likewise Crassus Frugi, he nevertheless refused to harm them.
Later on, however, his procurator, though without an order from Hadrian, had Crassus
killed when he tried to leave the island, on the ground that he was planning a
revolt. He gave a double donative to the soldiers in order to ensure a favourable
beginning to his principate. He deprived Lusius Quietus of the command of the
Moorish tribesmen, who were serving under him, and then dismissed him from the
army, because he had fallen under the suspicion of having designs on the throne;
and he appointed Marcius Turbo, after his reduction of Judaea, to quell the insurrection
After taking these measures he set out from Antioch to view the remains of
Trajan, which were being escorted by Attianus, Plotina, and Matidia. He received
them formally and sent them on to Rome by ship, and at once returned to Antioch;
he then appointed Catilius Severus governor of Syria, and proceeded to Rome by
way of Illyricum.
VI. Despatching to the senate a carefully worded letter, he asked for divine
honours for Trajan. This request he obtained by a unanimous vote; indeed, the
senate voluntarily voted Trajan many more honours than Hadrian had requested.
In this letter to the senate he apologized because he had not left it the right
to decide regarding his accession, explaining that the unseemly haste of the troops
in acclaiming him emperor was due to the belief that the state could not be left
without an emperor. Later, when the senate offered him the triumph which was to
have been Trajan's, he refused it for himself, and caused the effigy of the dead
Emperor to be carried in a triumphal chariot, in order that the best of emperors
might not lose even after death the honour of a triumph. Also he refused for the
present the title of Father of his Country, offered to him at the time of his
accession and again later on, giving as his reason the fact that Augustus had
not won it until late in life. Of the crown-money for his triumph he remitted
Italy's contribution, and lessened that of the provinces, all the while setting
forth grandiloquently and in great detail the straits of the public treasury.
Then, on hearing of the incursions of the Sarmatians and Roxolani, he sent
the troops ahead and set out for Moesia. He conferred the insignia of a prefect
on Marcius Turbo after his Mauretanian campaign and appointed him to the temporary
command of Pannonia and Dacia. When the king of the Roxolani complained of the
diminution of his subsidy, he investigated his case and made peace with him.
VII. A plot to murder him while sacrificing was made by Nigrinus, with Lusius
and a number of others as accomplices, even though Hadrian had destined Nigrinus
for the succession; but Hadrian successfully evaded this plot. Because of this
conspiracy Palma was put to death at Tarracina, Celsus at Baiae, Nigrinus at Faventia,
and Lusius on his journey homeward, all by order of the senate, but contrary to
the wish of Hadrian, as he says himself in his autobiography. Whereupon Hadrian
entrusted the command in Dacia to Turbo, whom he dignified, in order to increase
his authority, with a rank analagous to that of the prefect of Egypt. He then
hastened to Rome in order to win over public opinion, which was hostile to him
because of the belief that on one single occasion he had suffered four men of
consular rank to be put to death. In order to check the rumours about himself,
he gave in person a double largess to the people, although in his absence three
aurei had already been given to each of the citizens. In the senate, too, he cleared
himself of blame for what had happened, and pledged himself never to inflict punishment
on a senator until after a vote of the senate. He established a regular imperial
post, in order to relieve the local officials of such a burden. Moreover, he used
every means of gaining popularity. He remitted to private debtors in Rome and
in Italy immense sums of money owed to the privy-purse, and in the provinces he
remitted large amounts of arrears; and he ordered the promissory notes to be burned
in the Forum of the Deified Trajan, in order that the general sense of security
might thereby be increased. He gave orders that the property of condemned persons
should not accrue to the privy-purse, and in each case deposited the whole amount
in the public treasury. He made additional appropriations for the children to
whom Trajan had allotted grants of money. He supplemented the property of senators
impoverished through no fault of their own, making the allowance in each case
proportionate to the number of children, so that it might be enough for a senatorial
career; to many, indeed, he paid punctually on the date the amount allotted for
their living. Sums of money sufficient to enable men to hold office he bestowed,
not on his friends alone, but also on many far and wide, and by his donations
he helped a number of women to sustain life. He gave gladiatorial combats for
six days in succession, and on his birthday he put into the arena a thousand wild
VIII. The foremost members of the senate he admitted to close intimacy with
the emperor's majesty. All circus-games decreed in his honour he refused, except
those held to celebrate his birthday. Both in meetings of the people and in the
senate he used to say that he would so administer the commonwealth that men would
know that it was not his own but the people's. Having himself been consul three
times, he reappointed many to the consulship for the third time and men without
number to a second term; his own third consulship he held for only four months,
and during his term he often administered justice. He always attended regular
meetings of the senate if he was present in Rome or even in the neighbourhood.
In the appointment of senators he showed the utmost caution and thereby greatly
increased the dignity of the senate, and when he removed Attianus from the post
of prefect of the guard and created him a senator with consular honours, he made
it clear that he had no greater honour which he could bestow upon him. Nor did
he allow knights to try cases involving senators whether he was present at the
trial or not. For at that time it was customary for the emperor, when he tried
cases, to call to his council both senators and knights and give a verdict based
on their joint decision. Finally, he denounced those emperors who had not shown
this deference to the senators. On his brother-in-law Servianus, to whom he showed
such respect that he would advance to meet him as he came from his chamber, he
bestowed a third consulship, and that without any request or entreaty on Servianus'
part; but nevertheless he did not appoint him as his own colleague, since Servianus
had been consul twice before Hadrian, and the Emperor did not wish to have second
IX. And yet, at the same time, Hadrian abandoned many provinces won by Trajan,
and also destroyed, contrary to the entreaties of all, the theatre which Trajan
had built in the Campus Martius. These measures, unpopular enough in themselves,
were still more displeasing to the public because of his pretence that all acts
which he thought would be offensive had been secretly enjoined upon him by Trajan.
Unable to endure the power of Attianus, his prefect and formerly his guardian,
he was eager to murder him. He was restrained, however, by the knowledge that
he already laboured under the odium of murdering four men of consular rank, although,
as a matter of fact, he always attributed their execution to the designs of Attianus.
And as he could not appoint a successor for Attianus except at the latter's request,
he contrived to make him request it, and at once transferred the power to Turbo;
at the same time Similis also, the other prefect, received a successor, namely
After Hadrian had removed from the prefecture the very men to whom he owed
the imperial power, he departed for Campania, where he aided all the towns of
the region by gifts and benefactions and attached all the foremost men to his
train of friends. But when at Rome, he frequently attended the official functions
of the praetors and consuls, appeared at the banquets of his friends, visited
them twice or thrice a day when they were sick, even those who were merely knights
and freedmen, cheered them by words of comfort, encouraged them by words of advice,
and very often invited them to his own banquets. In short, everything that he
did was in the manner of a private citizen. On his mother-in-law he bestowed especial
honour by means of gladiatorial games and other ceremonies.
X. After this he travelled to the provinces of Gaul, and came to the relief
of all the communities with various acts of generosity; and from there he went
over into Germany. Though more desirous of peace than of war, he kept the soldiers
in training just as if war were imminent, inspired them by proofs of his own powers
of endurance, actually led a soldier's life among the maniples, and, after the
example of Scipio Aemilianus, Metellus, and his own adoptive father Trajan, cheerfully
ate out of doors such camp-fare as bacon, cheese and vinegar. And that the troops
might submit more willingly to the increased harshness of his orders, he bestowed
gifts on many and honours on a few. For he re-established the discipline of the
camp, which since the time of Octavian had been growing slack through the laxity
of his predecessors. He regulated, too, both the duties and the expenses of the
soldiers, and now no one could get a leave of absence from camp by unfair means,
for it was not popularity with the troops but just deserts that recommended a
man for appointment as tribune. He incited others by the example of his own soldierly
spirit; he would walk as much as twenty miles fully armed; he cleared the camp
of banqueting-rooms, porticoes, grottos, and bowers, generally wore the commonest
clothing, would have no gold ornaments on his sword-belt or jewels on the clasp,
would scarcely consent to have his sword furnished with an ivory hilt, visited
the sick soldiers in their quarters, selected the sites for camps, conferred the
centurion's wand on those only who were hardy and of good repute, appointed as
tribunes only men with full beards or of an age to give to the authority of the
tribuneship the full measure of prudence and maturity, permitted no tribune to
accept a present from a soldier, banished luxuries on every hand, and, lastly,
improved the soldiers' arms and equipment. Furthermore, with regard to length
of military service he issued an order that no one should violate ancient usage
by being in the service at an earlier age than his strength warranted, or at a
more advanced one than common humanity permitted. He made it a point to be acquainted
with the soldiers and to know their numbers.
XI. Besides this, he strove to have an accurate knowledge of the military stores,
and the receipts from the provinces he examined with care in order to make good
any deficit that might occur in any particular instance. But more than any other
emperor he made it a point not to purchase or maintain anything that was not serviceable.
And so, having reformed the army quite in the manner of a monarch, he set out
for Britain, and there he corrected many abuses and was the first to construct
a wall, eighty miles in length, which was to separate the barbarians from the
He removed from office Septicius Clarus, the prefect of the guard, and Suetonius
Tranquillus, the imperial secretary, and many others besides, because without
his consent they had been conducting themselves toward his wife, Sabina, in a
more informal fashion than the etiquette of the court demanded. And, as he was
himself wont to say, he would have sent away his wife too, on the ground of ill-temper
and irritability, had he been merely a private citizen. Moreover, his vigilance
was not confined to his own household but extended to those of his friends, and
by means of his private agents he even pried into all their secrets, and so skilfully
that they were never aware that the Emperor was acquainted with their private
lives until he revealed it himself. In this connection, the insertion of an incident
will not be unwelcome, showing that he found out much about his friends. The wife
of a certain man wrote to her husband, complaining that he was so preoccupied
by pleasures and baths that he would not return home to her, and Hadrian found
this out through his private agents. And so, when the husband asked for a furlough,
Hadrian reproached him with his fondness for his baths and his pleasures. Whereupon
the man exclaimed: "What, did my wife write you just what she wrote to me?" And,
indeed, as for this habit of Hadrian's, men regard it as a most grievous fault,
and add to their criticism the statements which are current regarding the passion
for males and the adulteries with married women to which he is said to have been
addicted, adding also the charges that he did not even keep faith with his friends.
XII. After arranging matters in Britain he crossed over to Gaul, for he was
rendered anxious by the news of a riot in Alexandria, which arose on account of
Apis; for Apis had been discovered again after an interval of many years, and
was causing great dissension among the communities, each one earnestly asserting
its claim as the place best fitted to be the seat of his worship. During this
same time he reared a basilica of marvellous workmanship at Nimes in honour of
Plotina. After this he travelled to Spain and spent the winter at Tarragona, and
here he restored at his own expense the temple of Augustus. To this place, too,
he called all the inhabitants of Spain for a general meeting, and when they refused
to submit to a levy, the Italian settlers jestingly, to use the very words of
Marius Maximus, and the others very vigorously, he took measures characterized
by skill and discretion. At this same time he incurred grave danger and won great
glory; for while he was walking about in a garden at Tarragona one of the slaves
of the household rushed at him madly with a sword. But he merely laid hold on
the man, and when the servants ran to the rescue handed him over to them. Afterwards,
when it was found that the man was mad, he turned him over to the physicians for
treatment, and all this time showed not the slightest sign of alarm.
During this period and on many other occasions also, in many regions where
the barbarians are held back not by rivers but by artificial barriers, Hadrian
shut them off by means of high stakes planted deep in the ground and fastened
together in the manner of a palisade. He appointed a king for the Germans, suppressed
revolts among the Moors, and won from the senate the usual ceremonies of thanksgiving.
The war with the Parthians had not at that time advanced beyond the preparatory
stage, and Hadrian checked it by a personal conference.
XIII. After this Hadrian travelled by way of Asia and the islands to Greece,
and, following the example of Hercules and Philip, had himself initiated into
the Eleusinian mysteries. He bestowed many favours on the Athenians and sat as
president of the public games. And during this stay in Greece care was taken,
they say, that when Hadrian was present, none should come to a sacrifice armed,
whereas, as a rule, many carried knives. Afterwards he sailed to Sicily, and there
he climbed Mount Aetna to see the sunrise, which is many-hued, they say, like
a rainbow. Thence he returned to Rome, and from there he crossed over to Africa,
where he showed many acts of kindness to the provinces. Hardly any emperor ever
travelled with such speed over so much territory.
Finally, after his return to Rome from Africa, he immediately set out for the
East, journeying by way of Athens. Here he dedicated the public works which he
had begun in the city of the Athenians, such as the temple to Olympian Jupiter
and an altar to himself; and in the same way, while travelling through Asia, he
consecrated the temples called by his name. Next, he received slaves from the
Cappadocians for service in the camps. To petty rulers and kings he made offers
of friendship, and even to Osdroes, king of the Parthians. To him he also restored
his daughter, who had been captured by Trajan, and promised to return the throne
captured at the same time. And when some of the kings came to him, he treated
them in such a way that those who had refused to come regretted it. He took this
course especially on account of Pharasmanes, who had haughtily scorned his invitation.
Furthermore, as he went about the provinces he punished procurators and governors
as their actions demanded, and indeed with such severity that it was believed
that he incited those who brought the accusations.
XIV. In the course of these travels he conceived such a hatred for the people
of Antioch that he wished to separate Syria from Phoenicia, in order that Antioch
might not be called the chief city of so many communities. At this time also the
Jews began war, because they were forbidden to practise circumcision. As he was
sacrificing on Mount Casius, which he had ascended by night in order to see the
sunrise, a storm arose, and a flash of lightning descended and struck both the
victim and the attendant. He then travelled through Arabia and finally came to
Pelusium, where he rebuilt Pompey's tomb on a more magnificent scale. During a
journey on the Nile he lost Antinous, his favourite, and for this youth he wept
like a woman. Concerning this incident there are varying rumours; for some claim
that he had devoted himself to death for Hadrian, and others -- what both his
beauty and Hadrian's sensuality suggest. But however this may be, the Greeks deified
him at Hadrian's request, and declared that oracles were given through his agency,
but these, it is commonly asserted, were composed by Hadrian himself.
In poetry and in letters Hadrian was greatly interested. In arithmetic, geometry,
and painting he was very expert. Of his knowledge of flute-playing and singing
he even boasted openly. He ran to excess in the gratification of his desires,
and wrote much verse about the subjects of his passion. He composed love-poems
too. He was also a connoisseur of arms, had a thorough knowledge of warfare, and
knew how to use gladiatorial weapons. He was, in the same person, austere and
genial, dignified and playful, dilatory and quick to act, niggardly and generous,
deceitful and straightforward, cruel and merciful, and always in all things changeable.
XV. His friends he enriched greatly, even though they did not ask it, while
to those who did ask, he refused nothing. And yet he was always ready to listen
to whispers about his friends, and in the end he treated almost all of them as
enemies, even the closest and even those whom he had raised to the highest of
honours, such as Attianus and Nepos and Septicius Clarus. Eudaemon, for example,
who had been his accomplice in obtaining the imperial power, he reduced to poverty;
Polaenus and Marcellus he drove to suicide; Heliodorus he assailed in a most slanderous
pamphlet; Titianus he allowed to be accused as an accomplice in an attempt to
seize the empire and even to be outlawed; Ummidius Quadratus, Catilius Severus,
and Turbo he persecuted vigorously; and in order to prevent Servianus, his brother-in-law,
from surviving him, he compelled him to commit suicide, although the man was then
in his ninetieth year. And he even took vengeance on freedmen and sometimes on
soldiers. And although he was very deft at prose and at verse and very accomplished
in all the arts, yet he used to subject the teachers of these arts, as though
more learned than they, to ridicule, scorn, and humiliation. With these very professors
and philosophers he often debated by means of pamphlets or poems issued by both
sides in turn. And once Favorinus, when he had yielded to Hadrian's criticism
of a word which he had used, raised a merry laugh among his friends. For when
they reproached him for having done wrong in yielding to Hadrian in the matter
of a word used by reputable authors, he replied: "You are urging a wrong course,
my friends, when you do not suffer me to regard as the most learned of men the
one who has thirty legions."
XVI. So desirous of a wide-spread reputation was Hadrian that he even wrote
his own biography; this he gave to his educated freedmen, with instructions to
publish it under their own names. For indeed, Phlegon's writings, it is said,
are Hadrian's in reality. He wrote Catachannae, a very obscure work in imitation
of Antimachus. And when the poet Florus wrote to him:
I don't want to be a Caesar,
Stroll about among the Britons,
Lurk about among the . . . .
And endure the Scythian winters,
he wrote back:
I don't want to be a Florus,
Stroll about among the taverns,
Lurk about among the cook-shops,
And endure the round fat insects.
Furthermore, he loved the archaic style of writing, and he used to take part
in debates. He preferred Cato to Cicero, Ennius to Vergil, Caelius to Sallust;
and with the same self-assurance he expressed opinions about Homer and Plato.
In astrology he considered himself so proficient that on the Kalends of January
he would actually write down all that might happen to him in the whole ensuing
year, and in the year in which he died, indeed, he wrote down everything that
he was going to do, down to the very hour of his death.
However ready Hadrian might have been to criticize musicians, tragedians, comedians,
grammarians, and rhetoricians, he nevertheless bestowed both honours and riches
upon all who professed these arts, though he always tormented them with his questions.
And although he was himself responsible for the fact that many of them left his
presence with their feelings hurt, to see anyone with hurt feelings, he used to
say, he could hardly endure. He treated with the greatest friendship the philosophers
Epictetus and Heliodorus, and various grammarians, rhetoricians, musicians, geometricians
-- not to mention all by name -- painters and astrologers; and among them Favorinus,
many claim, was conspicuous above all the rest. Teachers who seemed unfit for
their profession he presented with riches and honours and then dismissed from
the practice of their profession.
XVII. Many whom he had regarded as enemies when a private citizen, when emperor
he merely ignored; for example, on becoming emperor, he said to one man whom he
had regarded as a mortal foe, "You have escaped." When he himself called any to
military service, he always supplied them with horses, mules, clothing, cost of
maintenance, and indeed their whole equipment. At the Saturnalia and Sigillaria
he often surprised his friends with presents, and he gladly received gifts from
them and again gave others in return. In order to detect dishonesty in his caterers,
when he gave banquets with several tables he gave orders that platters from the
other tables, even the lowest, should be set before himself. He surpassed all
monarchs in his gifts. He often bathed in the public baths, even with the common
crowd. And a jest of his made in the bath became famous. For on a certain occasion,
seeing a veteran, whom he had known in the service, rubbing his back and the rest
of his body against the wall, he asked him why he had the marble rub him, and
when the man replied that it was because he did not own a slave, he presented
him with some slaves and the cost of their maintenance. But another time, when
he saw a number of old men rubbing themselves against the wall for the purpose
of arousing the generosity of the Emperor, he ordered them to be called out and
then to rub one another in turn. His love for the common people he loudly expressed.
So fond was he of travel, that he wished to inform himself in person about all
that he had read concerning all parts of the world. Cold and bad weather he could
bear with such endurance that he never covered his head. He showed a multitude
of favours to many kings, but from a number he even purchased peace, and by some
he was treated with scorn; to many he gave huge gifts, but none greater than to
the king of the Hiberi, for to him he gave an elephant and a band of fifty men,
in addition to magnificent presents. And having himself received huge gifts from
Pharasmanes, including some cloaks embroidered with gold, he sent into the arena
three hundred condemned criminals dressed in gold-embroidered cloaks for the purpose
of ridiculing the gifts of the king.
XVIII. When he tried cases, he had in his council not only his friends and
the members of his staff, but also jurists, in particular Juventius Celsus, Salvius
Julianus, Neratius Priscus, and others, only those, however, whom the senate had
in every instance approved. Among other decisions he ruled that in no community
should any house be demolished for the purpose of transporting any building-materials
to another city. To the child of an outlawed person he granted a twelfth of the
property. Accusations for lese majeste he did not admit. Legacies from persons
unknown to him he refused, and even those left to him by acquaintances he would
not accept if they had any children. In regard to treasure-trove, he ruled that
if anyone made a find on his own property he might keep it, if on another's land,
he should turn over half to the proprietor thereof, if on the state's, he should
share the find equally with the privy-purse. He forbade masters to kill their
slaves, and ordered that any who deserved it should be sentenced by the courts.
He forbade anyone to sell a slave or a maid-servant to a procurer or trainer of
gladiators without giving a reason therefor. He ordered that those who had wasted
their property, if legally responsible, should be flogged in the amphitheatre
and then let go. Houses of hard labour for slaves and free he abolished. He provided
separate baths for the sexes. He issued an order that, if a slave-owner were murdered
in his house, no slaves should be examined save those who were near enough to
have had a knowledge of the murder.
XIX. In Etruria he held a praetorship while emperor. In the Latin towns he
was dictator and aedile and duumvir, in Naples demarch, in his native city duumvir
with the powers of censor. This office he held at Hadria, too, his second native
city, as it were, and at Athens he was archon.
In almost every city he built some building and gave public games. At Athens
he exhibited in the stadium a hunt of a thousand wild beasts, but he never called
away from Rome a single wild-beast-hunter or actor. In Rome, in addition to popular
entertainments of unbounded extravagance, he gave spices to the people in honour
of his mother-in-law, and in honour of Trajan he caused essences of balsam and
saffron to be poured over the seats of the theatre. And in the theatre he presented
plays of all kinds in the ancient manner and had the court-players appear before
the public. In the Circus he had many wild beasts killed and often a whole hundred
of lions. He often gave the people exhibitions of military Pyrrhic dances, and
he frequently attended gladiatorial shows. He built public buildings in all places
and without number, but he inscribed his own name on none of them except the temple
of his father Trajan. At Rome he restored the Pantheon, the Voting-enclosure,
the Basilica of Neptune, very many temples, the Forum of Augustus, the Baths of
Agrippa, and dedicated all of them in the names of their original builders. Also
he constructed the bridge named after himself, a tomb on the bank of the Tiber,
and the temple of the Bona Dea. With the aid of the architect Decrianus he raised
the Colossus and, keeping it in an upright position, moved it away from the place
in which the Temple of Rome is now, though its weight was so vast that he had
to furnish for the work as many as twenty-four elephants. This statue he then
consecrated to the Sun, after removing the features of Nero, to whom it had previously
been dedicated, and he also planned, with the assistance of the architect Apollodorus,
to make a similar one for the Moon.
XX. Most democratic in his conversations, even with the very humble, he denounced
all who, in the belief that they were thereby maintaining the imperial dignity,
begrudged him the pleasure of such friendliness. In the Museum at Alexandria he
propounded many questions to the teachers and answered himself what he had propounded.
Marius Maximus says that he was naturally cruel and performed so many kindnesses
only because he feared that he might meet the fate which had befallen Domitian.
Though he cared nothing for inscriptions on his public works, he gave the name
of Hadrianopolis to many cities, as, for example, even to Carthage and a section
of Athens; and he also gave his name to aqueducts without number. He was the first
to appoint a pleader for the privy-purse.
Hadrian's memory was vast and his ability was unlimited; for instance, he personally
dictated his speeches and gave opinions on all questions. He was also very witty,
and of his jests many still survive. The following one has even become famous:
When he had refused a request to a certain grey-haired man, and the man repeated
the request but this time with dyed hair, Hadrian replied, "I have already refused
this to your father." Even without the aid of a nomenclator he could call by name
a great many people, whose names he had heard but once and then all in a crowd;
indeed, he could correct the nomenclators when they made mistakes, as they not
infrequently did, and he even knew the names of the veterans whom he had discharged
at various times. He could repeat from memory, after a rapid reading, books which
to most men were not known at all. He wrote, dictated, listened, and, incredible
as it seems, conversed with his friends, all at one and the same time. He had
as complete a knowledge of the state-budget in all its details as any careful
householder has of his own household. His horses and dogs he loved so much that
he provided burial-places for them, and in one locality he founded a town called
Hadrianotherae, because once he had hunted successfully there and killed a bear.
XXI. He always inquired into the actions of all his judges, and persisted in
his inquiries until he satisfied himself of the truth about them. He would not
allow his freedmen to be prominent in public affairs or to have any influence
over himself, and he declared that all his predecessors were to blame for the
faults of their freedmen; he also punished all his freedmen who boasted of their
influence over him. With regard to his treatment of his slaves, the following
incident, stern but almost humorous, is still related. Once when he saw one of
his slaves walk away from his presence between two senators, he sent someone to
give him a box on the ear and say to him: "Do not walk between those whose slave
you may some day be." As an article of food he was singularly fond of tetrapharmacum,
which consisted of pheasant, sow's udders, ham, and pastry.
During his reign there were famines, pestilence, and earthquakes. The distress
caused by all these calamities he relieved to the best of his ability, and also
he aided many communities which had been devastated by them. There was also an
overflow of the Tiber. To many communities he gave Latin citizenship, and to many
others he remitted their tribute.
There were no campaigns of importance during his reign, and the wars that he
did wage were brought to a close almost without arousing comment. The soldiers
loved him much on account of his very great interest in the army and for his great
liberality to them besides. The Parthians always regarded him as a friend because
he took away the king whom Trajan had set over them. The Armenians were permitted
to have their own king, whereas under Trajan they had had a governor, and the
Mesopotamians were relieved of the tribute which Trajan had imposed. The Albanians
and Hiberians he made his friends by lavishing gifts upon their kings, even though
they had scorned to come to him. The kings of the Bactrians sent envoys to him
to beg humbly for his friendship.
XXII. He very often assigned guardians. Discipline in civil life he maintained
as rigorously as he did in military. He ordered senators and knights to wear the
toga whenever they appeared in public except when they were returning from a banquet,
and he himself, when in Italy, always appeared thus clad. At banquets, when senators
came, he received them standing, and he always reclined at table dressed either
in a Greek cloak or in a toga. The cost of a banquet he determined on each occasion,
all with the utmost care, and he reduced the sums that might be expended to the
amounts prescribed by the ancient laws. He forbade entry into Rome of heavily
laden waggons, and he did not permit riding on horseback in cities. None but invalids
were allowed to bathe in the public baths before the eighth hour of the day. He
was the first to put knights in charge of the imperial correspondence and of the
petitions addressed to the emperor. Those men whom he saw to be poor and innocent
he enriched of his own accord, but those who had become rich through sharp practice
he actually regarded with hatred. He despised foreign cults, but native Roman
ones he observed most scrupulously; moreover, he always performed the duties of
pontifex maximus. He tried a great number of lawsuits himself both in Rome and
in the provinces, and to his council he called consuls and praetors and the foremost
of the senators. He drained the Fucine Lake. He appointed four men of consular
rank as judges for all Italy. When he went to Africa it rained on his arrival
for the first time in the space of five years, and for this he was beloved by
XXIII. After traversing, as he did, all parts of the world with bare head and
often in severe storms and frosts, he contracted an illness which confined him
to his bed. And becoming anxious about a successor he thought first of Servianus.
Afterwards, however, as I have said, he forced him to commit suicide; and Fuscus,
too, he put to death on the ground that, being spurred on by prophecies and omens,
he was hoping for the imperial power. Carried away by suspicion, he held in the
greatest abhorrence Platorius Nepos, whom he had formerly so loved that, once,
when he went to see him while ill and was refused admission, he nevertheless let
him go unpunished. Also he hated Terentius Gentianus, but even more vehemently,
because he saw that he was then beloved by the senate. At last, he came to hate
all those of whom he had thought in connection with the imperial power, as though
they were really about to be emperors. However, he controlled all the force of
his innate cruelty down to the time when in his Tiburtine Villa he almost met
his death through a hemorrhage. Then he threw aside all restraint and compelled
Servianus to kill himself, on the ground that he aspired to the empire, merely
because he gave a feast to the royal slaves, sat in a royal chair placed close
to his bed, and, though an old man of ninety, used to arise and go forward to
meet the guard of soldiers. He put many others to death, either openly or by treachery,
and indeed, when his wife Sabina died, the rumour arose that the Emperor had given
Hadrian then determined to adopt Ceionius Commodus, son-in-law of Nigrinus,
the former conspirator, and this in spite of the fact that his sole recommendation
was his beauty. Accordingly, despite the opposition of all, he adopted Ceionius
Commodus Verus and called him Aelius Verus Caesar. On the occasion of the adoption
he gave games in the Circus and bestowed largess upon the populace and the soldiers.
He dignified Commodus with the office of praetor and immediately placed him in
command of the Pannonian provinces, and also conferred on him the consulship together
with money enough to meet the expenses of the office. He also appointed Commodus
to a second consulship. And when he saw that the man was diseased, he used often
to say: "We have leaned against a tottering wall and have wasted the four hundred
million sesterces which we gave to the populace and the soldiers on the adoption
of Commodus." Moreover, because of his ill-health, Commodus could not even make
a speech in the senate thanking Hadrian for his adoption. Finally, too large a
quantity of medicine was administered to him, and thereupon his illness increased,
and he died in his sleep on the very Kalends of January. Because of the date Hadrian
forbade public mourning for him, in order that the vows for the state might be
assumed as usual.
XXIV. After the death of Aelius Verus Caesar, Hadrian was attacked by a very
severe illness, and thereupon he adopted Arrius Antoninus (who was afterwards
called Pius), imposing on him the condition that he adopt two sons, Annius Verus
and Marcus Antoninus. These were the two who afterwards ruled the empire together,
the first joint Augusti. And as for Antoninus, he was called Pius, it is said,
because he used to give his arm to his father-in-law when weakened by old age.
However, others assert that this surname was given to him because, as Hadrian
grew more cruel, he rescued many senators from the Emperor; others, again, that
it was because he bestowed great honours upon Hadrian after his death. The adoption
of Antoninus was lamented by many at that time, particularly by Catilius Severus,
the prefect of the city, who was making plans to secure the throne for himself.
When this fact became known, a successor was appointed for him and he was deprived
of his office.
But Hadrian was now seized with the utmost disgust of life and ordered a servant
to stab him with a sword. When this was disclosed and reached the ears of Antoninus,
he came to the Emperor, together with the prefects, and begged him to endure with
fortitude the hard necessity of illness, declaring furthermore that he himself
would be no better than a parricide, were he, an adopted son, to permit Hadrian
to be killed. The Emperor then became angry and ordered the betrayer of the secret
to be put to death; however, the man was saved by Antoninus. Then Hadrian immediately
drew up his will, though he did not lay aside the administration of the empire.
Once more, however, after making his will, he attempted to kill himself, but the
dagger was taken from him. He then became more violent, and he even demanded poison
from his physician, who thereupon killed himself in order that he might not have
to administer it.
XXV. About this time there came a certain woman, who said that she had been
warned in a dream to coax Hadrian to refrain from killing himself, for he was
destined to recover entirely, but that she had failed to do this and had become
blind; she had nevertheless been ordered a second time to give the same message
to Hadrian and to kiss his knees, and was assured of the recovery of her sight
if she did so. The woman then carried out the command of the dream, and reeived
her sight after she had bathed her eyes with the water in the temple from which
she had come. Also a blind old man from Pannonia came to Hadrian when he was ill
with fever, and touched him; whereupon the man received his sight, and the fever
left Hadrian. All these things, however, Marius Maximus declares were done as
After this Hadrian departed for Baiae, leaving Antoninus at Rome to carry on
the government. But he received no benefit there, and he thereupon sent for Antoninus,
and in his presence he died there at Baiae on the sixth day before the Ides of
July. Hated by all, he was buried at Puteoli on an estate that had belonged to
Just before his death, he compelled Servianus, then ninety years old, to kill
himself, as has been said before, in order that Servianus might not outlive him,
and, as he thought, become emperor. He likewise gave orders that very many others
who were guilty of slight offences should be put to death; these, however, were
spared by Antoninus. And he is said, as he lay dying, to have composed the following
O blithe little soul, thou, flitting away,
Guest and comrade of this my clay,
Whither now goest thou, to what place
Bare and ghastly and without grace?
Nor, as thy wont was, joke and play.
Such verses as these did he compose, and not many that were better, and also
some in Greek.
He lived 62 years, 5 months, 17 days. He ruled 20 years, 11 months.
XXVI. He was tall of stature and elegant in appearance; his hair was curled
on a comb, and he wore a full beard to cover up the natural blemishes on his face;
and he was very strongly built. He rode and walked a great deal and always kept
himself in training by the use of arms and the javelin. He also hunted, and he
used often to kill a lion with his own hand, but once in a hunt he broke his collar-bone
and a rib; these hunts of his he always shared with his friends. At his banquets
he always furnished, according to the occasion, tragedies, comedies, Atellan farces,
players on the sambuca, readers, or poets. His villa at Tibur was marvellously
constructed, and he actually gave to parts of it the names of provinces and places
of the greatest renown, calling them, for instance, Lyceum, Academia, Prytaneum,
Canopus, Poecile and Tempe. And in order not to omit anything, he even made a
The premonitions of his death were as follows: On his last birthday, when he
was commending Antoninus to the gods, his bordered toga fell down without apparent
cause and bared his head. His ring, on which his portrait was carved, slipped
of its own accord from his finger. On the day before his birthday some one came
into the senate wailing; by his presence Hadrian was as disturbed as if he were
speaking about his own death, for no one could understand what he was saying.
Again, in the senate, when he meant to say, "after my son's death," he said, "after
mine." Besides, he dreamed that he had asked his father for a soporific; he also
dreamed that he had been overcome by a lion.
XXVII. Much was said against him after his death, and by many persons. The
senate wished to annul his acts, and would have refrained from naming him "the
Deified" had not Antoninus requested it. Antoninus, moreover, finally built a
temple for him at Puteoli to take the place of a tomb, and he also established
a quinquennial contest and flamens and sodales and many other institutions which
appertain to the honour of one regarded as a god. It is for this reason, as has
been said before, that many think that Antoninus received the surname Pius.
Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims:
Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found
grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the
past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good
to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people
of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their
ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high
priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable
and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of
Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the
Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone
is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a
synagogue or from a mens' apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his
property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.
These districts (of Jerusalem and Joppa) lie towards the north; they are inhabited
generally, and each place in particular, by mixed tribes of Egyptians, Arabians,
and Phoenicians. Of this description are the inhabitants of Galilee, of the plain
of Jericho, and of the territories of Philadelphia and Samaria, surnamed Sebaste
by Herod; but though there is such a mixture of inhabitants, the report most credited,
among many things believed respecting the temple and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
is that the Egyptians were the ancestors of the present Jews. An Egyptian priest
named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called Lower Egypt, being
dissatisfied with the established institutions there, left it and came to Judea
with a large body of people who worshiped the Divinity. He declared and taught
that the Egyptians and Africans entertained erroneous sentiments, in representing,
the Divinity under the likeness of wild beasts and cattle of the field; that the
Greeks also were error in making images of their gods after the human form. For
God, said he, may be this one thing which encompasses us all, land and sea, which
we call heaven, or the universe, or the nature of things. Who, then, of any understanding
would venture to form an image of this Deity, resembling anything with which we
are conversant? On the contrary, we ought not to carve any images, but to set
apart some sacred ground as a shrine worthy of the Deity, and to worship Him without
any similitude. He taught that those who made fortunate dreams were to be permitted
to sleep in the temple, where they might dream both for themselves and others;
that those who practiced temperance and justice, and none else, might expect good,
or some gift or sign from the God, from time to time.
By such doctrine Moses persuaded a large body of right-minded persons to accompany
him to the place where Jerusalem now stands. He easily obtained possession of
it as the spot was not such as to excite jealousy, nor for which there could be
any fierce contention; for it is rocky, and, although well supplied with water,
it is surrounded by a barren and waterless territory. The space within the city
is 60 stadia in circumference, with rock underneath the surface. Instead of arms,
he taught that their defense was in their sacred things and the Divinity, for
whom he was desirous of finding a settled place, promising to the people to deliver
such a kind of worship and religion as should not burden those who adopted it
with great expense, nor molest them with so-called divine possessions, nor other
absurd practices. Moses thus obtained their good opinion, and established no ordinary
kind of government. All the nations around willingly united themselves to him,
allured by his discourses and promises.
His successors continued for some time to observe the same conduct, doing justly,
and worshipping God with sincerity. Afterwards superstitious persons were appointed
to the priesthood, and then tyrants. From superstition arose abstinence from flesh,
from the eating of which it is now the custom to refrain, circumcision, cliterodectomy,
and other practices which the people observe. The tyrannical government produced
robbery; for the rebels plundered both their own and the neighboring countries.
Those also who shared in the government seized upon the property of others, and
ravaged a large part of Syria and of Phoenicia. Respect, however, was paid to
the Acropolis [Zion, or the Temple Mount in Jerusalem]; it was not abhorred as
the seat of tyranny, but honoured and venerated as a temple. . . .Such was Moses
and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated.
When Judaea openly became subject to a tyrannic government, the first person
who exchanged the title of priest for that of king was Alexander [Alexander Jannaeus].
His sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. While they were disputing the succesion
to the kingdom, Pompey came upon them by surprise, deprived them of their power,
and destroyed their fortress first taking Jerusalem itself by storm [63 B.C.].
It was a stronghold situated on a rock, well-fortified and well-supplied with
water within, but externally entirely parched with drought. A ditch was cut in
the rock, 60 feet in depth, and in width 250 feet. On the wall of the temple were
built towers, constructed of the materials procured when the ditch was excavated.
The city was taken, it is said, by waiting for the day of fast, on which the Jews
were in the habit of abstaining from all work. Pompey, availing himself of this,
filled up the ditch, and threw bridges over it. He gave orders to raze all the
walls, and he destroyed, as far as was in his power, the haunts of the robbers
and the treasure-holds of the tyrants. Two of these forts, Thrax and Taurus, were
situated in the passes leading to Jericho. Others were Alexandrium, Hyrcanium,
Machaerus, Lysias, and those about Philadelphia, and Scythopolis near
Pompey curtailed the territory which had been forcibly appropriated by the
Jews, and assigned to Hyrcanus the priesthood. Some time afterwards, Herod, of
the same family, and a native of the country, having surreptitiously obtained
the priesthood, distinguished himself so much above his predecessors, particularly
in his intercourse, both civil and political, with the Romans, that he received
the title and authority of king, first from Antony, and afterwards from Augustus
Caesar. He put to death some of his sons, on the pretext of their having conspired
against him; other sons he left at his death [in 4 B.C.] to succeed him, and assigned
to each portions of his kingdom. Caesar bestowed upon the sons also of Herod marks
of honor, as also upon their sister Salome, and on her daughter Berenice too.
The sons were unfortunate, and were publicly accused. One of them [Archelaus]
died in exile among the Galatae Allobroges, whose country [Vienne, south of Lyons
in France] was assigned for his abode. The others, by great interest and solicitation,
but with difficulty, obtained leave to return to their own country, each with
his tetrarchy restored to him.
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the
tribunician power, proclaims: . . .Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who
are in all the world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without
hindrance and to them I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably
and not to despise the religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their
Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled
on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his
throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There
is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighboring tribe, the Idaei, came
to be called Judaei by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert
that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus
and Judas, discharged itself into the neighboring countries. Many, again, say
that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were
driven by fear and hatred of their neighbors to seek a new dwelling-place. Others
describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took
possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called
the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very
distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation
celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma
after their own name. Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease,
which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris,
seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his
realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods.
The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves
left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupor of grief, till one of the
exiles, Moses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man,
forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent
leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery.
They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however,
distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish
in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire
from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moses followed them, and, guided
by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This
furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they
possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and
in which they founded a city and a temple.
Moses, wishing to secure for the future his authority over the nation, gave
them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that is practiced by other men. Things
sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden.
In their holy place they have consecrated an image of the animal by whose guidance
they found deliverance from their long and thirsty wanderings. They slay the ram,
seemingly in derision of Hammon, and they sacrifice the ox, because the Egyptians
worship it as Apis. They abstain from swine's flesh, in consideration of what
they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable.
By their frequent fasts they still bear witness to the long hunger of former days,
and the Jewish bread, made without leaven, is retained as a memorial of their
hurried seizure of corn. We are told that the rest of the seventh day was adopted,
because this day brought with it a termination of their toils; after a while the
charm of indolence beguiled them into giving up the seventh year also to inaction.
This worship, however introduced, is upheld by its antiquity; all their other
customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their
very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs,
brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of
the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest
and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with
all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though,
as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse
with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted
by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion
adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise
all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren.
Still they provide for the increase of their numbers. It is a crime among them
to kill any newly-born infant. They hold that the souls of all who perish in battle
or by the hands of the executioner are immortal. Hence a passion for propagating
their race and a contempt for death. They are wont to bury rather than to burn
their dead, following in this the Egyptian custom; they bestow the same care on
the dead, and they hold the same belief about the lower world.
Quite different is their faith about things divine. The Egyptians worship many
animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely mental conceptions
of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations
of God in human shape out of perishable materials. They believe that Being to
be supreme and eternal, neither capable of representation, nor of decay. They
therefore do not allow any images to stand in their cities, much less in their
temples. This flattery is not paid to their kings, nor this honor to our Emperors.
From the fact, however, that their priests used to chant to the music of flutes
and cymbals, and to wear garlands of ivy, and that a golden vine was found in
the temple, some have thought that they worshiped father Liber, the conqueror
of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the
theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish
religion is tasteless and mean.
Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus, 3 Vols., trans.
William Whiston (New York: International Book Co., 1888), Ant. Jud. 16.6.2:162-165,
Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, 3 Vols., trans. H. C.
Hamilton and W. Falconer (London: George Bell & Sons, 1889), III:177-178;
Tacitus, The Histories of Tacitus, trans. A. D. Godley
(London: Macmillan, 1898)
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State
Compendium of Roman History
Marcus Aurelius was Emperor from 161 to 180 A.D. No ruler ever came to power
with higher ideals and purposes, but the reign was not a very prosperous one.
The philosopher in the purple was afflicted by the widespread pestilences in the
Empire, and by the dangerous wars on the frontiers. He struggled against the difficulties
manfully, and overcame most of them; but his reign marks the beginning of the
long slow decline of the Empire.
Marcus Aurelius was trained in philosophy by Apollonius of Chalcedon: in the
Greek language by Sextus of Chaeronea, the grandson of Plutarch, while the eminent
orator Fronto instructed him in Latin literature. He conducted himself towards
all men at Rome, as if he had been their equal, being moved by no arrogance by
his elevation to the Empire. He exercised prompt liberality, and managed the provinceswith
the utmost kindness and indulgence.
Under his rule affairs were successfully conducted against the Germans. He
himself carried on a war with the Marcomanni, which was greater than any in the
memory of man (in the way of wars with the Germans)---so that it was compared
to the Punic Wars, for it was exceedingly formidable, and in it whole armies were
lost; especially as in this reign, after the victory over the Parthians there
occurred a great pestilence so that at Rome, and throughout Italy and the provinces
a large fraction of the population, and actually the bulk of the regular troops
perished from the plague.
With the greatest labor and patience he persevered for three whole years at
Carnutum [a strategically located fortress town in Pannonia], and brought the
Marcomannic war to an end; a war in which the Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Suevi
and all the barbarians in that region, had joined the outbreak of the Marcomanni.
He slew several thousand men, and having delivered the Pannonians from bondage
held a triumph at Rome. As the treasury was drained by the war, and he had no
money to give his soldiers; and as he would not lay any extra tax on the provinces
or Senate, he sold off all his imperial furniture and decorations by an auction
held in the Forum of Trajan, consisting of gold and cups of crystal and precious
stone, silk garments belonging to his wife and to himself, embroidered---as they
were---with gold, and numbers of jeweled ornaments. This sale was kept up through
two successive months and a great deal of money was raised by it. After his victory,
however, he refunded the money to such purchasers as were willing to restore what
they had bought, but was by no means troublesome to those who wished to keep their
After his victory he was so magnificent in his display of games he is said
to have exhibited in the arena one hundred lions at once. Having then at last
rendered the state happy by his excellent management and gentleness of character,
he died in the eighteenth year of his reign, in the sixty-first of his life. He
was enrolled among the gods, all the Senate voting unanimously that he should
have such honor.
From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative
Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II:
Rome and the West, pp. ??
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