TITUS FLAVIUS DOMITIANUS Suetonius Tranquillus – Read online
DOMITIANUS – THE LIVES OF THE TWELVE CAESARS By C. Suetonius Tranquillus
Domitian was born upon the ninth of the calends of November [24th October] , when his father was consul elect, (being to enter upon his office the month following,) in the sixth region of the city, at the Pomegranate 796, in the house which he afterwards converted into a temple of the Flavian family. He is said to have spent the time of his youth in so much want and infamy, that he had not one piece of plate belonging to him; and it is well known, that Clodius Pollio, a man of pretorian rank, against whom there is a poem of Nero’s extant, entitled Luscio, kept a note in his hand-writing, which he sometimes produced, in which Domitian made an assignation with him for the foulest purposes. Some, likewise, have said, that he prostituted himself to Nerva, who succeeded him. In the war with Vitellius, he fled into the Capitol with his uncle Sabinus, and a part of the troops they had in the city 797. But the enemy breaking in, and the temple being set on fire, he hid himself all night with the sacristan; and next morning, assuming the disguise of a worshipper of Isis, and mixing with the priests of that idle superstition, he got over the Tiber 798, with only one attendant, to the house of a woman who was the mother of one of his school-fellows, and lurked there so close, that, though the enemy, who were at his heels, searched very strictly after him, they could not discover him. At last, after the success of his party, appearing in public, and being unanimously saluted by the title of Caesar, he assumed the office of praetor of the City, with consular authority, but in fact had nothing but the name; for the jurisdiction he transferred to his next colleague. He used, however, his absolute (480) power so licentiously, that even then he plainly discovered what sort of prince he was likely to prove. Not to go into details, after he had made free with the wives of many men of distinction, he took Domitia Longina from her husband, Aelias Lamia, and married her; and in one day disposed of above twenty offices in the city and the provinces; upon which Vespasian said several times, “he wondered he did not send him a successor too.”
He likewise designed an expedition into Gaul and Germany 799, without the least necessity for it, and contrary to the advice of all his father’s friends; and this he did only with the view of equalling his brother in military achievements and glory. But for this he was severely reprimanded, and that he might the more effectually be reminded of his age and position, was made to live with his father, and his litter had to follow his father’s and brother’s carriage, as often as they went abroad; but he attended them in their triumph for the conquest of Judaea 800, mounted on a white horse. Of the six consulships which he held, only one was ordinary; and that he obtained by the cession and interest of his brother. He greatly affected a modest behaviour, and, above all, a taste for poetry; insomuch, that he rehearsed his performances in public, though it was an art he had formerly little cultivated, and which he afterwards despised and abandoned. Devoted, however, as he was at this time to poetical pursuits, yet when Vologesus, king of the Parthians, desired succours against the Alani, with one of Vespasian’s sons to command them, he laboured hard to procure for himself that appointment. But the scheme proving abortive, he endeavoured by presents and promises to engage other kings of the East to make a similar request. After his father’s death, he was for some time in doubt, whether he should not offer the soldiers a donative double to that of his brother, and made no scruple of saying frequently, “that he had been left his partner in the empire, but that his father’s will had been fraudulently set aside.” From that time forward, he was constantly engaged in plots against his brother, both publicly and privately; until, falling dangerously ill, he ordered all his attendants to (481) leave him, under pretence of his being dead, before he really was so; and, at his decease, paid him no other honour than that of enrolling him amongst the gods; and he often, both in speeches and edicts, carped at his memory by sneers and insinuations.
In the beginning of his reign, he used to spend daily an hour by himself in private, during which time he did nothing else but catch flies, and stick them through the body with a sharp pin. When some one therefore inquired, “whether any one was with the emperor,” it was significantly answered by Vibius Crispus, “Not so much as a fly.” Soon after his advancement, his wife Domitia, by whom he had a son in his second consulship, and whom the year following he complimented with the title of Augusta, being desperately in love with Paris, the actor, he put her away; but within a short time afterwards, being unable to bear the separation, he took her again, under pretence of complying with the people’s importunity. During some time, there was in his administration a strange mixture of virtue and vice, until at last his virtues themselves degenerated into vices; being, as we may reasonably conjecture concerning his character, inclined to avarice through want, and to cruelty through fear.
He frequently entertained the people with most magnificent and costly shows, not only in the amphitheatre, but the circus; where, besides the usual races with chariots drawn by two or four horses a-breast, he exhibited the representation of an engagement between both horse and foot, and a sea-fight in the amphitheatre. The people were also entertained with the chase of wild beasts and the combat of gladiators, even in the night-time, by torch-light. Nor did men only fight in these spectacles, but women also. He constantly attended at the games given by the quaestors, which had been disused for some time, but were revived by him; and upon those occasions, always gave the people the liberty of demanding two pair of gladiators out of his own school, who appeared last in court uniforms. Whenever he attended the shows of gladiators, there stood at his feet a little boy dressed in scarlet, with a prodigiously small head, with whom he used to talk very much, and sometimes seriously. We are assured, that he was (482) overheard asking him, “if he knew for what reason he had in the late appointment, made Metius Rufus governor of Egypt?” He presented the people with naval fights, performed by fleets almost as numerous as those usually employed in real engagements; making a vast lake near the Tiber 801, and building seats round it. And he witnessed them himself during a very heavy rain. He likewise celebrated the Secular games 802, reckoning not from the year in which they had been exhibited by Claudius, but from the time of Augustus’s celebration of them. In these, upon the day of the Circensian sports, in order to have a hundred races performed, he reduced each course from seven rounds to five. He likewise instituted, in honour of Jupiter Capitolinus, a solemn contest in music to be performed every five years; besides horse-racing and gymnastic exercises, with more prizes than are at present allowed. There was also a public performance in elocution, both Greek and Latin and besides the musicians who sung to the harp, there were others who played concerted pieces or solos, without vocal accompaniment. Young girls also ran races in the Stadium, at which he presided in his sandals, dressed in a purple robe, made after the Grecian fashion, and wearing upon his head a golden crown bearing the effigies of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva; with the flamen of Jupiter, and the college of priests sitting by his side in the same dress; excepting only that their crowns had also his own image on them. He celebrated also upon the Alban mount every year the festival of Minerva, for whom he had appointed a college of priests, out of which were chosen by lot persons to preside as governors over the college; who were obliged to entertain the people with extraordinary chases of wild-beasts, and stage-plays, besides contests for prizes in oratory and poetry. He thrice bestowed upon the people a largess of three hundred sesterces each man; and, at a public show of gladiators, a very plentiful feast. At the festival of the Seven Hills 803, he distributed large hampers of provisions (483) to the senatorian and equestrian orders, and small baskets to the common people, and encouraged them to eat by setting them the example. The day after, he scattered among the people a variety of cakes and other delicacies to be scrambled for; and on the greater part of them falling amidst the seats of the crowd, he ordered five hundred tickets to be thrown into each range of benches belonging to the senatorian and equestrian orders.
He rebuilt many noble edifices which had been destroyed by fire, and amongst them the Capitol, which had been burnt down a second time 804; but all the inscriptions were in his own name, without the least mention of the original founders. He likewise erected a new temple in the Capitol to Jupiter Custos, and a forum, which is now called Nerva’s 805, as also the temple of the Flavian family 806, a stadium 807, an odeum 808, and a naumachia 809; out of the stone dug from which, the sides of the Circus Maximus, which had been burnt down, were rebuilt.
He undertook several expeditions, some from choice, and some from necessity. That against the Catti 810 was unprovoked, but that against the Sarmatians was necessary; an entire legion, with its commander, having been cut off by them. He sent two expeditions against the Dacians; the first upon the defeat of Oppius Sabinus, a man of consular rank; and (484) the other, upon that of Cornelius Fuscus, prefect of the pretorian cohorts, to whom he had entrusted the conduct of that war. After several battles with the Catti and Daci, he celebrated a double triumph. But for his successes against the Sarmatians, he only bore in procession the laurel crown to Jupiter Capitolinus. The civil war, begun by Lucius Antonius, governor of Upper Germany, he quelled, without being obliged to be personally present at it, with remarkable good fortune. For, at the very moment of joining battle, the Rhine suddenly thawing, the troops of the barbarians which were ready to join L. Antonius, were prevented from crossing the river. Of this victory he had notice by some presages, before the messengers who brought the news of it arrived. For upon the very day the battle was fought, a splendid eagle spread its wings round his statue at Rome, making most joyful cries. And shortly after, a rumour became common, that Antonius was slain; nay, many positively affirmed, that they saw his head brought to the city.
He made many innovations in common practices. He abolished the Sportula 811, and revived the old practice of regular suppers. To the four former parties in the Circensian games, he added two new, who were gold and scarlet. He prohibited the players from acting in the theatre, but permitted them the practice of their art in private houses. He forbad the castration of males; and reduced the price of the eunuchs who were still left in the hands of the dealers in slaves. On the occasion of a great abundance of wine, accompanied by a scarcity of corn, supposing that the tillage of the ground was neglected for the sake of attending too much to the cultivation of vineyards, he published a proclamation forbidding the planting of any new vines in Italy, and ordering the vines in the provinces to be cut down, nowhere permitting more than one half of them to remain 812. But he did not persist in the execution of this project. Some of the greatest offices he conferred upon his freedmen and soldiers. He forbad two legions to be quartered in the same camp, and more than a thousand sesterces to be deposited by any soldier with the standards; because it was thought that Lucius Antonius had been encouraged in his late project by the large sum deposited in the military chest by the two legions which he had in the same winter-quarters. He made an addition to the soldiers’ pay, of three gold pieces a year.
In the administration of justice he was diligent and assiduous; and frequently sat in the Forum out of course, to cancel the judgments of the court of The One Hundred, which had been procured through favour, or interest. He occasionally cautioned the judges of the court of recovery to beware of being too ready to admit claims for freedom brought before them. He set a mark of infamy upon judges who were convicted of taking bribes, as well as upon their assessors. He likewise instigated the tribunes of the people to prosecute a corrupt aedile for extortion, and to desire the senate to appoint judges for his trial. He likewise took such effectual care in punishing magistrates of the city, and governors of provinces, guilty of malversation, that they never were at any time more moderate or more just. Most of these, since his reign, we have seen prosecuted for crimes of various kinds. Having taken upon himself the reformation of the public manners, he restrained the licence of the populace in sitting promiscuously with the knights in the theatre. Scandalous libels, published to defame persons of rank, of either sex, he suppressed, and inflicted upon their authors a mark of infamy. He expelled a man of quaestorian rank from the senate, for practising mimicry and dancing. He debarred infamous women the use of litters; as also the right of receiving legacies, or inheriting estates. He struck out of the list of judges a Roman knight for taking again his wife whom he had divorced and prosecuted for adultery. He condemned several men of the senatorian and equestrian orders, upon the Scantinian law 813. The lewdness of the Vestal Virgins, which had been overlooked by his father and brother, he punished severely, but in different ways; viz. offences committed before his reign, with death, and those since its commencement, according to ancient custom. For to the two sisters called Ocellatae, he gave liberty to choose the mode of death which they preferred, and banished (486) their paramours. But Cornelia, the president of the Vestals, who had formerly been acquitted upon a charge of incontinence, being a long time after again prosecuted and condemned, he ordered to be buried alive; and her gallants to be whipped to death with rods in the Comitium; excepting only a man of praetorian rank, to whom, because he confessed the fact, while the case was dubious, and it was not established against him, though the witnesses had been put to the torture, he granted the favour of banishment. And to preserve pure and undefiled the reverence due to the gods, he ordered the soldiers to demolish a tomb, which one of his freedmen had erected for his son out of the stones designed for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and to sink in the sea the bones and relics buried in it.
Upon his first succeeding to power, he felt such an abhorrence for the shedding of blood, that, before his father’s arrival in Rome, calling to mind the verse of Virgil,
Impia quam caesis gens est epulata juvencis, 814
Ere impious man, restrain’d from blood in vain,
Began to feast on flesh of bullocks slain,
he designed to have published a proclamation, “to forbid the sacrifice of oxen.” Before his accession to the imperial authority, and during some time afterwards, he scarcely ever gave the least grounds for being suspected of covetousness or avarice; but, on the contrary, he often afforded proofs, not only of his justice, but his liberality. To all about him he was generous even to profusion, and recommended nothing more earnestly to them than to avoid doing anything mean. He would not accept the property left him by those who had children. He also set aside a legacy bequeathed by the will of Ruscus Caepio, who had ordered “his heir to make a present yearly to each of the senators upon their first assembling.” He exonerated all those who had been under prosecution from the treasury for above five years before; and would not suffer suits to be renewed, unless it was done within a year, and on condition, that the prosecutor should be banished, if he could not make good his cause. The secretaries of the quaestors having engaged in trade, according to custom, but contrary to (487) the Clodian law 815, he pardoned them for what was past. Such portions of land as had been left when it was divided amongst the veteran soldiers, he granted to the ancient possessors, as belonging to then by prescription. He put a stop to false prosecutions in the exchequer, by severely punishing the prosecutors; and this saying of his was much taken notice of “that a prince who does not punish informers, encourages them.”
But he did not long persevere in this course of clemency and justice, although he sooner fell into cruelty than into avarice. He put to death a scholar of Paris, the pantomimic 816, though a minor, and then sick, only because, both in person and the practice of his art, he resembled his master; as he did likewise Hermogenes of Tarsus for some oblique reflections in his History; crucifying, besides, the scribes who had copied the work. One who was master of a band of gladiators, happening to say, “that a Thrax was a match for a Marmillo 817, but not so for the exhibitor of the games”, he ordered him to be dragged from the benches into the arena, and exposed to the dogs, with this label upon him, “A Parmularian 818 guilty of talking impiously.” He put to death many senators, and amongst them several men of consular rank. In this number were, Civica Cerealis, when he was proconsul in Africa, Salvidienus Orfitus, and Acilius Glabrio in exile, under the pretence of their planning to revolt against him. The rest he punished upon very trivial occasions; as Aelius Lamia for some jocular expressions, which were of old date, and perfectly harmless; because, upon his commending his voice after he had taken his wife from him 819, he replied, “Alas! I hold my tongue.” And when Titus advised him to take another wife, he answered him thus: “What! have you a mind to marry?” Salvius Cocceianus was condemned to death for keeping the birth-day of his uncle Otho, the emperor: Metius Pomposianus, because he was commonly reported to have an imperial nativity 820, and to carry about with (488) him a map of the world upon vellum, with the speeches of kings and generals extracted out of Titus Livius; and for giving his slaves the names of Mago and Hannibal; Sallustius Lucullus, lieutenant in Britain, for suffering some lances of a new invention to be called “Lucullean;” and Junius Rusticus, for publishing a treatise in praise of Paetus Thrasea and Helvidius Priscus, and calling them both “most upright men.” Upon this occasion, he likewise banished all the philosophers from the city and Italy. He put to death the younger Helvidius, for writing a farce, in which, under the character of Paris and Oenone, he reflected upon his having divorced his wife; and also Flavius Sabinus, one of his cousins, because, upon his being chosen at the consular election to that office, the public crier had, by a blunder, proclaimed him to the people not consul, but emperor. Becoming still more savage after his success in the civil war, he employed the utmost industry to discover those of the adverse party who absconded: many of them he racked with a new-invented torture, inserting fire through their private parts; and from some he cut off their hands. It is certain, that only two of any note were pardoned, a tribune who wore the narrow stripe, and a centurion; who, to clear themselves from the charge of being concerned in any rebellious project, proved themselves to have been guilty of prostitution, and consequently incapable of exercising any influence either over the general or the soldiers.
His cruelties were not only excessive, but subtle and unexpected. The day before he crucified a collector of his rents, he sent for him into his bed-chamber, made him sit down upon the bed by him, and sent him away well pleased, and, so far as could be inferred from his treatment, in a state of perfect security; having vouchsafed him the favour of a plate of meat from his own table. When he was on the point of condemning to death Aretinus Clemens, a man of consular rank, and one of his friends and emissaries, he retained him about his person in the same or greater favour than ever; until at last, as they were riding together in the same litter, upon seeing the man who had informed against him, he said, “Are you willing that we should hear this base slave tomorrow?” Contemptuously abusing the patience of men, he never pronounced a severe sentence without prefacing it (489) with words which gave hopes of mercy; so that, at last, there was not a more certain token of a fatal conclusion, than a mild commencement. He brought before the senate some persona accused of treason, declaring, “that he should prove that day how dear he was to the senate;” and so influenced them, that they condemned the accused to be punished according to the ancient usage 821. Then, as if alarmed at the extreme severity of their punishment, to lessen the odiousness of the proceeding, he interposed in these words; for it is not foreign to the purpose to give them precisely as they were delivered: “Permit me, Conscript Fathers, so far to prevail upon your affection for me, however extraordinary the request may seem, as to grant the condemned criminals the favour of dying in the manner they choose. For by so doing, ye will spare your own eyes, and the world will understand that I interceded with the senate on their behalf.”
Having exhausted the exchequer by the expense of his buildings and public spectacles, with the augmentation of pay lately granted to the troops, he made an attempt at the reduction of the army, in order to lessen the military charges. But reflecting, that he should, by this measure, expose himself to the insults of the barbarians, while it would not suffice to extricate him from his embarrassments, he had recourse to plundering his subjects by every mode of exaction. The estates of the living and the dead were sequestered upon any accusation, by whomsoever preferred. The unsupported allegation of any one person, relative to a word or action construed to affect the dignity of the emperor, was sufficient. Inheritances, to which he had not the slightest pretension, were confiscated, if there was found so much as one person to say, he had heard from the deceased when living, “that he had made the emperor his heir.” Besides the exactions from others, the poll-tax on the Jews was levied with extreme rigour, both on those who lived after the manner of Jews in the city, without publicly professing themselves to be such 822, and on those who, by (490) concealing their origin, avoided paying the tribute imposed upon that people. I remember, when I was a youth, to have been present 823, when an old man, ninety years of age, had his person exposed to view in a very crowded court, in order that, on inspection, the procurator might satisfy himself whether he was circumcised. 824
From his earliest years Domitian was any thing but courteous, of a forward, assuming disposition, and extravagant both in his words and actions. When Caenis, his father’s concubine, upon her return from Istria, offered him a kiss, as she had been used to do, he presented her his hand to kiss. Being indignant, that his brother’s son-in-law should be waited on by servants dressed in white 825, he exclaimed,
ouk agathon polykoiraniae. 826
Too many princes are not good.
After he became emperor, he had the assurance to boast in the senate, “that he had bestowed the empire on his father and brother, and they had restored it to him.” And upon taking his wife again, after the divorce, he declared by proclamation, “that he had recalled her to his pulvinar.” 827 He was not a little pleased too, at hearing the acclamations of the people in the amphitheatre on a day of festival, “All happiness to our lord and lady.” But when, during the celebration of the Capitoline trial of skill, the whole concourse of people entreated him with one voice to restore Palfurius Sura to his place in the senate, from which he had been long before expelled—he having then carried away the prize of eloquence from all the orators who had contended for it,—he did not vouchsafe to give them any answer, but only commanded silence to be proclaimed by the voice of the crier. With equal arrogance, when he dictated the form of a letter to be used by his procurators, he began it thus: “Our lord and god commands so and so;” whence it became a rule that no one should (491) style him otherwise either in writing or speaking. He suffered no statues to be erected for him in the Capitol, unless they were of gold and silver, and of a certain weight. He erected so many magnificent gates and arches, surmounted by representations of chariots drawn by four horses, and other triumphal ornaments, in different quarters of the city, that a wag inscribed on one of the arches the Greek word Axkei, “It is enough.” 828 He filled the office of consul seventeen times, which no one had ever done before him, and for the seven middle occasions in successive years; but in scarcely any of them had he more than the title; for he never continued in office beyond the calends of May [the 1st May], and for the most part only till the ides of January [13th January]. After his two triumphs, when he assumed the cognomen of Germanicus, he called the months of September and October, Germanicus and Domitian, after his own names, because he commenced his reign in the one, and was born in the other.
Becoming by these means universally feared and odious, he was at last taken off by a conspiracy of his friends and favourite freedmen, in concert with his wife 829. He had long entertained a suspicion of the year and day when he should die, and even of the very hour and manner of his death; all which he had learned from the Chaldaeans, when he was a very young man. His father once at supper laughed at him for refusing to eat some mushrooms, saying, that if he knew his fate, he would rather be afraid of the sword. Being, therefore, in perpetual apprehension and anxiety, he was keenly alive to the slightest suspicions, insomuch that he is thought to have withdrawn the edict ordering the destruction of the vines, chiefly because the copies of it which were dispersed had the following lines written upon them:
Kaen me phagaes epi rizanomos epi kartophoraeso,
Osson epispeisai Kaisari thuomeno. 830
Gnaw thou my root, yet shall my juice suffice
To pour on Caesar’s head in sacrifice.
(492) It was from the same principle of fear, that he refused a new honour, devised and offered him by the senate, though he was greedy of all such compliments. It was this: “that as often as he held the consulship, Roman knights, chosen by lot, should walk before him, clad in the Trabea, with lances in their hands, amongst his lictors and apparitors.” As the time of the danger which he apprehended drew near, he became daily more and more disturbed in mind; insomuch that he lined the walls of the porticos in which he used to walk, with the stone called Phengites 831, by the reflection of which he could see every object behind him. He seldom gave an audience to persons in custody, unless in private, being alone, and he himself holding their chains in his hand. To convince his domestics that the life of a master was not to be attempted upon any pretext, however plausible, he condemned to death Epaphroditus his secretary, because it was believed that he had assisted Nero, in his extremity, to kill himself.
His last victim was Flavius Clemens 832, his cousin-german, a man below contempt for his want of energy, whose sons, then of very tender age, he had avowedly destined for his successors, and, discarding their former names, had ordered one to be called Vespasian, and the other Domitian. Nevertheless, he suddenly put him to death upon some very slight suspicion 833, almost before he was well out of his consulship. By this violent act he very much hastened his own destruction. During eight months together there was so much lightning at Rome, and such accounts of the phaenomenon were brought from other parts, that at last he cried out, “Let him now strike whom he will.” The Capitol was struck by lightning, as well as the temple of the Flavian family, with the Palatine-house, and his own bed-chamber. The tablet also, inscribed upon the base of his triumphal statue was carried away by the violence of the storm, and fell upon a neighbouring (493) monument. The tree which just before the advancement of Vespasian had been prostrated, and rose again 834, suddenly fell to the ground. The goddess Fortune of Praeneste, to whom it was his custom on new year’s day to commend the empire for the ensuing year, and who had always given him a favourable reply, at last returned him a melancholy answer, not without mention of blood. He dreamt that Minerva, whom he worshipped even to a superstitious excess, was withdrawing from her sanctuary, declaring she could protect him no longer, because she was disarmed by Jupiter. Nothing, however, so much affected him as an answer given by Ascletario, the astrologer, and his subsequent fate. This person had been informed against, and did not deny his having predicted some future events, of which, from the principles of his art, he confessed he had a foreknowledge. Domitian asked him, what end he thought he should come to himself? To which replying, “I shall in a short time be torn to pieces by dogs,” he ordered him immediately to be slain, and, in order to demonstrate the vanity of his art, to be carefully buried. But during the preparations for executing this order, it happened that the funeral pile was blown down by a sudden storm, and the body, half-burnt, was torn to pieces by dogs; which being observed by Latinus, the comic actor, as he chanced to pass that way, he told it, amongst the other news of the day, to the emperor at supper.
The day before his death, he ordered some dates 835, served up at table, to be kept till the next day, adding, “If I have the luck to use them.” And turning to those who were nearest him, he said, “To-morrow the moon in Aquarius will be bloody instead of watery, and an event will happen, which will be much talked of all the world over.” About midnight, he was so terrified that he leaped out of bed. That morning he tried and passed sentence on a soothsayer sent from Germany, who being consulted about the lightning that had lately (494) happened, predicted from it a change of government. The blood running down his face as he scratched an ulcerous tumour on his forehead, he said, “Would this were all that is to befall me!” Then, upon his asking the time of the day, instead of five o’clock, which was the hour he dreaded, they purposely told him it was six. Overjoyed at this information; as if all danger were now passed, and hastening to the bath, Parthenius, his chamberlain, stopped him, by saying that there was a person come to wait upon him about a matter of great importance, which would admit of no delay. Upon this, ordering all persons to withdraw, he retired into his chamber, and was there slain.
Concerning the contrivance and mode of his death, the common account is this. The conspirators being in some doubt when and where they should attack him, whether while he was in the bath, or at supper, Stephanus, a steward of Domitilla’s 836, then under prosecution for defrauding his mistress, offered them his advice and assistance; and wrapping up his left arm, as if it was hurt, in wool and bandages for some days, to prevent suspicion, at the hour appointed, he secreted a dagger in them. Pretending then to make a discovery of a conspiracy, and being for that reason admitted, he presented to the emperor a memorial, and while he was reading it in great astonishment, stabbed him in the groin. But Domitian, though wounded, making resistance, Clodianus, one of his guards, Maximus, a freedman of Parthenius’s, Saturius, his principal chamberlain, with some gladiators, fell upon him, and stabbed him in seven places. A boy who had the charge of the Lares in his bed-chamber, and was then in attendance as usual, gave these further particulars: that he was ordered by Domitian, upon receiving his first wound, to reach him a dagger which lay under his pillow, and call in his domestics; but that he found nothing at the head of the bed, excepting the hilt of a (495) poniard, and that all the doors were fastened: that the emperor in the mean time got hold of Stephanus, and throwing him upon the ground, struggled a long time with him; one while endeavouring to wrench the dagger from him, another while, though his fingers were miserably mangled, to tear out his eyes. He was slain upon the fourteenth of the calends of October [18th Sept.], in the forty-fifth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign 837. His corpse was carried out upon a common bier by the public bearers, and buried by his nurse Phyllis, at his suburban villa on the Latin Way. But she afterwards privately conveyed his remains to the temple of the Flavian family 838, and mingled them with the ashes of Julia, the daughter of Titus, whom she had also nursed.
He was tall in stature, his face modest, and very ruddy; he had large eyes, but was dim-sighted; naturally graceful in his person, particularly in his youth, excepting only that his toes were bent somewhat inward, he was at last disfigured by baldness, corpulence, and the slenderness of his legs, which were reduced by a long illness. He was so sensible how much the modesty of his countenance recommended him, that he once made this boast to the senate, “Thus far you have approved both of my disposition and my countenance.” His baldness so much annoyed him, that he considered it an affront to himself, if any other person was reproached with it, either in jest or in earnest; though in a small tract he published, addressed to a friend, “concerning the preservation of the hair,” he uses for their mutual consolation the words following:
Ouch oraas oios kago kalos te megas te;
Seest thou my graceful mien, my stately form?
“and yet the fate of my hair awaits me; however, I bear with fortitude this loss of my hair while I am still young. Remember that nothing is more fascinating than beauty, but nothing of shorter duration.”
He so shrunk from undergoing fatigue, that he scarcely ever walked through the city on foot. In his (496) expeditions and on a march, he seldom rode on horse-back; but was generally carried in a litter. He had no inclination for the exercise of arms, but was very expert in the use of the bow. Many persons have seen him often kill a hundred wild animals, of various kinds, at his Alban retreat, and fix his arrows in their heads with such dexterity, that he could, in two shots, plant them, like a pair of horns, in each. He would sometimes direct his arrows against the hand of a boy standing at a distance, and expanded as a mark, with such precision, that they all passed between the boy’s fingers, without hurting him.
In the beginning of his reign, he gave up the study of the liberal sciences, though he took care to restore, at a vast expense, the libraries which had been burnt down; collecting manuscripts from all parts, and sending scribes to Alexandria 839, either to copy or correct them. Yet he never gave himself the trouble of reading history or poetry, or of employing his pen even for his private purposes. He perused nothing but the Commentaries and Acts of Tiberius Caesar. His letters, speeches, and edicts, were all drawn up for him by others; though he could converse with elegance, and sometimes expressed himself in memorable sentiments. “I could wish,” said he once, “that I was but as handsome as Metius fancies himself to be.” And of the head of some one whose hair was partly reddish, and partly grey, he said, “that it was snow sprinkled with mead.”
“The lot of princes,” he remarked, “was very miserable, for no one believed them when they discovered a conspiracy, until they were murdered.” When he had leisure, he amused himself with dice, even on days that were not festivals, and in the morning. He went to the bath early, and made a plentiful dinner, insomuch that he seldom ate more at supper than a Matian apple 840, to which he added a (497) draught of wine, out of a small flask. He gave frequent and splendid entertainments, but they were soon over, for he never prolonged them after sun-set, and indulged in no revel after. For, till bed-time, he did nothing else but walk by himself in private.
He was insatiable in his lusts, calling frequent commerce with women, as if it was a sort of exercise, klinopalaen, bed-wrestling; and it was reported that he plucked the hair from his concubines, and swam about in company with the lowest prostitutes. His brother’s daughter 841 was offered him in marriage when she was a virgin; but being at that time enamoured of Domitia, he obstinately refused her. Yet not long afterwards, when she was given to another, he was ready enough to debauch her, and that even while Titus was living. But after she had lost both her father and her husband, he loved her most passionately, and without disguise; insomuch that he was the occasion of her death, by obliging her to procure a miscarriage when she was with child by him.
The people shewed little concern at his death, but the soldiers were roused by it to great indignation, and immediately endeavoured to have him ranked among the gods. They were also ready to revenge his loss, if there had been any to take the lead. However, they soon after effected it, by resolutely demanding the punishment of all those who had been concerned in his assassination. On the other hand, the senate was so overjoyed, that they met in all haste, and in a full assembly reviled his memory in the most bitter terms; ordering ladders to be brought in, and his shields and images to be pulled down before their eyes, and dashed in pieces upon the floor of the senate-house passing at the same time a decree to obliterate his titles every where, and abolish all memory of him. A few months before he was slain, a raven on the Capitol uttered these words: “All will be well.” Some person gave the following interpretation of this prodigy:
(498) Nuper Tarpeio quae sedit culmine cornix.
“Est bene,” non potuit dicere; dixit, “Erit.”
Late croaked a raven from Tarpeia’s height,
“All is not yet, but shall be, right.”
They say likewise that Domitian dreamed that a golden hump grew out of the back of his neck, which he considered as a certain sign of happy days for the empire after him. Such an auspicious change indeed shortly afterwards took place, through the justice and moderation of the succeeding emperors.
* * * * * *
If we view Domitian in the different lights in which he is represented, during his lifetime and after his decease, his character and conduct discover a greater diversity than is commonly observed in the objects of historical detail. But as posthumous character is always the most just, its decisive verdict affords the surest criterion by which this variegated emperor must be estimated by impartial posterity. According to this rule, it is beyond a doubt that his vices were more predominant than his virtues: and when we follow him into his closet, for some time after his accession, when he was thirty years of age, the frivolity of his daily employment, in the killing of flies, exhibits an instance of dissipation, which surpasses all that has been recorded of his imperial predecessors. The encouragement, however, which the first Vespasian had shown to literature, continued to operate during the present reign; and we behold the first fruits of its auspicious influence in the valuable treatise of QUINTILIAN.
Of the life of this celebrated writer, little is known upon any authority that has a title to much credit. We learn, however, that he was the son of a lawyer in the service of some of the preceding emperors, and was born in Rome, though in what consulship, or under what emperor, it is impossible to determine. He married a woman of a noble family, by whom he had two sons. The mother died in the flower of her age, and the sons, at the distance of some time from each other, when their father was advanced in years. The precise time of Quintilian’s own death is equally inauthenticated with that of his birth; nor can we rely upon an author of suspicious veracity, who says that he passed the latter part of his life in a state of indigence which was alleviated by the liberality of his pupil, Pliny the Younger. Quintilian opened a school of rhetoric at Rome, where he not only discharged that labourious employment with great applause, (499) during more than twenty years, but pleaded at the bar, and was the first who obtained a salary from the state, for executing the office of a public teacher. He was also appointed by Domitian preceptor to the two young princes who were intended to succeed him on the throne.
After his retirement from the situation of a teacher, Quintilian devoted his attention to the study of literature, and composed a treatise on the Causes of the Corruption of Eloquence. At the earnest solicitation of his friends, he was afterwards induced to undertake his Institutiones Oratoriae, the most elaborate system of oratory extant in any language. This work is divided into twelve books, in which the author treats with great precision of the qualities of a perfect orator; explaining not only the fundamental principles of eloquence, as connected with the constitution of the human mind, but pointing out, both by argument and observation, the most successful method of exercising that admirable art, for the accomplishment of its purpose. So minutely, and upon so extensive a plan, has he prosecuted the subject, that he delineates the education suitable to a perfect orator, from the stage of infancy in the cradle, to the consummation of rhetorical fame, in the pursuits of the bar, or those, in general, of any public assembly. It is sufficient to say, that in the execution of this elaborate work, Quintilian has called to the assistance of his own acute and comprehensive understanding, the profound penetration of Aristotle, the exquisite graces of Cicero; all the stores of observation, experience, and practice; and in a word, the whole accumulated exertions of ancient genius on the subject of oratory.
It may justly be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance in the progress of scientific improvement, that the endowments of a perfect orator were never fully exhibited to the world, until it had become dangerous to exercise them for the important purposes for which they were originally cultivated. And it is no less remarkable, that, under all the violence and caprice of imperial despotism which the Romans had now experienced, their sensibility to the enjoyment of poetical compositions remained still unabated; as if it served to console the nation for the irretrievable loss of public liberty. From this source of entertainment, they reaped more pleasure during the present reign, than they had done since the time of Augustus. The poets of this period were Juvenal, Statius, and Martial.
JUVENAL was born at Aquinum, but in what year is uncertain; though, from some circumstances, it seems to have been in the reign of Augustus. Some say that he was the son of a freedman, (500) while others, without specifying the condition of his father, relate only that he was brought up by a freedman. He came at an early age to Rome, where he declaimed for many years, and, pleaded causes in the forum with great applause; but at last he betook himself to the writing of satires, in which he acquired great fame. One of the first, and the most constant object of is satire, was the pantomime Paris, the great favourite of the emperor Nero, and afterwards of Domitian. During the reign of the former of these emperors, no resentment was shown towards the poet; but he experienced not the same impunity after the accession of the latter; when, to remove him from the capital, he was sent as governor to the frontiers of Egypt, but in reality, into an honourable exile. According to some authors, he died of chagrin in that province: but this is not authenticated, and seems to be a mistake: for in some of Martial’s epigrams, which appear to have been written after the death of Domitian, Juvenal is spoken of as residing at Rome. It is said that he lived to upwards of eighty years of age.
The remaining compositions of this author are sixteen satires, all written against the dissipation and enormous vices which prevailed at Rome in his time. The various objects of animadversion are painted in the strongest colours, and placed in the most conspicuous points of view. Giving loose reins to just and moral indignation, Juvenal is every where animated, vehement, petulant, and incessantly acrimonious. Disdaining the more lenient modes of correction, or despairing of their success, he neither adopts the raillery of Horace, nor the derision of Persius, but prosecutes vice and folly with all the severity of sentiment, passion, and expression. He sometimes exhibits a mixture of humour with his invectives; but it is a humour which partakes more of virulent rage than of pleasantry; broad, hostile, but coarse, and rivalling in indelicacy the profligate manners which it assails. The satires of Juvenal abound in philosophical apophthegms; and, where they are not sullied by obscene description, are supported with a uniform air of virtuous elevation. Amidst all the intemperance of sarcasm, his numbers are harmonious. Had his zeal permitted him to direct the current of his impetuous genius into the channel of ridicule, and endeavour to put to shame the vices and follies of those licentious times, as much as he perhaps exasperated conviction rather than excited contrition, he would have carried satire to the highest possible pitch, both of literary excellence and moral utility. With every abatement of attainable perfection, we hesitate not to place him at the head of this arduous department of poetry.
Of STATIUS no farther particulars are preserved than that he (501) was born at Naples; that his father’s name was Statius of Epirus, and his mother’s Agelina, and that he died about the end of the first century of the Christian era. Some have conjectured that he maintained himself by writing for the stage, but of this there is no sufficient evidence; and if ever he composed dramatic productions, they have perished. The works of Statius now extant, are two poems, viz. the Thebais and the Achilleis, besides a collection, named Silvae.
The Thebais consists of twelve books, and the subject of it is the Theban war, which happened 1236 years before the Christian era, in consequence of a dispute between Eteocles and Polynices, the sons of Oedipus and Jocasta. These brothers had entered into an agreement with each other to reign alternately for a year at a time; and Eteocles being the elder, got first possession of the throne. This prince refusing to abdicate at the expiration of the year, Polynices fled to Argos, where marrying Argia, the daughter of Adrastus, king of that country, he procured the assistance of his father-in-law, to enforce the engagement stipulated with his brother Eteocles. The Argives marched under the command of seven able generals, who were to attack separately the seven gates of Thebes. After much blood had been spilt without any effect, it was at last agreed between the two parties, that the brothers should determine the dispute by single combat. In the desperate engagement which ensued, they both fell; and being burnt together upon the funeral pile, it is said that their ashes separated, as if actuated by the implacable resentment which they had borne to each other.
If we except the Aeneid, this is the only Latin production extant which is epic in its form; and it likewise approaches nearest in merit to that celebrated poem, which Statius appears to have been ambitious of emulating. In unity and greatness of action, the Thebais corresponds to the laws of the Epopea; but the fable may be regarded as defective in some particulars, which, however, arise more from the nature of the subject, than from any fault of the poet. The distinction of the hero is not sufficiently prominent; and the poem possesses not those circumstances which are requisite towards interesting the reader’s affections in the issue of the contest. To this it may be added, that the unnatural complexion of the incestuous progeny diffuses a kind of gloom which obscures the splendour of thought, and restrains the sympathetic indulgence of fancy to some of the boldest excursions of the poet. For grandeur, however, and animation of sentiment and description, as well as for harmony of numbers, the Thebais is eminently conspicuous, and deserves to be held in a much higher degree of estimation than it has (502) generally obtained. In the contrivance of some of the episodes, and frequently in the modes of expression, Statius keeps an attentive eye to the style of Virgil. It is said that he was twelve years employed in the composition of this poem; and we have his own authority for affirming, that he polished it with all the care and assiduity practised by the poets in the Augustan age:
Quippe, te fido monitore, nostra
Thebais, multa cruciata lima,
Tentat audaci fide Mantuanae
Gaudia famae.—Silvae, lib. iv. 7.
For, taught by you, with steadfast care
I trim my “Song of Thebes,” and dare
With generous rivalry to share
The glories of the Mantuan bard.
The Achilleis relates to the same hero who is celebrated by Homer in the Iliad; but it is the previous history of Achilles, not his conduct in the Trojan war, which forms the subject of the poem of Statius. While the young hero is under the care of the Centaur Chiron, Thetis makes a visit to the preceptor’s sequestered habitation, where, to save her son from the fate which, it was predicted, would befall him at Troy, if he should go to the siege of that place, she orders him to be dressed in the disguise of a girl, and sent to live in the family of Lycomedes, king of Scyros. But as Troy could not be taken without the aid of Achilles, Ulysses, accompanied by Diomede, is deputed by the Greeks to go to Scyros, and bring him thence to the Grecian camp. The artifice by which the sagacious ambassador detected Achilles amongst his female companions, was by placing before them various articles of merchandise, amongst which was some armour. Achilles no sooner perceived the latter, than he eagerly seized a sword and shield, and manifesting the strongest emotions of heroic enthusiasm, discovered his sex. After an affectionate parting with Lycomedes’ daughter, Deidamia, whom he left pregnant of a son, he set sail with the Grecian chiefs, and, during the voyage, gives them an account of the manner of his education with Chiron.
This poem consists of two books, in heroic measure, and is written with taste and fancy. Commentators are of opinion, that the Achilleis was left incomplete by the death of the author; but this is extremely improbable, from various circumstances, and appears to be founded only upon the word Hactenus, in the conclusion of the poem:
(503) Hactenus annorum, comites, elementa meorum
Et memini, et meminisse juvat: scit caetera mater.
Thus far, companions dear, with mindful joy I’ve told
My youthful deeds; the rest my mother can unfold.
That any consequential reference was intended by hactenus, seems to me plainly contradicted by the words which immediately follow, scit caetera mater. Statius could not propose the giving any further account of Achilles’s life, because a general narrative of it had been given in the first book. The voyage from Scyros to the Trojan coast, conducted with the celerity which suited the purpose of the poet, admitted of no incidents which required description or recital: and after the voyagers had reached the Grecian camp, it is reasonable to suppose, that the action of the Iliad immediately commenced. But that Statius had no design of extending the plan of the Achilleis beyond this period, is expressly declared in the exordium of the poem:
Magnanimum Aeaciden, formidatamque Tonanti
Progeniem, et patrio vetitam succedere coelo,
Diva, refer; quanquam acta viri multum inclyta cantu
Maeonio; sed plura vacant. Nos ire per omnem
(Sic amor est) heroa velis, Scyroque latentem
Dulichia proferre tuba: nec in Hectore tracto
Sistere, sed tota juvenem deducere Troja.
Aid me, O goddess! while I sing of him,
Who shook the Thunderer’s throne, and, for his crime,
Was doomed to lose his birthright in the skies;
The great Aeacides. Maeonian strains
Have made his mighty deeds their glorious theme;
Still much remains: be mine the pleasing task
To trace the future hero’s young career,
Not dragging Hector at his chariot wheels,
But while disguised in Scyros yet he lurked,
Till trumpet-stirred, he sprung to manly arms,
And sage Ulysses led him to the Trojan coast.
The Silvae is a collection of poems almost entirely in heroic verse, divided into five books, and for the most part written extempore. Statius himself affirms, in his Dedication to Stella, that the production of none of them employed him more than two days; yet many of them consist of between one hundred and two hundred hexameter lines. We meet with one of two hundred and sixteen lines; one, of two hundred and thirty-four; one, of two hundred and sixty-two; and one of two hundred and seventy-seven; a rapidity of composition approaching to what Horace mentions of the poet Lucilius. It is no small encomium to observe, that, considered as extemporaneous productions, (504) the meanest in the collection is far from meriting censure, either in point of sentiment or expression; and many of them contain passages which command our applause.
The poet MARTIAL, surnamed likewise Coquus, was born at Bilbilis, in Spain, of obscure parents. At the age of twenty-one, he came to Rome, where he lived during five-and-thirty years under the emperors Galba, Otho, Vitellius, the two Vespasians, Domitian, Nerva, and the beginning of the reign of Trajan. He was the panegyrist of several of those emperors, by whom he was liberally rewarded, raised to the Equestrian order, and promoted by Domitian to the tribuneship; but being treated with coldness and neglect by Trajan, he returned to his native country, and, a few years after, ended his days, at the age of seventy-five.
He had lived at Rome in great splendour and affluence, as well as in high esteem for his poetical talents; but upon his return to Bilbilis, it is said that he experienced a great reverse of fortune, and was chiefly indebted for his support to the gratuitous benefactions of Pliny the Younger, whom he had extolled in some epigrams.
The poems of Martial consist of fourteen books, all written in the epigrammatic form, to which species of composition, introduced by the Greeks, he had a peculiar propensity. Amidst such a multitude of verses, on a variety of subjects, often composed extempore, and many of them, probably, in the moments of fashionable dissipation, it is not surprising that we find a large number unworthy the genius of the author. Delicacy, and even decency, is often violated in the productions of Martial. Grasping at every thought which afforded even the shadow of ingenuity, he gave unlimited scope to the exercise of an active and fruitful imagination. In respect to composition, he is likewise liable to censure. At one time he wearies, and at another tantalises the reader, with the prolixity or ambiguity of his preambles. His prelusive sentiments are sometimes far-fetched, and converge not with a natural declination into the focus of epigram. In dispensing praise and censure, he often seems to be governed more by prejudice or policy, than by justice and truth; and he is more constantly attentive to the production of wit, than to the improvement of morality.
But while we remark the blemishes and imperfections of this poet, we must acknowledge his extraordinary merits. In composition he is, in general, elegant and correct; and where the subject is capable of connection with sentiment, his inventive ingenuity never fails to extract from it the essence of delight and surprise. His fancy is prolific of beautiful images, and his (505) judgment expert in arranging them to the greatest advantage. He bestows panegyric with inimitable grace, and satirises with equal dexterity. In a fund of Attic salt, he surpasses every other writer; and though he seems to have at command all the varied stores of gall, he is not destitute of candour. With almost every kind of versification he appears to be familiar; and notwithstanding a facility of temper, too accommodating, perhaps, on many occasions, to the licentiousness of the times, we may venture from strong indications to pronounce, that, as a moralist, his principles were virtuous. It is observed of this author, by Pliny the Younger, that, though his compositions might, perhaps, not obtain immortality, he wrote as if they would. [Aeterna, quae scripsit, non erunt fortasse: ille tamen scripsit tanquam futura.] The character which Martial gives of his epigrams, is just and comprehensive:
Sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala plura,
Quae legis: hic aliter non fit, Avite, liber.
Some are good, some indifferent, and some again still worse;
Such, Avitus, you will find is a common case with verse.
[ A.U.C. 804.]
[ A street, in the sixth region of Rome, so called, probably, from a remarkable specimen of this beautiful shrub which had made free growth on the spot.]
[ VITELLIUS, c. xv.]
[ Tacitus (Hist. iii.) differs from Suetonius, saying that Domitian took refuge with a client of his father’s near the Velabrum. Perhaps he found it more safe afterwards to cross the Tiber.]
[ One of Domitian’s coins bears on the reverse a captive female and soldier, with GERMANIA DEVICTA.]
[ VESPASIAN, c. xii; TITUS, c. vi.]
[ Such excavations had been made by Julius and by Augustus (AUG. xliii.), and the seats for the spectators fitted up with timber in a rude way. That was on the other side of the Tiber. The Naumachia of Domitian occupies the site of the present Piazza d’Espagna, and was larger and more ornamented.]
[ A.U.C. 841. See AUGUSTUS, c. xxxi.]
[ This feast was held in December. Plutarch informs us that it was instituted in commemoration of the seventh hill being included in the city bounds.]
[ The Capitol had been burnt, for the third time, in the great fire mentioned TITUS, c. viii. The first fire happened in the Marian war, after which it was rebuilt by Pompey, the second in the reign of Vitellius.]
[ This forum, commenced by Domitian and completed by Nerva, adjoined the Roman Forum and that of Augustus, mentioned in c. xxix. of his life. From its communicating with the two others, it was called Transitorium. Part of the wall which bounded it still remains, of a great height, and 144 paces long. It is composed of square masses of freestone, very large, and without any cement; and it is not carried in a straight line, but makes three or four angles, as if some buildings had interfered with its direction.]
[ The residence of the Flavian family was converted into a temple. See c. i. of the present book.]
[ The Stadium was in the shape of a circus, and used for races both of men and horses.]
[ The Odeum was a building intended for musical performances. There were four of them at Rome.]
[ See before, c. iv.]
[ See VESPASIAN, c. xiv.]
[ See NERD, c. xvi.]
[ This absurd edict was speedily revoked. See afterwards c. xiv.]
[ This was an ancient law levelled against adultery and other pollutions, named from its author Caius Scatinius, a tribune of the people. There was a Julian law, with the same object. See AUGUSTUS, c. xxxiv.]
[ Geor. xi. 537.]
[ See Livy, xxi. 63, and Cicero against Verres, v. 18.]
[ See VESPASIAN, c. iii.]
[ Cant names for gladiators.]
[ The faction which favoured the “Thrax” party.]
[ DOMITIAN, c. i.]
[ See VESPASIAN, c. xiv.]
[ This cruel punishment is described in NERO, c. xlix.]
[ Gentiles who were proselytes to the Jewish religion; or, perhaps, members of the Christian sect, who were confounded with them. See the note to TIBERIUS, c. xxxvi. The tax levied on the Jews was two drachmas per head. It was general throughout the empire.]
[ We have had Suetonius’s reminiscences, derived through his grandfather and father successively, CALIGULA, c. xix.; OTHO, c. x. We now come to his own, commencing from an early age.]
[ This is what Martial calls, “Mentula tributis damnata.”]
[ The imperial liveries were white and gold.]
[ See CALIGULA, c. xxi., where the rest of the line is quoted; eis koiranos esto.]
[ An assumption of divinity, as the pulvinar was the consecrated bed, on which the images of the gods reposed.]
[ The pun turns on the similar sound of the Greek word for “enough,” and the Latin word for “an arch.”]
[ Domitia, who had been repudiated for an intrigue with Paris, the actor, and afterwards taken back.]
[ The lines, with a slight accommodation, are borrowed from the poet Evenus, Anthol. i. vi. i., who applies them to a goat, the great enemy of vineyards. Ovid, Fasti, i. 357, thus paraphrases them: Rode caper vitem, tamen hinc, cum staris ad aram,
In tua quod spargi cornua possit erit.] 831
[ Pliny describes this stone as being brought from Cappadocia, and says that it was as hard as marble, white and translucent, cxxiv. c. 22.]
[ See note to c. xvii.]
[ The guilt imputed to them was atheism and Jewish (Christian?) manners. Dion, lxvii. 1112.]
[ See VESPASIAN, c. v.]
[ Columella (R. R. xi. 2.) enumerates dates among the foreign fruits cultivated in Italy, cherries, dates, apricots, and almonds; and Pliny, xv. 14, informs us that Sextus Papinius was the first who introduced the date tree, having brought it from Africa, in the latter days of Augustus.]
[ Some suppose that Domitilla was the wife of Flavius Clemens (c. xv.), both of whom were condemned by Domitian for their “impiety,” by which it is probably meant that they were suspected of favouring Christianity. Eusebius makes Flavia Domitilla the niece of Flavius Clemens, and says that she was banished to Ponza, for having become a Christian. Clemens Romanus, the second bishop of Rome, is said to have been of this family.]
[ A.U.C. 849.]
[ See c. v.]
[ The famous library of Alexandria collected by Ptolemy Philadelphus had been burnt by accident in the wars. But we find from this passage in Suetonius that part of it was saved, or fresh collections had been made. Seneca (de Tranquill. c. ix. 7) informs us that forty thousand volumes were burnt; and Gellius states that in his time the number of volumes amounted to nearly seventy thousand.]
[ This favourite apple, mentioned by Columella and Pliny, took its name from C. Matius, a Roman knight, and friend of Augustus, who first introduced it. Pliny tells us that Matius was also the first who brought into vogue the practice of clipping groves.]
[ Julia, the daughter of Titus.]
[ It will be understood that the terms Grammar and Grammarian have here a more extended sense than that which they convey in modern use. See the beginning of c. iv.]
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