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Book LV

This webpage reproduces a Book of
Roman History

Cassius Dio

published in Vol. VII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1924

The text is in the public domain.

This text has not yet been proofread.
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Cassius Dio
Roman History

Thayer's Note: Before e-mailing me with questions, comments, or corrections involving the numbering of Books, chapters, and sections in this text, please read the orientation page.

Vol. VII
Book LVI

The following is contained in the Fifty-sixth of Dio's Rome:—
1. How Augustus addressed those who were fathers and afterwards the childless and unmarried, and the recompenses that he established for them (chaps. 1‑10).
2. How Quintilius Varus was defeated by the Germans and perished (chaps. 18‑24).
3. How the temple of Concord was dedicated (chap. 25).
4. How the Portico of Livia was dedicated (chap. 27).
5. How Augustus passed away (chaps. 29‑47).

Duration of time, six years, in which there were the following magistrates (consuls) here enumerated:—

Q. Sulpicius Q. f. Camerinus, C. Poppaeus Q. f. Sabinus.
P. Cornelius P. f. Dolabella, C. Iunius C. f. Silanus.
M. Aemilius Q. f. Lepidus, T. Statilius T. f. Taurus.
Germanicus Ti. Caesaris f. Caesar, C. Fonteius C. f. Capito.
L. Munatius L. f. Plancus, C. Silius C. f. Caecina Largus.
Sextus Pompeius Sexti f., Sextus Apuleius Sexti f.

1 1 While others were reducing these places, Tiberius returned to Rome after the winter in which Quintus Sulpicius and Gaius Sabinus became consuls. Even Augustus himself went out into the suburbs to meet  p5 him, accompanied him to the Saepta, and there from a tribunal greeted the people. Following this he performed all the ceremonies proper to such occasions, and caused the consuls to give triumphal games. 2 And when the knights were very urgent, during the games, in seeking the repeal of the law regarding the unmarried and the childless, he assembled in one part of the Forum the unmarried men of their number, and in another those who were married, including those who also had children. Then, perceiving that the latter were much fewer in number than the former, he was filled with grief and addressed them somewhat as follows:

2 1 "Though you are but few altogether, in comparison with the vast throng that inhabits this city, and are far less numerous than the others, who are unwilling to perform any of their duties, yet for this very reason I for my part praise you the more, and am heartily grateful to you because you have shown yourselves obedient and are helping to replenish the fatherland. 2 For it is by lives so conducted that Romans of later days will become a mighty multitude. We were at first a mere handful, you know, but when we had recourse to marriage and begot us children, we came to surpass all mankind not only in the manliness of our citizens but in the size of our population as well 3 Bearing this in mind, we must console the mortal side of our nature with an endless succession of generations that shall be like the torch-bearers in a race, so that through one another we may render immortal the one side of our nature in which we fall short of divine bliss. 4 It was for this cause most of all that that first and greatest god, who fashioned us, divided the race of mortals in  p7 twain, making one half of it male and the other half female, and implanted in them love and compulsion to mutual intercourse, making their association fruitful, that by the young continually born he might in a way render even mortality immortal. 5 Indeed, even of the gods themselves some are accounted male and others female; and the tradition prevails that some have begotten others and some have been begotten of others. So even among those beings, who need no such device, marriage and the begetting of children have been approved as a noble thing.

3 1 "You have done right, therefore, to imitate the gods and right to emulate your fathers, so that, just as they begot you, you also may bring others into the world; that, just as you consider them and name them ancestors, others also may regard you and address you in similar fashion; 2 that the works which they nobly achieved and handed down to you with glory, you also may hand on to others; and that the possessions which they acquired and left to you, you also may leave to others sprung from your own loins. 3 For is there anything better than a wife who is chaste, domestic, a good house-keeper, a rearer of children; one to gladden you in health, to tend you in sickness; to be your partner in good fortune, to console you in misfortune; to restrain the mad passion of youth and to temper the unseasonable harshness of old age? 4 And is it not a delight to acknowledge a child who shows the endowments of both parents, to nurture and educate it, at once the physical and the spiritual image of yourself, so that in its growth another self lives again? 5 Is it not blessed, on departing from life, to leave behind as  p9 successor and heir to your blood and substance one that is your own, sprung from your own loins, and to have only the human part of you waste away, while you live in the child as your successor, so that you need not fall into the hands of aliens, as in war, nor perish utterly, as in a pestilence? 6 These, now, are the private advantages that accrue to those who marry and beget children; but for the State, for whose sake we ought to do many things that are even distasteful to us, how excellent and how necessary it is, if cities and peoples are to exist, 7 and if you are to rule others and all the world is to obey you, that there should be a multitude of men, to till the earth in time of peace, to make voyages, practise arts, and follow handicrafts, and, in time of war, to protect what we already have with all the greater zeal because of family ties and to replace those that fall by others. 8 Therefore, men, — for you alone may properly be called men, — and fathers, — for you are as worthy to hold this title as I myself, — I love you and praise you for this; and I not only bestow the prizes I have already offered but will distinguish you still further by other honours and offices, so that you may not only reap great benefits yourselves but may also leave them to your children undiminished. 9 I will now go over to the other group, whose actions will bear no comparison with yours and whose reward, therefore, will be directly the opposite. You will thus learn not alone from my words, but even more from my deeds, how far you excel them."

 p11  4 1 After this speech he made presents to some of them at once and promised to make others; he then went over to the other crowd and spoke to them as follows:

2 "A strange experience has been mine, O — what shall I call you? Men? But you are not performing any of the offices of men. Citizens? But for all that you are doing, the city is perishing. Romans? But you are undertaking to blot out this name altogether. 3 Well, at any rate, whatever you are and by whatever name you delight to be called, mine has been an astonishing experience; for though I am always doing everything to promote an increase of population among you and am now about to rebuke you, I grieve to see that there are a great many of you. I could rather have wished that those to whom I have just spoken were as numerous as you prove to be, and that preferably you were ranged with them, or otherwise did not exist at all. 4 For you, heedless alike of the providence of the gods and of the watchful care of your forefathers, are bent upon annihilating our entire race and making it in truth mortal, are bent upon destroying and bringing to an end the entire Roman nation. For what seed of human beings would be left, if all the rest of mankind should do what you are doing? For you have become their leaders, and so would rightly bear the responsibility for the universal destruction. 5 And even if no others emulate you, would you not be justly hated for the very reason that you overlook what no one else would overlook, and neglect what no one else would neglect, introducing customs and practices which, if imitated,  p13 would lead to the extermination of all mankind, and, if abhorred, would end in your own punishment? 6 We do not spare murderers, you know, because not every man commits murder, nor do we let temple-robbers go because not everyone robs temples; but anybody who is convicted of committing a forbidden act is punished for the very reason that he alone or in company with a few others does something that no one else would do. 5 1 Yet, if one were to name over all the worst crimes, the others are as naught in comparison with this one you are now committing, whether you consider them crime for crime or even set all of them together over against this single crime of yours. 2 For you are committing murder in not begetting in the first place those who ought to be your descendants; you are committing sacrilege in putting an end to the names and honours of your ancestors; and you are guilty of impiety in that you are abolishing your families, which were instituted by the gods, and destroying the greatest of offerings to them, — human life, — thus overthrowing their rites and their temples. 3 Moreover, you are destroying the State by disobeying its laws, and you are betraying your country by rendering her barren and childless; nay more, you are laying her even with the dust by making her destitute of future inhabitants. For it is human beings that constitute a city, we are told, not houses or porticos or market-places empty of men.

4 "Bethink you, therefore, what wrath would justly seize the great Romulus, the founder of our race, if  p15 he could reflect on the circumstances of his own birth and then upon your conduct in refusing to beget children even by lawful marriages! 5 How wrathful would the Romans who were his followers be, if they could realize that after they themselves had even seized foreign girls, you are not satisfied even with those of your own race, and after they had got children even by enemy wives, you will not beget them even of women who are citizens! How angry would Curtius be, who was willing to die that the married men might not be bereft of their wives! How indignant Hersilia, who attended her daughter at her wedding and instituted for us all the rites of marriage! 6 Nay, our fathers even fought the Sabines to obtain brides and made peace through the intercession of their wives and children; they administered oaths and made sundry treaties for this very purpose; but you are bringing all their efforts to naught. 7 And why? Do you desire to live apart from women always, even as the Vestal Virgins live apart from men? Then you should also be punished as they are if you are guilty of any lewdness.

6 1 "I know that I seem to you to speak bitterly and harshly. But reflect, in the first place, that physicians, too, treat many patients by cautery and surgery, when they cannot be cured in any other way; 2 and, in the second place, that it is not my wish or my pleasure to speak thus. Hence I have this further reproach to bring against you, that you have provoked me to this discourse. As for yourselves, if you do not like what I say, do not continue this conduct for which you are being and must ever be reproached. If my words do wound some of you, how much more do your actions wound both me and  p17 all the rest of the Romans! 3 Accordingly, if you are vexed in very truth, change your course, so that I may praise and recompense you; for that I am not harsh by nature and that I have accomplished, subject to human limitations, everything it was proper for a good law-giver to do, even you cannot fail to realize.

4 "Indeed, it was never permitted to any man, even in olden times, to neglect marriage and the begetting of children; but from the very outset, when the government was first established, strict laws were made regarding these matters, and subsequently many decrees were passed by both the senate and the people, which it would be superfluous to enumerate here. 5 I, now, have increased the penalties for the disobedient, in order that through fear of becoming liable to them you might be brought to your senses; and to the obedient I have offered a more numerous and greater prizes than are given for any other display of excellence, in order that for this reason, if for no other, you might be persuaded to marry and beget children. 6 Yet you have not striven for any of the recompenses nor feared any of the penalties, but have shown contempt for all these measures and have trodden them all underfoot, as if you were not living in a civilized community. You talk, forsooth, about this 'free' and 'untrammelled' life that you have adopted, without wives and without children; but you are not a whit better than brigands or the most savage of beasts. 7 1 For surely it is not your delight in a solitary existence that leads you to live without wives, nor is there one of you who either eats alone or sleeps alone; no, what you want is to have full liberty for wantonness and  p19 licentiousness. 2 Yet I allowed you to pay your court to girls still of tender years and not yet ripe for marriage, in order that, classed as prospective bridegrooms, you might live as family men should; and I permitted those not in the senatorial order to wed freedwomen, so that, if anyone through love or intimacy of any sort should be disposed to such a course, he might go about it lawfully. 3 And I did not limit you rigidly even to this, but at first gave you three whole years in which to make your preparations, and later two. Yet not even so, by threatening, or urging, or postponing, or entreating, have I accomplished anything. 4 For you see for yourselves how much more numerous you are than the married men, when you ought by this time to have provided us with as many children besides, or rather with several times your number. How otherwise can families continue? How can the State be preserved, if we neither marry nor have children? 5 For surely you are not expecting men to spring up from the ground to succeed to your goods and to the public interests, as the myths describe! And yet it is neither right nor creditable that our race should cease, and the name of Romans be blotted out with us, and the city be given over to foreigners — Greeks or even barbarians. 6 Do we not free our slaves chiefly for the express purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible? And do we not give our allies a share in the government in order that our numbers may increase? And do you, then, who are Romans from the beginning and claim as your  p21 ancestors the famous Marcii, the Fabii, the Quintii, the Valerii, and the Julii, do you desire that your families and names alike shall perish with you? 8 1 Nay, I for my part am ashamed that I have been forced even to mention such a thing. Have done with your madness, then, and stop at last to reflect, that with many dying all the time by disease and many in war it is impossible for the city to maintain itself, unless its population is continually renewed by those who are ever and anon to be born.

2 "And let none of you imagine that I fail to realize that there are disagreeable and painful things incident to marriage and the begetting of children. But bear this in mind, that we do not possess any other good with which some unpleasantness is not mingled, and that in our most abundant and greatest blessings there reside the most abundant and greatest evils. 3 Therefore, if you decline to accept the latter, do not seek to obtain the former, either, since for practically everything that has any genuine excellence or enjoyment one must strive beforehand, strive at the time, and strive afterwards. But why should I prolong my speech by going into all these details? Even if there are, then, some unpleasant things incident to marriage and the begetting of children, set over against them the advantages, and you will find these to be at once more numerous and more compelling. 4 For, in addition to all the other blessings that naturally inhere in this state of life, the prizes offered by the laws should induce each other to obey me; for a very small part of these inspires many to undergo even death. And is it not disgraceful that for rewards which lead others to  p23 sacrifice even their lives you should be unwilling either to marry wives or to rear children?

9 1 "Therefore, fellow-citizens, — for I believe that I have now persuaded you both to hold fast to the name of citizens and to secure the title of men and fathers as well, — I have administered this rebuke to you not for my own pleasure but from necessity, and not as your enemy nor as one who hates you but rather loving you and wishing to obtain many others like you, 2 in order that we may have lawful homes to dwell in and houses full of descendants, so that we may approach the gods together with our wives and our children, and in partner­ship with one another may risk our all in equal measure and reap in like degree the hopes we cherish in them. How, indeed, could I be a good ruler over you, if I could endure to see you growing constantly fewer in number? 3 How could I any longer be rightfully called father by you, if you rear no children? Therefore, if you really hold me in affection, and particularly if you have given me this title not out of flattery but as an honour, be eager now to become both men and fathers, in order that you may not only share this title yourselves but may also justify it as applied to me."

10 1 Such were his words to the two groups at that time. Afterwards he increased the rewards to those who had children and in the case of the others made a distinction between the married men and the unmarried by imposing different penalties; furthermore, he granted a year's time to those who were remiss in either respect, in which to obey him and thus escape the penalties. 2 Contrary to the Lex Voconia, according to which no woman could inherit property  p25 to the value of more than one hundred thousand sesterces, he permitted some women to inherit larger amounts; and he granted the Vestal Virgins all the privileges enjoyed by women who had borne children. 3 Later the Lex Papia Poppaea was framed by Marcus Papius Mutilus and by Quintus Poppaeus Secundus, who were consuls at the time for a part of the year. Now it chanced that both of them were not only childless but were not even married, and from this very circumstance the need of the law was apparent. These were the events in Rome.

11 1 Germanicus in the meantime captured Splonum among other places in Dalmatia, in spite of the fact that it occupied a site well fortified by nature, was well protected by walls, and had a vast number of defenders. Consequently he had been unable to make any headway either with engines or by assaults; but he took it as the result of the following incident. 2 Pusio, a German horseman, hurled a stone against the wall and so shook the parapet that it immediately fell and dragged down with it a man who was leaning against it. At this the rest became alarmed and in their fear abandoned that part of the wall and ran up to the citadel; and later they surrendered both the citadel and themselves.

3 From there the troops of Germanicus came to Raetinum, but did not fare so well here. For the enemy, overwhelmed by their numbers and unable to withstand them, set fire of their own accord to the encircling wall and to the houses adjoining it, contriving, however, to keep it so far as possible from blazing up at once and to make it go unnoticed  p27 for some time; after doing this they retired to the citadel. 4 The Romans, ignorant of what they had done, rushed in after them, expecting to sack the whole place without striking a blow; thus they got inside the circle of fire, and, with their minds intent upon the enemy, saw nothing of it until they were surrounded by it on all sides. Then they found themselves in the direst peril, being pelted by the men from above and injured by the fire from without. 5 They could neither remain where they were safely nor force their way out anywhere without danger. For if they stood out of range of the missiles, they were scorched by the fire, or, if they leaped back from the flames, they were destroyed by the missiles; 6 and some who got caught in a tight place perished from both causes at once, being wounded on one side and burned on the other. The majority of those who had rushed into the town met this fate; but some few escaped by casting corpses into the flames and making a passage for themselves by using the bodies as a bridge. 7 The fire gained such headway that even those on the citadel could not remain there, but abandoned it in the night and hid themselves in subterranean chambers. These were the operations at that point.

12 1 Seretium, which Tiberius had once besieged but had not captured, was reduced, and after this some other places were more easily won. But since in spite of these reverses the remainder of the Dalmatians rose and the war kept dragging on and famine occurred in Italy, largely because of the war, Augustus sent Tiberius once more into Dalmatia.  p29 2 Tiberius saw that the soldiers were impatient of longer delay and were eager to end the war in some way, even if it involved danger; and fearing that if they all remained together they would mutiny, he made three divisions of them: one he assigned to Silvanus and one to Marcus Lepidus, and with the rest he marched with Germanicus against Bato. 3 The first two commanders easily overcame their opponents in battle; but Tiberius had to wander over practically the whole country as Bato went about from place to place, and finally, when the other took refuge in Adetrium, a fortress erected only a short distance from Salonae itself, he found himself in sore straits when he undertook to besiege him. 4 For the place was built upon a rocky height, well fortified and difficult of access, and was encircled by deep ravines through which torrents poured; and the enemy, moreover, had all the necessary provisions, part of which they had previously stored there, while a part they were still bringing from the mountains, which were in their hands. 5 Besides this, by means of ambuscades they interfered with the Romans' provision trains. Hence Tiberius, though supposed to be besieging them, was himself placed in the position of a besieged force.

13 1 He was accordingly at a loss what to do, and could not devise any plan of action; for the siege was proving fruitless and dangerous and a retreat seemed disgraceful. This led to a tumult on the part of the soldiers, who raised an outcry so mighty and so prolonged that the enemy, who were encamped at the foot of the fort, became terrified and retreated. 2 In consequence he was both angry and pleased, and  p31 calling the troops together, he administered some rebukes and some admonitions. He displayed no rashness nor did he withdraw, but remained quietly on the spot until Bato, despairing of victory, sent a herald to him to ask for terms. Bato was reduced to this necessity, because all but a few of his possessions had been captured, and because the force that he had was inferior to the one then opposing it; 3 but he could not persuade the rest to ask for a truce, and so abandoned them, nor did he again go to the aid of anyone else, though he received many requests for aid. Tiberius, accordingly, conceived a contempt for those still left in the fortress; and thinking that he could conquer them without serious loss, paid no further heed to the terrain, but advanced straight against the stronghold. 4 And since there was no level ground and the enemy would not come down against them, he himself took his seat on a platform in full view of all, in order not only to watch the struggle, — since this would cause his men to fight more zealously, — but also to be able to render opportune assistance, should there be any need of it. In fact he was holding a part of the army in reserve for this very purpose, inasmuch as he was vastly superior to the foe in point of numbers. 5 The rest, drawn up in a dense square, at first proceeded at a walk; but later they were separated by the steepness and unevenness of the mountain, which was full of gullies and at many points was cut up into ravines, so that some ascended more rapidly and others more slowly.

14 1 The Dalmatians, when they observed this, arrayed themselves outside their wall, at the top of the steep, and hurled down quantities of stones upon them,  p33 throwing some from slings and rolling down others. Some let loose wheels, others whole waggons full of rocks, and still others circular chests constructed in a fashion peculiar to that country and packed full of stones. 2 All these objects rushing down at once with great impetus kept striking here and there, as if discharged from a sling, separating the Romans from one another even more than before and crushing them. Others of the enemy were striking many of them down with the missiles and spears that they hurled. 3 Meanwhile there was great rivalry on the part of the combatants, as the one side endeavoured to ascend and conquer the heights, the other to repulse them and hurl them back; and there was great rivalry also on the part of the others, both those who were watching the action from the walls and those with Tiberius. 4 Each side, both individually and collectively, was encouraging its own men, trying to hearten those who showed zeal and chiding those who gave way at any point. Those whose voices could be heard above the rest were also invoking the gods at the same time, both sides praying for the safety of their warriors at the moment, and one side begging for its freedom, the other for peace, in the future. 5 The Romans would certainly have risked their lives all to no purpose, being obliged, as they were, to contend against two difficulties at once, — the nature of the country and the lines of their opponents, — had not Tiberius by repeated reinforcements prevented them from taking to flight, and at the same time thrown the enemy into confusion by sending a detachment of soldiers around  p35 to a point where by a wide circuit the place could be ascended. 6 As a result, the enemy were routed and could not even get into the fortress, but were scattered up and down the mountain sides, first having cast aside their armour, so as to be unencumbered by its weight. Their pursuers followed them at every point, for they were very eager to end the war once for all, and did not want the foe to unite again and cause them further trouble. 7 They discovered most of them hiding in the forests and slew them as they would so many wild beasts, after which they took over the men in the fort, who had capitulated.

Tiberius was now engaged in arranging the affairs of the enemies who had surrendered, and in carrying out the terms of their capitulation; 15 1 but Germanicus turned his attention to those who still offered resistance, for many deserters who were with them prevented them from making terms. He succeeded in subjugating a place called Arduba, but could not accomplish it with his own force, though this was far greater than his opponents' army. For the place itself had been strongly fortified and a river with a swift current flows all around its base except for a short distance. 2 But the deserters fell into a dispute with the inhabitants, because the latter were anxious for peace, and came to blows with them. They were assisted by the women in the fort, for these, contrary to the decision of the men, craved liberty and were ready to suffer any fate whatever rather than servitude. Accordingly a fierce struggle ensued, and the  p37 deserters were worsted and surrendered, though some of them made their escape; 3 but the women, catching up their children, either threw themselves into the flames or hurled themselves into the river below. Thus that fort also was taken, whereupon the other places in its vicinity voluntarily made terms with Germanicus; and he, after accomplishing this much, rejoined Tiberius, leaving Postumius to complete the subjugation of the remaining districts. 16 1 In the meantime Bato sent his son Sceuas to Tiberius, promising to surrender both himself and all his followers if he obtained pardon. 2 And when he later received a pledge, he came by night to Tiberius' camp and on the following day was led before him as he sat on a tribunal. Bato asked nothing for himself, even holding his head forward to await the stroke, but in behalf of the others he made a long defence. 3 Finally, upon being asked by Tiberius why his people had taken it into their heads to revolt and to war against the Romans so long, he replied: "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves."

4 In this way the war was ended after the loss of many men and immense treasure; for ever so many legions were maintained for this campaign and but very little booty was taken. 17 1 On this occasion, also, Germanicus announced the victory; and because of it Augustus and Tiberius were permitted to add the title of imperator to their other titles and to celebrate a triumph, and they received other honours, besides,  p39 notably two triumphal arches in Pannonia; 2 for these were the only distinctions of the many voted to them that Augustus would accept. Germanicus received the ornamenta triumphalia, a distinction which fell likewise to the other commanders, and also the rank of a praetor, as well as the privilege of giving his vote immediately after the ex-consuls and of holding the consul­ship earlier than custom allowed. 3 To Drusus, also, the son of Tiberius, even though he had taken no part in the war, was granted the privilege of attending the sittings of the senate before becoming a member of that body and of voting ahead of the ex-praetors as soon as he should become quaestor.

18 1 Scarcely had these decrees been passed, when terrible news that arrived from the province of Germany prevented them from holding the festival. I shall now relate the events which had taken place in Germany during this period. The Romans were holding portions of it — not entire regions, but merely such districts as happened to have been subdued, so that no record has been made of the fact — 2 and soldiers of theirs were wintering there and cities were being founded. The barbarians were adapting themselves to Roman ways, were becoming accustomed to hold markets, and were meeting in peaceful assemblages. They had not, however, forgotten their ancestral habits, their native manners, their old life of independence, or the power derived from arms. 3 Hence, so long as they were unlearning these customs gradually and by the way, as one may say, under careful watching, they were not disturbed by  p41 the change in their manner of life, and were becoming different without knowing it. But when Quintilius Varus became governor of the province of Germany, and in the discharge of his official duties was administering the affairs of these peoples also, he strove to change them more rapidly. Besides issuing orders to them as if they were actually slaves of the Romans, he exacted money as he would from subject nations. 4 To this they were in no mood to submit, for the leaders longed for their former ascendancy and the masses preferred their accustomed condition to foreign domination. Now they did not openly revolt, since they saw that there were many Roman troops near the Rhine and many within their own borders; 5 instead, they received Varus, pretending that they would do all he demanded of them, and thus they drew him far away from the Rhine into the land of the Cherusci, toward the Visurgis, and there by behaving in a most peaceful and friendly manner led him to believe that they would live submissively without the presence of soldiers.

19 1 Consequently he did not keep his legions together, as was proper in a hostile country, but distributed many of the soldiers to helpless communities, which asked for them for the alleged purpose of guarding various points, arresting robbers, or escorting provision trains. 2 Among those deepest in the conspiracy and leaders of the plot and of the war were Armenius and Segimerus, who were his constant companions and often shared his mess. 3 He accordingly became confident, and expecting no harm, not only refused to believe all those who suspected what was going on and advised him to be on his guard,  p43 but actually rebuked them for being needlessly excited and slandering his friends. Then there came an uprising, first on the part of those who lived at a distance from him, deliberately so arranged, 4 in order that Varus should march against them and so be more easily over­powered while proceeding through what was supposed to be friendly country, instead of putting himself on his guard as he would do in case all became hostile to him at once. And so it came to pass. They escorted him as he set out, and then begged to be excused from further attendance, in order, as they claimed, to assemble their allied forces, after which they would quietly come to his aid. 5 Then they took charge of their troops, which were already in waiting somewhere, and after the men in each community had put to death the detachments of soldiers for which they had previously asked, they came upon Varus in the midst of forests by this time almost impenetrable. And there, at the very moment of revealing themselves as enemies instead of subjects, they wrought great and dire havoc.

20 1 The mountains had an uneven surface broken by ravines, and the trees grew close together and very high. Hence the Romans, even before the enemy assailed them, were having a hard time of it felling trees, building roads, and bridging places that required it. 2 They had with them many waggons and many beasts of burden as in time of peace; moreover, not a few women and children and a large retinue of servants were following them — one more reason for their advancing in scattered groups. 3 Meanwhile a violent rain and wind came up that separated them still further, while the ground, that had become slippery around the roots and logs, made  p45 walking very treacherous for them, and the tops of the trees kept breaking off and falling down, causing much confusion. 4 While the Romans were in such difficulties, the barbarians suddenly surrounded them on all sides at once, coming through the densest thickets, as they were acquainted with the paths. At first they hurled their volleys from a distance; then, as no one defended himself and many were wounded, they approached closer to them. 5 For the Romans were not proceeding in any regular order, but were mixed in helter-skelter with the waggons and the unarmed, and so, being unable to form readily anywhere in a body, and being fewer at every point than their assailants, they suffered greatly and could offer no resistance at all.

21 1 Accordingly they encamped on the spot, after securing a suitable place, so far as that was possible on a wooded mountain; and afterwards they either burned or abandoned most of their waggons and everything else that was not absolutely necessary to them. The next day they advanced in a little better order, and even reached open country, though they did not get off without loss. 2 Upon setting out from there they plunged into the woods again, where they defended themselves against their assailants, but suffered their heaviest losses while doing so. For since they had to form their lines in a narrow space, in order that the cavalry and infantry together might run down the enemy, they collided frequently with one another and with the trees. 3 They were still  p47 advancing when the fourth day dawned, and again a heavy downpour and violent wind assailed them, preventing them from going forward and even from standing securely, and moreover depriving them of the use of their weapons. For they could not handle their bows or their javelins with any success, nor, for that matter, their shields, which were thoroughly soaked. 4 Their opponents, on the other hand, being for the most part lightly equipped, and able to approach and retire freely, suffered less from the storm. Furthermore, the enemy's forces had greatly increased, as many of those who had at first wavered joined them, largely in the hope of plunder, and thus they could more easily encircle and strike down the Romans, whose ranks were now thinned, many having perished in the earlier fighting. 5 Varus, therefore, and all the more prominent officers, fearing that they should either be captured alive or be killed by their bitterest foes (for they had already been wounded), made bold to do a thing that was terrible yet unavoidable: they took their own lives.

22 1 When news of this had spread, none of the rest, even if he had any strength left, defended himself any longer. Some imitated their leader, and others, casting aside their arms, allowed anybody who pleased to slay them; for to flee was impossible, however much one might desire to do so. 2 Every man, therefore, and every horse was cut down without fear of resistance, and the . . .

2a And the barbarians occupied all the strongholds save one, their delay at which prevented them  p49 from either crossing the Rhine or invading Gaul. Yet they found themselves unable to reduce this fort, because they did not understand the conduct of sieges, and because the Romans employed numerous archers, who repeatedly repulsed them and destroyed large numbers of them.

2b Later they learned that the Romans had posted a guard at the Rhine, and that Tiberius was approaching with an imposing army. Therefore most of the barbarians retired from the fort, and even the detachment still left there withdrew to a considerable distance, so as not to be injured by sudden sallies on the part of the garrison, and then kept watch of the roads, hoping to capture the garrison through the failure of their provisions. The Romans inside, so long as they had plenty of food, remained where they were, awaiting relief; but when no one came to their assistance and they were also hard pressed by hunger, they waited merely for a stormy night and then stole forth. Now the soldiers were but few, the unarmed many. 2 They succeeded in getting past the foe's first and second outposts, but when they reached the third, they were discovered, for the women and children, by reason of their fatigue and fear as well as on account of the darkness and cold, kept calling to the warriors to come back. 3 And they would all have perished or been captured, had the barbarians not been occupied in seizing the plunder. This afforded an opportunity for the most hardy to get some distance away, and the trumpeters with them by sounding the signal for a double-quick march caused the enemy to think that they had been sent by Asprenas. 4 Therefore the foe ceased  p51 his pursuit, and Asprenas, upon learning what was taking place, actually did render them assistance. Some of the prisoners were afterwards ransomed by their relatives and returned from captivity; for this was permitted on condition that the men ransomed should remain outside of Italy. This, however, occurred later.

23 1 Augustus, when he learned of the disaster to Varus, rent his garments, as some report, and mourned greatly, not only because of the soldiers who had been lost, but also because of his fear for the German and Gallic provinces, and particularly because he expected that the enemy would march against Italy and against Rome itself. For there were no citizens of military age left worth mentioning, and the allied forces that were of any value had suffered severely. 2 Nevertheless, he made preparations as best he could in view of the circumstances; and when no men of military age showed a willingness to be enrolled, he made them draw lots, depriving of his property and disfranchising every fifth man of those still under thirty-five and every tenth man among those who had passed that age. 3 Finally, as a great many paid no heed to him even then, he put some to death. He chose by lot as many as he could of those who had already completed their term of service and of the freedmen, and after enrolling them sent them in haste with Tiberius into the province of Germany. 4 And as there were in Rome a large number of Gauls and Germans, some of them serving in the pretorian guard and others sojourning there for various reasons, he feared they might begin a rebellion; hence he sent away such as were in his  p53 body-guard to certain islands and ordered those who were unarmed to leave the city.

24 1 This was the way he handled matters at that time; and none of the usual business was carried on nor were the festivals celebrated. Later, when he heard that some of the soldiers had been saved, that the Germanies were garrisoned, and that the enemy did not venture to come even to the Rhine, he ceased to be alarmed and paused to consider the matter. 2 For a catastrophe so great and sudden as this, it seemed to him, could have been due to nothing else than the wrath of some divinity; moreover, by reason of the portents which occurred both before the defeat and afterwards, he was strongly inclined to suspect some superhuman agency. 3 For the temple of Mars in the field of the same name was struck by lightning, and many locusts flew into the very city and were devoured by swallows; the peaks of the Alps seemed to collapse upon one another and to send up three columns of fire; the sky in many places seemed ablaze 4 and numerous comets appeared at one and the same time; spears seemed to dart from the north and to fall in the direction of the Roman camps; bees formed their combs about the altars in the camps; a statue of Victory that was in the province of Germany and faced the enemy's territory turned about to face Italy; 5 and in one instance there was a futile battle and conflict of the soldiers over the eagles in the camps, the soldiers believing that the barbarians had fallen upon them.

For these reasons, then, and also because . . .

 p55  6 Tiberius did not see fit to cross the Rhine, but kept quiet, watching to see that the barbarians did not cross. And they, knowing him to be there, did not venture to cross in their turn.

7 Germanicus was becoming endeared to the populace for many reasons, but particularly because he acted as advocate for various persons, and this quite as much before Augustus himself as before the other judges. Accordingly, on one occasion when he was going to lend assistance in this way to a quaestor who was charged with murder, his accuser became alarmed lest he should in consequence of this lose his suit before the judges who regularly heard such cases, and wished to have it tried before Augustus. But his efforts were all in vain, for he did not win the suit.

25 1 . . . holding it after his consul­ship. But the next year, in addition to the events already described, the temple of Concord was dedicated by Tiberius, and both his name and that of Drusus, his dead brother, were inscribed upon it. 2 In the consul­ship of Marcus Aemilius and Statilius Taurus, Tiberius and Germanicus, the latter acting as proconsul, invaded Germany and overran portions of it. They did not win any battle, however, since no one came to close quarters with them, nor did they reduce any tribe; 3 for in their fear of falling victims to a fresh disaster they did not advance very far beyond the Rhine, but after remaining in that region until late autumn and celebrating the birthday of Augustus, on which they held a horse-race under the direction of the centurions, they returned.

 p57  4 At Rome Drusus Caesar, the son of Tiberius, became quaestor, and sixteen praetors held office because that number were candidates for the position and Augustus, in view of the difficulties in which he found himself, was unwilling to offend any of them. The same did not hold true, however, of the years immediately following, but the number remained at twelve for a considerable period. 5 Besides these events at that time, the seers were forbidden to prophesy to any person alone or to prophesy regarding death even if others should be present. Yet so far was Augustus from caring about such matters in his own case that he set forth to all in an edict the aspect of the stars at the time of his own birth. 6 Nevertheless, he forbade this practice. He also issued a proclamation to the subject nations forbidding them to bestow any honours upon a person assigned to govern them either during his term of office or within sixty days after his departure; this was because some governors by arranging beforehand for testimonials and eulogies from their subjects were causing much mischief. 7 Three senators, as before, transacted business with embassies, and the knights — a fact which may cause surprise — were allowed to fight as gladiators. The reason for this was that some were making light of the disfranchisement imposed as the penalty for such conduct. For inasmuch as there proved to be no use in forbidding it, and the guilty seemed to require a greater punishment, or else because it seemed possible that they might even be turned aside from this course, they were granted permission to take part in such contests. 8 In this way they incurred death instead of disfranchisement; for they fought just as much as ever, especially since their  p59 contests were eagerly witnessed, so that even Augustus used to watch them in company with the praetors who superintended the contests.

26 1 Germanicus soon afterwards received the office of consul, though he had not even been praetor, and he held it throughout the whole year, not because of his rank, but in the same way that certain others still held the office at this time for the whole period. Germanicus himself did nothing memorable, except that at this time, too, he acted as advocate in law-suits, since his colleague, Gaius Capito, counted as a mere figurehead. 2 But Augustus, since he was growing old, wrote a letter commending Germanicus to the senate and the latter to Tiberius; the letter was not read by Augustus himself, for he was unable to make himself heard, but by Germanicus, as usual. After this the emperor, making the German war his excuse, asked the senators not to greet him at his home or to feel hurt if he did not continue to join with them in their public banquets. 3 For it was their general practice, especially whenever they were to have a meeting, to greet him not only in the Forum but sometimes also in the senate-house itself, both when he entered and again when he left; and it actually happened that when he was sitting or sometimes even lying down in the palace not only the senate but the knights and many of the populace as well came to greet him.

27 1 In spite of all this, however, he continued to attend to his other duties as before. He now allowed the knights to become candidates for the tribune­ship. And learning that some vituperative pamphlets were being written concerning certain people, he ordered search to be made for them; those that were found  p61 in the city he ordered to be burned by the aediles, and those outside by the officials in each place, and he punished some of the writers. 2 As there were many exiles who were either living outside of the districts to which they had been banished or living too luxuriously in the proper places, he ordered that no one who had been debarred from fire and water should live either on the mainland or on any of the islands within fifty miles of it, except Cos, Rhodes, Samos, and Lesbos; for he made an exception in the case of these alone for some reason or other. 3 Besides this, he enjoined upon the exiles that they should not cross the sea to any other point, and should not possess more than one ship of burden having a capacity of a thousand amphorae and two ships driven by oars; that they should not employ more than twenty slaves or freedmen, and should not possess property to the value of more than half a million sesterces; and he threatened to punish not only the exiles themselves but all others as well who should in any way assist them in violating these commands.

4 These are the laws, as fully as is necessary for our history, that he caused to be passed. A special festival was also held by the actors and the horse-breeders. The Ludi Martiales, owing to the fact the Tiber had overflowed the Circus, were held on this occasion in the Forum of Augustus and were celebrated in a fashion by a horse-race and the slaying of wild beasts. 5 They were also given a second time, as custom decreed, and Germanicus this time caused two hundred lions to be slain in the Circus.  p63 The Porticus Iulia,​a as it was called, was built in honour of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, and was now dedicated.

28 1 When Lucius Munatius and Gaius Silius had been installed as consuls, Augustus with seeming reluctance accepted a fifth ten-year term as head of the State. He again gave Tiberius the tribunician power, and permitted Drusus, the latter's son, to stand for the consul­ship two years later without ever having held the praetor­ship. 2 He also asked for twenty annual counsellors because of his age, which did not permit him to go to the senate-house any longer except on rare occasions; previously, it seems, he had associated with himself fifteen advisers for six months at a time. It was also voted that any measure should be valid, as being satisfactory to the whole senate, which should be resolved upon by him in deliberation with Tiberius and with these counsellors, as well as the consuls of the year and the consuls designate, 3 together with his grandchildren (the adopted ones, I mean) and such others as he might at any time call on for advice. Having gained by this decree these privileges, which in reality he had possessed in any case, he continued to transact most of the public business, though he sometimes reclined while doing so. 4 When, now, nearly all felt burdened by the five per cent tax and an uprising seemed likely, he sent a communication to the senate bidding its members to seek some others sources of revenue. He did this, not with the intention of abolishing the tax, but in order that when no other method should seem to them better, they should ratify the measure, reluctantly though it might be, without bringing any censure upon him. 5 He also  p65 ordered both Germanicus and Drusus not to make any statement about it, for fear that if they expressed an opinion it should be suspected that this had been done at his command, and the senate would therefore choose that plan without further investigation. There was much discussion and some proposals were submitted to Augustus in writing. 6 When he learned from these that the senators were ready to submit to any form of tax rather than to the one in force, he changed it to a levy upon fields and houses; and immediately, without stating how great it would be or in what way imposed, he sent men out everywhere to make a list of the property both of private individuals and of cities. His object was that they should fear even greater losses and so be content to pay the five per cent tax; and this is what actually happened. Thus Augustus handled these matters.

29 1 During a horse-race at the Augustalia, which were celebrated in honour of his birthday, a madman seated himself in the chair which was dedicated to Julius Caesar, and taking his crown, put it on. This incident disturbed everybody, for it seemed to have some bearing upon Augustus, as, indeed, proved true. 2 For in the following year, when Sextus Apuleius and Sextus Pompeius were consuls, Augustus set out for Campania, and after superintending the games at Neapolis, passed away shortly afterward at Nola.  p67 Indeed, not a few omens had appeared, and these by no means difficult of interpretation, all pointing to this fate for him. 3 Thus, the sun suffered a total eclipse and most of the sky seemed to be on fire; glowing embers appeared to be falling from it and blood-red comets were seen. When a meeting of the senate had been appointed on account of the emperor's illness, in order that they might offer prayers, the senate-house was found closed and an owl sitting on it hooted. 4 A thunderbolt fell upon his statue that stood upon the Capitol and blotted out the first letter of the name "Caesar." This led the seers to declare that on the hundredth day after that he should attain to some divine state. They deduced this from the fact that the letter "C" signifies "one hundred" among the Latins, and the remainder of the word means "god" among the Etruscans. 5 Now these signs appeared beforehand while he was still alive; but people of later days were struck also by coincidences in the case of the consuls and of Servius Sulpicius Galba. For the consuls then in office were in some way related to Augustus; and Galba, who later came to the throne, assumed the toga virilis at this time on the very first day of the year. 6 Now since he was the first of the Romans to become emperor after the family of Augustus had passed away, it gave occasion to some to say that this had not been a mere coincidence, but had been brought about by some divine purpose.

30 1 So Augustus fell sick and died. Livia incurred some suspicion in connexion with his death, in view of the fact that he had secretly sailed over to the  p69 island to see Agrippa and seemed about to become completely reconciled with him. 2 For she was afraid, some say, that Augustus would bring him back to make him sovereign, and so smeared with poison some figs that were still on trees from which Augustus was wont to gather the fruit with his own hands; then she ate those that had not been smeared, offering the poisoned ones to him. 3 At any rate, from this or some other cause he became ill, and sending for his associates, he told them all his wishes, adding finally: "I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble." 4 He did not thereby refer literally to the appearance of its buildings, but rather to the strength of the empire. And by asking them for their applause, after the manner of the comic actors, as if at the close of a mime, he ridiculed most tellingly the whole life of man.

5 Thus on the nineteenth day of August, the day on which he had first become consul, he passed away, having lived seventy-five years, ten months, and twenty-six days (he had been born on the twenty-third of September), and having been sole ruler, from the time of his victory at Actium forty-four years lacking thirteen days. 31 1 His death, however, was not immediately made public; for Livia, fearing that as Tiberius was still in Dalmatia there might be some uprising, concealed the fact until he arrived. This, at any rate, is the statement made by most  p71 writers, and the more trustworthy ones; but there are some who have affirmed that Tiberius was present during the emperor's illness, and received some injunctions for him. 2 The body of Augustus was carried from Nola by the foremost men of each city in succession. When it drew near Rome, the knights took it in charge and conveyed it by night into the city. On the following day there was a meeting of the senate, to which the majority came wearing the equestrian costume, but the magistrates the senatorial garb except for the purple-bordered toga. 3 Tiberius and his son Drusus wore dark clothing made for use in the Forum. They, too, offered incense, but did not employ a flute-player. Most of the members sat in their accustomed places, but the consuls sat below, one on the praetors' bench and the other on that of the tribunes. After this Tiberius was absolved for having touched the corpse, a forbidden act, and for having escorted it on its journey, although the . . .

32 1a . . . his will Drusus took from the Vestal Virgins, with whom it had been deposited, and carried it into the senate. Those who had witnessed the document examined the seals, and then it was read in the hearing of the senate.

1 . . . Polybius, an imperial freedman, read his will, as it was not proper for a senator to pronounce anything of the sort. It showed that two-thirds of the inheritance had been left to Tiberius and the remainder to Livia; at least this is one report. For, in order that she, too, should have some enjoyment of his  p73 estate, he had asked the senate for permission to leave her so much, which was more than the amount allowed by law. 2 These two, then, were named as heirs. He also directed that many articles and sums of money should be given to many different persons, both relatives of his and others unrelated, not only to senators and knights but also to kings; to the people he left forty million sesterces; and as for the soldiers, one thousand sesterces apiece to the Pretorians, half that amount to the city troops, and to the rest of the citizen soldiery three hundred each. 3 Moreover, in the case of children of whose fathers he had been the heir while the children were still small, he enjoined that the whole amount together with interest should be paid back to them when they became men. This, in fact, had been his practice even while living; for whenever he inherited the estate of anyone who had offspring, he never failed to restore it all to the man's children, immediately if they were already grown up, and otherwise later. 4 Nevertheless, though he took such an attitude toward the children of others, he did not restore his own daughter from exile, though he did hold her worthy to receive gifts; and he commanded that she should not be buried in his own tomb. So much was made clear by the will.

33 1 Four books were then brought in and Drusus read them. In the first were written detailed instructions regarding his funeral; in the second were recorded all the acts which he had performed, which he commanded also to be inscribed upon bronze columns to be set up around his shrine; 2 the third  p75 contained an account of military matters, of the revenues, and of the public expenditures, the amount of money in the treasuries, and everything else of the sort that had a bearing upon the administration of the empire; 3 and the fourth had injunctions and commands for Tiberius and for the public. Among these injunctions was one to the effect that they should not free many slaves, lest they should fill the city with a promiscuous rabble; also that they should not enrol large numbers as citizens, in order that there should be a marked difference between themselves and the subject nations. 4 He exhorted them to entrust the public business to all who had ability both to understand and to act, and never to let it depend on any one person; in this way no one would set his mind on a tyranny, nor would the State, on the other hand, go to ruin if one man fell. 5 He advised them to be satisfied with their present possessions and under no conditions to wish to increase the empire to any greater dimensions. It would be hard to guard, he said, and this would lead to danger of their losing what was already theirs. 6 This principle he had really always followed himself not only in speech but also in action; at any rate he might have made great acquisitions from the barbarian world, but he had not wished to do so. These, then, were his injunctions.

34 1 Then came his funeral. There was a couch made of ivory and gold and adorned with coverings of purple and gold. In it his body was hidden, in a coffin down below; but a wax image of him in triumphal garb was visible. 2 This image was borne from the palace by the officials elected for the following year, and another of gold from the senate-house, and still  p77 another upon a triumphal chariot. Behind these came the images of his ancestors and of his deceased relatives (except that of Caesar, because he had been numbered among the demigods) and those of other Romans who had been prominent in any way, beginning with Romulus himself. 3 An image of Pompey the Great was also seen, and all the nations he had acquired, each represented by a likeness which bore some local characteristic, appeared in the procession. After these followed all the other objects mentioned above. 4 When the couch had been placed in full view on the rostra of the orators, Drusus read something from that place; and from the other rostra, that is the Julian, Tiberius delivered the following public address over the deceased, in pursuance of a decree:

35 1 "The words which required to be spoken in a private capacity by relatives over the Deified Augustus, Drusus has spoken. But the senate has wisely held him to be worthy of some kind of public eulogy as well; and while I recognize that the speech was fittingly entrusted to me 2 (for to whom more justly than to me, his son and successor, could the duty of praising him be entrusted?), still I cannot feel any confidence that my abilities measure up in any wise either to your desires in the matter or to his merits. 3 Indeed, if I were going to speak in the presence of strangers, I should be greatly concerned lest in following my speech they should believe his deeds to be no better than my account of them. But, as it is, I am encouraged by the thought that my words will  p79 be addressed to you who are thoroughly acquainted with all his achievements, who have known them all through personal experience, and for that reason have held him to be worthy of these words of praise. 4 For you will judge of his excellence, not from what I may say, but from what you yourselves know, and you will come to the aid of my discourse, supplying what is deficient by your memory of the events. Hence, in this respect also, his eulogy will be a public one, rendered by us all, as I, like the leader of a chorus, merely give out the leading words, while you join in and chant the rest. 5 For of this I assuredly am not afraid — either that you will find it a weakness in me that I am unable to attain to your desires, or that you yourselves will be jealous of one whose virtue so far surpassed your own. For who does not realize that not all mankind assembled together could worthily sound his praises, 6 and that you all of your own free will yield to him his triumphs, feeling no envy at the thought that not one of you could equal him, but rather rejoicing in the very fact of his surpassing greatness? For the greater he appears in comparison with you, the greater will seem the benefits which you have enjoyed, so that rancour will not be engendered in you because of your inferiority to him, but rather pride because of the blessings you have received at his hands.

36 1 "I shall begin at the point where he began his public career, that is, with his earliest manhood. For this, indeed, is one of the greatest achievements of Augustus, that at the time when he had just emerged from boyhood and was barely coming to man's estate, 2 he devoted himself to his education just so long as public affairs were well managed by  p81 that demigod, Caesar, but when, after the conspiracy against Caesar, the whole State was thrown into confusion, he at one and the same time amply avenged his father and rendered much-needed assistance to you, neither fearing the multitude of his enemies nor dreading the magnitude of his responsibilities nor hesitating by reason of his own immaturity. 3 Yet what deed like this can be cited of Alexander of Macedon or of our own Romulus, who perhaps above all others are thought to have performed some notable exploit in youth? But these men I shall pass over, lest from merely comparing them with him and using them as examples — and that among you who know them as well as I — I may be thought to be detracting from the virtues of Augustus. 4 With Hercules alone and his exploits I might compare him, and should be thought justified in so doing, if that were all; but even so I should fall short of my purpose, in so far as Hercules in childhood only dealt with serpents, and when a man, with a stag or two and a boar which he killed, — oh yes, and a lion, to be sure, albeit reluctantly and at somebody's behest; 5 whereas Augustus, not among beasts, but among men, of his own free will, by waging war and enacting laws, literally saved the commonwealth and gained splendid renown for himself. Therefore it was, that in recognition of these services you chose him praetor and appointed him consul at an age when some are unwilling to serve even as common soldiers.

37 1 "This then was the beginning of Augustus' political life, and this is likewise the beginning of my account of him. Soon afterwards, seeing that the largest and best element of the people and of the senate was in  p83 accord with him, but that Lepidus and Antony, Sextus, Brutus, and Cassius were resorting to factious machinations, 2 and fearing the city might become involved in many wars at once, and civil wars too, and thus be torn asunder and exhausted beyond all possibility of recovery, he accordingly dealt with them with the greatest prudence and to the greatest public good. 3 For he first attached to himself the powerful leaders who were menacing the very existence of the city, and with them fought the others until he had made an end of them; and when these were out of the way, he in turn freed us from the former. He chose, though against his will, to surrender a few to their wrath so that he might save the majority, and he chose to assume a friendly attitude towards each of them in turn so as not to have to fight with them all at once. 4 From all this he derived no personal gain, but aided us all in a signal manner. And yet why should one dwell on his exploits in the wars, whether civil or foreign, especially when the former ought never to have occurred at all, and the latter by the conquests gained show the benefits they brought better than any words can tell? 5 Moreover, since these exploits depended largely upon chance and their success was due to the aid of many citizens and many allies, he must share with them the credit for them, and these achievements might possibly be compared with the exploits of some other men. 6 These, accordingly, I shall omit; for they are described and depicted in many a book and painting, so that you can both read and behold them. But of the deeds which are in a peculiar sense those of Augustus  p85 himself, deeds which have never been performed by any other man, have not only caused our city to survive after many dangers of every kind but have rendered it more prosperous and powerful, — of these alone I shall speak. 7 For the recounting of them will not only confer upon him a unique glory, but will also afford the older men among you a pleasure unalloyed while giving the younger men most excellent instruction in the character and constitution of our government.

38 1 "This Augustus, then, whom you deemed worthy of this title for the very reasons just cited, as soon as he had rid himself of the civil wars, in which his actions and his fortunes were not such as he himself desired but as Heaven decreed, first of all spared the lives of most of his opponents who had survived the various battles, thus in no wise imitating Sulla, who was called the Fortunate. 2 Not to recount them all, who does not know about Sosius, about Scaurus, the brother of Sextus, and particularly about Lepidus, who lived so long a time after his defeat and continued to be high priest throughout his whole life? Again, though he honoured his companions in arms with many great gifts, he did not permit them to indulge in any arrogant or wanton behaviour. 3 But since you know full well the various men in this category, especially Maecenas and Agrippa, so that in their case also I may omit the enumeration. These two qualities Augustus possessed which were never united in any other one man. There have, indeed, been conquerors, I know, who have spared their enemies, and others who have not permitted their companions to give way to license; but both virtues combined have never before been consistently and uniformly found  p87 in one and the same man. 4 For example, Sulla and Marius cherished hatred toward even the sons of those who had fought against them; and why need I mention the minor instances? Pompey and Caesar refrained in general from such hatred, and yet permitted their friends to do not a few things that were contrary to their own principles. 5 But this man so combined and fused the two qualities, that to his adversaries he made defeat seem victory, and to his comrades in arms proved that virtue is blest by fortune.

39 1 "After these achievements, and when by kindness he had allayed all that remained of factional discord and by generosity had moderated the victorious soldiery, he might on the strength of this record and of the weapons and money at his command have been indisputably the sole lord of all, as, indeed, he had become by the very course of events. 2 Nevertheless, he refused; and like a good physician, who takes in hand a disease-ridden body and heals it, he first restored to health and then gave back to you the whole body politic. The significance of this act you may judge best by recalling that our fathers praised Pompey and the Metellus who flourished at that time because they voluntarily disbanded the forces with which they had waged war; 3 for if they, who possessed only a small force gathered for the occasion, and, besides, were confronted by rivals who would not allow them to do otherwise, acted thus and received praise for doing so, how could one  p89 fittingly characterize the magnanimity of Augustus? 4 He possessed all your armies, whose numbers you know; he was master of all your funds, so vast in amount; he had no one to fear or suspect, but might have ruled alone with the approval of all; yet he saw fit not to do this, but laid the arms, the provinces, and the money at your feet.

5 "You, therefore, on your part acted well and prudently, when you withheld your assent and did not permit him to retire to private life; for you knew well that a democracy could never accommodate itself to interests so vast, but that the leader­ship of one man would be most likely to conserve them, and so refused to return to what was nominally independence but really factional discord; and making choice of him, whom you had tested by his actual deeds and approved, you constrained him for a time at least to be your leader. 6 And when you had thus proved him far better than before, you compelled him for a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth time to continue in the management of affairs. 40 1 And this was but fitting; for who would not choose to be safe without trouble, to be prosperous without danger, to enjoy without stint the blessings of government while escaping the life of constant anxiety for its maintenance?

"Who was there that could rule better than Augustus even his own house, to say nothing of so many other human beings? 2 He it was who undertook as his own task to guard and preserve the  p91 provinces that were troublesome and at war, restoring to you such as were peaceful and free from danger; and though he supported so vast a number of soldiers as a permanent force to fight in your behalf, he permitted them to annoy no Roman citizen, but made them most formidable protectors against alien races while being to the people at home unarmed and unwarlike.

3 "Furthermore, as regards the members of the senate, he did not take away from them the right to cast lots for the governor­ship of provinces, but even offered them additional prizes as a reward for excellence; nor in connection with the senate's decrees did he do away with their privilege of voting, but even added safeguards for their freedom of speech. 4 From the people he transferred matters difficult of decision to the strict jurisdiction of the courts, but preserved to them the dignity of the elections; and at these elections he inculcated in the citizens the love of honour rather than the love of party strife, and eliminating the element of greed from their office-seeking, he put in its place the regard for reputation. His own wealth, which enhanced by sober living, he spent for the public needs; with the public funds he was as careful as if they were his own, but would not touch them as belonging to others. 5 He repaired all the public works that had suffered injury, but deprived none of the original builders of the glory of their founding. He also erected many new buildings, some in his own name and some in others', or else permitted these others to erect them, constantly having an eye to the public good, but grudging no one the private fame attaching to these services.

 p93  6 "Wantonness on the part of his next of kin he followed up relentlessly, but the offences of others he treated with human kindness. Those who had traits of excellence he ungrudgingly allowed to approach his own standard, but he did not try to censor those whose standards of life were different. 7 In fact, even in the case of such as conspired against him, he punished only those whose lives would have been of no profit even to themselves, while he treated the rest in such a way that for years afterward they could find no pretext true or false for attacking him. That he was, indeed, conspired against at times is not surprising, for even the gods do not please all alike; but the excellence of good rulers is discerned, not in the villainy of others, but in their own good deeds.

41 1 "I have spoken, Quirites, only of his greatest and most striking characteristics, and in a rather summary way; for if one wished to enumerate all his qualities mainly one by one, he would require many days. Furthermore, I know well that though you will have heard from me only these few facts, yet they will lead you to recall in your own minds all the rest, so that you will feel that I have in a manner related those also. 2 For neither I, in what I have said about him, have been moved by a spirit of vain boasting, nor have you in listening; rather my purpose has been that his many noble achievements should gain the meed of everlasting glory in your souls. 3 Yet how can one refrain from mentioning his senators? Without giving offence  p95 he removed from their number the scum that had come to the surface from the factions, and by this very act exalted the remainder, magnified it by increasing the property requirement, and enriched it by grants of money; he voted on an equality with his colleagues and with them took part in a division of the house; he always communicated to them all the greatest and most important matters, either in the senate chamber or else at his house, whither he summoned different members at different times because of his age and bodily infirmity. 4 How can one refrain from mentioning the Roman people at large? For them he provided public works, largesses, games, festivals, amnesty, food in abundance, and safety, not only from the enemy and from evildoers, but even from the acts of Heaven, both those that befall by day and those also that befall by night. There are, again, the allies: for them he freed the liberty of its dangers and their alliance of its costs. There are the subject nations also: no one of them was ever treated with insolence or abuse. 5 How could one forget to mention a man who in private life was poor, in public life rich; who with himself was frugal, but towards others lavish of his means; who always endured every toil and danger himself on your behalf, but would not inflict upon you the hardship of so much as escorting him when he left the city or of meeting him when he returned; who on holidays admitted even the populace to his house, but on other days greeted even the senate only in its chamber? 6 How could one pass over the vast number of his laws and their precision? They contained for the wronged an all- p97 sufficient consolation, and for the wrongdoers a not inhuman punishment. Or his rewards offered to those who married and had children? Or the prizes given to the soldiers without injury to anyone else? 7 Or, again, shall I not tell how satisfied he was with our possessions acquired once for all under the compulsion of necessity, but refused to subjugate any additional territory, the acquisition of which might, while seeming to give us a wider sway, have entailed the loss of even what we had? Or how he always shared the joys and sorrows, the jests and earnestness of his intimate friends, 8 and allowed all, in a word, who could make any useful suggestion to speak their minds freely? Or how he praised those who spoke the truth, but hated flatterers? Or how he bestowed upon many people large sums from his own means, and how, when anything was bequeathed to him by men who had children, he restored it all to the children? Could a speaker's forgetfulness cause all these things to be blotted out?

9 "It was for all this, therefore, that you, with good reason, made him your leader and a father of the people, that you honoured him with many marks of esteem and with ever so many consul­ships, and that you finally made him a demigod and declared him to be immortal. Hence it is fitting also that we should not mourn for him, but that, while we now at last give his body back to Nature, we should glorify his spirit, as that of a god, for ever."

42 1 Such was the eulogy read by Tiberius. Afterwards the same men as before took up the couch and carried it through the triumphal gateway, according to a decree of the senate. Present and taking part in the funeral procession were the senate and the  p99 equestrian order, their wives, the pretorian guard, and practically all the others who were in the city at the time. 2 When the body had been placed on the pyre in the Campus Martius, all the priests marched round it first; and then the knights, not only those belonging to the equestrian order but the others as well, and the infantry from the garrison ran round it; and they cast upon it all the triumphal decorations that any of them had ever received from him for any deed of valour. 3 Next the centurions took torches, conformably to a decree of the senate, and lighted the pyre from beneath. So it was consumed, and an eagle released from it flew aloft, appearing to bear his spirit to heaven. When these ceremonies had been performed, all the other people departed; 4 but Livia remained on the spot for five days in company with the most prominent knights, and then gathered up his bones and placed them in his tomb.

43 1 The mourning required by law was observed only for a few days by the men, but for a whole year by the women, in accordance with a decree. Real grief was not in the hearts of many at the time, but later was felt by all. For Augustus had been accessible to all alike and was accustomed to aid many persons in the matter of money. He showed great honour to his friends, and delighted exceedingly when they frankly spoke their opinions. 2 One instance, in addition to those already related, occurred in the case of Athenodorus. This man was once brought into his room in a covered litter, as if he  p101 were a woman, and leaping from it sword in hand cried: "Aren't you afraid that someone may enter in this way and kill you?" Augustus, far from being angry, thanked him for his suggestion. 3 Besides these traits of his, people also recalled that he did not get blindly enraged at those who had injured him, and that he kept faith even with those who were unworthy of it. For instance, there was a robber named Corocotta, who flourished in Spain, at whom he was so angry at first that he offered a million sesterces to the man that should capture him alive; but later, when the robber came to him of his own accord, he not only did him no harm, but actually made him richer by the amount of the reward.

4 Not alone for these reasons did the Romans greatly miss him, but also because by combining monarchy with democracy he preserved their freedom for them and at the same time established order and security, so that they were free alike from the license of a democracy and from the insolence of a tyranny, living at once in a liberty of moderation and in a monarchy without terrors; they were subjects of royalty, yet not slaves, and citizens of a democracy, yet without discord. 44 1 If any of them remembered his former deeds in the course of the civil wars, they attributed them to the pressure of circumstances, and they thought it fair to seek for his real disposition in what he did after he was in undisputed possession of the supreme power; for this afforded in truth a mighty contrast. 2 Anybody who examines his acts in detail can establish this fact; but summing them all up briefly, I may state  p103 that he put an end to all the factional discord, transferred the government in a way to give it the greatest power, and vastly strengthened it. Therefore, even if an occasional deed of violence did occur, as is apt to happen in extraordinary situations, one might more justly blame the circumstances themselves than him.

3 Now not the least factor in his glory was the length of his reign. For the majority as well as the more powerful of those who had lived under the republic were now dead, 4 and the later generation, knowing naught of that form of government and having been reared entirely or largely under existing conditions, were not only not displeased with them, familiar as they now were, but actually took delight in them, since they saw that their present state was better and more free from terror than that of which they knew by tradition.

45 1 Though the people understood all this during his lifetime, they nevertheless realized it more fully after he was gone; for human nature is so constituted that in good fortune it does not so fully perceive its happiness as it misses it when misfortune has come. This is what happened at that time in the case of Augustus. For when they found his successor Tiberius a different sort of man, they yearned for him who was gone. 2 Indeed, it was possible at once for people of any intelligence to foresee the change in conditions. For the consul Pompeius, upon going out to meet the men who were bearing the body of Augustus, received a blow on the leg and had to be carried back on a litter with the body; and an owl sat on the roof of the  p105 senate-house again at the very first meeting of the senate after his death and uttered many ill-omened cries. 3 At all events, the two emperors differed so completely from each other, that some suspected that Augustus, with full knowledge of Tiberius' character, had purposely appointed him his successor that his own glory might be enhanced thereby.

46 1 Now these rumours began to be current at a later date. At the time they declared Augustus immortal, assigned to him priests and sacred rites, and made Livia, who was already called Julia and Augusta, his priestess; 2 they also permitted her to employ a lictor when she exercised her sacred office. On her part, she bestowed a million sesterces upon a certain Numerius Atticus, a senator and ex-praetor, because he swore that he had seen Augustus ascending to heaven after the manner of which tradition tells concerning Proculus and Romulus. 3 A shrine voted by the senate and built by Livia and Tiberius was erected to the dead emperor in Rome, and others in many different places, some of the communities voluntarily building them and others unwillingly. Also the house at Nola where he passed away was dedicated to him as a precinct. 4 While his shrine was being erected in Rome, they placed a golden image of him on a couch in the temple of Mars, and to this they paid all the honours that they were afterwards to give to his statue. Other votes in regard to him were, that his image should not be borne in procession at anybody's funeral, that the consuls should celebrate his birthday with games like the Ludi  p107 Martiales, and that the tribunes, as being sacrosanct, were to have charge of the Augustalia. 5 These officials conducted everything in the customary manner — even wearing the triumphal garb at the horse-race — except that they did not ride in the chariot. Besides this, Livia held a private festival in his honour for three days in the palace, and this ceremony is still continued down to the present day by whoever is emperor.

47 1 Such were the decrees passed in memory of Augustus, nominally by the senate, but actually by Tiberius and Livia. For when some men proposed one thing and some another, the senate decreed that Tiberius should receive suggestions in writing from its members and then selected whichever he chose. I have added the name of Livia because she, too, took a share in the proceedings, as if she possessed full powers.

2 Meanwhile the populace fell to rioting, because at the Augustalia one of the actors would not enter the theatre for the stipulated pay; and they did not cease their disturbance, until the tribunes convened the senate that very day and begged it to permit them to spend more than the legal amount. Here ends my account of Augustus.

Thayer's Note:

a The Basilica Aemilia is meant; for details, see the article Basilica Aemilia in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

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Page updated: 25 Aug 12