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Claudius

This webpage reproduces part of the
Historia Augusta

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1932

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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Part 2

(Vol. III) Historia Augusta

p193 The Life of Aurelian
Part 1

1 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] At the festival of the Hilaria1 — when, as we know, everything that is said and done should be of a joyous nature — when the ceremonies had been completed, Junius Tiberianus,2 the prefect of the city, an illustrious man and one to be named only with a prefix of deep respect, took me up into his carriage, that is to say, his official coach. 2 There his mind being now at leisure, relaxed and freed from law-pleas and public business, he engaged in much conversation all the way from the Palatine Hill to the Gardens of Varius,3 his theme being chiefly the lives of the emperors. 3 And when we had reached the Temple of the Sun,4 consecrated by the Emperor Aurelian, he asked me — for he derived his descent in some degree from him — who had written down the record of the life of that prince. 4 When I replied that I had read none in Latin, though several in p195Greek, that revered man poured forth in the following words the sorrow that his groan implied: 5 "And so Thersites5 and Sinon6 and other such monsters of antiquity are well known to us and will be spoken of by our descendants; but shall the Deified Aurelian, that most famous of princes, that most firm of rulers, who restored the whole world to the sway of Rome, be unknown to posterity? God prevent such madness! 6 And yet, if I am not mistaken, we possess the written journal of that great man and also his wars recorded in detail in the manner of a history, and these I should like you to procure and set forth in order, adding thereto all that pertains to his life. 7 All these things you may learn in your zeal for research from the linen books,7 for he gave instructions that in these all that he did each day should be written down. I will arrange, moreover, that the Ulpian Library8 shall provide you with the linen books themselves. 8 It would be my wish that you write a work on Aurelian, representing him, to the best of your ability, just as he really was." 9 I have carried out these instructions, my dear Ulpianus,9 I have procured the Greek books and laid my hands on all that I needed, and from these sources I have gathered together into one little book all that was worthy of mention. 10 You I should wish to think kindly of my work, and, if you are not content therewith, to study the Greeks and even to demand the linen books themselves, which the Ulpian Library will furnish you whenever you desire.

p197 2 1   Legamen ad paginam Latinam Now, when in the same carriage our talk had fallen on Trebellius Pollio,a who has handed down to memory all the emperors, both illustrious and obscure, from the two Philips10 to the Deified Claudius and his brother Quintillus, Tiberianus asserted that much of Pollio's work was too careless and much was too brief; but when I said in reply that there was no writer, at least in the realm of history, who had not made some false statement, and even pointed out the places in which Livy and Sallust, Cornelius Tacitus, and, finally, Trogus11 could be refuted by manifest proofs, he came over wholly to my opinion, and, throwing up his hands, he jestingly said besides: 2 "Well then, write as you will. You will be safe in saying whatever you wish, since you will have as comrades in falsehood those authors whom we admire for the style of their histories."

3 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam So then — lest I become tiresome by weaving too many trifles into my preface — the Deified Aurelian12 was born of a humble family,13 at Sirmium14 according to most writers, but in Dacia Ripensis15 according to some. 2 I remember, moreover, having read one author who declared that he was born in Moesia; and, indeed, it often comes to pass that we are ignorant of the birthplaces of those who, born in a humble position, frequently invent a birthplace for themselves, that they may give their descendants a glamour derived from the lustre of the locality. 3 However, in writing of the deeds of a great emperor, the p199chief thing to be known is not in what place he was born, but how great he was in the State. 4 Do we value Plato more highly because he was born at Athens than because he stands out illumined as the peerless gift of philosophy? 5 Or do we hold Aristotle of Stagira or Zeno of Elea16 or Anacharsis17 of Scythia in less esteem because they were born in the tiniest villages, when the virtue of philosophy has exalted them all to the skies?

4 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam And so — to return to the course of events — Aurelian, born of humble parents and from his earliest years very quick of mind and famous for his strength, never let a day go by, even though a feast-day or a day of leisure, on which he did not practise with the spear, the bow and arrow, and other exercises in arms. 2 As to his mother, Callicrates of Tyre,18 by far the most learned writer of the Greeks, says that she was a priestess of the temple of his own Sun-god19 in the village in which his parents lived; 3 she even had the gift of prophecy to a certain extent, for once, when she was quarrelling with her husband and reviling him for his stupidity and low estate, she shouted at him, "Behold the father of an emperor!" From which it is clear that the woman knew something of fate. 4 The same writer says also that there were the following omens of the rule of Aurelian: First of all, when he was a child, a serpent wound itself many times around his wash-basin, and no one was able to kill it; finally, his mother, who had seen the occurrence, refused to have the serpent killed, saying that it was a member p201of the household.20 5 Furthermore, it is said, the priestess made swaddling-clothes for her son from a purple cloak,21 which the emperor of the time had dedicated to the Sun-god. 6 This, too, is related, that Aurelian, while wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, was lifted out of his cradle by an eagle, but without suffering harm, and was laid on an altar in a neighbouring shrine which happened to have no fire upon it. 7 The same writer asserts that on his mother's land a calf was born of marvellous size, white but with purple spots, which formed on one side the word "hail," on the other a crown. 5Legamen ad paginam Latinam I remember also reading in this same author much that has no importance; he even asserts that where Aurelian was born there sprang up in this same woman's courtyard roses of a purple colour, having the fragrance of the rose but a golden centre. 2 Later, when he was in military service, there were also many omens predicting, as events showed, his future rule. 3 For instance, when he entered Antioch in a carriage, for the reason that because of a wound he could not ride his horse, a purple cloak, which had been spread out in his honour, fell down on him in such a way as to cover his shoulders. 4 Then, when he desired to change to a horse, because at that time the use of a carriage in a city was attended with odium,22 a horse belonging to the emperor was led up to him, and in Thracia he mounted it. But when he discovered to whom it belonged, he changed to one of his own. 5 Furthermore, when he had gone as envoy to the Persians, he was presented with a sacrificial saucer, of the kind that the king of the Persians is wont to present to the emperor, on which was engraved the Sun-god in the same attire in which he was worshipped in the very temple where the mother p203of Aurelian had been a priestess. 6 He was also presented with an elephant of unusual size, which he then gave to the emperor, and Aurelian was the only commoner of them all who ever owned an elephant.23

6 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam But, to omit these and similar details, he was a comely man, good to look upon because of his manly grace, rather tall in stature, and very strong in his muscles; he was a little too fond of wine and food, but he indulged his passions rarely; he exercised the greatest severity and a discipline that had no equal, being extremely ready to draw his sword. 2 And, in fact, since there were in the army two tribunes, both named Aurelian, this man and another, who later was captured with Valerian, the soldiers gave him the nickname of "Sword-in‑hand,"24 so that, if anyone chanced to ask which Aurelian had done anything or performed any exploit, the reply would be made "Aurelian Sword-in‑hand," and so he would be identified.

3 Many of the remarkable deeds which he did as a commoner are still well known: For instance, he and three hundred men of his garrison alone destroyed the Sarmatians when they burst into Illyricum. 4 Theoclius,25 who wrote of the reigns of the Caesars, relate that in the war against the Sarmatians Aurelian with his own hand slew forty-eight men in a single day and that in the course of several days he slew over nine hundred and fifty, so that the boys even composed in his honour the following jingles and dance-ditties, to which they would dance on holidays in soldier fashion:

5 "Thousand, thousand, thousand we've beheaded now.

One alone, a thousand we've beheaded now.

He shall drink a thousand who a thousand slew.

So much wine is owned by no one as the blood which he has shed."

p205 6 I perceive, indeed, that these verses are very trivial, but since the author mentioned before has included them in his writings, in Latin just as they are here, I have thought they ought not to be omitted. 7Legamen ad paginam Latinam Likewise, when at Mainz as tribune of the Sixth Legion, the Gallican,26 he completely crushed the Franks, who had burst into Gaul and were roving about through the whole country, killing seven hundred of them and capturing three hundred, whom he then sold as slaves. 2 And so a song was again composed about him:

"Franks, Sarmatians by the thousand, once and once again we've slain.

Now we seek a thousand Persians."

3 He was, moreover, so feared by the soldiers, as I have said before, that, after he had once punished offences in the camp with the utmost severity, no one offended again. 4 In fact, he alone among all commanders inflicted the following punishment on a soldier who had committed adultery with the wife of the man at whose house he was lodged: bending down the tops of two trees, he fastened them to the soldier's feet and then let them fly upward so suddenly that the man hung there torn in two27 — a penalty which inspired great terror in all.

5 There is a letter of his, truly that of a soldier, written to his deputy, as follows: "If you wish to be tribune, or rather, if you wish to remain alive, restrain the hands of your soldiers. None shall steal another's fowl or touch his sheep. None shall carry off grapes, or thresh out grain, or exact oil, salt, or firewood, and each shall be content with his own allowance. Let p207them get their living from the booty taken for the enemy and not from the tears of the provincials. 6 Their arms shall be kept burnished, their implements bright, and their boots stout. Let old uniforms be replaced by new. Let them keep their pay in their belts and not spend it in public-houses. 7 Let them wear their collars, arm-rings,28 and finger-rings. Let each man curry his own horse and baggage-animal, let no one sell the fodder allowed him for his beast, and let them take care in common of the mule belonging to the century. 8 Let one yield obedience to another as a soldier and no one as a slave, let them be attended by the physicians without charge, let them give no fees to soothsayers, let them conduct themselves in their lodgings with propriety, and let anyone who begins a brawl be thrashed."

8 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam I have recently found among the linen books in the Ulpian Library29 a letter, written by the Deified Valerian concerning the Emperor Aurelian, which I have inserted word for word, as seemed right:

2 From Valerian Augustus to Antoninus Gallus,30 the consul. You find fault with me in a personal letter for confiding my son Gallienus31 to Postumus rather than to Aurelian, on the ground, of course, that both the boy and the army should be entrusted to the sterner man. Of a truth you will continue to hold this opinion when once you have learned how stern Aurelian is; 3 for he is too stern, much too stern, he is harsh and his actions are not suited to those of our time. 4 Moreover, I call all to witness that I have even feared that he will act too sternly toward my son also, in case he does aught in behaving with too great frivolity — for he is naturally p209prone to merry-making." 5 This letter shows how great was his sternness, so that even Valerian said that he feared him.

9 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam There is another letter by the same Valerian, sounding his praises, which I have brought out from the files of the city-prefecture. For when he came to Rome the allowance usually made to his rank was assigned to him. A copy of the letter:

2 'From Valerian Augustus to Ceionius Albinus,32 the prefect of the city. It had, indeed, been our wish to bestow on each and every man who has been loyal to the commonwealth a much larger recompense than his rank demands, but especially when his manner of life recommends him for honours — for there should be some other reward for merit than rank —, but the public discipline requires that none shall receive for the income of the provinces a greater sum than the grade of his position permits. 3 Wherefore we have now chosen Aurelian, a very brave man, to inspect and set in order all our camps, for, by the general admission of the entire army, both we ourselves and the whole commonwealth as well are so in his debt that a scarcely any rewards that are worthy of him, or, indeed, too great. 4 For what quality has he that is not illustrious? that cannot be compared with the Corvini33 and the Scipios? He is a liberator of Illyricum, saviour of the provinces of Gaul, and as a general a great and perfect example. 5 And yet there is nothing but this that I can bestow on such a man by way of reward for his services; 6 for a wise and careful administration of the commonwealth will not permit it. Wherefore your p211Integrity, my dearest kinsman, will supply the aforesaid man, as long as he shall be in Rome, with sixteen loaves of soldiers' read of the finest quality, forty loaves of soldiers' bread of the quality used in camp, forty pints of table-wine, the half of a swine, two fowl, thirty pounds of pork, forty pounds of beef, one pint of oil and likewise one pint of fish-pickle, one pint of salt, and greens and vegetables as much as shall be sufficient. 7 And indeed, since something out of the ordinary must be allowed him, as long as he shall be in Rome, you will allow him fodder beyond the usual amount and for his own expenses, moreover, a daily grant of two aurei of Antoninus,34 fifty silver minutuli of Philip, and one hundred denarii of bronze.35 All else will be furnished by the prefects of the treasury."36

10 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam These details may perhaps seem to someone to be paltry and over trivial, but research stops at nothing. 2 He held, then, very many commands as general and very many as tribune, and acted as deputy for generals or tribunes on about forty different occasions. p213Indeed, he even acted as deputy for Ulpius Crinitus,37 who used to assert that he was of the house of Trajan — he was, in actual fact, a most brave man and very similar to Trajan —, who was painted together with Aurelian in the Temple of the Sun, and whom Valerian had planned to appoint to the place of a Caesar. He also commanded troops, restored the frontiers, distributed booty among the soldiers, enriched the provinces of Thrace with captured cattle, horses, and slaves, dedicated spoils in the Palace, and brought together to a private estate of Valerian's five hundred slaves, two thousand cows, one thousand mares, ten thousand sheep, and fifteen thousand goats. 3 At this time, then, Ulpius Crinitus gave thanks formally to Valerian as he sat in the public baths at Byzantium, saying that he had done him great honour in giving him Aurelian as deputy. And for this reason he determined to adopt Aurelian.

11Legamen ad paginam Latinam It is of interest to know the letters that were written concerning Aurelian and also the account of his adoption itself. Valerian's letter to Aurelian: "If there were anyone else, my dearest Aurelian, who could fill the place of Ulpius Crinitus, I should be consulting with you in regard to his courage and industry. But now do you — since I could not have found any other — take upon yourself the war around Nicopolis,38 in order that the illness of Crinitus may cause us no damage. 2 Do whatever you can. I will be brief. The command of the troops will be vested in you. 3 You will have three hundred Ituraean bowmen, six hundred Armenians, one hundred and fifty p215Arabs, two hundred Saracens, and four hundred irregulars from Mesopotamia; 4 you will have the Third Legion, the Fortunata,39 and eight hundred mounted cuirassiers.40 You will also have with you Hariomundus, Haldagates, Hildomundus and Charioviscus.41 5 The prefects have arranged for the needful supplies in all the camps. 6 Your duty it is, with the aid of your wisdom and skill, to place your winter and summer camps where you will lack nothing, and, furthermore, to ascertain where the enemy's train is, and to find out exactly how great his forces are and of what kind, in order that no supplies may be used in vain or weapons wasted, for on these depends all success in war. 7 I, for my part, expect as much from you, if the gods but grant their favour, as the commonwealth could expect from Trajan, were he still alive. And indeed, he, in whose place I have made you deputy, is no less great a man. 8 It is, therefore, proper that you should expect the consulship,42 with this same Ulpius Crinitus as colleague, for the following year, beginning on the eleventh day before the Kalends of June, to fill out the term of Gallienus and Valerian, and your expenses shall be paid from the public funds. 9 For we should aid the poverty of those men — and of none more than those — who after a long life in public affairs are nevertheless poor." 10 This letter also shows how great a man Aurelian was — and truly great, indeed, for no one ever reached the highest place who did not from his earliest years climb up by the ladder of noble character.

12 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam The letter about the consulship: "From Valerian Augustus to Aelius Xiphidius,43 the prefect p217of the treasury. To Aurelian, whom we have named for the consulship, because of his poverty — in which he is great and greater than all others — you will supply for the performance of the races in the Circus three hundred aurei of Antoninus,44 three thousand silver minutuli of Philip, five million bronze sesterces, ten finely-woven tunics of the kind used by men, twenty tunics of Egyptian linen, two pairs of Cyprian table-covers, ten African carpets, ten Moorish couch-covers, one hundred swine, and one hundred sheep. 2 You will order, moreover, that a banquet shall be given at the state's expense to the senators and Roman knights, and that there shall be two sacrificial victims of major and four of minor size."

3 And now, inasmuch as I have said in reference to his adoption that I would include certain things which concern so great a prince, 4 I ask you not to consider me too tedious or too wordy in the following statement, which I have thought I should introduce, for the sake of accuracy, from the work of Acholius,45 the master of admissions46 under the Emperor Valerian, in the ninth book of his records:

13 1 Legamen ad paginam Latinam When Valerian Augustus had taken his seat in the public baths at Byzantium, in the presence of the army and in the presence of the officials of the Palace, there being seated with him Nummius Tuscus, the consul-regular,47 Baebius Macer,48 prefect of the guard, and Quintus Ancharius, governor of the East, and seated on his left hand Avulnius Saturninus, general in command of the Scythian frontier, Murrentius Mauricius, just appointed to Egypt, p219Julius Trypho, general in command of the frontier of the East, Maecius Brundisinus, prefect of the grain-supply for the East, Ulpius Crinitus, general in command of the Illyrian and Thracian frontier, and Fulvius Boius, general in command of the Raetian frontier, Valerian Augustus spoke as follows: 2 "The commonwealth thanks you, Aurelian, for having set it free from the power of the Goths. Through your efforts we are rich in booty, we are rich in glory and in all that causes the felicity of Rome to increase. 3 Now, therefore, in return for your great achievements receive for yourself four mural crowns,49 five rampart crowns,50 two naval crowns,51 two civic crowns,52 ten spears without points,53 four bi-coloured banners, four red general's tunics, two proconsul's cloaks, a bordered toga, a tunic embroidered with palms,54 a gold-embroidered toga, a long under-tunic, and an ivory chair. 4 For on this day I appoint you consul, and I will write to the senate that it may vote you the sceptre of office55 and vote you also the fasces; for these insignia the emperor is not wont to give, but, on the contrary, to receive from the senate when he is created consul." 14Legamen ad paginam Latinam After this speech of Valerian's Aurelian arose and bending over the Emperor's hand, he expressed his thanks in words befitting a soldier, and these I have considered suitable and worthy of being quoted here. He spoke as follows: 2 "As for myself, my lord Valerian, Emperor and Augustus, it was with this end in view that I have done all that I did, have suffered wounds with patience, and have exhausted my horses and my p221sworn comrades, namely, that I might win the approval of the commonwealth and of my own conscience. 3 You, however, have done more. Therefore, I am grateful for your kindness and I will accept the consulship which you offer me. May a god, and a god in whom we can put our trust, now grant that the senate shall form a like judgement concerning me." 4 And so, when all who stood about expressed their thanks, Ulpius Crinitus arose and delivered the following speech: 5 "According to the custom of our ancestors, Valerian Augustus, — a custom which my own family has held particularly dear, — men of the highest birth have always chosen the most courageous to be their sons, in order that those families which either were dying out or had lost their offspring by marriage might gain lustre from the fertility of a borrowed stock. 6 This custom, then, which was followed by Nerva in adopting Trajan, by Trajan in adopting Hadrian, by Hadrian in adopting Antoninus, and by the others after them according to the precedent thus established, I have thought I should now bring back by adopting Aurelian, whom you, by the authority of your approval, have given to me as my deputy. 7 Do you, therefore, give the order that it may be sanctioned by law and that Aurelian may become the heir to the sacred duties, the name, the goods, and the legal rights of Ulpius Crinitus, already a man of consular rank, even as through your decision he is straightway to become a consular." 15Legamen ad paginam Latinam It would be too long to include every detail in full. For Valerian expressed his gratitude to Crinitus, and the adoption was carried out in the wonted form. 2 I remember having read in some Greek book what I have thought I ought not to omit, namely, that Valerian commanded p223Crinitus to adopt Aurelian, chiefly for the reason that he was poor; but this question I think should be left undiscussed.

3 Now, inasmuch as I have previously inserted the letter in accordance with which Aurelian was furnished with the money needed for his consulship, I have thought I should tell why I inserted a detail apparently trivial. 4 We have recently beheld the consulship of Furius Placidus56 celebrated in the Circus with so much display that the chariot-drivers seemed to receive not prizes but patrimonies, for they were presented with tunics of part-silk, with embroidered tunics57 made of fine linen, and even with horses, while right-thinking men groaned aloud. 5 For it has come to pass that the consulship is now a matter of wealth, not of men, because, of course, if it is offered to merit, it ought not to impoverish the holder. 6 Gone are those former days of integrity, destined to disappear still further through the currying of popular favour. But this question, too, as is our wont, we shall leave undiscussed.


The Editor's Notes:

1 Celebrated in honour of the Magna Mater on 25 March.

Thayer's Note: For more detailed information see the article Hilaria in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities; note that there is ancient authority for a much broader use of the word; since there is no definite article in Latin, a better translation of this passage would be: "At a Hilaria festival. . . ."

2 Junius Tiberianus was consul in 281 and 291. He was prefect of the city, according to the list of the "Chronographer of 354," from 18 Feb 291 to 3 Aug. 292, and again from 12 Sept. 303 to 4 Jan. 304. Since neither this group of biographies nor those ascribed to Trebellius Pollio was written as early as 292, it must be his second prefecture that is meant here. This, however, did not include the Hilaria, and one is (p193)forced to the conclusion that, unless the feast of Isis on 3 Nov., sometimes also referred to as the Hilaria, is meant, the episode described here is merely a literary device.

Thayer's Note: Any attempt to date anything from the Hilaria is inconclusive: see the previous note.

As for the rest, what a tangled web we weave when at first we plan to deceive! Our author tells us here that he was pretty much commanded to write this stuff in 291‑292 or in 303‑304 — but in xv.4 (q.v., and note 56) he tells us that the consulate of Furius Placidus (343) was behind him as he wrote. I too am a slow writer, but this is pushing it, and at least one of those two statements must be false: at that point, why not both? And sure enough he will come within an inch of admitting it outright: see ii.1 and my note.

3 Otherwise unknown.

4 See c. xxxv.3 and note.

5 The reviler of Agamemnon in IliadII.212 f.

6 He persuaded the Trojans to bring into their city the Wooden Horse; see Aeneid, ii.67 f.

7 Probably, like the whole incident, fictitious. They seem to have been suggested by the Libri Lintei, containing lists of magistrates, cited by the annalists C. Licinius Macer and Q. Aelius Tubero, of the first century B.C. (see Livy, IV.7, 12; 23.2), but regarded by many modern scholars as apocryphal.

8 In the Forum of Trajan; see note to Hadr. vii.6. It is (p195)a favourite source for the erudition displayed by this biographer; see Tac. viii.1; Prob. ii.1; Car. xi.3.

9 Only a tentative restoration of the text and wholly unknown (cf. note to Prob. i.3).

10 See note to Val. i.1.

11 Pompeius Trogus, of the time of Augustus, who wrote Historiae Philippicae, extant only in the abridgement by Justinus.

12 L. Domitius Aurelianus Augustus (270‑275).

13 According to Epit. 35.1, his father was a colonus of a senator named Aurelius.

14 Mod. Mitrovitz. His actual birthplace is, indeed, unknown, (p197)but there is no doubt that, like Claudius, Probus, Carus and Diocletian, he came of the hardy Illyrian stock which in this period furnished the greater part of Rome's soldiers. He was born in 214 or 215.

15 A new province formed by Aurelian himself (see c. xxxix.7), and so not unnaturally supposed to be his native place.

16 A pupil of Parmenides, born in Elea (Velia) in Italy about 485 B.C. and resident in Athens about 450, the inventor of the argument about Achilles and the tortoise.

17 A Scythian prince who travelled to Greece and was supposed to have lived in Athens in the early sixth century as the friend of Solon and to have been the author of a series of aphorisms; see Diog. Laert. I.8.101 f.

18 Otherwise unknown and probably fictitious.

19 An allusion to the cult of the Sun founded by him at Rome; see c. xxxv.3 and note. This fact is probably the origin of the story that his mother was a priestess of the deity.

20 Pliny (Nat. Hist. xxix.72) tells of snakes kept as pets in Rome. The snake was, in fact, regarded as the symbol of the genius of the owner of a house, and is often found at Pompeii painted on the wall of the shrine of the household-gods along with the figures of the Lares and Penates.

21 For a similar "omen" see Cl. Alb. v.9.

22 It had been forbidden by M. Aurelius; see Marc. xxiii.8.

23 In Juvenal, xii.106‑107, elephants are designated as Caesaris armentum, nulli servire paratum | privato.

24 Similarly, a centurion in the army of the Danube in A.D. 14 had the nickname of "Cedo alteram" ("Give‑me-another"); see Tac. Ann. I.23.4.

25 Otherwise unknown.

26 Presumably during the German invasions of 254‑258. No Legio VI Gallicana is known.

27 The same punishment, but for a different offence, was used by Alexander the Great; see Plutarch, Alex. 43.3.

28 See Claud. xiii.8 and note.

29 See c. i.7 and notes.

30 No consul of this name is known.

31 This is certainly an error, probably due to confusion with the fact that Gallienus entrusted his son Valerian to the care of Silvanus; see notes to Tyr. Trig. iii.1.

32 Perhaps M. Nummius Ceionius Annius Albinus of CIL VI.314b, who may be identical with the Nummius Albinus who was prefect of the city in 256; but see note to Cl. Alb. iv.1.

33 M. Valerius Corvus (or Corvinus), six times consul between 348 and 299 B.C. and victor over the Volsci and Samnites, and his descendants, especially M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus, (p209)famous as a general in the early principate of Augustus and the patron of Tibullus.

34 These coins are also mentioned in similar "letters" in c. xii.1; Prob. iv.5; Firm. xv.8. That gold coins of any Antonines were current at the time when these "letters" were supposed to have been written is very doubtful. The name Antoninianus is usually applied (though with no other warrant than these "letters") to the new silver coin that was issued by Caracalla and the later emperors of the third century, but there is no reason to suppose that it was ever given to the aureus. The term Philippeus was familiar, from long-standing tradition, as a designation for the aureus (see note to Claud. xiv.3), but neither the small silver minutuli (see note to Alex. xxii.8) nor the bronze coins had any possible connection with Philip of Macedonia, nor is there any reason to suppose that they took their name from Philippus Arabs, who did not institute any reform in the coinage. It would seem that the author, failing to understand the real significance of the term Philippeus and supposing that it was derived from the name of the emperor, has applied both it and Antoninianus to all coins indiscriminately, for the purpose of creating the impression of greater learning; see Menadier, p27 f.; p47 f.

35 The expression aeris denarios is nonsense, since these coins were not made of bronze but of base metal washed with silver.

36 The statement that supplies will be furnished to an army officer by the prefect of the aerarium (the old senatorial treasury) is sufficient evidence that this letter is a forgery. Equally fictitious is this official in c. xii.1 and c. xx.8.

37 Mentioned also in c. xxxviii.2‑3, but otherwise unknown. It is probably true that under Valerian Aurelian was engaged in the defence of Thrace against the Goths, but the episode as developed in the following chapters, with the account of Valerian's audience at Constantinople, the adoption of Aurelian and his appointment to the consulship, all embellished with (p213)fabricated "documents," must be considered an invention of the author's.

38 See Claud. xii.4 and note.

39 Mentioned also in a "speech" of Valerian's in Prob. v.6, but otherwise unknown, for none of the five Third Legions of which we know had the cognomen Felix.

40 See note to Alex. lvi.5.

41 Evidently intended to be names of German chieftains in Roman service.

42 Aurelian's first consulship was, in fact, in 271.

43 Otherwise unknown and probably fictitious.

44 See c. ix.7 and note.

45 See Alex. xiv.6 and note.

46 In the early empire known as ab admissione, a freedman whose duty it was to admit persons to audiences with the emperor. The title magister admissionum was held in the Byzantine period by an official of high degree, but this reference is the only evidence for the existence of the office as early as the third century and it is probably a fabrication.

47 See note to Carac. iv.8.

48 Unknown, like all those whose names follow.

49 Made of gold with a decoration in the form of a battlement, presented to the man who first scaled the enemy's wall.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources on the mural crown, as well as an illustration, see this section of the article Corona in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

50 Made of gold with a decoration in the form of a rampart, presented for forcing a way into a hostile camp.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources on the rampart crown, as well as an illustration, see this section of the article Corona in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

51 Made of gold and adorned with the beaks of ships, presented to the man who first boarded an enemy's ship.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources on the naval crown, as well as an illustration, see this section of the article Corona in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

52 See Marc. xii.8 and note.

53 Frequently presented as a mark of distinction (so also Prob. v.1).

Thayer's Note: This is the hasta pura, for further details and sources on which, see the article Hasta in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

54 See note to Gord. iv.4.

55 Originally carried by the triumphant general on the day (p219)of his triumph, but from the second century onward, like the other insignia of office here mentioned, permitted to the consul on the occasion of his solemn procession to the Capitol.

56 No such consul is known.

Thayer's Note: A man named M. Maecius Furius Baburius Caecilianus Placidus seems to have been the ordinary consul for A.D. 343; see Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, s.v. Paragauda, referring to this passage; a standard modern list (compiled from various sources) showing him as consul for that year, can be found at several sites, among which ImperiumRomanum.Com.

57 See note to Claud. xvii.6.


Thayer's Note:

a The name given as that of the author of the four immediately preceding biographies in the Historia Augusta. Since scholarship has finally caught up with the writer of the entire set — one person using six pseudonyms (see the introduction at Livius) — this passage, thru the end of the paragraph, is about as close as he will get to giving himself away: it's basically a tease, in which he dares us to discover just how he has fabricated his account: "You will be safe in saying whatever you wish, since you will have as comrades in falsehood" Livy and Sallust and Tacitus and Trogus!


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