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Alexander Severus

This webpage reproduces part of the
Historia Augusta

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1924

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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The three Gordians

(Vol. II) Historia Augusta

p315 The Two Maximini

1 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Lest it should be distasteful to Your Clemency, great Constantine, to read the several lives of the emperors and the emperors' sons, each in a separate volume, I have practised a certain economy, in that have compressed the two Maximini, father and son, into one single book. 2 And from this point onward I have kept this arrangement, which Your Holiness wished also Tatius Cyrillus,1 of the rank of the Illustrious, to keep in his translation from Greek into Latin. 3 And I shall keep it, indeed, not in one book alone, but in most that I shall write hereafter, excepting only the great emperors; for their doings, being greater in number and fame, call for a longer recounting.

4 Maximinus the elder2 became famous in the reign of Alexander; but his service in the army3 began p317under Severus. 5 He was born in a village in Thrace bordering on the barbarians, indeed of a barbarian father and mother, the one, men say, being of the Goths, the other of the Alani.4 6 At any rate, they say that his father's name was Micca, his mother's Ababa.5 7 And in his early days Maximinus himself freely disclosed these names; later, however, when he came to the throne, he had them concealed, lest it should seem that the emperor was sprung on both sides from barbarian stock.6

2 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In his early youth he was a herdsman and the leader of a band of young men, a man who would waylay marauders and protect his own folk from forays. 2 His first military service was in the cavalry.7 For certainly he was strikingly big of body, and notable among all the soldiers for courage, handsome in a manly way, fierce in his manners, rough, haughty, and scornful, yet often a just man.

3 It was in the following way that he first came into prominence in the reign of Severus. 4 Severus, on the birthday of Geta, his younger son, was giving military games, offering various silver prizes, arm-rings, that is, and collars, and girdles. 5 This youth, half barbarian and scarcely yet master of the Latin tongue, speaking almost pure Thracian, publicly besought the Emperor to give him leave to compete, and that with men of no mean rank in the service. 6 Severus, struck with his bodily size, pitted him first against sutlers — all very valorous men, none the less — in order to avoid a rupture of military discipline. 7 Whereupon p319Maximinus overcame sixteen sutlers at one sweat, and received his sixteen prizes, all rather small and not military ones, and was commanded to serve in the army. 3[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The second day thereafter, when Severus had proceeded to the parade-ground, he happened to espy Maximinus rioting in his barbarian way among the crowd, and immediately ordered the tribune to take him in hand and school him in Roman discipline. 2 And he, when he perceived that the Emperor was talking about him — for the barbarian suspected that he was known to the Emperor and conspicuous even among many —, came up to the Emperor's feet where he sat his horse. 3 And then Severus, wishing to try how good he was at running, gave his horse free rein and circled about many times, and when at last the aged Emperor had become weary and Maximinus after many turns had not stopped running, he said to him, "What say you, my little Thracian? Would you like to wrestle now after your running?" And Maximinus answered, "As you please, Emperor." 4 On this Severus dismounted and ordered the most vigorous and the bravest soldiers to match themselves with him; 5 whereupon he, in his usual fashion, vanquished seven at one sweat, and alone of all, after he had gotten his silver prizes, was presented by Severus with a collar of gold; he was ordered, moreover, to take a permanent post in the palace with the body-guard. 6 In this fashion, then, he was made prominent and became famous among the soldiers, well liked by the tribunes, and admired by his comrades. He could obtain from the Emperor whatever he wanted, and indeed Severus helped him to advancement in the service when he was still very young. In height and size and proportions, in his p321great eyes, and in whiteness of skin he was pre-eminent among all.

4 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] It is agreed, moreover, that often in a single day he drank a Capitoline amphora8 of wine, and ate forty pounds of meat, or, according to Cordus,9 no less than sixty. 2 It seems sufficiently agreed, too, that he abstained wholly from vegetables, and almost always from anything cold, save when he had to drink. 3 Often, he would catch his sweat and put it in cups or a small jar, and he could exhibit by this means two or three pints of it.

4 For a long time under Antoninus Caracalla he commanded in the ranks of the centuries10 and often held other military honours as well. But under Macrinus, whom he hated bitterly because he had slain his Emperor's son,11 he left the service and acquired an estate in Thrace, in the village where he was born, and here he trafficked continually with the Goths. He was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves. 5 And the Alani, or at least those of them who came to the river-bank,12 continually exchanged gifts with him and hailed him as friend.

6 When Macrinus and his son were slain, however, and he learned that Elagabalus was reigning as Antoninus' son,13 he went to him, being now of mature age, and besought him to hold the same opinion of him that his grandfather Severus had done. But he could have no influence with that filthy man. 7 For Elagabalus is said to have made sport of him p323most foully, saying, "You are reported, Maximinus, to have outworn at times sixteen and twenty and thirty soldiers; can you avail thirty times with a woman?" 8 And when Maximinus saw the disgraceful prince beginning thus, he left the service. 9 In the end, however, the friends of Elagabalus retained him, lest this also be added to Elagabalus's ill-fame, that the bravest man of his time — whom some called Hercules, others Achilles, and others Ajax — had been driven from his army. 5[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Under this filthy creature, therefore, he held only the honour of a tribuneship; but never did he come to take the Emperor's hand and never did he greet him, but during the whole of three years he was always hastening from one place to another; 2 now he was occupied with his fields, now with resting, now with feigned illnesses.

3 On the death of Elagabalus, as soon as he learned that Alexander was proclaimed emperor, he hastened to Rome. 4 And Alexander received him with marvellous joy and marvellous thanksgiving; indeed, in the senate he used expressions like these: "Maximinus, Conscript Fathers, the tribune to whom I have given the broad stripe,14 has taken refuge with me — he who could not serve under that foul monster, and who, under my deified kinsman Severus, was what you know him to have been by report." 5 He at once made him tribune of the Fourth Legion,15 which he p325himself had formed out of recruits,º giving him his promotion with the following words: 6 "I have not entrusted veterans to you, my most dear and loving Maximinus, because I feared that you cannot root out the faults that have grown in them under other commanders. 7 You have fresh recruits; after the pattern of your habits, your courage, your industry, make them learn their service, so that from yourself, who are one, you can make me many Maximini, men most desirable for the state."

6 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Having therefore accepted the legion, he immediately began to train it. 2 On every fifth day he had his men parade in armour and fight a sham battle against one another. Their swords, corselets, helmets, shields, tunics, in fact all their arms, he inspected daily; 3 indeed, he himself provided for their boots, so that he was exactly like a father to the troops. 4 And when certain tribunes remonstrated with him, saying, "Why do you work so hard, now that you have attained a rank where you can become a general?" he replied, it is said, "As for me, the greater I become, the harder I shall work." 5 He was wont also to join the soldiers at their wrestling, and he stretched them on the ground by fives, sixes, and sevens, though now an old man. 6 Now every one became jealous, and one insolent tribune, a man of great size and proved courage, and therefore the bolder, said to him, "You do nothing very great, if you vanquish your own soldiers, being a tribune yourself." Maximinus replied, "Would you like to fight?" 7 And when his opponent nodded assent and advanced against him, he smote him on the breast with the palm of his hand and knocked him flat on his back, then said, "Give me another, and this time a real tribune".

p327 8 He was of such size, so Cordus reports, that men said he was six inches over eight feet in height;16 and his thumb was so huge that he used his wife's bracelet for a ring. 9 Other stories are reported almost as common talk — that he could drag waggons with his hands and move a laden cart by himself, that if he struck a horse with his fist, he loosened its teeth, or with his heel, broke its legs, that he could crumble tufaceous stone and split saplings, and that he was called, finally, by some Milo of Croton, by others Hercules, and by others Antaeus.

7 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] When these things had now made him a distinguished man, Alexander, a good judge of great worth, to his own destruction put him in command of the entire army.17 Everyone, everywhere, was pleased — tribunes, generals, and men. 2 So now Alexander's whole army, which had fallen into a lethargy to a great extent under Elagabalus, Maximinus brought back to his own standard of discipline. 3 And this, as we have said, proved a very serious thing for Alexander — a very good emperor, to be sure, but one whose youth from the very beginning could readily make him an object of contempt. 4 For when he was in Gaul, and had pitched camp not far from a certain city,18 of a sudden the soldiers were incited against him — some say by Maximinus, others say by the barbarian tribunes —, and as he fled to his mother he was slain, while Maximinus had already been hailed emperor.19 5 And, indeed, some say the cause of Alexander's death was one thing, others say another. For some maintain that Mamaea was the prime cause, p329as she wished her son to leave the Germanic war and go to the East, and on that account the soldiers broke out in mutiny.20 6 Others say that Alexander was too strict and had wished to discharge the legions in Gaul as he had done in the East.21

8 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] However that may be, after Alexander was killed, Maximinus was the first man from the body of the soldiers and not yet a senator to be acclaimed Augustus by the army without a decree of the senate,22 and his son was made his colleague.23 And about the latter we shall tell later on24 the few things that we know. 2 Now Maximinus was always clever enough not to rule the soldiers by force alone; on the contrary, he made them devoted to him by rewards and riches. 3 He never took away any man's rations; 4 he never let any man in his army work as a smith or artisan, which most of them are, but kept the legions busy only with frequent hunting. 5 Along with these virtues, however, went such cruelty that some called him Cyclops, some Busiris,25 and others Sciron,26 not a few Phalaris,27 and many Typhon28 or Gyges.29 6 The senate was so afraid of him that prayers p331were made in the temples both publicly and privately, and even by women together with their children, that he should never see the city of Rome. 7 For they kept hearing that he hung men on the cross, shut them in the bodies of animals newly slain, cast them to wild beasts, dashed out their brains with clubs, and all this for no desire for personal authority but because he seemed to wish military discipline to be supreme, and wished to amend civil affairs on that pattern.30 8 All of which does not become a prince who wishes to be loved. As a matter of fact, he was convinced that the throne could not be held except by cruelty. 9 He likewise feared that the nobility, because of his low barbarian birth, would scorn him, 10 remembering in this connection how he had been scorned at Rome by the very slaves of the nobles, so that not even their stewards would admit him to their presence; 11 and as is always the way with fatuous beliefs, he expected them to be the same toward him now that he was emperor. So powerful is the mere consciousness of a low-born spirit. 9[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] For to hide the lowness of his birth he put to death all who had knowledge of it, some of whom, indeed, were friends who had often pitied him for his poverty and made him many presents. 2 And never was there a more savage animal on earth than this man who staked everything on his own strength, as though he could not be killed. 3 Eventually, indeed, when he almost believed himself immortal because of his great size and courage, a certain actor, they say, recited Greek verses in a theatre p333while he was present, the sense of which in Latin was this:

4 And he who cannot be slain by one, is slain by many.
The elephant is huge, and he is slain!
The lion is brave, and he is slain!
The tiger is brave, and he is slain!
Beware of many together, if you fear not one alone.

5 And this was recited while the Emperor himself was present. But when he asked his friends what the clown on the stage had said, they told him that he was simply singing some old verses written against violent men, and he, being a Thracian and a barbarian, believed them. 6 He suffered no nobleman at all to be near his person, ruling in this respect precisely like Spartacus31 or Athenio.32 7 He put all of Alexander's ministers to death in one way or another and disregarded his directions.33 8 And while he held Alexander's friends and ministers under suspicion, he became more cruel.

10 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] And now when he had already taken on the life and character of a wild beast, he was made still harsher and more savage by a revolt which Magnus, a certain man of consular rank, plotted against him.34 2 This man had entered into a conspiracy with a number of soldiers and centurions to stab Maximinus, p335wishing thereby to get the imperial power for himself. It was a conspiracy of this sort: Maximinus wished to make a bridge and cross over against the Germans, and it was resolved that the conspirators should cross over with him and then, breaking the bridge behind them, surround Maximinus on the barbarians' side and kill him, while Magnus seized the throne. 3 For Maximinus had begun waging all manner of wars — and very valiantly, too — as soon as he had been made emperor, inasmuch as he was skilled in the art of war and wished, on the one hand, to guard the reputation he had already won, and, on the other, to surpass in everyone's eyes the glory of Alexander, whom he had slain. 4 For this reason, even as emperor he engaged his soldiers in exercise every day, and, indeed, himself appeared in armour and demonstrated many points to his army with his own hand and body. 5 But about that revolt it is asserted that Maximinus himself invented it in order to make an occasion for barbarity. 6 At any rate, without judge, prosecutor, or defence he put all of them to death and confiscated their property, and even after slaying over four thousand men he was not yet content.

11[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] There was also in his reign a revolt of Osroënian bowmen,35 who rebelled against him through love of Alexander and regret for his loss, having agreed among themselves that Maximinus had certainly slain him; nor could they be persuaded otherwise. 2 They accordingly made one of their number, a certain Titus, whom Maximinus had already discharged from the army, their general and emperor. 3 Indeed, they girt him with the purple, furnished him with royal pomp, and barred access to him like the soldiers of a king, p337all, it must be said, against his will. 4 But while this Titus was sleeping at his home, he was slain by one of his friends, Macedonius by name, who resented his preferment above himself, and so betrayed him to Maximinus and brought the Emperor his head. 5 And at first Maximinus gave him thanks, but later on, hating him as a traitor, he killed him. 6 Through these events, then, he became fiercer day by day, as wild animals grow more savage with their wounds.

7 After these events he crossed over into Germany36 with the whole army and with the Moors, Osroënians, Parthians, and all the other forces that Alexander took when he went to war.37 8 He took these eastern auxiliaries with him chiefly for the reason that no forces are more useful against Germans than light bowmen. 9 And truly Alexander had constructed a splendid war-machine, and Maximinus, they say, greatly added to it. 12[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] He marched, then, into Germany across the Rhine, and throughout thirty or forty miles of the barbarians' country38 he burned villages, drove away flocks, slew numbers of the barbarians themselves, enriched his own soldiers, and took a host of captives, and, had not all the Germans fled to the swamps and forests, he would have brought all Germany under Roman sway. 2 He himself did much with his own hand, especially when he rode into a swamp39 and would have been cut off by the Germans had not his men extricated him as he was mired with his horse. 3 For he had that barbaric rashness which p339made him think that even the emperor always owed the help of his own hand. 4 In the end, a sort of naval battle was fought in the swamp, and very many were slain.

5 And when he had thus conquered Germany,40 he despatched a letter,41 written to dictation, to the senate and people at Rome, the purport of which was this: 6 "We cannot, Conscript Fathers, tell you all that we have done. Throughout an area of forty or fifty miles we have burned the villages of the Germans, driven off their flocks, carried away captives, killed men in arms, and fought a battle in a swamp. And we should have pushed on to the forests, had not the depth of the swamps prevented our crossing." 7 Aelius Cordus says that this oration was entirely his own; 8 and it is easily believed. For what is there in it of which a barbarian soldier were not capable? 9 He wrote likewise to the people, to the same effect but with greater respect, this because of his hatred of the senate, by which, he believed, he was mightily despised. 10 He gave orders, furthermore, for pictures to be painted and hung up before the Senate-house, illustrating the conduct of the war, in order that the art of painting, too, might tell of his exploits. 11 But after his death the senate caused this pictures to be taken down and burned.

13 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] There were many other wars and battles in his reign, and from them all he always returned triumphant with immense plunder and numerous captives. 2 We have an oration of his, sent to the senate, whereof this is a sample: "In a short time, Conscript Fathers, I have waged more wars than any p341of the ancients ever did. I have carried away more plunder than a man could hope for, and I have brought back so many captives that the lands of Rome scarce suffice to hold them." The rest of the oration is unnecessary for this narrative.

3 Germany now being set at peace, he went to Sirmium42 with the intention of waging war against the Sarmatians;43 indeed in his heart he desired to bring all the northern regions up to the Ocean under Roman sway. 4 And he would have done it had he lived, so Herodian says;44 though Herodian was always well disposed to Maximinus, through hatred, as far as we can see, of Alexander.

5 But by this time the Romans could bear his barbarities no longer — the way in which he called up informers and incited accusers, invented false offences, killed innocent men, condemned all whoever came to trial, reduced the richest men to utter poverty and never sought money anywhere save in some other's ruin, put many generals and many men of consular rank to death for no offence, carried others about in waggons without food and drink,45 and kept others in confinement, in short neglected nothing which he thought might prove effectual for cruelty — and, unable to suffer these things longer, they rose against him in revolt.46 6 And not only the Romans, but, because he had been savage to the soldiers also, the armies which were in Africa rose in sudden and powerful rebellion p343and hailed the aged and venerable Gordian47 who was proconsul there, as emperor. This rebellion came into being in the following manner.48

14 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] There was a certain imperial steward in Libya, who in his zeal for Maximinus had despoiled every one ruthlessly, until finally the peasantry, abetted by a number of soldiers, slew him, after overcoming those who out of respect for Maximinus defended the agent of the privy-purse.49 2 But soon the promoters of this murder saw that they must seek relief through sharper remedies, and so, coming to the proconsul Gordian, a man, as we have said, worthy of respect, well-born, eminent in every virtue, whom Alexander had sent to Africa by senatorial decree, and threatening him with swords and every other kind of weapon, they forced him, though he cried out against it and cast himself on the ground, to assume the purple and rule. 3 In the beginning, it is true, Gordian took the purple much against his will; but later, when he saw that this course was unsafe for his son50 and family, he willingly undertook to rule, and at the town of Thysdrus51 he, together with his son, was proclaimed Augustus by all the Africans. 4 From here he went speedily to Carthage with royal pomp and guards and laurelled fasces, and sent letters to the senate at Rome. And the senate, after the murder of Vitalianus,52 the prefect of the guard, received these with rejoicing because of their hatred for Maximinus,53 5 and proclaimed both the elder and p345the younger Gordian Augusti. 15[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then all the informers and accusers and Maximinus' friends were put to death, and Sabinus, the prefect of the city, was beaten by the populace and slain.

2 And when this had been done, the senate, now fearing Maximinus all the more, openly and freely proclaimed him and his son enemies of the state.54 3 It next despatched letters to all the provinces, asking their aid for their common safety and liberty; and all of them gave heed. 4 Lastly Maximinus' friends and administrators, generals, tribunes, and soldiers were everywhere put to death. 5 A few communities, however, remained loyal to the public enemy; these betrayed the messengers who had been sent to them and promptly handed them over to Maximinus by means of informers.

6 The following is a specimen of the letters that the senate sent out:55 "The senate and Roman people, now beginning to be delivered from a most savage monster by the two princes Gordian, to the proconsuls, governors, legates, generals, tribunes, magistrates, and several states, municipalities, towns, villages, and fortified places, with prosperity, which they are just now beginning to regain for themselves. 7 With the help of the gods we have obtained the proconsul Gordian, a most righteous man and eminent senator, as emperor. We have given to him the title of Augustus, and not only to him, but also, for the further safeguarding of the state, to that excellent man Gordian his son. 8 It is now your part to unite, that the state may be made secure, that evil doings may be repelled, and that the monster and his friends, p347wherever they be, may be hunted down. 9 We have pronounced Maximinus and his son enemies of the state."

16 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] This was the senate's decree: After they had assembled in the Temple of Castor and Pollux56 on the sixth day before the Kalends of July,57 Julius Silanus, the consul, read the letter which had been received from Africa from Gordian the proconsul, emperor and father of his country: 2 "Conscript Fathers, the young men, to whom was entrusted Africa to guard, against my will have called on me to rule. But having regard to you, I am glad to endure this necessity. It is yours to decide what you wish. For myself, I shall waver to and fro in uncertainty until the senate has decided." 3 As soon as the letter was read the senate forthwith cried out:58 "Gordian Augustus, may the gods keep you! May you rule happily; you have delivered us. May you rule safely; you have delivered us. Through you the state is made safe. All of us, we thank you." 4 So then the consul put the question: "Concerning the Maximini, Conscript Fathers, what is your pleasure?" They replied, "Enemies, enemies! He who slays them shall have a reward." 5 Again the consul spoke: "Concerning the friends of Maximinus, what seems good?" And they cried out, "Enemies, enemies! He who slays them shall have a reward." 6 And then they cried out: "Let the foe of the senate be hanged on a cross. Let the senate's enemy everywhere be smitten. Let the senate's foes be burned alive. Gordiani Augusti, may the gods keep you! 7 Luckily may you live! Luckily may you rule! We decree the grandson of Gordian59 the praetorship, we promise the grandson of Gordian the consulship. Let the p349grandson of Gordian be called Caesar. Let the third Gordian take the praetorship."

17 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] When this decree of the senate reached Maximinus, being by nature passionate, he so flamed with fury that you would have thought him not a man but a wild beast.60 2 He dashed himself against the walls, sometimes he threw himself upon the ground, he screamed incoherently aloud, he snatched at his sword as though he could slaughter the senate then and there, he rent his royal robes, he beat the palace-attendants, and, had not the youth retreated, certain authorities affirm, he would have torn out his young son's eyes. 3 He was enraged with his son, as it happened, because he had ordered him to go to Rome when he was first declared emperor, and this the youth, because of his excessive fondness for his father, had not done. And now Maximinus imagined that if he had been at Rome the senate would have dared none of this. 4 Blazing with rage, then, his friends got him to his room. 5 But still he could not control his fury, and finally, to get oblivion from his thoughts, he so soaked himself with wine on that first day, they say, that he did not know what had been done. 6 On the next day, admitting his friends — and they indeed could not bear to see him, but stood silent and silently commended what the senate had done, — he held a council as to what he should do. 7 From the council he proceeded to an assembly, and there said much against the Africans, much against Gordian, and more against the senate, urging his soldiers to avenge their common wrongs.

p351 18 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] His speech was altogether that of a soldier,61 this being the general purport of it: "Fellow soldiers, we are revealing something you already know. The Africans have broken faith. When did they ever keep it?62 Gordian, a feeble old man on the brink of death, has assumed the imperial office. 2 Those most sacred Conscript Fathers, who murdered Romulus63 and Caesar, have pronounced me a public enemy, me, who fought for them and conquered for them too; and not only me but you also, and all who stand with me. The Gordians, both father and son, they have called Augusti. 3 If you are men, then, if there is any might in you, let us march now against the senate and the Africans, and you shall have the goods of them all." 4 He then gave them a bounty — and a huge one, too — and turning towards Rome began to march thither with his army.

19 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But now Gordian began to be harassed in Africa by a certain Capelianus,64 whom he had deposed from the governorship of the Moors. 2 And when finally he sent his son against him, and his son after a desperate battle was killed, the old man hanged himself, well knowing that there was much strength in Maximinus and in the Africans none, nay rather only a great faculty for betraying. 3 And forthwith Capelianus, the victor, in the name of Maximinus slew and outlawed all of the dead Gordian's party in Africa, sparing none. Indeed, he seemed to perform these duties quite in Maximinus' own temper. 4 He overthrew cities, ravaged shrines, divided gifts among his p353soldiers, and slaughtered common folk and nobles in the cities. 5 At the same time he strove to win over the affections of his soldiers, playing for the imperial power himself in the event that Maximinus perished.

20 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] When news of these events was brought to Rome, the senate, fearing Maximinus's barbarity — natural at all times and inevitable now that the two Gordians were dead, — elected two other emperors,65 Maximus,66 who had been prefect of the city and had held many other offices with distinction before that, humble by birth but eminent by his virtues, and Balbinus,67 who was somewhat fonder of pleasure. 2 These were acclaimed Augusti by the people; and by the soldiers and the same people the little grandson of Gordian68 was hailed as Caesar. 3 With three emperors, therefore, was the state propped against Maximinus. 4 Maximus, however, was the most rigorous of life, the most sagacious, and the most uniformly courageous of the three, 5 so finally both the senate and Balbinus entrusted the war against Maximinus to him. 6 But after Maximus had set out to war against Maximinus, Balbinus was beset with civil war and domestic disturbances at Rome,69 especially after two soldiers of the praetorian guard were slain by the populace at the p355instigation of Gallicanus and Maecenas. The populace, indeed, were cruelly butchered by the guard when Balbinus proved unable to quell the uprising. And in the end a great part of the city was burned.

7 Meanwhile the Emperor Maximinus had been greatly cheered by hearing of the death of Gordian and Capelianus' victory over his son. 8 But when he received the second decree of the senate, in which Maximus, Balbinus, and Gordian were declared emperors, he then realized that the senate's hatred for him was never to end and that everyone really considered him an enemy. 21[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Hotter than ever, then, he pushed on into Italy. He then learned that Maximus had been sent against him, and in a violent rage came up to Emona70 in line of battle. 2 But the plan agreed on for all the provincials was this:71 that they should gather up everything that could be useful for the commissariat and retire within the cities in order that Maximinus and his army might be pinched by famine. 3 And, indeed, when he pitched camp on the plain for the first time and found no provisions, his army was incensed at him because they suffered from hunger even in Italy, where they expected to be refreshed after the Alps, and they began at first to murmur and then indeed to speak out openly. 4 And when Maximinus attempted to punish this, the army was much inflamed, but silently stored up its hate for the moment and produced it again at the proper time. 5 Many authorities say that Maximinus found Emona empty and abandoned, and foolishly rejoiced because the entire city, as it seemed, had retreated before him.72

p357 6 After this he came to Aquileia, which shut its gates against him and posted armed men about the walls. Nor did the defence lack vigour, being conducted by Menophilus and Crispinus,73 both men of consular rank. 22[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] So when Maximinus found he was besieging Aquileia in vain, he sent envoys to the city. And the people had almost yielded to them, had not Menophilus and his colleague opposed it, saying that the god Belenus74 had declared through the soothsayers that Maximinus would be conquered. 2 Whence afterwards the soldiers of Maximinus boasted, it is said, that Apollo must have fought against them, and that really victory belonged not to the senate and Maximus but to the gods. 3 But, on the other hand, it is said that they advanced this theory because they blushed, armed men as they were, to have been defeated by men practically unarmed. 4 At any rate, after making a bridge of wine-casks, Maximinus crossed the river75 and began to invest Aquileia closely. 5 And terrible then was both the assault and the danger, for the townsmen defended themselves from the soldiers with sulphur, fire, and other defensive devices of this same kind;76 and of the soldiers some were stripped of their arms, others had their clothing burned, and some were blinded, while the investing engines were completely destroyed. 6 Amid all this Maximinus, with his young son whom he had entitled Caesar, strode about the walls, just far enough off to be safe from the throw of javelins, and besought now p359his own men, now the men of the town. 7 But it profited him nothing. For against him, because of his cruelty, and against his son, who was a most beautiful creature, the townsmen merely hurled abuses.

23 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] And so now Maximinus, flattering himself that the war was being prolonged by the cowardice of his men, put his generals to death, just at the time when he could least afford to do so; by which act he made his soldiers still further enraged against him. 2 In addition to that, he now ran short of provisions, because the senate had sent letters to all the provinces and to the overseers of ports to prevent any provisions coming into Maximinus' power. 3 It had sent praetors and quaestors throughout all the cities, moreover, to keep guard everywhere and defend everything against Maximinus.77 4 Finally, it came to pass that he himself, while besieging, suffered the distress of one besieged. 5 At this juncture it was announced that the whole world was agreed in hatred of Maximinus. 6 And so some of the soldiers, whose wives and children were on the Alban Mountain,78 becoming fearful, in the middle of the day, when they rested from the fighting, slew Maximinus and his son as they lay in their tent,79 and putting their heads on poles, showed them to the citizens of Aquileia. 7 And thereupon in the neighbouring town the statues and portraits of Maximinus were immediately thrown down and his prefect of the guard, together with his more notable friends, were slain. Their heads were sent to Rome.

24 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] This was the end of the Maximini, worthy the cruelty of the father, unworthy the goodness of the son. Among the provincials there was tremendous rejoicing at their death, but among the barbarians80 the most grievous sorrow.

p361 2 And now that the public enemies were slain, the soldiers were taken in by the townsfolk at their own request — but on condition that they would worship before the portraits of Maximus and Balbinus and also of Gordian, for all told them that the elder Gordians had been placed among the gods.81 3 This done, a mighty store of provisions was speedily carried from Aquileia to the camp, which was suffering from hunger, and after the soldiers were refreshed, on a later day they came to an assembly. And there they all swore allegiance to Maximus and Balbinus, and hailed the elder Gordians as divine.

4 One can scarcely describe how great the joy was when the head of Maximinus was carried through Italy to Rome. From all sides folk came running as to a public holiday. 5 Maximus, whom many call Pupienus,82 was at Ravenna, preparing with the aid of German auxiliaries for war;83 but when he learned that the army had come over to himself and his colleagues, and that the Maximini were slain, 6 he at once dismissed the German auxiliaries,84 whom he was getting ready against the enemy, and sent a laurelled letter85 to Rome. And this caused unbounded rejoicing in the city; indeed at altars, temples, shrines, and holy places everywhere, everyone offered up thanks. 7 As for Balbinus, a somewhat timid soul by nature, who trembled when he heard Maximinus' very name, he sacrificed a hecatomb86 and gave orders that the gods should be worshipped with an equal sacrifice in every town. 8 Soon thereafter Maximus came to Rome,87 and after going into the senate,88 p363where thanks were offered him, he held an assembly, whence he and Balbinus and Gordian victoriously betook themselves to the Palace.

25 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] It is of interest to know what sort of decree the senate passed and what the day was in the city, when it was announced that Maximinus was slain. 2 For, in the first place, the messenger who had been sent to Rome from Aquileia, by changing his horses managed to gallop with such speed that he reached Rome on the third day after leaving Maximus at Ravenna. 3 As it happened, games were being held that day, when suddenly, while Balbinus and Gordian were seated, the messenger entered the theatre; and at once, before he uttered a word, the people cried out with one voice, "Maximinus is dead!" 4 Thus the messenger was anticipated and the Emperors, who were present, by nodding in assent expressed the public rejoicing. 5 The performance, then, being brought to a close, everyone immediately rushed to his religious duties, and thereafter the nobles sped to the Senate-house, the people to the assembly.

26 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The decree of the senate was as follows:89 After the Emperor Balbinus Augustus had read the letter, the senate cried: 2 "The gods take vengeance on the foes of the Roman people. Most great Jupiter, we give you thanks. Revered Apollo, we give you thanks. Maximus Augustus, we give you thanks. Balbinus Augustus, we give you thanks. We decree temples for the Deified Gordians. 3 The name of Maximinus, previously expunged,90 is now to be stricken from our hearts. Let the head of the public foe be cast into running water. Let no man bury his body. p365He who threatened death to the senate is slain as he deserved. He who threatened chains for the senate is killed as he deserved. 4 Most reverend Emperors, we offer you thanks. Maximus, Balbinus, Gordian, may the gods keep you! victorious over your foes, we all desire your presence. We all desire the presence of Maximus. Balbinus Augustus, may the gods keep you! Honour the present year by being this year's consuls. In the place of Maximinus let Gordian be chosen." 5 After this, Cuspidius Celerinus,91 being asked for his opinion, spoke thus: "Conscript Fathers, having expunged the name of the Maximini and deified the Gordians, in honour of the victory we decree to our princes Maximus, Balbinus, and Gordian statues with elephants, triumphal cars, equestrian statues, and trophies of victory." 6 After this, the senate being dissolved, supplications were ordered throughout the whole city. 7 The princes betook them victoriously to the Palace, but of their lives we shall write later in another book.

Maximinus the Younger

27 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The descent of the younger Maximinus92 has been related above. He himself was so beautiful that the more wanton of women loved him indiscriminately, and not a few desired to be gotten with child by him. 2 He gave such promise of height, moreover, that he might have reached his father's stature had he not perished in his twenty-first year, in the very flower of his youth, or, as some say, in his eighteenth. 3 Even so, he was well versed in Greek and Latin p367letters, for he got his first schooling under the Greek man of letters Fabillus,93 many of whose Greek epigrams are extant today, chiefly on statues of the boy himself. 4 This Fabillus also made Greek verses from those Latin lines of Vergil, meaning to describe this same boy:

"Like to the star of the morning when he, new-bathèd in Ocean,
Raises his holy face and scatters the darkness from heaven,94
So did the young man seem, fair-famed in the name of his father."

5 Latin grammar he studied under Philemon, jurisprudence under Modestinus,95 and oratory under Titianus, the son of that elder Titianus96 who wrote a very beautiful work on the provinces and was called the ape of his age because he imitated everything. He employed also the Greek rhetorician Eugamius, who was famous in his day.

6 Junia Fadilla,97 the great-granddaughter of Antoninus, was betrothed to him; but afterwards she was espoused by Toxotius, a senator of the same family, who died after serving his praetorship, certain poems of his being extant today. 7 The regal betrothal-gifts that he had presented her with, however, she kept. Junius Cordus, who was an investigator of these things, p369says that they were such as these: a necklace of nine pearls; a net-work cap with eleven emeralds; a bracelet with a row of four sapphires; and besides these, gowns worked with gold, all of them royal, and other betrothal pledges.

28 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The young man Maximinus was most excessively insolent; indeed, when even his father, a very hard man, rose to greet many distinguished men, he remained seated. 2 He was fond of gay living, very sparing in the use of wine, but voracious in respect to food, especially game, eating only boar's flesh, ducks, cranes, and everything that is hunted. 3 The friends of Maximus, Balbinus, and Gordian, and particularly the senators, spoke ill of him because his excessive beauty; for they were not willing that his beauty, fallen, as it were, from heaven, should be pure. 4 Indeed, that time when he walked about the walls of Aquileia with his father, asking its surrender, nothing but filthy insinuations were hurled at him,98 — though far removed from his real life. 5 He was very careful of his dress, and no woman was more elegantly groomed. 6 It was monstrous how his father's friends fawned on him, in hopes chiefly of gifts or largess. 7 For he was exceedingly haughty at his levees — he stretched out his hand, and suffered his knees to be kissed, and sometimes even his feet. This the elder Maximinus never permitted; for he said "God forbid that any free man should ever print a kiss on my feet". 8 And while we are speaking of the elder Maximinus we should not forbear to mention this amusing thing: as we have said,99 Maximinus was almost eight and a half feet tall; and certain men deposited a shoe of his, p371that is, one of his royal boots, in a grove which lies between Aquileia and Arcia,100 because, sooth, they agreed that it was a foot longer than the measure of any foot of man. 9 Whence also is derived the vulgar expression, used for lanky and awkward fellows, of "Maximinus' boot". 10 I have put this down lest any one who reads Cordus should believe that I have overlooked anything which pertained to my subject. But now let me return to the son.

29 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Aurelius Alexander101 wished to give him his sister Theoclia in marriage and wrote to his mother Mamaea these words concerning the youth: 2 "Mother, were there not an element of the barbarian in the character of the elder Maximinus — he who is out general, and a very good one, too — I had already married your Theoclia to Maximinus102 the younger. 3 But I am afraid that such a product of Greek culture as my sister could not endure a barbarian father-in‑law, however much the young man himself seems handsome and learned and polished in Greek elegance. This is what I think; 4 but nevertheless I ask your advice. Tell me, do you wish Maximinus, the son of Maximinus, for a son-in‑law, or Messalla, who is a scion of a noble house, a very powerful speaker, very learned, and, if I mistake not, a man who would prove himself gallant on the field if occasion should arise?" 5 Thus Alexander on Maximinus. As for us, we have nothing further to say of him.

6 And yet — lest we seem to have omitted anything at all — I have set down a letter written by his father Maximinus, when he had now become emperor, in p373which he says that he had proclaimed his son emperor in order to see, either in painting or actuality, what the younger Maximinus would look like in the purple. 7 The letter itself was of this nature: "I have let my Maximinus be called emperor, not only because of the fondness which a father owes a son, but also that the Roman people and that venerable senate may be able to take an oath that they have never had a more handsome emperor". 8 After the fashion of the Ptolemies this youth wore a golden cuirass; he had also a silver one. He had a shield, moreover, inlaid with gold and jewels, and also a gold-inlaid spear. 9 He had silver swords made for him, too, and gold ones as well, everything, in fact, which could enhance his beauty — helmets inset with precious stones and cheek-pieces done in the same fashion.

10 These are the facts which can be known and related of the boy with propriety. But whoever desires to know the rest, about sexual and amorous affairs with which Cordus bespatters him, let him read Cordus; as for us, we make an end of our book here, and hasten on, as though bidden by a public duty, to other things.

30 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The omens that he would be emperor were these: A snake coiled about his head as he was sleeping. A grape-vine which he planted produced within a year huge clusters of purple grapes, and grew to an astounding size. 2 His shield blazed in the sun. A small lance of his was split by lightning and in such a manner that the whole of it, even through the iron, was cleft and fell into two halves. And from this the soothsayers declared that from the one house there would spring two emperors of the same name, whose reign would be of no long duration. p3753 His father's cuirass — many saw it — was stained not with rust, as is usual, but all over with a purple colour. 4 These omens, moreover, occurred for the son: When he was sent to a grammarian, a certain kinswoman of his gave him the works of Homer all written in letters of gold on purple. 5 And while he was yet a little boy, he was asked to dinner by Alexander as a compliment to his father, and, being without a dinner-robe, he wore one of Alexander's. 6 When still an infant, moreover, he mounted up into a carriage of Antoninus Caracalla's that unexpectedly came down the public way, seeing it empty, and sat down; and only with great ado was he routed out by the coachmen. 7 Nor were there lacking then those who told Caracalla to beware of the child. But he said, "It is a far chance that this fellow will succeed me." For at that time he was of the undistinguished crowd and was very young.

31 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The omens of his death were these: When Maximinus and his son were marching against Maximus and Balbinus they were met by a woman with dishevelled hair and woeful attire, who cried out, "Maximini, Maximini, Maximini," and said no more, and died. She wished to add, it seemed, "Help me!" 2 And at their next halting-place hounds, more than twelve of them, howled about his tent, drawing their breath with a sort of sobbing, and at dawn were found dead. 3 Five hundred wolves, likewise, came in a pack into that town whither Maximinus had betaken himself — Emona,103 many say, others Archimea;104 at any rate, it was one which was left abandoned by its inhabitants when Maximinus approached. 4 It is a lengthy business to enumerate all these things; and if anyone desires to know them, let him, as I have p377often said, read Cordus, who has related them all, to the point of telling idle tales.

5 They have no tombs. For their corpses were cast into running water and their heads, while the mob capered, were burned in the Campus Martius.

32 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Aelius Sabinus105 has written, and we must not omit it, that such was the beauty of the son's face that even in death his head, now black, and dirty, shrunken, and running with putrid gore, seemed still the shadow, as it were, of a beautiful face. 2 And indeed, though there was great joy at seeing the head of Maximinus, there was almost equal grief when the son's head was carried with it. 3 Dexippus106 says that Maximinus was hated so thoroughly that when the Gordians perished the senate elected twenty men to oppose him.107 Among these were Maximus and Balbinus, and these two they made emperors against him. 4 This same Dexippus says also that Maximinus' prefect of the guard and his son were slain before their eyes, after his soldiers had deserted him. 5 And there are not lacking historians who say that Maximinus also, after he had been deserted and had seen his son slain before his eyes, killed himself with his own hand,108 that nothing womanish might attach to him.

33 1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Nor can we fail to mention the extraordinary loyalty displayed by the Aquileians in defending the senate against Maximinus. For, lacking bow-strings with which to shoot their arrows, they made cords of the women's hair.109 2 It is said that this once happened at Rome as well, whence it was that p379the senate, in honour of the matrons, dedicated the temple of Venus Calva.110

We can by no means be silent about the following point. For although Dexippus, Arrianus,111 and many other Greek writers have said that Maximus and Balbinus were set up as emperors against Maximinus, and that Maximus, being sent out with the army, prepared for war at Ravenna, and did not see Aquileia until after he was victorious,112 Latin writers have said that it was not Maximus but Pupienus who fought Maximinus at Aquileia and beat him. 3 Whence this error arose I cannot say, unless it be that Maximus and Pupienus were one and the same.113 4 At any rate, I have set this statement down with its authorities, in order that no one may believe that I did not know it — which indeed would cause great wonder and amazement!


The Editor's Notes:

1 Otherwise unknown. On the title see note to Avid. Cass. I.1.

2 C. Julius Verus Maximinus (Thrax). The biography is constructed mainly out of material taken from Herodian (called Arrianus in c. xxxiii.3; Gord. II.1; Max.‑Balb. I.2). This is supplemented by anecdotes and by a few statements from the "Imperial Chronicle" which appears in a reduced form in Victor's Caesares and Eutropius' Breviarium; see Intro. to Vol. I p. xxii f. The modern tendency, however, (p315)is to discard as unhistoric all that is not contained in Herodian; see Hohl in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencycl., X.852 f.

3 i.e. as a private soldier. If we may believe the statement of Zonaras (XII.16) that he was sixty-five years old at the time of his death, he was born in 173.

4 See note to Pius V.5.

5 So also Jordanes (de Rebus GeticisXV.83), who narrates too the anecdote contained in c. II.3‑III.6, citing as his authority Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, who evidently took it from this vita; see Intro. to Vol. I., p. xxiv.

6 Cf. semibarbarus, c. 11.5, and μιξοβάρβαρος, Herodian,º VI.8.1.

7 So also Herodian, VI.8.1.

8 The amphora was the unit of liquid measure, containing about 26.2 litres (= 6⅞ gals.). A vessel of standard size was kept on the Capitoline Hill as a model. Various vessels have been preserved with inscriptions signifying that they contain the requisite amounts according to the Capitoline standard; see Dessau, Ins. Sel. 8627‑8629. For a fanciful explanation of this expression see Hohl, Hermes, LII p472 f.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources, see this section of the article Amphora in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

9 See Intro. to Vol. I, p. xviii.

10 On this expression see note to Avid. Cass. i.1.

11 i.e. Caracalla.

12 i.e. the Danube; see note to c. 1.5.

13 See note to Heliog. i.1.

14 Distinctive of the senatorial order; see note to Com. iv.7. This statement is evidently spurious, for Maximinus on his (p323)elevation to the imperial power was nondum senator; see c. viii.1 and also Eutropius, IX.1.

15 If there is any truth in this statement the legion was the Legio IV Flavia, quartered in Upper Moesia. That it was formed out of recruits is hardly true, and the biographer has probably confused this tribuneship with Maximinus' subsequent command of the recruits in the army on the Rhine; see c. vii.1.

Thayer's Note: Jona Lendering alerts me to J. C. Mann, Note on the Legion IV Italica; according to which that would be the (obscure) legion in question.

16 Cf. c. xxviii.8; his size is also commented on by Herodian; see VI.8.1; VII.1.2.

Thayer's Note: Maximinus is a bit less tall than he sounds, if not much: 8 feet 6 inches Roman is 8 feet 3 inches English measurement, = 2m51.

17 This is incorrect. He was put in command of all the recruits of the army on the Rhine (probably with the title of praefectus tironum); see Alex. lix.7 and Herodian, VI.8.2.

18 Probably Mainz; see note to Alex. lix.6.

19 A detailed account of the mutiny of the recruits, their (p327)acclamation of Maximinus as Imperator, and the murder of Alexander is given in Herodian, VI.8‑9. See also Alex. lix.7‑8.

20 This seems to be a blundering statement of the fact that the uprising which resulted in his death was due, at least in part, to his attempt to end the war by negotiations; see note to Alex. lix.1.

21 See notes to Alex. xii.5.

22 He was later accepted by the senate, and, on the 25th March, 235, received the usual honours; see CIL VI.2001; 2009.

23 His name was C. Julius Verus Maximus according to the testimony of coins and inscriptions, whereas in this biography and in Victor, Caes. XXV.2, he is incorrectly called Maximinus. He was made Caesar in 236, and was given the title Princeps Iuventutis; see Cohen, IV2, p525 f., nos. 10‑15. He never received the title Augustus.

24 See c. xxvii‑xxxiii.

25 A mythical king of Egypt who sacrificed strangers to Zeus.

26 A robber who lived on the coast near the border of Attica and Megaris; he is said to have been killed by Theseus.

27 Tyrant of Agrigentum in Sicily about 560 B.C. He used to roast condemned persons in a bronze bull and finally himself met with this same fate.

28 Also called Typhoeus, a hundred-headed Titan, son of Gaia and Tartarus, struck with lightning by Zeus and buried under Aetna.

29 Also called Gyas; a giant with a hundred arms, the son of Gaia and Uranus.

30 His natural brutality seems to have been increased by the revolts described in c. x‑xi, but this highly-coloured account seems to be much exaggerated. His cruelty is commented on briefly by Herodian, VII.1.12.

31 A Thracian gladiator, who in 73 B.C. collected an army of gladiators, slaves, and desperadoes. He defeated several Roman generals but was finally overcome by Marcus Crassus.

32 A Cilician slave, who led a slave-revolt in Sicily in 104 B.C. and terrorized the island. He was finally defeated by Manius Aquillius in 101 or 100 B.C.

33 Herodian (VII.1.3) relates that he sent away all of Alexander's (p333)friends and counsellors, not wishing to have any noblemen in the army. This was probably the result of the revolts described in c. x‑xi.

34 This account of the conspiracy is similar to that given by Herodian (VII.1.4‑8), who, however, adds that all the senators in the army joined in it. Herodian also casts doubt on its genuineness, but there seems to be no good reason for supposing it to have been invented by Maximinus.

35 See note to Alex. lxi.8. This account of the revolt agrees with Herodian's narrative, except that Herodian calls the leader Quartinus, a consularis, and his assassin Macedo; see Herodian, VII.1.9‑10. A biography of this "Titus" is given in Trig. Tyr. xxxii.

36 His campaign in Germany is described in Herodian, VII.2.

37 See Alex. lxi.8 and note.

38 His campaign seems to have been in Württemberg. An (p337)inscription of Maximinus, found at Tübingen, seems to be a relic of his occupation of the country; see CIL XIII.9083.

39 According to Herodian, VII.2.6, it was to encourage his men in the pursuit.

40 He himself assumed the cognomen Germanicus Maximus and gave it to his son; see the inscriptions in Dessau, Ins. Sel. 488‑490, and the coins in Cohen, IV2, p505 f. He also issued coins with the legend Victoria Germanica, Cohen, IV2, p515 f., nos. 105‑116.

41 Fictitious. Herodian merely says that one was sent.

42 Mod. Mitrowitz on the lower Save near its junction with the Danube.

43 Herodian says nothing about an intended invasion of Sarmatia. Some sort of a war, however, must have been waged north of the Danube, for in his inscriptions of 237 and 238 he and Maximus bear the titles Sarmaticus Maximus and Dacicus Maximus; see Dessau, Ins. Sel. 488‑489. Perhaps these campaigns are the bella mentioned in §1.

44 VII.2.9.

45 According to Herodian, VII.3.4, they were thus brought to him while in Pannonia from all parts of the Empire.

46 The rapacity of Maximinus is regarded by Herodian also as the chief cause of the revolt which led to his overthrow; see VII.3.5‑6. His exactions seem to have been due, not to personal greed, but to the need of money for his northern campaigns.

47 Gordian I; see Gord. ii.2 f.

48 This narrative of the revolt in Africa agrees with the account given in Gord. vii‑x, but it is less detailed. Both are evidently taken from Herodian, VII.4‑7.

49 On rationalis see note to Alex. xlv.6.

50 Gordian II; see Gord. iv.2 and note.

51 About 175 km SE of Carthage, near the coast.

52 He was assassinated by the quaestor and the soldiers whom (p343)Gordian sent to Rome with his letter to the senate; see Gord. x.5‑8; Herodian, VII.6.5‑9.

53 The assassins of Vitalianus spread the rumour that Maximinus had been killed, and thereupon all his statues were demolished by the mob; see Gord. xiii.5‑6; Herodian, VII.6.9‑7.1.

54 They revoked the honours conferred on him, according to Herodian, VII.7.2. Both this statement and that of the vita are tantamount to saying that the senate deposed him, as it had done Didius Julianus; see Did. Jul. viii.7. Similarly, Nero, after his deposition, was formally declared a hostis by the senate; see Suetonius, Nero, xlix.2.

55 Neither this document nor the following "senatus consultum" is in Herodian, and both are evidently fictitious. An (p345)entirely different and equally spurious version of the "senatus consultum" is given in Gord. xi.

56 At the southern corner of the Forum; three of its columns are still standing.

Thayer's Note: For full details and sources, see the article Aedes Castoris in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome; further linked to Christian Hülsen's article and a photo.

57 This date is incorrect; see note to Max.‑Balb. xv.7.

58 For other acclamations see note to Alex. vi.1.

59 See c. xx.2 and note.

60 The highly coloured description that follows is entirely lacking in Herodian and is probably an invention. Herodian says "σκυθρωπός τε ἦν καὶ ἐν μεγάλαις φροντίσι," and adds that for two days he remained in private, consulting with his friends, (p349)and on the third day made a speech to the soldiers, which his friends had prepared for him; see Herodian, VII.8.1‑3.

61 This speech bears no resemblance to that attributed to him by Herodian. Still another version is given in Gord. xiv.1‑4.

62 An allusion to the proverbial bad faith of the ancient Carthaginians; see Livy, XXI.4.9 (of Hannibal), perfidia plus quam Punica. See also Gord. xiv.1; xv.1; xvi.3.

63 According to one version of the myth, Romulus was murdered by the senators; see Livy, I.16.4.

64 He was governor of Numidia, which adjoined the province of Africa on the east. A fuller account of his overthrow of the Gordians is given in Gord. xv‑xvi and Herodian, VII.9.

65 The senate had previously, after the deposition of Maximinus (c. xv.2), appointed a commission of XX viri rei publicae curandae to provide for the defence of Italy in the absence of the newly-named emperors, see c. xxxii.3; Gord. x.1‑2; xxii.1; CIL XIV.3902; Dessau, Ins. Sel. 1186.

66 M. Clodius Pupienus Maximus, one of the XX viri. For his "biography" see Max.‑Balb. v‑vi.

67 D. Caelius Calvinus Balbinus, also one of the XX viri. He is incorrectly called Clodius Balbinus in Gord. x.1; xxii.1. For his "biography" see Max.‑Balb. vii.

68 Afterwards Gordian III; see Gord. xxii f.

69 Also described in Max.‑Balb. ix‑x. A much fuller account is given by Herodian (VII.10.5‑12.4), whose narrative differs from that of the Historia Augusta in placing the first riot (as (p353)a result of which the populace forced the senate to give the young Gordian the name Caesar) before the departure of Maximus. The second riot (which was subsequent to Maximus's departure) was the result of the action of Gallicanus and Maecenas, two senators, who assaulted some praetorian soldiers, who had entered the Senate-house, and then incited the populace to attack the guard. Fierce fighting ensued, which Balbinus was powerless to prevent. The much abridged narrative in the present passage has been rendered unintelligible by the lacuna in the text. The two riots are hopelessly confused in Gord. xxii.7‑xxiii.1.

70 Mod. Laibach in Carniola. His advance from Sirmium is described by Herodian, VIII.1.1‑4.

Thayer's Note: How quickly placenames become unrecognizable! A scant 80 years after the Loeb edition, the "modern Laibach in Carniola" has to be reidentified as the modern Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.

71 See c. xxiii.2; Max.‑Balb. x.1‑2.

72 So Herodian, VIII.1.5.

73 They had been sent to Aquileia for that purpose by the senate; see Max.‑Balb. xii.2; Herodian, VIII.1.5.

74 A deity worshipped in several places in Venetia and the Carnic Alps, as many inscriptions in his honour testify. To judge from §2 and Herodian (VIII.3.8), he was akin to Apollo.

75 The Sontius, mod. Isonzo. According to Herodian, it was sixteen miles from Aquileia, and as it was swollen by the melting (p357)snow and the bridge had been destroyed by the natives it delayed Maximinus for three days; see VIII.4.1‑4.

76 In c. xxxiii.1; Max.‑Balb. xi.3; xvi.5 the picturesque (but probably unhistoric) detail is added that the women of Aquileia gave their hair for bowstrings.

77 See Max.‑Balb. x.1.

78 The Legio II Parthica; see note to Carac. ii.7.

79 Another version is given in c. xxxii.5.

80 Especially the Pannonian and Thracian soldiers, who had made him emperor; see Herodian, VIII.6.1.

81 On their deification see Max.‑Balb. iv.1‑3.

82 See note to c. xxxiii.4.

83 See Max.‑Balb. xi.1.

84 This is an error, for they came to Rome with him; see Max.‑Balb. xiii.5.

85 See note to Alex. lviii.1.

86 See Max.‑Balb. xi.4‑6.

87 He went first to Aquileia to receive the surrender of Maximinus' army; see Max.‑Balb. xii.3.

88 See Max.‑Balb. xiii.1‑2.

89 These acclamations cannot, of course, be properly called a senatus consultum. On acclamations see note to Alex. vi.1.

90 i.e. from the public records and his inscriptions, as in (p363)Dessau, Ins. Sel. 487‑489. This measure was probably included in the formal act of deposition; see c. xv.2.

91 Otherwise unknown.

92 On the correct form of his name and his titles see note to c. viii.1.

93 Fabillus, like Philemon and Eugamius, mentioned in §5, is otherwise unknown.

94 AeneidVIII.589 and 591, describing Pallas, son of Evander; the third line is not in the Aeneid.

95 Perhaps Herennius Modestinus, a jurist and a pupil of Ulpian; see Digesta, XLVII.2.52.20.

96 Probably Julius Titianus, whose Chorographia (Servius on Vergil, Aen. IV.42) is probably the provinciarum libri of this passage. In Ausonius, Epist. I.1 he is named as the author of letters of famous women and dubbed Oratorum Simia. The son is included in a list of imperial tutors in Ausonius, Grat. ActioVII.31; he is probably the translator of fables mentioned by Ausonius, Epist. XVI.78.

97 Not otherwise known, and probably, in view of the general (p367)character of this vita, to be regarded as apocryphal, as is also Toxotius. At the end of the fourth century the Toxotii were prominent in Roman society, and on the theory that the name was introduced here in honour of them, its presence has been used as an argument for the contention that the Historia Augusta is a work of the late fourth century; see Dessau, Hermes, XXIV., p351.

98 See c. xxii.6‑7.

99 See c. vi.8.

100 Unknown.

101 i.e. Severus Alexander. There is no mention elsewhere of a sister of his named Theoclia, and, like Junia Fadilla (xxvii.6) she is probably apocryphal.

102 This letter is obviously spurious, since the incorrect form (p371)of the young man's name is given here, as elsewhere in the Historia Augusta; see note to c. viii.1.

103 See c. xxi.1 and 5.

104 Unknown.

105 Otherwise unknown.

106 See note to Alex. xlix.3.

107 See note to c. xx.1.

108 See c. xxiii.6 and note.

109 See note to c. xxii.5.

110 i.e. the Bald. Her temple at Rome is mentioned by Lactantius, Inst. I.20, 27. Various legends accounting for her name are recorded by Servius, note to Vergil, Aen. I.720. One of these agrees with the incident alluded to in the present passage, assigning it to the siege of the Capitoline Hill by the Gauls in 382 B.C. In reality the name seems to be due to the existence of a bald female statue, regarded as Venus; see Wissowa, in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencycl. III.1408.

Thayer's Note: For some slight further details and sources, see the article Venus Calva in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

111 i.e. Herodian; see note to c. i.4.

112 See note to c. xxiv.8.

113 In Max.‑Balb. the author seems sometimes to be aware that the two names refer to the same person (on his name see note to c. xx.1), and sometimes to doubt the identification, especially in Max.‑Balb. i.2; xv.4‑5; xvi.7; xviii where the question is fully discussed. In Victor (Caes. xxvi‑xxvii) and Eutropius (IX.2), and presumably in their source (probably the Latini scriptores) he is always called Pupienus.


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