THAT the family of the Octavii was of the first distinction in Velitrae,A town in the ancient Volscian territory, now called Veletri. It stands on the verge of the Pontine Marshes, on the road to Naples. is rendered evident by many circumstances. For in the most frequented part of the town, there was, not long since, a street named the Octavian; and an altar was to be seen, consecrated to one Octavius, who being chosen general in a war with some neighbouring people, the enemy making a sudden attack, while he was sacrificing to Mars, he immediately snatched the entrails of the victim from off the fire, and offered them half raw upon the altar; after which, marching out to battle, he returned victorious. This incident gave rise to a law, by which it was enacted, that in all future times the entrails should be offered to Mars in the same manner; and the rest of the victim be carried to the Octavii.
This family, as well as several in Rome, was admitted into the senate by Tarquinius Priscus, and soon afterwards placed by Servius Tullius among the patricians; but in process of time it transferred itself to the plebeian order, and, after the lapse of a long interval, was restored by Julius Caesar to the rank of patricians. The first person of the family raised by the suffrages of the people to the magistracy, was Caius Rufus. He obtained the quaestorship, and had two sons, Cneius and Caius; from whom are descended the two branches of the Octavian family, which have had very different fortunes. For Cneius, and his descendants in uninterrupted succession, held all the highest offices of the state; whilst Caius and his posterity, whether from their circumstances or their choice, remained in the equestrian order until the father of Augustus. The greatgrandfather of Augustus served as a military tribune in the second Punic war in Sicily, under the command of /Emilius Pappus. His grandfather contented himself with bearing the public offices of his own municipality, and grew old in the tranquil enjoyment of an ample patrimony. Such is the account given by different authors. Augustus himself, however, tells us nothing more than that he was descended of an equestrian family, both ancient and rich, of which his father was the first who obtained the rank of senator. Mark Antony upbraidingly tells him that his great-grandfather was a freedman of the territory of Thurium,Thorium was a territory in Magna Greaca, on the coast, near Tarentum. and a rope-maker, and his grandfather a usurer. This is all the information I have any where met with, respecting the ancestors of Augustus, by the father's side.
His father Caius Octavius was, from his earliest years, a person both of opulence and distinction: for which reason I am surprised at those who say that he was a money-dealer, Argentarius; a banker, one who dealt in exchanging money, as well as lent his own funds at interest to borrowers. As a class, they possessed great wealth, and were persons of consideration in Rome at this period. and was employed in scattering bribes, and canvassing for the candidates at elections, in the Campus Martius. For being bred up in all the affluence of a great estate, he attained with ease to honourable posts, and discharged the duties of them with much distinction. After his praetorship, he obtained by lot the province of Macedonia; in his way to which he cut off some banditti, the relics of the armies of Spartacus and Catiline, who had possessed themselves of the territory of Thurium; having received from the senate an extraordinary commission for that purpose. In his government of the province, he conducted himself with equal justice and resolution; for he defeated the Bessians and Thracians in a great battle, and treated the allies of the republic in such a manner, that there are extant letters from M. Tullius Cicero, in which he advises and exhorts his brother Quintus, who then held the proconsulship of Asia with no great reputation, to imitate the example of his neighbour Octavius, in gaining the affections of the allies of Rome.
After quitting Macedonia, before he could declare himself a candidate for the consulship, he died suddenly, leaving behind him a daughter, the elder Octavia, by Ancharia; and another daughter, Octavia the younger, as well as Augustus, by Atia, who was the daughter of Marcus Atius Balbus, and Julia, sister to Caius Julius Caesar. Balbus was, by the father's side, of a family who were natives of Aricia,Now Laricia, or Riccia, a town of the Campagna di Roma. on the Appian Way, about ten miles from Rome. and many of whom had been in the senate. By the mother's side he was nearly related to Pompey the Great; and after he had borne the office of praetor, was one of the twenty commissioners appointed by the Julian law to divide the land in Campania among the people. But Mark Antony, treating with contempt Augustus's descent even by the mother's side, says that his great grand-father was of African descent, and at one time kept a perfumer's shop, and at another, a bake-house, in Aricia. And Cassius of Parma, in a letter, taxes Augustus with being the son not only of a baker, but a usurer. These are his words: "Thou art a lump of thy mother's meal, which a money-changer of Nerulum taking from the newest bake-house of Aricia, kneaded into some shape, with his hands all discoloured by the fingering of money."
Augustus was born in the consulship of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Caius Antonius,A.U.C. 691. A.C. (before Christ) 61. upon the ninth of the calends of October [the 23rd September], a little before sunrise, in the quarter of the Palatine Hill, The Palatine hill was not only the first seat of the colony of Romulus, but gave its name to the first and principal of the four regions into which the city was divided, from the time of Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, to that of Augustus; the others being the Suburra, Esquilina, and Collina. and the street called The Ox-Heads, There were seven streets or quarters in the Palatine region, one of which was called "Ad Capita Bubula," either from the butchers' stalls at which ox-heads are hung up for sale, or from their being sculptured on some edifice. Thus the remains of a fortification near the tomb of Cecilia Metella are now called Capo di Bove, from the arms of the Gaetani family over the gate. where now stands a chapel dedicated to him, and built a little after his death. For, as it is recorded in the proceedings of the senate, when Caius Laetorius, a young man of a patrician family, in pleading before the senators for a lighter sentence, upon his being convicted of adultery, alleged, besides his youth and quality, that he was the possessor, and as it were the guardian, of the ground which the Divine Augustus first touched upon his coming into the world; and entreated that he might find favour, for the sake of that deity, who was in a peculiar manner his; an act of the senate was passed, for the consecration of that part of his house in which Augustus was born.
His nursery is shewn to this day, in a villa belonging to the family, in the suburbs of Velitrae; being a very small place, and much like a pantry. An opinion prevails in the neighbourhood, that he was also born there. Into this place no person presumes to enter, unless upon necessity, and with great devotion, from a belief, for a long time prevalent, that such as rashly enter it are seized with great horror and consternation, which a short while since was confirmed by a remarkable incident. For when a new inhabitant of the house had, either by mere chance, or to try the truth of the report, taken up his lodging in that apartment, in the course of the night, a few hours afterwards, he was thrown out by some sudden violence, he knew not how, and was found in a state of stupefaction, with the coverlid of his bed, before the door of the chamber.
While he was yet an infant, the surname of Thurinus was given him, in memory of the birth-place of his family, or because, soon after he was born, his father Octavius had been successful against the fugitive slaves, in the country near Thurium. That he was surnamed Thurinus, I can affirm upon good foundation, for when a boy, I had a small bronze statue of him, with that name upon it in iron letters, nearly effaced by age, which I presented to the emperor,Adrian, to whom Suetonius was secretary. by whom it is now revered amongst the other tutelary deities in his chamber. He is also often called Thurinus contemptuously, by Mark Antony in his letters; to which he makes only this reply: "I am surprised that my former name should be made a subject of reproach." He afterwards assumed the name of Caius Caesar, and then of Augustus; the former in compliance with the will of his great-uncle, and the latter upon a motion of Munatius Plancus in the senate. For when some proposed to confer upon him the name of Romulus, as being, in a manner, a second founder of the city, it was resolved that he should rather be called Augustus, a surname not only new, but of more dignity, because places devoted to religion, and those in which anything is consecrated by augury, are denominated august, either from the word auctus, signifying augmentation, or ab avium gestu, gustuve, from the flight and feeding of birds; as appears from this verse of Ennius: When glorious Rome by august augury was built.Augusto augurio postquam inclyta condita Roma est.
He lost his father when he was only four years of age; and, in his twelfth year, pronounced a funeral oration in praise of his grand-mother Julia. Four years afterwards, having assumed the robe of manhood, he was honoured with several military rewards by Caesar in his African triumph, although he took no part in the war, on account of his youth. Upon his uncle's expedition to Spain against the sons of Pompey, he was followed by his nephew, although he was scarcely recovered from a dangerous sickness; and after being shipwrecked at sea, and travelling with very few attendants through roads that were infested with the enemy, he at last came up with him. This activity gave great satisfaction to his uncle, who soon conceived an increasing affection for him, on account of such indications of character. After the subjugation of Spain, while Caesar was meditating an expedition against the Dacians and Parthians, he was sent before him to Apollonia, where he applied himself to his studies; until receiving intelligence that his uncle was murdered, and that he was appointed his heir, he hesitated for some time whether he should call to his aid the legions stationed in the neighbourhood; but he abandoned the design as rash and premature. However, returning to Rome, he took possession of his inheritance, although his mother was apprehensive that such a measure might be attended with danger, and his step-father, Marcius Philippus, a man of consular-rank, very earnestly dissuaded him from it. From this time, collecting together a strong military force, he first held the government in conjunction with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, then with Antony only, for nearly twelve years, and at last in his own hands during a period of four and forty.
Having thus given a very short summary of his life, I shall prosecute the several parts of it, not in order of time, but arranging his acts into distinct classes, for the sake of perspicuity. He was engaged in five civil wars, namely, those of Modena, Philippi, Perugia, Sicily, and Actium: the first and last of which were against Antony, and the second against Brutus and Cassius; the third against Lucius Antonius, the triumvir's brother, and the fourth against Sextus Pompeius, the son of Cneius Pompeius.
The motive which gave rise to all these wars was the opinion he entertained that both his honour and interest were concerned in revenging the murder of his uncle, and maintaining the state of affairs he had established. Immediately after his return from Apollonia, he formed the design of taking forcible and unexpected measures against Brutus and Cassius; but they having foreseen the danger and made their escape, he resolved to proceed against them by an appeal to the laws in their absence, and impeach them for the murder. In the mean time, those whose province it was to prepare the sports in honour of Caesar's last victory in the civil war, not daring to do it, he undertook it himself. And that he might carry into effect his other designs with greater authority, he declared himself a candidate in the room of a tribune of the people who happened to die at that time, although he was of a patrician family, and had not yet been in the senate. But the consul, Mark Antony, from whom he had expected the greatest assistance, opposing him in his suit, and even refusing to do him so much as common justice, unless gratified with a large bribe, he went over to the party of the nobles, to whom he perceived Sylla to be odious, chiefly for endeavouring to drive Decius Brutus, whom he besieged in the town of Modena, out of the province, which had been given him by Caesar, and confirmed to him by the senate. At the instigation of persons about him, he engaged some ruffians to murder his antagonist; but the plot being discovered, and dreading a similar attempt upon himself, he gained over Caesar's veteran soldiers, by distributing among them all the money he could collect. Being now commissioned by the senate to command the troops he had gathered, with the rank of praetor, and in conjunction with Hirtius and Pansa, who had accepted the consulship, to carry assistance to Decius Brutus, he put an end to the war by two battles in three months. Antony writes, that in the former of these he ran away, and in two days afterwards made his appearance without his general's cloak and his horse. In the last battle, however, it is certain that he performed the part not only of a general, but a soldier; for, in the heat of the battle, when the standard-bearer of his legion was severely wounded, he took the eagle upon his shoulders, and carried it a long time.
In this war,A. U. C. 711. Hirtius being slain in battle, and Pansa dying a short time afterwards of a wound, a report was circulated that they both were killed through his means, in order that, when Antony fled, the republic having lost its consuls, he might have the victorious armies entirely at his own command. The death of Pansa was so fully believed to have been caused by undue means, that Glyco, his surgeon, was placed in custody, on a suspicion of having poisoned his wound. And to this, Aquilius Niger adds, that he killed Hirtius, the other consul. in the confusion of the battle, with his own hands.
But upon intelligence that Antony, after his defeat, had been received by Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the generals and armies had all declared for the senate, he, without any hesitation, deserted from the party of the nobles; alleging as an excuse for his conduct, the actions and sayings of several amongst them; for some said, "he was a mere boy," and others threw out, "that he ought to be promoted to honours, and cut off," to avoid the making any suitable acknowledgment either to him or the veteran legions. And the more to testify his regret for having before attached himself to the other faction, he fined the Nursini in a large sum of money, which they were unable to pay, and then expelled them from the town, for having inscribed upon a monument, erected at the public charge to their countrymen who were slain in the battle of Modena, "That they fell in the cause of liberty."
Having entered into a confederacy with Antony and Lepidus, he brought the war at Philippi to an end in two battles, although he was at that time weak, and suffering from sickness. A. U. C. 712. In the first battle he was driven from his camp, and with some difficulty made his escape to the wing of the army commanded by Antony. And now intoxicated with success, he sent the head of BrutusAfter being defeated in the second engagement, Brutus retired to a hill, and slew himself in the night. to be cast at the foot of Caesar's statue, and treated the most illustrious of the prisoners not only with cruelty, but with abusive language; insomuch that he is said to have answered one of them who humbly intreated that at least he might not remain unburied, "That will be in the power of the birds." Two others, father and son, who begged for their lives, he ordered to cast lots which of them should live, or settle it between themselves by the sword; and was a spectator of both their deaths: for the father offering his life to save his son, and being accordingly executed, the son likewise killed himself upon the spot. On this account, the rest of the prisoners, and amongst them Marcus Favonius, Cato's rival, being led up in fetters, after they had saluted Antony, the general, with much respect, reviled Octavius in the foulest language. After this victory, dividing between them the offices of the state, Mark AntonyThe triumvir. There were three distinguished brothers of the name of Antony; Mark, the consul; Caius, who was praetor; and Lucius, a tribune of the people. undertook to restore order in the east, while Caesar conducted the veteran soldiers back to Italy, and settled them in colonies on lands belonging to the municipalities. But he had the misfortune to please neither the soldiers nor the owners of the lands; one party complaining of the injustice done them, in being violently ejected from their possessions, and the other, that they were not rewarded according to their merit.Virgil was one of the fugitives, having narrowly escaped being killed by the centurion Ario; and being ejected from his farm. Eclog. 1.
At this time he obliged Lucius Antony, who, presuming upon his own authority as consul, and his brother's power, was raising new commotions, to fly to Perugia, and forced him, by famine, to surrender at last, although not without having been exposed to great hazards, both before the war and during its continuance. For a common soldier having got into the seats of the equestrian order in the theatre, at the public spectacles, Caesar ordered him to be removed by an officer; and a rumour being thence spread by his enemies, that he had put the man to death by torture, the soldiers flocked together so much enraged, that he narrowly escaped with his life. The only thing that saved him, was the sudden appearance of the man, safe and sound, no violence having been offered him. And whilst he was sacrificing under the walls of Perugia, he nearly fell into the hands of a body of gladiators, who sallied out of the town.
After the taking of Perugia,A.U.C. 714. he sentenced a great number of the prisoners to death, making only one reply to all who implored pardon, or endeavoured to excuse themselves, "You must die." Some authors write, that three hundred of the two orders, selected from the rest, were slaughtered, like victims, before an altar raised to Julius Caesar, upon the ides of March [15th April].The anniversary of Julius Caesar's death. Nay, there are some who relate, that he entered upon the war with no other view, than that his secret enemies, and those whom fear more than affection kept quiet, might be detected, by declaring themselves, now they had an opportunity, with Lucius Antony at their head; and that having defeated them, and confiscated their estates, he might be enabled to fulfil his promises to the veteran soldiers.
He soon commenced the Sicilian war, but it was protracted by various delays during a long period;A.U.C. 712-718. at one time for the purpose of repairing his fleets, which he lost twice by storm, even in the summer; at another, while patching up a peace, to which he was forced by the clamours of the people, in consequence of a famine occasioned by Pompey's cutting off the supply of corn by sea. But at last, having built a new fleet, and obtained twenty thousand manumitted slaves,The Romans employed slaves in their wars only in cases of great emergency, and with much reluctance. After the great slaughter at the battle of Cannae, eight thousand were bought and armed by the republic. Augustus was the first who manumitted them, and employed them as rowers in his gallies. who were given him for the oar, he formed the Julian harbour at Baiae, by letting the sea into the Lucrine and Avernian lakes; and having exercised his forces there during the whole winter, he defeated Pompey betwixt Mylae and Naulochus; although just as the engagement commenced, he suddenly fell into such a profound sleep, that his friends were obliged to wake him to give the signal. This, I suppose, gave occasion for Antony's reproach: " You were not able to take a clear view of the fleet, when drawn up in line of battle, but lay stupidly upon your back, gazing at the sky; nor did you get up and let your men see you, until Marcus Agrippa had forced the enemies' ships to sheer off." Others imputed to him both a saying and an action which were indefensible; for, upon the loss of his fleets by storm, he is reported to have said: "I will conquer in spite of Neptune;" and at the next Circensian games, he would not suffer the statue of that God to be carried in procession as usual. Indeed he scarcely ever ran more or greater risks in any of his wars than in this. Having transported part of his army to Sicily, and being on his return for the rest, he was unexpectedly attacked by Demochares and Apollophanes, Pompey's admirals, from whom he escaped with great difficulty, and with one ship only. Likewise, as he was travelling on foot through the Locrian territory to Rhegium, seeing two of Pompey's vessels passing by that coast, and supposing them to be his own, he went down to the shore, and was very nearly taken prisoner. On this occasion, as he was making his escape by some by-ways, a slave belonging to Aemilius Paulus, who accompanied him, owing him a grudge for the proscription of Paulus, the father of Aemilius, and thinking he had now an opportunity of revenging it, attempted to assassinate him. After the defeat of Pompey, one of his colleagues,In the triumvirate, consisting of Augustus, Mark Antony, and Lepidus. Marcus Lepidus, whom he had summoned to his aid from Africa, affecting great superiority, because he was at the head of twenty legions, and claiming for himself the principal management of affairs in a threatening manner, he divested him of his command, but, upon his humble submission, granted him his life, but banished him for life to Circeii.
The alliance between him and Antony, which had always been precarious, often interrupted, and ill cemented by repeated reconciliations, he at last entirely dissolved.A.U.C. 723 And to make it known to the world how far Antony had degenerated from patriotic feelings, he caused a will of his, which had been left at Rome, and in which he had nominated Cleopatra's children, amongst others, as his heirs, to be opened and read in an assembly of the people. Yet upon his being declared an enemy, he sent to him all his relations and friends, among whom were Caius Sosius and Titus Domitius, at that time consuls. He likewise spoke favourably in public of the people of Bologna, for joining in the association with the rest of Italy to support his cause, because they had, in former times, been under the protection of the family of the Antonii. And not long afterwards he defeated him in a naval engagement near Actium, which was prolonged to so late an hour, that, after the victory, he was obliged to sleep on board his ship. From Actium he went to the isle of Samos to winter; but being alarmed with the accounts of a mutiny amongst the soldiers he had selected from the main body of his army sent to Brundisium after the victory, who insisted on their being rewarded for their service and discharged, he returned to Italy. In his passage thither, he encountered two violent storms, the first between the promontories of Peloponnesus and AEtolia, and the other about the Ceraunian mountains; in both of which a part of his Liburnian squadron was sunk, the spars and rigging of his own ship carried away, and the rudder broken in pieces. He remained only twenty-seven days at Brundisium, until the demands of the soldiers were settled, and then went, by way of Asia and Syria, to Egypt, where laying siege to Alexandria, whither Antony had fled with Cleopatra, he made himself master of it in a short time. He drove Antony to kill himself, after he had used every effort to obtain conditions of peace, and he saw his corpse.There is no other authority for Augustus having viewed Antony's corpse. Plutarch informs us, that on hearing his death, Augustus retired into the interior of his tent, and wept over the fate of his colleague and friend, his associate in so many former struggles, both in war and the administration of affairs. Cleopatra he anxiously wished to save for his triumph; and when she was supposed to have been bit to death by an asp, he sent for the PsylliThe poison proved fatal, as every one knows; see Velleius, ii. 27; Florus, iv. ii. The Psylli were a people of Africa, celebrated for sucking the poison from wounds inflicted by serpents with which that country anciently abounded. They pretended to be endowed with an antidote, which rendered their bodies insensible to the virulence of that species of poison; and the ignorance of those times gave credit to the physical immunity which they arrogated. But Celsus, who flourished about fifty years after the period we speak of, has exploded the vulgar prejudice which prevailed in their favour. He justly observes, that the venom of serpents, like some other kinds of poison, proves noxious only when applied to the naked fibre; and that, provided there is no ulcer in the gums or palate, the poison may be received into the mouth with perfect safety. to endeavour to suck out the poison. He allowed them to be buried together in the same grave, and ordered a mausoleum, begun by themselves, to be completed. The eldest of Antony's two sons by Fulvia he commanded to be taken by force from the statue of Julius Caesar, to which he had fled, after many fruitless supplications for his life, and put him to death. The same fate attended Caesario, Cleopatra's son by Caesar, as he pretended, who had fled for his life, but was retaken. The children which Antony had by Cleopatra he saved, and brought up and cherished in a manner suitable to their rank, just as if they had been his own relations.
At this time he had a desire to see the sarcophagus and body of Alexander the Great, which, for that purpose, were taken out of the cell in which they rested;Strabo informs us that Ptolemy caused it to be deposited in a golden sarcophagus, which was afterwards exchanged for one of glass, in which probably Augustus saw the remains. and after viewing them for some time, he paid honours to the memory of that prince, by offering a golden crown, and scattering flowers upon the body.A custom of all ages and of people the most remote from each other. Being asked if he wished to see the tombs of the Ptolemies also; he replied, "I wish to see a king, not dead men."Meaning the degenerate race of the Ptolemean kings. He reduced Egypt into the form of a province; and to render it more fertile, and more capable of supplying Rome with corn, he employed his army to scour the canals, into which the Nile, upon its rise, discharges itself; but which during a long series of years had become nearly choked up with mud. To perpetuate the glory of his victory at Actium, he built the city of Nicopolis on that part of the coast, and established games to be celebrated there every five years; enlarging likewise an old temple of Apollo, he ornamented with naval trophiesThe naval trophies were formed of the prows of ships. the spot on which he had pitched his camp, and consecrated it to Neptune and Mars.
He afterwardsA. U. C. 721. quashed several tumults and insurrections, as well as several conspiracies against his life, which were discovered, by the confession of accomplices, before they were ripe for execution; and others subsequently. Such were those of the younger Lepidus, of Varro Muraena, and Fannius Caepio; then that of Marcus Egnatius, afterwards that of Plautius Rufus, and of Lucius Paulus, his grand-daughter's husband; and besides these, another of Lucius Audasius, an old feeble man, who was under prosecution for forgery; as also of Asinius Epicadus, a Parthinian mongrel,Because his father was a Roman and his mother of the race of the Parthini, an Illyrian tribe. and at last that of Telephus, a lady's prompter;It was usual at Rome, before the elections, for the candidates to endeavour to gain popularity by the usual arts. They would therefore go to the houses of the citizens, shake hands with those they met, and address them in a kindly manner. It being of great consequence, upon those occasions, to know the names of persons, they were commonly attended by a nomenclator, who whispered into their ears that information, wherever it was wanted. Though this kind of officer was generally an attendant on men, we meet with instances of their having been likewise employed in the service of ladies; either with the view of serving candidates to whom they were allied, or of gaining the affections of the people. for he was in danger of his life from the plots and conspiracies of some of the lowest of the people against him. Audasius and Epicadus had formed the design of carrying off to the armies his daughter Julia, and his grandson Agrippa, from the islands in which they were confined. Telephus, wildly dreaming that the government was destined to him by the fates, proposed to fall both upon Octavius and the senate. Nay, once, a soldier's servant belonging to the army in Illyricum, having passed the porters unobserved, was found in the night-time standing before his chamber-door, armed with a hunting-dagger. Whether the person was really disordered in the head, or only counterfeited madness, is uncertain; for no confession was obtained from him by torture.
He conducted in person only two foreign wars; the Dalmatian, whilst he was yet but a youth; and, after Antony's final defeat, the Cantabrian. He was wounded in the former of these wars; in one battle he received a contusion in the right knee from a stone, and in another, he was much hurt in one leg and both arms, by the fall of a bridge.Not a bridge over a river, but a military engine used for gaining admittance into a fortress. His other wars he carried on by his lieutenants; but occasionally visited the army, in some of the wars of Pannonia and Germany, or remained at no great distance, proceeding from Rome as far as Ravenna, Milan, or Aquileia.
He conquered, however, partly in person, and partly by his lieutenants, Cantabria,Cantabria, in the north of Spain, now the Basque province. Aquitania and Pannonia,The ancient Pannonia includes Hungary and part of Austria, Styria and Carniola. Dalmatia, with all Illyricum and Rhaetia,The Rhaetian Alps are that part of the chain bordering on the Tyrol. besides the two Alpine nations, the Vindelici and the Salassii.The Vindelici principally occupied the country which is now the kingdom of Bavaria; and the Salassii, that part of Piedmont which includes the valley of Aost. He also checked the incursions of the Dacians, by cutting off three of their generals with vast armies, and drove the Germans beyond the river Elbe; removing two other tribes who submitted, the Ubii and Sicambri, into Gaul, and settling them in the country bordering on the Rhine. Other nations also, which broke into revolt, he reduced to submission. But he never made war upon any nation without just and necessary cause; and was so far from being ambitious either to extend the empire, or advance his own military glory, that he obliged the chiefs of some barbarous tribes to swear in the temple of Mars the Avenger,The temple of Mars Ultor was erected by Augustus in fulfilment of a vow made by him at the battle of Philippi. It stood in the Forum which he built, mentioned in chap. xxix. There are no remains of either. that they would faithfully observe their engagements, and not violate the peace which they had implored. Of some he demanded a new description of hostages, their women, having found from experience that they cared little for their men when given as hostages; but he always afforded them the means of getting back their hostages whenever they wished it. Even those who engaged most frequently and with the greatest perfidy in their rebellion, he never punished more severely than by selling their captives, on the terms of their not serving in any neighbouring country, nor being released from their slavery before the expiration of thirty years. By the character which he thus acquired, for virtue and moderation, he induced even the Indians and Scythians, nations before known to the Romans by report only, to solicit his friendship, and that of the Roman people, by ambassadors. The Parthians readily allowed his claim to Armenia; restoring, at his demand, the standards which they had taken from Marcus Crassus and Mark Antony, and offering him hostages besides. Afterwards, when a contest arose between several pretenders to the crown of that kingdom, they refused to acknowledge any one who was not chosen by him.
The temple of Janus Quirinus, which had been shut twice only, from the era of the building of the city to his own time, he closed thrice in a much shorter period, having established universal peace both by sea and land. He twice entered the city with the honours of an Ovation,"The Ovatio was an inferior kind of Triumph, granted in cases where the victory was not of great importance, or had been obtained without difficulty. The general entered the city on foot or on horseback, crowned with myrtle, not with laurel; and instead of bullocks, the sacrifice was performed with a sheep, whence this procession acquired its name."-Thomson. namely, after the war of Philippi, and again after that of Sicily. He had also three curule triumphs"The greater Triumph, in which the victorious general and his army advanced in solemn procession through the city to the Capitol, was the highest military honour which could be obtained in the Roman state. Foremost in the procession went musicians of various kinds, singing and playing triumphal songs. Next were led the oxen to be sacrificed, having their horns gilt, and their heads adorned with fillets and garlands. Then in carriages were brought the spoils taken from the enemy, statues, pictures, plate, armour, gold and silver, and brass; with golden crowns, and other gifts, sent by the allied and tributary states. The captive princes and generals followed in chains, with their children and attendants. After them came the lictors, having their fasces wreathed with laurel, followed by a great company of musicians and dancers dressed like Satyrs, and wearing crowns of gold; in the midst of whom was one in a female dress, whose business it was, with his looks and gestures, to insult the vanquished. Next followed a long train of persons carrying perfumes. Then came the victorious general, dressed in purple embroidered with gold, with a crown of laurel on his head, a branch of laurel in his right hand, and in his left an ivory sceptre, with an eagle on the top; having his face painted with vermilion, in the same manner as the statue of Jupiter on festival days, and a golden Bulla hanging on his breast, and containing some amulet, or magical preservative against envy. He stood in a gilded chariot, adorned with ivory, and drawn by four white horses, sometimes by elephants, attended by his relations, and a great crowd of citizens, all in white. His children used to ride in the chariot with him; and that he might not be too much elated, a slave, carrying a golden crown sparkling with gems, stood behind him, and frequently whispered in his ear, 'Remember that thou art a man!' After the general, followed the consuls and senators on foot, at least according to the appointment of Augustus; for they formerly used to go before him. His Legati and military Tribunes commonly rode by his side. The victorious army, horse and foot, came last, crowned with laurel, and decorated with the gifts which they had received for their valour, singing their own and their general's praises, but sometimes throwing out railleries against him; and often exclaiming, 'Io Triumphe!' in which they were joined by all the citizens, as they passed along. The oxen having been sacrificed, the general gave a magnificent entertainment in the Capitol to his friends and the chief men of the city, after which he was conducted home by the people, with music and a great number of lamps and torches."-Thomson. for his several victories in Dalmatia, Actium, and Alexandria; each of which lasted three days.
In all his wars, he never received any signal or ignominious defeat, except twice in Germany, under his lieutenants Lollius and Varus. The former indeed had in it more of dishonour than disaster; but that of Varus threatened the security of the empire itself; three legions, with the commander, his lieutenants, and all the auxiliaries, being cut off. Upon receiving intelligence of this disaster, he gave orders for keeping a strict watch over the city, to prevent any public disturbance, and prolonged the appointments of the prefects in the provinces, that the allies might be kept in order by experience of persons to whom they were used. He made a vow to celebrate the great games in honour of Jupiter, Optimus, Maximus, "if he would be pleased to restore the state to more prosperous circumstances." This had formerly been resorted to in the Cimbrian and Marsian wars. In short, we are informed that he was in such consternation at this event, that he let the hair of his head and beard grow for several months, and sometimes knocked his head against the door-post, crying out, "0, Quintilius Varus! give me back my legions!" And ever after he observed the anniversary of this calamity, as a day of sorrow and mourning.
In military affairs he made many alterations, introducing some practices entirely new, and reviving others, which had become obsolete. He maintained the strictest discipline among the troops; and would not allow even his lieutenants the liberty to visit their wives, except reluctantly, and in the winter season only. A Roman knight having cut off the thumbs of his two young sons, to render them incapable of serving in the wars, he exposed both him and his estate to public sale. But upon observing the farmers of the revenue very greedy for the purchase, he assigned him to a freedman of his own, that he might send him into the country, and suffer him to retain his freedom. The tenth legion becoming mutinous, he disbanded it with ignominy; and did the same by some others which petulantly demanded their discharge; withholding from them the rewards usually bestowed on those who had served their stated time in the wars. The cohorts which yielded their ground in time of action, he decimated, and fed with barley. Centurions, as well as common sentinels, who deserted their posts when on guard, he punished with death. For other misdemeanors he inflicted upon them various kinds of disgrace; such as obliging them to stand all day before the praetorium, sometimes in their tunics only, and without their belts, sometimes to carry poles ten feet long, or sods of turf.
After the conclusion of the civil wars, he never, in any of his military harangues, or proclamations, addressed them by the title of "Fellow-soldiers," but as "Soldiers" only. Nor would he suffer them to be otherwise called by his sons or step-sons, when they were in command; judging the former epithet to convey the idea of a degree of condescension inconsistent with military discipline, the maintenance of order, and his own majesty, and that of his house. Unless at Rome, in case of incendiary fires, or under the apprehension of public disturbances during a scarcity of provisions, he never employed in his army slaves who had been made freedmen, except upon two occasions; on one, for the security of the colonies bordering upon Illyricum, and on the other, to guard the banks of the river Rhine. Although he obliged persons of fortune, both male and female, to give up their slaves, and they received their manumission at once, yet he kept them together under their own standard, unmixed with soldiers who were better born, and armed likewise after different fashion. Military rewards, such as trappings, collars, and other decorations of gold and silver, he distributed more readily than camp or mural crowns, which were reckoned more honourable than the former. These he bestowed sparingly, without partiality, and frequently even on common soldiers. He presented M. Agrippa, after the naval engagement in the Sicilian war, with a sea-green banner. Those who shared in the honours of a triumph, although they had attended him in his expeditions, and taken part in his victories, he judged it improper to distinguish by the usual rewards for service, because they had a right themselves to grant such rewards to whom they pleased. He thought nothing more derogatory to the character of an accomplished general than precipitancy and rashness; on which account he had frequently in his mouth those proverbs: σπεῦδε, hasten slowly; and ἀσφαλὴσ γὰρ ἐστ' ἀμείνων, ἡ θράσυσ στρατηλάτησ, The cautious captain's better than the bold.. And "That is done fast enough, which is done well enough."
He was wont to say also, that "a battle or a war ought never to be undertaken, unless the prospect of gain over balanced the fear of loss. For," said he, "men who pursue small advantages with no small hazard, resemble those who fish with a golden hook, the loss of which, if the line should happen to break, could never be compensated by all the fish they might take."
He was advanced to public offices before the age at which he was legally qualified for them; and to some, also, of a new kind, and for life. He seized the consulship in the twentieth year of his age, quartering his legions in a threatening manner near the city, and sending deputies to demand it for him in the name of the army. When the senate demurred, a centurion, named Cornelius, who was at the head of the chief deputation, throwing back his cloak, and showing the hilt of his sword, had the presumption to say in the senate-house, "This will make him consul, if ye will not." His second consulship he filled nine years afterwards; his third, after the interval of only one year, and held the same office every year successively until the eleventh. From this period, although the consulship was frequently offered him, he always declined it, until, after a long interval, not less than seventeen years, he voluntarily stood for the twelfth, and two years after that for a thirteenth; that he might successively introduce into the forum, on their entering public life, his two sons, Caius and Lucius, while he was invested with the highest office in the state. In his five consulships from the sixth to the eleventh, he continued in office throughout the year; but in the rest, during only nine, six, four, or three months, and in his second no more than a few hours. For having sat for a short time in the morning, upon the calends of January [1st January], in his curule chair. "The Sella Curulis was a chair on which the principal magistrates sat in the tribunal upon solemn occasions. It had no back, but stood on four crooked feet, fixed to the extremities of cross pieces of wood, joined by a common axis, somewhat in the form of the letter X; was covered with leather, and inlaid with ivory. From its construction, it might be occasionally folded together for the convenience of carriage, and set down where the magistrate chose to use it."—Thomson. before the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, he abdicated the office, and substituted another in his room. Nor did he enter upon them all at Rome, but upon the fourth in Asia, the fifth in the Isle of Samos, and the eighth and ninth at Tarragona. Now Saragossa.
During ten years he acted as one of the triumvirate for settling the commonwealth, in which office he for some time opposed his colleagues in their design of a proscription; but after it was begun, he prosecuted it with more determined rigour than either of them. For whilst they were often prevailed upon, by the interest and intercession of friends, to show mercy, he alone strongly insisted that no one should be spared, and even proscribed Caius Toranius, A great and wise man, if he is the same person to whom Cicero's letters on the calamities of the times were addressed. — Fam. Epist. c. vi. 20, 21. his guardian, who had been formerly the colleague of his father Octavius in the edileship. Junius Saturnius adds this farther account of him: that when, after the proscription was over, Marcus Lepidus made an apology in the senate for their past proceedings, and gave them hopes of a more mild administration for the future, because they had now sufficiently crushed their enemies; he, on the other hand, declared that the only limit he had fixed to the proscription was, that he should be free to act as he pleased. Afterwards, however, repenting of his severity, he advanced T. Vinius Philopoemen to the equestrian rank, for having concealed his patron at the time he was proscribed. In this same office he incurred great odium upon many accounts. For as he was one day making an harangue, observing among the soldiers Pinarius, a Roman knight, admit some private citizens, and engaged in taking notes, he ordered him to be stabbed before his eyes, as a busy-body and a spy upon him. He so terrified with his menaces Tedius Afer, the consul elect, A.U.C. 731. for having reflected upon some action of his, that he threw himself from a great height, and died on the spot. And when Quintus Gallius, the praetor, came to compliment him with a double tablet under his cloak, suspecting that it was a sword he had concealed, and yet not venturing to make a search, lest it should be found to be something else, he caused him to be dragged from his tribunal by centurions and soldiers, and tortured like a slave: and although he made no confession, ordered him to be put to death, after he had, with his own hands, plucked out his eyes. His own account of the matter, however, is, that Quintus Gallius sought a private conference with him, for the purpose of assassinating him; that he therefore put him in prison, but afterwards released him, and banished him the city; when he perished either in a storm at sea, or by falling into the hands of robbers.
He accepted of the tribunitian power for life, but more than once chose a colleague in that office for two lustra The Lustrum was a period of five years, at the end of which the census of the people was taken. It was first made by the Roman kings, then by the consuls, but after the year 310 from the building of the city, by the censors, who were magistrates created for that purpose. It appears, however, that the census was not always held at stated periods, and sometimes long intervals intervened. successively. He also had the supervision of morality and observance of the laws, for life, but without the title of censor; yet he thrice took a census of the people, the first and third time with a colleague, but the second by himself.
He twice entertained thoughts of restoring the republic;Augustus appears to have been in earnest on these occasions, at least, in his desire to retire into private life and release himself from the cares of government, if we may believe Seneca.-De Brev. Vit. c. 5. Of his two intimate advisers, Agrippa gave this counsel, while Mecaenas was for continuing his career of ambition—Eutrop. 1. 53. first, immediately after he had crushed Antony, remembering that he had often charged him with being the obstacle to its restoration. The second time was in consequence of a long illness, when he sent for the magistrates and the senate to his own house, and delivered them a particular account of the state of the empire. But reflecting at the same time that it would be both hazardous to himself to return to the condition of a private person, and might be dangerous to the public to have the government placed again under the control of the people, he resolved to keep it in his own hands, whether with the better event or intention, is hard to say. His good intentions he often affirmed in private discourse, and also published an edict, in which it was declared in the following terms: "May it be permitted me to have the happiness of establishing the commonwealth on a safe and sound basis, and thus enjoy the reward of which I am ambitious, that of being celebrated for moulding it into the form best adapted to present circumstances; so that, on my leaving the world, I may carry with me the hope that the foundations which I have laid for its future government, will stand firm and stable."
The city, which was not built in a manner suitable to the grandeur of the empire, and was liable to inundations of the Tiber, The Tiber has been always remarkable for the frequency of its inundations and the ravages they occasioned, as remarked by Pliny, iii. 5. Livy mentions several such occurrences, as well as one extensive fire, which destroyed great part of the city. as well as to fires, was so much improved under his administration, that he boasted, not without reason, that he "found it of brick, but left it of marble." The well-known saying of Augustus, recorded by Suetonius, that he found a city of bricks, but left it of marble, has another version given it by Dio, who applies it to his consolidation of the government, to the following effect: "That Rome, which I found built of mud, I shall leave you firm as a rock."-Dio. lvi. p. 589. He also rendered it secure for the time to come against such disasters, as far as could be effected by human foresight. A great number of public buildings were erected by him, the most considerable of which were a forum, The same motive which engaged Julius Caesar to build a new forum, induced Augustus to erect another. See his life c. x. It stood behind the present churches of St. Adrian and St. Luke, and was almost parallel with the public forum, but there are no traces of it remaining. The temple of Mars Ultor, adjoining. has been mentioned before, p. 90. containing the temple of Mars the Avenger, the temple of Apollo on the Palatine hill, and the temple of Jupiter Tonans in the capitol. The reason of his building a new forum was the vast increase in the population, and the number of causes to be tried in the courts, for which, the two already existing not affording sufficient space, it was thought necessary to have a third. It was therefore opened for public use before the temple of Mars was completely finished; and a law was passed, that causes should be tried, and judges chosen by lot, in that place. The temple of Mars was built in fulfilment of a vow made during the war of Philippi, undertaken by him to avenge his father's murder. He ordained that the senate should always assemble there when they met to deliberate respecting wars and triumphs; that thence should be despatched all those who were sent into the provinces in the command of armies; and that in it those who returned victorious from the wars, should lodge the trophies of their triumphs. He erected the temple of ApolloThe temple of the Palatine Apollo stood, according to Bianchini, a little beyond the triumphal arch of Titus. It appears, from the reverse of a medal of Augustus, to have been a rotondo, with an open portico, something like the temple of Vesta. The statues of the fifty daughters of Danae surrounded the portico; and opposite to them were their husbands on horseback. In this temple were preserved some of the finest works of the Greek artists, both in sculpture and painting. Here, in the presence of Augustus, Horace's Carmen Seculare was sung by twenty-seven noble youths, and as many virgins. And here, as our author informs us, Augustus, towards the end of his reign, often assembled the senate. in that part of his house on the Palatine hill which had been struck with lightning, and which, on that account, the soothsayers declared the God to have chosen. He added porticos to it, with a library of Latin and Greek authors; The library adjoined the temple, and was under the protection of Apollo. Caius Julius Hegenus, a freedman of Augustus, and an eminent grammarian, was the librarian. and when advanced in years, used frequently there to hold the senate, and examine the rolls of the judges.
He dedicated the temple to Jupiter Tonans [or. Apollo Tonans],The three fluted Corinthian columns of white marble, which stand on the declivity of the Capitoline hill, are commonly supposed to be the remains of the temple of Jupiter Tonans, erected by Augustus. Part of the frieze and cornice are attached to them, which with the capitals of the columns are finely wrought. Suetonius tells us on what occasion this temple was erected. Of all the epithets given to Jupiter, none conveyed more terror to superstitious minds than that of the Thunderer- Caelo tonantem credidimus Jovem Regnare. Hor. l. iii. Ode 5. We shall find this temple mentioned again in c. lxxxix. of the life of Au- gustus. in acknowledgment of his escape from a great danger in his Cantabrian expedition; when, as he was travelling in the night, his litter was struck by lightning, which killed the slave who carried a torch before him. He likewise constructed some public buildings in the name of others; for instance, his grandsons, his wife, and sister. Thus he built the portico and basilica of Lucius and Caius, and the porticos of Livia and Octavia.The Portico of Octavia stood between the Flaminian circus and the theatre of Marcellus, enclosing the temples of Jupiter and Juno, said to have been built in the time of the republic. Several remains of them exist in the Pescheria or fish-market; they were of the Corinthian order, and have been traced and engraved by Piranesi. and the theatre of Marcellus.The magnificent theatre of Marcellus was built on the site where Suetonius has before informed us that Julius Caesar intended to erect one (p. 37). It stood between the portico of Octavia and the hill of the capitol. Augustus gave it the name of his nephew Marcelhis, though he was then dead. Its ruins are still to be seen in the Piazza Montanara, where the Orsini family have a palace erected on the site. He also often exhorted other persons of rank to embellish the city by new buildings, or repairing and improving the old, according to their means. In consequence of this recommendation, many were raised; such as the temple of Hercules and the Muses, by Marcius Philippus; a temple of Diana by Lucius Cornificius; the Court of Freedom by Asinius Pollio; a temple of Saturn by Munatius Plancus; a theatre by Cornelius BalbusThe theatre of Balbus was the third of the three permanent theatres of Rome. Those of Pompey and Marcellus have been already mentioned.; an amphitheatre by Statilius Taurus, and several other noble edifices by Marcus Agrippa.Among these were, at least, the noble portico, if not the whole, of the Pantheon, still the pride of Rome, under the name of the Rotondo, on the frieze of which may be seen the inscription, M.Marcus AGRIPPA. L.Lucii F.filius COS.consul TERTIUM. FECIT. Agrippa also built the temple of Neptune, and the portico of the Argonauts.
He divided the city into regions and districts, ordaining that the annual magistrates should take by lot the charge of the former; and that the latter should be superintended by wardens chosen out of the people of each neighbourhood. He appointed a nightly watch to be on their guard against accidents from fire; and, to prevent the frequent inundations, he widened and cleansed the bed of the Tiber, which had in the course of years been almost dammed up with rubbish, and the channel narrowed by the ruins of houses.To whatever extent Augustus may have cleared out the bed of the Tiber, the process of its being encumbered with an alluvium of ruins and mud has been constantly going on. Not many years ago, a scheme was set on foot for clearing it by private enterprise, principally for the sake of the valuable remains of art which it is supposed to contain. To render the approaches to the city more commodious, he took upon himself the charge of repairing the Flaminian way as far as Ariminum, The Via Flaminia was probably undertaken by the censor Caius Flaminius, and finished by his son of the same name, who was consul A.U.C. 566, and employed his soldiers in forming it after subduing the Ligurians. It led from the Flumentan gate, now the Porta del Popolo, through Etruria and Umbria into the Cisalpine Gaul, ending at Ariminum, the frontier town of the territories of the republic, now Rimini, on the Adriatic; and is travelled by every tourist who takes the route, north of the Appenines, through the States of the Church, to Rome. Every one knows that the great highways, not only in Italy but in the provinces, were among the most magnificent and enduring works of the Roman people. and distributed the repairs of the other roads amongst several persons who had obtained the honour of a triumph; to be defrayed out of the money arising from the spoils of war. Temples decayed by time, or destroyed by fire, he either repaired or rebuilt; and enriched them, as well as many others, with splendid offerings. On a single occasion, he deposited in the cell of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, sixteen thousand pounds of gold, with jewels and pearls to the amount of fifty millions of sesterces.