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Characters and events of Roman History by Guglielmo Ferrero

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civilisation--at least for those who are fond of wine--the nectar of
the gods? And this, while effervescent wines are made in innumerable
parts of the world and many are so good that one wonders if it were
not possible for them, manufactured with care, placed in sightly
bottles, and sold at as high a price as the most famous French
Champagne, to dispute a part of the admiration that the devotees of
Bacchus render to the French wine. Ah, they do not scintillate before
the eyes of the world as symbols of gay intoxication like the others,
for through those bottles passes no ray of the glory and prestige of
France! An historian fond of paradoxes might affirm, and with great
likelihood, what does not appear at first glance: that the great
brands of French Champagne would not be sold so dear if the French
Revolution had been suppressed by the European coalition, and if
France, overcome in the terrible trial, had been enchained by the
absolute monarchies of Europe like a dangerous beast. It would even
be possible to declare that the reputation of Champagne is rooted, not
only in the ground where the grapes are cultivated, and preserved in
the vast cellars where the precious crops are stored, but in all
the historic tradition of France, in all that which has given France
worldly glory and power: the victorious wars, the distant conquests,
the colonies, the literature, the art, the science, the money capital,
and the spirit--cosmopolitan, expansive, dynamic--of its history.
It would be possible to declare that it makes and pours into all the
world its precious wine by that same virtue, intimate, national,
and historic, by which it created the encyclopaedia and made the
Revolution, let Napoleon loose on Europe and founded the Empire,
wrote so many famous books and built on the banks of the Seine the
marvellous universal city, where all the forces of modern civilisation
are gathered together and hold each other in equilibrium: aristocracy
and democracy, the cosmopolite spirit and the spirit of nationality,
money and science, war and fashion, art and religion. If France
had not had its great history, Champagne would have remained an
effervescing wine of modest household use that the peasants place
every year in barrels for their own family consumption or to sell in
the vicinity of the city of Rheims.

Social Development of the Roman Empire.

Augustus died the twenty-third of August of the year 14 A.D., saying
to Livia, as she embraced him: "Adieu, Livia, remember our long life."
Suetonius adds that, before dying, he had asked the friends who
had come to salute him, if he seemed to them "_mimum vitae commode
transegisse"_--to have acted well his life's comedy. In this famous
phrase many historians have seen a confession, an acknowledgment of
the long role of deceit that the unsurpassable actor had played to
his public. What a mistake! If Augustus did pronounce that famous
sentence, he meant to say quite another thing. An erudite German has
demonstrated with the help of many texts that the ancient writers,
and especially the stoic philosophers, commonly compared life to a
theatrical representation, divided into different acts and with an
inevitable epilogue, death, without intending to say that it was a
thing little serious or not true. They only meant that life is an
action, which has a natural sequence from beginning to end, like a
theatrical representation. There is then no need to translate the
expression of Augustus "the play"--that is, the deceit--"is ended,"
but rather "the drama"--the work committed by destiny--"is finished."

The drama was ended, and what a drama! It is difficult to find in
history a longer and more troubled career than that known by Augustus
for nearly sixty years, from the far-away days when, young, handsome,
full of ambition and daring, he had come to Rome, throwing himself
head first into the frightful turmoil let loose by the murder of
Caesar, to that tranquil death, the death of a great wise man, in the
midst of the _pax Romana_, now spread from end to end of the Empire!
After so many tragic catastrophies had struck his class and his
family, _Euthanasia_--the death of the happy--descended for the first
time since the passing of Lucullus, to close the eyes of a great

There is no better means of giving an idea of the mission of the Roman
Empire in the world than to summarise the life and work of this famous
personage. Augustus has been in our century somewhat the victim of
Napoleon I. The extraordinary course of events at the beginning of
the nineteenth century made so vivid an impression on succeeding
generations, that for the whole of the century people have been able
to admire only the great agitators, men whose lives are filled with
storm and clamorous action. Compared with that of Napoleon or of
Caesar, the figure of Augustus is simple and colourless. The Roman
peace, in the midst of which he died, was his work only very
indirectly. Augustus had wearied his whole life in reorganising
the finances and the army, in crushing the revolts of the European
provinces, in defending the boundaries of the Rhine and the Danube,
in making effective in Rome, as far as he could, the old aristocratic
constitution. All intent on this service, a serious and difficult
one, he never dreamed of regenerating the Empire by a powerful
administration. Even if he had wished it, he would not have had the
means--men and money.

For the past century, the vastness and power of the administration
that governed the Empire has been greatly admired. Without discussing
many things possible on this point, it must be observed that this
judgment does not apply to the times of Augustus and Tiberius, because
then this administration did not exist. During the first fifty years
of the Empire, the provinces were all governed, as under the Republic,
by proconsuls or propraetors, each accompanied by a quaestor, a few
subordinate officials, freedmen, friends, and slaves. A few dozen of
men governed the provinces, as vast as states. Augustus added to this
rudimentary administration but one organ, the procurator, chosen from
freedmen or knights, charged with overseeing the collection of tribute
and expenses; that is, caring for the interests, not of the provinces,
but of Rome. Consequently, the government was weak and inactive in all
the provinces.

Whoever fancies the government of Rome modelled after the type of
modern governments, invading, omnipotent, omnipresent, deceives
himself. There were sent into the provinces nobles belonging to rich
and noted families, who had therefore no need to rob the subjects
too much; and these men ruled, making use of the laws, customs,
institutions, families of nobles, of each place, exactly as England
now does in many parts of its Empire. As in general these governors
were not possessed of any great activity, they did not meddle much in
the internal affairs of the subject peoples. To preserve the unity of
the Empire and the supremacy of Italy against all enemies, within and
without; to exploit reasonably this supremacy; for the rest, to let
every people live as best pleased it: such was the policy of Augustus
and of Tiberius, the policy of the first century A.D. In short, this
was but the idea of the old aristocratic party, adapted to the new

So the Roman Government gave itself little concern at this time for
the provinces, nor did it build in them any considerable public work.
It did not construct roads, nor canals, nor harbours, except when
they were necessary to the metropolis; for example, Agrippa made
the network of Gallic roads; Augustus opened the first three great
highways that crossed the Alps. It would be a mistake to suppose that
these important constructions were designed to favour the progress
of Gallic commerce; they were strategic highways made to defend the
Rhine. As gradually Gaul grew rich, Rome had to recognise that the
weak garrisons, set apart in the year 27 for the defence of the Rhine
and the Danube, were insufficient. It would have been necessary to
increase the army, but the finances were in bad condition. Augustus
then thought to base defence on the principle that the immense
frontiers could not all be assailed at the same time, and therefore he
constructed some great military roads across the Alps and Gaul, to be
able to collect the soldiery rapidly from all parts of the Empire at
any point menaced, on the Rhine or on the Danube.

The imperial policy of Augustus and that of Tiberius, who applied the
same principles with still greater vigour, was above all a negative
policy. Accordingly, it could please only those denying as useful to
progress another kind of men, the great agitators of the masses. Shall
we therefore conclude that Augustus and Tiberius were useless? So
doing, we should run the risk of misunderstanding all the history of
the Roman conquest. By merely comprehending the value of the apparent
inactivity of Augustus and Tiberius, one can understand the essence of
the policy of world expansion initiated by the Roman aristocracy after
the Second Punic War. At the beginning, this policy was pre-eminently
destructive. Everywhere Rome either destroyed or weakened, not
nations or peoples, but republics, monarchies, theocracies,
principalities--that is, the political superstructures that framed the
different states, great or small; everywhere it put in place of these
superstructures the weak authority of its governors, of the Senate, of
its own prestige; everywhere it left intact or gave greater freedom to
the elementary forms of human association, the family, the tribe, the

So for two centuries Rome continued in Orient and Occident to suppress
bureaucracies, to dismiss or reduce armies, to close royal palaces,
to limit the power of priestly castes or republican oligarchies,
substituting for all these complicated organisations a proconsul
with some dozens of vicegerent secretaries and attendants. The
last enterprise of this policy, which I should be tempted to
call "state-devouring," was the destruction of the dynasty of the
Ptolemies, in Egypt. Without doubt, the suppression of so many
states, continued for two centuries, could not be accomplished without
terrible upheavals. It would be useless to repaint here the grim
picture of the last century of the Republic; sufficient to say, the
grandiosity of this convulsion has hindered most people from seeing
that the state-devouring policy of Rome included in itself, by the
side of the forces of dissolution, beneficent, creative forces, able
to bring about a new birth. If this policy had not degenerated into
an unbridled sacking, it could have effectuated everywhere notable
economies in the expenses of government that were borne by the poorer
classes, suppressing as it did so many armies, courts, bureaucracies,
wars. It is clear that Rome would have been able to gather in on
all sides, especially in the Orient, considerable tribute, merely
by taking from the various peoples much less than the cost of their
preceding monarchies and continuous wars. Moreover, Rome established
with the conquests throughout the immense Empire what we would call
a regime of free exchange; made neighbours of territories formerly
separated by constant wars, unsafe communication, and international
anarchy; and rendered possible the opening up of mines and forests
hitherto inaccessible.

The apparent inactivity of Augustus and Tiberius was simply the
ultimate and most beneficent phase of the state-devouring policy of
Rome, that in which, the destructive forces exhausted, the creative
forces began to act. Augustus and Tiberius only prolonged indefinitely
by means of expedients that mediocre order and that partial
tranquillity re-established after Actium by the general weariness;
but exactly for this reason were they so useful to the world. In
this peace, in this mediocre order, the policy of expansion of Rome,
finally rid of all the destructive forces, matured all the benefits
inherent within it. Finally, after a frightful crisis, the world
was able to enjoy a liberty and an autonomy such as it had never
previously enjoyed and which perhaps it will never again in an equal
degree of civilisation and in so great an extension.

The Empire then covered Spain, France, Belgium, a part of Germany and
Austria, Switzerland and Italy, the Balkanic countries, Greece, Asia
Minor, Syria, Palestine, a part of Arabia, Egypt, and all northern
Africa. I do not believe that the political _personnel_ that made up
the central government of this enormous Empire ever comprised more
than 2000 men. The army charged with defending so many territories
numbered about 200,000 men--fewer than the present army of Italy
alone. The effects of this order of things were soon to be seen; in
all the Mediterranean basin there began a rapid and universal economic
expansion, which, on a smaller scale, might remind one of what Europe
and America have seen in the nineteenth century. New lands were
cultivated, new mines opened, new wares manufactured, exports sent
into regions formerly closed or unknown; and every new source of
wealth, creating new riches, made labour and commerce progress.

Foremost among all nations of the Empire, at the centre, Italy rapidly
consolidated its fortune and its domination. After the mad plundering
of the times of Caesar, followed methodical exploiting. Italy attracted
to itself by the power of political leadership the precious metals and
wares of luxury from every part of the Empire; the largest quantity
of these things passed through Rome, before being scattered throughout
the peninsula in exchange for the agricultural and industrial products
of Italy, consumed in the capital. Consequently the middle classes and
many cities grew rich, especially the cities of the Campania, Pompeii,
Herculaneum, Naples, Pozzuoli, through which passed all the trade
between Italy and Egypt. In addition, Italy found an abundant source
of income in the exportation of wine and oil.

In short, having at last emerged from revolution, the peoples of Italy
rallied around Rome and the imperial power, united and relatively
content. At the same time, the provinces began among themselves, about
Italy, a great interchange of merchandise, men, ideas, customs,
across the Mediterranean. Rome and Italy were invaded by a crowd
of Orientals, slaves, freedmen, merchants, artisans, _litterati_,
artists, acrobats, poets, adventurers; and contemporaneously with Rome
and Italy, the agricultural provinces of the West, especially those
along the Danube. Rome did not conquer the barbarous provinces of
Europe for itself alone; it conquered them also for the East, which,
in Mesia, Dalmatia, Pannonia, among those barbarians growing civilised
and eager to live in cities, found customers for their industries in
articles of luxury, for their artists, teachers of literature, and
propagandists of religion.

We are therefore able to explain to ourselves why, beginning from the
time of Augustus, all the industrial cities of the Orient--Pergamon,
Laodicea, Ephesus, Ierapolis, Tyre, Sidon, Alexandria--entered upon
an era of new and refulgent prosperity. Finally, we add the singular
enriching of two nations, whose names return anew united for the last
time, Egypt and Gaul. To all the numerous sources of Gallic wealth
there is to be added yet another, the importance of which is easier
to understand after what I have said on the development of the
Empire. Pliny tells us that all Gaul wove linen sails. The progress of
navigation, a consequence of the progress of commerce, much increased
the demand for linen sail-cloth, something that explains the spread of
flax cultivation in Gaul and the profit derived from it.

As to Egypt, it not only found in the pacified empire new outlets for
its old industries, but also succeeded in engaging a large part of the
new commerce with the extreme Orient, which was at this time greatly
on the increase. From India and China were imported pearls, diamonds,
silk fabrics; for the use of these wares gained largely during
this century, as it has done in recent times in Europe and America;
perfumes were also imported, and rice, which served as a medicament
and to prepare dishes of luxury.

The unity of the Empire was due far more to this great economic
development that began under Augustus than to the political action
of the early emperors. Little by little, imperial interests became
so numerous and so considerable that Rome saw the effort necessary
to keep up the unity diminish. Everywhere, even in the most distant
regions, powerful minorities formed that worked for Rome and against
old separating, anti-uniting forces, against old traditions and local
patriotism alike. The wealthy classes everywhere became in a special
way wholly favourable to Rome. Therefore there is no more serious
mistake than regarding the Roman Empire as the exclusive work of a
government: it was in truth created by two diverse forces, operating
one after the other--each in its own time, for both were necessary: a
force of destruction--the state-devouring policy of Rome; a force of
reconstruction--the economic unification. The annihilation of states,
without which there would have been no economic unification, was the
work of the government and the armies. It was the politicians of the
Senate that destroyed so many states by wars and diplomatic intrigues;
but the economic unification was made chiefly by the infinitely
little--the peasant, the artisan, the educated man--the nameless many,
that lived and worked and passed away, leaving hardly trace or record.
These unknown that laboured, each seeking his own personal happiness,
contributed to create the Empire as much as did the great statesmen
and generals. For this reason I can never regard without a certain
emotion the mutilated inscriptions in the museums, chance salvage from
the great shipwreck of the ancient world, that have preserved the name
of some land-owner, or merchant, or physician, or freedman. Lo!
what remains of these generations of obscure workers, who were the
indispensable collaborators of the great statesmen and diplomatists of
Rome, and without whom the political world of Rome would have been but
a gigantic enterprise of military brigandage!

The great historic merit of Augustus and of Tiberius is that they
presided over the passage from the destructive to the reorganising
phase with their wise, prudent, apparently inactive policy. The
transition, like all transitions, was difficult; the disintegrating
forces were not yet exhausted; the upbuilding forces were still very
weak; the world of the time was in unstable equilibrium, violent
perturbations certainly yet possible. Without doubt, it is hard to say
what would have happened if, instead of being governed by the policy
of Augustus, the world had fallen into the hands of an adventurous
oligarchy like that which gathered around Alexander the Great; but we
can at least affirm that the sagacity and prudence of Augustus, which
twenty centuries afterward appear as inactivity, did much to avoid
such disturbances, the consequences of which, in a world so exhausted,
would have been grave.

Nor is it correct to believe that this policy was easy. Moderation
and passivity, even when good for the governed, rust and waste away
governments, which must always be doing something, even if it be only
making mistakes. In fact, while supreme power usually brings return
and much return to him who exercises it, especially in monarchies, it
cost instead, and unjustly, to Augustus and Tiberius. Augustus had to
offer to the monster, as Tiberius called the Empire, almost all his
family, beginning with the beloved Julia, and had to spend for the
state almost all his fortune. We know that although in the last twenty
years of his life he received by many bequests a sum amounting to a
billion and four hundred million sesterces, he left his heirs only one
hundred and fifty million sesterces, all the rest having been spent by
him for the Republic: this was the singular civil list of this curious
monarch, who, instead of fleecing his subjects, spent for them almost
all he had. It is vain to speak of Tiberius: the Empire cost him the
only thing that perhaps he held dear, his fame. A philosophic history
would be wrong in not recognising the grandeur of these sacrifices,
which are the last glory of the Roman nobility. The old political
spirit of the Roman nobility gave to Augustus and Tiberius the
strength to make these sacrifices, and they probably saved ancient
civilisation from a most difficult crisis.

It may be observed that Augustus and Tiberius worked for the Empire
and the future without realising it. Far from understanding that the
economic progress of their time would unify the Empire better than
could their laws and their legions, they feared it; they believed
that it would everywhere diffuse "corruption," even in the armies,
and therefore weaken the imperial power of resistance against the
barbarians on the Rhine and the Danube. The German peril--the future
had luminously to demonstrate it--was much less than Augustus and
Tiberius believed. In other words, the first two emperors thought that
the unity of the Empire would be maintained by a vigorous, solid army,
while the economic progress, which spread "corruption," appeared to
them to put it to risk.

Exactly the opposite happened; the army continued to decay,
notwithstanding the desperate efforts of Tiberius, while the inner
force of economic interests held the countries well bound together.
It is impossible to oppose this course of reasoning, in itself most
accurate; but what conclusion is to be drawn from it? In the chaotic
conflict of passions and interests that make up the world, the deeds
of a man or a party are not useful in proportion to the objective
truth of the ideas acted out, or to the success attained. Their
usefulness depends upon the direction of the effort, on the ends it
proposes, on the results it obtains. There are men and parties of whom
one might say, they were right to be wrong, when chimerical ideas
and mistakes have sustained their courage to carry out an effective
effort; there are others, instead, of whom it might be said that they
were wrong to be right, when their clear vision of present and past
kept them from accomplishing some painful but necessary duty.

Certainly the old Roman traditions were destined to be overwhelmed
by the invasion of Oriental ideas and habits; but what might not
have happened if every one had understood this from the very times of
Augustus; if then no one had opposed the invasion of Orientalism; if
mysticism and the monarchy of divine right had transformed Italy or
the Empire within fifty years instead of three centuries? I should
not at all hesitate to affirm that certain errors are in certain
conjunctions much wiser than the corresponding verities. There is
nothing more useful in life than resistance, though apparently futile,
against social forces fated to perish, because these, struggling on to
the very end, always succeed in imposing a part of themselves on the
victorious power, and the result is always better than a complete
and unantagonised victory of the opposing force. To the obstinate
resistance with which republican principles combated Asiatic monarchy
in Rome, we must even to-day render thanks for the fact that Europe
was not condemned, like Asia, to carry the eternal yoke of semidivine
absolutism, even in dynastic regimes. What social force destined to
perish would still have power to struggle if it clearly foresaw its
inevitable future dissolution; if it did not fortify itself a little
with some deluding vision of its own future?

Augustus and Tiberius were deceived. They wished to reanimate what was
doomed; they feared what for the moment was not dangerous. They are
the last representatives of the policy initiated by the Scipios and
not the initiators of the policy that created the bureaucratic Empire
of Diocletian: yet this is exactly their glory. They were right to
be wrong; and they rendered to the Empire an immense service, for
the very reason that the definite outcome of their efforts was
diametrically opposed to the idea that animated them. But we need not
dwell on this point. Such were the ideas of the two emperors and the
results of their work; the true Empire, known to all, the monarchic,
Asiaticised, bureaucratic Empire, grew out of this little-governed
beginning that Augustus and Tiberius allowed to live in the freedom
of the largest autonomy. How was it formed? This is the great problem
that I shall try to solve in the sequence of my work. Naturally, I
cannot now resume all the ideas I mean to develop: I confine myself
here to some of the simplest considerations, which seem to me surest.

The picture of the Empire, so brilliant from the economic stand-point,
is much less so from the intellectual: here we touch its great
weakness. Destroying so many governments, especially in the Orient,
Rome had at the same time decapitated the intellectual _elites_ of
the ancient world; for the courts of the monarchies were the great
firesides of mental activity. Rome had therefore, together with states
and governments, destroyed scientific and literary institutions,
centres of art, traditions of refinement, of taste, of aesthetic
elegance. So everywhere, with the Roman domination, the practical
spirit won above the philosophical and scientific, commerce over arts
and letters, the middle classes over historic aristocracies. Already
weakened by the overthrow of the most powerful Asiatic monarchies,
these _elites_ received the final blow on the disappearance of their
last protection, the dynasty of the Ptolemies in Egypt.

When Augustus began to govern the Empire, the classes that represent
tradition, culture the elevated and disinterested activities of the
spirit, were everywhere extensive in number in wealth, in energy.
It was not long before these ultimate remainders vanished under the
alluvial overflow of the middle classes, swollen by the big economic
gains of the first century. In this respect, the first and second
centuries of the Christian era resemble our own time. In the whole
Empire, alike in Rome, in Gaul, in Asia, there were old aristocratic
families, rich and illustrious, but they were not the class of
greatest power. Under them stood a middle class of merchants,
land-owners, orators, jurists, professors, and other intellectual men,
and this was so numerous, comfortable, and so potent as to cause all
the great social forces, from government to industry, to abandon
the old aristocracy and court it like a new mistress. Art, industry,
literature, were vulgarised in those two centuries, as to-day in
Europe and America, because they had to work mainly for this middle
class which was much more numerous, and yet cruder than the ancient
_elites_. It was the first era of the _cheap_, of vulgarisations, I
was about to say of the _made in Germany_, that enters into
history. There was invented the art of silver-plating, to give the
_bourgeoisie_ at moderate prices the sweet illusion of possessing
objects of silver; great thinkers disappeared; instead were multiplied
manuals, treatises, encyclopaedias, professors that summarised and
vulgarised. Philosophy gradually gave out, like all the higher forms
of literature, and there began the reign of the declaimers and the
sophists; that is, the lecture-givers, the lawyers, the journalists.
In painting and sculpture, original schools were no more to be found,
nor great names, but the number of statues and bas-reliefs increased
infinitely. The paintings of Pompeii and many statues and marbles
that are now admired in European museums are examples of this
industrialised art, inexpensive, creating nothing original, but
furnishing to families in comfortable circumstances passable copies of
works of art--once a privilege only of kings.

The imperial bureaucracy that was formed mainly in the second century
was another effect of this enlargement of the middle classes. In the
second century there came into vogue many humanitarian ideas, which
have a certain resemblance to modern ones. There increased solicitude
for the general well-being, for order, for justice, and this augmented
the number of functionaries charged with insuring universal felicity
by administrative means. The movement was supported by intellectual
men of the middle classes, especially by jurists, who sought to put
their studies to profit, getting from the government employments in
which they might make use, well or ill, of their somewhat artificial
aptitudes. If the aristocratic idea, personified by Augustus
and Tiberius, delayed, it could not stop, the invasion of these
bureaucratic locusts; the government showed itself constantly weaker
with the intellectual classes. Little by little the whole Empire
was bureaucratised; founded by an aristocracy exclusively Roman in
statesmen and soldiers, it was finally governed by a cosmopolitan
bureaucracy of men of brains: orators, _litterati_, lawyers.
Therefore, to my thinking, they are wrong who believe that the
imperial bureaucracy created the unity of the Empire; whereas, the
formation of the imperial bureaucracy was one of the consequences of
that natural unification, the chief reason for which should be sought
in the great economic movement. The economic unification was first
and was entire; then came the political unity, made by the imperial
bureaucracy, which was less complete than the unifying of material

After the material unity, after the political, there should have been
formed the moral and intellectual; but at this point, the forces of
Rome gave way. Rome had gathered under its sceptre too many races,
too many kinds of culture, religions too diverse; its spirit was too
exclusively political, administrative, and judicial; it could not
therefore conciliate the ideas, assimilate the customs, weld the
sentiments, unify the religions, by its laws and decrees. To this
end was necessary the power of ideas, of doctrines, of beliefs that
officials of administration could neither create nor propagate. The
work was to be accomplished outside of, and in part against, the
government. It is the work of Christianity.

Many have asked me how I shall consider Christianity in the sequence
of my work. In brief, I may say that I shall follow a different method
from that which its historians have taken up to this time: they have
studied especially how there was formed that part of Christianity
which yet lives and is the soul of it, namely, the religious doctrine.
On this account, they generally separate its history from the history
of the Empire, making of it the principal argument, considering the
history of Roman society as subordinate to it and therefore only an
appendix. I propose to reverse the study, taking Christianity as a
chapter, important but separate, in the history of the Empire. If
for three centuries Christianity has been gradually returning to its
origin, that is, becoming purely a religion and a moral teaching,
for some centuries in the ancient world it was a thing much more
complicated; a government and an administration that willed not only
to regulate the relations between man and God, but to govern the
intellectual, social, moral, political, and economic life of the
people! The historian ought to explain how this new Empire--for it was
indeed a new Empire--was formed in Rome and upon its ruins: this is a
problem much more intricate than at first appears.

It has been said and often repeated that the Church was in the Middle
Ages in Europe the continuation of the Roman Empire, that the Pope is
yet the real successor of the Emperor in Rome. In fact he carries one
of the Emperor's titles, _Pontifex maximus_. The observation is just,
but it should not make us forget that the Christian Empire, so to call
it, and the Roman Empire, were between themselves as radically
opposed as two forces that created the one and the other; politics and
intellectuality. The diplomatists, the generals, the legislators of
Rome created by political means, by wars, treaties, laws, a grand
economic and political unity, which they consolidated, quite giving
up the formation of a large intellectual and moral unity. The
intellectual men, who formed the most powerful nucleus of the Church
after the fourth century, took up again the Roman idea of unity and of
empire; but they transferred it from matter to mind, from the concrete
world of economic and political interests, to the world of ideas
and beliefs. They tried to re-do, by pen and word, the work of the
Scipios, of Lucullus, and of Caesar, to conquer the world, not indeed
invading it with armies, but spreading a new faith, creating a new
morality, a new metaphysics which must gather up within themselves
the intellectual activities of Graeco-Latin culture, from history to
science, from law to philosophy.

The Church of the Middle Ages was therefore the most splendid edifice
that the intellectual classes have so far created. The power of this
empire of men of letters increased, as little by little the other
empire, that of the generals and diplomats, declined. Christianity saw
with indifference the Roman Empire decay; indeed, when it could,
it helped on the disintegration and was one of the causes of that
political and economic pulverising which everywhere succeeded the
great Roman unity. Political and economic unity on the one hand,
moral and intellectual on the other, seem in the history of European
civilisation things opposite and irreconcilable; when one is formed,
the other is undone. As the Roman Empire had found in intellectual
and moral disunion a means of preserving more easily the economic and
political unity, the Church broke to pieces the political and economic
unity of the ancient world to make, and for a long time preserve, its
own moral and intellectual oneness.

I shall make an effort, above all, to explain the origin, the
development, and the consequences of this contradiction, because I
believe that explaining this clears one of the weightiest and most
important points in all the history of our civilisation; in truth,
this contradiction seems to be the immortal soul of it. For instance:
in time, Augustus is twenty centuries away from us, but mentally
and morally he is, instead, much nearer, because for the last four
centuries Europe has been returning to Rome--that is, striving to
remake a great political and economic unity at the expense of the
intellectual and moral. In this fact particularly, lies the immense
historic importance of what is called the classic renaissance. It
indicates the beginning of an historic reversion that corresponds
in the opposite direction to what occurred in the third and fourth
centuries of the Christian era. The classic renaissance freed anew
the scientific spirit of the ancients from mediaeval metaphysics and
therefore created the sciences; rediscovered some basic political
and juridical ideas of the ancient world, among them that of the
indivisibility of the State, which destroyed the foundations of
feudalism and of all the political orders of the Middle Ages; and gave
a great impetus to the struggle against the political domination of
the Church and toward the formation of the great states. France and
England have been in the lead, and for two centuries Europe has
been wearying itself imitating them. After the movement of political
unification followed the economic. Look about you: what do you see?
A world that looks more like the Roman Empire than it does the Middle
Ages; it is a world of great states whose dominating classes have
almost all the essential ideas of Graeco-Latin civilisation; each,
seeking to better its own conditions, is forced to establish between
itself and the others the strictest economic relations and to bind
into the system of common interests also barbarous countries and those
of differing civilisation. But how? By scrupulously respecting all the
intellectual and moral diversities of men. What matters it if a people
be Roman Catholic or Protestant, Mohammedan or Buddhist, monarchic or
republican, provided it buys, sells, takes part in the economic unity
of the modern world? This is the policy of contemporary states and was
the policy of the Roman Empire. It has often been observed that in the
modern world, so well administered, there is an intellectual and moral
diversity greater than that during the fearful anarchy of the Middle
Ages, when all the lettered classes had a single language, the Latin,
and the lower classes held, on certain fundamental questions, the same
ideas--those taught by the Church. A correct observation, this, but
one from which there is no need to draw too many conclusions; since in
our history the material unity and the ideal are naturally exclusive.

We are returning, in a vaster world, to the condition of the Roman
Empire at its beginning; to an immense economic unity, which,
notwithstanding the aberrations of protectionism, is grander and
firmer than all its predecessors; to a political unity not so great,
yet considerable, because even if peace be not eternal, it is at least
the normal condition of the European states; to an indifference for
every effort put forth to establish moral and ideal uniformity
among the nations, great and small, that share in this political and
economic unity. This is why we understand Augustus and his times much
more readily than we do the times of Charlemagne, even though from the
latter we possess a greater number of documents; this is why we can
write a history of Augustus and rectify so many mistakes made about
him by preceding generations. It has often happened to me to find, _a
propos_ of the volumes written on Augustus, that my contradiction of
tradition creates a kind of instinctive diffidence. Many say: "Yes,
this book is interesting; but is it possible that for twenty centuries
everybody has been mistaken?--that it was necessary to wait till 1908
to understand what occurred in the year 8?" But those twenty centuries
reduce themselves, as far as regards the possibility of understanding
Augustus, to little more than a hundred years. Since Augustus was the
last representative of a world that was disappearing, his figure soon
became obscure and enigmatic. Tacitus and Suetonius saw him already
enveloped in the mist of that new spirit which for so many centuries
was to conceal from human eyes the wonderful spectacle of the pagan
world. Then the mist became a fog and grew denser, until Augustus
disappeared, or was but a formless shadow. Centuries passed by; the
fog began to withdraw before the returning sun of the ancient culture;
his figure reappeared. Fifty years ago, the obscurity cleared quite
away; the figure stands in plain view with outlines well defined. I
believe that the history I have written is more like the truth than
those preceding it, but I do not consider myself on that account
a wonder-worker. I know I have been able to correct many preceding
errors, because I was the first to look attentively when the moment to
see and understand arrived.

Roman History in Modern Education.

When I announced my intention to write a new history of Rome, many
people manifested a sense of astonishment similar to what they would
have felt had I said that I meant to retire to a monastery. Was it to
be believed that the hurrying modern age, which bends all its energies
toward the future, would find time to look back, even for a moment, at
that past so far away? That my attempt was rash was the common
opinion not only of friends and critics, but also of publishers, who
everywhere at first showed themselves skeptical and hesitating. They
all said that the public was quite out of touch with Roman affairs. On
the contrary, facts have demonstrated that also in this age, in aspect
so eager for things modern, people of culture are willing to give
attention to the events and personages of ancient Rome.

The thing appears strange and bizarre, as is natural, to those who had
not considered it possible; consequently, few have seen how simple
and clear is its explanation. To those who showed surprise that the
history of Rome could become fashionable in Paris salons, I have
always replied: My history has had its fortune because it was the
history of Rome. Written with the same method and in the same style,
a history of Venice, or Florence, or England, would not have had the
same lot. One must not forget that the story of Rome occupies in the
intellectual world a privileged place. Not only is it studied in all
the schools of the civilised world; not only do nearly all states
spend money to bring to light all the documentary evidence that
the earth still conceals; but while all other histories are studied
fitfully, that of Rome is, so to speak, remade every fifty years,
and whoever arrives at the right time to do the making can gain a
reputation broader than that given to most historians.

There is, so to speak, in the history of Rome an eternal youth,
and for the mind in what is commonly called European-American
civilisation, it holds a peculiar attraction. From what deep sources
springs this perennial youth? In what consists this particular force
of attraction and renewal? It seems to me that the chief reason
for the eternal fascination of the history of Rome is this, that it
includes, as in a miniature drawn with simple lines, well defined,
all the essential phenomena of social life; so that every age is
able there to find its own image, its gravest problems, its intensest
passions, its most pressing interests, its keenest struggles;
therefore Roman history is forever modern, because every new age has
only to choose that part which most resembles it, to find its own

In the intellectual history of the nineteenth century this leading
phenomenon of our culture is clearly evident. If any one asked me why,
during the past century, Roman history has proved so interesting, I
should not hesitate to reply, "Because Europeans and Americans
find, there more than elsewhere what has been the greatest political
upheaval of the hundred years that followed the French Revolution--the
struggle between monarchy and republic." From the fervid admiration
for the Roman Republic which animated the men of the French Revolution
to the unmeasured Caesarian apologies of Duruy and of Mommsen, from
the ardent cult of Brutus to the detailed studies on the Roman
administration of the first two centuries, all historians have studied
and regarded Roman history mainly from the point of view of the
struggle between the two principles that yet to-day rend in incurable
discord the mind of old Europe and from which you have emerged
fortunate! You are free, in a new world; you have ended the combat
between the Latin principle of the impersonal state and the Oriental
principle of the dynastic state; between the state conceived as the
thing of all, belonging to every one and therefore of no one, and the
state personified in a family of an origin higher and nobler than
the common in which all authority derives from some hero-founder by
a mysterious virtue unaccountable to reason and human philosophy; you
have done with the conflict between the human state, simple, without
pomp, without dramatic symbols--the republic as we men of the
twentieth century understand it, and as you Americans conceive and
practise it--and the monarchy of divine right, vainglorious, full of
ceremonies and etiquette, despotic in internal constitution, which
still exists in Europe under more or less spurious forms. Now it is
easy to explain how, in an age in which the contest between these two
conceptions and these two forms of the State was so warm, the history
of Rome should so stir the mind.

In no other history do these two political forms meet each other in a
more irreconcilable opposition of characters in extreme. The Republic,
as Rome had founded it, was so impersonal that, in contrast with
modern more democratic republics, it had not even a fixed
bureaucracy, and all the public functions were exercised by
elective magistrates--even the executive--from public works to the
police-system. In the ancient monarchy which the Orient had created,
the dynastic principle was so strong that the State was considered
by inherent right the personal property of the sovereign, who might
expand it, contract it, divide it among his sons and relatives,
bequeathing his kingdom and his subjects as a land-owner disposes of
his estate and his cattle. Furthermore, although to-day the sovereigns
of Europe are pleased to treat quite familiarly with the good Lord,
the rulers in the Orient were held to be gods in their own right.

Whence it is easy to understand how terrible must have been the
struggle between the two principles so antagonistic, from the time
when in the Empire, immeasurable and complicated, the institutions of
the Republic proved inadequate to govern so many diverse peoples and
territories so vast. The Romans kept on, as at first, rebelling at
the idea of placing a man-god at the head of the State, themselves to
become, when finally masters of the world, the slaves of a dynasty.
The conflict between the two principles lasted a century, from Caesar
to Nero, filled the story of Rome with hideous tragedies, but ended
with the truce of a glorious compromise; for Rome succeeded in putting
into the monarchic constitution of empire some essentially republican
ideas, among others, the idea of the indivisibility of the State. Not
only Augustus and his family, but also the Flavians and the Antonines,
never thought that the Empire belonged to them, that they might
dispose of it like private property; on the contrary, they regarded it
as an eternal and indivisible holding of the Roman people which they,
as representatives of the _populus_, were charged to administer.

It is therefore easy, as I have said, to explain how, as never
before, the history of Rome was looked upon as a great war between the
monarchy and the republic. Indeed, the problem of the republic and
the monarchy, always present to the minds of writers of the nineteenth
century, has been perhaps the chief reason for the gravest mistakes
committed by Roman historiography during this period--mistakes I have
sought to correct. For example, the republicans have pinned their
faith to all the absurd tales told by Suetonius and Tacitus about the
family of the Caesars, through preconceived hate for the monarchy; and
the monarchists have exaggerated out of measure the felicity of the
first two centuries of the Empire, to prove that the provinces lived
happy under the monarchic administration as never before or after.
Mommsen has fashioned an impossible Caesar, almost making of that great
demagogue a literary anticipation of Bismarck.

Little by little, however, as the contest between republic and
monarchy gradually spent itself in Europe, in the last twenty-five
years of the nineteenth century, the interest for histories of Rome
conceived and written in this spirit, declined. The real reason why
Mommsen and Duruy are to-day so little read, why at the beginning of
the twentieth century Roman history no longer stirs enthusiasm through
their books is, above all, this: that readers no longer find in those
pages what corresponds directly to living reality. Therefore it was to
be believed that Roman history had grown old and out of date; whereas,
merely one of its perishing and deciduous forms had grown old, not the
soul of it, which is eternally living and young. So true is this, that
a writer had only to consider the old story from new points of view,
for Caesar and Antony, Lucullus and Pompey, Augustus and the laws of
the year 18 B.C., to become subjects of fashionable conversation in
Parisian drawing-rooms, in the most refined intellectual centre of the

It has never been difficult for me to realise that contemporary
Europe and America, the Europe and America of railroads, industries,
monstrous swift-growing cities, might find present in ancient Rome a
part of their own very souls, restless, turbulent, greedy. In the Rome
of the days of Caesar, huge, agitated, seething with freedmen, slaves,
artisans come from everywhere, crowded with enormous tenement-houses,
run through from morning till night by a mad throng, eager for
amusements and distractions; in that Rome where there jostled together
an unnumbered population, uprooted from land, from family, from native
country, and where from the press of so many men there fermented all
the propelling energies of history and all the forces that destroy
morality and life--vice and intellectuality, the imperialistic policy,
deadly epidemics; in that changeable Rome, here splendid, there
squalid; now magnanimous, and now brutal; full of grandeurs, replete
with horrors; in that great city all the huge modern metropolises are
easily refound, Paris and New York, Buenos Ayres and London, Melbourne
and Berlin. Rome created the word that denotes this marvellous and
monstrous phenomenon, of history, the enormous city, the deceitful
source of life and death--_urbs_--_the city_. Whence it is not strange
that the countless _urbes_ which the grand economic progress of the
nineteenth century has caused to rise in every part of Europe and
America look to Rome as their eldest sister and their dean.

Furthermore, into the history of Rome, the historic aristocracy of
Europe may look as into the mirror of their own destiny, as everywhere
they try to retain wealth and power, playing in the stock-exchange,
marrying the daughters of millionaire brewers, giving themselves
to commerce; a nobility that resorts, in the effort to preserve
its prestige over the middle classes, to the expedients of the most
reckless demagogy. Sulla, Lucullus, Pompey, Crassus, Antony, Caesar,
exemplify in stupendous types the aristocracy that seeks to conserve
riches and power by audaciously employing the forces that menace its
own destruction.

Several critics of my work, particularly the French, have observed
that the policy of expansion made by Rome in the times of Caesar, as
I have described it, resembles closely the craze for imperialism that
about ten years ago agitated England. It is true, for imperialism in
the time of Caesar was what has existed for the last half century in
England--a means of which one part of the historic aristocracy availed
itself to keep power and renew decaying prestige, satisfying material
interests and flattering with intoxications of vanity the pride of
the masses. So, too, the contesting parties in France--the socialist,
which represents the labouring classes; the radical, which represents
the middle classes; the progressive and the monarchic, which represent
the wealthy burghers and the aristocracy--may discover some of their
passions, their doings, their invectives, in the political warfare
that troubled the age of Caesar; in those scandals, those judicial
trials, in that furor of pamphlets and discourses. This is so true,
that in consequence my book met a singular fate in France; that of
being adopted by each party as an argument in its own favour. Drumont
made use of it to demonstrate to France what befalls a country when it
allows its national spirit to be corrupted by foreign influx, seeking
to persuade his fellow-citizens that the Jews in France do the same
work of intellectual and moral dissolution that the Orientals brought
about in Rome. Radical writers, like Andre Maurel, have sought
arguments in my work to combat the colonial and imperialistic policy.
The imperialists also, like Pinon, have looked for arguments to
support their stand-point. Was I not merely demonstrating that the
policy of expansion is a kind of universal and constant law, which
periodically actualises itself through the working of the same forces,
in the same ways?

It is not to be thought that the age of Caesar, so disturbed, so
stormy, is our only mirror in the story of Rome. When I write the
account of the imperial society of the first and second centuries, our
own time will be able to recognise even more of itself, to see what
must be the future of Europe and America, if for a century or two they
have no profound political and social upheavals. In that great _pax
Romana_ lasting two centuries, we may study with special facility
a phenomenon to be found in all rich civilisations cultured and
relatively at peace--the phenomenon to me the most important in
contemporary European life, the feminising of all social life; that
is, the victory of the feminine over the masculine spirit. Do not
fancy that the feminists, the problems and the disputes they excite in
modern society, are something quite new and peculiar to us; these are
only special forms of a phenomenon more general, the growing influence
that woman exercises on society, as civilisation, culture, and wealth
steadily increase. Here, too, the history of Rome is luminously clear.
In it we see evolving that vast contest between the feminine spirit
and the masculine, which is one of the essential phenomena in all
human history. We see the masculine spirit--the spirit of domination,
of force, of mastery, of daring--ruling complete, when the small
community had to fight its first hard battles against nature and men.
The father commanded then as monarch in his family; the woman was
without right, liberty, personality; had but to obey, to bear
children and rear them. But success, power, wealth, greater security,
imperceptibly loosened the narrow bondage of the first struggles; then
the feminine spirit--the spirit of freedom, of pleasure, of art, of
revolt against tradition--gradually acquired strength, and began bit
by bit to undermine at its bases the stern masculine rule.

The hard conflict of two centuries is sown with tragedies and
catastrophes. Supported by tradition, exasperated by the ever bolder
revolts of woman, the masculine spirit every now and then went mad;
and brutally tore away her costly jewels and tried to deny her soft
raiment and rare perfumes; and when she had already grown accustomed
to appearing in the world and shining there, he willed to drive her
back into the house, and put beside her there on guard the fieriest
threats of law. Sometimes, despairing, he filled Rome with his
laments; protested that the liberty of the woman cost the man too
dear; cried out that the bills of the dressmaker and the jeweller
would send Rome, the Empire, the world, to ruin. In vain, with wealth,
in a civilisation full of Oriental influences, woman grew strong,
rose, and invaded all society, until in the vast Empire of the first
and second centuries, at the climax of her power, with beauty,
love, luxury, culture, prodigality, and mysticism she dominated
and dissolved a society which in the refinements of wealth and
intellectuality had lost the sharp virtues of the pioneer.

It is unnecessary to dilate further on this point; it will be better
rather to dwell a moment on the causes and the effects of this
singular phenomenon. The history of Rome has been and can be so rich,
so manifold, so universal, because in its long record ancient Rome
gathered up into itself, welded, fused, the most diverse elements of
social life, from all peoples and all regions with which it came into
contact. It knew continued war and interrupted peace for centuries.
It held united under its vast sway, states decrepit with the oldest
of civilisations, and peoples hardly out of primitive barbarism.
It exploited with avidity the intelligence, the laboriousness, the
science of the former; the physical force, the war-valour and the
daring of the latter; it absorbed the vices, the habits, the ideas of
the Hellenised Orient, and transfused them in the untamed Occident.
Taking men, ideas, money, everywhere and from every people, it
created first an empire, then a literature, an architecture, an
administration, and a new religion, that were the most tremendous
synthesis of the ancient world. So the Roman world turned out vaster
and more complex than the Greek, although never assuming proportions
exceeding the power of the human mind; and as it grew, it kept that
precious quality, wanting in the Greek, unity; hence, the lucid
clearness of Roman history. There is everything in it, and everything
radiates from one centre, so that comprehension is easy. Without doubt
it would be rash to declare that the history of Rome alone may serve
as the outline of universal history. It is quite likely that there
may be found another history that possesses the same two qualities
for which that of Rome is so notable--universality and unity--but one
thing we may affirm: up to this time the history of Rome alone has
fulfilled this office of universal compendium, which explains how it
has always been studied by the learned and lettered of every part of
the civilised European-American world, and how in modern intellectual
life it is the history universal and cosmopolitan _par excellence_.
This condition of things has a much greater practical importance than
is supposed. Indeed it would be a serious mistake to believe that
cosmopolitan catholicity is an ideal dower purely of Roman history,
for which all the sons of Rome may congratulate themselves as of a
thing doing honour only to their stirp. This universality forms part,
I should say, of the material patrimony of all the Latin stock; we may
number it in the historic inventory of all the good things the sons of
Rome possess and of all their reasonable hopes for the future.

This affirmation may at first appear to you paradoxical, strange, and
obscure, but I think a short exposition will suffice to clear it. The
universality of the history of Rome, the ease of finding in it models
in miniature of all our life will have this effect, that classical
studies remain the educational foundation of the intelligent classes
in all European-American civilisation. These studies may be reformed;
they may be as they ought, restricted to a smaller number of persons;
but if it is not desired--as of course it cannot be--that in the
future all men be purely technical capacities and merely living
machines to create material riches; if, on the contrary, it is desired
that in every nation the chosen few that govern have a philosophical
consciousness of universal life, no means is better suited to instil
this philosophic consciousness than the study of ancient Rome, its
history, its civilisation, its laws, its politics, its art, and its
religions, exactly because Rome is the completest and most lucid
synthesis of universal life.

Classical studies are one of the most powerful means of intellectual
and moral influence on the Anglo-Saxon and German civilisations that
the Latins possess, representing under modern conditions, for the
Latin nations, a kind of intellectual entail inherited from their
ancestors. The young Germans and Englishmen who study Greek and Latin,
who translate Cicero or construe Horace, assimilate the Latin spirit,
are brought ideally and morally nearer to us, are prepared without
knowing it to receive our intellectual and social influence in other
fields, are made in greater or less degree to resemble us. Indeed,
it can be said, that, material interests apart, Rome is still in the
mental field the strongest bond that holds together the most diverse
peoples of Europe; that it unites the French, the English, the
Germans, in an ideal identity which overcomes in part the diversity in
speech, in traditions, in geographical situation, and in history. If
common classical studies did not make kindred spirits of the upper
classes in England, France, and Germany, the Rhine and the Channel
would divide three nations mentally so different as to be impenetrable
each to another.

Therefore the cosmopolitan universality of Roman history is a kind
of common good which the Latin races ought to defend with all
their might, having care that no other history usurp its place in
contemporary culture; that it remain the typical outline, the ideal
model of universal history in the education of coming generations. The
Latin civilised world has need that every now and then an historian
arise to reanimate the history of Rome, in order to maintain its
continued supremacy in the education of the intelligent; to prevent
other histories from usurping this pre-eminence.

It is useless to cherish illusions as to the task: its accomplishment
has become much more arduous than it was fifty years ago; perhaps
because the masses have acquired greater power in every part of the
European-American world, and democracy advances more or less rapidly,
invading everything--the democracy of the technical man, the
merchant, the workman, the well-to-do burgher, all of whom easily
hold themselves aloof from a culture in itself aristocratic. The
accomplishment will become always more and more arduous; for Roman
studies, feeling the new generations becoming estranged from them,
have for the last twenty-five years tended to take refuge in the
tranquil cloisters of learning, of archaeology, in the discreet
concourse of a few wise men, who voluntarily flee the noises of the
world, Fatal thought! Ancient Rome ought to live daily in the mind
of the new social classes that lead onward; ought to irradiate its
immortal light on the new worlds that arise from the deeps of the
modern age, on pain of undergoing a new destruction more calamitous
than that caused by the hordes of Alaric. The day when the history of
Rome and its monuments may be but material for erudition to put into
the museums by the side of the bricks of the palace of Khorsabad, the
cuneiform inscriptions, and the statues of the kings of Assyria, Latin
civilisation will be overwhelmed by a fatal catastrophe.

To hinder the extinction of the great light of Rome in the world, to
prolong indefinitely this ideal survival, which is the continuation of
its material Empire, destroyed centuries ago, there is but one way--to
renew historic studies of Rome, and to maintain intact their universal
value which forms part of common culture. This is what I have tried
to do, seeking to lead back to Roman history the many minds estranged
from it, distracted by so many cares and anxieties and present
questionings, and to fulfil a solemn duty to my fatherland and the
grand traditions of Latin culture. If other histories can grow old, it
is indeed the more needful, exactly because it serves to educate new
generations, to reanimate Roman history, incorporating in it the new
facts constantly discovered by archaeological effort, infusing it
with a larger and stronger philosophical spirit, carrying into it the
matured experience of the world, which learns not only by studying but
also by living.

I do not hesitate to say that every half-century there opens among
civilised peoples a contest to find the new conception of Roman
history, which, suited to the changed needs, may revivify classical
studies; a competition followed by no despicable prize, the
intellectual influence that a people may exercise on other peoples by
means of these studies. To win in this contest we must never forget,
as too many of us have done in the past thirty years, that a man can
rule and refashion the world from the depths of a library, but only
on condition that he does not immure himself there; that, while the
physical sciences propose to understand matter in order to transform
it, historico-philosophical discipline has for its end action upon the
mind and the will; that philosophical ideas and historic teachings
are but seeds shut up to themselves unless they enter the soil of the
universal intellectual life.

No: the time-stained marbles of Rome must not end beside
cuneiform-inscribed bricks or Egyptian mummies, in the vast dead
sections of archaeological halls; they must serve to pave for our feet
the way that leads to the future. Therefore nothing could have been
pleasanter or more grateful to me, after receiving the invitation
tendered me by the _College de France_, and that from South America,
than to accept the invitation of the First Citizen of the United
States to visit this world which is being formed. In Paris, that
wonderful metropolis of the Latin world, I had the joy, the highest
reward for my long, hard labour, to show to the incredulous how much
alive the supposedly dead history of Rome still is, when on those
unforgettable days so cosmopolite a public gathered from every part of
the city in the small plain hall of the old and august edifice. Coming
into your midst, I feel that the history of Rome lives not only in the
interest with which you have followed these lectures, but also, even
if in part without clear cognisance, in things here, in the life you
lead, in what you accomplish. The heritage of Rome is, for the peoples
of America still more than for those of Europe, an heredity not purely
artistic and literary, but political and social, which exercises the
most beneficent influence on your history. In a certain sense it might
be said that America is to-day politically, more than Europe, the true
heir of Rome; that the new world is nearer--by apparent paradox--to
ancient Rome than is Europe. Among the most important facts, however
little noticed, in the history of the nineteenth century, I should
number this: that the Republic, the human state considered as the
common property of all--the great political creation of ancient
Rome--is reborn here in America, after having died out in Europe. The
Latin seed, lying buried for so many centuries beneath the ruins of
the ancient world, like the grains of wheat buried in Egyptian tombs,
transported from the other side of the ocean, has sprung up in the
land that Columbus discovered. If there had been no Rome; if Rome
had wholly perished in the great barbarian catastrophe; if in the
Renaissance there had not been found among the ruins of the ancient
world, together with beautiful Greek statues and manuscripts, this
great political idea, there would to-day be no Republic in North
America. With the word would probably have perished also the idea and
the thing; and there is no assurance that men would have been able so
easily and so well to rediscover it by their own effort.

I am a student and not a flatterer. I therefore confess to you
frankly, ending these lectures, that I do not belong to that number
of Europeans who most enthusiastically admire things American. I think
that Americans in general, in North America as in South, so readily
recognise in themselves a sufficient number of virtues, that we
Europeans hardly need help them in the belief, easy and agreeable
to all, that they stand first in the world. Having come from an
old society, which has a long historical experience, the most vivid
impression made upon me in the two Americas has been just that
of entering into a society provided with but meagre historical
experience, which therefore easily deludes itself, mistaking for signs
of heroic energy and proofs of a finished superiority, the passing
advantages of an order chiefly economic, which come from the singular
economic condition of the world. In a word, I do not believe that
you are superior to Europe in as many things as you think; but a
superiority I do recognise, great and, for me at least, indisputable,
in the political institutions with which you govern yourselves. The
Republic, which you have made to live again, here in this new land, is
the true political form worthy of a civilised people, because the
only one that is rational and plastic; while the monarchy, the form
of government yet ruling so many parts of Europe, is a mixture of
mysticism and barbarity, which European interests seek in vain to
justify with sophistries unworthy the high grade of culture to which
the Continent has attained. To search out the reasons why the old
Oriental monarchy holds on so tenaciously in Europe, still threatening
the future, would be useless here; certain it is that, when you
meet any European other than a Frenchman or a Swiss, you can feel
yourselves as superior to him in political institutions as the Roman
_civis_ in the times of the Republic felt himself above the Asiatic
slave of absolute monarchy. This superiority--never forget it!--you
owe to Rome; for its possession, be grateful to the city that has
encircled you with such glory, by infusing so tenacious a life into
the "_Respublica_."


Acrobats, the great number of, 218
Acte, the beautiful, 114
the mistakes of Antony at, 60;
the peace after, 216
_AEgean_ Islands, the vineyards of the, 200
Agriculture in Gaul, the extent of, 84
the builder of the Pantheon, 103;
the successor of, 165
the power of, 103;
the love of the Republic of, 114;
miraculous escape of, 120;
death of, 122
Alaric, the destruction caused by, 258
Alcohol, the distillers of, 26
the city of, 91, 94;
the battle at, 197
Alexander the Great, mentioned, 48
Alexandria, the position of, 15
Allier, the valley of the, 92
the peoples beyond the, 20;
the fear of crossing the, 73
_Ambitio_ of the ancients, the, 14
America, the discovery of,
_Amor_, the kingdom of, 25
_Amores_, the, by Ovid, 151
_Amours_, the, of Antony, 41
_Amphore_, the wine of the, 39
Ancient Rome, corruption in, 3 _ff_
Anglo-Saxons, traits of the, 197
Anicetus, the diabolical plan of, 119
the history of, 37 _ff_;
the love of, 40;
meets Cleopatra, 44;
the bewilderment of, 57
Antifeminist reaction, the, 111
the departure for, 45;
the marriage at, 51
Antium, the return to, 119
Antonines, the power of the, 246
Aquileia, son of Julia born at, 155;
the trade in, 192
Arabia, part of, annexed, 49
Archaeological discoveries, the effect of, 259
Archaeologists, the discoveries of, 43
Archelaus, the revolt against, 166
Architectural effort at Rome, 134
Argentine Republic, the mention of, 86
Arles, a large market for wines, 192
Armenia, the revolt in, 161
Arras, the district of, 90
Arrianus, the work of, 199
_Ars Armandi_, the, by Ovid, 163
Artists, the numerous, of the East, 55
Asia Minor, the addition to the Empire of, 49
Asiatic civilisation, 17
Athens, the influence of, 202
Atrides, the legend of, 138
Attalus, King, 16; the bequest of, 187
Augustus, the age of, 25
Augustus Caesar, lectures on, 3;
the wise laws of, 158;
troubles of, 176;
the death of, 209
_Avaritia_, the complaint of the, 14


Bacchante, a miserable, 155
Bacchus, the plant of, 182
Baetica, civilisation in, 72
Baiae, the Court at, 119
Banquets, the, of ancient Rome, 7
Barbarian, the struggle against the, 34
Barbarism, the primitive, 254
Belgae, the victory over the, 77
Beverages, in Roman history, 181 _ff_;
the growing use of, 186
_Birrus_ of Laodicea, the, 88
Bismarck, mentioned, 64; compared to Caesar, 247
Biturigi, the, a tribe of Gaul, 86
Black Sea, the country around, 182
Borebiste, a Gaetic warrior, 191
_Boulanger_, a Roman, 41
Brennus, the conspirator, 130
Britannicus, the exclusion of, 103; the death of, 115
Brutus, the cult of, 243
Buddhist, the position of the, 236
Burrhus, the political work of, 104


Cadurci, a tribe of Gaul, 86
Caesar, Caius, adopted by Augustus, 158;
the political position of, 160
Caesar, Julius, the wisdom of, 72; mistakes of, 75
Caesar, Lucius, adopted by Augustus, 158,
the popularity of, 164
Caesars, the palaces of the, 7
Caleti, the, a tribe of Gaul, 86
California, grape-culture in, 187
Caligula, the death of, 115
Calumnies, the, about Julia, 174
Campania, the cities of, 218
Canals, the construction of, 213
Capri, the monster of, 155
_Carmen Seculare_, the, by Horace, 151
Carthusian, the patience of the, 91
Castles, the Roman, on the Rhine, 192
Catiline, the conspiracies of, 130
Cato, the love of tradition of, 105;
as a wine drinker, 184
Celt, the genius of the, 88
Cereals, the growth of, in Gaul, 85
Cervisia, the supplications of, 196
Champagne, the reputation of, 206
Chian, a cask of, for a banquet, 199
Christianity, the work and spreading of, 231 _ff_
Christians, the, in the time of Nero, 131
"Christofle," the making of, in Gaul, 91
Church, the position of the, 232
Cicero, the letters of, 74;
the influence of, 172
Civil wars, the impression of the, 148
_Civis_, the Roman, 264
Classic renaissance, the, 235
Claudii, the haughty line of the, 159
Claudius, Emperor, the death of, 103
Cleopatra, the legend of, 37 _ff_;
described, 40;
policy, of, 58
Clodia, the famous, 74
College de France, the, 3, 260
Columbus, mentioned, 71
_Comitia_, the election of the, 58
_Commentaries_, the, of Caesar, 191
Conflagration, the, of Rome, 129
Corday, Charlotte, 63
Corruption of customs, the, 3
Costumes of Rome, the, 181
Cradle of Jesus, the, 166
Crassus, the demagogy of, 249
Cultivation, in Rome, 181
_Cultus_, a Gallic term, 91
Cydnus, the river, 39


Dalmatia, the malcontents at, 166
Danube provinces, the, 88, 91
Dechelette, the great work of, 91
Diamonds, the importation of, 220
Diocletian, the edict of, 88
Dion Cassius, the historian, 63, 80
Dionysius, the Greek judge, 183
Dionysos, the beverage of, 183
Dithyrambics, the, of Horace, 196
Drusus, mentioned, 93;
the exalted position of, 104
Duodecember, a fourteenth month, 79
Duruy, the apologies of, 243
Dynasty of Egypt, the, 215


"Eastern peril," the, 50
Economic strength, the, of Rome, 224
Economic unity, the, of the world, 236
Education, the laborious, 194
Egnatius Mecenius, the story of, 183
Egypt, the conquest of, 16, 46
Elagabalus, the splendour of, 6, 8
Elegies, the revolutionary, of Ovid, 152
Empire, the extent of the, 217
Ephesus, the city of, 219
_Euthanasia_, the death of the happy, 210
External policy, the, of Rome, 164


Fabius Pictor, the word of, 183
Falernian, the discovery of, 198
"First Citizen of the Republic," the, 157
Feminism, the increase of, in Rome, 108
"Festivals of Youth," the, at Rome, 124
Flavians, the power of the, 246
Flax, the cultivation of, 85
_Folies Bergeres_, the, mentioned, 129
_Fortuna_, the, of the Romans 98
Forum, the impressive monument of the, 55
Franco-Prussian War, the, 202
Frankfurt, the treaty of, 202
Freedmen, the position of, 212
French Revolution, the, 205
Frontiers, the strengthening of the, 109


Gaetic warrior, the rule of a, 191
Gaeto-Thracian, the great empire of, 191
Gallia Narbonensis, the position of, 50
affairs, the midst of, 73;
roads, the network of, 213
Gallo-Roman villas, the, 87
Gambetta, the love letters of, 40
Gambrinus, the god, 202
the development of, 20, 69 _ff_.;
conquest of, 72;
the annexation of, 77;
the wealth of, 83
the irritation of the, 79;
the genius of the, 81
Genoa, the situation of, 23
German historians, the work of, 152
Germanicus, the historical importance of, 103
Germany, conditions in, 79, 165;
policy toward Rome, 166
Glass-making in Gaul, 90
Government, the, at Rome, 213
Governors, the position of the, 312
Gracchi, the struggle of the, 17
Graeco-Latin civilisation, the, 72,235
Grape-culture, the spread of, 186
Grape harvest, the abundance of the, 185
_Greatness and Decline of Rome_, the, 10
Greece, the contact of Rome with, 185
Greek wines in Rome, 8
Gymnasium, the, at Alexandria, 55


Hannibal, the army of, 189
Harbours, the building of, 213
Hebrew people, the position of the, 166
Hellenist, an ardent, 58
Helvetia, customs in, 191
Helvetians, the, 74;
the attack on the, 75
Herculaneum, the city of, 218
Heritage of Rome, the, 261
Herod the Great, the death of, 166
History, as considered by Ferrero, 65
Horace, the invectives of, 23
Houssaye, Henri, mentioned, 41


Ides, the days of the, 9
Ierapolis, the prosperity of, 219
Ilium, the district of Troy, 50
India, the precious metals of, 30;
wine exported to, 200
Indo-Chinese, the commerce of the, 55
Inscriptions, the story left by the, 221
Istrian wine, the favourite of Livia, 199


Jerome, Saint, the story of, 78
_Jeunesse doree_, the, of Rome, 124
Jewelry making in Gaul, 90
Jewels as a luxury, 31
Jews in France, the, 250
Jove, the temple of, 19
Judas, the mention of, 63
Judea, the revolt at, 166
Julia, the exile of, 137;
the episode of, 150;
discord with, 154;
unfaithfulness of, 157;
the accusation of, 170;
the fate of, 177
Julian, the laws of, 151
Julian-Claudian house, the power of the, 188
Jurisdiction of property, the, in Gaul, 84
Jurists, the influence of, 230
Juvenal, passages from, 90


Kalends, the days of the, 9
Karbin, mentioned, 50
Khorsabad, the palace of, 259
Knights, the social position of the, 212
Ladies, the, of Rome, 30
Langres, the district of, 90
the _birrus_ of, 88;
the city of, 219
Lares, the veneration of the, 190
Latin morals, the severity of, 61
Latin spirit, the similarity of the, 256
Laws of Julian, the, 151
Legislative reforms, the, 21
Leibach, the trade through, 192
Lepidus mentioned, 172
Letronne, the researches of, 45
_Lex de adulteriis_, the, 148
_Lex de maritandis ordinibus_, the, 147
_Lex Julia de adulteriis_, the, 169
_Lex sumptuaria_, the, 148
Libertine poet, a, in the year 8 B.C., 151
Licinius, the characteristics of, 79
Linen, the manufacture of, 219
_Litterati_, the many, 218
the mother of Tiberius, 162;
the position of, 168
Livia, the House of, 7
Livy, the point of view of, 3
Lollia Paulina, the fame of, 9
the rising power of, 18;
wine used by, 184
Lusitania, a mission to, 117
_Luxuria_, the desire of, 14
of Rome, 125;
spread of, 186


Macrobius, the writings of, 155
Mamertine, a kind of wine, 199
Mania, the all absorbing, of Nero, 128
Marcellus, the privileges accorded, 160
Marius, the revolution of, 18
Martial, passages from, 90
"Mass," the so-called, 182
_Mater familias_, the honour of, 39
Maurel, Andre, the writings of, 251
Mazzini, the great, 63
Mediterranean world, the vast, 97
Merchandise, the great interchange of, 218
Mesia, the metropolis of, 219
Messalina, the death of, 103
Middle Ages, the cathedrals of the, 140
Military power, the weakening of the, at Rome, 167
Military Republic, the, 136
Military triumph, the, of Rome, 197
Minos, the historic, 63
Mirabeau, the love letters of, 40
Mithridates, defeat of, 19;
the conquests of, 197
Mohammedan, the position of the, 236
Mommsen, the apologies of, 243
_Morales_, the two, at Rome, 155
Morini, the, a tribe in Gaul, 86
_Mosca olearia_, a new species of, 190
_Municipia_, the splendour of the, 110
Museum, the, at Alexandria, 55
Mythology, the imagination of, 197


Naiads, the maidens of Cleopatra dressed as, 40
Naples, the ruins of, 92;
the city of, 218
Naples, the Gulf of, 119
Napoleon I., mentioned, 63, 210
_Natural History_, the, by Pliny, 183
Nero, Emperor, 96,
elected, 103;
frivolity of, 105;
debauches of, 114;
the cowardice of, 121;
careless government of, 125;
St. Paul contrasted with, 133;
the suicide of, 135
Newspapers, the fortunate lack of, in Rome, 173
Nile, the Roman protectorate in the valley of the, 46
Nimes, the inhabitants of, 175
Nones, the days of the, 9
Notre Dame, the cathedral of, 140
Nuptial banquets, the cost of, 9


Octavia, divorce of, 40;
the wife of Nero, 124, 127
Oil, the exportation of, 218
Oligarchy, the, at Rome, 81
Olive groves, the wealth of the, 189
Olympus, the delights of, 59
Opimius, the consulate of, 198
Orient, the metropolises of the, 15
Oriental Empire, the, of Rome, 57
Oriental state, the conquest of an, 15
Orientalism, the invasion of, 225
Ostia, Tiberius starts for, 163
Ovid, the representatives of, 149;
the work of, 150


Paintings, of Pompeii, the, 229
Palatine, a journey to the, 7;
polygamy in, 118
Palestine, the annexation of, 49;
uprising in, 166
Pandataria, Julia, exiled to, 172, 177
Pannonia, the malcontents at, 166
Pannonians, the customs of the, 193
Pantheon, the, mentioned, 103
Parthians, the Empire of the, 167
_Passum_, as a drink, 183
_Pater familias_, the power of the, 172
Paul of Tarsus, a great and simple man, 131;
the persecution of, 134
_Pax Romana_, the, 4;
the extent of the, 210
Pearls, the importation of, 30, 220
_Penetralia_, the, of the home, 32
Pergamon, the city, 219
Pergamus, the kingdom of, 16, 187
_Periplus of the Erytrian Sea_, the, a manual, 199
Persia, the conquest of, 44
Philosophers, the many, 209
Philosophy, the ancient, of Rome, 233
_Phylloxera_, a new species of, 190
Piedmont, the peasants of, 187
Pinon, the imperialist, 251
Pisa, inscriptions at, 164
Piso, the conspiracy of, 135
Plutarch, description of, 39
Po, the valley of the, 192
Poetry, the, of Horace, 195
Poets, the position of, 9 B.C., 146
Political barrier, the, between Gaul and Rome, 84
Political events, the, of Rome, 33
Political _personnel_, the, of Rome, 217
Polybius, the period of, 183
Pompadour, the Marquise de, mentioned, 43
Pompeii, the ruins of, 92;
the city of, 218
Pompey, the conquests of, 19;
the theatre of, 55
_Pontifex maximus_, the title of, 232
Pontus, salted fish from the, 8
Poppaea Sabina, the skill of, 116;
death of, 137
_Populus_, the representatives of the, 246
Pozzuoli, the city of, 218
Praetor, the office of the, 157
Precious metals, the distribution of, 218
Praetorian guards, the, 117
Praetorians, the influence of the, 104
Princeps, the authority of the, 188
Proconsuls, the, of Rome, 182
Procurator, the origin of the office of, 212
Proprietors, the government of the, 211
Prosperity, the growing, 148
Protestant, the present position of the, 236
Provinces, the peace in the, 176
Ptolemies, the, at Alexandria, 19
Ptolemies, the kingdom of the, 46
Public finance, the lack of, 144
Punic War, the Second, 3, 214


Quaestor, the office of the, 211
Quintilius Varus, the governor of Syria, 166
Quintus Metullus Celerus, the consul, 74


Reinach, Joseph, the historian, 63
Republic, the last century of the, 14, 198
_Respublica_, the glory of the, 264
_Revue de Paris_, the, 63
Rheims, the vicinity of the city of, 206
Rhetian wine, the preference for, 199
Rhine, the river, 72
Roads, the construction of, 213
Rodi, Tiberius to go to, 162
Roman Catholic, the position of the, 236
Roman Empire, the dissolution of the, 140, 210
Roman history in modern education, 239
Roman nobility, the, 54
Roman protectorate, the, 46
Roman society, the dissolution of, 5
Romanism, the defence of, 111
Rome, in the beginning, 5
Romulus as a lawmaker, 183
Royal palaces, the closing of, 215
Ruteni, the, a tribe of Gaul, 86


Saint Mark, the wonder of, 140
Saintonge, the district of, 90
Savants, the, of the East, 55
Scipio Africanus, the work of, 153
Scipios, the policy of the, 226
Second Punic War, the, 3,214
Seine, the banks of the, 206
Sempronius Gracchus, a famous tribune, 56
the Roman, 103;
sessions of the, 105
Seneca, the political work of, 104
Sesterces, the value of the Roman, 223
Sicily, the peasants of, 187
the artisans of, 88;
the city of, 219
Silk, the importation of, 220
Silver-plating, the art of, 228
Slaves, the abundance of, in Rome, 15
Slaves, the position of, 212
Social development, the, of the Roman Empire, 207 _ff_
Social laws, the, 148, 153
Socialists, the invectives of the, 250
_Soldi_, the hunt for, 173
Spain, the pro-consulship of, 184
Spartacus, the days of, 189
Stadium, the erection of the, at Rome, 125
State, the supervision of the, 24
Statues, the erection of, 152
Strabo, observations of, 85
_Strenua inertia_, the, 29
Suetonius, the ancient writer, 127
Sulla, the revolution of, 18
Sulmona, the birth of Ovid at, 149
Summer homes, the, at Naples, 120
the annexation of, 73;
the conquest of, 16


Tacitus, the opinion of, 30, 152
Tarsus, Cleopatra at, 39
Terpnos, a zither-player, 105
Textile plants, in Gaul, 85
Theatres, the great demand for, 110
Theresa, Maria, mentioned, 43
Thracian slave, the escape of a, 189
Tiber, the banks of the, 203
a great general, 7, 30, 93, 109, 145;
the life of, 153;
difficulties of, 157;
suggested retirement of, 162
Traditions, aristocratic, 153
Tributes, the,
imposed on the vanquished, 15;
collection of, 212
Triumvir, the fall of the great, 111
Troy, the ancient city of, 50
Tunis, grape-culture at, 187
Tyranny, the, at Rome, 135
Tyre, the prosperity of, 88, 219
Tyrian purple, the, 89


Undecember, a thirteenth month, 79
_Urbs_, the meaning of, 249
Usury, the pitiless, 186


Vladivostok, mentioned, 50
Villa, the luxury of a Roman, 194
Valtellina, the valley of the, 199
Varus, the catastrophe of, 166
Vatican field, the stadium in the, 124
Velleius, the report of, 93
Veneto, the peasants of the, 187
Venosa, an old poet from, 195
Venus, Cleopatra compared to, 39
Vices, the extent of, 27
Villas, the, of Gaul, 99
Vine-tenders, the, of Rome, 182
Vineyards, the destruction of the, 390
Virgil, the fame of, 23
Viticulture, the, of Italy, 196


Wine, in Roman history, 179 _ff_;
an inferior variety made in Italy, 182;
as a medicine, 183
Wine-dealers, the, of Rome, 182
Women of to-day and yesterday, 29
Wool industry, the, of Gaul, 90


Xerxes, the fame of, 63

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