Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Dio's Rome, Vol VI. by Cassius Dio

Part 1 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Ted Garvin, Jayam Subramanian and PG Distributed Proofreaders







A.B. (Harvard), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins),
Acting Professor of Greek in Lehigh University


I. Books 77-80 (A.D. 211-229).

II. Fragments of Books 1-21 (Melber's Arrangement).

III. Glossary of Latin Terms.

IV. General Index.





Antoninus begins his reign by having various persons assassinated,
among them his brother Geta (chapters 1-3).

Cruelty of Antoninus toward Papinianus, Cilo, and others (chapters

Antoninus as emulator of Alexander of Macedon (chapters 7, 8).

His levies and extravagance (chapters 9-11).

His treachery toward Abgarus of Osrhoene, toward the Armenian king,
the Parthian king, and the Germans (chapters 12, 13).

The Cenni conquer Antoninus in battle (chapter 14).

He strives to drive out his disease of mind by consulting spirits and
oracles (chapter 15).

Slaughter of vestals, insults to the senate, demise of others contrary
to his mother's wishes (chapters 16-18).

Antoninus's Parthian war (chapters 19-21).

Massacres of Alexandrians caused by Antoninus (chapters 22-24).


Q. Epidius Rufus Lollianus Gentianus, Pomponius Bassus (A.D. 211 = a.
u. 964 = First of Antoninus, from Feb. 4th).

C. Iulius Asper (II), C. Iulius Asper. (A.D. 212 = a.u. 965 = Second
of Antoninus.)

Antoninus Aug. (IV), D. Coelius Balbinus (II). (A.D. 213 = a.u. 966 =
Third of Antoninus.)

Silius Messala, Sabinus. (A.D. 214 = a.u. 967 = Fourth of Antoninus.)

Laetus (II), Cerealis. (A.D. 215 = a.u. 968 = Fifth of Antoninus.)

C. Attius Sabinus (II), Cornelius Annullinus. (A.D. 216 = a.u. 969 =
Sixth of Antoninus.)


[Sidenote: A.D. 211 (_a.u._ 964)] [Sidenote:--1--] After this Antoninus
secured the entire power. Nominally he ruled with his brother, but in
reality alone and at once. With the enemy he came to terms, withdrew
from their country, and abandoned the forts. But his own people he
either dismissed (as Papinianus the prefect) or else killed (as Euodus,
his nurse, Castor, and his wife Plautilla, and the latter's brother
Plautius). In Rome itself he also executed a man who was renowned for no
other reason than his profession, which made him very conspicuous. This
was Euprepes, the charioteer; he killed him when the man dared to show
enthusiasm for a cause that the emperor opposed. So Euprepes died in
old age after having been crowned in an endless number of horse-races.
He had won seven hundred and eighty-two of them,--a record equaled by
none other.

Antoninus had first had the desire to murder his brother while his
father was still alive, but had been unable to do so at that time
because of Severus, or later, on the road, because of the legions. The
men felt very kindly toward the younger son, especially because in
appearance he was the very image of his father. But when Antoninus
arrived in Rome, he got rid of this rival also. The two pretended to
love and commend each other, but their actions proved quite the reverse
to be true, and anybody could see that some catastrophe would result
from their relations. This fact was recognized even prior to their
reaching Rome. When it had been voted by the senate to sacrifice in
behalf of their harmony both to the other gods and to Harmony herself,
the assistants made ready a victim to be sacrificed to Harmony and the
consul arrived to do the slaughtering; yet he could not find them, nor
could the assistants find the consul. They spent nearly the whole night
looking for each other, so that the sacrifice could not be performed on
that occasion. The next day two wolves climbed the Capitol, but were
chased away from that region: one of them was next encountered somewhere
in the Forum, and the other was later slain outside the pomerium. This
is the story about those two animals.

[Sidenote:--2---] It was Antoninus's wish to murder his brother at the
Saturnalia, but he was not able to carry out his intention. The danger
had already grown too evident to be concealed. As a consequence, there
were many violent meetings between the two,--both feeling that they were
being plotted against,--and many precautionary measures were taken on
both sides. As many soldiers and athletes, abroad and at home, day and
night, were guarding Geta, Antoninus persuaded his mother to send for
him and his brother and have them come along to her house with a view to
being reconciled. Geta without distrust went in with him. When they were
well inside, some centurions suborned by Antoninus rushed in a body.
Geta on seeing them had run to his mother, and as he hung upon her neck
and clung to her bosom and breasts he was cut down, bewailing his fate
and crying out: "Mother that bore me, mother that bore me, help! I am

[Sidenote: A.D. 212 (_a.u._ 965)] Tricked in this way, she beheld her son
perishing by most unholy violence in her very lap, and, as it were,
received his death into her womb whence she had borne him. She was all
covered with blood, so that she made no account of the wound she had
received in her hand. She might neither mourn nor weep for her son,
although, untimely he had met so miserable an end (he was only
twenty-two years and nine months old): on the contrary, she was
compelled to rejoice and laugh as though enjoying some great piece of
luck. All her words, gestures, and changes of color were watched with
the utmost narrowness. She alone, Augusta, wife of the emperor, mother
of emperors, was not permitted to shed tears even in private over so
great a calamity.

[Sidenote:--3--] Antoninus, although it was evening, took possession of
the legions after bawling all the way along the road that he had been
the object of a plot and was in danger. On entering the fortifications,
he exclaimed: "Rejoice, fellow-soldiers, for now I have a chance to
benefit you!" Before they heard the whole story he had stopped their
mouths with so many and so great promises that they could neither think
nor speak anything decent. "I am one of you," he said, "it is on your
account alone that I care to live, that so I may afford you much
happiness. All the treasuries are yours." Indeed, he said this also: "I
pray if possible to live with you, but if not, at any rate to die with
you. I do not fear death in any form, and it is my desire to end my days
in warfare. There should a man die, or nowhere!"

To the senate on the following day he made various remarks and after
rising from his seat he went towards the door and said: "Listen to a
great announcement from me. That the whole world may be glad, let all
the exiles, who have been condemned on any complaint whatever in any way
whatever, be restored to full rights." Thus did he empty the islands of
exiles and grant pardon to the worst condemned criminals, but before
long he had the isles full again.

[Sidenote:--4--] The Caesarians and the soldiers that had been with Geta
were suddenly put to death to the number of twenty thousand, men and
women alike, wherever in the palace any of them happened to be.
Antoninus slew also various distinguished men, among them Papinianus.

¶While the Pretorians accused Papianus (_sic_) and Patruinus
[Footnote: This is Valerius Patruinus.] for certain actions,
Antoninus allowed the complainants to kill them, and added the
following remark: "I hold sway for your advantage and not for my
own; therefore, I defer to you both as accusers and as judges."

He rebuked the murderer of Papinianus for using an axe instead of a
sword to give the finishing stroke.

He had also desired to deprive of life Cilo, his nurse and benefactor,
who had served as prefect of the city during his father's reign, whom he
had also often called father. The soldiers sent against him plundered
his silver plate, his robes, his money, and everything else that
belonged to him. Cilo himself they conducted along the Sacred Way,
making the palace their destination, where they prepared to give him his
quietus. He had low slippers [Footnote: Reading [Greek: blahytast] in the
place of the MS. [Greek: chlhapast]. This emendation is favored by Cobet
(Mnemosyne, N.S., X, p. 211) and Naber (Mnemosyne, N.S., XVI, p. 113).]
on his feet, since he had chanced to be in the bath when apprehended,
and wore an abbreviated tunic. The men rent his clothing open and
disfigured his face, so that the people and the soldiers stationed in
the city made clamorous objections. Therefore Antoninus, out of respect
and fear for them, met the party, and, shielding Cilo with his cavalry
cloak,--he was wearing military garb,--cried out: "Insult not my father!
Strike not my nurse!" The tribune charged with slaying him and the
soldiers in his contingent lost their lives, nominally for making plots
but really for not having killed their victim.

[Sidenote:--5--] [But Antoninus was so anxious to appear to love Cilo
that he declared: "Those who have plotted against him have plotted
against me." Commended for this by the bystanders, he proceeded: "Call
me neither Hercules nor the name of any other god;" not that he was
unwilling to be termed a god, but because he wished to do nothing worthy
of a god. He was naturally capricious in all matters, and would bestow
great honors upon people and then suddenly disgrace them, quite without
reason. He would save those who least deserved it and punish those whom
one would never have expected.

Julianus Asper was a man by no means contemptible, on account of his
education and good sense as well. He exalted him, together with his
sons, and after Asper had walked the streets surrounded by I don't know
how many fasces he without warning insulted him outrageously and
dismissed him to his native place [Footnote: I.e., Tusculum.] with abuse
and in mighty trepidation. Laetus, too, he would have disgraced or even
killed, had this man not been extremely sick. So the emperor before the
soldiers called his sickness "wicked," because it did not allow him to
display wickedness in one more case.

Again he made way with Thrasea Priscus, a person second to none in
family or intelligence.

Many others also, previously friends of his, he put to death.]


"Nay, I could not recite nor give the names all over"

[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, II, verse 488.] of the distinguished men
whom he killed without any right. Dio, because the slain were very well
known in those days, even makes a list of them. For me it suffices to
say that he crushed the life out of everybody he chose, without

"whether the man was guilty or whether he was not ";

[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, XV, verse 137.] and that he simply
mutilated Rome, by rendering it bereft of excellent men. [Antoninus was
allied to three races. And he possessed not a single one of their good
points, but included in himself all their vices. The lightness, the
cowardice, and recklessness of Gaul were his, the roughness and cruelty
of Africa, the abominations of Syria (whence he was on his mother's
side).] Veering from slaughter to sports, he pursued his murderous
course no less in the latter. Of course one would pay no attention to
an elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, and hippotigris being killed in the
theatre, but he took equal pleasure in having gladiators shed the
greatest amount of one another's blood. One of them, Bato, he forced
to fight three successive men on the same day, and then, when Bato
met death at the hands of the last, he honored him with a conspicuous

[Sidenote:--7--] He had Alexander on the brain to such an extent that he
used certain weapons and cups which purported to have belonged to the
great conqueror, and furthermore he set up many representations of him
both among the legions and in Rome itself. He organized a phalanx,
sixteen thousand men, of Macedonians alone, named it "Alexander's
phalanx," and equipped it with the arms which warriors had used in his
day. These were: a helmet of raw oxhide, a three-ply linen breastplate,
a bronze shield, long pike, short spear, high boots, sword. Not even
this, however, satisfied him, but he called his hero "The Eastern
Augustus." Once he wrote to the senate that Alexander had come on earth
again in, the body of the Augustus, [Footnote: Antoninus meant
himself.] so that when he had finished his own brief existence he might
enjoy a larger life in the emperor's person. The so-called Aristotelian
philosophers he hated bitterly, wishing even to burn their books, and he
abolished the common messes they had in Alexandria and all the other
privileges they enjoyed: his grievance, as stated, was the tradition
that Aristotle had been an accomplice in the death of Alexander.

This was the way he behaved in those matters. And, by Jupiter, he took
around with him numbers of elephants, that in this respect, too, he
might seem to be imitating Alexander, or rather, perhaps, Dionysus.

[Sidenote:--8--] On Alexander's account he was fond of all the
Macedonians. Once after praising a Macedonian tribune because the latter
had shown agility in jumping upon his horse, he enquired of him first:
"From what country are you?" Then, learning that he was a Macedonian, he
pursued: "What is your name?" Having thereupon heard that it was
Antigonus, he further questioned: "How was your father called?" When
the father's name was found to be Philip, he declared: "I have all my
desire." He straightway bestowed upon him the whole series of exalted
military honors and before a great while appointed him one of the
senators with the rank of an ex-praetor.

There was another man who had no connection with Macedonia, but had
committed many dreadful crimes, and for this reason was tried before him
in an appealed case. His name proved to be Alexander, and when the
orator accusing him said repeatedly "the bloodthirsty Alexander, the
god-detested Alexander," the emperor became angry, as if he were
personally slandered, and spoke out: "If Alexander doesn't suit you, you
may regard yourself as dismissed."

[Sidenote:--9--] Now this great Alexandrophile, Antoninus, [kept many
men about him, alleging reasons after reasons, all fictitious, and wars
upon wars. He had also this most frightful characteristic, that he was
fond of spending money not only upon the soldiers but for all other
projects with one sole end in view,--to] strip, despoil and grind down
all mankind, and the senators by no means least. [In the first place,
there were gold crowns that he kept demanding, on the constant pretext
that he had conquered some enemy or other (I am not speaking about the
actual manufacture of the crowns,--for what does that amount to?--but
the great sums of money constantly being given under that name by the
cities, for the "crowning" (as it is called) of their emperors). Then
there was the provisions which we were all the time levying in great
abundance from all quarters, sometimes seizing them without compensation
and sometimes spending a little something on them: all this supply he
presented or else peddled to the soldiers. And the gifts, which he
demanded from wealthy individuals and from states. And the taxes, both
the new ones which he published and the ten per cent. tax that he
instituted in place of the twenty per cent. to apply to the emancipation
of slaves, to bequests left to any one, and to all gifts; for he
abolished in such cases the right of succession and exemption from taxes
which had been accorded to those closely related to persons deceased.
This accounts for his giving the title of Romans to all the men in his
empire. Nominally it was to honor them, but his real purpose was to get
an increased income by such means, since foreigners did not have to pay
most of those taxes. But aside from all these] we were also compelled to
build at our own expense all sorts of dwellings for him whenever he took
a trip from Rome, and costly lodgings in the middle of even the very
shortest journeys. Yet not only did he never live in them but he had no
idea of so much as looking at a single one. Moreover, without receiving
any appropriation from him we constructed hunting-theatres and
race-courses at every point where he wintered or expected to winter.
They were all torn down without delay and apparently the sole purpose of
their being called into existence was to impoverish us.

[Sidenote:--10--] The emperor himself kept spending the money upon the
soldiers (as we said) and upon beasts and horses. He was forever
killing great collections of wild beasts, of horses, and also of
domestic animals, forcing us to contribute the majority of them, though
now and then he bought a few. One day he slew a hundred boars at once
with his own hands. He raced also in chariots, and then he would wear
the Blue costume. In all undertakings he was exceedingly hot-headed and
exceedingly fickle, and besides this he possessed the rascality of his
mother and of the Syrians, to which race she belonged. He would put up
some kind of freedman or other wealthy person as director of games
merely that in this occupation, too, the man might spend money. From
below he would make gestures of subservience to the audience with his
whip and would beg for gold pieces like one of the lowliest citizens. He
said that he used the same methods of chariot-driving as the Sun god,
and he took pride in the fact. Accordingly, during the whole extent of
his reign the whole earth, so far as it yielded obedience to him, was
plundered. Hence the Romans once at a horse-race uttered this among
other cries: "We are destroying the living in order to bury the dead."
The emperor would often say: "No man need have money but me, and I want
it to bestow it on the soldiers." Once when Julia chided him for his
great outlays upon them and said: "No longer is any resource, either
just or unjust, left to us," he replied, exhibiting his sword: "Cheer
up, mother: for, as long as we have this, money is not going to fail

[Sidenote:--11--] To those who flattered him, however, he distributed
possessions and money.

¶Julius Paulus [Footnote: Undoubtedly a mistake for the _Julius
Paulinus_ subsequently mentioned.] was a man of consular rank,
who was a great chatterer and joker and would not refrain from
aiming his shafts of wit at the very emperors: therefore Severus
had him taken into custody, though without constraints. When he
still continued, even under guard, to make the sovereigns the
objects of his jests, Severus sent for him and swore that he
would cut off his head. But the man replied: "Yes, you can cut it
off, but as long as I have it, neither you nor I can restrain
it," and so Severus laughed and released him.

He granted to Julius Paulinus twenty-five myriads because the man, who
was a jester, had been led, though involuntarily, to make a joke upon
him. Paulinus had said that he actually resembled a man getting angry,
for somehow he was always assuming a fierce expression. [Footnote: None
of the editors, any more than the casual reader, has been able to find
anything of a sidesplitting nature in this joke. The trouble is, of
course, that the utterance sounds like a plain statement of fact.
Caracalla's natural disposition was harsh and irritable. Some have
changed the word "man" to "Pan (in anger)", but without gaining very
much. I offer for what it is worth the suggestion that a well-known
truth, especially in the case of personal characteristics, may sound
very amusing when pronounced in a quizzical or semi-ironical fashion by
a person possessing sufficient _vis comica_. Thus we may conceive
Paulinus, a professional jester, on meeting Antoninus to have blurted
out in a tone of mock surprise: "Why, anybody would really think you are
angry. You look so cross all the time!" There would then be a point in
the jest, but the point would lie not in the words but in the voice and
features of the speaker. Apart from this explanation of the possible
humor of the remark an excerpt of Peter Patricius (Exc. Vat. 143) gives
us to understand that it would be taken as a compliment by Antoninus
from the mouth of a person to whom he was accustomed to accord some
liberties, since Antoninus made a point of maintaining at all times this
character of harshness and abruptness.]--Antoninus made no account of
anything excellent: he never learned anything of the kind, as he himself
admitted. So it was that he showed a contempt for us, who possessed
something approaching education. Severus, to be sure, had trained him in
all pursuits, bar none, that tended to inculcate virtue, whether
physical or mental, so that even after he became emperor he went to
teachers and studied philosophy most of the day. He also took oil
rubbings without water and rode horseback to a distance of seven hundred
and fifty stades. Moreover, he practiced swimming even in rough water.
In consequence of this, Antoninus was, as you might say, strong, but he
paid no heed to culture, since he had never even heard the name of it.
Still, his language was not bad, nor did he lack judgment, but he showed
in almost everything a keen appreciation and talked very readily. For
through his authority and recklessness and his habit of saying right out
without reflection anything at all that occurred to him, and not being
ashamed to air his thoughts, he often stumbled upon some felicitous
expression. [But the same Antoninus made many mistakes through his
headstrong opinions. It was not enough for him to know everything: he
wanted to be the only one who knew anything. It was not enough for him
to have all power: he would be the only one with any power. Hence it
was that he employed no counselor and was jealous of such men as knew
something worth while. He never loved a single person and he hated all
those who excelled in anything; and most did he hate those whom he
affected most to love. Many of these he destroyed in some way or other.
Of course he had many men murdered openly, but others he would send to
provinces not suited to them, fatal to their physical condition, having
an unwholesome climate; thus, while pretending to honor them
excessively, he quietly got rid of them, exposing such as he did not
like to excessive heat or cold. Hence, though he spared some in so far
as not to put them to death, yet he subjected them to such hardships
that the stain [Footnote: This is very likely an incorrect translation of
an incorrect reading. The various editors of Dio have a few substitutes
to propose, but as all the interpretations seem to me extremely
lumbering I have turned the MS. [Greek] chelidoysthai (taken as a
passive) in a way that may be not quite beyond the bounds of
possibility. The noun [Greek] chelhist like the English "stain," often
passes from its original sense of "blemish" to that of the consequent
"disgrace."] of murder still rested on him.

The above describes him in general terms.

[Sidenote: A.D. 213(?)] [Sidenote:--12--] Now we shall state what sort
of person he showed himself in war. [Abgarus, king of the Osrhoeni, when
he had once got control of the kindred tribes, inflicted the most
outrageous treatment upon his superiors. Nominally he was compelling
them to change to Roman customs, but in fact he was making the most of
his authority over them in an unjustifiable way.] He tricked the king of
the Osrhoeni, Abgarus, inducing him to visit him as a friend, and then
arrested and imprisoned him. This left Osrhoene without a ruler and he
subdued it.

The king of the Armenians had a dispute with his own children and
Antoninus summoned him in a friendly letter with the avowed purpose of
making peace between them: he treated these princes in the same fashion
as he had Abgarus. The Armenians, however, instead of yielding to him
had recourse to arms and not one of them thereafter would trust him in
the slightest particular. Thus he was brought by experience to
understand how great the penalty is for an emperor's practicing deceit
toward friends. [The same ruler assumed the utmost credit for the fact
that at the death of Vologaesus, king of the Parthians, his children
proceeded to fight about the sovereignty; what was purely accidental he
pretended had come about through his own connivance. He ever took
vehement delight in the actions and dissensions of the brothers and
generally in the mutual slaughter of foreign potentates.] He did not
hesitate, either, to write to the senate regarding the rulers of the
Parthians (who were brothers and at variance) that the brothers' quarrel
would work great harm to the Parthian state. Just as if barbarian
governments could be destroyed by such procedure and yet the Roman state
had been preserved! Just as if it had not been, on the contrary, almost
utterly overthrown! It was not merely that the great sums of blood money
given under such conditions to the soldiers for his brother's murder
served to demoralize mankind: in addition, vast numbers of citizens had
information laid against them,--not only those who had sent the brother
letters or had brought him presents [Footnote: Reading [Greek:
dorophorhesantest] (Reimar) for the MS. [Greek: doruphoraesantes].] when
he was still Caesar or again after he had become emperor, but all the
rest who had never had any dealings with him. If anybody even so much as
wrote the name of Geta, or spoke it, that was the end of him then and
there. Hence the poets no longer used it even in comedies. [Footnote:
Geta was a common name for slaves in Latin comedy. It came into Rome
through Greek channels and was originally merely the national adjective
applied to a tribe of northern barbarians.] The property, too, of all
those in whose wills the name was found written was confiscated.

[Many of his acts were committed with a view to getting money. And he
exhibited his hatred for his dead brother by abolishing the honor paid
to his birthday, by getting angry at the stones which had supported his
images, and by melting up the coinage that displayed his features. Not
even this sufficed him, but more than ever from this time he began his
practice of unholy rites and often forced others to share his pollution
by making a kind of annual offering to his brother's Manes.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 213 (_a.u._ 966)] [Sidenote:--13--] Though
holding such views and behaving in such a way with regard to the
latter's murder he took delight in the dissension of the
barbarian brothers, on the ground that the Parthians would suffer
some great injury as a result of it.

[The Celtic nations, however, afforded him neither pleasure nor any
pretence of cleverness or courage but proved him to be nothing more nor
less than a cheat, a simpleton, and an arrant coward. Antoninus made a
campaign among the Alamanni and wherever he saw a spot suitable for
habitation he would order: "There let a fort be erected: there let a
city be built." To those spots he applied names relating to himself, yet
the local designations did not get changed; for some of the people were
unaware of the new appellations and others thought he was joking.
Consequently he came to entertain a contempt for them and would not keep
his hands off this tribe even; but, whereas he had been saying that he
had come as an ally, he accorded them treatment to be expected of a most
implacable foe. He called a meeting of their men of military age under
promise that they were to receive pay, and then at a given signal,--his
raising aloft his own shield,--he had them surrounded and cut down; he
also sent cavalry around and arrested all others not present.

¶Antoninus commended in the senate by means of a letter Pandion, a
fellow who had previously been an understudy of charioteers but in the
war against the Alamanni drove his chariot for him and in this capacity
was his comrade and fellow soldier. And he asserted that he had been
saved by this man from a portentous danger and was not ashamed to evince
greater gratitude to him than to the soldiers, whom in their turn he
regarded as our superiors.[Footnote: There is a gap of a word or two
here (Dindorf text), filled by reading [Greek: helen hechon] (with

¶Some of the most distinguished men whom Antoninus slew he ordered to be
cast out unburied.

¶He made a search for the tomb of Sulla and repaired it, and reared a
cenotaph to Mesomedes, who had written a compilation of citharoedic
modes. He honored the latter because he was himself learning to sing to
the zither and the former because he was emulating his cruelty.]

Still, in cases of necessity and urgent campaigns, he was simple and
frugal, toiling with painstaking care in menial offices as much as the
rest. He trudged beside the soldiers and ran beside them, not taking a
bath nor changing his clothing, but helping them in every labor and
choosing absolutely the same food as they had. Often he would send to
distinguished champions on the enemy's side and challenge them to single
combat. The details of generalship in which he certainly ought to have
been most versed he managed least well, as if he thought that victory
lay in the performance of those services mentioned and not in this
science of commanding.

[Sidenote:--14--] He conducted war also against a certain Celtic tribe
of Cenni. These warriors are said to have assailed the Romans with the
utmost fierceness, using their mouths to pull from their flesh the
missiles with which the Osrhoeni wounded them, that they might give
their hands no respite in slaughtering the foe. Nevertheless even they,
after selling the name of defeat at a high figure, made an agreement
with him to go into Germany on condition of being spared. Their women
[and those of the Alamanni] all who were captured [would not, in truth,
await a servile doom, but] when Antoninus asked them whether they
desired to be sold or slain, chose the latter alternative. Afterward, as
they were offered for sale, they all killed themselves and some of their
children as well. [Many also of the people dwelling close to the ocean
itself, near the mouth of the Albis, sent envoys to him and asked his
friendship, when their real concern was to get money. For after he had
done as they desired, they would frequently attack him, threatening to
begin a war; and with all such he came to terms. Even though his offer
was contrary to their principles, yet when they saw the gold pieces they
were captivated. To them he gave true gold pieces, but the silver and
gold money with which he provided the Romans was alloyed.] He
manufactured the one of lead with a silver plating and the other of
bronze with a gold plating.

[Sidenote:--15--] [The same ruler published some of his devices
directly, pretending that they were excellent and worthy of
commendation, however base their actual character. Other intentions he
rather unwillingly made known through the very precautions which he took
to conceal them, as, for example, in the case of the money. He plundered
the whole land and the whole sea and left nothing whatever unharmed. The
chants of the enemy made Antoninus frenzied and beside himself, hearing
which some of the Alamanni asserted that they had used charms to put him
out of his mind.] He was sick in body, partly with ordinary and partly
with private diseases, and was sick also in mind, suffering from
distressing visions; and often he thought he was being pursued by his
father and his brother, armed with swords. Therefore he called up
spirits to find some remedy against them, among others the spirit of his
father and of Commodus. But not one would speak a word to him except
Commodus. [Geta, so they say, attended Severus, though unsummoned. Yet
not even he offered any suggestion to relieve the emperor, but on the
contrary terrified him the more.] This is what he said:

"Draw nearer judgment, which the gods demand of thee [Footnote:
Emended (by Fabricius and Reiske) from a corruption in the MS.]
for Severus,"

then something else, and finally--

"having in secret places a disease hard to heal."

[For letting these facts become public many suffered unseemly outrage.
But to Antoninus not one of the gods gave any response pertaining to the
healing of either his body or his mind, although he showered attention
upon all the most distinguished shrines. This showed in the clearest
light that they regarded not his offerings, nor his sacrifices, but only
his purposes and his deeds. He got no aid from Apollo Grannus [Footnote:
Grannus was really a Celtic god, merely identified with Apollo. He was
honored most in Germany and Dacia (also known in Rhaetia, Noricum), and,
inasmuch as many inscriptions bearing his name have been found near the
Danube, it may probably be conjectured that he had a temple of some
importance in that vicinity. For further details see Pauly, II, p. 46;
Roscher, I, col. 1738.] nor Asclepius nor Serapis, in spite of his many
supplications and his unwearying persistence. Even when abroad he sent
to them prayers and sacrifices and votive offerings and many runners
traveled to them daily, carrying things of the sort. He also went
himself, hoping to prevail by appearing in person, and he performed all
the usual practices of devotees, but he obtained nothing that would
contribute to health.

[Sidenote:--16--] While declaring that he was the most scrupulous of all
mankind, he ran to an excess of blood-guiltiness,] killing four of the
vestal virgins, one of whom--so far as he was able--he had forcibly
outraged. For latterly all his sexual power had disappeared, as a result
of which it was reported that he satisfied his vileness in a different
way; and associated with him were others of similar inclinations, who
not only admitted that they were given to such practices but maintained
that they did so for the sake of their ruler's welfare.

A young knight carried a coin with his image into a brothel and people
informed against him.[Footnote: Conjecture, on the basis of Reiske and
Bekker.] For this he was at the time imprisoned to await execution, but
later was released, as the emperor died before he did.] This maiden of
whom I speak was named Clodia Laeta. She, crying out loudly, "Antoninus
himself knows that I am a virgin, [he himself knows that I am pure,]"
was buried alive. [Three others shared her sentence. Two of them,
Aurelia Severa and Pomponia Rufina, met a similar death, but Cannutia
Crescentina threw herself from the top of the house.

And in the case of adulterers he did the same. For though he showed
himself the most adulterous of men (so far, at least, as he was
physically able) he both detested others who bore the same charge and
killed them contrary to established laws.--Though displeased at all good
men, he affected to honor some few of them after their death.--

¶Antoninus censured and rebuked them all because they asked nothing of
him. And he said, in the presence of all: "It is evident from the fact
that you ask nothing of me that you lack confidence in me. And if you
lack confidence, you are suspicious of me; and if you are suspicious of
me, you fear me; and if you fear me, you hate me." He made this an
excuse for severe measures.

¶Antoninus being about to cause Cornificia to take leave of earth bade
her (as a token of honor) choose what death she wished to die. She,
after many lamentations, inspired by the memory of her father, Marcus,
her grandfather, Antoninus, and her brother, Commodus, ended with this
speech: "Pining, unhappy soul of mine, shut in a vile body, make forth,
be free, show them that you are Marcus's daughter, whether they will or
no!" Then she laid aside all the adornment in which she was arrayed,
and having composed her limbs in seemly fashion severed her veins and

[Sidenote: A.D. 214 (_a.u._ 967)] Next, Antoninus arrived in Thrace,
paying no further heed to Dacia. Having crossed the Hellespont, not
without danger, he did honor to Achilles with sacrifices and races, in
armor, about the tomb, in which he as well as the soldiers participated.
For this he gave them money, assuring them that they had won a great
success and had in very truth captured that famous Ilium of old, and he
set up a bronze statue of Achilles himself.] ¶Antoninus by arriving at
Pergamum, while there was some dispute about it, [Footnote: The sense of
these words is not clear. Boissevain conjectures that there may have
been some who doubted whether an emperor so diseased would ever live to
reach Mysia.] seemed to bring to fulfillment the following verse,
according to some oracle:

"O'er the Telephian land shall prowl the Ausonian beast."

He took a lasting delight and pride in the fact that he was called
"beast," and his victims fell in heaps. The man who had composed the
verse used to laugh and say that he was in very truth himself the
verse-maker (thereby indicating that no one may die contrary to the will
of fate, but that the common saying is true, which declares that liars
and deceivers are never believed, even if they tell the truth).

[Sidenote:--17--] He held court but little or not at all. Most of his
leisure he devoted to meddlesomeness as much as anything. People from
all quarters brought him word of all the most insignificant occurrences.
For this reason he gave orders that the soldiers who kept their eyes and
ears wide open for these details should be liable to punishment by no
one save himself. This enactment, too, produced no good result, but we
had a new set of tyrants in them. But the thing that was especially
unseemly and most unworthy, both of the senate and of the Roman
people,--we had a eunuch to domineer over us. He was a native of Spain,
by name Sempronius Rufus, and his occupation that of a sorcerer and
juggler (for which he had been confined on an island by Severus). This
fellow was destined to pay the penalty for his conduct, as were also the
rest who laid information against others. As for Antoninus, he would
send word that he should hold court or transact any other public
business directly after dawn; but he kept putting us off till noon and
often till evening, and would not even admit us to the ante-chamber, so
that we had to stand about outside somewhere. Usually at a late hour he
decided that he would not even exchange greetings with us that day.
Meanwhile he was largely engaged in gratifying his inquisitiveness, as I
said, or was driving chariots, killing beasts, fighting as a gladiator,
drinking, enjoying the consequent big head, mixing great bowls (beside
their other food) for the soldiers that kept guard over him within, and
sending round cups of wine (this last before our very face and eyes). At
the conclusion of all this, once in a while he would hold court.

[Sidenote: A.D. 214-215] [Sidenote:--18--] That was his behavior while
in winter-quarters at Nicomedea. He also trained the Macedonian phalanx.
He constructed two very large engines for the Armenian and for the
Parthian war, so that he could take them to pieces and carry them over
on boats into Syria. For the rest, he was staining himself with more
blood and transgressing laws and using up money. Neither in these
matters nor in any others did he heed his mother, who gave him much
excellent advice. This in spite of the fact that he entrusted to her the
management of the books and letters both, save the very important ones,
and that he inscribed her name with many praises in his letters to the
senate, mentioning it in the same connection as his own and that of his
armies, i.e., with a statement that she was _safe_. Need it be mentioned
that she greeted publicly all the foremost men, just as her son did? But
she continued more and more her study of philosophy with these persons.
He kept declaring that he needed nothing beyond necessities, and gave
himself airs over the fact that he could get along with the cheapest
kind of living. Yet there was nothing on earth or in the sea or in the
air that we did not keep furnishing him privately and publicly. [Of
these articles he used extremely few for the benefit of the friends with
him (for he no longer cared to dine with us), but the most of them he
consumed with his freedmen. Such was his delight in magicians and
jugglers that he commended and honored Apollonius [Footnote: The famous
Apollonius of Tyana.] of Cappadocia, who had flourished in Domitian's
reign and was a thoroughgoing juggler and magician; and he erected a
heroum to his memory.

[Sidenote: A.D. 215 (_a.u._ 968)] [Sidenote:--19--] The pretext for his
campaign against the Parthians was that Vologaesus had not acceded to his
request for the extradition of Tiridates and a certain Antiochus with
him. Antiochus was a Cilician and pretended at first to be a philosopher
of the cynic school. In this way he was of very great assistance to the
soldiers in warfare. He strengthened them against the despair caused by
the excessive cold, for he threw himself into the snow and rolled in it;
and as a result he obtained money and honors from Severus himself and
from Antoninus. Elated at this, he attached himself to Tiridates and in
his company deserted to the Parthian prince.

[Sidenote:--20--] [Antoninus surely maligned himself in asserting that
he had overcome by slyness the audacity, rapacity and faithlessness of
the Celtae, against which arms were of no avail. The same man commended
Fabricius Luscinus because he had refused to let Pyrrhus be
treacherously murdered by his friend.--He took pride in having put
enmity between the Vandili and Marcomani, who were friends, and in
having executed Gaiobomarus, the accused king of the Quadi. And since
one of the latter's associates, under accusation at the same time with
him, hanged himself before execution, Antoninus delivered his corpse to
the barbarians to be wounded, that the man might be regarded as having
been killed in pursuance of a sentence instead of dying voluntarily
(which was deemed a creditable act among them).

He killed Caecilius AEmilianus, governor of Baetica, on suspicion that he
had asked an oracular reply from Hercules at Gades.]

[Sidenote:--19--] Before leaving Nicomedea the emperor held a
gladiatorial contest there in honor of his birthday, for not even on
that day did he refrain from slaughter. Here it is said that a
combatant, being defeated, begged for his life, whereupon Antoninus
said: "Go and ask your adversary. I am not empowered to spare you."

[Sidenote: A.D. 216 (_a.u._ 969)] And so the wretch, who would probably
have been allowed by his antagonist to go, if the above words had not
been spoken, lost his life. The victor did not dare release him for fear
of appearing more humane than the emperor.

[Sidenote:--20--] For all that, while so engaged and steeped in the
luxury of Antioch even to the point of keeping his chin wholly bare, he
gave utterance to laments, as if he were in the midst of great toils and
dangers. And he reproved the senate, saying for one thing that they were
slothful, did not understand readily, and did not give their votes
separately. Finally he wrote: "I know that my behavior doesn't please
you. But the reason for my having arms and soldiers alike is to enable
me to disregard anything that is said about me."

[Sidenote:--21--] When the Parthian monarch in fear surrendered both
Tiridates and Antiochus, he disbanded the expedition at once. But he
despatched Theocritus with an army into Armenian territory and suffered
defeat amounting to a severe reverse at the hands of the inhabitants.
Theocritus was of servile origin and had been brought up in the
orchestra; [he was the man who had taught Antoninus dancing and had been
a favorite of Saoterus, and through the influence thus acquired he had
been introduced to the theatre at Rome. But, as he was disliked there,
he was driven out of Rome and went to Lugdunum, where he delighted the
people, who were rather provincial. And, from a slave and dancer, he
came to be an army leader and prefect.] He advanced to such power in the
household of Antoninus that both the prefects were as nothing compared
to him. Likewise Epagathus, himself also a Caesarian, had equal influence
with him and committed equal transgressions. Thus Theocritus, who kept
traveling back and forth in the interest of securing provisions and
selling them at retail, proved the death of many persons because of his
authority and for other reasons. One victim was Titianus Flavius. The
latter, while procurator in Alexandria, offended him in some way,
whereupon Theocritus, leaping from his seat, drew his sword. At that
Titianus remarked: "This, too, you have done like a dancer." Hence the
other in a rage ordered him to be killed.

[Sidenote:--22--] Now Antoninus, in spite of his declaration that he
cherished an overwhelming love for Alexander, all but destroyed utterly
the whole population of Alexander's city. Hearing that he was spoken
against and ridiculed by them for various reasons, and not least of all
for murdering his brother, he set out for Alexandria, concealing his
wrath and pretending to long to see them. But when he reached the
suburbs whither the leading citizens had come with certain mystic and
sacred symbols, he greeted them as if he intended to entertain them at a
banquet and then put them to death. After this he arrayed his whole
force in armor and marched into the city; he had sent previous notice to
all the people there to remain at home and had occupied all the streets
and in addition all the roofs in advance. And, to pass over the details
of the calamities that then befell the wretched city, he slaughtered so
many individuals that he dared not even speak about the number of them,
but wrote the senate that it was of no interest how many of them or who
had died, for they all deserved to suffer this fate. Of the property,
part was plundered and part destroyed.

[Sidenote:--23--] With the people perished also many foreigners, and
not a few who had accompanied Antoninus were destroyed for want of
identification. As the city was large and persons were being murdered
all over it by night and by day, it was impossible to distinguish
anybody, no matter how much one might wish it. They simply expired as
chance directed and their bodies were straightway cast into deep
trenches to keep the rest from being aware of the extent of the
disaster.--That was the fate of the natives. The foreigners were all
driven out except the merchants, and even they had all their wares
plundered. Also some shrines were despoiled. In the midst of most of
these atrocities Antoninus was present and looked on and personally took
a hand, but sometimes he issued orders to others from the temple of
Serapis. He lived in this god's precinct even during the nights and days
that witnessed the shedding of Egyptian blood. [And he sent word to the
senate that he was observing purity during the days when he was in
reality sacrificing there domestic beasts and human beings at the same
time to the god.] Yet why should I have spoken of this, when he actually
dared to devote to the god the sword with which he had killed his

Next he abolished the spectacles and the public messes of the
Alexandrians and ordered Alexandria to be broken up [Footnote: The
reading is [Greek: dioikisthaenai].] into villages, with a wall fully
garrisoned bisecting the city, that the inhabitants might no longer
visit one another with security. Such was the treatment accorded unhappy
Alexandria by the _Ausonian Beast_, as the tag of the oracle about him
called him; and he said he liked the title and was glad to be
distinguished by the honorific appellation of "Beast." Never mind how
many persons he murdered on the pretext that they had fulfilled the

[Sidenote:--24--] [The same man gave prizes to the soldiers for their
campaign, allowing those stationed in the pretorian guard to get some
six thousand two hundred and fifty [Footnote: The common reading is
"twelve hundred and fifty," but since it seems incredible that the
Pretorians should have obtained less, instead of more, than the ordinary
soldiers, Lange with much reason proposed the change carried out
above,--a change which requires the insertion (or restitution) of but
one Greek numeral-letter that might easily have been overlooked by some
copyist.] and the rest five thousand [lacuna]

[That model of temperance (as he was wont to put it), the rebuker of
licentiousness in others, at the consummation of a most vile and at the
same time most dangerous outrage, appeared, in truth, to be indignant;
but by not giving that indignation sufficient free play and further by
allowing the youths to do what no one had ever yet dared to propose, he
greatly corrupted the latter, who had imitated the habits of women of
the demi-monde and of professional male buffoons.]

[On the occasion of the Culenian [Footnote: Nobody knows what the
Culenian games were; Valois guesses that they may have been an
Alexandrian festival. The text of this whole chapter is in a very ragged
condition, and should not be held too strictly accountable in the matter
of sense or cohesion.] spectacle severe censure was passed, not only
upon those who there carried on their accustomed pursuits, but also upon
the spectators.]



Antoninus's treacherous campaign against Artabanus, the Parthian
(chapters 1-3).

Antoninus's death (chapters 4-6). Foreshadowings of his death, and
the abuse heaped upon him dead (chapters 7-10).

About Macrinus Augustus, and his excellencies and faults (chapters

His letters and commands to the senate, and other official acts
(chapters 16-22).

Death of Julia Augusta (chapters 23, 24).

Inauspicious signs: peace arranged with Artabanus after submitting to
a defeat (chapters 25-27).

Uprising of the soldiers: Pseudantoninus is proclaimed as emperor by
the soldiers (chapters 28-31).

How Macrinus, conquered in battle, took to flight and was cut down
after the capture of his son (chapters 32-41).


C. Attius Sabinus (II), Cornelius Annullinus (A.D. 216 = a.u. 969 =
Sixth of Antoninus.)

C. Bruttius Praesens, T. Messius Extricatus (II). (A.D. 217 = a.u.
970 = Seventh of Antoninus, from Feb. 4th to April 8th.)

M. Opellius Macrinus Aug., Q.M. Coclatinus Adventus. (A.D. 218 = a.u.
971. The first year of Macrinus ends April 11th and his second year
is abruptly terminated June 8th.)


[Sidenote: A.D. 216 (_a.u._ 969)] [Sidenote:--1--] The next thing was a
campaign against the Parthians and the pretext that was used was that
Artabanus had refused to view favorably his wooing and give him his
daughter in marriage. (But he knew well enough that, while pretending to
want to marry her, he in fact was anxious to detach the Parthian
kingdom.) So he damaged a large section of the country around Media by
means of a sudden incursion, sacked many citadels, won over Arbela, dug
open the royal tombs of the Parthians, and flung the bones about. The
Parthians would not engage him at close quarters, and therefore I have
had nothing of especial interest to record concerning the doings of that
expedition except, perhaps, one anecdote. Two soldiers who had seized a
skin of wine came to him, each claiming the booty as entirely his own.
Being bidden by him to divide the wine equally they drew their swords
and cut the wine skin in two, apparently expecting each to get a half
with the wine in it. They so dreaded their emperor that they troubled
him even with such details and showed such scrupulousness as to lose
both wineskin and wine.

Now the barbarians took refuge in the mountains and across the Tigris in
order to perfect their preparations. But Antoninus suppressed this fact
and, assuming that he had utterly vanquished a foe whom he had not even
seen, he displayed becoming pride; and, as he himself wrote, he was
particularly gratified because a lion ran down from the mountains and
fought on his side.

[Sidenote:--2--] Not only in other ways did he live unnaturally and
transgress laws, but in his very campaigns [[lacuna] but truth; [Footnote:
Here begins the parchment codex, Vaticanus 1288. See Volume I, page 8.]
for I have run across the book written by him about it. He understood so
well how he stood with all the senators that, in spite of many protests,
their slaves and freedmen and intimate friends were arrested by him and
were asked under torture whether "so-and-so loves me" or "so-and-so
hates me." For the charts of the stars under which any of his foremost
courtiers had been born gave evidence, he said, as to who was friendly
to him and who was hostile. And on this basis he honored many persons
and destroyed many others.

[Sidenote: A.D. 217 (_a.u._ 970)] [Sidenote:--3--] When the Parthians and
the Medes, greatly enraged at the treatment they had received, equipped
a large body of troops, he fell into an ecstasy of terror. He was very
bold in threats and very reckless in daring, but very cowardly in
following a slow course involving danger, and very weak in hard labor.
He could no longer bear either great heat or armor, and consequently
wore sleeved tunics made in such a shape as more or less to resemble
breastplates. Thus having the appearance of armor without its weight he
could be safe from plots and also arouse admiration. He often used these
garments when not in battle. He wore also a cavalry cloak, now all
purple, now purple with white threads, and again of white with purple
threads, and also red. In Syria and in Mesopotamia he used Celtic
clothing and shoes. He furthermore invented a costume of his own by
cutting out cloth and stitching it up, barbaric fashion, into a kind of
cloak. He himself wore it very constantly, so that it led to his being
called Caracalla, [Footnote: A word of Celtic origin, signifying a long,
ulster-like tunic plus a hood. This was a Gallic dress.] and he
prescribed it by preference as the dress for the soldiers. The
barbarians saw what sort of person he was and also heard that his men
were enervated through their previous luxury; for, to give an instance
of their behavior, the Romans passed the winter in houses, making use of
everything belonging to their entertainers as if it were their own.
[They further perceived that their opponents had become so physically
worn and so dejected in spirit by their toils and by the hardships which
they were now undergoing that they no longer heeded the presents which
they kept receiving from their commander.] Elated, therefore, to think
that they should find them rather helpers than foes, they made ready to
attack. [Footnote: The last five words are a conjecture of Bekker's.]

[Sidenote:--4--] Antoninus made preparations in his turn, but it did not
fall to his lot to enter upon the war: he was struck down in the midst
of his soldiers, whom he most honored and in whom he reposed vast
confidence. A seer in Africa had declared (in such a way that it became
noised abroad) that both Macrinus the prefect and his son Diadumenianus
[Footnote: His full name was M. Opellius Diadumenianus.] must reign.
Macrinus, sent to Rome, had revealed this to Flavius Maternianus, who at
the time commanded the soldiers in the city, and he had at once sent
word to Antoninus. It happened that this letter was diverted to Antioch
and came to [his mother] Julia, since she had been given orders to read
over everything that arrived and thus prevent a mass of unimportant
letters being sent to him while in a hostile country. Another letter
written by Ulpius Julianus, who then had charge of appraisements, went
by other carriers straight to Macrinus and informed him of the state of
the case. It was in this way that the letter to the emperor suffered a
delay and the despatch to his rival came to the attention of the latter
in good season. Now Macrinus, becoming afraid that he might be put to
death by Antoninus on account of all this, especially since a certain
Egyptian Serapio had told the prince to his face that Macrinus should
succeed him, did not find it well to delay.--Serapio had first been
thrown to a lion for his pains, but when he merely held out his hand, as
is reported, and the animal did not touch him, he was slain. He might
have escaped even this fate (or so he declared) by calling upon certain
spirits, if he had lived one day longer.

[Sidenote:--5--] Macrinus came to no harm but hastened his preparations,
having a presentiment that otherwise he should perish, especially since
Antoninus had suddenly, one day before [Footnote: "One day before" is a
conjecture of Bekker's. (The birthday of Antoninus seems to have been on
the sixth of April.)] his birthday, removed those of Macrinus's
companions that were in the latter's company, alleging one reason in one
case and another in another with the general pretext of doing them
honor. Not but [lacuna] expecting that it was fated for him to get it
he had also made a name which owed its origin to this fact. Accordingly,
he suborned two tribunes stationed in the pretorian guard, Nemesianus
and Apollinarius, brothers belonging to the Aurelian gens, and Julius
Martialius, who was enrolled among the evocati and had a private grudge
against Antoninus for not giving him the post of centurion on request.
Thus he made his plot, and it was carried out as follows. On the eighth
of April, when the emperor had set out from Edessa to Carrhae and had
dismounted from his horse to go and ease himself, Martialius approached
as if he wanted to say something to him and struck him smartly with a
small knife. The assassin at once fled and would have escaped detection,
had he thrown away the sword. The weapon led to his being recognized by
one of the Scythians on the staff of Antoninus, and he was brought down
with a javelin. As for Martialius [lacuna] the military tribunes pretending
to come to the rescue slew [lacuna]

[This Scythian attended him, not merely to be an ally of his, but as
keeping guard over him to a certain extent. [Sidenote:--6--] For he
maintained Scythians and Celtae about him, free and slaves alike, whom he
had taken away from children and wives and had equipped with arms; and
he affected to place more dependence upon them than upon the soldiers.
To illustrate, he kept honoring them with posts as centurions, and he
called them "lions." Moreover, he would often converse with emissaries
sent from the very provinces, and in the presence of no one else but the
interpreters would urge them, in case any catastrophe befell him, to
invade Italy and march upon Rome, assuring them that it was very easy to
capture. And to prevent any inkling of his talk spreading to our ears he
would immediately put to death the interpreters. For all that, we did
ascertain it later from the barbarians themselves: and the matter of the
poisons we learned from Macrinus.] It seemed that he partly sent for and
partly bought quantities of all kinds of poisons from the inhabitants of
Upper Asia, spending altogether seven hundred and fifty myriads upon
them, in order that he might secretly kill in different ways great
numbers of men,--in fine, whomsoever he would. They were subsequently
discovered in the royal apartments and were all consumed by fire. [At
this time the soldiers, both for this reason and, beyond other
considerations, because they were vexed at having the barbarians
preferred to themselves, were not altogether so enthusiastic over their
leader as of yore and did not aid him when he became the victim of a
plot.] Such was the end that he met after a life of twenty-nine years
[and four days (for he had been born on the fourth of April)], and after
a reign of six years, two months, and two days.

[Sidenote:--7--] There are many things at this point, too, in the story
that occur to excite my surprise. When he was about to start from
Antioch on his last journey, his father confronted him in a vision, girt
with a sword and saying: "As you killed your brother, so will I smite
you unto death;" and the soothsayers told him to beware of that day,
using so direct a form of speech as this: "The gates of the victim's
liver are shut." After this he went out through some door, paying no
heed to the fact that the lion, which he was wont to call "Rapier," and
had for a table companion and bedfellow, knocked him down as he went
out, and, moreover, tore some of his clothing. He kept many other lions
besides and always had some of them around him, but this one he would
often caress even publicly. It was thus that these events occurred.

And a little before his death, as I have heard, a great fire suddenly
fastened upon the entire interior of the temple of Serapis in
Alexandria, and did no other harm whatever save only to destroy that
sword with which he had slain his brother. [Later, when it stopped, many
stars shone out.] In Rome, too, [a spirit wearing the likeness of a man
led an ass up the Capitol and later up the Palatine, seeking, as he
said, its master and stating that Antoninus was dead and Jupiter
reigned. Arrested for his behavior, he was sent by Maternianus to
Antoninus, and he declared: "I depart, as you bid, but I shall face not
this emperor but another." Afterwards on coming to Capua he vanished.

[Sidenote:--8--] This took place while the prince was still alive.] At
the horse-race [held in memory of Severus's reign] the statue of Mars,
while being carried in procession, fell down. This perhaps would not
arouse such great wonder, but listen to the greatest marvel of all. The
Green faction had been defeated, whereupon, catching sight of a jackdaw,
which was screeching very loud on the tip of a javelin, they all gazed
at him and all of a sudden, as if by previous arrangement, cried out:
"Hail Martialius, Martialius hail, long it is since we beheld thee!" It
was not that the jackdaw was ever so called, but through him they were
greeting, apparently under some divine inspiration, Martialius, the
assassin of Antoninus. To some, indeed, Antoninus seemed to have
foretold his own end, inasmuch as in the last letter that he sent to the
senate he had said: "Cease praying that I may reign a hundred years."
The petition mentioned had always been uttered from the beginning of his
sovereignty and this was the first and only time that he found fault
with it. Thus, while his words were simply meant to chide them for
offering a prayer impossible of accomplishment, he was really indicating
that he should no longer rule for any length of time. And when certain
persons had once called attention to this fact, it also came to my mind
that when he was giving us a banquet in Nicomedea at the Saturnalia and
had talked a good deal, as was usual at a symposium, then on our rising
to go he had addressed me and said: "With great acumen and truth, Dio,
has Euripides remarked that

"'Neath divers forms the spirit world is lurking,
Much passing hope the gods are ever working.
Oft disappointment strikes down sure ambition:
The unthought chance God brings to full fruition.
This story leaves things in just that condition.'"

[Footnote: Lines that occur at the end of several of Euripides's

At the time this quotation seemed to have been mere nonsense, but when
not long after he perished the fact that this was the last speech he
uttered to me was thought to infuse into it a certain truly oracular
significance with regard to what was to befall him. Similar importance
was attached to the utterance of Jupiter called Belus, [Footnote: The
same as Baal.] a god revered in Apamea [Footnote: This is the Apamea on
the Orontes, built by Seleucus Nicator.] of Syria. He, years before,
when Severus was still a private citizen, had spoken to him these

"Touching eyes and head, like Zeus, whose delight is in thunder,
Like unto Ares in waist, and in chest resembling Poseidon."
[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, II, verses 478-9.]

And later, after his accession as emperor, the god had made this
response to an enquiry: "Thy house shall perish utterly in blood."
[Footnote: Adapted from Euripides, Phoenician Maidens, verse 20.]

[Sidenote:--9--] [Accordingly the body of Antoninus was then burned, and
his bones, brought secretly by night into Rome, were deposited in the
mausoleum of the Antonines. All the senators and private individuals,
men and women, without exception entertained so violent a hatred of him
that all their words and actions relating to him were such as would
befit the downfall of a most implacable foe. He was not officially
disgraced, because the soldiers did not get from Macrinus the state of
peace which they had hoped to secure by a change. Deprived of the
profits which they were wont to receive from Antoninus, they began to
long for him again. Indeed, their wishes subsequently prevailed to the
extent of having him enrolled among the heroes: of course this was voted
by the senate.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 217, _a.u._ 970] In general, abundant ill was
consistently spoken of him by everybody. They would no longer term him
Antoninus, but [some called him Bassianus, [Footnote: He was originally
Septimius Bassianus, named after his maternal grandfather.] his old
name, others] Caracalla, as I have mentioned, [Footnote: In chapter 3.]
[others] also Tarautas, from the appellation of a gladiator who was [in
appearance] very small and very ugly and [in spirit very audacious and]
very bloodthirsty.

[Sidenote:--10--] Now his affairs, however one may name him, were in
this state. As for me, even before he came to the throne, it was
foretold me in a way by his father that I should write this account.
Just after his death methought I saw in a great plain the whole power of
Rome arrayed in arms, and it seemed as if Severus were sitting [on a
knoll there and] on a lofty tribunal conversing with them. And, seeing
me standing by to hear what was said, he spoke out: "Come hither, Dio,
to this spot; approach nearer, that you may both ascertain accurately
and write a history of all that is said and done."--Such was the life
and the overthrow of Tarautas. [After him there perished also those who
had shared in the plot against him, some at once and others before a
great while. His intimate companions and the Caesarians likewise
perished. He had been, as it were, coupled with a spirit of murder that
operated equally against enemies and against friends.]

[Sidenote:--11--] Macrinus, by race a Moor from Caesarea, came from most
obscure parents [so that with considerable justice he was likened to the
ass that was led to the Palatine by the apparition]. For one thing his
left ear had been bored, according to the custom [generally] in vogue
among the Moors. His affability was even more striking. As to duties,
his comprehension of them was not so accurate as his performance of them
was faithful. [Thus it was, thanks to the advocacy of a friend's cause,
that he became known to Plautianus, and at first he took the position of
manager of the latter's property; subsequently he ran a risk of
perishing together with his employer, but was unexpectedly saved by the
intercession of Cilo and was given charge of the vehicles of Severus
that passed back and forth along the Flaminian Way.] From Antoninus
[after securing some titles of a short-lived procuratorship] he obtained
an appointment as prefect and administered the affairs of this
responsible position excellently and with entire justice, [so far as he
was free to act independently. This, then, was his general character and
these the steps of his advancement. Even during the life of Tarautas he
was led, in the way that I have described, to harbor in his mind the
hope of empire;] and at his death [he did not, to be sure, either that
day or the two following days occupy the office, in order to avoid the
imputation of having killed him with such intentions: but for that space
of time the Roman state remained completely bereft of a ruler possessing
authority, though without the people's knowing it. He communicated with
the soldiers in every direction,--that is to say, the ones who were in
Mesopotamia on account of the war but instead of being in one body were
scattered all about; and he won their allegiance through the agency of
his [Footnote: Reading [Greek: ohi] (Dindorf) instead of [Greek: hos].]
friends], among his various offers being a suggestion that they might
secure a respite from the war, which was an especial cause of
dissatisfaction to them: and so on the fourth day [the anniversary of
Severus's birthday] he was chosen emperor by them [after making a show
of resistance].

[Sidenote:--12--] [He delivered an address full of good points and held
out hopes of many advantages to the rest of mankind as well. Those who
had been doomed to some life punishment for an act of impiety, of the
kind that is so named with reference to attitude toward emperors, were
absolved from their sentence; and complaints of that nature which were
pending were dismissed. He rescinded the measures enacted by Caracalla
relating to inheritances and emancipations and, by asseverating that it
was a sacrilege to kill a senator, he succeeded in his appeal for the
pardon of Aurelianus, whose surrender was demanded by the soldiers
because he had proved most obnoxious to them in many previous campaigns.
Not for long, however, was it in his power to behave as an honest man
[lacuna] and Aurelianus [lacuna] soldiers [lacuna] this man [lacuna] by
him [lacuna] absolute power [lacuna] wrath [lacuna] and two hundred and
fifty denarii [lacuna] there had been public notice of giving more
[lacuna] fearing that [lacuna] Aurelianus, the only one then present not
only of ex-consuls but of those who were senators at all [lacuna] by aid
of money [lacuna] upon him [lacuna] glad to divert the blame for
Caracalla's death [lacuna] and about the [lacuna] them [lacuna] the
[lacuna] the [lacuna] great masses both of furniture and of property of
the emperors. But as not even this on account of the soldiers sufficed
for the [lacuna] of senators [lacuna] kill [lacuna] no one, but putting
some under guard [lacuna] of the knights and the freedmen and the
Caesarians and [lacuna] causing those who erred in even the slightest
respect to be punished, so that to all [lacuna] of them [lacuna] the
procuratorships and the excessive expenditures and the majority of the
burdens recently laid upon them by Tarautas [lacuna] of the games
[lacuna] multitude [lacuna], gathering the presents which had
unnecessarily been bestowed upon any persons, and he forbade any silver
image of him being made over five pounds in weight, or any golden image
of over three. Greatest of all, the hire of those serving in the
pretorian guard [lacuna] to that appointed [lacuna] by Severus [lacuna]

[Sidenote:--13--] Though in truth he was praised by some for this (and
not without reason), still he incurred (on the part of the sensible) a
censure that quite counterbalanced it. The adverse sentiment in question
was due to the fact that he enrolled certain persons in the ranks of
ex-consuls and immediately assigned them to governorships of provinces.
Yet he refused the following year to have the reputation of being consul
twice because he had the honors of ex-consul: this was a practice begun
during the reign of Severus and followed also by the latter's son. This
procedure, however, both in his own case and in that of Adventus was
lawful enough, but he showed great folly in sending Marcius Agrippa
first into Pannonia and later into Dacia to govern. The previous
officials of the districts mentioned,--Sabinus and Castinus,--he
summoned at once to his side, pretending that he wanted their company,
but really because he feared their surpassing spirit and their
friendship for Caracalla. It was in this way that he came to despatch
Agrippa to Dacia and Deccius Triccianus [Footnote: _AElius Deccius
Triccianus_.] to Pannonia. The former had been a slave acting as master
of wardrobe for some woman and for this cause [Footnote: It is hard to
see why, unless in the age of Severus slaves were forbidden to have
charge of women's attire.] had been tried by Severus, although at the
time he was attached to the fiscus; he had then been driven out to an
island for betraying some interest, was subsequently restored, together
with the rest, by Tarautas, had taken charge of his decisions and
letters, and finally had been degraded to the position of senator, with
ex-consular rank, because he had admitted overgrown lads into the army.
Triccianus served in the rank and file of the Pannonian contingent, had
once been porter to the governor of that country, and was at this time
commanding the Alban legion.

[Sidenote:--14--] These were some of the grounds that led many persons
to find fault with him. Another was his elevation of Adventus. Adventus
had drawn pay as one of the spies and detectives, had left his position
there and served among the letter-carriers, had later been appointed
cubicularius, and still later was advanced to a position as procurator.
Now although old age prevented him from seeing, lack of education from
reading, and want of experience from being able to accomplish anything,
the emperor made him senator, fellow-consul, and prefect of the city.
This upstart had dared to say to the soldiers after the death of
Caracalla: "The sovereignty properly belongs to me, since I am elder
than Macrinus: but inasmuch as I am extremely old, I make way for him."
His behavior was regarded as nonsensical, as was also that of Macrinus,
in granting the greatest dignity of the senate to such a man, who could
not when consul carry on a plain conversation with anybody in the
senate, and consequently on the day of elections pretended to be sick.
Hence, before long Macrinus assigned the direction of the city to Marius
Maximus in his stead. It looked as if he had made him praefectus urbi
with the sole purpose of polluting the senate-house. And this pollution
took place not only in virtue of the fact that he had served in the
mercenary force and had performed the duties belonging to executioners,
scouts, and centurions, but in that he had secured control of the city
prior to fulfilling the demands of the consulship. In other words, he
became city prefect before senator. Macrinus connived at his promotion
with the definite intention of blinding the public in regard to his own
record, which would have shown that he had seized the imperial office
while yet a knight.

[Sidenote:--15--] Besides these not unmerited censures that some passed
upon him, he also attracted adverse criticism for designating as
prefects Ulpius Julianus and Julianus Nestor, who possessed no
particular excellence and had not been tested in many undertakings, but
had become quite notorious for rascality in Caracalla's reign; for,
being at the head of the late prince's messengers [Footnote: Mommsen
thinks that by this expression Dio probably means the position of
_princeps peregrinorum_.] they had been of great assistance to him in
his unholy meddling. However, only a few citizens took account of these
details, which did not tend wholly to encourage them. The majority of
individuals, in view of their having recently got rid of Tarautas, which
was more than they could have hoped, and comparing the new ruler in the
few indications afforded with the old, and in view of all the other
considerations and expectations, did not deem it fitting to condemn him
so soon. And for this reason they mourned him exceedingly when he was
killed, though they would certainly have felt hatred for him had he
lived longer.]

For he began to live rather more luxuriously and he took official notice
of those who reproved him. His putting Maternianus and Datus out of the
way was not reasonable,--for what wrong had they done in being attentive
to their emperor?--but it was not unlike human nature, since he had been
involved in great danger. But he made a mistake in venting his wrath
upon the rest, who were suspected of disliking his low birth and his
unexpected attempt upon the sovereign power. He ought to have done
precisely the opposite; realizing what he had been at the outset and
what his position then was, he should not have been supercilious, but
should have behaved moderately, cultivated the genius of his household,
and encouraged men by good deeds and a display of excellence unchanged
by circumstances.

[Sidenote:--16--] These things [lacuna] in regard to him [lacuna] have
been said by me [lacuna] in detail [lacuna] of any [lacuna] just as
[lacuna] nominally throughout his entire reign [lacuna] of all [lacuna]
of it [lacuna] that he said in conversation with the soldiers [lacuna]
it was proved [lacuna] and he dared to utter not a few laudations of
himself and to send still more of them in letters, saying among other
things: "I have been quite sure that you also would agree with the
legions, since I enjoy the consciousness of having conferred many
benefits upon the commonwealth." He subscribed himself in the letter as
Caesar and emperor and Severus, adding to the name of Macrinus the titles
of Pious, and Fortunate, and Augustus, and Proconsul, of course without
awaiting any vote on our part. He sent the letter without being ignorant
that he was, on his own responsibility, assuming so many and great
designations nor [lacuna] name [lacuna] of Pretorians as formerly some
[lacuna] not but what [lacuna] so wrote [lacuna] in the beginning
[lacuna] war chiefly [lacuna] of barbarians [lacuna] near [lacuna] in
the letter he used simply the same terms as the emperors before
Caracalla, and this he did the whole year through [lacuna] memoranda
found among the soldiers. Thus [lacuna] of things accustomed to be said
with a view to flattery and not inspired by truthfulness they became so
suspicious as to ask that they be made public, and he sent them to us,
and the quaestor read them aloud, as he did other similar documents in
their turn. And a certain praetor, as the senate was then in session and
none of the quaestors was present, also read an epistle once composed by
Macrinus himself.

[Sidenote:--17--] The first letter having been read, appropriate
measures were passed with reference to both Macrinus and his son. He was
designated Patrician, and Princeps Iuventutis, and Caesar. He accepted
everything save the horse-race voted in honor of the beginning of his
reign; from this he begged to be excused, saying that the event had been
sufficiently honored by the spectacle on the birthday of Severus. Of
Tarautas he made no mention at this time, in the way of either honor or
dishonor, save only that he called him Emperor. He ventured to term him
neither Hero nor Foe, and, as I conjecture, it was because the deeds of
his predecessor and the hatred of much of mankind made him shrink from
the former epithet, and the thought of the soldiers restrained him from
the latter. Some suspected that it was because he wanted the disgracing
to be the act of the senate and the people rather than his own,
especially since he was in the midst of the legions. He did say that
Tarautas by his wrongdoing had been chiefly responsible for the war and
had terribly burdened the public treasury by increasing the money given
to the barbarians, inasmuch as it was of equal amount with the pay of
the soldiers under arms. No one dared, however, to give utterance
publicly to any such statement against him and vote that he was an
enemy, for fear of immediate annihilation at the hands of the soldiers
in the City. Still, they abused him in their own fashion and heaped
insults upon him as much as they could, going over the list of his
bloody deeds, with the name of each victim, and ranging him alongside
all the evil tyrants that had ever held sway over them.

[Sidenote:--18--] At the same time the public demanded that the
horse-race given on his birthday be abolished, that absolutely all the
statues, both gold and silver, erected [Footnote: Supplying, with Reiske,
[Greek: hidruthentas].] in his honor be melted down, and that those who
had served with him in any capacity as informers be made known and
punished with the utmost speed. For great numbers, not only slaves and
freedmen and soldiers and Caesarians, but likewise knights and senators
and numerous very distinguished women, were believed to have given
secret hints during his reign and to have blackmailed various persons.
And although they did not attach to Antoninus the name of Enemy, they
did keep vociferating that Martialius (on account of the similarity of
his name to that of Mars, as they pretended,) ought to be honored with
enconiums and with statues for worship. They also showed for the moment
no indication of annoyance at Macrinus], the reason being that they were
so overwhelmed by joy on account of the death of Tarautas as not to have
leisure to think anything about his humble origin, and they were glad to
accept him as emperor. They were less concerned about whose slaves they
should be next than about whose yoke they had shaken off, and were
impressed with the idea that any chance comer who might present himself
would be preferable to their former master. [All the unusual
expenditures were rehearsed that had been made, not only by the Roman
Treasury but privately for any persons and on the part of any foreign
nations as a result of the former sovereign's direction: and thus the
overthrow of those charged with carrying out the enactments made by him
and the hope that in the future nothing similar would be done inclined
people to be satisfied with the existing arrangement.

[Sidenote:--19--] However, they soon learned that Aurelianus was dead
and that Diadumenianus, son of Macrinus, had been appointed Caesar. This
last was nominally the act of the soldiers, through whose ranks he
passed when summoned from Antioch to meet his father, but really it was
accomplished by Macrinus. People further learned that their ruler had
assumed the name of Antoninus. (He had done this to win the favor of the
soldiers, partly to avoid seeming to dishonor his predecessor's memory
entirely, especially in view of the fact that he had secretly thrown
down some of the statues offered to him in Rome by Alexander and set on
pedestals by Antoninus himself: and again he wanted to get an excuse for
promising them seven hundred and fifty denarii more.) So persons began
to think differently and reflected that previously they had held him in
no esteem. Taking account, furthermore, of all the additional ignoble
manifestations on his part that they suspected and thought likely, they
began to be ashamed and did not [lacuna] Caracalla any more than
[lacuna] things pertaining to him differently [lacuna] by deprecating
the [lacuna] of Severus [lacuna] of Antoninus [lacuna] they displayed
[lacuna] and hero and what befitted his reign, not to be sure [lacuna]
and wholly the judgments of all men in Rome [lacuna] underwent a change
[lacuna] senate [lacuna] to him [lacuna] me [lacuna] however, when all
were questioned man by man regarding his honors, both others answered
ambiguously and [lacuna] Saturninus [lacuna] in a way attributing
[lacuna] praetors [lacuna] that it was not permissible for him to put any
vote about anything, in order that they might avoid the consul's
jealousy. This procedure was contrary to precedent, for it was not
lawful that there should take place in the senate-chamber an inquiry
into any matter, except at the command of the emperor.

[Sidenote:--20--] The crowd, because they could obscure their identity
at the contest and by their numbers, gained the greater boldness, raised
a loud cry at the horse-race on the birthday of Diadumenianus, which
fell on the fourteenth of September: they uttered many lamentations,
asserting that they alone of all mankind were destitute of a leader,
destitute of a king; and they invoked the name of Jupiter, declaring
that he alone should be their leader and uttering aloud these words: "As
a master thou wert angry, as a father take pity on us." Nor would they
pay any heed at first to either the equestrian or the senatorial order
[lacuna] and commending the emperor and the Caesar to the extent of
[lacuna] in Greek saying: "Ah, what a glorious day is to-day! What noble
kings!" and desiring that the others also should share their opinion.
But they stretched out their arms toward the sky and exclaimed:
"[lacuna]. this is the Roman Augustus: having him we have all!" So true
it is that among mankind respect is a distinct characteristic of the
better element and contempt a characteristic of the worse. For these two
now regarded Macrinus and Diadumenianus as henceforth absolutely
non-existent and trampled upon their claims as though they were already
dead. This was one great reason why his soldiers despised him, and paid
no heed to what was done to win their favor. Another still more
important cause lay in the frequent and extraordinary insolence shown
toward him by the Pergamenians, who were deprived of what they had
formerly received from Tarautas; and for this conduct he imposed upon
them public sentence of loss of citizenship. [Sidenote:--21--] The
attitude of the soldiers is straightway to be described. At this time
Macrinus neither sent to the senate, as they were demanding, nor
published otherwise any document of the informers, saying either truly
or falsely (to avoid a great disturbance) that none such had been found
in the royal residence. For Tarautas had either destroyed the majority
of those containing any accusation or had returned them to the senders
themselves, as I have stated, [Footnote: The passage to which Dio refers
is lost.] to the end that no proof of his baseness should be left. But
he did reveal the names of three senators whom, from what he had himself
discovered, he deemed to be especially deserving of hatred. These were
Manilius and Julius, and moreover Sulpicius Arrhenianus, who had
blackmailed, among others, Bassus, the son of Pomponius, whose
lieutenant he had been when Bassus was governor of Moesia. These men
were banished to islands, as the emperor expressly forbade their being
put to death. "We would avoid,"--he wrote--these were his very
words,--"ourselves appearing to do the things for which we censure
them."--And Lucius Priscillianus [whose name was presented by the senate
itself,] was as much renowned for his insulting behavior as he was for
his killing of wild beasts. [He fought them at Tusculum every now and
then, and contended with so many each time that he bore the scars of
their bites.] Once he, unassisted, joined battle with a bear and
panther, a lioness and lion at once, but far more numerous were the men,
both knights and senators, whom he destroyed as a result of his
slanders. [For both of these achievements] he was greatly honored by
Caracalla [was enrolled among the ex-praetors and became (contrary to
precedent) governor of Achaea. He incurred the violent hatred of the
senate, was summoned for trial] and was confined upon an island. These
men, then, came to their end as described.

[Sidenote:--22--] And Flaccus was entrusted also with the dispensation
of food stuffs,--an office which Manilius had formerly held,--for he had
secured [Footnote: Reading [Greek: eilaephos] (Reimar).] it (with the
added ratification of Macrinus) as a reward of his information against
him; and he was subsequently made superintendent of the distribution of
dole which took place at the games given by the major praetors, save
those celebrated in honor of Flora [lacuna] moreover the iuridici
possessing authority in Italy had to stop rendering decisions outside
the traditional limits set by Marcus. [Footnote: The text of the early
part of this chapter may be characterized as "jagged." The sentences
lack clearness and the relation of the individual words is not always
certain. The reader may be interested to see a translation of
Hirschfeld's interpretation of the section, taken from his book entitled
_Untersuchungen auf dem Gebiete der Roemischen Verwaltungsgeschichte_
(pp. 117-120).

a [Flaccus]--It is here a question of a high senatorial office, which
can only be the _praefectura alimentorum_.

b [The iuridici]--Perhaps the person entrusted with the execution of
this ruling was C. Octavius Sabinus, who had the title of _electus ad
corrigendum statum Italiae_.

c [The orphans]--Probably during the latter portion of Caracalla's
reign, as also under Commodus, the funds for food had been available
either not at all or at irregular intervals, and therefore the
restitution of district prefects was determined upon.

From these Food Prefects for a particular district those officials must
be distinguished who bear the general title of _praefectus alimentorum_
without any local limitation, and show a marked difference from the rest
in that they are invariably of consular rank, whereas the position of
district prefect, like that of curator of roads, was usually held by a
candidate that had only passed the praetorship. The inscriptions of these
_consular_ prefects begin not earlier than the end of the reign of
Marcus Aurelius, perhaps not till Commodus, and extend to the time of
Macrinus, while during this whole time (a period, that is, of about
forty years) all trace of the district prefects vanishes. Under these
circumstances the conclusion seems to me inevitable that towards the end
of the second century (probably from the first years of Marcus Aurelius
on) the district prefecture was abolished and the administration was
centralized in Rome under a consular _praefectus alimentorum_, whose
authority extended over the whole of Italy.

Now very probably it was the introduction under Marcus Aurelius of the
_iuridici_ which occasioned this change, even if not immediately, and
that these duties of distribution, as well as other administrative
functions, were placed in their hands; one thing that would seem to
recommend this view particularly is that their position in general
tended to make them official examiners of the affairs of the
_municipia_. When, in addition, we have evidence that Macrinus in the
year 217 reduced the authority of the _iundici_ to the limits originally
imposed by Marcus Aurelius and that further the same emperor instituted
certain rulings for the amelioration of food distribution; when,
moreover, we consider in connection with this the coincidence of the
disappearance of the _consular food prefects_ for Italy on the one hand
and the reappearance of the _pretorial district prefects_ on the other,
it will not appear overbold to suppose that Macrinus, in the course of
the reform affecting the _iuridici_, also detached from them the right
to supervise foods, restored it to the curators of roads (as in the
original arrangement) and abolished the central bureau in Rome.]--A
certain Domitius Florus had formerly had charge of the senate records
and ought to have been next appointed aedile, but before entering upon
office had been deprived of all hope on account of Plautianus; he now
had recourse to sedulous office-seeking, recovered his lost standing and
was appointed tribune. Anicius Faustus was sent into Asia to govern in
place of Asper. The latter had at first obtained very great honor from
Macrinus, who thought he could settle affairs in Asia: afterwards, when
he was already _en route_ and was approaching the province (Macrinus had
not accorded a favorable reception to the petition forwarded to
Caracalla and delivered to him, in which the inhabitants begged that
Asper be not sent them as proconsul), the emperor offered him a terrible
affront in rejecting him. It was reported to the prince that Asper had
made some improper remarks, and moreover he affected to think that old
age and disease constituted a second reason for relieving him of his
duties, and therefore he delivered Asia into the keeping of Faustus, a
man who had been overlooked in the order of allotment by Severus. As the
time for him to govern turned out to be short, Macrinus bade him hold
the office for the following year in place of Aufidius Fronto. To the
latter he would entrust neither Africa (which he had drawn by lot),
because the Africans begged that he be not allowed to come, nor yet
Asia, though he had first transferred him thither. As a fitting
recognition, however, Macrinus proposed that twenty-five myriads be
given him to stay at home. Fronto, however, would not accept that,
saying that he wanted not money but a position of authority, and
accordingly later he received the province from Sardanapalus.

Besides these events aid was extended to the orphans, whose hopes of
support were small, from the [lacuna] age of childhood to military
years. [Footnote: See note 2c, page 58.]

[Sidenote:--23--] Now Julia, the mother of Tarautas, chanced to be in
Antioch, and at the first information of her son's death she was so
affected that she struck herself violently and undertook to starve
herself to death. The presence of this very same man, whom she hated
alive, became the object of her longings now that he had ceased to
exist; yet not because she desired him to live, but because she was
furious at having to return to private life; and this led her to abuse
Macrinus also long and bitterly. Subsequently, as no change was made in
her royal suite or in the guard of Pretorians attending her, and the new
emperor sent her a kind message (not having yet heard what she had
said), she took courage, laid aside her longing for death, and, without
writing him any response, held some negotiations with the soldiers she
had about her, especially [lacuna] and as they were angry with Macrinus
[lacuna] as they had a pleasanter remembrance of her son, how she might
attain the imperial position, rendering herself the peer of Semiramis
and Nitocris, since she came in a way from the same regions as
they; [Footnote: Boissevain's conjecture for the succeeding sentences
(valuable, of course, only as the guess of an expert) is the following:

But when nobody would cooperate with her and letters came from Macrinus
making certain announcements at which, in view of her circumstances, she
felt herself depressed in spirits, she renounced her ambitions out of
fear that she might be deprived of the title of Augusta and be forced to
depart to her native land, and al [lacuna] drea [lacuna] wom [lacuna] ad
[lacuna] eake [lacuna] and mos [lacuna] any one behol [lacuna] she
decided to do just the reverse and submit lest she be forced eventually
to return to Rome and be there compelled by Macrinus to remain at home
for the future for appearing to be opposed to his policy. Afterwards,
however, she was intending to take measures that would enable her to get
away by ship, if possibility still offered, when he ordered her, etc.]
as [lacuna] cooeperated [lacuna] and letters [lacuna] of Macrinus
[lacuna] some for which [lacuna] judgment [lacuna] fearing that she
might be deprived of the title of Augusta and to [lacuna] native country
be forced to return [lacuna] to fear [lacuna] go to Rome [lacuna]
Macrinus [lacuna] seeming to do the opposite [lacuna] how [lacuna] might
depart and he ordered her to depart from Antioch with all speed and go
whithersoever she would. [And when she heard what was said in Rome about
her son] she no longer cared to live. The cancer in her breast, which,
for a very long time had remained stationary in its progress, had been
made angry and inflamed by the blow which she struck her chest on
hearing of her son's death; this helped to undermine her constitution
and she made sure of her demise by voluntary starvation.

[Sidenote:--24--][And so this queen, sprung from a family of common
people and raised to a high station, who had lived during her husband's
reign in great unhappiness on account of Plautianus, who had beheld her
younger son butchered in her own lap and had borne ill-will to her elder
son while he lived, finally receiving such tidings of his assassination,
withdrew from power while in the full flush of life and thereafter did
herself to death. Hence a person reviewing her career could not deem
infallibly happy all those who attain great authority; indeed, in no
case unless some true and undefiled pleasure in life belongs to them,
and unswerving, permanent good fortune.--This, then, was the fate of
Julia. Her body was taken to Rome and placed in the tomb of Gaius and
Lucius. Later, however, both her bones and those of Geta were
transferred by her sister Maesa to the precinct of Antoninus.

[Sidenote:--25--] Nor was Macrinus destined to survive for long,--a fact
of which he doubtless had previous indications. A mule bore a mule in
Rome and a sow had a little pig with four ears and two tongues and eight
feet. A great earthquake occurred, blood flowed from a pipe, and bees
formed honeycombs in the Forum Boarium. The hunting-theatre was smitten
with thunderbolts on the very day of the Vulcanalia [Footnote: August
twenty-third.] and such a blaze ensued that all its upper circumference
and the whole circuit of construction and the ground-level were burned
and thereupon the rest of it caught fire and fell in ruins. No human aid
availed against the conflagration, though every possible stream of water
was directed upon the blaze, nor could the downpour from the sky, which
came in great amount and violence, accomplish anything. The force of
both kinds of water was exhausted by the power of the thunderbolts, and
to a certain extent, at least, the building only received additional
injury; [Footnote: Reading [Greek: prosesineto](Bekker).] wherefore the
gladiatorial spectacle was held in the stadium for many years.

This naturally seemed to foreshow what was to be. There were other fires
besides and imperial possessions were burned especially often during his
reign,--a thing which in itself has always been regarded as of ill omen;
but the fact that it seemed to have overthrown the horse-race of Vulcan
had a direct bearing upon the emperor. This accordingly gave rise to a
feeling that something out of the ordinary was in process of
consummation, and the idea was strengthened by the behavior on that same
day of the Tiber, which rose until it invaded the Forum and the roads
leading to it with such impetus as to sweep away even human beings. And
a woman, as I have heard, grim and gigantic, was seen by some persons
and declared that these disasters were insignificant as compared with
what was destined to befall them.

[Sidenote:--26--] And so it proved, for the evil did not confine itself
to the City alone, but took possession of the whole world under its
dominion, with whose inhabitants the theatre was customarily filled. The
Romans, defeated, gave up their war against the barbarians and likewise
received great detriment from the greed and factional differences of the
soldiers. The progress of both these evils I am now to describe.]
Macrinus, seeing that Artabanus was exceedingly angry at the way he had
been treated and had invaded Mesopotamia with a large force, at first of
his own accord sent him the captives and used friendly language, urging
him to accept peace and laying the blame for the past upon Tarautas. But
the other would not entertain his proposition and furthermore bade him
build up the forts and demolished cities, abandon Mesopotamia entirely
and offer satisfaction in general, but particularly for the damage to
the royal tombs. [For, trusting in the large force that he had gathered
and despising Macrinus as an unworthy emperor, he gave reign to his
wrath and expected that even without the Roman's consent he could
accomplish whatever he wished.] Macrinus had no opportunity to think it
over, but, meeting the enemy already on the way to Nisibis, was defeated
in a battle begun by the soldiers about water, while encamped opposite
each other. And he came very near losing the rampart itself, but some
armor-bearers and baggage-carriers happened along and saved it. In their
confidence, they had started out ahead and made a rush upon the
barbarians; and the unexpectedness of their sally was of advantage to
them, making them appear to be armed soldiers and not mere helpers. But
the [lacuna] both was not present then and [lacuna] the night [lacuna]
the camps [lacuna] and the Romans followed on. The enemy, perceiving the
noise that they made in going out, suspected [lacuna] flight, but seeing
them at a glance [lacuna] the Romans barbarians [lacuna] forced by their
[lacuna] and the flight of Macrinus, they became dejected and were
conquered. And as a result [lacuna] from Mesopotamia especially [lacuna]
they overran Syria [lacuna] he abandoned.

[Sidenote: A.D. 218 (_a.u._ 971)] This took place at the season under
consideration: but in the autumn and winter, during which Macrinus and
Adventus became consuls, they no longer came to blows with each other
but kept up an interchange of envoys and heralds until they had reached
an agreement.

[Sidenote:--27--] For Macrinus, through native cowardice (being a Moor
he was tremendously timorous) and by reason of the soldiers' lack of
discipline, did not dare to begin a war. On the contrary] he expended
for the sake of peace enormous amounts, in the shape of both gifts and
money, to Artabanus himself and to his assistants in the government, so
that the entire outlay came to five thousand myriads. [And the emperor
was not unwilling to effect a reconciliation, both for the reasons
mentioned and because his soldiers were extremely restive,--a condition
due to their having been away from home an unusual length of time, as
well as to the scarcity of food. No supplies were to be had from stores,
since there were no stores ready, nor from the country itself, because
part had been devastated and part was controlled by forts. Macrinus,
however, did not forward an exact account of all their proceedings to
the senate and consequently triumphal sacrifices were voted him and the
name of Parthicus was bestowed. But this he would not accept, being
apparently ashamed to adopt the appellation of an enemy by whom he had
been defeated.

Moreover, the war that had been waged in the regions of the Armenian
king subsided. Tiridates received the diadem sent him by Macrinus, and
got back his mother (whom Tarautas had confined in prison eleven
months), together with the booty captured from Armenia and all the
territory that his father possessed in Cappadocia, with hopes of
obtaining the annual payment often furnished by the Romans. And the
Dacians, after damaging parts of Dacia, held their hands in spite of a
desire for further conflict, and got back the hostages that Caracalla,
under the name of an alliance, had taken from them. This was the course
of these events.

[Sidenote:--28--] But a new war broke upon the heads of the Romans, and
no longer a foreign but a civil strife. It was the soldiers who were
responsible for the outbreak. They were somewhat irritated by their
setbacks, but their behavior was owing still more to the fact that they
would no longer endure any hard work if they could help it, but were
thoroughly out of training in every respect and wanted to have no
emperor that ruled with a firm hand but demanded that they get
everything without stint, and chose to perform no task that was fitting
for them. They were further angered by the cutting off of their pay and
the deprivation of prizes and exemptions (these last among the
privileges of the military), which they had gained from Tarautas, even
though they personally were not destined to be affected by these
measures. Their resolution was definitely strengthened by the delay
which they had undergone in practically one and the same spot while
wintering in Syria on account of the war. It should be stated that
Macrinus seemed to have shown good generalship and to have acted
sensibly in debarring the men in arms from no privilege, but preserving
to them intact all the rights allowed by his predecessor, whereas he
gave notice to such as intended to enlist anew that they would be
enrolled only upon the old schedule published by Severus. He hoped that
these recruits, entering the army a few at a time, would hold aloof from
rebellion, at first through peaceful inclinations and fear and later
through the influence of time and custom, and that by having no
corrupting effect upon the rest they would quiet them.

[Sidenote:--29--] If this had been done after the members of the army
had retired to their individual fortresses and were consequently
scattered, it would have been a correct move. Perhaps some of them would
not have shown indignation, believing that they would really be put at
no disadvantage because temporarily they suffered no loss: and even if
they had been vexed, yet, each body being few in number and subservient
to the commanders sent by the senate, they could have accomplished no
great harm. But, united in Syria, they suspected that they should be
liable to innovations if they separated;--for the time being they could
well believe they were being pampered on account of the demands of war.
And again [lacuna] So the others killed certain soldiers and ravaged
portions of Mesopotamia, and these men butchered not a few of their own
number and also overthrew their emperor; and, what is still worse, they
set up another similar ruler, by whom nothing was done save what was
evil and base. [Sidenote:--30--] It seems to me that this occurrence had
been foreshadowed more clearly, perhaps, than any previous event. A
very distinct eclipse of the sun [had taken place] about that time, [and
the comet-star was seen for a considerable period. And another]
luminary, whose tail extended from the west to the east, for several
nights caused us terrible alarm, so that this verse of Homer's was ever
on our lips:

"Rang the vast welkin with clarion calls, and Zeus heard the tumult."
[Footnote: From Homer's Iliad, XXI, verse 388.]

It was brought about in the following way:

Maesa, the sister of Julia Augusta, had two daughters, Soaemias and
Mammaea, by her husband Julius, an ex-consul. She had also two male
grandchildren. One was Avitus, the child of Soaemias and Varius
Marcellus, a man of the same race,--he was from Apamea,--who had been
occupied in procuratorships, had been enrolled in the senate, and soon
after died. The other was Bassianus, the child of Mammaea and Gessius
Marcianus, who was himself also a Syrian, from a city called Arca, and
had been assigned to various positions as procurator. Now Maesa at home
in Emesa her life [lacuna] her sister Julia, with whom she had made her
abode during the entire period of the latter's reign, having perished.
For Avitus, after governing in Asia, sent by Caracalla from Mesopotamia
into Cyprus, was seen to be limited to the position of adviser to some
magistrate who suffered from old age and sickness; and again [lacuna]
him, when [lacuna] he died, one Eutychianus, that had given satisfaction
in games and exercises, and for that reason [lacuna] who [lacuna]
[Sidenote:--31--] [lacuna] upon [lacuna] becoming aware of the strong
dislike of the soldiers for Macrinus [lacuna] wall [lacuna] and partly
persuaded by the Sun, whom they name Elagabalus and worship devotedly,
and by some other prophecies, he undertook to overthrow Macrinus and put
up Avitus, the grandson of Maesa and a mere child, as emperor in his
stead. And he accomplished both projects, although he had himself as yet
not fully reached manhood and had as helpers only a few freedmen and
soldiers [lacuna] and Emesenian senators [lacuna] pretending that he was
a natural son of Tarautas and arraying him in clothing which the latter
had worn when a child, Caesar by the [lacunae] introduced into the camp at
night, without the knowledge of his mother or his grandmother, and at
dawn on the sixteenth of May he persuaded the soldiers, who were eager
to get some starting-point for an uprising, to revolt. Julianus, the
prefect, learning this (for he happened to be not far distant), caused
both a daughter and a son-in-law of Marcianus, together with some
others, to be assassinated. Then, after collecting as many of the
soldiers remaining as he could in the short time at his disposal, he
made an attack upon what was, to all intents and purposes, a most
hostile fortress. [Sidenote:--32--] He might have taken it that very
day, for the Moors sent to Tarautas according to the terms of alliance
fought most valiantly for Macrinus, who was a countryman of theirs, and
even broke through some of the gates. But he refused the opportunity,
either because he was afraid to rush in or because he expected that he
could win the men inside to surrender voluntarily. As no propositions
were made to him, and they furthermore built up all the gates during the
night, so that they were now in a securer position, he again assaulted
the place but effected nothing. For they carried Avitus (whom they were
already saluting as "Marcus Aurelius Antoninus") all about upon the
ramparts, and exhibited some likeness of Caracalla when a child as
bearing some resemblance to their new ruler, declaring that the latter
was truly Caracalla's child and his proper successor in the imperial
office. "Why do you do this, fellow-soldiers?" they exclaimed. "Why do
you thus fight against your benefactor's son?" By this means they
corrupted all the soldiers with Julianus, especially as the troops were
anxious to have a change, so that the attackers killed their commanders,
save Julianus (for he effected his escape), and surrendered themselves
to the False Antoninus. For when an attempt to restrain them was made by
their centurions and the other subordinates, and they were, as a result,
hesitating, Eutychianus sent Festus (thus--according to the cubicularius
of Tarautas--was one of the Caesarians named) [Footnote: The text is
emended in accordance with a tentative suggestion of Boissevain.] and
persuaded them to kill all such officers and offered as a prize to each
soldier who should slay his man the victim's property and military rank.
The boy also harangued them from the wall with fictitious statements,
praising his "father" and [lacuna] Macrinus, as [lacuna]

[Fourteen lines are lacking.]

* * * * *

[Sidenote:--33--] [lacuna] those left to be restored to their original
property and status as citizens. But the most effective means by which
he attached them to himself was his promise to give each and every one
unlimited amounts of money, and to restore the exiles,--an act which
would seem to make him out in truth a legitimate son of Tarautas

* * * * *

[Fourteen lines are lacking.]

[Sidenote:--34--] [lacuna] Marcianus [lacuna] Macrinus [lacuna] (for
Marcellus was dead) he put this person to death; but, lacking courage to
proceed further on his own responsibility without Macrinus, he sent for
the latter. Macrinus came quickly to the Alban soldiers at Apamea and
appointed his son emperor in spite of the lad's being but ten years old,
in order that with this excuse he might mollify the soldiers by various
means, chief among which should be the promise of five thousand denarii;
he assigned them a thousand each on the spot and restored to the rest
complete allowances of food and everything else of which they had been
deprived: in this way he hoped to appease them. With this same end in
view he bestowed upon the populace a dinner worth one hundred and fifty
denarii a head before revealing to them anything about the uprising; for
he wanted it to be thought that he was banqueting them not because of
that event but to show honor to his son. And on that occasion first one
of the revolted soldiers approached him carrying the head of Julianus
(who had been found somewhere in hiding and slain), in many linen cloths
and tied up very strongly indeed with ropes, pretending it was the head
of the False Antoninus. He had sealed the package with the finger ring
of Julianus. After doing that the soldier ran out when the head was
uncovered. Macrinus, upon discovering what had been done, no longer
dared either to stay where he was or to assault the fortification, but
returned to Antioch with all speed. So the Alban legion and the rest who
were wintering in that region likewise revolted. The opposing parties
continued their preparations and both sides sent messengers and letters
to the provinces and to the legions. As a result perturbation was caused
in many places by the first communication of each side about the other
and by the constant messages contradicting each other. In the course of
the uncertainty numerous letter-carriers on both sides lost their lives,
and numbers of those who had slain the followers of Antoninus, or had
not immediately attached themselves to their cause, were censured. Some
perished on this account and some merely incurred a small loss. Hence I
will pass over most of this (it is all very much alike and permits of no
considerable description in detail) and will give a summary of what took
place in Egypt.

[Sidenote:--35--] The governor of that country was Basilianus, whom
Macrinus had also made prefect in place of Julianus. Some interests were
managed also by Marius Secundus, although he had been created senator by
Macrinus and was at the head of affairs in Phoenicia. In this way both
of them were dependent upon Macrinus and for that reason put to death
the runners of the False Antoninus. As long, therefore, as the outcome
of the business was still in dispute, they and the soldiers and the
individuals were in suspense, some wishing and praying and reporting one
thing and others the opposite, as always in factional disturbances. When
the news of the defeat of Macrinus arrived, a riot of some magnitude
followed, in which many of the populace and not a few of the soldiers
were destroyed. Secundus found himself in a dilemma; and Basilianus,
fearing that he should lose his life instanter, effected his escape
from Egypt. After coming to the vicinity of Brundusium in Italy he was
discovered, having been betrayed by a friend in Rome to whom he had sent
a secret message asking for food. So he was later taken back to
Nicomedea and executed.

[Sidenote:--36--] Macrinus wrote also to the senate about the False
Antoninus [as he did also to the governors everywhere], calling him
"boy" and saying that he was mad. He wrote also to Maximus, the
praefectus urbi, giving him such information as one might expect, and
further stating that the soldiers recently enlisted insisted upon
receiving all that they were wont to have before, and that the rest, who
had been deprived of nothing, made common cause with them in their anger
at what was withheld. And to omit a recital, he said, of all the many
means devised by Severus and his son for the ruin of rigid discipline,
it was impossible for the troops to be given their entire pay in
addition to the donatives which they were receiving; for the increase in
their pay granted by Tarautas amounted to seven thousand myriads
annually, and could not be given, partly because the soldiers and again
because [lacuna] righteous [lacuna] but the recognized expenditures
[lacuna] and the [lacuna] could he himself and the child as [lacuna]
himself [lacuna] and he commiserated himself upon having a son, but said
that he found it a solace in his disaster to think that he had outlived
the fratricide who attempted to destroy the whole world. He also added
to the missive something like the following: "I know that there are
many who are more anxious to have emperors killed than to have them
live, but this is one thing I can not say in respect to myself, that any
one could either desire or pray that I should perish." At which Fulvius
Diogenianus exclaimed: "We have all prayed for it!"

[Sidenote:--37--] The speaker was one of the ex-consuls, but not of very
sound mind, and consequently he caused himself as much exasperation as
he did other people. He also [lacuna] the subscription [lacuna] of
letter [lacuna] and to the [lacuna] leather it had been entrusted to
read [lacuna] and those [lacuna] and [lacuna] others and also [lacuna]
be sent [lacuna] directly as [lacuna] hesitating [lacuna] ordering
[lacuna] by the [lacuna] and both to others [lacuna] of foremost to the
[lacuna] any care for the common preserver [lacuna] over [lacuna] that
the False Antoninus finding in the chests of Macrinus not yet [lacuna]
he himself voluntarily [lacuna] published [lacuna] calumny [lacuna]
making with reference to the soldiers. And he marched so quickly against
him that Macrinus could with difficulty encounter him in a village of
the Antiochians one hundred and fifty stades distant from the city.
There, so far as the zeal of the Pretorians went, he had him conquered
(he had taken from them their breastplates scales and their grooved
shields and had thus rendered them lighter for the battle): but he was
beaten by his own cowardice, as Heaven had foreshown to him. For on that
day when his first letter about the imperial office was read to us a
pigeon had lighted upon an image of Severus (whose name he had applied
to himself) that stood in the senate-chamber. [And subsequently, when
the communication about his son was sent, we had convened, not at the
bidding of the consuls or the praetors (for they did not happen to be
present) but of the tribunes,--a practice which by this time had fallen
more or less into disuse. And he had not written even his name in the
preface of the letter, though he termed him Caesar and emperor and
indicated that the contents emanated from them both. Also, in the
rehearsal of events, he mentioned the name Diadumenianus, but left out
that of Antoninus, though he had this title too. Such was the state of
these [Sidenote:--38--] affairs; and, by Jupiter, when he sent word
about the uprising of the False Antoninus, the consuls uttered certain
formulae against him, as is regularly done under such circumstances, and
one of the praetors and another of the tribunes did the same. War was
declared and solemnly proclaimed against the usurper and his cousin and
their mothers and their grandmother, and immunity was granted to those
that had taken part in the uprising, in case they should submit,
according as Macrinus had promised them. For the conversation he had had
with the soldiers was read aloud.] As a result of this, we all condemned
still more strongly his abasement and folly. [For one thing] he was most
constantly calling himself "father" and Diadumenianus his "son," and he
kept holding up to reproach the age of the False Antoninus, though he
had designated as emperor his son, who was much younger. [Now in the
battle Gannys hurriedly took possession of the narrow place in front of
the village and disposed his soldiers in good order for warfare,
regardless of the fact that he was most inexperienced in military
matters. Of such surpassing importance is good fortune in comparison

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest