網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

were

complish their destiny, and that none not been closed since the origin of failed more signally than those who the republic. Rome had always inherited the throne of Augustus. been at war.

Tradition indeed told But nearly all who so failed paid of some blissful era in the reign of with their life the penalty of their an ancient and half mythic king, in failure.

which no battle had been waged ; The late Nicholas and the present but Romans had not even any record Napoleon are true samples of sove- of a time of peace but what such trareignity after the order of Augustus. dition afforded them. They had That order peremptorily requires that been essentially a warrior people, its proud accolytes shall be unscrupu- but their appetite had now been salous, wise in policy, fertile in resour- tiated by twenty years of civil ces, laborious beyond all others, contest, and the city panted for rest. self-controlling, majestic in mein, far- Wars such as those which had added seeing, happy in the choice of ser- kingdom after kingdom to the domivants, understanding in the ways of nion of the city, which had given men, and above all things mindful of

power and wealth to Rome, and a the material welfare of the multitude. Înigh station to the very name of a Such was Augustus. Such attri- Roman, doubtless popular butes he united within himself per- enough. But of late

years their haps more thoroughly than any of his bloodshed had been not only less hosuccessors on the various thrones of nourable but less profitable also. In Europe. It was he who first created the battles that had been fought at a throne of which the possessor should Pharsalia and Mutina, at Philippi neither be a soldier nor a Sybarite -- and at Actium, Romans had met Roneither an Alexander nor a Sardana- mans in the field, and though the lepalus. It was he who first among gionary veterans of the victorious the ancients perceived what was the general might succeed in wringing true work of a ruler of men. His from the state some rich largess either great rival Antony could fight, and in land or money, the state itself drink, and lounge on couches with could gain nothiny by such warfare. his lady-love. Augustus did none of Augustus undoubtedly shewed that these things; but he used unspar- he understood the people whom he ingly the brain which God had given was about to rule, when with much him, and seated himself on a throne ceremony he shut the temple of Jafrom which death alone could move

It was not so much the declarahim. It was his singular good fate tion that the empire was at peace, as to form an empire, and to enjoy the the indication of a wish to cease from full fruition of his success for the constant warfare that raised his populong period of forty-two years.

larity to so high a pitch. Romans When we declare that Augustus were weary of being led to victory did not fight, we mean that he had no and death; they were sick of their peculiar aptitude that way. Fighting blood-stained eagles, and boastful lyenough he had had, and even now it ing standards, which still proclaimed was not destined that his empire themselves to be the ensigns of a seshould be long at peace,

Prolonged nate and a republic. They were dequiescence indeed for Rome was not sirous of ease and plenty, and were possible, as in these days it is not contented to barter their free citizenpossible for British India. But it ship for subjection to a monarch, prowas his ambition to be at peace, and vided that that monarch would let he succeeded at any rate in name. them live and enjoy life.

They had Though the empire was still doomed had enough of glory and to spare, to border warfare, though it was

food and amusement, panem et Cirstill necessary to keep in subjection

nus.

to such moderate wishes were the conquered provinces, though the they now contented to limit their conquest of other provinces was demands on the man that was to rule forced upon it, nevertheless Augus- them. tus succeeded in his object of closing But food and amusement for men the temple of Janus. The doors of who will not work, cannot easily be this old Roman god's abode, (never found by even the most politic of open but in time of war, and never emperors for any prolonged period ; shut but in time of peace) had in fact and Augustus had no more difficult

censes

task than of giving, and of not giving,

condition to declare. In both cases, gratuitous bread to those who de- the good will of the central city was manded it. It had long been the especially necessary to the great man practice of candidates for public honor of the hour. and high official place, to gain the And now Augustus went through good will of the people by shows and those progressive steps in the nomengames, by the contests of gladiators clature of despotic power, which have and slaughter of wild beasts. Many been usual when any country has an aspirant for popular favor, ruined submitted to a new despot. Or rather, by the huge cost of these necessary he set those examples which other sports, had been driven to recruit his new despots have followed. And it finances by proconsular extortion. is impossible not to admire the depth To this, however, there was some of his political sagacity, his accurate limit, and costly as these exhibitions knowledge of the people, and his were, they ruined those only who unerring steps towards the goal of his paid for them. But the gifts of corn, ambition. extended nearly to all who would The first name which he assumed condescend to ask it, was doubly was that of “Imperator”-as being a deleterious. The man who has once humble title applying merely to milibrought himself to live on alms will tary command, and having no refernever work for bread if he can help ence to civic rule. To our ears this it. Mr. Merivale tells us that three term, modernized into the customary hundred and twenty thousand male name of Emperor, is the most princely citizens had sunk so low, at the be- which man can assume. But it was ginning of the reign of Augustus. not so then. The General at the These, with the females and infants head of troops was always entitled to belonging to them, must have repre- be so called, providing he had achieved sented nearly a million of people. a certain amount of inilitary success ; Under such circumstances, we can and as the new prince of course kept easily understand how difficult was up his army, he equally of course the task of Augustus. These state kept up the name. This name, it is beggars of course declined to till the true, he offered to resign with many fields from which the corn for the magnanimous protestations as to his city's use should have been procured, indifference to military supremacy, and Rome was dependent for her and anxiety for the city's welfare. supply of food on Sicily and Sardinia But such protestations were well un-on Africa and on Egypt. In these derstood, and he was prevailed on days of screw propellers and free- without much difficulty to wave his trade we hardly realize the danger objections. Had he called himself of such a situation ; but Augustus “Dictator," as his uncle had done, he and his ministers realized it most would have offended deeply the scrufully. We are told that by the exer- ples of his countrymen. The name cise of great firmness, he succeeded in of Triumvir also was unpopular; reducing the number to two hundred but no harm could be thought of a thousand male recipients of this state ruler whose ambition could satisfy charity.

itself with the soldier's rank which he This ruinous system had commenced had won in fighting his country's with an attempt to provide plenteous battles. And thus mighty monarchs, supplies at ordinary prices in the who have themselves fought no batRoma, markets, at a time when na- tles at all, but merely allowed their ture was refusing such plenteous deputies to do so for them, have from supplies to the world at large. Thus that day to this been called Emperors. the city was to be provided with He then assumed a power which is food at the expence of the rural dis- in our days, and in our country, the tricts. That the laws of trade should most valued appanage sovereignty. have been so little understood some He constituted himself the fountain fifty years before Christ is by no of titled honor in the state, and this means wonderful, but it is wonderful he did with most excellent state-craft. that we should have lived to see the There had been among Rome's great policy of Poinpey attempted within officers, in her palmy days, a class,

, the last year or two in Paris, with by no means least in dignity, whó what final result we are not yet in a were called Censors. To them be

[ocr errors]

longed the privilege of excluding from here what were the vast privileges of the senate such as were unworthy, the tribunes : they are well underand of substituting for them such as stood by most readers of this Magawere deemed fit for the high position. zine; and it is probably known to all, Augustus now became, not Censor, that they were established with a but the depositor, of the censorial view of repressing the power of the power ; and in that capacity not only nobles, and would in effect have weeded the senate as he thought fit, placed the commanding power of the but renewed the patrician families, state in the hands of the people, had which, in the slaughter of the civil the office been filled by disinterested wars, had been as nearly extirpated patriots. But the office had seldom as were ours in the days of the Roses. been so filled, and had in latter ages In other words, he made whom he been used for the vilest purposes of would noble ; and he made also whom sedition. Augustus now became sole he would ignoble. And by doing so, Tribune as well as God, and Emperor, he declared how great was the differ- and Prince, aud Censor. ence between his own standing and He became sole and perpetual trithat of the highest of his nobility.

bune-but to ease himself from a In the same way he became perpe- portion of the enormous weight of tual prince; and in the same way the rule which he had to bear, he joined word prince has come to bear its pre

with him in the tribuneship, first one sent signification. It had been cus- son-in-law, and then another--first tomary in Rome that some good and Agrippa, and afterwards Tiberius. venerable man should be named as Rome had been customarily ruled “Princeps Senatus,” or leader, as it by high officers who were elected were, of the Roman House of Lords. annually, and who at the end of this Augustus was so named in perpetuity ; year of office either sunk again into and following emperors, inheriting private life, or were chosen for higher the distinction, were denominated places--or went abroad as the gover. princes, they and all their families, nors of kingdoms. All such elections when there was no longer any House and arrangements were now appaof Lords to lead.

rently unnecessary. Augustus chose Then arose a question as to the his own lieutenant-governors; and familiar name by which he should be when he had found a useful man to known to his people. That of Octa- fill an office, it was not probable that vius was simply that of his family. he would lose his services because he His father had been called Octavius, had done a year's work. Nevertheless, and his sister was Octavia. It was he continued to fill the annual office necessary that he should assume some with some affectation of an adherence distinctive name, that might be popu

to old Roman customs. The two lar, and at the same time have within Consuls were duly chosen, of which it a savor of the divinity which he he was himself one, we forget now had assumed. There seems to have how many times. When he did not been some difference on the matter. deign to fill one of the consular His advisers were divided in opinion; chairs, he had a seat between them. one suggested that of Quirinus, the He appointed whom he would, and divine founder of the city ; others frequently many in the year. It was that of Romulus, the man founder. often sullicient honor for a noble But Augustus was considered less Roman to have been one of the emobjectional. Mr. Merivale tells us how peror's consuls, even for a day. The everything appertaining to the gods prætors also were appointed annually, was august, and explains that the and continued to exercise the highest name could not be other than lucky. judicial authority of the state ; and It soon becaine popular, and has not the names at any rate of the questors yet lost its popularity.

and ædiles were maintained. He had already taken on himself It was the policy of Augustus to the duties of the old Censors, and restore or confirm the old republican with the duties much more power names, while he utterly swept away than had even belonged to the Cen- the habits of the republic ; and he sors ; and his next step was to assume performed his task with consummate also the office of tribune of the people. wisdom. He contrived to mould to It would be too tedious to explain his purpose institutions, to which his

a

By the

purpose was in fact directly antago- than the chattel of her husband ; he nistic, and thus succeeded in turning could not, indeed, legally kill her, the mighty oligarchs of the Roman but he could confine her, sell her, Senate into useful members of a civic beat her, divorce her, make a present bureaucracy. He was the first to of her, and treat her in a manner learn the convenience of a united very far removed, indeed, from that cabinet council, and was the founder which is generally in vogue in our good of all civil services.

city of Dublin. Nothing, perhaps, gives to us Eng- Marriage had become absolutely unlishmen and Irishmen of the nine- popular with men and women ; and teenth century so distressing an idea the result was fearfully pernicious of the life of ancient Rome, as the both to the morals and policy of the nature of the relatiouship which ex- state. We will here give the striking isted between men and women, and picture which our author shows:-between husband and wife. A true knowledge of the nature of the inter- The unmarried Roman, cohabiting with a course between the sexes would pro

freed woman, or slave, became the father of a bably give us a correct idea of the

bastard brood, against whom the gates of the state of civilization in any country.

city were shut. His pride was wounded in When we read that the men of a

the tenderest part; his loyalty to the com

monwealth was shaken. He chose rather to nation are employed in eating, drink

abandon the wretclied offspring of his amours, ing, or fighting, while the women till

than to breed thein up as a reproach to hinnthe fields and carry the burdens, we self, and see them sink below the rank in know at once that we are reading of which their father was born. In the absence savages. When we learn that women of all true religious feeling, the possession of are used solely as ministers of sen- children was the surest pledge to the state of sual luxury, and that all knowledge, the public morality of her citizens. thought, and mental culture is con- renunciation of marriage, which it became fined to the master sex, we are equally

the fashion to avow and boast, public confi.

dence was shaken to its centre. On the sure that the nation spoken of has not attained to the worship of Christ.

other land, the women themselves, insulted The treatment of women in Rome was

by the neglect of the other sex, and exaspo, not that of either of such countries,

rated at the inferiority of their position,

revenged themselves by hoiding the instituand yet it was nearly equally far

tion of legitimate marriage in almost equal removed from that which we consider

aversion. They were indignant at the servi. due to our wives and daughters. tude to which it bound them, the state of

The Roman maiden who was gently dependence and legal incapacity in which it born, carried no burdens and tilled kept them; for it left thein without rights, no fields, nor was she doomed to be and without the enjoyment of their own pro. immured in a haram, with no pursuit perty: it reduced them to the status of mere but the adornment of her charms,

children, or rather transferred them from the and no possession but the jewels power of their parent to that of their huswith which she covered them. Her

band. They continued through life, in spite lot, however, was hardly more happy.

of the mockery of respect with which the

laws surrounded them, things rather than Marriage in Rome had from the ear

persons; things that could be sold, trans, liest years of the republic been looked

ferred backwards and forwards froin one mas. on as a high duty rather than a happy ter to another, for the sake of their dowry, or privilege." Its object was," as Mr.

even their powers of child-bearing. For the Jierivile says,

“ not to chasten the smallest fault they might be placed on trial affections but to replenish the curies before their husbands; or if he were more and the centuries, maintain the ser- than usually considerate in judging upon his vices of the temples, and recruit the own case, before a council of her relations; legions.” As long as high duties she might be beaten withi rods, even to death were cherished by a poor and patriotic

itself, for adultery, or any other heinous people, marriage of this sort sufficed crime; while she might suffer divorce from for its object ; but when Rome became

the merest caprice, and simply for the alleged rich and sensual, such a bond became

departure of ler youth or beauty.

The latter centuries of the Roman comto be felt as an inconvenient nuisance.

monwealth are filled with the domestic strugBy the law also, the Roman wife was

gles occasioned by the obstinacy with which little more than the slave of her lord, political restrictions were maintained upon though the Roman maiden was free the most sensitive of the social relations. enongh. The wife was little better Beginning with wild and romantic legends,

us.

the account of these troubles becomes in the

marriage in Rome, and to what exend an important feature in history. As tent the wishes of the women were early as the year +23, it is said, it great consulted. It seems that the young number of Roman matrons atteinpted the

Octavius, when quite a boy, had been lives of their husbands by poison. They betrothed, we may presume in acwere dragged before the tribunals, probably

cordance with the wishes of his uncle domestic, and adjudged to death. As many

Julius ; but this union he had himas a hundred and seventy are said to have suffered.

self repudiated after Cæsar's death, and had married a Clodia. Clodia he

had divorced at the age of twentyUnder such circumstances it became

three, in resentment, we are told, at necessary to make laws enjoining the

the perfidy of her family, and immeceremony of marriage; and the ap

diately married one Scribonia. By peal which was made on one occasion

his second wife he had his only legito the patriotism of the citizen must

timate child, Julia,—that Julia of no doubt have been received rap

whom Roman history tells us so many turously by the Roman matrons :

scandals. Scribonia, however, did

not please him long; and she again Could we exist (said one Metellus, a cen

was divorced-not, as it would seem, sor) without wives at all, doubtless we should rid ourselves of the plague they are to

for any political reason, but because Since, however, nature has decreed

he had seen with a friend of his a that we cannot dispense with the infliction, charming woman whom he preferred. it is best to bear it maufully, and rather look This charmer was the graceful and to the permanent conservation of the state astute Livia. It is true that she was tban to our own present satisfaction.

married, and married to a friend of

his own; but could an Emperor's But the Roman matrons and Ro- friend do less than abandon his wife man maidens were too fully of the to his master ? Livia, therefore, was same opinion themselves, to be

angry divorced from her first husband, and with the censor for expressing it. carried to the house of Augustus. Those who had tried the marriage Here she became in a month or two vows knew well the misery of the the mother of her first husband's heartless union. And those who had

younger son. These were the wives not, were sufficiently unwilling to of Augustus, and thus were they submit to a tyranny which no love procured. Livia outlived him, and could make endurable, and from outlived also his natural heirs, many which all love would be banished. of whom she was accused of destroyIt had been the unfortunate result ing, so that the empire might descend of Roman policy to make marriage to the children of her first husband. as unpopular with the women as with Whether she was a murderess or not the men.

will never probably now be decided. On this matter it was in vain even Her hopes at any rate were realized for Augustus to make new enact- by the accession of Tiberius to the ments. His subjects would not marry. throne. “ Both the men and women preferred Augustus, however, was most anxithe loose terms of union on which ous to be succeeded by children of they had consented to cohabit, to the his own child. The youthful Julia harsh provisions of antiquity." He was therefore married to the young made positive laws, declared penal- Marcellus, the son of Octavia, and ties, offered rewards, sung poems in the nephew of the Emperor; and to honour of nuptial altars, and did this marriage there was no objection, what an emperor could do to make but that, never felt by Romans, of celibacy disgraceful; but it was of near relationship. Our author tells no avail. It was necessary that mar- us that Augustus, in fixing on Marriage in Rome should have some dif- cellus for his daughter, had found a ferent meaning than that existing, suitable “party." The French word before either men

or women would was probably ringing in Mr. Meriwillingly undergo its hardships.

vale's ears. In England a single perThe domestic ties and immediate son is denominated a party only by family history of the Emperor him- one class, to which we imagine Mr. self will declare to us, with sufficient Merivale has never belonged. We plainess, what was the method of may suppose that Julia liked her

« 上一頁繼續 »