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complish their destiny, and that none failed more signally than those who inherited the throne of Augustus. But nearly all who so failed paid with their life the penalty of their failure.
The late Nicholas and the present Napoleon are true samples of sovereignity after the order of Augustus. That order peremptorily requires that its proud accolytes shall be unscrupulous, wise in policy, fertile in resources, laborious beyond all others, self-controlling, majestic in mein, farseeing, happy in the choice of servants, understanding in the ways of men, and above all things mindful of the material welfare of the multitude. Such was Augustus. Such attributes he united within himself perhaps more thoroughly than any of his successors on the various thrones of Europe. It was he who first created a throne of which the possessor should neither be a soldier nor a Sybarite-neither an Alexander nor a Sardanapalus. It was he who first among the ancients perceived what was the true work of a ruler of men. His great rival Antony could fight, and drink, and lounge on couches with his lady-love. Augustus did none of these things; but he used unsparingly the brain which God had given him, and seated himself on a throne from which death alone could move him. It was his singular good fate to form an empire, and to enjoy the full fruition of his success for the long period of forty-two years.
not been closed since the origin of the republic. Rome had always been at war. Tradition indeed told of some blissful era in the reign of an ancient and half mythic king, in which no battle had been waged; but Romans had not even any record of a time of peace but what such tradition afforded them. They had been essentially a warrior people, but their appetite had now been satiated by twenty years of civil contest, and the city panted for rest. Wars such as those which had added kingdom after kingdom to the dominion of the city, which had given power and wealth to Rome, and a high station to the very name of a Roman, were doubtless popular enough. But of late years their bloodshed had been not only less honourable but less profitable also. In the battles that had been fought at Pharsalia and Mutina, at Philippi and at Actium, Romans had met Romans in the field, and though the legionary veterans of the victorious general might succeed in wringing from the state some rich largess either in land or money, the state itself could gain nothing by such warfare.
Augustus undoubtedly shewed that he understood the people whom he was about to rule, when with much ceremony he shut the temple of JaIt was not so much the declaration that the empire was at peace, as the indication of a wish to cease from constant warfare that raised his popularity to so high a pitch. Romans were weary of being led to victory and death; they were sick of their blood-stained eagles, and boastful lying standards, which still proclaimed themselves to be the ensigns of a senate and a republic. They were desirous of ease and plenty, and were contented to barter their free citizenship for subjection to a monarch, provided that that monarch would let them live and enjoy life. They had had enough of glory and to spare, food and amusement, panem et Circenses to such moderate wishes were they now contented to limit their demands on the man that was to rule them.
When we declare that Augustus did not fight, we mean that he had no peculiar aptitude that way. Fighting enough he had had, and even now it was not destined that his empire should be long at peace. Prolonged quiescence indeed for Rome was not possible, as in these days it is not possible for British India. But it was his ambition to be at peace, and he succeeded at any rate in name. Though the empire was still doomed to border warfare, though it was still necessary to keep in subjection the conquered provinces, though the conquest of other provinces was forced upon it, nevertheless Augustus succeeded in his object of closing the temple of Janus. The doors of this old Roman god's abode, (never open but in time of war, and never shut but in time of peace) had in fact
But food and amusement for men who will not work, cannot easily be found by even the most politic of emperors for any prolonged period; and Augustus had no more difficult
task than of giving, and of not giving, gratuitous bread to those who demanded it. It had long been the practice of candidates for public honor and high official place, to gain the good will of the people by shows and games, by the contests of gladiators and slaughter of wild beasts. Many an aspirant for popular favor, ruined by the huge cost of these necessary sports, had been driven to recruit his finances by proconsular extortion. To this, however, there was some limit, and costly as these exhibitions were, they ruined those only who paid for them. But the gifts of corn, extended nearly to all who would condescend to ask it, was doubly deleterious. The man who has once brought himself to live on alms will never work for bread if he can help it. Mr. Merivale tells us that three hundred and twenty thousand male citizens had sunk so low, at the beginning of the reign of Augustus. These, with the females and infants belonging to them, must have represented nearly a million of people. Under such circumstances, we can easily understand how difficult was the task of Augustus. These state beggars of course declined to till the fields from which the corn for the city's use should have been procured, and Rome was dependent for her supply of food on Sicily and Sardinia -on Africa and on Egypt. In these days of screw propellers and freetrade we hardly realize the danger of such a situation; but Augustus and his ministers realized it most fully. We are told that by the exercise of great firmness, he succeeded in reducing the number to two hundred thousand male recipients of this state charity.
This ruinous system had commenced with an attempt to provide plenteous supplies at ordinary prices in the Roman markets, at a time when nature was refusing such plenteous supplies to the world at large. Thus the city was to be provided with food at the expence of the rural districts. That the laws of trade should have been so little understood some fifty years before Christ is by no means wonderful, but it is wonderful that we should have lived to see the policy of Pompey attempted within the last year or two in Paris, with what final result we are not yet in a
condition to declare. In both cases, the good will of the central city was especially necessary to the great man of the hour.
And now Augustus went through those progressive steps in the nomenclature of despotic power, which have been usual when any country has submitted to a new despot. Or rather, he set those examples which other new despots have followed. And it is impossible not to admire the depth of his political sagacity, his accurate knowledge of the people, and his unerring steps towards the goal of his ambition.
The first name which he assumed was that of "Imperator"-as being a humble title applying merely to military command, and having no reference to civic rule. To our ears this term, modernized into the customary name of Emperor, is the most princely which man can assume. But it was not so then. The General at the head of troops was always entitled to be so called, providing he had achieved a certain amount of military success; and as the new prince of course kept up his army, he equally of course kept up the name. This name, it is true, he offered to resign with many magnanimous protestations as to his indifference to military supremacy, and anxiety for the city's welfare. But such protestations were well understood, and he was prevailed on without much difficulty to wave his objections. Had he called himself "Dictator," as his uncle had done, he would have offended deeply the scruples of his countrymen. The name of Triumvir also was unpopular; but no harm could be thought of a ruler whose ambition could satisfy itself with the soldier's rank which he had won in fighting his country's battles. And thus mighty monarchs, who have themselves fought no battles at all, but merely allowed their deputies to do so for them, have from that day to this been called Emperors.
He then assumed a power which is in our days, and in our country, the most valued appanage of sovereignty. He constituted himself the fountain of titled honor in the state, and this he did with most excellent state-craft. There had been among Rome's great officers, in her palmy days, a class, by no means least in dignity, who were called Censors. To them be
longed the privilege of excluding from the senate such as were unworthy, and of substituting for them such as were deemed fit for the high position. Augustus now became, not Censor, but the depositor of the censorial power; and in that capacity not only weeded the senate as he thought fit, but renewed the patrician families, which, in the slaughter of the civil wars, had been as nearly extirpated as were ours in the days of the Roses. In other words, he made whom he would noble; and he made also whom he would ignoble. And by doing so, he declared how great was the difference between his own standing and that of the highest of his nobility.
In the same way he became perpetual prince; and in the same way the word prince has come to bear its present signification. It had been customary in Rome that some good and venerable man should be named as "Princeps Senatus," or leader, as it were, of the Roman House of Lords. Augustus was so named in perpetuity; and following emperors, inheriting the distinction, were denominated princes, they and all their families, when there was no longer any House of Lords to lead.
Then arose a question as to the familiar name by which he should be known to his people. That of Octavius was simply that of his family. His father had been called Octavius, and his sister was Octavia. necessary that he should assume some distinctive name, that might be popular, and at the same time have within it a savor of the divinity which he had assumed. There seems to have been some difference on the matter. His advisers were divided in opinion; one suggested that of Quirinus, the divine founder of the city; others that of Romulus, the man founder. But Augustus was considered less objectional. Mr. Merivale tells us how everything appertaining to the gods was august, and explains that the name could not be other than lucky. It soon became popular, and has not yet lost its popularity.
He had already taken on himself the duties of the old Censors, and with the duties much more power than had even belonged to the Censors; and his next step was to assume also the office of tribune of the people. It would be too tedious to explain
here what were the vast privileges of the tribunes: they are well understood by most readers of this Magazine; and it is probably known to all, that they were established with a view of repressing the power of the nobles, and would in effect have placed the commanding power of the state in the hands of the people, had the office been filled by disinterested patriots. But the office had seldom been so filled, and had in latter ages been used for the vilest purposes of sedition. Augustus now became sole Tribune as well as God, and Emperor, and Prince, and Censor.
He became sole and perpetual tribune-but to ease himself from a portion of the enormous weight of rule which he had to bear, he joined with him in the tribuneship, first one son-in-law, and then another-first Agrippa, and afterwards Tiberius.
Rome had been customarily ruled by high officers who were elected annually, and who at the end of this year of office either sunk again into private life, or were chosen for higher places-or went abroad as the governors of kingdoms. All such elections and arrangements were now apparently unnecessary. Augustus chose his own lieutenant-governors; and when he had found a useful man to fill an office, it was not probable that he would lose his services because he had done a year's work. Nevertheless, he continued to fill the annual office with some affectation of an adherence to old Roman customs. The two Consuls were duly chosen, of which he was himself one, we forget now how many times. When he did not deign to fill one of the consular chairs, he had a seat between them. He appointed whom he would, and frequently many in the year. It was often sufficient honor for a noble Roman to have been one of the emperor's consuls, even for a day. The prætors also were appointed annually, and continued to exercise the highest judicial authority of the state; and the names at any rate of the questors and ædiles were maintained.
It was the policy of Augustus to restore or confirm the old republican names, while he utterly swept away the habits of the republic; and he performed his task with consummate wisdom. He contrived to mould to his purpose institutions, to which his
purpose was in fact directly antagonistic, and thus succeeded in turning the mighty oligarchs of the Roman Senate into useful members of a civic bureaucracy. He was the first to learn the convenience of a united cabinet council, and was the founder of all civil services.
Nothing, perhaps, gives to us Englishmen and Irishmen of the nineteenth century so distressing an idea of the life of ancient Rome, as the nature of the relationship which existed between men and women, and between husband and wife. A true knowledge of the nature of the intercourse between the sexes would probably give us a correct idea of the state of civilization in any country. When we read that the men of a nation are employed in eating, drinking, or fighting, while the women till the fields and carry the burdens, we know at once that we are reading of savages. When we learn that women are used solely as ministers of sensual luxury, and that all knowledge, thought, and mental culture is confined to the master sex, we are equally sure that the nation spoken of has not attained to the worship of Christ. The treatment of women in Rome was not that of either of such countries, and yet it was nearly equally far removed from that which we consider due to our wives and daughters.
The Roman maiden who was gently born, carried no burdens and tilled no fields, nor was she doomed to be immured in a haram, with no pursuit but the adornment of her charms, and no possession but the jewels with which she covered them. Her lot, however, was hardly more happy. Marriage in Rome had from the earliest years of the republic been looked on as a high duty rather than a happy privilege. "Its object was," as Mr. Merivile says, "not to chasten the affections but to replenish the curies and the centuries, maintain the services of the temples, and recruit the legions." As long as high duties were cherished by a poor and patriotic people, marriage of this sort sufficed for its object; but when Rome became rich and sensual, such a bond became to be felt as an inconvenient nuisance. By the law also, the Roman wife was little more than the slave of her lord, though the Roman maiden was free enough. The wife was little better
than the chattel of her husband; he could not, indeed, legally kill her, but he could confine her, sell her, beat her, divorce her, make a present of her, and treat her in a manner very far removed, indeed, from that which is generally in vogue in our good city of Dublin.
Marriage had become absolutely unpopular with men and women; and the result was fearfully pernicious both to the morals and policy of the state. We will here give the striking picture which our author shows:-
The unmarried Roman, cohabiting with a freedwoman, or slave, became the father of a bastard brood, against whom the gates of the city were shut. His pride was wounded in the tenderest part; his loyalty to the commonwealth was shaken. He chose rather to abandon the wretched offspring of his amours, than to breed them up as a reproach to himself, and see them sink below the rank in which their father was born. In the absence of all true religious feeling, the possession of children was the surest pledge to the state of the public morality of her citizens. By the renunciation of marriage, which it became the fashion to avow and boast, public confidence was shaken to its centre. On the other hand, the women themselves, insulted by the neglect of the other sex, and exaspe rated at the inferiority of their position, revenged themselves by holding the institution of legitimate marriage in almost equal aversion. They were indignant at the servi tude to which it bound them, the state of dependence and legal incapacity in which it kept them; for it left them without rights, and without the enjoyment of their own property: it reduced them to the status of mere children, or rather transferred them from the power of their parent to that of their husband. They continued through life, in spite of the mockery of respect with which the laws surrounded them, things rather than persons; things that could be sold, transferred backwards and forwards from one master to another, for the sake of their dowry, or even their powers of child-bearing. For the smallest fault they might be placed on trial before their husbands; or if he were more than usually considerate in judging upon his own case, before a council of her relations; she might be beaten with rods, even to death itself, for adultery, or any other heinous crime; while she might suffer divorce from the merest caprice, and simply for the alleged departure of her youth or beauty.
The latter centuries of the Roman commonwealth are filled with the domestic struggles occasioned by the obstinacy with which political restrictions were maintained upon the most sensitive of the social relations. Beginning with wild and romantic legends,
the account of these troubles becomes in the end an important feature in history. As early as the year 423, it is said, a great number of Roman matrons attempted the lives of their husbands by poison. They were dragged before the tribunals, probably domestic, and adjudged to death. As many as a hundred and seventy are said to have suffered.
Under such circumstances it became necessary to make laws enjoining the ceremony of marriage; and the appeal which was made on one occasion to the patriotism of the citizen must no doubt have been received rapturously by the Roman matrons :
Could we exist (said one Metellus, a censor) without wives at all, doubtless we should rid ourselves of the plague they are to us. Since, however, nature has decreed that we cannot dispense with the infliction, it is best to bear it manfully, and rather look to the permanent conservation of the state than to our own present satisfaction.
But the Roman matrons and Roman maidens were too fully of the same opinion themselves, to be angry with the censor for expressing it. Those who had tried the marriage vows knew well the misery of the heartless union. And those who had not, were sufficiently unwilling to submit to a tyranny which no love could make endurable, and from which all love would be banished. It had been the unfortunate result of Roman policy to make marriage as unpopular with the women as with the men.
marriage in Rome, and to what extent the wishes of the women were consulted. It seems that the young Octavius, when quite a boy, had been betrothed, we may presume in accordance with the wishes of his uncle Julius; but this union he had himself repudiated after Caesar's death, and had married a Clodia. Clodia he had divorced at the age of twentythree, in resentment, we are told, at the perfidy of her family, and immediately married one Scribonia. By his second wife he had his only legitimate child, Julia, that Julia of whom Roman history tells us so many scandals. Scribonia, however, did not please him long; and she again was divorced-not, as it would seem, for any political reason, but because he had seen with a friend of his a charming woman whom he preferred. This charmer was the graceful and astute Livia. It is true that she was married, and married to a friend of his own; but could an Emperor's friend do less than abandon his wife to his master? Livia, therefore, was divorced from her first husband, and carried to the house of Augustus. Here she became in a month or two the mother of her first husband's younger son. These were the wives of Augustus, and thus were they procured. Livia outlived him, and outlived also his natural heirs, many of whom she was accused of destroying, so that the empire might descend to the children of her first husband. Whether she was a murderess or not will never probably now be decided. Her hopes at any rate were realized by the accession of Tiberius to the throne.
On this matter it was in vain even for Augustus to make new enactments. His subjects would not marry. "Both the men and women preferred the loose terms of union on which they had consented to cohabit, to the harsh provisions of antiquity." He made positive laws, declared penalties, offered rewards, sung poems in honour of nuptial altars, and did what an emperor could do to make celibacy disgraceful; but it was of no avail. It was necessary that marriage in Rome should have some different meaning than that existing, before either men or women would willingly undergo its hardships.
The domestic ties and immediate family history of the Emperor himself will declare to us, with sufficient plainess, what was the method of
Augustus, however, was most anxious to be succeeded by children of his own child. The youthful Julia was therefore married to the young Marcellus, the son of Octavia, and the nephew of the Emperor; and to this marriage there was no objection, but that, never felt by Romans, of near relationship. Our author tells us that Augustus, in fixing on Marcellus for his daughter, had found a suitable " party." The French word was probably ringing in Mr. Merivale's ears. In England a single person is denominated a party only by one class, to which we imagine Mr. Merivale has never belonged. We may suppose that Julia liked her