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broken up? Tacitus brings not a tittle of evidence forward. He does indeed allege that certain words of infamy, such as sellarii and spintriae, then came into currency. On this Mr. Furneaux, with less than his usual judgment, remarks that “it is to be borne in mind, in estimating the force of this charge against Tiberius, that these vile words not only originate at this time, but appear to be confined to it.' Surely it does not need a very able counsel for the defence to point out that this may be perfectly true, and yet have nothing whatever to do with Tiberius. What the current jests were likely to be, even without intentional ill-nature, we may best realize from the way that Catullus before and Martial afterwards treated both their friends and their enemies. The extraordinary license of such charges—of which what Tacitus said of the charge of majestas is true, “tum omnium accusationum complementum erat' —is good evidence for proving a far lower moral standard than has ever existed in any Teutonic race, but almost nullifies them as against any individual. The principle openly avowed by Cicero, and probably followed by most Roman orators or writers of invective, was that if plenty of mud were thrown some was sure to stick. Scruples about the veracity of such charges would not be so much ridiculed as unintelligible. On this point we may quote the words of Professor Froude *:—

“Charges of this kind have the particular advantage that, even when disproved or shown to be manifestly absurd, they leave a stain behind them. Careless equally of probability and of decency, the leaders of the Senate sacrificed without scruple the reputation of their own relatives if only they could make Caesar odious. . . . It would be idle to affect a belief that Caesar was particularly virtuous. He was a man of the world, living in an age as corrupt as has ever been known. It would be equally idle to assume that all the ink-blots thrown upon him were certainly deserved, because we find them in books which we call classical. Proof deserving to be called proof there is none, and the only real evidence is the town-talk of a society which feared and hated Caesar, and was glad of every pretext to injure him when alive or to discredit him after his death.’

We may conclude therefore that the charges of extraordinary and monstrous licentiousness against all the emperors are entirely wanting in any sort of proof, and that, as against Tiberius in particular, they involve such a revolution of character as has never been even remotely paralleled. Mr. BaringGould sees plainly that only one explanation is possible, if the stories of Tacitus and Suetonius be accepted, and that is, that Tiberius was deranged. The explanation he would seem to be

* “Caesar,’ ch. xii. under

under every temptation to accept, as completing his theory of the
‘tragedy,’ is that of madness, but in the case of Tiberius alone he
has devoted himself to traversing the evidence, which he there.
upon finds to be almost wholly worthless. Surely the conclusion
is obvious, that if the evidence against the other emperors were
similarly examined, it would likewise tend to melt away. But
then with it the theory of hereditary mania would melt away
also. The case of Gaius is an exception, because here the
violent attack of epilepsy, and the consequent mental derange.
ment, are directly attested by Tacitus, Seneca, and Suetonius,
who are not herein victims of a preconceived theory. In his
case therefore alone, the monstrous acts with which he, like
the other emperors, is charged, have an antecedent probability
instead of the reverse. The complete change in his character
after the violent illness in the first year of his reign, and espe-
cially the sudden craze for insisting on his own divinity, seem
to mark the actual turning-point at which the latent mania was
developed. It is further confirmed by the fact that the cruelties
with which he is charged are not secret acts of devilish malice,
such as were alleged in the case of Tiberius, but a literal thirst
for blood. The story of his fondling Caesonia's neck, and
telling her he was thinking how it would be hacked if he gave
the word, points strongly in this direction, and so too does the
delight of Gaius at the actual effusion of blood in the gladia-
torial shows. The exhibition of the day before his assassination
was a triumph of realism; Mnester, in the “Laureolus, having
to pour real blood from his mouth instead of the coloured
water of the stage.
The charge of abnormal cruelty, against Tiberius at any rate,
rests on the same suspect evidence as that of licentiousness, and
also needs similar antecedent cautions. The standard of cruelty
in the Imperial age was not that of modern times, and the
standard of an Italian is not that of a Teutonic race. The
possibility of even a legend of a Northern Torre della fame may
be doubted. This consideration should perhaps be borne in
mind in the case of Nero or Claudius, but in the case of
Tiberius it does not apply. The picture of his reign drawn by
Tacitus is that of an unending procession of victims on the way
to the dungeon, to meet the ordinary form of execution by
strangling, or, if they pleased, anticipating it by any form of
death at their own choice. Now a good many executions
undoubtedly took place in the reign of Tiberius as in every
other reign. Every Government must maintain its own exist.

ence or perish. In any stage of transition, whether the Govern

ment be mild or cruel, plots are certain to be formed, and if not strongly

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strongly suppressed they will succeed. In the reign of Elizabeth plots were incessant. Every great Roman Catholic house was a possible, and frequently an actual centre for plots to place Philip on the throne of England. This is admitted by Canon Bellesheim in his Life of Cardinal Allen, and yet he inveighs against the cruelty of Elizabeth in searching out and punishing these plots. He is but taking a leaf out of the book of Tacitus. The government of the Caesars was the government de jure as well as de facto, and every plot against it was high treason. The system of delation, which Tacitus skilfully tries to represent as an invention and peculiarity of Tiberius, is a necessary accompaniment, in some form, of all government whatever, and existed under Elizabeth—to recur to the parallel—as much as under Tiberius. Under a settled government the system reaches its minimum ; in a stage of transition, where revolution is probable, its maximum. The extension of the system of delation is a proof of uneasiness, not of vindictiveness. The peculiarity at Rome was the encouragement given, not by Tiberius, but by long existing law, to accusation, in awarding a large proportion of the goods of any person condemned. But in the case of Tiberius no such modifications of judgment on apparent over-severity need to be pleaded at all. His interference is wholly on the side of lenity. The summary of cases of State trials and executions under Tiberius given by Mr. Baring-Gould in his Appendix is instructive and somewhat startling reading. He gives the number of cases in the twentythree years as 117, some of these being of the same person twice accused. Of these only seven or eight were in the Emperor's court, the rest being before the Senate. In every one of these cases where Tacitus shows any interference of the Emperor, it was on the side of mercy. In many it was to modify an immoderate sentence; in some to object to the fact of prosecution at all; in one, that of Clutorius Priscus, to establish the wholesome rule of ten days' interval between condemnation and sentence, in order to prevent a similar miscarriage of justice for the future. The record of few sovereigns would stand the test of examination as well as this. But besides this direct evidence for the character of the Emperor, such incidental facts about the retirement at Capreac as appear from the indirect statements always tend to refute, or at least to make improbable, the occurrence of such horrors as Suetonius gloats over and Tacitus grimly hints at. The companions that Tiberius took with him are precisely such as an old man withdrawing from the cares of State would naturally surround himself with. Besides his prime minister, Sejanus, whose whose presence was official, they were his young relations: his grandson Gemellus, then nine years old, his nephew Gaius, his niece Livilla, and her daughter Julia. Is it conceivable that he would have surrounded himself with his young relations had Caprea been what it was fabled to be? Mr. Furneaux rather strangely remarks that the characters of two of his companions, the future emperors Gaius and Vitellius, are beyond rehabili. tation. But he forgets to add that they were both mere lads when the Emperor took them with him. Suetonius says that Gaius used to slip out for his debaucheries, but had to wear a wig and long cloak for fear of his uncle. Philo, on the contrary, attributes the illness of Gaius in the first year of his reign to the reaction of immoderate indulgence after the simple and wholesome life he had been forced to lead at Capreo. Poor Tiberius Gemellus, when he was ordered to commit suicide, did not know how to set about it, “never having seen any one put to death.’ How, as Mr. Baring-Gould asks, is this to be reconciled with the fables of Capreac One of the stories is rather ingeniously shown to be a sort of folk-myth. Dio tells a curious anecdote of a glass-blower who let a glass vessel be broken to pieces, and then made it whole again by squeezing the edges, whereupon he was ordered off to execution with appropriate torments. But the origin of the story is traced to the suppres: sion of a new manufacture of ductile glass, which was done on a petition from the manufacturers in bronze pleading that it would ruin their trade. There is no part of the monstrous legend that will bear the least cross-examination. Lastly,–and this is a most important point, we are able not merely to show the contradictions or impossibilities of the accepted fables, but also to trace the probable cause of their origin, beyond the general hatred of the Emperors already touched on, especially in the two cases where the legend has reached its wildest developments, those of Tiberius and Nero, In the case of Tiberius it is certain that the supply is largely drawn from a poisoned well—the memoirs of Agrippina, Though Tacitus only acknowledges the obligation in one place, her hand is plainly visible in many others. Ample material for the attacks of scandal was given by the trial of libellous offences against the Emperor before the Senate. It is obvious that Tiberius would have been far happier if he had been less thin-skinned, but a Southern or Celtic differs from a Northern or Teutonic race in nothing more than in this; and even in Germany we have seen in recent years that the law of majestas is by no means a dead letter. It is curious, however, that it does not seem to have struck historians, ancient or mo that

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that if the Emperor had been the irresponsible autocrat that he is generally represented, both trials and executions for personal offences would almost necessarily have been in camera. Such fragments as we possess of Tacitus's judgment about Gaius do not suggest any special injustice done to him, since there can be little doubt that, at least after the illness of his first year, he was as mad as Mr. Baring-Gould believes all of the Julian and Claudian lines to have been. Nor does he display any violent malignity against Claudius beyond a somewhat carping and contemptuous method of handling, in which treatment— strange to say—Tacitus is rather outdone by Mr. Baring-Gould, who piles up incongruously his spiteful epithets. But the subject of the presentation is much wider and more obscure, and presents points of analogy to that of Tiberius, which would seem to suggest that a thorough revision of the facts might in his case also produce a reversal of a long-standing verdict. For here, too, we can distinguish after close scrutiny both a reason for Tacitus's exceptional bitterness, and also a reason for suspicion of the evidence. The exciting cause in Nero, it seems plain, was not the enormous catalogue of monstrous crimes charged against him, if he ever committed most of them, but his violation of the deepestrooted Roman sentiment. Sentiment, after all, is the strongest motive power in the world, and an unjustifiable use of the Tullianum and the Gemonian stairs did not revolt Rome half so much as the sight of the representative of Roman power publicly fiddling or singing Greek music. “Non possum ferre, Quirites, Graecam urbem, exclaimed Juvenal, and the words are exactly chosen; it was more than a Roman could stand. Some curious side-lights might be thrown on this. Cicero in his defence of Murena, after carelessly repelling such charges as one would now expect, turns with emotion to the alleged atrocious crime of dancing, which would need overwhelming proof before it could be believed. ‘For it may be laid down as a rule, he says, “that nobody dances when he is sober, unless, of course, he happens to be mad,'—a piece of evidence of which we make Mr. Baring-Gould a present for his next edition. The passage where this really passionate feeling is most plainly evinced is the reply of the tribune, Subrius Flavus, when asked by the Emperor how he came to violate his oath. “None of your soldiers was more faithful to you,” he answered, “so long as you deserved to be loved. I began to hate you when I found You to be a murderer, a chariot-driver, an actor, and an incendiary.” Even the two crimes that thus curiously divide the * Ann. xv. 67. two

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