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with his grandchildren and his nephew Germanicus, as his heirs.
24. Augustus was slow in forming friendships, but when once contracted, he maintained them with great constancy. One feature of this kind has rendered him a more conspicuous example than any of those who have filled the same rank in the histories of the world. Augustus is remarkable above all princes for the regard he evinced for the society of men of genius. Virgil and Horace, the two greatest of the Roman poets in every sense, were treated by this prince with the utmost degree of kindness and friendship. To the former he restored the estate (B.C. 40), which he had lost in the division of lands under the Triumvirate ; and the latter received from Mæcenas an equivalent for his confiscated estate, in the gift of his Sabine farm (B.C. 34). He corresponded with them by familiar letters when absent; and an anecdote is told of his sitting down with them at a table, and saying jestingly, that he sat between sighs and tears, alluding to the asthma of Virgil, and the weak watery eyes of Horace. In making these poets his friends and correspondents, the Emperor no doubt had some regard to the advantages which his doubtful claim to the empire at first might acquire, by the weight of splendid talents engaged in his favour, and by the fame thus to be reflected upon his name and actions. Yet it may reasonably be believed, that the patronage of genius for its own sake was in accordance with a disposition like that of Augustus, capable of deriving pleasure as an author from the highly-finished performances of poetry and eloquence.
25. Upon these two main favourites of the court of Augustus, both honour and wealth were liberally bestowed. But the great poem of Virgil, in which he traces the history of Æneas, with an evident design to convey the idea that the Emperor was his descendant, did not appear before the public till after the poet's death. Both of these poets, dying before the Emperor, left him their heir ; Horace the whole of his estate, Virgil a fourth part of it. The works of the former consisted of Odes, formed upon the Greek models, and Satires and Epistles; those of the latter, of pastoral dialogues, or, as they are generally called, Bucolics; and a noble
poem termed the Georgics, in which he describes with the elegance of true poetry, all the charms of rural
tions, and the whole course of field husbandry throughout the several seasons of the year. Upon this the fame of Virgil rested during his lifetime. But never perhaps was a poet treated with higher honours while he lived. When he went to the theatre, the whole audience stood up as he entered, greeting him with loud plaudits, and paying him the same honours that they did the Emperor himself.
26. It is to be regretted for the fame of Augustus, that his conduct towards two of the distinguished writers of his day should have been disgraced by some severities which are not in agreement with his general character. Cicero was one of the first to feel the deadly influence of that party spirit of revenge, which polluted the earlier path of this Emperor with many a noble victim-sacrificed, as it was thought justly, to the shades of Cæsar (B.C. 43). Cicero having approved of the death of that hero, though he took no part in it, and being
considered as one of the most dangerous enemies of the Triumvirate, it is easy to understand the principle of that great orator's proscription. This act, however, may be recorded as chiefly the work of Antony, whom Cicero had denounced as a public enemy, in his celebrated orations, entitled the Philippics. Octavius gave his consent to the death of Cicero with the greatest reluctance, and the older historians tell us, that he struggled for two days with Antony to preserve him*. But the gentle Ovid --the poet of the Metamorphoses--was another of the victims of tyranny in this reign, being condemned to an exile (A.D. 9), in which he spent the remaining period of his life, for some offence which can now be but faintly conjectured. He was thus subjected to a severe fate, for which there does not seem any plausible reason, beyond that of the private resentment of Augustus himself, who made the ostensible ground of this sentence his having corrupted the Roman youth by immoral writings.
27. T'he Emperor himself did not, however, live long enough to reverse the sentence. This poet passed seven
Cicero was beheaded by a party of soldiers, sent by Antony to his Tusculan villa to execute the bloody deed, who overtook him as he was escaping in a litter. His head and his hands being cut off, were brought to Rome by Popilius, a tribune or colonel, whose head he had formerly saved. Antony fixed them up in the Forum, and rewarded the soldiers with a crown, and about 80001. sterling.
years in a melancholy exile, during which he wrote his Tristia. Augustus was now in an advanced stage of life, and died at Nola (A.D. 14), wanting but little more than a month to complete his seventy-sixth year. His death, instead of being like that of his predecessor, was an extremely calm and peaceful one.
He is said to have almost suddenly expired without pain, whilst receiving the kisses of Livia his wife, and uttering these words :-“ Livia, live mindful of our marriage, and fare thee well.” His persuasion when dying was, that he had acted his part well, and was retiring from the stage of life with the highest applause.
28. Whatever may be the differing sentiments that subsequent ages have entertained on this subject, there can be no doubt as to the enthusiasm with which his memory was regarded by the Roman people. More extraordinary omens were said to have preceded his birth than perhaps were ever remembered of any other great man, as the tokens of future greatness; and after his decease it was moved in the senate-house, that the whole period of his life should be called the Augustan age, and inserted in the calendar under that title. And immediately after his body had been burnt, according to custom, a man of prætorian rank affirmed upon oath that he saw his spirit ascend up to heaven.
29. That Augustus was a great benefactor to the Roman people it would be folly to doubt, for during the period of his government the empire enjoyed a prosperity and tranquillity altogether unexampled. The state, under his paternal sway, seems to have reached the highest point of its greatness and glory; and its decline from this era was therefore in some measure inevitable, even if the vices and misgovernment of some of his successors had not hastened on its period of degeneracy.
30. This prince, by a custom which had become fashionable in his days, viz., of leaving the Emperor a legacy, inherited from the wills of his friends, it is said, the astonishing sum of more than 32,000,0001. sterling. Yet almost the whole of this immense fortune, besides his two paternal estates and others, he left at his decease to be expended upon the public, allotting large bequests to the several tribes, and to various divisions of the Roman army. Among the documents relating to his will, he wrote one containing a narrative of his actions, which he intended should be inscribed on brass plates, and placed before his mausoleum; and another in which was drawn up a concise account of the state of the empire, the number of its soldiers, the state of the treasury, and various particulars connected with the public welfare. From all these facts it may be gathered, that there have been but few sovereigns who have proved themselves more fit to be entrusted with the powers of an absolute monarch than Augustus.
31. The following details will supply the curious reader With a familiar picture of the domestic life, habits and private character of Augustus.
This Emperor had a peculiar aversion to large and sumptuous palaces. Some that had been raised at a great expense by his granddaughter Julia, he ordered to be levelled to the ground. He lived himself for the most part in a small house, no way remarkable for size or ornament, and chiefly resided in the city of Rome. For what was rare, curious, and antique, he had a considerable taste. He adorned his residence in the city with things of this kind, but especially with statues and pictures. At Capreæ, where he occasionally dwelt, he had in his mansion a collection of ancient armour, and some of the fossil bones of animals, at that time believed to be the remains of giants.
32. In his mode of living his frugality was such, that it might have seemed almost parsimonious. In the furniture of his house, and in his dress, there was but little to distinguish the Emperor from the common citizen,
His entertainments were elegant, but more select than splendid; he was very scrupulous whom he invited to his table. On certain days of festivity, he would be regardless of expense in the favours he bestowed upon his guests, and distributed among them presents of sumptuous vestments, as well as gold and silver in abundance. But at these times, he sometimes indulged his humour in a kind of lottery, requiring of them to purchase tickets of uncertain value, and pictures with their backs turned towards the company, every one being obliged to buy something, and to run the chance of loss or gain. His ordinary diet was a pattern of simplicity. Coarse bread and cheese, green figs, and ripe raisins, were his chief food. Of wine he drank but little, and scarcely any in the daytime. After supper he commonly withdrew to a couch' in his study, where he committed to writing an account of the principal transactions of the day. He retired late to rest, and never slept more than seven hours.
33. The person of Augustus was noble, handsome, and graceful. His countenance had a peculiar look of serene majesty, and his eyes were full of fire and animation. His eyebrows were large, and met together. He had an aquiline nose, and curling hair, rather inclining to a yellow colour. In stature he did not reach above the middle height, but his limbs were so well set and proportioned, that he appeared taller than he really was. In his constitution he was far from robust, especially towards the decline of life.' But by taking great care of his health, and by exercise, diet, and a moderate use of the bath, he attained an age far beyond that of the ordinary duration.
34. In early youth he devoted himself to the study of eloquence, and obtained much success in this pursuit. He took great pains with his speeches that were to be addressed to the senate ; always carefully writing them beforehand, though he was by no means deficient in a natural fluency of speech; but he feared that if he trusted to his extempore powers, he should say more or less than was proper. His tone of voice was a sweet and peculiar one, which he had learned from a master who had diligently instructed him in the art of delivery.
Among his amusements was that of composition both in prose and verse. His style was considered to be a good one, and free from all that could offend the ear of the critic. He laboured especially to obtain ease and simplicity in writing, considering that one of the chief excellencies of a literary work was its freedom from all extravagance of diction and affectation of manner.
35. This Emperor seems to have been the first person who devised a method of communication, which bears some analogy to our postal regulations. To obtain the speedier intelligence of what passed in the provinces, he at first placed yonng men at moderate distances along the military roads, and afterwards vehicles, to bring him letters. In the sealing of these, or of other instruments, he at one time used the figure of a Sphinx ; subsequently the head of Alexander the Great, and at last his own, engraven by the hand of Dioscorides, which the succeeding princes