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touch upon the poor man's taxes in the province, the rich man's luxury in his villa” or his Roman palace, the tumult of the Forum where riot was paid and murder entitled to a life-long opulence; but the bare outline is, in such a case, sufficient for the finished picture. If any thing be yet needed, the canwas must be turned, and the decrease of wealth, even where it seemed increasing, will be discovered to have been as sure as it was retributive. While the means of consumption were daily multiplying, the means of production were almost hourly dwindling; and so far as the city itself was concerned, the gladiator or the usurer was surer of employment than the laborer or the artisan. The toils of the provinces were the only sources of supply to the indulgences” of Rome. The sword had been thrust deeper into the vitals of Italy. Many of her people would be driven to the same desperation that possessed the inhabitants of Norba, a Roman colony in Latium, when they set fire to their town and destroyed their scanty stores rather than be betrayed into the hands of Sulla's soldiers.” The colonies of the victorious legions brought evils worse than treachery or conflagration into the lands assigned them; nor is there need of any detail to bring before the eyes that care to see such things the wrongs committed by soldiers who came from rapine in Asia and slaughter in Rome to live in unrestrained licentiousness amongst the country towns.” Few of the better classes could have endured through the civil wars; and besides the rough herdsmen of the mountains or the dispirited people of the cities, the rest, whether rich or poor, liked the excitement of the metropolis too well to linger about their wasted homes.
112 “They have their change of houses, manors, lordships; We scarce a fire or a poor household Lar!” etc. Ben Jonson’s Catiline, Act I. sc. l.
This is the contrast; but for the sake of seeing one side, or rather a fragment of one side, the reader may be referred to Becker's Gallus, Scene W. : “ The Villa.” Even Cicero owned ten of these sumptuous residences. See Middleton's Life, p. 294, Moxon's edit.
113 “Corn from Sardinia, herds of Calabrian cattle, meadows through which pleasant Liris glides, silks from Tyrus, and golden chalices to drown my health in,” which Bishop Jeremy Taylor reprehends (Holy Living, Ch. II. sect. 6) as “instruments of vanity or sin,” would be but the beginning of the Roman’s riches.
114 otöe Hév otros éyxparðs dré
Abroad in the provinces, whose frontiers were marked by lines of Roman spears," the devastation of these tremendous years was not materially spread by the civil war or the despotism from which their mistress suffered. The rise and fall of successive leaders at Rome might, at some moments, add to the demands upon the subject countries for troops or for supplies; but at other times, undoubtedly, the provinces would be left in comparative tranquillity, forgotten amidst the convulsions in which Marius died and Sulla seemed to disappear. Spain, however, became the scene of a peculiar history, to which we shall presently recur.
6avov, “And they thus bravely
the harpies whom Sulla let loose: —
116 “Iidem fines provincia, fuerint qui gladiorum atque pilorum.” Cic., In Pis., 16.
The neighbouring world that lay beyond the Roman provinces is represented under nearly all its different aspects in the single person of the last champion whom it obtained before the Christian era. Mithridates, the king of Pontus, whom Sulla checked, but did not stay to humble, was called by Cicero “the greatest monarch after Alexander.” The qualities and attainments natural to the latest century of heathenism, and to the regions not yet reduced beneath the Roman sway, could not have been more singularly combined in any living man. His active frame was hardened not only by exercise in arms and the chase, but by antidotes to poison, a common drink, it might be called, in those Oriental lands. His equally active mind was provided with much of the learning of the Greeks, besides being practised in what to him was the far more useful knowledge of the twoand-twenty languages" of his various subjects. He knew how to be cruel, crafty, and ambitious; and as the West was in stronger hands than his then were, he turned to the East and the North, in the hope of dominion there, and perhaps, when they were gained, of conquest upon Western territory. The alarm was taken on the part of the Romans; and after some provocations from them and concessions from him, the war began between the Commonwealth and Mithridates. It continued with great ferocity" on either side, until the peace obtained by Sulla;” but a year or two were hardly gone, when hostilities broke out afresh, though they were soon again suspended. At the time of Sulla's death, the Eastern king, though baffled in his designs of extensive sovereignty, still stood undaunted against the wolfish spirit,” as he is said to have styled the voracity of his foes for wider realms. It was from future as from past campaigns against Mithridates that more than one of the generals despatched to conquer him returned with bolder ambition amongst their countrymen. It may be plainer, after this rapid observation of the Commonwealth, as it was without and within, to read how the dominion of Sulla could endure beyond his death, and how its ruins furnished the materials of subsequent despotisms. The first revolt against the power left by the late Dictator occurred so soon as at his funeral, which Marcus AEmilius Lepidus, then in the consulship, attempted to prevent from being celebrated at Rome.” Lepidus, a man of small estimation with any class,” was married to a daughter of Appuleius Saturninus, whose factious life may have been a pattern to his son-in-law. But Lepidus, though in the first office under the constitution of Sulla, was totally unqualified to run the race on which he started. His proposal to repeal the laws of the Dictator,” and his invitation to the mass of the Italians to obtain the recovery of their rights and lands,” were equally futile; and although he received the support of the soldiers, whose command devolved upon him as Proconsul in the following year,” he was literally without any other partisans besides his abettor, Junius Brutus,” then in command of Cisalpine Gaul, and a band of sorry followers collected in Etruria. He marched, without awaiting Brutus, against the city, but was easily defeated, near the Campus Martius,” by his recent colleague, Catulus, and Pompey, who had formerly been his patron.” Not long afterwards he died in Sardinia, having done nothing more than add to the disturbance and the anxiety of his times.”
117 Acad. Pr., Lib. II. 1. Cf. 119. It was signalized, near its bethe description by Well. Paterculus, ginning, by the murder of one hunII. 18. dred and fifty thousand Romans, 118 Wal. Max., VIII. 7. 16, Ext. according to Plutarch's numbers Plin., Nat. Hist., VII. 24. (Sull., 24), that is, Romans and
Italians, publicans, traders, residents,
WOL. II. 47
animos inexplebiles sanguinis atque
A far different venture was made in Spain, by Quintus Sertorius, already mentioned as the best of the party opposed to Sulla. Born of a respectable family in one of the ancient Sabine towns, high up amongst the Apennines, he had spent his youth
124 Liv., Epit. XC. See the 129 And had upheld him against doubtful oration of Lepidus in Sal- Sulla. Plut., Sull., 34 ; Pomp,
lust, loc. cit. 15. Catulus was the son of Ma125 App., Bell. Civ., I. 107. rius's colleague. 126 A. C. 77. 100 “Hoc bellum ut ignis in sti127 He was the father of the pula eadem celeritate qua exarsit, conspirator. evanuit.” Oros., W. 22. Cf. Cic.,
128 App., Bell. Civ., I. 107. In Cat., III. 10; Flor., III. 23.