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the provinces ; 24 and, finally, over himself, on his being formally exempted from all the laws, both new and old. To the immediate service and protection of an authority so accumulated and a person so sacred a body-guard of Prætorian Cohorts, so called, was chosen from the flower of the army.26 It was as the corner-stone of the whole huge fabric of the Empire, thus deeply and thus silently founded.
To aid, but not to control, the Emperor in his vast authority, a certain number of counsellors were, at first semiannually and then annually, selected from the Senate.27 This body, which Augustus, acting as Censor, with Agrippa for a colleague, had reduced in numbers, and subjected to some new methods of appointment,28 was more than ever submissive. But he accepted the privilege of consulting it at any time and under any form ; 29 and in return, he preserved the aspect and the deference which were grateful, though they might not be due, to the successors of those who had resisted Hannibal and for a moment supported Cicero. So successfully was this tone preserved on the part of the Emperor, that there were
24 Divided, indeed, between the 27 Dion Cass., LIII. 21, LVI. 28. Emperor and the Senate, but his The adopted sons, and the step-son, power extended over all. Dion Tiberius, of the Emperor were afCass., LIII. 12, 13, 32. See Gib- terwards added to these counsellors. bon again, Ch. I.
28 Suet., Aug., 35. Dion Cass., 25 Dion Cass., LIII. 28, LIV. LII. 42, LIV, 13, 14, 17, 26, 35, 10. See Heinecc., Antiq. Rom. LV, 13. Jur., pp. 78 et seq.
29 Dion Cass., LIII. 28. Cf. LV. 26 Suet., Aug., 49. Tac., Ann., 34. IV. 5. Dion Cass., LIII. 11, LV.
few who would have complained, as one of them did, in open session, of their inability to contradict even his opinion.30 The same consideration was observed, and with the same effect, towards all the higher classes, on whom the shadows of some authority and influence yet seemed to descend. The magistracies of the Commonwealth were not abolished; and Consuls, Prætors, and Tribunes were yearly chosen in the public assemblies. But the elections were made at the pleasure of the Emperor; and the functions of all the offices were totally altered. 32 One post alone, substituted in the place of the City Prætor, under the nearly similar name of the Prefect of the City, was invested with any extensive charge; but it, likewise, was wholly in the gift of the Emperor.33 Nevertheless, the show of magistracies and priesthoods yet remaining was sufficient to impose upon those who have written of their broken-spirited possessors, as well as upon these possessors themselves.
But the account we have taken of the imperial power with which Augustus was invested, and of the relations existing between himself and the other members of his government, though it is here necessarily precluded from any details, rests upon no conjectures. The subjection of the only class who could dispute the possession of authority with the Emperor was as profound as that of the populace or
30 Suet., Aug., 54. Augustus prevented the acts of the Senate from being published. Ibid., 36.
31 Note 21.
32 Suet., Aug., 36, 37.
33 Tac., Ann., VI. 11. Cass., LIII. 2.
the slaves. Asinius Pollio, who had crossed the Rubicon with Julius Cæsar, and adhered to the triumvirate from its beginning until the time arrived for him to follow Augustus, learned to employ his ambition, if he really had any, in literary 34 rather than in political pursuits. So Valerius Messalla Corvinus, who had veered from the conspirators to Antony, and from Antony to Augustus, with prudent inconstancy, employed himself afterwards in patronizing the poets and in acquiring the tasteful accomplishments of his times.35 Another distinguished name is that of Cornelius Gallus, early devoted to Augustus and greatly rewarded, until he dared to oppose or in some way to provoke the power that had raised him ; when he fell. There could be but one impulse to stir the depths of feeling or to reach the heights of action in lives like these; and that one was submissiveness.
The same key predominates in the poetry of the age. Virgil left the fields which he once could call his realms 36 to seek for favor at Rome. The freshness of the shade and the hum of bees disappear; and the highest strains of his epic song describe the golden age beginning upon earth 3 under the Trojan Cæsar, whose empire had no bounds but the ocean,
34 In which he was greatly dis- significantly adds, “paucos intra tinguished as an orator, a poet, and dies finem accepit, quasi nescius an historian. He was the first to exercendi.” Ann., VI. 11. establish a public library in Rome. 36 “ Dulcia arva. ..... Mea Plin., Nat. Hist., XXXV. 2. regna." Ecl., I. 3, 70.
35 He was appointed to the pre- 37 Æn., VI. 791 et seq. fecture of the city, but, as Tacitus
and to whose fame there were no limits but the stars.38 His friend and fellow-dependant, Horace, in whom there were untouched harmonies to have thrilled the world, fell down before the altar at which the weakest were on their knees, lamenting he had not voice enough to chant the majesty it enshrined. 39 Some manlier tones escaped him, in presence of his friends, with whom he felt at ease; but the breath he spared from celebrating his superiors was mostly spent in telling over the errors of his countrymen or in rehearsing his own revelries and failings. Ovid, more naturally independent, betrays still more the abasement in which the cord of liberty had been loosened. Endeavouring to open a new channel, as it were, to some currents that had never yet been allowed to flow in Roman song, he soon pursued the commoner course of flatteries towards the living, worthier in his eyes than the memories of the dead.40 But the impurity of Ovid's poetry distorts its best features, and turns it into the autobiography of a man, and even into the history of a people, with whom luxury had passed through its earlier stages of contamination into insensibility. 41 It was the misfortune of the poet, in spite of his adulation, to incur the displeasure of the Emperor, and to be banished from the scene of his debauchThe great historian Livy was one of those befriended by Augustus, and provided, as is probable, with the means of indulging in the usual pleasures of his day. Dissatisfied, however, and restless, he conceived the project of writing the Annals, of which the end, as he at least perceived, had evidently arrived. “It will be a great comfort to me,” he says, in the introduction to his glowing history, “ a great comfort, if I can do my part in commemorating the achievements of this sovereign people of the earth. ..... My own reward will be to turn away from the sight of those evils which our age hath beheld for so many years, in searching with all my mind after the events of ancient times. ..... For my readers, I simply desire each one of them to observe very earnestly the lives and the customs that have passed, — the men, too, and the means by which, at home and abroad, this empire of ours hath been both founded and increased. Let each in mind pursue the decline of morals following the decay of laws, — then their gradual sinking, then their headlong fall, — and finally their entombment in these times, wherein we can neither bear our vices nor their remedies." 42 The historian could not speak more plainly without danger; indeed, he could not have spoken even so plainly, unless it had appeared that he was designating the necessity of a strong and absolute dominion over the evils which he thus bitterly lamented. The introduction explains the history, its carelessness, and its fervor. Composed
38 Æn., I. 286 et seq. 39
“Sed neque parvum Carmen majestas recipit lua, nec meus audet Rem tentare pudor quam vires ferre recusent."
Epist. II, 1 (Ad Augustum), 257 et seq.
40 Fast., I. 1-18.
Art. Am., III. 121, 122