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in the twilight of the day to him illumined with renown, it exhibits to us the preparation for the Empire in the ensuing night-time.
It is hardly possible, even with these materials, to construct any accurate relation concerning the masses whom Augustus ruled. The condition of his subjects in the provinces was, perhaps, in some degree ameliorated by the superintendence, he exerted over their governors. So the slaves, with whom the capital, as well as every part of the empire, was greatly peopled, seem to have been protected by certain laws 43 that would never have been enacted but for the necessity, apparent to a single sovereign, of preventing the different classes beneath him from being wasted or incensed. It may be that the comparative infrequency of wars, especially amongst the civilized races then in existence, led to the somewhat humaner treatment of the more cultivated slaves, on account of the consequent rarity of the captures. As for the Roman populace, though it might be imagined that they had no power to imitate either luxury or pride, it is, on the other hand, to be remembered that there were no other commandments for them to follow than those they could derive from the examples or the cruelties of their superiors.
One scene amongst the many of this peculiar history, in which a single ruler and a troop of subjects form, as it were, but two personages in view, must
43 E. g. the Petronian. Digest. slave, Sen., De Ira, III. 40. Lib. XLVIII. Tit. VIII. 11, sect. 2 Suet., Aug., 40. See the story of Augustus and the
be more particularly observed. A pestilence, so severe, that no one, says the historian, could labor in the fields, occurred one year, because, as the people at Rome believed, they had not invested Augustus with the consulship. To make amends for their neglect of his precious services, they determined to declare him Dictator. The customary decree was straightway demanded from the Senate by the mob, with threats, as if they had met with some rebuff, of burning the temple in which the Senate was convened. The decree was immediately passed; and the crowd, providing themselves with twenty-four fasces, hastened after the Emperor, whom they besought, as we are told, to suffer himself to be called Dictator.44 He, however, whether averse to the nature of the office, or distrusting the temper of the populace, refused their proffered entreaties; and when urged anew, he fell upon his knees, threw back his toga from his breast, as if in grief, and prayed to be excused. At the same time, he took upon himself the charge of providing for the public markets; and then dismissed the people, in raptures, probably, that they had so generous and so modest an Emperor.45
The great object with Augustus, while laying the foundations of a new system amidst the ruins of the old, was to persuade his people that there were neither ruins nor newly rising towers at all. He would have had them think that he and they were dwelling
45 Ibid. Suet., Aug., 52.
44 Alktátwpa deópevol lexonval. Dion Cass., LIV. 1. This was A.
in their fathers' houses and under their fathers' laws; and to a certain extent he succeeded. For after a crash so universal, when every citizen, if not every inhabitant, of Rome found himself, as it were, with a new floor beneath his feet and a new roof above his head, it might have seemed that the city was the same as it had been, unchanged, itself, in appearance, because its people were, in reality, so totally transformed.46 In consequence of the forgetfulness of old traditions, as well as of old interests, the power obtained by Augustus was all the less difficult to preserve. The frequent mention of measures to induce the seeking of office, and the exercise of such authority as was still allowed,47 is irresistible evidence against the existence or the exhibition of any political ambition.
The divisions previously traced recur in view of the policy which Augustus adopted from the beginning of his reign. The soldier and the scholar, the man of action and the man of luxury, could best be ruled in tranquillity. There should be no wars, none, at least, that were avoidable, to whet the swords of the legions ; 48 there should be no excitements to stir the rich and the gifted from their wastefulness, alike of genius and of fortune. Especially was this indolence
46 “ Quand tout se remue égale- res tranquillæ," wrote Tacitus, ment,” says Pascal, “ rien ne se “ eadem magistratuum vocabula : remue en apparence : comme en un juniores post Actiacam victoriam, vaisseau. Quand tous vont vers le etiam senes plerique inter bella déréglement, nul ne semble y aller.” civium nati: quotus quisque reliPensées, edit. Faugère, Tom. I. quus, qui rempublicam vidisset ?" p. 192.
Ann., I. 3. 47 See Dion Cass., LIII. 28, LIV. 48 Suet., Aug., 20, 21, 25. 30, 35, LV. 3, 24, etc. “ Domi
commended to the armies. The legions which had won the victory for Augustus were now appropriated to maintain his dominion ; but as they were feared as much by him as by his other subjects, they were removed to distant stations, where they could be employed against the barbarians or else be enervated by inactivity ; while the veterans, dismissed from their standards, were at once rewarded and divided from one another by assignments of lands or places in colonies. Thrice was the temple of Janus closed : 49 and when its gates were opened, it was for battles fought on distant fields, against the Ethiopians, who dared to enter Egypt, or against the Germans, who, under Maroboduus and Arminius, displayed too striking a love for freedom. The glories which the poets sang and the historians recorded were more rarely those of extended dominion than of returning peace; and it is hard to say, even in the face of his selfishness and of his subjects' idleness and abasement, that the general tranquillity which Augustus projected 50 and secured 51 is not his worthy title to some renown.
In this unwonted quietude, the Forum and the Campus Martius became the morning and the evening promenades of the people, whose elections, assemblages, and warlike levies were all comparatively sus
I. 2), “dulcedine otii pellexit.” 50 He said, before being formally And in his will he enjoined his succreated Emperor, that it was better cessor to be content with the bounto establish than to increase. Plut., daries of the empire as he found Apophth., Tom. VI. p. 780. them. Dion Cass., LIV. 9, LVI.
49 Suet., Aug., 22.
51 “Cunctos," says Tacitus (Ann., 33.
pended.52 The attention of the Emperor was the more unwearied to their amusement, their pride, and their opinions. He made a journey into Gaul to avoid a scandal he had aroused ; 53 he changed the bricks of the temples and public buildings to marble ; 54 and he took care that the citizens, as they were still called, should enjoy their full privileges of festival and license amongst themselves.55 But Augustus was never the corrupter of the subjects, nor, after his power was established, their oppressor; for they were sunk lower than he required or approved. Many reforms in moral and social habits were attempted, to the advantage of all classes ; 56 the number of public paupers was reduced ; 57 the disorders of the streets and the highways were repressed ; 58 and the prosperity of the city seemed greater than in any previous time of its existence. But the temple of enlarged proportions and more splendid materials was emptier of worshippers or deities than the sanctuary of yore; and the house from which the vices of long accumulation were ordered to be removed remained a sad, or, if there were no thought deep enough for sadness, a polluted home, such as the men of old would have refused to enter, for fear of shame.
52 See a chapter entitled “Une 55 Ibid. Suet., Aug., 29, 30 et Journée de Rome,” in Dezobry's seq., 41. Dion Cass., LIV. 16, work, “Rome au Siècle d'Auguste,” LV. 24, LVI. 1 et seq., 10. Lettre XXVII.
56 See preceding note, and add 53 Dion Cass., LIV, 19.
the following sections in Suetonius. 54 Suet., Aug., 29. Mon. An- 57 To 200,000! Dion Cass., LV. cyranum, Tab. I. (a dextra), Tab. 10. III. (a læva).
58 Ibid., 8, 26. Suet., 32.