Soldiers and Sailors - C. F. Horne


(645-561 B.C.)


With the death of Sardanapalus, the great monarch of Assyria, and the taking of Nineveh, the capital city, by the Medes, the kingdom of Assyria came to an end, and the vast domain was parcelled out among the conquerors. At the time of the catastrophe, the district of Babylonia, with its capital city Babylon, was ruled as a dependent satrapy of Assyria by Nabopolassar. Aided by the Medes, he now took possession of the province and established himself as an independent monarch, strengthening the alliance by a marriage between the Princess Amuhia, the daughter of the Median king, and his son Nebuchadnezzar.

In the partition of Assyria, the region stretching from Egypt to the upper Euphrates, including Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, had fallen to the share of Nabopolassar. But the tribes that peopled it were not disposed to accept the rule of the new claimant, and looked about for an ally to, support them in their resistance. Such an ally they thought they had found in Egypt.

Egypt was the great rival of Babylon, as she had been of Assyria. Both desired to control the highways of traffic connecting the Mediterranean with the farther East. Egypt had the advantage, both from her actual position on the Mediterranean and her nearer neighborhood to the coveted territory, and she used her advantage with audacity and skill. No sooner, however, did Nabopolassar feel himself firm on his throne than he resolved to check the ambition of Egypt and secure for himself the sovereignty of the lands in dispute.

The task was not an easy one. Pharaoh Necho had been for three years in possession of the whole strip along the Mediterranean—Palestine, Phœnicia, and part of Syria—and was pushing victoriously on to Assyria, when he was met at the plain of Megiddo, commanding the principal pass in the range of Mount Carmel, by the forces of the petty kingdom of Judah, disputing his advance. He defeated them in a bloody engagement, in which Josiah, King of Judah, was slain, and then continued his march to Carchemish, a stronghold built to defend one of the few fordable passes of the upper Euphrates. This important place having been taken after a bloody battle, Necho was master of all the strategic points north and west of Babylonia.

Nebuchadnezzar was now put in command of an army, to force Pharaoh to give up his prey. Marching directly upon Carchemish, he attacked the Egyptian and defeated him with great slaughter. Following up his victory, he wrested from Pharaoh, in engagement after engagement, all that he had gained in Syria, Phœnicia, and Palestine, and was in the midst of fighting in Egypt itself, when the news came of the death of his father; and he hastened home at once by forced marches to secure his possession of the throne. In his train were captives of all the nations he had conquered: Syrians, Phœnicians, Jews, and Egyptians. Among the Jewish prisoners was Daniel, the author of the book of the Old Testament called by his name, and to whom we owe the little personal knowledge we have of the great Babylonian monarch.

Of all the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar in this long struggle with Egypt, that of the Jewish people is the most interesting to us. The Jews had fought hard for independence, but if they must be conquered and held in subjection, they preferred the rule of Egypt to that of Babylon. Even the long slavery of their ancestors in that country and the sufferings it had entailed, with the tragic memories of the exodus and the wanderings in the desert, had not been potent to blot out the traditions of the years passed in that pleasant land with its delicious climate, its nourishing and abundant food. Alike in prosperity and in evil days the hearts of the people of Israel yearned after Egypt, and the denunciations of her prophets are never so bitter as when uttered against those who turned from Jehovah to worship the false gods of the Nile. Three times did the inhabitants of Jerusalem rebel against the rule of Babylon, and three times did Nebuchadnezzar come down upon them with a cruel and unrelenting vengeance, carrying off their people into bondage, each time inflicting great damage upon the city and leaving her less capable of resistance; yet each time her rulers had turned to Egypt in the vain hope of finding in her a defence against the oppressor, but in every instance Egypt had proved a broken reed.

Of the three successive kings of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar had left to rule the city as his servants, and who had all in turn rebelled against him, one had been condemned to perpetual imprisonment in Babylon; a second had been carried there in chains and probably killed, while the third, captured in a vain attempt to escape after the taking of the city, had first been made to see his sons killed before his eyes, had then been cruelly blinded, and afterward carried in chains to Babylon, and cast into prison. The last siege of the city lasted eighteen months, and when it was finally taken by assault, its ruin was complete. By previous deportations Jerusalem had been deprived of her princes, her warriors, her craftsmen, and her smiths, with all the treasure laid up in the palace of her kings, and all the vessels of gold and silver consecrated to the worship of Jehovah. Little then was left for her to suffer, when the punishment of her latest rebellion came. Her walls were thrown down, her temple, her chief glory, was destroyed, the greater part of the inhabitants who had survived the prolonged siege were carried off to swell the crowd of exiles already in Babylon, and only a few of the humbler sort of folk, the vine-dressers and the small farmers, were left behind.

When Nebuchadnezzar rested after his conquests, secure in the subjugation of his rivals, and in the possession of his vast kingdom, he gave himself up to the material improvement of Babylon and the surrounding country. The city as he left it, at the end of his reign of forty-three years, was built on both sides of the Euphrates, and covered a space of four hundred square miles, equal to five times the size of London. It was surrounded by a triple wall of brick; the innermost, over three hundred feet high, and eighty-five feet broad at the top, with room for four chariots to drive abreast. The walls were pierced by one hundred gate-ways framed in brass and with brazen gates, and at the points where the Euphrates entered and left the city the walls also turned and followed the course of the river, thus dividing the city into two fortified parts. These two districts were connected by a bridge of stone piers, guarded by portcullises, and ferries also plied between the quays that lined the river-banks, to which access was given by gates in the walls.

Nebuchadnezzar's palace was a splendid structure covering a large space at one end of the bridge. In the central court were the Hanging Gardens, the chief glory of the city, and reckoned one of the wonders of the world. No clear idea can be formed of these gardens from any description that has come down to us, but it would appear that arches eighty feet high supported terraces of earth planted with all the skill for which the gardeners of the East were famous. We are told that they were built for the pleasure of Queen Amuhia, who, as a Median princess, missed her native mountains, but a more commonplace explanation is that they were carried so high to escape the mosquitoes that swarmed on the lower level.

Various splendid edifices, chiefly religious, adorned the great squares of the city: the temple of the god Bel, enriched by the spoils of Tyre and Jerusalem, was the especial pride of Nebuchadnezzar. It rose in a succession of eight lofty stages, and supported on the top a golden statue of the god, forty feet high. Still another temple of Bel was built in seven stages, each faced with enamelled brick of one of the planetary colors; the topmost one of blue, the color dedicated to Mercury or Nebo, the patron god of Nabopolassar.

But the most important of the civic undertakings of Nebuchadnezzar was the extension of the great system of canalization by which the barren wastes of the Babylonian plain were made to rival the valley of the Nile in fertility, and become the granary of the East. The whole territory was covered with a network of canals fed by the Tigris and Euphrates, and used for both irrigation and navigation. One branch had already connected Nineveh with Babylon, and another constructed by Nebuchadnezzar united Babylon to the Persian Gulf, running a distance of four hundred miles. This is still to be traced in a portion of its length.

The fate of Nebuchadnezzar is one of the most tragic in the long list of calamities that have overtaken the great and powerful of the earth. According to Daniel, it was just after the king had spoken those words of exulting pride as he walked in the palace of the Kingdom of Babylon: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built," when he was attacked by that dreadful form of madness, called by the Greeks, lycanthropy (wolf-man), in which the victim fancies himself a beast : in its fiercer manifestations a beast of the forest, or in milder visitations a beast of the field. Nebuchadnezzar's madness became so violent that for four years he was exiled from his throne and from the company of men, and wandered in the fields, eating grass like oxen, "and his body was wet with the dews of heaven, and his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws." Although no mention is made of this strange malady in any writing but the book of Daniel, yet it has a pathetic confirmation in one of the rock-cut inscriptions that record the acts of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. "For four years the seat of my kingdom did not rejoice my heart. In all my dominions I built no high place of power, nor did I lay up the precious treasure of my kingdom. In Babylon I erected no buildings for myself nor for the glory of my empire. In the worship of Bel-Merodach, my Lord, the joy of my heart, in Babylon the city of his worship and the seat of my empire, I did not sing his praise, nor did I furnish his altar with victims"—and then, as if returning to the thing that lay nearest him—"In four years I did not dig out the canals."



In time, the black cloud of the king's madness passed away and health and reason were restored to him. And if the words that Daniel puts into the king's mouth on his recovery are really his, we must recognize in this Eastern Despot a decided strain of religious sensibility, a trait that appears beside in his almost passionate expressions of affection for his god Merodach, and in his sympathy with Daniel and the youths who were his companions, in their own religious devotion. Although Daniel and the other youths whom the king had caused to be called out from the mass of the Jewish captives for his own particular service—boys distinguished from the rest by their personal beauty, their intelligence and aptitude—were too earnest in their religious convictions and too high-spirited to conform to the Babylonian religion or to conceal their sentiments under the cloak of policy, yet the king tolerated their adherence to their ritual and yielded only in part to the persistence of the Jew-baiters, who saw with angry eyes the promotion of the hated captives to places of power and authority over the heads of their captors. In spite of his enemies Daniel was allowed to exercise his own religion in peace; and the persecutors of his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were themselves destroyed in the furnace they had heated for their innocent victims, which the youths themselves were rescued from by the personal interposition of the king, who pretended to see—or in his religious exaltation did really see—the god himself standing guard over the victims in the midst of the flames.

Of Nebuchadnezzar after the recovery of his reason we learn but little. The chronicle of Daniel passes abruptly from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar, and the great king is not mentioned again. History, too, is silent. It tells us only that he left the throne to a son, whose name, Evil-Merodach, records the devotion of his father to the god of his people.

Cyrus the Great

(REIGNED 558-529 B.C.)

Cyrus the Great

The early life of Cyrus the Persian, like that of many another famous conqueror, is lost in a cloud of fable. According to Herodotus, to whom we owe the earliest account, Astyages the King of Media was warned in a dream that some danger threatened the kingdom from the offspring of his daughter Mandane, who as yet was unmarried. In order to remove the danger, whatever it might be, as far as possible from his throne, Astyages married his daughter to a Persian named Cambyses, who took her with him to his own country. But after his daughter's marriage Astyages had another dream, which was interpreted by the priests to mean that his daughter's child was destined to reign in his stead. Alarmed by this prophecy he sent for his daughter, and when in course of time she bore a son, he ordered his trusty lieutenant Harpagus to carry the child to his own house and kill it. Harpagus took the infant as he had been ordered to do, but moved by the pleadings of his wife he determined to commit the rest of his bloody instructions to other hands. He therefore called one of his herdsmen, and ordered him to expose the child on the bleakest part of the mountain and leave it to perish, threatening him with the most terrible penalties in case of disobedience. But the herdsman and his wife were no more proof against pity than Harpagus and his wife had been, and while they stood swayed between their wish to save the child and their fear of disobeying Harpagus, fortune happily provided an escape for them. The wife of the herdsman brought forth a dead child, and this they determined to substitute for the living infant, and to bring up the grandson of Astyages as their own. The exchange was accomplished, and after some days the servants of Harpagus, sent to inquire if their master's commands had been obeyed, were shown by the herdsman the body of a dead child exposed on the rocks and still wearing the rich clothes and ornaments in which it had been brought to his house. Harpagus was thus enabled to assure Astyages that he was safe from the threatened danger, and might enjoy his throne in peace.

When the child of Mandane was ten years old an accident brought him to the knowledge of the king, and restored him to his birthright. One day he was playing with the children of his neighbors, and in a certain game where it was necessary to make one of the players king, Cyrus was chosen, and all the others, as his subjects, promised to obey his commands. But one of the boys, the son of a rich noble of the court of Astyages, refused to do as he was bid by Cyrus, and according to the rule of the game, he had to submit to a beating at the hand of the boy-king. Angry at this treatment, he complained to his father, who, indignant in his turn, went to Astyages, and reproached him with the blows his son had received at the hands of the son of one of the king's slaves. Cyrus was brought before the king; but when he was asked how he had dared to treat the son of a nobleman in such a way, the boy, nothing daunted, answered that he had done only what was right: the rules of the game were known to all who had joined in it: the other boys had submitted to the penalties: the son of the nobleman alone had refused, and he had been punished as he deserved. "If any wrong has been done by me," he said, "I am ready to suffer for it." Struck by the boldness of the lad, and by something in his looks, Astyages dismissed him for a time, and promised the nobleman that he should he satisfied for the insults offered to his son. He then sent for the herdsman Mitridates and wrung from him a confession of what he had done; and learning how Harpagus had deceived him he acquitted Mitridates, and turned all his vengeance upon Harpagus as the chief offender. How cruelly he punished him must not be told here, for pity, but it was such a barbarous revenge as could never be forgiven; and though Harpagus pretended to make light of it, yet it was only that by keeping fair with the king he might bide his time, and repay cruelty with cruelty.

But now, as Cyrus in our story has grown to man's estate, and is ready to show the world of what stuff he is made, it will be well to explain in a few words, what was the state of things in that part of the world where he was to play his part.

The mighty Kingdom of Assyria in its greatest estate had stretched from the Indus on the east, to the Mediterranean on the west. But when Nineveh, the capital and chief city of the empire, had been destroyed by the Medes—a subject people living on the north-eastern borders of the kingdom, but who had risen in rebellion against their rulers—Assyria was broken in pieces, and several minor kingdoms rose on her ruins.

Of these the chief were Media and Babylonia in the east, and Lydia in the west. Babylonia rose to a great height of power and splendor under Nebuchadnezzar, as we have seen in our sketch of that king's life. The Medes, a brave and warlike people, never attained to so high a degree of civilization as the Babylonians, nor did they ever have a monarch whose fame equalled that of Sardanapalus, the King of Assyria; of Nebuchadnezzar; or of Crœsus, King of Lydia; but under a succession of astute and hardy warriors, who held the throne for something over one hundred and fifty years, their dominion was gradually extended until it stretched from the Indus to the centre of Asia Minor. Their greatest achievement had been the destruction of Nineveh in B.C. 606.

Lydia, the remaining province, touched the Median kingdom on the east, and on the west was only separated, in the beginning, from the Mediterranean by the narrow strip of territory occupied by the Greek colonies, which for a time acted as a bar to the encroachments of the Lydian monarchs and their conquerors.

When Cyrus came to manhood, these kingdoms, the successors of the Assyrian monarchy, were all flourishing in wealth and power. Media was ruled by Astyages, his grandfather—to accept the legendary history as it has come down to us; Babylonia the greatest of the three was governed by Nebuchadnezzar, while Lydia was ruled by Crœsus, a monarch wise above his peers, whose name has long been a synonym for unbounded wealth, and whose story, though not beyond the bounds of credibility, reads more like a fable of romance than a tale of sober fact.

Crœsus was the brother-in-law of Astyages, and in close alliance not only with the Medes, but with the Babylonians, the Egyptians, and the Greeks; and he was at the height of his power and was looking forward to still greater increase of his dominions, when in an evil hour he struck against the growing greatness of Cyrus, and was crushed in the encounter. Had he been less arrogant, the doom he wrought for himself might have been delayed, but it could not have been wholly averted. Nothing could have long withstood the greed of Cyrus for universal dominion.

We have seen what good cause Harpagus had to hate Astyages. But he nursed his revenge with crafty wisdom, and knowing himself powerless to act openly and alone, he tried what stratagem might do to bring about his aim, which was no less than the overthrow of Astyages by means of the tyrant's grandson, Cyrus. He did not take open measures until he knew he had allies enough at his back, and could strike with a sure aim. He worked with the great Median chiefs in private, stirring them up against Astyages by appeals of all sorts: to their ambition, their greed, their discontent, their private wrongs; and when he had secured the consent of enough nobles to his plans, he called upon Cyrus, as one who had chiefly suffered from the tyranny and cruelty of the king, to lead the proposed revolt in person. He knew that Cyrus had been gradually strengthening his own kingdom of Persia in preparation for the ambitious schemes of conquest he was nursing, but there was danger in correspondence with one who stood to Astyages in the double relation of a feared and hated grandson, and the chief of a rival people; and if we may believe Herodotus, Harpagus had recourse to a strange expedient to communicate his design to Cyrus. Disembowelling a dead hare, he inserted a letter in the cavity, and sent the animal to Cyrus as a present. When the letter came to the hands of Cyrus he eagerly accepted the offers it contained of leadership in the proposed revolt, and joined his forces with those of the disaffected Medes. Astyages was overthrown and his kingdom taken possession of by Cyrus. Herodotus draws a striking picture of the exultation of Harpagus over the success of his revengeful projects, and of the disdain with which Astyages reproached him for having called on another to do what, trusted and confided in as he was by his monarch, he might have accomplished for himself, and reaped the harvest which he had surrendered to another. Cyrus had the wisdom to spare the life of Astyages, and to attach him to his person as councillor and friend. Harpagus he made his lieutenant, and much of his success was owing to this man's wisdom and bravery. After the defeat of Astyages, Cyrus advanced against the lesser tribes that had owed allegiance to the Median king, and having reduced them one by one to submission, the power of the once mighty empire of the Medians passed to the inheritance of the Persians in the year 559 B.C.

When Crœsus heard of the overthrow of his brother-in-law by the hands of Cyrus, and of the setting up a great new monarchy on the ruins of the fallen kingdom, his own ambitious projects were blown into fresh activity by the desire for private revenge. Misled by his own interpretation of the oracle he consulted as to the likelihood of success in an expedition against the Persians, he advanced to withstand the conquering march of Cyrus; and his first success was against the Syrians of Cappadocia, a people subject to Cyrus, as having formed a part of the Median Kingdom. Cyrus, with a powerful army, came at once to the assistance of his new subjects, and meeting the forces of Crœsus on the plain of Cappadocia, a fiercely fought, but indecisive battle took place, which resulted in the retreat of Crœsus to his capital, Sardis, to seek the assistance of his allies and prepare to meet Cyrus with a larger force. In overweening confidence in his own success, he dismissed his mercenary troops, and sent messengers to Babylon, to Egypt, and to Sparta, calling on them to come with troops to his assistance within five months. No sooner had he shut himself up in Sardis, and dismissed his mercenaries, depending upon his own forces until assistance should come from his allies, than Cyrus advanced against him so swiftly that there was no escape from a battle. Crœsus, believing in his fortune, and trusting to the excellence of his cavalry, boldly took the field; but Cyrus, using stratagem where perhaps courage would not have availed, put his camels in front of his line, and massed his own horsemen behind them. The horses of Crœsus, maddened by the unaccustomed smell of the camels, refused to advance; but the Lydians, dismounting, fought so bravely on foot with their spears, that it was not until after a long and fierce combat that they were forced to retreat and seek safety within the walls of Sardis. The army of Cyrus invested the city, but it was so strongly fortified on all sides but one as to be impregnable by assault, and the side left unprotected by art was supposed to be amply protected by nature, since it abutted on the very edge of a steep precipice. But, after the siege had lasted fourteen days, a Persian sentinel saw one of the garrison descend the precipice to recover his helmet that had rolled down; and no sooner had he thus unwittingly showed the way, than the sentinel followed with a number of his fellow-soldiers and, reaching the top of the cliff in safety, attacked the guards, all unsuspicious, and gained an entrance to the city. The gates were opened to the Persians, and Crœsus with all his vast store of treasure became the prey of the conqueror. The fall of Sardis and the Lydian monarchy was followed by the subjection of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, a task which Cyrus left to the hands of Harpagus, while he himself turned eastward to pursue his conquests in Upper Asia and in Assyria. His greatest achievement in this quarter was the taking of Babylon. This he accomplished in the reign of Belshazzar, one of the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps his son, by turning the Euphrates, which ran through the middle of the city, out of its course; and when its bed was dry he entered the city by this road and captured it with little resistance.

Cyrus was now the sole master of the vast Assyrian Kingdom, once more in his hands brought back to something like the unity it had before the great Median revolt. But he was not content, nor was it perhaps possible for him to rest in the enjoyment of power and possessions extorted by force, and dependent on force to hold. The new empire, like the old one, was destined to break in pieces by its own weight. Cyrus was kept in constant activity by the necessity of resisting the inroads on his empire of the tribes in the north and farther east; and it was in endeavoring to repel invasion and to maintain order in the regions he had already conquered, that he met his death. After a reign of thirty years he was slain, in 529 B.C., in battle with the Massagetæ, a tribe of Central Asia. He left his kingdom to his son Cambyses.

Alexander the Great

(356-323 B.C.)


Alexander the Great, Son of Philip of Macedon and Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus of Epirus, was born at Pella, 356 B.C. His mind was formed chiefly by Aristotle, who instructed him in every branch of human learning, especially in the art of government. Alexander was sixteen years of age when his father marched against Byzantium, and left the government in his hands during his absence. Two years afterward, he displayed singular courage at the battle of Charonea (338 B.C.), where he overthrew the Sacred Band of the Thebans. "My son," said Philip, as he embraced him after the conflict, "seek for thyself another kingdom, for that which I leave is too small for thee." The father and son quarrelled, however, when the former divorced Olympias. Alexander took part with his mother, and fled to Epirus, to escape his father's vengeance; but receiving his pardon soon afterward, he returned, and accompanied him in an expedition against the Triballi, when he saved his life on the field. Philip, being appointed generalissimo of the Greeks, was preparing for a war with Persia, when he was assassinated (336 B.C.), and Alexander, not yet twenty years of age, ascended the throne.

After punishing his father's murderers, he marched on Corinth, and in a general assembly of the Greeks he caused himself to be appointed to the command of the forces against Persia. On his return to Macedon, he found the Illyrians and Triballi up in arms, whereupon he forced his way through Thrace, and was everywhere victorious. But now the Thebans had been induced, by a report of his death, to take up arms, and the Athenians, stimulated by the eloquence of Demosthenes, were preparing to join them. To prevent this coalition, Alexander rapidly marched against Thebes, which, refusing to surrender, was conquered and razed to the ground. Six thousand of the inhabitants were slain, and 30,000 sold into slavery; the house and descendants of the poet Pindar alone being spared. This severity struck terror into all Greece. The Athenians were treated with more leniency.

Alexander, having appointed Antipater his deputy in Europe, now prepared to prosecute the war with Persia. He crossed the Hellespont in the spring of 334 B.C., with 30,000 foot and 5,000 horse, attacked the Persian satraps at the River Granicus, and gained a complete victory, overthrowing the son-in-law of their king Darius with his own lance. As a result of the battle, most of the cities of Asia Minor at once opened their gates to the conqueror.

Alexander restored democracy in all the Greek cities; and as he passed through Gordium, cut the Gordian-knot, which none should loose but the ruler of Asia. During a dangerous illness at Tarsus, brought on by bathing in the Cydnus, he received a letter insinuating that Philip, his physician, had been bribed by Darius toy poison him. Alexander handed the letter to Philip, and at the same time swallowed the draught which the latter had prepared. As soon as he recovered, he advanced toward the defiles of Cilicia, in which Darius had stationed himself with an army of 600,000 men.

He arrived in November, 333 B.C., in the neighborhood of Issus, where, on the narrow plain between the mountains and the sea, the unwieldy masses of the Persians were thrown into confusion by the charge of the Macedonians, and fled in terror. On the left wing, 30,000 Greek mercenaries held out longer, but they, too, were at length compelled to yield. All the treasures as well as the family of Darius fell into the hands of the conqueror, who treated them with the greatest magnanimity. Overtures for peace, made by Darius on the basis of surrendering to Alexander all Asia west of the Euphrates, were rejected.

Alexander now turned toward Syria and Phœnicia. He occupied Damascus, where he found princely treasures, and secured to himself all the cities along the shores of the Mediterranean. Tyre, confident in its strong position, resisted him, but was conquered and destroyed, after seven months of incredible exertion (332 B.C.). Thence he marched victoriously through Palestine, where all the cities submitted to him except Gaza; it shared the same fate as Tyre. Egypt, weary of the Persian yoke, welcomed him as a deliverer; and in order to strengthen his dominion here, he restored all the old customs and religious institutions of the country, and founded Alexandria in the beginning of 331 B.C. Thence he marched through the Libyan Desert, in order to consult the oracle of Ammon, whose priest saluted him as a son of Zeus; and he returned with the conviction that he was indeed a god.

He then again set out to meet Darius; in October, 331 B.C., a great battle was fought on the plain stretching eastward to Arbela. Notwithstanding the immense superiority of his adversary, who had collected a new army of more than a million men, Alexander was not for a moment doubtful of victory. Heading the cavalry himself, he rushed on the Persians, and put them to flight; then hastened to the assistance of his left wing, which, in the meanwhile, had been sorely pressed. He was anxious to make Darius a prisoner, but Darius escaped on horseback, leaving his baggage and all his treasures a prey to the conqueror. Babylon and Susa, the treasure-houses of the East, opened their gates to Alexander, who next marched toward Persepolis, the capital of Persia, which he entered in triumph.

The marvellous successes of Alexander now began to dazzle his judgment and to inflame his passions. He became a slave to debauchery, and his caprices were as cruel as they were ungrateful. In a fit of drunkenness, and at the instigation of Thais, an Athenian courtesan, he set fire to Persepolis, the wonder of the world, and reduced it to a heap of ashes then, ashamed of the deed, he set out with his cavalry in pursuit of Darius. Learning that Bessus, the Bactrian satrap, held him a prisoner, he hastened his march, in the hope of saving him, but he found him mortally wounded (330 B.C.). He mourned over his fallen enemy, and caused him to be buried with all the customary honors, while he hunted down Bessus, who himself aspired to the throne, chasing him over the Oxus to Sogdiana (Bokhara).

Having discovered a conspiracy in which the son of Parmenio was implicated, he put both father and son to death, though Parmenio himself was innocent of any knowledge of the affair. This cruel injustice excited universal displeasure. In 329 he penetrated to the farthest known limits of Northern Asia, and overthrew the Scythians on the banks of the Jaxartes. In the following year he subdued the whole of Sogdiana, and married Roxana, whom he had taken prisoner. She was the daughter of Oxyartes, one of the enemy's captains, and was said to be the fairest of all the virgins of Asia. The murder of his foster-brother, Clitus, in a drunken brawl, was followed, in 327 B.C., by the discovery of a fresh conspiracy, in which Callisthenes, a nephew of Aristotle, was falsely implicated. For challenging Alexander's divinity, he was cruelly tortured and hanged.

In 327 B.C., proceeding to the conquest of India, hitherto known only by name, Alexander crossed the Indus near to the modern Attock, and pursued his way under the guidance of a native prince to the Hydaspes (Jhelum). He there was opposed by Porus, another native prince, whom he overthrew after a bloody contest, and there he lost his charger Bucephalus; thence he marched as lord of the country, through the Punjab, establishing Greek colonies. He then wished to advance to the Ganges, but the general murmuring of his troops obliged him, at the Hyphasis (modern Sutlej), to commence his retreat. On regaining the Hydaspes, he built a fleet, and sent one division of his army in it down the river, while the other followed along the banks, fighting its way through successive Indian armies. At length, having reached the ocean, he ordered Nearchus, the commander of the fleet, to sail thence to the Persian Gulf, while he himself struck inland with one division of his army, in order to return home through Gedrosia (Beluchistan). During this march his forces suffered fearfully from want of food and water. Of all the troops which had set out with Alexander, little more than a fourth part arrived with him in Persia (325 B.C.).

At Susa he married Stateira, the daughter of Darius, and he bestowed presents on those Macedonians (some ten thousand in number) who had married Persian women, his design being to unite the two nations. He also distributed liberal rewards among his soldiers. Soon afterward he was deprived, by death, of his favorite Hephestion. His grief was unbounded, and he interred the dead man with kingly honors. As he was returning from Ecbatana to Babylon, it is said that the Magi foretold that the latter city would prove fatal to him; but he despised their warnings. On the way, he was met by ambassadors from all parts of the world—Libya, Italy, Carthage, Greece, the Scythians, Celts, and Iberians.

At Babylon he was busy with gigantic plans for the future, both of conquest and civilization, when he was suddenly taken ill after a banquet, and died eleven days later, 323 B.C., in the thirty-second year of his age, and the thirteenth of his reign. His body was deposited in a golden coffin at Alexandria, by Ptolemaus, and divine honors were paid to him, not only in Egypt, but in other countries. He had appointed no heir to his immense dominions; but to the question of his friends, "Who should inherit them?" he replied, "The most worthy." After many disturbances, his generals recognized as Kings the weak-minded Aridæus—a son of Philip by Philinna, the dancer—and Alexander's posthumous son by Roxana, Alexander Ægus, while they shared the provinces among themselves, assuming the title of satraps. Perdiccas, to whom Alexander had, on his death-bed, delivered his ring, became guardian of the kings during their minority. The empire of Alexander soon broke up, and his dominions were divided among his generals.

Alexander and Darius


Alexander was more than a conqueror. He diffused the language and civilization of Greece wherever victory led him, and planted Greek kingdoms in Asia, which continued to exist for some centuries. At the very time of his death, he was engaged in devising plans for the drainage of the unhealthy marshes around Babylon, and a better irrigation of the extensive plains. It is even supposed that the fever which he caught there, rather than his famous drinking-bout, was the real cause of his death. To Alexander, the ancient world owed a vast increase of its knowledge in geography, natural history, etc. He taught Europeans the road to India, and gave them the first glimpses of that magnificence and splendor which has dazzled and captivated their imagination for more than two thousand years. See Freeman's "Historical Essays " (2d series, 1873), and Mahaffy's "Alexander's Empire" (1887).

The wonderful element in the campaigns of Alexander, and his tragical death at the height of his power, threw a rare romantic interest around his figure. It is ever the fate of a great name to be enshrined in fable, and Alexander soon became the hero of romantic story, scarcely more wonderful than the actual, but growing from age to age with the mythopœic spirit which can work as freely in fact as fiction. The earliest form of the story which we know is the great romance connected with the name of Callisthenes, which, under the influence of the living popular tradition, arose in Egypt about 200 A.D., and was carried through Latin translations to the West, through Armenian and Syriac versions to the East. It became widely popular during the middle ages, and was worked into poetic form by many writers in French and German. Alberich of Besançon wrote in Middle High German an epic on the subject in the first half of the twelfth century, which was the basis of the German "Pfaffe" Lamprecht's "Alexanderbuch," also of the twelfth century. The French poets Lambert li Court and Alexandre de Bernay composed, between 1180 and 1190, a romance of Alexander, the twelve-syllable metre of which gave rise to the name Alexandrines. The German poem of Rudolf of Ems was based on the Latin epic of Walter of Châtillon, about 1200, which became henceforward the prevailing form of the story. In contrast with it is the thirteenth century Old English epic of Alexander (in vol. i. of Weber's "Metrical Romances," 1810), based on the Callisthenes version. The story appears also in the East, worked up in conjunction with myths of other nationalities, especially the Persian. It appears in Firdusi, and among later writers, in Nizami. From the Persians both the substance of the story and its form in poetical treatment have extended to Turks and other Mohammedans, who have interpreted Alexander as the Dsulkarnein  ('two horned') of the Koran, and to the Hindus, which last had preserved no independent traditions of Alexander.


(247-183 B.C.)


Hannibal (the grace of Baal, the Hanniel of Scripture) was the son of the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, and was born in 247 B.C. It is said that in his ninth year his father led him to an altar and bade him swear eternal enmity to Rome. From the age of nine to eighteen he was trained in war and diplomacy under Hamilcar in Spain; and from his eighteenth to his twenty-fifth year he was the chief agent in carrying out the plans by which his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal, extended and consolidated the Carthaginian dominion in the Peninsula. On the death of Hasdrubal, in 221 B.C., the soldiers with one voice chose Hannibal, then in his twenty-sixth year, as their general. Forthwith he crossed the Tagus, and in two years reduced all Spain up to the Ebro, with the exception of the Greek colony of Saguntum. That town, which claimed the protection of Rome, fell in 218 B.C., and the Second Punic War, or, as the Romans justly called it, "the War of Hannibal," began. Garrisoning Libya with Spaniards, and Spain with Libyans (a precaution against treachery), Hannibal set out on his march for Rome. In the summer of 218 B.C. he left New Carthage with 90,000 foot, 12,000 horse, and 37 elephants, crossed the Pyrenees, and gained the Rhone, where his passage was barred by a host of Gauls. The general thereupon sent part of his troops two days' journey up-stream, with orders to cross the Rhone and fall on the rear of the barbarians. His orders were executed by Hanno, and the passage of the river was safely effected. He crossed the Alps in fifteen days, in the face of obstacles which would have proved insuperable to almost any other commander. His troops, reared under African and Spanish suns, perished in thousands amid ice and snow. The native tribes threatened the annihilation of his force, and were only dispersed by his matchless courage and address. The beasts of burden fell over precipices, or stuck fast and were frozen to death. In places, rocks had to be shattered and roads constructed to enable the men to creep round projecting crags. When he gained the valley of Aosta, Hannibal had but 20,000 foot and 6,000 horse to attempt the conquest of a power which had lately shown that she could put an army of 170,000 unrivalled soldiers into the field.

After allowing his men to recruit in the villages of the friendly Insubres, he overcame the Taurini, besieging and taking Turin, and forced the Ligurian and Celtic tribes on the Upper Po to serve in his army. At the Ticinus, a stream which enters the Po near Pavia, he encountered the Romans under Scipio, the father of Scipio Africanus. The cavalry of both armies joined battle, Hannibal's Numidian horse proved their superiority, and Scipio fell back beyond the Po. The Carthaginians crossed the river, and the first great battle of the campaign was fought in the plain of the Trebia. Placing Mago in ambush with 2,000 men, Hannibal enticed the Romans across the stream. His light troops retired before the legionaries, and as Scipio was pressing on to fancied victory he was taken in flank by the terrible Numidian horse, Mago came down in the rear, and the 40,000 men of the consular army were either cut to pieces or scattered in flight. Wintering in the valley of the Po, in the early spring Hannibal crossed the Apennines and pushed through a region of lakes, flooded by the melting of the snow, to Fæsulæ. The beasts of burden perished in vast numbers amid the morasses; the Gauls, disheartened by the perils of the journey, had to be driven forward by Mago's horsemen, and the general lost an eye. Quitting Fæsulæ, Hannibal wasted Etruria with fire and sword, and marched toward Rome, leaving behind him two consular, armies of 60,000 men. He awaited the consul Flaminius by the Lake Trasimene, where the hills, retiring in a semicircle from the shore, enclose a plain entered by two narrow passes. Concealing the main body of his army amid the hills, he placed his Numidians in ambush at the pass by which the Romans must enter; while he stationed part of his infantry in a conspicuous position near the other defile. The Romans pushed into the valley; the pass in their rear was secured by the Carthaginians who had lain in ambush; Hannibal's men charged from the heights, and the army of Flaminius was annihilated. Six thousand infantry cut their way through the farther pass, but these were overtaken by the horse under Maherbal and forced to yield on the following day.

After recruiting his men in the champaign country of Picenum, where the Numidian horses, we are told, were groomed with old Italian wine, Hannibal marched through Apulia and ravaged Campania, dogged by the dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus, whom he vainly endeavored to entice into an engagement. He wintered at Gerontium, and in the spring took up a position at Cannæ, on the Aufidus. A Roman army of 80,000 men, under the consuls L. Æmilius Paulus and P. Terentius Varro, marched against him. Hannibal flung his troops (he had but 30,000) into a space enclosed on the rear and wings by a loop of the river. He placed his Spanish infantry in the centre, with the African foot on either flank. His Numidian horse, now reduced to 2,000 men, he posted on the right wing; while Hasdrubal, with 8,000 heavy cavalry, was opposed to the Roman cavalry on the left. The legionaries pressed into the loop, and Hannibal drew back his centre before them. Hasdrubal, on the left, broke the Roman cavalry, swept round to the left wing of the Romans, drove the second detachment of Roman horse into flight, and then came thundering in the rear of the legionaries. The Libyans, who had by the general's orders fallen back as the Romans pressed after the retiring Spanish infantry, now closed on the enemy's flanks. Packed together so closely that they could not use their weapons, assailed in front, flank, and rear, the legionaries were hewn down through eight hours of carnage, till 50,000 lay dead on the field. The battle became a butchery. Nearly 20,000 men were taken prisoners. The consul Paulus, the pro-consul Servilius, the master of the horse Minucius, 21 military tribunes, and 60 senators lay amid the slain. On his side Hannibal lost but 5,700 men. "Send me on with the horse, general," said Maherbal, "and in five days thou shalt sup in the Capitol."

But the general was wiser than the fiery captain of the horse. It has been common to censure Hannibal for neglecting to march on Rome after the battle of Cannæ. But his dazzling triumph did not for a moment unsettle his clear judgment. He knew that his forces were unequal to the task of storming a walled city garrisoned by a population of fighting men. An attack which he had made on Spoletium had proved the inadequacy of the small Carthaginian army to, carry a strongly fortified town. Had he followed the advice of Maherbal, he would in all likelihood have dashed his army to pieces against the walls of Rome. His aim was to destroy the common oppressor by raising the Italian allies against her; and the hope was partly justified by the revolt of Lucania and Bruttium, Samnium and Apulia. The soundness of judgment, the patience and self-control which he evinced in this hour of intoxicating success, are hardly less marvellous than the genius by which the success had been won. After the battle of Cannæ the character of the war changes. Hitherto Hannibal had swept everything before him. Rivers and mountains and morasses had been powerless to thwart his progress. Army after army, vastly superior in numbers and composed of the best fighting men the ancient world ever saw, had come against him to be broken, scattered, and destroyed. His career through Italy had been, in the words of Horace, as the rush of the flames through a forest of pines. But after Cannæ the tide turned. His niggardly, short-sighted countrymen denied him the support without which success was impossible. As his veterans were lost to him he bad no means of filling their places, while the Romans could put army after army into the field. But through the long years during which he maintained a hopeless struggle in Italy he was never defeated. Nor did one of his veterans desert him; never was there a murmur of disaffection in his camp. It has been well said that his victories over his motley followers were hardly less wonderful than his victories over nature and over Rome.



Hannibal spent the winter of 216-215 B.C. at Capua, where his men are said to have been demoralized by luxurious living. When he again took the field the Romans wisely avoided a pitched battle, though the Carthaginians overran Italy, capturing Locri, Thurii, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other towns. In 211 B.C. he marched on Rome, rode up to the Colline gate, and, it is said, flung his spear over the walls. But the fall of Capua smote the Italian allies with dismay, and ruined his hopes of recruiting his ever-diminishing forces from their ranks. In 210 B.C. he overcame the prætor Fulvius at Herdonea, and in the following year gained two battles in Apulia. Thereafter, he fell upon the consuls Crispinus and Marcellus, both of whom were slain and their forces routed, while he almost annihilated the Roman army which was besieging Locri. In 207 B.C. his brother Hasdrubal marched from Spain to his aid, but was surprised, defeated, and slain at the Metaurus by the consul Nero. By the barbarous commands of Nero, Hasdrubal's head was flung into the camp of Hannibal, who had been till then in ignorance of his brother's doom. The battle of the Metaurus sealed the fate of "the lion's brood"—of the great house of Hamilcar. But for four years Hannibal stood at bay in the hill-country of Bruttium, defying with his thinned army every general who was sent against him, till in 202 B.C., after an absence of fifteen years, he was recalled to Africa to repel the Roman invasion. In the same year he met Scipio at Zama; his raw levies fled, and in part went over to the enemy; his veterans were cut to pieces where they stood, and Carthage was at the mercy of Rome. So ended the Second Punic War—the war, as Arnold so truly said, of a man with a nation, and the war which is perhaps the most wonderful in all history. Three hundred thousand Italians had fallen, and three hundred towns had been destroyed in the struggle.

Peace being made, Hannibal turned his genius to political toils. He amended the constitution, cut down the power of the ignoble oligarchy, checked corruption, and placed the city's finances on a sounder footing. The enemies whom he made by his reforms denounced him to the Romans, and the Romans demanded that he should be surrendered into their hands. Setting out as a voluntary exile, Hannibal visited Tyre, the mother-city of Carthage, and then betook himself to the court of Antiochus, at Ephesus. He was well received by the king, who nevertheless rejected his advice to carry the war with Rome into Italy. On the conclusion of peace, to avoid being given up to the Romans, he repaired to Prusias, king of Bithynia, for whom he gained a naval victory over the king of Pergamus. The Romans again demanding that he should be surrendered, he baffled his enemies by taking poison, which, we are told, he carried about with him in a ring, and died at Lybyssa about the year 183 B.C.

In judging of the character and achievements of Hannibal, it must never be forgotten, that for all we know of him, we are indebted to his implacable enemies. No Carthaginian record of that astounding career has come down to us. The Romans did all that unscrupulous malignity can, to blacken the fame and belittle the deeds of the most terrible of their foes. Yet, though calumny has done its' bitterest against him, Hannibal not only dazzles the imagination, but takes captive the heart. He stands out as the incarnation of magnanimity and patriotism and self-sacrificing heroism, no less than of incomparable military genius. Napoleon, the only general who could plausibly challenge the Carthaginian's supremacy, had throughout the greater part of his career an immense superiority to his adversaries in the quality of the forces which he wielded. He had the enthusiasm of the Revolution behind him, and he was unhampered by authorities at home. Hannibal, on the contrary, saw his plans thwarted and finally wrecked by the sordid merchant-nobles of the city he strove so hard to save. He had not, like Alexander, to lead picked troops against effeminate Asiatics. He had to mould his little army out of raw and barbarous levies. He had no reinforcements to fall back on. With a motley army of Libyans, Gauls, and Spaniards he had to encounter a nation in arms—a nation of the stoutest and most highly trained warriors of ancient times. There is not in all history so wonderful an example of what a single man of genius may achieve against the most tremendous odds, as the story of the Phœnician hero—the greatest captain that the world has seen.

Scipio Africanus Major

(235-183 B.C.)

Scipio Africanus

P Cornelius Scipio Cornelius Scipio, Africanus Major, was the son of that P. Cornelius Scipio who was defeated by Hannibal at the Ticinus. If it be true that at the age of seventeen Scipio fought in this battle, and rescued his wounded father, he must have been born in B.C. 235. He was in the battle of Cannæ (B.C. 216) as a tribune, and was among those who, after the defeat, escaped to Canusium. Here the chief command of the remaining troops was unanimously entrusted to him and another. On this occasion it was owing to his presence of mind that the remnants of the Roman army did not, in their despair, quit Italy.

In B.C. 212, Scipio was curule ædile, though he had not yet attained the legitimate age. The tribunes of the people endeavored to prevent his election, but they were obliged to give up their opposition, for the people, who seem to have perceived the extraordinary abilities of the young man, elected him almost unanimously. In B.C. 211 his father and uncle fell in Spain, and the Carthaginians again took possession of the country, which they had almost entirely lost. When Capua had fallen again into their hands, and Italy no longer required their exclusive attention, the Romans determined to act with more energy against the Carthaginians in Spain. On the day of the election, no one ventured to come forward to undertake the command in this war. Young Scipio, then scarcely twenty-four years of age, at last offered to take the command of the army in Spain. The people were struck with admiration at the courage of the young man, and gave him command, with pro-consular power, which was afterward prolonged to him for several years (B.C. 210-206).

The extraordinary power which young Scipio exercised over his contemporaries was perhaps partly owing to superstition, for he was believed to be a favorite of the gods. Ever since he had risen to manhood, he went every morning into the Capitol, where he spent some hours in solitude and meditation. Hence all he did was considered by the people to be the result of his intercourse with the gods. Scipio himself partook in this opinion, and cherished it; and the extraordinary success of all his enterprises must have strengthened his belief.

Toward the end of the summer, in B.C. 210, or, as Livy says, at the beginning of spring, Scipio set out for Spain with an army of 11,000 men, landed at the mouth of the Iberus, and undertook the command of the whole Roman forces in Spain. He was accompanied by his friend, Lælius. His first object was to gain possession of New Carthage, where the Carthaginians kept their Spanish hostages. Lælius made the attack with the fleet from the seaside, while Scipio conducted the operations on land. The town soon fell into the hands of the Romans, and the generosity with which Scipio treated the Spanish hostages gained over a great number of Spaniards. The hostages of those tribes who declared themselves allies of the Romans were sent home without ransom. It is also related that a very beautiful maiden having fallen to his special lot in the division of the booty, Scipio finding her sad, inquired the cause, and learning that she was betrothed to a neighboring chief, sent for the lover, and personally restored the maid in all honor to his arms. A short time after the conquest of this place Scipio went to Tarraco, where he received embassies from various Spanish tribes, who offered to become the allies of the Romans or to recognize their supremacy.

Scipio is said not to have set out against Hasdrubal until the year following, but it can scarcely be conceived why the Carthaginians should have been so long inactive, and it is a probable supposition that the battle with Hasdrubal, which Livy and Polybius assign to the year B.C. 209, was fought very soon after the taking of New Carthage. In this battle Scipio gained a great victory; 8,000 Carthaginians were slain, and 22,000, with their camp, fell into the hands of the victor. Many of the Spaniards now wished to proclaim Scipio their king, but he refused the honor.

Hasdrubal fled with the remainder of his army toward the Tagus and the Pyrenees. Scipio did not follow him, partly because he thought his enemy too much weakened to be dangerous, and partly because he feared lest he might expose himself to the combined attacks of the two other Carthaginian generals, Mago, and Hasdrubal, son of Gisco. Hasdrubal Barcas, the defeated general, however, had carried considerable wealth with him in his flight, and with these means he raised an army in Spain, to lead into Italy to the assistance of his brother Hannibal, hoping thus to bring the war to an end in Italy. During these preparations of Hasdrubal, Scipio was engaged against the two other Carthaginian generals, one of whom (Mago) was defeated, in B.C. 208, by the proprietor Silanus, in the country of the Celtiberians, and Hanno, who came with an auxiliary army from Africa, was taken prisoner. After this success of the proprietor, Scipio united his forces with those of Silanus to attack Hasdrubal, son of Gisco. But as this general had retired to the south of Spain, and had distributed his army in the fortified places on the Bætis as far as Gades, Scipio (through his brother Lucius) only took the important town of Oringis, and then gradually returned across the Iberus. The power of the Carthaginians in Spain was, however, already broken, and in the year following (B.C. 207) Scipio gained possession of nearly all Spain by a victory, the place of which is not clearly ascertained, some calling it Silpia or Bæcula, some Hipa, and others Carmo.

Scipio Africanus


Scipio, now in the almost undisputed possession of Spain, began to turn his eyes to Africa, and, accompanied by his friend Lælius, he ventured to pay a visit to King Syphax, with whom Lælius had already commenced negotiations. Here Scipio is said to have met Hasdrubal, son of Gisco, and to have made a very favorable impression on Syphax as well as on Hasdrubal. After a short stay in Africa, Scipio returned to Spain, where he first punished several towns for their faithlessness, and subdued some of the Spanish chiefs who ventured to claim their former independence. During these occupations Scipio was attacked by a severe illness, from which, however, he recovered in time to quell an insurrection of 8,000 Roman soldiers, who were discontented from not having derived from their conquests those advantages which they had expected, and who are said also to have been bribed by the Carthaginians. Mago had in the meantime withdrawn to the Balearic Islands, and thence to Liguria. Gades, the last place which the Carthaginians possessed in Spain, was now taken from them, and thus the war in Spain was at an end.

Toward the close of the year B.C. 206, Scipio surrendered the command of the Roman forces in Spain to the proconsuls L. Lentulus and L. Manlius Acidinus, and returned to Rome. He delivered to the ærarium the immense treasures which he brought from Spain. He evidently wished for a triumph, but the senate paid no attention to his wishes, for no one had ever triumphed at Rome before he had held the consulship. In the year B.C. 205, Scipio was made consul with P. Licinius Crassus, who was at the same time pontifex maximus, and was consequently not allowed to leave Italy. If, therefore, a war was to be carried on abroad, the command necessarily devolved upon Scipio. His wish was immediately to sail with an army to Africa, but the more cautious senators, and especially Q. Fabius, were decidedly opposed to his plan, partly because Hannibal, as long as he was in Italy, appeared too formidable to be neglected, and partly because they were influenced by jealousy.

All that Scipio could obtain was that Sicily should be assigned to him as his province, with thirty vessels, and with permission to sail over to Africa in case he should think it advantageous to the republic. But he did not obtain from the Senate permission to levy an army, and he therefore called upon the Italian allies to provide him with troops and other things necessary for carrying on the war. As they were all willing to support the conqueror of the Carthaginians in Spain, he was soon enabled to sail to Sicily with nearly seven thousand volunteers and thirty ships. Soon after his arrival in Sicily he sent his friend Lælius with a part of his fleet to Africa, partly to keep up the connection which he had formed there, on his visit from Spain, with Syphax and Massinissa (for to the latter Scipio had sent back a nephew who had been taken prisoner in the battle of Bæcula), and partly to show to his timid opponents at Rome how groundless their fears were. He himself employed his time in Sicily most actively, in preparing and disciplining his new army.

Massinissa, dissatisfied with the Carthaginians, was anxious for the arrival of Scipio in Africa, but Syphax had altered his policy, and again joined the Carthaginians. The enemies of Scipio at Rome at last got an opportunity of attacking him, and they nearly succeeded in depriving him of his post. Without being authorized by the Senate, Scipio had taken part in the conquest of Locri, in Southern Italy, and had left his legate, Q. Flaminius, as commander of the Roman garrison in that place. The legate treated the Locrians with such severity and cruelty that they sent an embassy to Rome to lay their complaints before the Senate. As Scipio, although acquainted with the conduct of Flaminius, had nevertheless left him in command, his enemies attacked him on this and other grounds, and Fabius Maximus even proposed that he should be recalled. A commission was sent out to inquire into the state of affairs and to bring Scipio home, if the charges against him were found true. Scipio proved that his army was in the best possible condition; and the commissioners were so surprised at what they saw, that instead of recalling the consul, they bade him sail to Africa as soon as he might think it proper, and to adopt any measures that he might think useful.

Scipio, in consequence of this, sailed in B.C. 204 as proconsul, with a large army, from Lilybæum to Africa, and landed in the neighborhood of Utica. Here he made successful incursions into the neighboring country, and Hasdrubal, who attempted to prevent them, suffered a great defeat. But Scipio could not gain possession of Utica, which was of the greater importance to him and his fleet as the winter was approaching, and he was obliged to spend the season on a piece of land extending into the sea, which he fortified as well as he could. Toward the close of the winter the Carthaginians, united with Syphax, intended to make a general attack on Scipio's army and fleet, but being informed of their plans, he surprised the camps of Hasdrubal and Syphax in the night, and only a small number of the enemy escaped. Syphax withdrew into his own dominions, but was defeated by Massinissa and Lælius, and taken prisoner with his wife and one of his sons. Massinissa married Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax, who had formerly been engaged to him, but had been given to Syphax for political reasons. Scipio, fearing the influence she might have on Massinissa (for she was a Carthaginian), claimed her as a prisoner belonging to the Romans, and Massinissa poisoned her, to save her from the humiliation of captivity.

The fears and apprehensions of the Carthaginians now increased to such a degree that they thought it necessary to recall Hannibal from Italy, and at the same time they sued for peace. The terms which Scipio proposed would have concluded the war in a manner honorable to the Romans. The Carthaginians, however, whose only object was to gain time, made no objections to the conditions, but only concluded a truce of forty-five days, during which an embassy was to be sent to Rome. Before this truce was at an end, the Carthaginian populace plundered some Roman vessels with provisions, which were wrecked off Carthage, and even insulted the Roman envoys who came to demand reparation. Scipio did not resent this conduct and allowed the Carthaginian ambassadors, on their return from Rome, to pass on to Carthage unmolested. About this time (it was the autumn of the year B.C. 203) Hannibal arrived in Africa, and soon collected an army in numbers far exceeding that of Scipio. He first made a successful campaign against Massinissa. Scipio was at this time informed that the consul Tib. Claudius Nero would come with an army to cooperate with him against Hannibal.

Scipio, who wished to bring the war to a conclusion, and was unwilling to share the glory with anyone else, determined to bring Hannibal to a decisive battle. The Carthaginian at first avoided an engagement; but when Scipio, in order to deceive the enemy, hastily retreated as if he intended to take to flight, Hannibal followed him with his cavalry and lost a battle in the neighborhood of Zama. A tribune of Scipio soon afterward cut off a large convoy of provisions which was on its way to the camp of Hannibal, and this suddenly threw him into such difficulties that he began to negotiate with Scipio for peace. The conditions, however, which Scipio now proposed were so humiliating, that the Carthaginians would not accept them. Hannibal, therefore, though he saw the impossibility of gaining any further advantages, was compelled to decide the affair by a last and desperate effort. In a personal interview between the two generals Scipio was inexorable as to the conditions. Hannibal's army was in a bad condition; and in the ensuing battle, to the west of Zama, the victory of Scipio was complete. This defeat (in B.C. 202) was the death-blow to Carthage.

Scipio, on his return to Italy, was received with the greatest enthusiasm; he entered Rome in triumph, and was henceforward distinguished by the name of Africanus. He now for several years continued to live at Rome, apparently without taking any part in public affairs. In B.C. 199 he obtained the office of censor with P. Ælius Pætus, and in B.C. 194 he was made consul a second time with Tib. Sempronius Longus, and princeps senatus, a distinction with which he had already been honored in B.C. 196, and which was conferred upon him for the third time in B.C. 190. In B.C. 193, during one of the disputes between the Carthaginians and Massinissa, Scipio was sent with two other commissioners to mediate between the parties; but nothing was settled, though, as Livy observes, Scipio might easily have put an end to the disputes. Scipio was the only Roman who thought it unworthy of the republic to support those Carthaginians who persecuted Hannibal; and there was a tradition that Scipio, in B.C. 193, was sent on an embassy to Antiochus, and that he met Hannibal in his exile, who in the conversation which took place, declared Scipio the greatest of all generals. Whether the story of the conversation be true or not, the judgment ascribed to Hannibal is just; for Scipio as a general was second to none but Hannibal himself.

In the year B.C. 190, some discussions arose in the Senate as to what provinces should be assigned to the two consuls, Lælius and L. Cornelius Scipio, brother of the great Africanus. Africanus, although he was princeps senatus, offered to accompany his brother, as legate, if the Senate would give him Greece as his province, for this province conferred upon Lucius the command in the war against Antiochus. The offer was accepted, and the two brothers set out for Greece, and thence for Asia. Africanus took his son with him on this expedition, but by some unlucky chance the boy was taken prisoner, and sent to Antiochus. The king offered to restore him to freedom, and to give a considerable sum of money, if the father would interpose his influence to obtain favorable terms for the king. Africanus refused; but the king, notwithstanding, soon after sent the boy back to his father, who just then was suffering from illness, and was absent from the camp. To show his gratitude, Africanus sent a message to Antiochus, advising him not to engage in a battle until he himself had returned to the Roman camp. After the great battle near Mount Sipylus, Antiochus again applied to Scipio for peace, and the latter now used his influence with his brother Lucius and the council of war, on behalf of the king. The conditions of the peace were tolerably mild, but they were afterward made much more severe when the peace was ratified at Rome.

The enemies of Africanus at Rome had now another charge against him. The peace with Antiochus, and the conditions proposed by Africanus and his brother Lucius, were regarded by the hostile party as the result of bribes from Antiochus, and of the liberation of the son of Africanus. A charge was therefore brought against the two brothers, on their return to Rome, of having accepted bribes of the king, and of having retained a part of the treasures which they ought to have delivered up to the ærarium. At the same time they were called upon to give an account of the sums of money they had taken from Antiochus. Lucius was ready to obey; but his brother Africanus with indignation snatched the accounts from the hands of his brother and tore them to pieces before the Senate. The tribune of the people, C. Minucius Augurinus, however, fined Lucius; and when he was going to be thrown into prison until he should pay the heavy fine, Africanus dragged him away; and the tribune Tib. Gracchus, though disapproving of the violence of Africanus, liberated Lucius from imprisonment. Africanus himself was now summoned before the people by the tribune M. Nævius; but instead of answering the charges he reminded the people that it was the anniversary of his victory at Zama, and bade them rather thank the gods for such citizens as he.

After these troubles he withdrew to his villa near Liternum, and it was owing to the interposition of Tib. Gracchus that he was not compelled to obey another summons. The estates of his brother Lucius, however, were confiscated (B.C. 187), but the sum produced by their sale did not make up the amount of the fine. His friends and clients not only offered to make up the sum, but their generosity would even have made him richer than he had been before; but he refused to accept anything beyond what was absolutely necessary for his support. Africanus never returned from his voluntary exile, and he spent the last years of his life in quiet retirement at his villa. He is said to have wished to be buried on his estate; but there was, as Livy says, a tradition that he died at Rome, and was buried in the tomb of his family near the Porta Capena, where statues of him, his brother Lucius, and their friend Q. Ennius, were erected. The year of his death is not quite certain; for, according to Polybius, he died in the same year with Hannibal and Philopœmen (B.C. 183); according to others, two years earlier (B.C. 185).

In judging of Scipio Africanus as a general, we may adopt the judgment ascribed to Hannibal; but as a Roman citizen he is very far from deserving such praise. His pride and haughtiness were intolerable, and the laws of the constitution were set at nought whenever they opposed his own views and passions. As a statesman he scarcely did anything worth mentioning. By his wife Æmilia, daughter of Æmilius Paullus, he had two daughters, one of whom married P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, the other, the celebrated Cornelia, married Tib. Sempronius Gracchus, and was the mother of the two Gracchi, the tribunes of the people.

Caius Marius

(157-86 B.C.)


Caius Marius was at this time forty-eight years old. Two-thirds of his life were over, and a name which was to sound throughout the world and be remembered through all ages, had as yet been scarcely heard of beyond the army and the political clubs in Rome. He was born at Arpinum, a Latin township, seventy miles from the capital, in the year 157 B.C. His father was a small farmer, and he was himself bred to the plough. He joined the army early, and soon attracted notice by his punctual discharge of his duties. In a time of growing looseness, Marius was strict himself in keeping discipline and in enforcing it as he rose in the service. He was in Spain when Jugurtha was there, and made himself especially useful to Scipio; he forced his way steadily upward, by his mere soldier like qualities, to the rank of military tribune. Rome, too, had learnt to know him, for he was chosen tribune of the people the year after the murder of Caius Gracchus. Being a self-made man, he belonged naturally to the popular party. While in office he gave offence in some way to the men in power, and was called before the Senate to answer for himself. But he had the right on his side, it is likely, for they found him stubborn and impertinent, and they could make nothing of their charges against him. He was not bidding at this time, however, for the support of the mob. He had the integrity and sense to oppose the largesses of corn; and he forfeited his popularity by trying to close the public granaries before the practice had passed into a system. He seemed as if made of a block of hard Roman oak, gnarled and knotted, but sound in all its fibres. His professional merit continued to recommend him. At the age of forty he became prætor, and was sent to Spain, where he left a mark again by the successful severity by which he cleared the province of banditti. He was a man neither given himself to talking, nor much talked about in the world; but he was sought for wherever work was to be done, and he had made himself respected and valued in high circles, for after his return from the Peninsula he had married into one of the most distinguished of the patrician families.

Marius by this marriage became a person of social consideration. His father had been a client of the Metelli; and Cæcilius Metellus, who must have known Marius by reputation and probably in person, invited him to go as second in command in the African campaign. He was moderately successful. Towns were taken, battles were won: Metellus was incorruptible, and the Numidians sued for peace. But Jugurtha wanted terms, and the consul demanded unconditional surrender. Jugurtha withdrew into the desert; the war dragged on; and Marius, perhaps ambitious, perhaps impatient at the general's want of vigor, began to think that he could make quicker work of it. The popular party was stirring again in Rome, the Senate having so notoriously disgraced itself. There was just irritation that a petty African prince could defy the whole power of Rome for so many years; and though a democratic consul had been unheard of for a century, the name of Marius began to be spoken of as a possible candidate. Marius consented to stand. The law required that he must be present in person at the election, and he applied to his commander for leave of absence. Metellus laughed at his pretensions, and bade him wait another twenty years. Marius, however, persisted, and was allowed to go. The patricians strained their resources to defeat him, but he was chosen with enthusiasm. Metellus was recalled, and the conduct of the Numidian war was assigned to the new hero of the "Populares."

A shudder of alarm ran, no doubt, through the Senate house, when the determination of the people was known. A successful general could not be disposed of so easily as oratorical tribunes. Fortunately, Marius was not a politician. He had no belief in democracy. He was a soldier, and had a soldier's way of thinking on government and the methods of it. His first step was a reformation in the army. Hitherto the Roman legions had been no more than the citizens in arms, called for the moment from their various occupations, to return to them when the occasion for their services was past. Marius had perceived that fewer men, better trained and disciplined, could be made more effective and be more easily handled. He had studied war as a science. He had perceived that the present weakness need be no more than an accident, and that there was a latent force in the Roman state, which needed only organization to resume its ascendency. "He enlisted," it was said, "the worst of the citizens," men, that is to say, who had no occupation, and who became soldiers by profession; and as persons without property could not have furnished themselves at their own cost, he must have carried out the scheme proposed by Gracchus, and equipped them at the expense of the state. His discipline was of the sternest. The experiment was new; and men of rank who had a taste for war in earnest, and did not wish that the popular party should have the whole benefit and credit of the improvements, were willing to go with him; among them a dissipated young patrician, called Lucius Sulla, whose name also was destined to be memorable. By these methods, and out of these materials, an army was formed, such as no Roman general had hitherto led. It performed extraordinary marches, carried its water-supplies with it in skins, and followed the enemy across sandy deserts hitherto found impassable. In less than two years the war was over. The Moors, to whom Jugurtha had fled, surrendered him to Sulla; and he was brought in chains to Rome, where he finished his life in a dungeon.

Marius had formed an army barely in time to save Italy from being totally overwhelmed. A vast migratory wave of population had been set in motion behind the Rhine and the Danube. The German forests were uncultivated. The hunting and pasture grounds were too straight for the numbers crowded into them, and two enormous hordes were rolling westward and southward in search of some new abiding-place. Each division consisted of hundreds of thousands. They travelled, with their wives and children, their wagons, as with the ancient Scythians and with the modern South African Dutch, being at once their conveyance and their home. Gray-haired priestesses tramped along among them, barefooted, in white linen dresses, the knife at their girdle; northern Iphigenias, sacrificing prisoners as they were taken, to the gods of Valhalla. On they swept, eating up the country, and the people flying before them. In 113 B.C. the skirts of the Cimbri had encountered a small Roman force near Trieste, and destroyed it. Four years later another attempt was made to stop them, but the Roman army was beaten and its camp taken. The Cimbrian host did not, however, turn at that time upon Italy. Their aim was the south of France. They made their way through the Alps into Switzerland, where the Helvetii joined them, and the united mass rolled over the Jura and down the bank of the Rhone. Roused at last into the exertion, the Senate sent into Gaul the largest force which the Romans had ever brought into the field. They met the Cimbri at Orange, and were simply annihilated. Eighty thousand Romans and forty thousand camp-followers were said to have fallen. The numbers in such cases are generally exaggerated, but the extravagance of the report is a witness to the greatness of the overthrow. The Romans had received a worse blow than at Cannæ. They were brave enough, but they were commanded by persons whose recommendations for command were birth or fortune; "preposterous men," as Marius termed them, who had waited for their appointment to open the military manuals.

Had the Cimbri chosen at this moment to recross the Alps into Italy, they had only to go and take possession, and Alaric would have been antedated by five centuries. In great danger it was the Senate's business to suspend the constitution. The constitution was set aside now, but it was set aside by the people themselves, not by the Senate. One man only could save the country, and that man was Marius. His consulship was over, and custom forbade his re-election. The Senate might have appointed him Dictator, but would not. The people, custom or no custom, chose him consul a second time—a significant acknowledgment that the Empire, which had been won by the sword, must be held by the sword, and that the sword itself must be held by the hand that was best fitted to use it. Marius first triumphed for his African victory, and, as an intimation to the Senate that the power for the moment was his and not theirs, he entered the Curia in his triumphal dress. He then prepared for the barbarians who, to the alarmed imagination of the city, were already knocking at its gates. Time was the important element in the matter. Had the Cimbri come at once after their victory at Orange, Italy had been theirs. But they did not come. With the unguided movements of some wild force of nature, they swerved away through Aquitaine to the Pyrenees. They swept across the mountains into Spain. Thence, turning north, they passed up the Atlantic coast and round to the Seine, the Gauls flying before them; thence on to the Rhine, where the vast body of the Teutons joined them, and fresh detachments of the Helvetii. It was as if some vast tide-wave had surged over the country and rolled through it, searching out the easiest passages. At length, in two divisions, the invaders moved definitely toward Italy, the Cimbri following their old tracks by the Eastern Alps toward Aquileia and the Adriatic, the Teutons passing down through Provence, and making for the road along the Mediterranean. Two years had been consumed in these wanderings, and Marius was by this time ready for them. The Senate had dropped the reins, and no longer governed or misgoverned; the popular party, represented by the army, was supreme. Marius was continued in office, and was a fourth time consul. He had completed his military reforms, and the army was now a professional service, with regular pay. Trained corps of engineers were attached to each legion. The campaigns of the Romans were thenceforward to be conducted with spade and pickaxe as much as with sword and javelin, and the soldiers learnt the use of tools as well as arms.

The effect of the change was like enchantment. The delay of the Germans made it unnecessary to wait for them in Italy. Leaving Catulus, his colleague in the consulship, to check the Cimbri in Venetia, Marius went himself, taking Sulla with him, into the south of France. As the barbarian host came on, he occupied a fortified camp near Aix. He allowed the enormous procession to roll past him in their wagons toward the Alps. Then, following cautiously, he watched his opportunity to fall on them. The Teutons were brave, but they had no longer mere legionaries to fight with, but a powerful machine, and the entire mass of them, men, women, and children, in numbers which, however uncertain, were rather those of a nation than an army, were swept out of existence. The Teutons were destroyed on the 10th of July, 102. In the year following, the same fate overtook their comrades. The Cimbri had forced the passes through the mountains. They had beaten the unscientific patrician Catulus, and had driven him back on the Po. But Marius came to his rescue. The Cimbri were cut to pieces near Mantua, in the summer of 101, and Italy was saved.

The victories of Marius mark a new epoch in Roman history. The legions were no longer the levy of the citizens in arms, who were themselves the state for which they fought. The legionaries were citizens still. They had votes, and they used them; but they were professional soldiers with the modes of thought which belong to soldiers; and besides, the power of the hustings was now the power of the sword. The constitution remained to appearance intact, and means were devised sufficient to encounter, it might be supposed, the new danger. Standing armies were prohibited in Italy. Victorious generals returning from campaigns abroad were required to disband their legions on entering the sacred soil. But the materials of these legions remained a distinct order from the rest of the population, capable of instant combination, and in combination, irresistible, save by opposing combinations of the same kind.

The danger from the Germans was no sooner gone than political anarchy broke loose again. Marius, the man of the people, was the saviour of his country. He was made consul a fifth time, and a sixth. The party which had given him his command shared, of course, in his pre-eminence. The elections could be no longer interfered with or the voters intimidated. The public offices were filled with the most violent agitators, who believed that the time had come to revenge the Gracchi, and carry out the democratic revolution, to establish the ideal Republic, and the direct rule of the citizen assembly. This, too, was a chimera. If the Roman Senate could not govern, far less could the Roman mob govern. Marius stood aside, and let the voices rage. He could not be expected to support a system which had brought the country so near to ruin. He had no belief in the visions of the demagogues, but the time was not ripe to make an end of it all. Had he tried, the army would not have gone with him; so he sat still, till faction had done its work. The popular heroes of the hour were the tribune Saturninus and the prætor Glaucia. They carried corn laws and land laws—whatever laws they pleased to propose. The administration remaining with the Senate, they carried a vote that every senator should take an oath to execute their laws under penalty of fine and expulsion. Marius did not like it, and even opposed it, but let it pass at last.

Marius was an indifferent politician. He perceived as well as any one that violence must not go on, but he hesitated to put it down. He knew that the aristocracy feared and hated him. Between them and the people's consul no alliance was possible. He did not care to alienate his friends, and there may have been other difficulties which we do not know, in his way. The army itself was perhaps divided. On the popular side there were two parties: a moderate one, represented by Memmius, who, as tribune, had impeached the senators for the Jugurthine infamies; the other, the advanced radicals, led by Glaucia and Saturninus. Memmius and Glaucia were both candidates for the consulship; and as Memmius was likely to succeed, he was murdered.

Above the tumults of the factions in the Capitol a cry rising into shrillness began to be heard from Italy. Caius Gracchus had wished to extend the Roman franchise to the Italian states, and the suggestion had cost him his popularity and his life. The Italian provinces had furnished their share of the armies which had beaten Jugurtha, and had destroyed the German invaders. They now demanded that they should have the position which Gracchus designed for them: that they should be allowed to legislate for themselves, and no longer lie at the mercy of others, who neither understood their necessities, nor cared for their interests. They had no friends in the city, save a few far-sighted statesmen. Senate and mob had at least one point of agreement, that the spoils of the Empire should be fought for among themselves; and at the first mention of the invasion of their monopoly a law was passed making the very agitation of the subject punishable by death.

The contrast of character between two classes of population, became at once uncomfortably evident. The provincials had been the right arm of the Empire. Rome, a city of rich men with families of slaves, and of a crowd of impoverished freemen without employment to keep them in health and strength, could no longer bring into the field a force which could hold its ground against the gentry and peasants of Samnium. The Senate enlisted Greeks, Numidians, any one whose services they could purchase. They had to encounter soldiers who had been trained and disciplined by Marius, and they were taught, by defeat upon defeat, that they had a worse enemy before them than the Germans. Marius himself had almost withdrawn from public life. He had no heart for the quarrel, and did not care greatly to exert himself. At the bottom, perhaps, he thought that the Italians were in the right. The Senate discovered that they were helpless, and must come to terms if they would escape destruction. They abandoned the original point of difference, and they offered to open the franchise to every Italian state south of the Po, which had not taken arms, or which returned immediately to its allegiance. The war had broken out for a definite cause. When the cause was removed no reason remained for its continuance.

The panting Senate was thus able to breathe again. The war continued, but under better auspices. Sound material could now be collected again for the army. Marius being in the background, the chosen knight of the aristocracy, Lucius Sulla, whose fame in the Cimbrian war had been only second to that of his commander's, came at once to the front. Too late the democratic leaders repented of their folly in encouraging the Senate to refuse the franchise to the Italians. The Italians, they began to perceive, would be their surest political allies. Caius Gracchus had been right after all. The Roman democracy must make haste to offer the Italians more than all which the Senate was ready to concede to them. Together they could make an end of misrule, and place Marius once more at their head.

Much of this was perhaps the scheming passion of revolution; much of it was legitimate indignation, penitent for its errors and anxious to atone for them. Marius had his personal grievances. The aristocrats were stealing from him even his military reputation, and claiming for Sulla the capture of Jugurtha. He was willing, perhaps anxious, to take the Eastern command. Sulpicius Rufus, once a champion of the Senate and the most brilliant orator in Rome, went over to the people in the excitement. Rufus was chosen tribune, and at once proposed to enfranchise the remainder of Italy.

But Sulla was not so easily got rid of. It was no time for nice considerations. He had formed an army in Campania out of the legions which had served against the Italians. He had made his soldiers devoted to him. They were ready to go anywhere and do anything which Sulla bade them. After so many murders, and so many commotions, the constitution had lost its sacred character; a popular assembly was, of all conceivable bodies, the least fit to govern an empire; and in Sulla's eyes the Senate, whatever its deficiencies, was the only possible sovereign of Rome. The people were a rabble, and their voices the clamor of fools, who must be taught to know their masters. His reply to Sulpicius and to the vote for his recall, was to march on the city. He led his troops within the circle which no legionary in arms was allowed to enter, and he lighted his watch-fires in the Forum itself. The people resisted; Sulpicius was killed; Marius, the saviour of his country, had to fly for his life, pursued by assassins, with a price set upon his head. Twelve of the prominent popular leaders were immediately executed without trial; and in hot haste, swift, decisive measures were taken, which permanently, as Sulla hoped, or if not permanently, at least for the moment, would lame the limbs of the democracy.

He was no sooner out of Italy than the democratic party rose, with Cinna at their head, to demand the restoration of the old constitution. Cinna had been sworn to maintain Sulla's reforms, but no oath could be held binding which was extorted at the sword's point. A fresh Sulpicius was found in Carbo, a popular tribune. A more valuable supporter was found in Quintus Sertorius, a soldier of fortune, but a man of real gifts, and even of genius. Disregarding the new obligation to obtain the previous consent of the Senate, Cinna called the assembly together to repeal the acts which Sulla had forced on them.



The wounds of the social war were scarcely cicatrized, and the peace had left the allies imperfectly satisfied. Their dispersed armies gathered again about Cinna and Sertorius. Old Marius, who had been hunted through marsh and forest, and had been hiding with difficulty in Africa, came back at the news that Italy had risen again; and six thousand of his veterans flocked to him at the sound of his name. The Senate issued proclamations. The limitations on the Italian franchise left by Sulla were abandoned. Every privilege which had been asked for was conceded. It was too late. Concessions made in fear might be withdrawn on the return of safety. Marius and Cinna joined their forces. The few troops in the pay of the Senate deserted to them. They appeared together at the gates of the city, and Rome capitulated.

There was a bloody score to be wiped out. Marius bears the chief blame for the scenes which followed. Undoubtedly he was in no pleasant humor. A price had been set on his head, his house had been destroyed, his property had been confiscated, he himself had been chased like a wild beast, and he had not deserved such treatment. He had saved Italy when but for him it would have been wasted by the swords of the Germans. His power had afterward been absolute, but he had not abused it for party purposes. The Senate had no reason to complain of him. He had touched none of their privileges, incapable and dishonest as he knew them to be. His crime in their eyes had been his eminence. They had now shown themselves as cruel as they were worthless; and if public justice was disposed to make an end of them, he saw no cause for interference.

Thus the familiar story repeated itself: wrong was punished by wrong, and another item was entered on the bloody account which was being scored up year after year. The noble lords and their friends had killed the people in the Forum. They were killed in turn by the soldiers of Marius. Fifty senators perished, not those who were specially guilty, but those who were most politically marked as patrician leaders. With them fell a thousand equites, commoners of fortune, who had thrown in their lot with the aristocracy. From retaliatory political revenge the transition was easy to pillage and wholesale murder; and for many days the wretched city was made a prey to robbers and cut-throats.

So ended the year 87, the darkest and bloodiest which the guilty city had yet experienced. Marius and Cinna were chosen consuls for the year ensuing, and a witches prophecy was fulfilled, that Marius should have a seventh consulate. But the glory had departed from him. His sun was already setting, redly, among crimson clouds. He lived but a fortnight after his inauguration, and he died in his bed on the 13th of January, at the age of seventy-one.

"The mother of the Gracchi," said Mirabeau, "cast the dust of her murdered sons into the air, and out of it sprang Caius Marius."

Julius Caesar

(100-44 B.C.)

Julius Caesar

Rome solved the great political problem of the ancient world in the best practicable, if not in the best conceivable, way. To Cæsar it fell to put the crowning stroke to that work. The several states of modern Europe have all contributed, though in different degrees, to political progress, and therefore no one of them has the unique importance and glory that belongs to Rome. For the same reason, no modern statesman stands on a level with Cæsar. He remains, in Shakespeare's phrase, "the foremost man of all this world." It was the high fortune of Rome that, in the principal crisis of her history, she possessed a citizen so splendidly endowed in intellect, character, and heart. Free to an extraordinary degree from the prejudices belonging to his age and country, with piercing and far-sweeping vision, he saw as from some superior height, the political situation of his own time in its relation to the past and the future of the ancient world. If Rome had till then carried out the work of conquest with considerable method, and upon the whole, with steadiness, she had very inadequately satisfied the need for incorporation. Her oligarchical constitution, admirably adapted for the first task, could not easily reconcile itself to the second. In its best days, and while Carthage and Macedon were still formidable, the Senate had from time to time, prudently though grudgingly, extended the privilege of citizenship to some of the subject Italian states. But the great mass of Italians had only extorted it by rebellion during the boyhood of Cæsar, and outside Italy, the conquered nations were still, on the footing of subject allies, trampled upon and fleeced for the benefit of Rome, or rather of the Roman nobles and capitalists. If the great dominion was to be maintained in some tolerable degree of well-being for all its members, or even maintained at all, it was absolutely necessary that the so-called Republican constitution, always oppressive for the provinces, and now shamefully corrupt, should be replaced by personal government. For a complete incorporation of the subject peoples was not to be expected from the suffrages of a dominant people, to even the poorest of whom, it would mean the cessation of highly prized privileges and immunities. The provinces would from the earliest moment of their subjection have welcomed such a change. The time was more than ripe for it when the Roman world lay at the feet of Sulla. Sulla had all the ability, self-reliance, prestige, and opportunity that were needed. But his moral nature was below the task. He had neither the insight, nor the sympathy, nor the noble ambition of Cæsar, and he preferred to reestablish the senatorial oligarchy.

When Sulla crushed the Marian party Cæsar had just arrived at manhood. Though of an old patrician house, he had yet a family connection with the democratic party, Marius having married his aunt. He himself had married a daughter of the democratic leader Cinna, and for refusing to divorce her he was proscribed by Sulla, but managed to keep in hiding till the storm was past. After the death of the great reactionist (B.C. 78), he seized every opportunity of reviving the spirit of the popular party; as, for instance, by publicly honoring the memory of Marius, bringing to justice murderers of the proscription, and courageously raising his single voice in the Senate against the illegal execution of Catiline's partisans (B.C. 63). Clearly seeing the necessity for personal government, at a time when his own services and distinctions were not such as to entitle him to aspire to it, Cæsar did his best to secure it for Pompey, then far the foremost man in Rome, by strenuously supporting measures which virtually placed the empire at his absolute disposal for an indefinite period. A fairly good soldier, but a most vain, unreliable, and incompetent statesman, Pompey after five years let these powers slip through his hands.

Julius Caesar

Cæsar was by this time thirty-eight (B.C. 62). He had steadily risen in influence and official rank; and it was, no doubt, now that he determined to take the great task into his own hands. He was the recognized chief of the popular party, which aimed at concentrating Republican government in the hands of a single person, as the only means of bridling the oligarchy. But this was not to be accomplished merely by popular votes, as many a democratic leader had found to his cost. Cæsar needed an army and a military reputation, and with rare patience he set himself to acquire both. By a coalition with Pompey—now obliged to treat him as an equal—he obtained the consulship (B.C. 59), which on its expiration entitled him to a great military command.

Roman generals had of late preferred to extend their conquests eastward, and to win comparatively easy and lucrative triumphs in Asia, over people who had possessed for long ages a type of civilization suited to them, and who therefore could never thoroughly assimilate Western manners and institutions. All this time Gaul, lying at the gates of Italy, was neglected (only the district between the Cevennes and the Alps having been reduced), because the people were more warlike, and less booty was to be gained. Yet, till that conquest should be effected, Rome's work of civilizing the world was standing still; nay, it was always menaced by northern invasions. This field of action, then, Cæsar marked out for himself, in which he could prepare the means for assuming power at home, and at the same time render the highest service to his country and humanity. His ardent spirit, his incredible energy in all circumstances of his life, astonished his contemporaries. Time pressed, for he was no longer young. While he was absent from Rome, what revolutions might not mar his plans! Yet, ten continuous years did he devote to this great task, which, if he had achieved nothing else, would make his name one of the greatest in history. In those ten years he conquered Gaul, from the Pyrenees to the Rhine and the British Channel; conquered her so thoroughly, and treated her so sensibly, that when the fierce struggle was over, she frankly and even proudly accepted her new position. The culture, the institutions, even the language of the victors, were eagerly adopted. The grandsons of the men who had fought so gallantly against Cæsar, won full citizenship, took their seats in the Senate, and commanded Roman armies.

These ten years decided the future of the West, and therefore of Humanity. It is not merely the central position and natural advantages of France, nor yet the admirable qualities of her people, which have made her throughout mediæval and modern history, the foremost of European states. It is even more the result of her rapid and thorough acceptance of Roman civilization. This made her the heir of Rome. This enabled her, long afterward, to Romanize Germany and England in some degree, and as it were at second-hand, by the arms of Charlemagne and William.

It had been arranged between Cæsar and Pompey, that during the absence of the former in Gaul, the latter should act with the popular party, and keep the nobility in the condition of impotence to which it had been reduced in the consulship of Cæsar. Partly from jealousy of Cæsar, partly from sheer incapacity, Pompey, after much vacillation and duplicity, finally allied himself with the nobles, thinking with their aid to crush his rival and thereafter to be supreme. The nobles, for their part, thought they would know how to deal with Pompey if once Cæsar was out of the way. In the negotiations which preceded the civil war, Cæsar showed a moderation and fairness in striking contrast with the unscrupulous and headstrong violence of the nobles, who had not even formal legality on their side. But when he was finally summoned to hand over his province and army to a nominee of the Senate, on pain of being declared a public enemy, and when the tribunes who had reversed the resolution of the Senate were obliged to fly for their lives to his camp, he suddenly crossed the river Rubicon, the boundary of his province, and marched on Rome (B.C. 49).

He had but one legion with him; the bulk of his army was far away in its Gallic cantonments. The forces of Pompey were overwhelmingly superior in numbers. But the rapid and daring advance of Cæsar prevented their concentration. He came, not merely the adored general of a veteran army, but the long-tried and consistent leader of the liberal party, who had never swerved from his principles, never betrayed his friends, never flinched from dangers. Fascinated by his success and encouraged by his clemency, towns everywhere opened their gates and Pompeian levies joined him, swelling his army at every stage as he swept down Italy.

Pompey, for his part, was not sorry to have a pretext for moving eastward toward the scene of his early triumphs, where his military prestige and his personal influence would cause all the client states to rally round him, and the sulky and suspicious nobles would find themselves overshadowed. So he crossed the Adriatic, leaving the large veteran army in Spain, which was under his orders, to take care of itself. Thither Cæsar proceeded as soon as he had secured Italy, bent on making sure of the West before doing anything else. When the Spanish legions were beaten, he lost no time in following Pompey, who had found the respite all too short for drilling his large but raw force of Romans, and organizing the masses of Asiatics whom he had summoned to his standard. In the campaign that ensued, the conqueror of the East fully maintained his old military reputation; but at length, driven by the clamor of the nobles to risk a pitched battle, he suffered a crushing defeat on the field of Pharsalia (B.C. 48). Flying to Egypt, still an independent kingdom, he was assassinated by order of the government.

The beaten party rallied again, first in Africa, then in Spain; and of the three years and nine months of life that remained to Cæsar, much the greater portion was spent at the head of his army. He, therefore, had not time to give any complete organization to his new government. But his intentions are clearly discernible in outline. Supreme power, legislative as well as executive, was to be vested in a single ruler, governing not by divine right, but as the representative of the community, and in its interest. This was indeed an ideal by no means novel to Romans. Scipio had brooded over it. Caius Gracchus had for a moment realized it. The oldest institutions and traditions told of it. It was the power of the ancient kings theoretically continued to, and in grave emergencies actually exercised by, the magistrates of the Republic during its best days. It had been increasingly overshadowed by the Senate. That body was now to be reduced to its original consultative office. The functions of the executive had been gradually divided among several magistrates. They were now to be re-concentrated. Above all, annual election—the cherished institution of all oligarchies, open or disguised—was to be replaced by life-tenure, with power to name a successor. The subjects of Rome were to be admitted to citizenship, wherever and whenever fit for it; and there is reason to believe that Cæsar intended to move much faster in this direction than his successor did. Rome itself, from the mistress of the Empire, was to become its capital and most dignified municipality. All old parties—Cæsar's own included—were to consider themselves at an end. "To the victors the spoils!" was a cry rebuked from the first. For the vanquished of Pharsalia there was not only amnesty, but admission to the highest grades of the public service, if they would bury their old grudge and recognize the government. Pauperism among the lower class, and insolvency among the upper—ulcers not admitting of a radical cure—were treated with judicious palliatives. Taxation was reduced, expenditure was increased, and yet the balance in the treasury at Cæsar's death was tenfold what it had ever been before—a proof of the frightful waste and corruption from which the Roman world was rescued by the overthrow of the oligarchy.

Of the administrative work of Cæsar it is impossible here to give any adequate idea. A reform of the calendar, which served the West till 1582, and serves Russia still; a recasting of the whole provincial administration; a codification of Roman law; a census of the Empire; a uniform gold coinage; a public library; a metropolitan police; building regulations; sanitary regulations; an alteration of the course of the Tiber, which would have drained the marshes—all these grand projects, and more, some carried to completion, some only sketched out, teemed from the active brain of the great organizer, in the brief moments he could spare from military cares in these last months of his life—a devouring activity, an all-embracing capacity, such as perhaps never shone forth in man before or since. What Roman incorporation meant for the ancient world was at last revealed. The war havoc of seven centuries had found its justification.

Julius Caesar


In the midst of this glorious and beneficent career, at the age of fifty-five (57?), Cæsar, whose frank and fearless spirit disdained suspicion or precaution, was assassinated by a knot of rancorous, perfidious aristocrats, whom he had pardoned and promoted. Their purblind spite was powerless to avert the inevitable advent of monocracy. What they did effectually extinguish for more than a century, was the possibility of amnesty, conciliation, and mutual confidence. Careless as usual of historical truth, the great English poet has glorified the murderers of Cæsar. Dante, never forgetting the moral responsibility of art, has reserved the lowest circle of hell for Brutus, Cassius, and Judas Iscariot.

It imports little to the greatness of such a one as Cæsar, to add that in an age of oratory he stood in the first rank of orators; that his historical writings are an unrivalled model of vigor, lucidity, and elegance; that he carried his scientific culture to a point very unusual among his countrymen; and that his personal prowess and feats of endurance were the admiration of veteran soldiers. Women loved him, and he loved them. Enjoying life thoroughly, he was temperate in all things. To no man has it been given to approach more nearly to the perfection of human nature—complete, evenly balanced, and self-controlled.

Marc Antony

(83-30 B.C.)

Mark Antony

Marcus Antonius, or Marc Antony, grandson of Antonius the orator, and son of Antonius Creticus, seems to have been born about 83 B.C. While still a child he lost his father, whose example however, had he been spared, would have done little for the improvement of his character. Brought up under the influence of the disreputable Cornelius Lentulus Sura, whom his mother had married, Antony spent his youth in profligacy and extravagance. For a time he cooperated with the reprobate Clodius in his political plans, chiefly, it is supposed, through hostility to Cicero, who had caused Lentulus, his step-father, to be put to death as one of the Catiline conspirators; but he soon withdrew from the connection, on account of a disagreement which, appropriately enough, arose in regard to his relations to his associate's wife, Flavia. Not long after, in 58 B.C., he fled to Greece, to escape the importunity of his creditors; and at length, after a short time spent in attendance on the philosophers at Athens, found an occasion for displaying some of the better features of his character, in the wars that were being carried on by Gabinius against Aristobulus in Palestine, and in support of Ptolemy Auletes in Egypt.

A new chapter in his life was opened by the visit which he made to Julius Cæsar in Gaul (54 B.C.). Welcomed by the victorious general as a valuable assistant in his ambitious designs, and raised by his influence to the offices of quæstor, augur, and tribune of the plebes, he displayed admirable boldness and activity in the maintenance of his patron's cause, in opposition to the violence and intrigues of the oligarchical party. At length his antagonists prevailed, and expelled him from the curia; and the political contest became a civil war. The Rubicon was crossed; Cæsar was victorious, and Antony shared in his triumph. Deputy-governor of Italy during Cæsar's absence in Spain (49), second in command in the decisive battle of Pharsalia (48), and again deputy-governor of Italy while Cæsar was in Africa (47), Antony was now inferior in power only to the dictator himself, and eagerly seized the opportunity of indulging in the most extravagant excesses of luxurious licentiousness—excesses which Cicero depicted in the "Philippics" with all the elaborate eloquence of political hatred. In 46 he seems to have taken offence at Cæsar, because he insisted on payment for the property of Pompey which Antony professedly had purchased, but had merely appropriated. But the estrangement was not of long continuance, for we find Antony meeting the dictator at Narbo the following year, and rejecting the advances of Trebonius, who endeavored to discover if there was any hope of getting Antony to join in the conspiracy that was already on foot. In 44 he was consul along with Cæsar, and seconded his ambition by the famous offer of the crown on the 15th of February, thus unconsciously preparing the way for the tragedy on the 15th of March. To the sincerity of his adherence to Cæsar, the conspirators themselves bore witness on that memorable day, by the care which they took to keep him engaged without, while the daggers were doing their work within.

This was the second great epoch in Antony's life. A brighter prospect than ever was then opened to his ambition. By his eloquence—a hereditary gift—he managed to stir up the minds of the populace against the assassins of Cæsar, and drove them from the city. He made peace with the remaining representatives of the senatorial party, and seemed almost to have succeeded to the power and position of his unfortunate patron. But the youthful Octavius, whom Cæsar had adopted as his son, arrived from Illyria, and claimed the inheritance of his "father." Agreement was impossible, and war ensued. Octavius obtained the support of the Senate and of Cicero; and the veteran troops of the dictator flocked to his standard. Antony was denounced as a public enemy; and the city gave its loudest applause to the tirades of his most eloquent accuser. His cause gradually lost ground, and seemed to be totally ruined when his army was defeated in the siege of Mutina (43 B.C.). But escaping to Cisalpine Gaul, he formed a junction with Lepidus, and they marched toward Rome with 17 legions and 10,000 cavalry.

The wily Octavius now betrayed his party, and entered into terms with Antony and Lepidus. It was agreed that they three should adopt the title—so beautifully ironical—of Triumviri reipublicæ constituendæ, and share the power and the provinces among them. Gaul was to be Antony's; Spain fell to the lot of Lepidus, and Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily were to belong to Octavius. A conjunct proscription followed, each of the partners in the villanous design bartering the life of his friends, for the pleasure of destroying his foes. The detested author of the "Philippics" was given up to Antony's revenge; and, according to Appian, the number of the victims amounted to 300 senators and 2,000 knights. In the following year Antony and Octavius proceeded against the conspirators, Cassius and Brutus, who still maintained themselves in Macedonia; and, in the battles of Philippi, stamped out the last embers of republican Rome.

While Octavius returned to Italy, Antony proceeded to Greece, and thence to Asia Minor, for the sake of recruiting his funds, completing the subjugation of the Eastern provinces, and obtaining satisfaction about the conduct of the Egyptian queen during the recent contest. On his passage through Cilicia, in 41, he was visited by Cleopatra, who came to answer the charges in person. She sailed up the Cydnus in a gorgeous bark, with a fantastic and brilliant equipage, and brought all her allurements to bear on the heart of the voluptuous Roman. Her success was complete; and he who was to have been her judge, was led captive to Alexandria as her slave. All was forgotten in the fascination and delight of the passing hour; and feasting and revelry found perpetual and ever-varying renewal.

At length Antony was aroused by the Parthian invasion of Syria, and the report of an outbreak between Fulvia, his wife, and Lucius, his brother, on the one hand, and Octavius on the other. On arriving in Italy he found that the war was over, and Octavius the victor; and the chief cause of disagreement being soon after removed by the death of Fulvia, a reconciliation was speedily effected between the triumvirs, and cemented by the marriage of Antony with Octavia, the sister of his colleague. A new division of the Roman world was agreed on at Brundusium, Lepidus receiving Africa, Octavius the West, and Antony the East.

Returning to his province, Antony was for a time successful; his general, Ventidius, beating the Parthians, and Socius capturing Jerusalem and conquering Antigonus. But after another visit to Italy, during which the triumvirate was prolonged for five years, Antony sent away his wife, yielded himself completely to the evil influence of Cleopatra, indulged not only in licentiousness, but in tyranny, and allowed his affairs to be neglected or delayed. An expedition against the Parthians was a failure; but for this, his success against Artavasdes, the Armenian king, in some measure compensated. Octavius at length determined to get rid of Antony, and had little need of invention to bring charges sufficient against him. About two years were spent in preparations and delays on both sides, and it was not till the year 31 that the fate of Antony was decided by the battle of Actium.

40 Defeated and deserted, he once more sought refuge and repose in the society of Cleopatra, but was followed even there by his relentless rival. At first he made a gallant effort to defend himself, and partially succeeded. But convinced of the hopelessness of his position, and assured of the suicide of his mistress, he followed the example which he was falsely informed she had given (30 B.C.). Antony had been married in succession to Fadia, Antonia, Fulvia, and Octavia, and left behind him a number of children. A short but vivid sketch of Antony is given by De Quincey in his "Essay on the Cæsars."


(16 B.C.-21 A.D.)


Hermann, the Arminius of the Roman Historians, the son of Sigimer, chief of the Cherusci, was born about B.C. 16 or 17. Being sent in early youth as a hostage to Rome, probably in consequence of the victories of Drusus, which had established the supremacy of Rome over the Catti, Cherusci, and other tribes of North Germany, he obtained the favor of Augustus, and was inscribed among the Roman knights. On his return to his native country, he resolved to deliver it from the Romans, whose oppression had become intolerable. Quintilius Varus, a rapacious man, was then the Roman governor in Germany. He had held office in Syria, where he had ruled with great harshness; and fancying that he might act in the same way toward the fierce tribes of the North, he roused among them a hitter hatred of the Romans.

They found in Hermann a leader of extraordinary bravery and resource. He laid his plans with the chiefs of the Catti, Bructeri, and other tribes that lived between the Rhine and the Albis (Elbe), some of which broke out into insurrection. Hermann then offered Varus his assistance in reducing them to subjection, and thus led him to advance some distance from the Rhine into the interior. Varus began his march with three legions, six cohorts, and a body of cavalry, and Hermann served him as a guide through the wilds. The Romans were thus drawn into an ambuscade in the Teutoburg forest, and found themselves all at once surrounded by numerous bodies of Germans, who were directed by Hermann himself. The Romans fought desperately; but being unacquainted with the localities, and unable to form their ranks owing to the thickness of the forests and the marshy nature of the ground, they were defeated after a three days' battle, by the Germans, who destroyed them in detail. At last, Varus, being wounded and seeing no chance of escape, fell upon his sword, and the other chief officers followed his example.

The legions were entirely destroyed, and the cavalry alone cut their way through the enemy and regained the banks of the Rhine. By this defeat the Romans lost all their conquests beyond that river; and although Germanicus some years after again carried their arms to the Weser, they never established anything like a solid dominion over those regions. The defeat of Varus occurred, according to various chronologists, in the year 763 of Rome (A. D. 9). The scene of the defeat is conjectured to have been in the country of the Bructeri, near the sources of the Ems and the Lippe. The news of this calamity, the greatest that had befallen the Roman arms since the defeat of Crassus, was received with universal amazement and terror. The despairing cry of Augustus, "Varus, Varus, give me back my legions!" testified to the consternation even at Rome, where it was expected that the barbarians would take a terrible revenge for the wrongs they had suffered.

The fears of invasion, however, were not realized. L. Asprena guarded the banks of the Rhine, and the Germans were too little united among themselves to attack the Empire. Augustus in the following year sent Tiberius to the Rhine with a fresh army; but he does not seem to have effected anything of importance. Hermann meantime quarrelled with Segestes, chief of the Catti, whose daughter Tusnelda, he had carried off and married against her father's consent. When Germanicus, after the death of Augustus, marched into the interior of Germany to avenge the defeat of Varus, he was assisted by Segestes, and also by the Chauci and other tribes. In the first battle against Hermann, his wife Tusnelda, was taken prisoner by the Romans, and she afterward figured in the triumph of Germanicus. Germanicus, having reached the scene of Varus's defeat, paid funeral honors to the remains of the legions; but Hermann, who was hovering about his line of march, without coming to a pitched battle, harassed him in his retreat, and occasioned a great loss to Cæcina, the lieutenant of Germanicus.

In the following year, Germanicus advanced again as far as the Visurgis, or Weser, where he found Hermann encamped ready for battle. A desperate fight took place, in which Hermann, after performing prodigies of valor, was defeated, and escaped with difficulty. But the victory was gained at such cost that Germanicus and his army had to take refuge in their ships, nor did the Romans ever again attempt the conquest of the fiercer German tribes.



When Tiberius recalled Germanicus, he observed that the Cherusci, Bructeri, and other unsubdued tribes, might be left to their own internal dissensions. He seems to have guessed right.

No sooner had the Romans been driven off, than Hermann had to protect his people against an internal danger. Maroboduus, the chief of the Marcomanni, a man of great ambition, had by treachery or by open fighting, made himself master of several neighboring tribes. Hermann began to fear his designs, and after the defeat of Varus, warned him of his peril by sending him the Roman general's head. When Germanicus finally left the country, Hermann declared war against Maroboduus, and, being joined by the Semnones and Longobards, defeated him on the borders of the Hercynian forest, broke up his kingdom, and drove him from Germany. The fugitive applied to Rome for assistance. Tiberius then sent his son Drusus into the Illyricum; but the Romans did not advance beyond the Danube, and Hermann remained unmolested in Northern Germany. Shortly after, however, Hermann was killed by his own relatives, being accused, as it would seem, of aspiring to absolute dominion. He died at the age of thirty-seven, in the twenty-first year of our era, after being for twelve years the leader and champion of Germany.





The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under Marcus Ulpius Traianus, the fourteenth emperor. Of him it was said that he "built the world over," and the Romans themselves regarded him as the best, and perhaps the greatest of their emperors. He was a native of Italica, in Spain. The family to which he belonged was probably Italian, and not Iberian, by blood. His father began life as a common legionary soldier, and fought his way up to the consulship and the governorship of Asia. He was one of the hardest fighters in Judæa under Vespasian and Titus; he served, too, against the Parthians, and won the highest military distinction open to a subject, the grant of the triumphal insignia. Thus he acquired a prominent place among the brand new patricians created by the Flavians as substitutes for the nobles of old descent who had succumbed to the cruelty and rapacity of the emperors from Tiberius to Nero.

The younger Trajan was rigorously trained by his father, and deeply imbued with the same principles and tastes. He was a soldier born and bred. No better representative of the true old hardy Roman type, little softened either by luxury or education, had come to the head of affairs since the days of Marius. The date of his birth was probably 53 A.D. His training was almost exclusively military, but his experience as an officer gave him an acquaintance with almost every important province of the empire, which was of priceless value to him when he came to the throne. For ten years he held a commission as military tribune, which took him to many lands far asunder; then he filled important posts in Syria and Spain. How much actual warfare Trajan saw in those days we can hardly tell; he certainly went through some severe service under his father's command against the Parthians. By the year 89 he had achieved a considerable reputation. At that time L. Antonius Saturninus headed a rebellion in Germany, which threatened seriously to bring Domitian's rule to an end. Trajan was ordered in hot haste from Farther Spain to the Rhine. Although he carried his troops over that long and arduous march with almost unexampled rapidity, he only arrived after the insurrection had been put down. But his promptitude raised him higher in the favor of Domitian, and he was advanced to the consulship in 91. Of the next five years of his life we know nothing positively. It is not unlikely that they were spent at Rome or in Italy in the fulfilment of some official duties.

When the revolution of 96 came, and Nerva replaced the murdered Domitian, Trajan had conferred upon him one of the most important posts in the Empire, that of consular legate of Upper Germany. An officer whose nature, as the event showed, was interpenetrated with the spirit of legality, was a fitting servant of a revolution whose aim it was to substitute legality for personal caprice, as the dominant principle of affairs. The short reign of Nerva really did start the Empire on a new career, which lasted more than three-quarters of a century. But it also demonstrated how impossible it was for any one to govern at all who had no claim, either personal or inherited, to the respect of the legions. Nerva saw that if he could not find an Augustus to control the army, the army would find another Domitian to trample the Senate under foot. In his difficulties he took counsel with L. Licinius Sura, a lifelong friend of Trajan, and in October, 97 A.D. he ascended the Capitol, and with all due solemnity proclaimed that he adopted Trajan as his son.

The Senate confirmed the choice, and acknowledged the emperor's adopted son as his successor. In a letter which Nerva sent at once to Trajan, he quoted most significantly a line from the beginning of the "Iliad," where Chryses, insulted by Achilles, prays to Apollo: "May thy shafts afford me vengeance on the Greeks for my tears." After a little hesitation Trajan accepted the position, which was marked by the titles of Imperator, Cæsar, and Germanicus, and by the tribunician authority. He immediately proceeded to Lower Germany, to assure himself of the fidelity of the troops in that province, and while at Cologne he received news of Nerva's death (January, 98).

The authority of the new emperor was recognized at once all the Empire over. The novel fact that a master of the Romans should have been born on Spanish soil seems to have passed with little remark, and this very absence of notice is significant. Trajan's first care as emperor was to write to the Senate an assurance like that which had been given by Nerva, that he would neither kill nor degrade any senator. He ordered the establishment of a temple and cult in honor of his adoptive father, but he did not present himself at Rome for nearly two years after his accession. Possibly he had taken measures before Nerva's death to secure the revenge which Nerva craved, but probably did not live to see. In his dealings with the mutinous prætorians the strength of the new emperor's hand was shown at once. He ordered a portion of the force to Germany. They did not venture to disobey, and were distributed among the legions there. Those who remained at Rome were easily overawed and reformed. It is still more surprising that the soldiers should have quietly submitted to a reduction in the amount of the donative or gift which it was customary for them to receive from a new emperor, though the civil population of the capital were paid their largess (congiarium) in full. By politic management Trajan was able to represent the diminution as a sort of discount for immediate payment, while the civilians had to wait a considerable time before their full due was handed to them.

The secret of Trajan's power lay in his close personal relations with the officers and men of the army, and in the soldierly qualities which commanded their esteem. He possessed courage, justice, and frankness to a high degree. Having a good title to military distinction himself, he could afford, as the unwarlike emperors could not, to be generous to his officers. The common soldiers, on the other hand, were fascinated by his personal prowess and his somewhat ostentatious camaraderie. His features were firm and clearly cut; his figure was tall and soldierly, and exhibited the sinewy hard health of a veteran campaigner. His hair was already gray before he came to the throne, though he was not more than forty-four years old. The stoutness of the emperor's arm had been proved in the face of his men in many a hard fight. When on service he used the mean fare of the common private, dining on salt pork, cheese, and sour wine. Nothing pleased him better than to take part with the centurion or the soldier in fencing or other military exercise, and he would applaud any shrewd blow which fell upon his own helmet. He loved to display his acquaintance with the career of distinguished veterans, and to talk with them of their battles and their wounds. Probably he lost nothing of his popularity with the army by occasional free indulgence in sensual pleasures, with which, as Bacon remarks, the soldier is apt to pay himself for the perils he encounters. Yet every man felt and knew that no detail of military duty, however minute, escaped the emperor's eye, and that any relaxation of discipline would be rigidly punished, yet with unwavering justice.

Trajan emphasized at once his personal control and the constitutionality of his sway, by bearing on his campaigns the actual title of "proconsul," which no other emperor had done. All things considered, it is not surprising that he was able, without serious opposition from the army, to remodel the whole military institutions of the empire, and to bring them into a shape from which there was comparatively little departure so long as the army lasted. In disciplinary matters no emperor since Augustus had been able to keep so strong a control over the troops. Pliny rightly praises Trajan as the lawgiver and the founder of discipline, and Vegetius classes Augustus, Trajan, and Hadrian together as re-storers of the morale  of the army. The confidence which existed between Trajan and his army finds expression in some of the coins of his reign.

For dearly two years after his election Trajan did not appear in Rome. He had decided already what the great task of his reign should be—the establishment of security upon the dangerous northeastern frontier before visiting the capital he determined to put affairs in train for the attainment of this great object. He made a thorough inspection of the great lines of defence between the Danube and the Rhine, and framed, and partly carried out, a vast scheme for strengthening and securing them. The policy of opposing uncivilized tribes by the construction of the limes, a raised embankment of earth or other material, intersected here and there by fortifications, was not his invention, but it owed in great measure its development to him. This grand work, which would have excited the envy of Augustus, is traceable in its main extent at the present day. Among a people of roadmakers, Trajan was one of the greatest, and we have definite evidence from inscriptions that some of the military roads in this region were constructed by him. The more secure control which the Romans now maintained over the territory within the limes, tended to its rapid civilization, and the Roman influence, if not the Roman arms, soon began to affect powerfully the regions beyond.

After his careful survey of the Rhine end of the great defensive barrier, Trajan proceeded to consider it and plan it from the Danube. From the age of Tiberius onward, the Romans possessed the whole southern bank of the river from its source to the Euxine. But the precarious tenure of their possession, had been deeply impressed on them by the disasters and humiliations they had undergone in these districts during the reign of Domitian. A prince had arisen among the Dacians, Decebalus by name, worthy to be placed at the head of all the great barbarian antagonists of Rome. Like Maroboduus, he was able to combine the forces of tribes commonly hostile to each other, and his military ability almost went the length of genius. After he had swept the province of Mœsia bare, he was defeated by one of Domitian's lieutenants, but the position of affairs on the Danubio-Rhenish border was still so threatening, that the emperor was glad to conclude a treaty which conferred extraordinary advantages on his foe. Not only did the Romans stipulate to pay to Decebalus an annual subsidy, which he must have regarded as a tribute, but they agreed to supply him with engineers and craftsmen skilled in all kinds of construction, but particularly in the erection of fortifications and defensive works. During the nine or ten years which had elapsed since the conclusion of this remarkable treaty, the Dacian prince had immensely strengthened the approaches to his kingdom from the Roman side. He had also equipped and drilled his formidable army after the Roman fashion. It was impossible for a soldier like Trajan to endure the conditions laid down by Domitian; but the conquest of Dacia had become one of the most formidable tasks that had ever confronted the Empire. Trajan, no doubt, planned a war before he left the Danube for Rome late in 99.

The arrival of the emperor had been awaited in the capital with an impatience which is expressed by Pliny and by Martial. All that had happened since Trajan's elevation to the throne had raised high at Rome the hope of a prosperous and glorious reign. As he entered the city and went on foot to the Capitol, the plaudits of the people were unmistakably genuine. During his stay in the city he riveted more firmly still the affections both of the Senate and of the people. The reconciliation of the Empire with liberty, inaugurated, as Tacitus says, by Nerva, seemed now to be securely achieved. Trajan was absolutely open and simple, and lived with men at Rome as he had lived with his soldiers while on service. He realized the Senate's ideal of the citizen ruler. The assurance that no senator should suffer was renewed by oath. All the old republican formalities were most punctiliously observed—even those attendant on the emperor's election to the consulate, so far as they did not involve a restoration of the old order of voting at the comitia. The veneration for republican tradition is curiously attested by the reproduction of many republican types of coin struck by senatorial officers.

Trajan seized every opportunity for emphasizing his view that the princes  was merely the greatest of the magistrates, and so was not above but under the laws. He was determined, he said, to be to his subjects such a ruler as he had desired for himself when a subject. There is a pretty story to the effect that he handed the commander of the prætorians his sword, and said, "Use it for me if I do well, but against me if I do ill." Martial, who had called Domitian his lord and his god, now cried, "In him we have no lord, but an imperator!" Real power and influence were accorded to the Senate, which had now, by the incorporation of members whose origin was provincial, become in a manner representative of the whole empire. Trajan associated with the senators on equal terms, and enjoyed in their company every kind of recreation. All pomp was distasteful to him, and discarded by him. There was practically no court, and no intrigues of any kind were possible. The approach to his house was free, and he loved to pass through the city unattended, and to pay unexpected visits to his friends. He thirsted for no senator's blood, and used severity against the delatores  alone. There was but one insignificant conspiracy against him during his whole reign.

Though not literary himself, Trajan conciliated the literary men, who at all times had close relations with the Senate. His intimate, M. Licinius, played to excellent Mæcenas to his Augustus. In his efforts to win the affections of Roman society, Trajan was excellently aided by his wife Plotina, who was as simple as her husband, benevolent, pure in character, and entirely unambitious. The hold which Trajan acquired over the people was no less firm than that which he maintained upon the army and the Senate. His largesses, his distributions of food, his public works, and his spectacles were all on a generous scale. The exhibitions in the arena were perhaps at their zenith during his tenure of power. Though, for some unexplained reason, he abolished the mimes, so beloved of the populace, at the outset of his reign, he availed himself of the occasion of his first triumph to restore them again. The people were delighted by the removal of the imperial exedra  in the circus, whereby five thousand additional places were provided. Taxation was in many directions reduced, and the financial exactions of the imperial officers controlled by the erection of a special court. Elaborate precautions were taken to save Italy from famine; it is said that corn for seven years' consumption at the capital was retained in the granaries. Special encouragement was given to merchants to import articles of food. The corporation of bakers was organized, and made more effective for the service of the public. The internal trade of Italy was powerfully stimulated by the careful maintenance and extension of the different lines of road.

But the most striking evidence of Trajan's solicitude for his people's welfare is found in his institution of the alimenla, whereby means were provided for the rearing of poor and orphan children in Italy. The method had been sketched out by Nerva, but its great development was due to Trajan. The moneys allotted by the emperor were in many cases supplemented by private benevolence. As a soldier, Trajan realized the need of men for the maintenance of the Empire against the outer barbarians, and he preferred that these men should be of Italian birth. He was only carrying a step further the policy of Augustus, who by a system of rewards and penalties had tried to encourage marriage and the nurture of children. The annual effect of Trajan's regulations is hard to measure; they were probaby more effectual for their object than those of Augustus. The foundations were confiscated by Pertinax, after they had existed less than a century.

Toward the end of 100, or early in 101, Trajan left Rome for the Danube. Pretexts for a Dacian war were not difficult to find. Although there was no lack of hard fighting, victory in this war depended largely on the work of the engineer. The great military road connecting the posts in Upper Germany with those on the Danube, which had been begun by Tiberius, was now extended along the right bank of the river as far as the modern Orsova. The year 101 was spent mainly in roadmaking and fortification. In the following campaign, after desperate fighting to the north of the Danube in the mountainous region of Transylvania, such as Cæsar never encountered in all his Gaulish wars, the capital of Decebalus was taken, and he was forced to terms. He agreed to raze all forttesses, to surrender all weapons, prisoners, and Roman deserters, and to become a dependent prince under the suzerainty of Rome. Trajan came back to Italy with Dacian envoys, who in ancient style begged the Senate to confirm the conditions granted by the commander in the field. The emperor now enjoyed his first Dacian triumph, and assumed the title of Dacicus. At the same time he royally entertained the people, and no less royally rewarded his brave officers.

But the Dacian chief could not school his high spirit to endure the conditions of the treaty, and Trajan soon found it necessary to prepare for another war. A massive stone bridge was built across the Danube, near the modern Turn Severin, by Apollodorus, the gifted architect who afterward designed the forum of Trajan. In 105 began the new struggle, which on the side of Decebalus could now only lead to victory or to destruction. The Dacians fought their ground inch by inch, and their army as a whole may be said to have bled to death. The prince put an end to his own life. His kingdom became an imperial province; in it many colonies were founded, and peopled by settlers drawn from different parts of the empire. The work done by Trajan in the Danubian regions left a lasting mark upon their history. The emperor returned to the capital in 106, laden with captured treasure. His triumph outdid in splendor all those that went before it. Games are said to have been held continuously for four months. The chariot races were the grandest ever seen. Ten thousand gladiators contended in the arena, and eleven thousand beasts were killed in the contests. Congratulatory embassies came from all lands, even from India. The grand and enduring monument of the Dacian wars is the noble pillar which still stands on the site of Trajan's forum at Rome. The end of the Dacian wars was followed by seven years of peace.

Many details in the administration of the law, and particularly of the criminal law, were improved. To cure corruption in the Senate the ballot was introduced at elections to magistracies. The finances of the state were economically managed, and taxpayers were most carefully guarded from oppression. Trajan never lacked money to expend on great works of public utility; as a builder, he may fairly be compared with Augustus. His forum and its numerous appendages were constructed on a magnificent scale. Many regions of Italy and the provinces, besides the city itself, benefited by the care and munificence which the emperor bestowed on such public improvements. His attitude toward religion was, like that of Augustus, moderate and conservative. The famous letter to Pliny about the Christians is, according to Roman ideas, merciful and considerate. It was impossible, however, for a Roman magistrate of the time to rid himself of the idea that all forms of religion must do homage to the civil power. Hence the conflict which made Trajan appear in the eyes of Christians like Tertullian, the most infamous of monsters. On the whole, Trajan's civil administration was sound, careful, and sensible, rather than brilliant or epoch-making.

Chariot Race


In 113 or 114 Trajan left Italy to make war in the East. The never-ending Parthian problem confronted him, and with it were more or less connected a number of minor difficulties. Already by 106 the position of Rome in the East had been materially improved by the peaceful annexation of districts bordering on the province of Syria. The district of Damascus, hitherto a dependency, and the last remaining fragment of the Jewish kingdom, were incorporated with Syria; Bostra and Petra were permanently occupied, and a great portion of the Nabathæan kingdom was constituted the Roman province of Arabia. Rome thus obtained mastery of the most important positions lying on the great trade-routes from East to West. These changes could not but affect the relations of the Roman with the Parthian empire, and the affairs of Armenia became, in 114, the occasion of war. Trajan's campaigns in the East ended in complete though brilliant failure. In the retreat from Ctesiphon (117), the old emperor tasted for almost the first time the bitterness of defeat in the field. He attacked the desert city of Hatra, westward of the Tigris, whose importance is still attested by grand ruins. The want of water made it impossible to maintain a large force near the city, and the brave Arabs routed the Roman cavalry. Trajan, who narrowly escaped being killed, was forced to withdraw.

A more alarming difficulty lay before him. Taking advantage of the absence of the emperor in the far East, and possibly by an understanding with the leaders of the rising in Armenia and the annexed portions of Parthia, the Jews all over the East had taken up arms at the same moment, and at a given signal. The massacres they committed were portentous. In Cyprus 240,000 men are said to have been put to death, and at Cyrene 220,000. At Alexandria, on the other hand, many Jews were killed. The Romans punished massacre by massacre, and the complete suppression of the insurrection was long delayed, but the Jews made no great stand against disciplined troops. Trajan still thought of returning to Mesopotamia, and of avenging his defeat at Hatra, but he was stricken with sickness and compelled to take ship for Italy. His illness increasing, he landed in Cilicia, and died at Selinus in that country about the end of July, 117.

Trajan, who had no children, had continually delayed to settle the succession to the throne, though Pliny, in the "Panegyric" had pointedly drawn his attention to the matter, and it must have caused the Senate much anxiety. Whether Hadrian, the cousin of Trajan, was actually adopted by him or not, is impossible to determine; certainly Hadrian had not been advanced to any great honors by Trajan. Even his military service had not been distinguished. Plotina asserted the adoption, and it was readily and most fortunately accepted, if not believed, as a fact.

The Senate had decreed to Trajan as many triumphs as he chose to celebrate. For the first time a dead general triumphed. When Trajan was deified, he appropriately retained, alone among the emperors, a title he had won for himself in the field, that of "Parthicus." He was a patient organizer of victory rather than a strategic genius. He laboriously perfected the military machine, which when once set in motion went on to victory. Much of the work he did was great and enduring, but the last year of his life forbade the Romans to attribute to him that felicitas  which they regarded as an inborn quality of the highest generals. Each succeeding emperor was saluted with the wish that he might be "better than Trajan and more fortunate than Augustus." Yet the breach made in Trajan's felicitas  by the failure in the East was no greater than that made in the felicitas  of Augustus by his retirement from the right bank of the Rhine.



Christian and Lions

Caius Valerius Diocletianus, one of the most famous of the Roman emperors, was, as De Quincey says, "doubtless that man of iron whom the times demanded." He was born at Dioclea, in Dalmatia, some say at Salona, about A. D. 245 according to some, but others make him ten years older. His original name was Diocles, which he afterward changed into Diocletianus. He is said by some to have been the son of a notary, by others the freedman of a senator named Anulinus. He entered the army at an early age, and rose gradually to rank; he served in Gaul, in Mœsia, under Probus, and was present at the campaign against the Persians, in which Carus, then emperor, perished in a mysterious manner. Diocletian commanded the household or imperial body-guards when young Numerianus, the son of Carus, was secretly put to death by Aper his father-in-law, while travelling in a close litter on account of illness, on the return of the army from Persia. The death of Numerianus being discovered after several days by the soldiers near Calchedon, they arrested Aper and proclaimed Diocletian emperor, who addressing the soldiers from his tribunal in the camp, protested his innocence of the death of Numerianus, and then upbraiding Aper for the crime, plunged his sword into the traitor's body.

The new emperor observed to a friend that "he had now killed the boar," punning on the word Aper, Which means a boar, and alluding to the prediction of a soothsayer in Gaul, who had told him that he would become emperor after having killed a boar (Vopiscus, in "Hist. Aug."). Diocletian, self-composed and strong-minded in other respects, was all his life an anxious believer in divination, which superstition led him probably to inflict summary punishment upon Aper with his own hands. He made his solemn entrance into Nicomedia in September, 284, which town he afterward chose for his favorite residence.

Carinus, the other son of Carus, who had remained in Italy, having collected a force to attack Diocletian, the two armies met at Margum, in Mœsia, where the soldiers of Carinus had the advantage at first, but Carinus himself being killed during the battle by his officers, who detested him for his cruelty and debauchery, both armies joined in acknowledging Diocletian emperor in 285. Diocletian was generous after his victory, and, contrary to the common practice, there were no executions, proscriptions, or confiscations of property; he even retained most of the officers of Carinus in their places.

Diocletian, on assuming the imperial power, found the Empire assailed by enemies in various quarters—on the Persian frontiers, on the side of Germany and of Illyricum, and in Britain; besides which a serious revolt had broken out in Gaul among the rural population, under two leaders who had assumed the title of emperor. To quell the disturbance in Gaul, Diocletian sent his old friend Maximianus, a native of Pannonia, and a brave but rude uncultivated soldier. Maximianus defeated the Bagaudi, for such was the name the rustic insurgents had assumed. In the year 286, Diocletian chose Maximianus as his colleague in the Empire, under the name of Marcus Valerius Maximianus Augustus, and it is to the credit of both that the latter continued ever after faithful to Diocletian and willing to follow his advice. Maximianus was stationed in Gaul and on the German frontier to repel invasion; Diocletian resided chiefly in the East to watch the Persians, though he appears to have visited Rome in the early part of his reign. About 287 the revolt of Carausius took place. In the following year Maximianus defeated the Germans near Treviri, and Diocletian himself marched against other tribes on the Rhetian frontier; the year after he defeated the Sarmatians on the lower Danube. In the same year, 289, peace was made between Carausius and the two emperors, Carausius being allowed to retain possession of Britain. In 290 Maximianus and Diocletian met at Milan to confer together on the state of the Empire, after which Diocletian returned to Nicomedia. The Persians soon after again invaded Mesopotamia and threatened Syria; the Quinquegentiani, a federation of tribes in the Mauritania Cæsariensis, revolted; another revolt under one Achillæus broke out in Egypt; another in Italy under a certain Julianus.

Diocletian thought it necessary to increase the number of his colleagues in order to face the attacks in the various quarters. On the 1st of March, 292, or 291, according to some chronologists, he appointed Galerius as Cæsar, and presented him to the troops at Nicomedia. At the same time Maximianus adopted on his part Constantius called Chlorus. The two Cæsars repudiated their respective wives; Galerius married Valeria, Diocletian's daughter, adding to his name that of Valerianus; and Constantius married Theodora, daughter of Maximianus. Galerius was a native of Dacia, and a good soldier, but violent and cruel; he had been a herdsman in his youth, for which he has been styled, in derision, Armentarius. The two Cæsars remained subordinate to the two Augusti, though each of the four was entrusted with the administration of a part of the Empire. Diocletian kept to himself Asia and Egypt; Maximianus had Italy and Africa; Galerius, Thrace and Illyricum; and Constantius had Gaul and Spain. But it was rather an administrative than a political division. At the head of the edicts of each prince were put the names of all the four, beginning with that of Diocletian.

Diocletian resorted to this arrangement probably as much for reasons of internal as of external policy. For nearly a hundred years before, ever since the death of Commodus, the soldiers had been in the habit of giving or selling the imperial crown, to which any general might aspire. Between thirty and forty emperors had been thus successively made and unmade, many of whom only reigned a few months. By fixing upon four colleagues, one in each of the great divisions of the Empire, each having his army, and all mutually checking one another, Diocletian put a stop to military insolence and anarchy. The Empire was no longer put up to sale, the immediate and intolerable evil was effectually cured, though another danger remained, that of disputes and wars between the various sharers of the imperial power; still it was a smaller danger and one which did not manifest itself so long as Diocletian remained at the helm. Writers have been very free of their censure upon this emperor for parcelling, as they call it, the Empire; but this was the only chance there was of preventing its crumbling to pieces. Italy, and Rome in particular, lost by the change: they no longer monopolized the wealth and power of the world, but the other provinces gained. The Empire was much too large for one single man or a single central administration, under the dwindled influence of the Roman name, and amidst the numerous causes of local dissension and discontent, private ambition, social corruption, and foreign hostility, that had accumulated for three centuries, since the time of Augustus.

The new Cæsars justified Diocletian's expectations. Constantius defeated the Franks and the Alemanni, and soon after reconquered Britain. Galerius subjugated the Carpi, and transported the whole tribe into Pannonia. In the year 296, the Persians, under their king Narses, again invaded Mesopotamia and part of Syria. Galerius marched against them, but being too confident was defeated by superior numbers, and obliged to retire. On his meeting Diocletian, the emperor showed his dissatisfaction by letting Galerius walk for a mile, clad in purple as he was, by the side of his car. The following year Galerius again attacked the Persians, and completely defeated them, taking an immense booty. The wives and children of Narses, who were among the prisoners, were treated by Galerius with humanity and respect. Narses sued for peace, which was granted by Diocletian on condition of the Persians giving up all the territory on the right or western bank of the Tigris. This peace was concluded in 297, and lasted forty years.

At the same time Diocletian marched into Egypt against Achillæus, whom he besieged in Alexandria, which he took after a siege of eight months, when the usurper and his chief adherents were put to death. Diocletian is said to have behaved on this occasion with unusual sternness. Several towns of Egypt, among others Busiris and Coptos, were destroyed. Constantine, the son of Constantius, who was educated at Nicomedia, accompanied the emperor in this expedition. Diocletian fixed the limits of the Empire on that side at the island of Elephantina, where he built a castle, and made peace with the neighboring tribes, called by some Nubæ and by others Nabatæ, to whom he gave up the strip of territory which the Romans had conquered, of seven days' march above the first cataract, on condition that they should prevent the Blemmyes and Ethiopians from attacking Egypt. Maximianus in the meantime was engaged in putting down the revolt in Mauritania, which he effected with full success.

For several years after this the empire enjoyed peace, and Diocletian and his colleagues were chiefly employed in framing laws and administrative regulations, and in constructing forts on the frontiers. Diocletian kept a splendid court at Nicomedia, which town he embellished with numerous structures. He, or rather Maximianus by his order, caused the magnificent Thermæ at Rome to be built, the remains of which still bear Diocletian's name, and which contained, besides the baths, a library, a museum, public walks, and other establishments.

In February, 303, Diocletian issued an edict against the Christians, ordering their churches to be pulled down, their sacred books to be burnt, and all Christians to be dismissed from offices civil or military, with other penalties, exclusive however of death. Various causes have been assigned for this measure. It is known that Galerius had always been hostile to the Christians, while Diocletian had openly favored them, had employed them in his armies and about his person; and Eusebius speaks of the prosperity, security, and protection which the Christians enjoyed under his reign. They had churches in most towns, and one at Nicomedia in particular under the eye of the emperor. Just before the edict was issued, Galerius had repaired to Nicomedia to induce Diocletian to proscribe the Christians. He filled the emperor's mind with reports of conspiracies and seditions. The imperial palace took fire, Constantine ("Oratio ad Cœtum Sanctorum ") says, from lightning, and Galerius suggested to the emperor that it was a Christian plot.

The heathen priests on their part exerted themselves for the same purpose. It happened that on the occasion of a solemn sacrifice in presence of the emperor, while priests were consulting the entrails of the victims, the Christian officers in the imperial retinue crossed themselves; upon which the priests declared that the presence of profane men prevented them from discovering the auspices. Diocletian, who was very anxious to pry into futurity, became irritated, and ordered all his Christian officers to sacrifice to the gods under pain of flagellation and dismissal, which many of them underwent. Several oracles which he consulted gave answers unfavorable to the Christians. The church of Nicomedia was the first pulled down by order of the emperor. The rashness of a Christian who publicly tore down the imperial edict exasperated Diocletian still more: the culprit was put to a cruel death. Then came a second edict, ordering all magistrates to arrest the Christian bishops and presbyters, and compel them to sacrifice to the gods. This was giving to their enemies power over their lives, and it proved, in fact, the beginning of a cruel persecution, whose ravages were the more extensive in proportion to the great diffusion of Christianity during a long period of toleration. This was the last persecution under the Roman Empire, and it has been called by the name of Diocletian. But that emperor issued the two edicts reluctantly and after long hesitation, according to Lactantius's acknowledgment: he fell ill a few months after, and on recovering from his long illness he abdicated. Galerius, who had instigated the persecution, was the most zealous minister of it; the persecution raged with most fury in the provinces subject to his rule, and he continued it for several years after Diocletian's abdication, so that it might with more propriety be called the Galerian persecution. Legend says that he died of a horrible disease, filled with remorse and imagining himself haunted by the martyred spirits. The countries under the government of Constantius suffered the least from it.


In November of that year (303) Diocletian repaired to Rome, where he and Maximianus enjoyed the honor of a triumph, followed by festive games. This was the last triumph that Rome saw. The populace of that city complained of the economy of Diocletian on the occasion, who replied that moderation and temperance were most required when the censor was present. They vented their displeasure in jibes and sarcasms, which so hurt Diocletian that he left Rome abruptly in the month of December for Ravenna, in very cold weather. In this journey he was seized by an illness which affected him the whole of the following year, which he spent at Nicomedia. At one time he was reported to be dead. He rallied, however, in the spring of 305, and showed himself in public, but greatly altered in appearance. Galerius soon after came to Nicomedia, and it is said that he persuaded Diocletian to abdicate. Others say that Diocletian did it spontaneously.

On the 1st of May he repaired with his guards to a spot three miles out of Nicomedia, where he had thirteen years before proclaimed Galerius as Cæsar, and there addressing his officers and court, he said that the infirmities of age warned him to retire from power, and to deliver the administration of the state into stronger hands. He then proclaimed Galerius as Augustus, and Maximinus Daza as the new Cæsar. Constantine, who has given an account of the ceremony, which is quoted by Eusebius in his life of that prince, was present, and the troops fully expected that he would be the new Cæsar; when they heard another mentioned, they asked each other whether Constantine had changed his name. But Galerius did not leave them long in suspense; he pushed forward Maximinus and showed him to the assembly, and Diocletian clothed him with the purple vest, after which the old emperor returned privately in his carriage to Nicomedia, and immediately after set off for Salona in Dalmatia, near which he built himself an extensive palace by the sea-shore, in which he lived for the rest of his life, respected by the other emperors, without cares and without regret.

Part of the external walls which inclosed the area belonging to his palace and other buildings still remain, with three of the gates, as well as a temple, which is now a church at Spalatro, or Spalato, in Dalmatia, a comparatively modern town, grown out of the decay of the ancient Salona, and built in great part within the walls of Diocletian's residence, from the name of which, " Palatium," it is believed that "Spalato " is derived.

At the same time that Diocletian abdicated at Nicomedia, Maximianus, according to an agreement between them, performed a similar ceremony at Milan, proclaiming Constantius as Augustus, and Severus as Cæsar. Both Severus and Maximinus Daza were inferior persons, and creatures of Galerius, who insisted upon their nomination in preference to that of Maxentius and Constantine, whom Diocletian had at first proposed. Maximianus retired to his seat in Lucania, but not being endowed with the firmness of Diocletian he tried some time after to recover his former power, and wrote to his old colleague to induce him to do the same. "Were you but to come to Salona," answered Diocletian, "and see the vegetables which I grow in my garden with my own hands, you would no longer talk to me of empire." In his retirement he used to observe to his associates how difficult it is, even for the best-intentioned man, to govern well, as he cannot see everything with his own eyes, but must trust to others, who often deceive him.

Once only he left his retirement to meet Galerius in Pannonia for the purpose of appointing a new Cæsar, Licinius, in the place of Severus, who had died. Licinius, however, did not prove grateful, for after the death of Galerius, in 311, he ill-treated his widow, Valeria, Diocletian's daughter, who then, with her mother, Prisca, took refuge in the territories of Maximinus Daza. The latter offered to marry Valeria, but on her refusal exiled both her and her mother into the deserts of Syria, and put to death several of their attendants. Diocletian remonstrated in favor of his wife and daughter, but to no purpose, and his grief on this occasion probably hastened his death, which took place at his residence near Salona in July, 313. In the following year his wife and daughter were put to death by order of Licinius.

Victims of Galerius.


Diocletian ranks among the most distinguished emperors of Rome; his reign of twenty-one years was upon the whole prosperous for the empire, and creditable to the Roman name. He was severe, but not wantonly cruel, and we ought to remember that mercy was not a Roman virtue. His conduct after his abdication shows that his was no common mind. The chief charge against him is his haughtiness in introducing the Oriental ceremonial of prostration into the Roman court. The Christian writers, and especially Lactantius, have spoken unfavorably of him; but Lactantius cannot be implicitly trusted. Of the regular historians of his reign we have only the meagre narratives of Eutropius and Aurelius Victor, the others being now lost; but notices of Diocletian's life are scattered about in various authors, Libanius, Vopiscus, Eusebius, Julian in his "Cæsars," and the contemporary panegyrists, Eumenes and Mamertinus. His laws or edicts are in the "Code." Among other useful reforms, he abolished the frumentarii, or licensed informers, who were stationed in every province to report any attempt at mutiny or rebellion, and who basely enriched themselves by working on the fears of the inhabitants. He also reformed and reduced the number of the insolent Prætorians, who were afterward totally disbanded by Constantine.

Alaric the Bold


Visigoths crossing the Danube

Alaric, the "All-ruler," surnamed the Baltha, or Bold, was born, about 360, on an island in the delta of the Danube. As long as the great Theodosius lived, the Goths continued in his pay; but when he died in 395, and Alaric was elevated on the shield as king of the Visigoths, he determined to lead his nation to independent victory. In 395 and 396 he invaded Greece, and Stilicho, the Vandal general of the Western Emperor, advanced against him. The strategy of Stilicho was masterly, and it would probably have gone hard with Alaric had not Stilicho been suddenly bidden by the Eastern Emperor, Arcadius, to withdraw his western troops. Again, in 396, Stilicho penned Alaric in the Peloponnesus, but for some unknown reason allowed him to escape into Illyricum. The Gothic chief had, however, struck deadly terror into the Eastern Empire; and by way of pacifying him Arcadius made him Master-General of Illyricum.

Alaric had already found the way to Italy when he accompanied Theodosius In his campaign against the usurper Maximus in 394. In 400 he descended into Italy, not with an army only, but with the migration of his entire people. He defeated the Romans under the walls of Aquileia, and in 401 besieged Honorius in Milan. In 402 a vast army under Stilicho met him at Pollentia; and when an old chieftain advised him to retire, Alaric, with fierce indignation, silenced his timid counsellor, and told him that he had been assured by a voice which came from the grave and said to him, "Thou shalt penetrate to the City" (ad Urbem). But the oracle on this occasion had "paltered " with him in a double sense. He penetrated indeed ad Urbem, not however "to the City," but to the little river Urbis  (or Borbo), near Pollenzo. On Good Friday, April 4, 402, the Western army, under a dwarfish Hun chieftain named Saulus, attacked and routed Alaric, recovering the splendid spoils of Greece, freeing his captives, and winning back the purple robes which the Emperor Valens had lost in the battle of Adrianople. In that disastrous defeat even the wife of Alaric, if we may believe the poet Claudian, was taken prisoner.



Alaric retreated through Lombardy, and the feeble Emperor Honorius—"a crowned nothingness"—celebrated at Rome, in 404, that triumph which was signalized by the last display of the brutal gladiatorial games. No sooner had the first blood been shed than the Eastern monk Telemachus sprang down into the arena to part the combatants. His life paid the price of his glorious temerity. He was hewn and stoned to death. But that death was not in vain. The horrid massacres, at which not only men but women gazed in demoniac pleasure and excitement, had been condemned centuries before by the genius of Christianity. It was monstrous that an emperor calling himself a Christian should preside at such a spectacle. But the martyrdom of Telemachus at last touched the callous and torpid consciences of nominal Christians. Thenceforth the games of the amphitheatre were abolished. But it was too late for repentance. Alike "the incomparable wickedness and the incomparable splendor" of the Imperial City were doomed to destruction. Even the blood of a Christian martyr voluntarily shed would not atone for the blood of hundreds of brave barbarians who, in that huge Flavian amphitheatre, had been

"Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

The day was near at hand when the Goths would arise and glut their ire.

Alaric, though he had retreated, was still in a position to dictate terms to Stilicho. He fixed his camp at Æmona, and was promised large pay and the government of a Western province under nominal allegiance to the Western Emperor. But the pledges made to him were broken, and their fulfilment delayed. In 408 the promise of the oracle was fulfilled, for he led his troops under the walls of Rome. The feeble and timid Honorius had retired to Ravenna, where he was safe behind the marshes, the pine-woods, and the stone walls against which Alaric said that he did not fight. In 408 the wretched court filled to the full the brimming cup of its iniquities—first by a massacre of barbarian auxiliaries at Pavia, and then by the foul, ungrateful murder of Stilicho himself, at the command of Honorius. No army barred the path of Alaric, but an Italian hermit denounced on him the wrath of heaven. This might have awoke the superstitious terrors of the Gothic soldiers if Alaric had not assured them, with confidence, that he was obeying a divine and irresistible command. The Goths encamped under the walls which for six hundred and nineteen years had never been threatened by a foreign enemy. The wealthy, effeminate, corrupted nobles, and people of the Eternal City thought to terrify Alaric back by boasts of their numbers. His scornful answer simply was, "The thicker the hay, the easier it is mowed." He demanded all their gold, silver, movables, and barbarian slaves. "What then, O King, will you leave us?" He grimly said, "Your lives." He was content, however, this time to accept a ransom, of which the most curious element was three thousand pounds of pepper.

The folly, pride, and braggadocio of Honorius, or rather of his miserable court, brought Alaric a second time to Rome in 409. The city capitulated, and he raised Attalus to the purple as a rival to Honorius. But Attalus proved utterly incompetent, and the next year Alaric publicly and insultingly degraded him to a private position. In 410 a fresh insult and wrong inflicted on the Goths by Honorius brought Alaric once more to Rome. He burst in by the Salarian gate, and sacked the city, which was only saved from irretrievable destruction by the respect of the Goths for the churches, which they regarded as inviolable asylums. The pillage and conflagration of Rome, and the resultant ruin and misery, came on the world like a shock of earthquake; but the Pagans saw that the catastrophe would have been yet more awful if the conquerors had not been Christians as well as the conquered.

It seemed as if even the Imperial City could not fall without some circumstance of irony and insult. Paganism may be said to have perished in two bursts of laughter : one when in Alexandria the Christian mob burst into merriment to see the rats scurry out of the rotten head of the shattered statue of Serapis; and again when Theodosius and his soldiers laughed at the golden thunderbolts torn from the uplifted arms of the menacing statue of Jupiter. And Honorius managed to invest even the fall of Rome with ludicrous associations. He was a great fancier of fowls, and had a particularly large hen, which, out of compliment, he called Roma. When the agitated eunuch entered to tell him that "Rome had perished," "What!" cried the Emperor, in a voice of deep concern, "why, she was feeding out of my hand only an hour ago!" "It is the city of Rome that has fallen, sire!" "Oh, my friend," said the Emperor, with a sigh of relief, "but I thought you meant that my hen 'Roma' had died."

Saint and Gladiator


Laden with spoils of priceless value, the creaking wagons of the Gauls went southward. Alaric meant to lead them to the conquest first of Sicily, then of Africa. But death overtook him amid the schemes of his ambition. He died after a short illness, and was buried in the bed of the river which washes the walls of Cosentia. The captives who reared the tomb were massacred, that none might know where the hero lay. The Visigothic kingdom of Spain, founded by the warrior tribe which he first led into the West, is one of the most permanent results of his invasion.


(REIGNED 434-453)

Attila the Hun

The Goths were "improvable barbarians;" but the Huns whom Attila led to ravage the fair peninsula were mere Tartar savages of the lowest stamp.

All the other invaders of Italy were of Teutonic origin, but the Huns were Mongols—of such perfect hideousness that Jornandes regarded them as the offspring of witches and demons. Attila, son of Mundzuk, "the scourge of God," resembled his soldiers in his flat, swarthy features, deep-set, fierce, rolling black eyes, and stunted figure. The Huns were uncivilizable savages, who might harry a continent, but neither under Attila, nor Genghis, nor Timour, could ever found an organized kingdom. This terrific and brutal little Kalmuck, with his bead-like eyes, this skin-clad devourer of raw flesh, delighted to lay waste whole empires with fire and sword, and to terrify the world. In 434 he became king of the Huns with his brother Bleda. In 445 Bleda died, possibly by murder; and in 445 Attila, now sole king of the Huns, invaded the Eastern Empire, and ravaged it even to the gates of Constantinople. He was only bought off from destroying it by an enormous tribute. The infamous plot to assassinate him by the treachery of Edecon, who was one of his counsellors, was discovered and foiled, and Attila sent message after message filled with insults to Theodosius II. In 451 his vast army moved westward, and devastated Gaul. It was met in the Mauriac plain and defeated by Ætius in the tremendous battle of Chalons, after a carnage among the most frightful that the world has ever seen. The Huns were only saved from final destruction by the heroic boldness of Attila. He had a vast hill of saddles and other spoils erected, and declared his determination to burn himself alive rather than be taken captive. He led back his shattered host to Pannonia, and there in his wooden palace meditated revenge. In the one authentic glimpse which we get of his mode of life, we see him at a banquet, while his nobles and warriors caroused and burst into peals of laughter at the buffooneries of an idiot and a jester. But the Hunnish king sat grave and silent, caressing the cheeks of the boy Ernak, his favorite son, whom the augur pointed out as the heir of his destinies.

In 452 he once more put his myriads in motion and invaded Italy. Everywhere the land was as the garden of Eden before him; behind him it was a desolate wilderness. Encouraged by the omen of some storks leaving their nest, he stormed and destroyed Aquileia, and, razing city after city into heaps of blackened ruins, advanced to Milan, boasting that "where his horses' hoofs trod the grass never grew." Rome awaited with trembling a fate which seemed to threaten unprecedented catastrophe. But in this awful crisis the Pope, Leo I, showed himself the true Defensor civitatis. He headed a splendid embassy to the camp of Attila. Already Leo had helped to trace with firm hand the deep lines of Christian orthodoxy which were accepted by the Church at the fourth great Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 as her final utterance as to the true Godhead, the perfect Manhood, the invisible yet distinct union of both Godhead and Manhood, in the person of her Lord. Now Leo showed what miracle could be achieved by the irresistible might of weakness. Attila's god was a naked iron sword of gigantic size, which had been accidentally found by a herdsman and presented to him, but which he palmed off on his nation as the authentic sword of the Scythian war-god. Yet he was easily overawed by the majesty of religion. He scorned the guilty, corrupt courtiers of Constantinople, but he almost trembled before a holy man. Already in 451 he had spared the defenceless city of Troyes at the entreaty of its bishop, St. Lupus, and had asked the benefit of his prayers. And when he gazed on the calm countenance; noble presence, and dauntless demeanor of Pope Leo, an awful dread fell upon him. Alaric had conquered Rome, but Alaric had died immediately afterward. How if it would be so with Attila? He yielded, he retired; he said—or perhaps he said—that he could conquer men, but that the wolf (Lupus) and the lion (Leo) had learnt how to conquer him. The tide of brutal and barbarous invasion was rolled back again, and the world and the city saw that while the Emperor Valentinian had been ready to fly, the Pope Leo was not afraid to advance, and that "when the successor of Cæsar had been proved useless, the successor of St. Peter had been a very present help." Indirectly Attila was the strengthener of the Papacy, and the founder of Venice. That stately and gorgeous city owes its origin to the Italians who fled in terror before the brutal Huns from ruined Padua to the islands and lagoons at the mouth of the Piave.



In retiring, Attila had demanded once more the hand and dower of Honoria, the disgraced sister of Theodosius II. But in 453 he added a beautiful maiden, Ildico, to his innumerable wives. He retired from the banquet after a deep carouse, and in the morning was found dead amid a flood of gore by which he had been suffocated, while Ildico sat weeping beneath her veil by the dead king's bedside. He died as a fool dieth; and his warriors gashed their cheeks and wept tears of blood, and gave him a splendid burial. And his name passed into legend as the King Etzel of the Niebelungen Lied, and Alti of the Saga. But his "loutish sons" quarrelled among themselves. The Teutons, Goths, Gepidæ, Alani, and Heruli reasserted their independence in the great victory of Netad in Pannonia in 454; and though the Huns left their name in Hungary, henceforth the empire of Attila became mere "driftwood, on its way to inevitable oblivion."