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the pomp of a Roman triumph.(85) Maximian, the equal partner of his power was his only companion in the glory of that day. The two Cesars had fought and conquered, but the merit of their exploits was ascribed, according to the rigour of ancient maxims, to the auspicious influence of their fathers and emperors.(86) The triumph of Dioclesian and Maximian was less magnificent perhaps, than those of Aurelian and Probus, but it was dignified by several circumstances of superior fame and good fortune. Africa and Britain, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Nile, furnished their respective trophies; but the most distinguished ornament was of a more singular nature, a Persian victory followed by an important conquest. The representations of rivers, mountains, and provinces, were carried before the imperial car. The images of the captive wives, the sisters, and the children of the Great King, .. a new and grateful spectacle to the vanity of the people.(87). In the eyes of posterity this triumph is remarkable, by a distinction of a less honourable kind. It was the last that Rome ever beheld. Soon after this period, the emperors ceased to vanquish, and Rome ceased to be the capital .P the empire. The spot on which Rome was founded, had been consecrated by ancient ceremonies and imaginary miracles. The presence of some god, or the memory of some hero, seemed to animate every part of the city, and the empire of the world had been promised to the j The native Romans felt and confessed the power of this agreeable illusion. It was derived from their ancestors, had grown up with their earliest habits of life, and was protected, in some measure, by the opinion of political utility. The form and the seat of government were intimately blended together, nor was it esteemed possible to transport the one without destroying the other.(89) But the sovereignty of the capital was gradually annihilated in the extent of conquest; the provinces rose to the same level, and the vanquished nations acquired the name and privileges, without imbibing the partial affections of Romans. During a long period, however, the remains of the ancient constitution, and the influence of custom, Fo the dignity of Rome. The emperors, though perhaps of African or llyrian extraction, respected their adopted country, as the seat of their power, and the centre of their extensive dominions. e emergencies of war very frequently required their presence on the frontiers; but Dioclesian and Maximian were the first Roman princes who fixed, in time of peace, their ordinary residence in the provinces; and their conduct, however it might be suggested by private motives, was justified by very specious tonsiderations of policy. The court of the emperor of the West was, for the most part, established at Milan, whose situation, at the foot of the Alps, appeared far more convenient than that of Rome, for the important purpose of watching the motions of the barbarians of Germany. Milan soon assumed the splendour of an imperial city. The houses are described as stumerous and well built; the manners of the people as polished and liberan. A circus, a theatre, a mint, a palace, baths, which bore the name of their founder Maximian; porticos adorned with statues, and a double circumference of walls, contributed to the beauty of the new capital; nor did it seem oppressed even Ly the proximity of Rome.(90) To rival the majesty of Rome was the ambition likewise of Dioclesian, who employed his leisure, and the wealth of the East, in the embellishment of Nicomedia, a city placed on the verge of Europe and Asia, almost at an equal distance between the Danube and the Euphrates. By the taste of the monarch, and at the expense of the people, Nicomedia acquired, in the space of a few years, a degree of magnificence which might appear to have required the labour of ages, and became inferior only to Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, in extent or P. The life of Dioclesian and Maximian was a life of action, and a considerable portion of it was spent in camps, or in their long and frequent marches; but whenever the public business allowed them any relaxation, they seem to have retired with pleasure to their favourite residences of Nicomedia and Milan. Till Dioclesian, in the twentieth year of his reign, celebrated his Roman triumph, it is extremely doubtful whether he ever visited the ancient capital of the empire. Even on that memorable occasion his stay did not exceed two months. Disgusted with the licentious familiarity of the people, he quitted Rome with precipitation thirteen days before it was expected that o: should have appeared in the senate, invested with the ensigns of the consular ignity.(92 §§ e expressed by Dioclesian toward Rome and Roman freedom, was not the effect of momentary caprice, but the result of the most artful policy. That crafty prince had framed a new system of imperial government, which was afterward completed by the family of Constantine; and as the image of the old constitution was religiously preserved in the senate, he resolved to deprive that order of its small remains of power and consideration. We may recollect about eight years before the elevation of Dioclesian, the transient greatness, and the ambitious hopes, of the Roman senate. As long as that anthusiasm prevailed, many of the nobles imprudently displayed their zeal in the cause of freedom ; and after the successors of Probus had withdrawn their countenance from the republican party, the senators were unable to disguise their impotent resentment. As the sovereign of Italy, Maximian was intrusted with the care of extinguishing this troublesome, rather than dangerous spirit, and the task was . suited to his cruel temper. The most illustrious members of the senate, whom Dioclesian always affected to esteem, were involved, by his colleague, in the accusation of imaginary plots; and the possession of an elegant villa, or, a well cultivated estate, was interpreted as a convincing evidence of guilt.(93). The camp of the praetorians, which had so long oppressed, began to protect, the majesty of Rome; and as those haughty troops were conscious of the decline of their power, they were naturall #. to unite their strength with the authority of the senate. By the so measures of Dioclesian, the numbers of the praetorians were insensibly reduced, their rivileges abolished,(94) and their place supplied by two faithful legions of llyricum, who, under the new titles of Jovians and Herculians, were appointed to perform the service of the imperial guards.(95). But the most fatal though secret wound, which the senate received from the hands of Dioclesian and Maximian, was inflicted by the inevitable operation of their absence. As long
(85) Euseb. in Chron, Pagi ad annum. Till the discovery of the treatise De Mortibus Persecutorum, it was not certain that the triumph and the Vincenalia were celebrated at the same time. (86). At the time of the Vincenalia, Galerius seems to have kept his station on the Danube. See Lacnt. de M. P. c. 38. o Eutropius (ix. 27) mentions them as a part of the triumph. As the persons had been restored to Narses, nothing more than their images could be exhibited. (88) Livy gives us a speeeh of Camillus on that subject (v. 51–55), full of eloquence and sensibility, in opposition to a design of removing the seat of government from Rome to the neighbouring city of Weii
eii. (89) Julius Cesar was reproached with the intention of removing the empire to Illium or Alexandria. See Sueton. in Cesar, c. 79. According to the ingenious conjecture of Le Fevre and Dacier, the third ode of the third book of Horace was intended to divert Augustus from the execution of a similar design. (90) See Aurelius Victor, who likewise mentions the buildings erected by Maximian at Carthage, pro bably during the Moorish war...We shall insert some verses of Ausonius de Clar. Urb. v. Et Mediolani mira omnia: copia rerum; Innumerae cultaeque domus; facunda virorum Ingenia, et mores laeti, tum duplice muro Arrarolifi - t
- loci sp ; populuq T
Circus; et inclusi moles cuneata Theatri Templa, Palatinaeque arces, opulensque Moneta, Et regio Herculei celebri sub honore lavacri. Cunctaque marmoreis ornata Perystyla signis; Moeniaque in valli formam circumdata labro, Omnia quae magnis operum velut amula formis Excellunt: nec functæ premit vicinia Roma. (91) Lactant. de M. P. c. 17. Libanius, Orat. viii. p. 203. (92) Lactant de M. P. c. 17. On a similar occasion Ammianus mentions the dicaeitas plebis, as not very agreeable to an imperial ear. (See 1. xvi. c. 10.) o Lactantius accuses Maximian of destroying fictis criminationibus lumina senatos (De M. P. c. 8). Aurelius Victor speaks very doubtfully of the faith of Dioclesian toward his friends. (94) Truncatae vires urbis, imminuto praetoriarum cohortium atque in armis vulgi numero. Aurelius Victor. Lactantius attributes to Galerius the prosecution of the same plan (c. 26). (95) They were old corps stationed in Illyricum; and according to the ancient establishment, they each consisted of six thousand men. They had acquired much reputation by the use of the plumbata, or darts loaded with lead. Each soldier carried five of these, which he darted from a considerable distance, with great strength and dexterity. See Vegetius, i 17
as the emperors resided at Rome, that assembly might be oppressed, but it could scarcely be neglected. . The successors of Augustus exercised the power of dictating whatever laws their wisdom or caprice might suggest ; but those laws were ratified by the sanction of the senate. The model of ancient freedom was preserved in its deliberations and decrees; and wise princes, who respected the prejudices of the Roman people, were in some measure obliged to assume the language and behaviour suitable to the general and first magistrate of the republic. In the armies and in the provinces, they displayed the dignity of monarchs; and when they fixed their residence at a distance from the capital, they for ever laid aside the dissimulation which Augustus had recommended to his successors. In the exercise of the legislative as well as the executive power, the sovereign advised with his ministers, instead of consulting the É. council of the nation. The name of the senate was mentioned with onour till the last period of the empire; the vanity of its members was still flattered with honorary distinctions:(96) but the assembly which had so lon been the source, and so long the instrument of power, was respectfully suffere to sink into oblivion. The senate of Rome, losing all connexion with the imperial court and the actual constitution, was left a venerable but useless monument of antiquity on the Capitoline hill. When the Roman princes had lost sight of the senate and of their ancient capital, they easily forgot the origin and nature of their legal power. The civil offices of consul, of proconsul, of censor, and of tribune, by the union of which it had been formed, betrayed to the people its republican extraction. Those modest titles were laid aside;(97) and if they still distinguished their high station by the appellation of Emperor, or IMPERATOR, that word was understood in a new and more dignified sense, and no longer denoted the general of the Roman armies, but the sovereign of the Roman world. The name of emperor, which was at first of a military nature, was associated with another of a more servile kind. The epithet of Dominus, or Lord, in its primitive signification, was expressive, not of the o of a prince over his subjects, or of a commander over his soldiers, but of the despotic power of a master over his domestic slaves.(98) Viewing it in that odious light, it had been rejected with abhorrence by the first Cesars. Their resistance insensibly became more feeble, and the name less odious; till at length the style of our Lord and Emperor, was not only bestowed by flattery, but was regularl admitted into the laws and public monuments. Such lofty epithets were su cient to elate and satisfy the most excessive vanity; and if the successors Dioclesian still declined the title of King, it seems to have been the effect not so much of their moderation as of their delicacy. Wherever the Latin tongue was in use (and it was the language of government . the empire), the imperial title, as it was peculiar to themselves, conveyed a more respectable idea than the name of King, which they must have shared with a hundred barbarian chieftains; or which, at the best, they could derive only from Romulus or from Tarquin. But the sentiments of the East were very different from those of the West. From the earliest period of history, the sovereigns of Asia had been celebrated in the Greek language by the title of BASILEUs, or King; and since it was considered as the first distinction among men, it was soon emloyed by the servile provincials of the East, in their humble addresses to the #. o ven the attributes, or at least the titles of the Divinity, were usurped by Dioclesian and Maximian, who transmitted them to a succession of Christian emperors.(100) Such extravagant compliments, however,
(96) See the Theodosian Code, 1. vi. tit. ii. with Godefroy's commentary. (97) see the 12th dissertation in Spanheim's excellent work de Usu Numismatum. From medals, inscriptions, and historians, he examines every title separately, and traces it from Augustus to the moment of its disappearing. - (98) Pliny (in Panegyr. c. 3.55, &c.) speaks of Dominus with execration, as synonymous to Tyrant, and opposite to Prince. And the same Pliny regularly gives that title (in the tenth book of the epistles) to his friend rather than master, the virtuous Trajan. This strange contradiction puzzles the commentators, who think, and the translators, who can write. (99) Synesius de Regno, Edit. Petav. p. 15.. I am indebted for this quotation to the Abbe de la Bleterie. ,(100) See Wendale de Consecratione, p. 354, &c. It was customary for the emperors to mention (in the
soon lose their impiety by losing their meaning; and when the ear is once accustomed to the sound, they are heard with indifference as vague though excessive professions of respect. - From the time of Augustus to that of Dioclesian, the Roman princes conversing in a familiar manner among their fellow-citizens, were saluted only with the same respect that was usually paid to senators and magistrates. Their principal distinction was the imperial or military robe of purple; while the senatorial garment was marked by a broad, and the equestrian by a narrow, band or stripe of the same honourable colour. The pride, or rather the policy of Dioclesian, engaged that artful prince to introduce the stately magnificence of the court of Persia.(101) . He ventured to assume the diadem, an ornament detested by the Romans as the odious ensign of royalty, and the use of which had been considered as the most desperate act of the madness of Caligula. It was no more than a broad white fillet set with pearls, which encircled the emperor's head., The sumptuous robes of Dioclesian and his successors were of silk and gold; and it is remarked with indignation, that even their shoes were studded with the most precious gems. The access to their sacred person was every day rendered more difficult, by the institution of new forms and ceremonies. The avenues of the o were strictly guarded by the various schools, as they began to be called, of domestic officers. The interior apartments were intrusted to the jealous vigilance of the eunuchs; the increase of whose numbers and influence was the most infallible symptom of the progress of despotism. When a subject was at length admitted to the imperial presence, he was obliged, whatever might be his rank, to fall prostrate on the ground, and to adore, according to the eastern fashion, the divinity of his lord and master.(102) Dioclesian was a man of sense, who, in the course of private as well as public life, had formed a just estimate both of himself and of mankind: nor is it easy to conceive, that in substituting the manners of Persia to those of Rome, he was seriously actuated by so mean a rinciple as that of vanity. He flattered himself, that an ostentation of splen#. and luxury would subdue the imagination of the multitude; that the monarch would be less exposed to the rude license of the people and the soldiers, as his person was secluded from the public view; and that habits of submission would insensibly be productive of sentiments of veneration. Like the modesty affected by Augustus, the state maintained by Dioclesian was a theatrical representation; but it must be confessed, that of the two comedies, the former was of a much more liberal and manly character than the latter. It was the aim of the one to disguise, and the object of the other to display, the unbounded power which the emperors possessed over the Roman world. Ostentation was the first principle of the new system instituted by Dioclesian. The second was division. He divided the empire, the provinces, and every branch of the civil, as well as military administration. He multiplied the wheele of the machine of government, and rendered its operations less rapid but more secure. Whatever advantages and whatever defects might attend these innovations, they must be ascribed in a very great degree to the first inventor; but as the new frame of Fo was gradually improved and com §. by succeeding princes, it will be more satisfactory to delay the consieration of it till the season of its full maturity and persection.(103) Reserving, therefore, for the reign of Constantine a more exact picture of the new empire, we shall content ourselves with describing the principal and decisive outline, as it was traced by the hand of Dioclesian. He had associated three colleagues
§: of laws) their numen, sacred majesty, divine oracles, &c. According to Tillemont, Gregory of azianzen complains most bitterly of the profanation, especially when it was practised by an "Arian ror.” (101) See so. He Usu Numismat. Dissertat. xii. (103), Aurelius Victor. Eutropiusix.26. It appears by the Panegyrists, that the Romans were soon reconciled to the name and ceremony of adoration. (103) The innovations introduced by Dioclesian, are chiefly deduced, 1st, from some very strong passages in Lactantius; and, 3dly, from the new and various offices, which, in the Theodosian code, appear already established in the beginning of the reign of Constantine.
in the exercise of the supreme power; and as he was convinced that the abilities of a single man were inadequate to the public defence, he considered the joint administration of four princes not as a temporary expedient, but as a fundamental law of the constitution. It was his intention, that the two elder princes should be distinguished by the use of the diadem, and the title of Augusti: that, as affection or esteem might direct their choice, they should regularly call to their assistance two subordinate colleagues; and that the Cesars, rising in their turn to the first rank, should supply an uninterrupted succession of emperors. The empire was divided into four parts. The East and Italy were the most honourable, the Danube and the Rhine the most laborious stations. The former claimed the presence of the Augusti, the latter were intrusted to the administration of the Cesars. The . of the legions was in the hands of the four partners of sovereignty, and the despair of successively vanquishing four formidable rivals, might intimidate the ambition of an aspiring general. In their civil government, the emperors were supposed to exercise the undivided power of the monarch, and their edicts, inscribed with their joint names, were received in all the provinces, as promulgated by their mutual councils and authority. Notwithstanding these precautions, the political union of the Roman world was gradually dissolved, and a principle of division was introduced, which, in the course of a few years, occasioned the perpetual separation of the eastern and western empires. - he system of Dioclesian was accompanied with another very material disadvantage, which cannot even at present be totally, overlooked ; a more expensive establishment, and consequently an increase of taxes, and the oppression of the people. Instead of a modest family of slaves and freedmen, such as had contented the simple o of Augustus and Trajan, three or four magnificent courts were established in the various parts of the empire, and as many Roman kings contended with each other and with the Persian monarch for the vain superiority of pomp and luxury. . The number of ministers, of magistrates, of officers, and of servants, who filled the different departments of the state, was multiplied beyond the example of former times; and,(if we may borrow the warm expression of a contemporary,) “when the proportion of those who received, exceeded the proportion of those who contributed, the provinces were ops. by the weight of tributes.”(104) From this period to the extinction of the empire, it would be easy to deduce an uninterrupted series of clamours and complaints. According to his religion and situation, each writer chooses either Dioclesian, or Constantine, or Valens, or Theodosius, for the object of his invectives; but they unanimously agree in representing the burden of the public impositions, and particularly the land tax, and capitation, as the intolerable and increasing grievance of their own times. From such a concurrence, an impartial historian, who is obliged to extract truth from satire, as well as from panegyric, will be inclined to divide the blame among the princes whom they accuse, and to ascribe their exactions much less to their personal vices, than to the uniform system of their administration.” The emperor Dioclesian was indeed the author of that system; but during his reign, the growing evil was confined within the bounds of modesty and discretion, and he deserves the reproach of establishing pernicious precedents, rather than of exercisi actual oppression.(105). It may be added that his revenues were managed wit prudent economy; and that after all the current expenses were discharged, there still remained in the imperial o an ample provision either for judicious liberality or for any emergency of the state. It was in the twenty-first year of his reign that Diolcesian executed his memorable resolution of abdicating the empire; an action more naturally to have been . from the elder or the }. Antoninus, than from a prince who had never practised the lessons of philosophy either in the attainment or in the use of supreme power. Dioclesian acquired the glory of giving to the
(104) Lactant. de M. P. c. 7. (105) Indicta lex nova quie same illorum temporum modestià tolerabilis, in o: processit Aurel, Victor, who has treated the character of Dioclesian with good sense, though in bad Latin.