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killed a wild boar of extraordinary size. The prietor, struck by the dexterity and courage of the man, desired to see him. The poor wretch, highly gratified with the distinction, came to present himself before the praetor, in hopes, no doubt, of praise and reward; but Domitius, on learning that he had only a javelin to attack and kill the boar, ordered him to be instantly crucified, under the barbarous pretext that the law prohibited the use of this weapon, as of all others, to slaves.” Perhaps the cruelty of Domitius is less astonishing than the indifference with which the Roman orator relates this circumstance, which affects him so little that he thus expresses himself: “Durum hoc fortasse videatur, neque ego in ullam partem disputo.” “This may appear harsh, nor do I give any opinion on the subject.” And it is the same orator who exclaims in the same oration : “Facinus est cruciare civem Romanum : scelus verberare; prope parricidium necare : quid dicam in crucem tollere.” “It is a crime to imprison a Roman citizen; wickedness to scourge ; next to parricide, to put to death; what shall I call it to crucify 1" In general, this passage of Gibbon on slavery is full, not only of blameable indifference, but of an exaggeration of impartiality which resembles dishonesty. He endeavours to extenuate all that is appalling in the condition and treatment of the slaves; he would make us consider these cruelties as possibly “justified by necessity.” He then describes, with minute accuracy, the slightest mitigations of their deplorable condition; he attributes to the virtue or the policy of the emperors the progressive amelioration in the lot of the slaves; and he passes over in silence the most influential cause, that which, after rendering the slaves less miserable, has contributed at length entirely to enfranchise them from their sufserings and their chains—Christianity. It would be easy to accumulate the most frightful, the most agonizing details of the manner in which the Romans treated their slaves: whole works have been devoted to the description. Kcontent myself with referring to them. Some reflections of Robertson, taken from the discourse already quoted, will make us feel that Gibbon, in tracing the mitigation of the condition of the slaves up to a period little later than that which witnessed the establishment of Christianity in the world, could not have avoided the acknowledgment of the influence of that beneficent cause, if he had not already determined not to speak of it. “Upon establishing despotic government in the Roman empire, domestic tyranny rose in a short time to an astonishing height.
In that rank soil, every vice which power nourishes in the great, or oppression engenders in the mean, thrived and grew up apace. * * * It is not the authority of any single detached precept in the Gospel, but the spirit and genius of the Christian religion, more powerful than any particular command, which hath abolished the practice of slavery throughout the world. The temper which Christianity inspired was mild and gentle; and the doctrines it taught .# such dignity and lustre to human nature, as rescued it from the dishonourable servitude into which it was sunk.”
It is in vain, then, that Gibbon pretends to attribute solely to the desire of keeping up the number of slaves, the milder conduct which the Romans began to adopt in their favour at the time of the emperors. This cause had hitherto acted in an opposite direction; how came it on a sudden to have a different influence? “The masters,” he says, “encouraged the marriage of their slaves * * *; the sentiments of nature, the habits of education, contributed to alleviate the hardships of servitude.” The children of slaves were the property of their master, who could dispose of or alienate them like the rest of his property. Is it in such a situation, with such notions, that the sentiments of nature unfold themselves, or habits of education become mild and peaceful! We must not attribute to causes inadequate, or altogether without force, effects which require to explain them a reference to more influential causes; and even if these slighter causes had in effect a manifest influence, we must not forget that they are themselves the effect of a primary, a higher, and more extensive cause, which, in giving to the mind and to the character a more disinterested and more humane bias, disposed men to second or themselves to advance, by their conduct, and by the change of manners, the happy results which it tended to produce. —G
I have retained the whole of M. Guizot's note, though, in his zeal for the invaluable blessings of freedom and Christianity, he has done Gibbon injustice. The condition of the slaves was undoubtedly improved under the emperors. What a great authority has said, “The condition of a slave is better under an arbitrary than under a free government (Smith's Wealth of Nations, vol. iv., 7), is, I believe, supported by the history of all ages and nations.” The protecting edicts of Hadrian and the Antonines are historical facts, and can as little be attributed to the influence of Christianity, as the milder language of heathen writers, of Seneca (particularly Ep. 47), of Pliny, and of Plutarch. The later influence of Chris
tianity is admitted by Gibbon himself. The
France . . . . . . ........................ 32,807,152
Germany (including Hungary, Prussian
Italy.......... -- ... 20,548,616
Carried forward.......... 100,581,9Si
Brought forward........ 109,581,981
Russia, including Poland.
P. 29.-* The Odeum served for the rehearsal of new comedies as well as tragedies; they were read or repeated before representation, without music or decorations, &c. No piece could be represented in the theatre if it had not been previously approved by judges for this purpose. The king of Cappadocia who restored the Odeum, which had been burned by Sylla, was Araobarzanes. See Martini, Dissertation on the Odeons of the Ancients, Leipsic, 1767, p. 10–91.-W. P. 29.—t The Emperor Vespasian, who had caused the Temple of Peace to be built, transported to it the greatest part of the pictures, statues, and other works of art which had escaped the civil tumults. It was there that every day the artists and the learned of Rome assembled; and it is on the site of this temple that a multitude of antiques have been dug up. See notes of Reimar on Dion Cassius, lxvi., c. 15, p. 1083.-W. P. 30–" This may in some degree account for the difficulty started by Livy, as to the incredibly numerous armies raised by the small states around Rome, where, in his time, a scanty stock of free soldiers among a larger population of Roman slaves, broke the solitude. Wix seminario exiguo militum relicto, servitia Romana ab solitudine vindicant, Lv. vi., vii. Compare Appian, Bel. Civ., vol. i., 7–M. subst. for G. P. 30.-t Without doubt, no reliance can be placed on this passage of Josephus. The historian makes Agrippa give advice to the Jews as to the power of the Romans; and the speech is full of declamation which can furnish no conclusions to history. While enumerating the nations subject to the Romans, he speaks of the Gauls as submitting to twelve hundred soldiers (which is false, as there were eight legions in Gaul, Tac., vol. iv., 5), while there are nearly twelve hundred cities.—G. Josephus (infra) places these eight legions on the Rhine, as Tacitus does.—M P. 32.-- Posts for the conveyance of intelligence were establisbed by Augustus.
Suet., Aug. 49. The couriers travelled with amazing speed. Blair on Roman Slavery, note, p. 261. It is probable that the posts, from the time of Augustus, were confined to the public service, and supplied by impressment. Nerva, as it appears from a coin of his reign, made an important change; “he established posts upon all the public roads of Italy, and made the service chargeable upon his own exchequer. * * * Hadrian, perceiving the advantage of improvement, extended it to all the provinces of the empire.” Cardwell on Coins, p. 220.-M. P. 32–? A courier is mentioned in Walpole's Travels, vol. ii., 335, who was to travel from Aleppo to Constantinople, more than seven hundred miles, in eight days, an unusually short journey—M. P. 32-f Pliny says Puteoli, which seems to have been the usual landing-place from the East; see the voyages of St. Paul, Acts xxviii., 13, and of Josephus, Vita, c. 3.—M. P. 33.−" Strabo only says that the grape does not ripen, à éparexocol bodiac režeapopei. Attempts had been made in the time of Augustus to naturalize the vine in the north of Gaul; but the cold was too great. Diod. Sic., edit. Rhodom., p. 304.—W. Diodorus (lib. v., 26) gives a curious picture of the Italian traders bartering with the savages of Gaul, a cask of wine for a slave. —M. It appears from the newly-discovered treatise of Cicero, de Republica, that there was a law of the republic prohibiting the culture of the vine and olive beyond the Alps, in order to keep up the value of those in Italy. Nos justissimi homines, qui transalpinas gentes oleam et vitem serere non sinimus, quo pluris sint nostra oliveta, nostracque vinea. Lib. iii., 9. The restrictive law of Domitian was veiled under the decent pretext of encouraging the cultivation of grain Suet., Dom., vii. It was repealed by Probus. Vopis. Probus, 18.—M. P. 33.−f This is proved by a passage of Pliny the elder, where he speaks of a certain kind of grape (vitis picata, vinum picatum) which grows naturally in the district of Vienne, and had recently been transplanted into the country of the Arverni (Auvergne), of the Helvii (the Vivarais), the Sequani (Burgundy and Franche Compté). Pliny wrote A.D. 77. Hist. Nat., xiv., 1. P. 34.—” Certainly not the only one. The Indians were not so contented witn regard to foreign productions. Arrian has a long list of European wares which they received in exchange for their own; Italian and ciher wines, brass, tin, lead, coral,
chrysolith, storax, glass, dresses of one or many colours, zones, &c. See Periplus maris Erythraei, in Hudson, Geogr. Min., i., p. 27.-W. The German translator observes that Gibbon has confined the use of aromatics to religious worship and funerals. His error seems the omission of other spices, of which the Romans must have consumed great quantities in their cookery. Wenck, however, admits that silver was the chief article of exchange.—M. In 1787, a peasant (near Nellore, in the Carnatic) struck, in digging, on the remains of a Hindoo temple # ound also a pot which contained Roman coins and medals of the second century, mostly Trajans, Adrians, and Faustinas, all of gold, many of them fresh and beautiful, others defaced or perforated, as if they had been worn as ornaments. Asiatic Researches, ii., 19.
P. 35.-" Vespasian first gave a salary to professors; he assigned to each professor of rhetoric, Greek and Roman, centena sestertia. (Suet. in Vesp., 18.) Hadrian and the Antonines, though still liberal, were less profuse.—G. from W. Suetonius wrote annua centena L., 807, 5, 10.-M. P. 35.—t This judgment is rather severe: besides the physicians, astronomers, and grammarians, among whom there were some very distinguished men, there were still under Adrian, Suetonius, Florus, Plutarch: under the Antonines, Arrian, Pausanias, Appian, Marcus Aurelius himself, Sextus Empiricus, &c. Jurisprudence #. much by the labours of Salvius Juianus, Julius Celsus, Sex. Pomponius, Caius, and others.-G, from W. Yet where among these is the writer of original genius, unless, perhaps, Plutarch! or even of a style really elegant!—M. P. 36.—*Often enough in the ages of superstition, but not in the interest of the people or the state, but in that of the church, to which all others were subordinate. Yet the power of the pope has often been of great service in repressing the excesses of sovereigns, and in softening manners.-W. The history of the Italian republics proves the error of Gibbon, and the justice of his German translator's comment.—M. P. 36.—f Dion says twenty-five (or three) (lv., 23). The united triumvirs had but forty-three (Appian, Bell. Civ., iv., 3). The testimony of Orosius is of little value when more certain may be had.—W. But all the legions, doubtless, submitted to Augustus after the battle of Actium.—M. P. 37.-* Of these Dion and Suetonius knew nothing.—W. Dion says the contoo. ăvrò; ačv objeva èvrov &máàetye
P. 37.-f But Augustus, then Octavius, was censor, and in virtue of that office, even according to the constitution of the free republic, could reform the senate, expel unworthy members, name the Princeps Senatás, &c. That was called, as is well known, Senatum legere. It was customary, during the free republic, for the censor to be named Princeps Senatas (S. Liv., 1. xxvii., c. 11; l. xl., c. 51); and Dion expressly says, that this was done according to ancient usage. He was empowered by a decree of the senate (3ovāńc errorpeyúanç) to admit a number of families among the patricians. Finally, the senate was not the legislative power.—W. P. 39.--> This distinction is without foundation. The lieutenants of the emperor, who were called propraetors, whether they had been praetors or consuls, were attended by six lictors: those who had the right of the sword (of life and death over the soldiers.-M.), bore the military habit (paludamentum) and the sword. The provincial governors commissioned by the senate, who, whether they had been consuls or not, were called proconsuls, had twelve lictors when they had been consuls, and six only when they had but been praetors. The provinces of Africa and Asia were only given to ex-consuls. See, on the organization of the provinces, Dion, liii., 12, 16. Strabo, xvii., 840.-W. P. 40.-” The note of M. Guizot on the tribunitian power applies to the French translation rather than to the original. The former has, maintenir la balance toujours égale, which implies much more than Gibbon's general expression. The note belongs rather to the history of the republic than that of the empire.—M. P. 40.-f It is also in the editions of Tacitus by Ryck (Annal., p. 420, 421) and Ernesti (Excurs. ad lib. iv., 6); but this fragment contains so many inconsistencies, both in matter and form, that its authenticity may be doubted.—W. P. 40.—f The Emperor Caligula made the attempt: he restored the Comitia to the people, but, in a short time, took them away again. Suet. in Caio., c. 16. Dion, lix., 9, 20. Nevertheless, at the time of Dion, they preserved still the form of the Comitia. Dion, lviii., 20.-W. P. 41.-" This is inaccurate. The successors of Alexander were not the first deified sovereigns; the Egyptians had deified and worshipped many of their kings; the Olympus of the Greeks was peopled with divinities who had reigned on earth; finally, Romulus himself had received the honours of an apotheosis (Tit. Liv., i., 16)longtime before Alexander and his successors. It Wol. I.-I 1
is also an inaccuracy to confound the honours offered in the provinces to the Roman governors, by o: and altars, with the true apotheosis of the emperors: it was not a religious worship, for it had neither priests nor sacrifices. Augustus was severely blamed for having permitted himself to be worshipped as a god in the provinces (Tac. Ann., i., 10): he would not have incurred that blame if he had only done what the governors were accustomed to do.—G. from W. M. Guizot has been guilty of a still greater inaccuracy in confounding the deification of the living with the apotheosis of the dead emperors. The nature of the king-worship of Egypt is still very obscure; the hero-worship of the Greeks very different from the adoration of the ‘praesens numen' in the reigning sovereign-M, P. 42-" The good princes were not those who alone obtained the honours of an apotheosis: it was conferred on many tyrants. See an excellent treatise of Schaepflin, de Consecratione imperatorum Romanorum, in his Commentationes historica, et criticae. Bâle, 1741, p. 1, 84.—W. P. 42.-f The curious satire, the arrokoAvvrwato, in the works of Seneca, is the * remonstrance of profaned religion. P. 42.-4 Octavius was not of an obscure family, but of a considerable one of the equestrian order. His father, C. Octavius, who possessed great property, had been praetor, governor of Macedonia, adorned with the title of Imperator, and was on the point of becoming consul when he died. His mother, Attia, was daughter of M. Attius Balbus, who had also been praetor. M. Antony reproached Octavius with having been born in Aricia, which, nevertheless, was a considerable municipal city; he was vigorously refuted by Cicero. Philip. iii., c. 6.—W. Gibbon probably meant that the family had but recently emerged into notice.—M. P. 42.— The princes who, by their birth. or their adoption, belonged to the family of the Caesars, took the name of Caesar. After the death of Nero, this name designated the imperial dignity itself, and, afterward, the appointed successor. The time at which it was employed in the latter sense cannot be fixed with certainty. Bach (Hist. Jurisprud. Rom., 304) affirms from Tacitus, H., i., 15, and Suetonius, Galba, 17, that Galba conferred on Piso Licinianus the title of Caesar, and from that time the term had this meaning: but these two historians simply say that he appointed Piso his successor, and do not mention the word Caesar. Aurelius Victor (in Traj., 348, ed. Artzen) says that Hadrian first received this title on his adoption; but as the adoption of Hadrian is still doubtful, and besides this, Trajan on his deathbed was not likely to have created a new title for his successor, it is more probable that Ælius Verus was the first who was called Caesar, when adopted by Hadrian. Spart in AElio Vero., 102.W
P. 43.—* In a very ingenious essay, Gibbon has ventured to call in question the pre-eminent virtue of Brutus. Misc. Works, iv., 95.-M. P. 44.—" Caligula perished by a conspiracy formed by the officers of the Praetorian troops, and Domitian would not, perhaps, have been assassinated without the participation of the two chiefs of that guard in his death.-W. P. 44.—t This panegyric on the soldiery is rather too liberal. Claudius was obliged to purchase their consent to his coronation: the presents which he made, and those which the praetorians received on other occasions, considerably embarrassed the finances. Moreover, this formidable guard favoured, in general, the cruelties of the tyrants. The distant revolts were more frequent than Gibbon thinks: already, under Tiberius, the legions of Germany would have seditiously constrained Germanicus to assume the imperial purple. On the revolt of Claudius Civilis, under Vespasian, the legions of Gaul murdered their general, and offered their assistance to the Gauls, who were in insurrection. Julius Sabinus made himself be proclaimed emperor, &c. The wars, the merit, and the severe discipline of Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines, established for some time a greater degree of subordination.—W. P. 46.—* Gibbon attributes to Antominus Pius a merit which he either did not possess or was not in a situation to display. 1st. He was adopted only on the condition that he would adopt in his turn Marcus Aurelius and L. Verus. 2d. His two sons died children, and one of them, M. Galerius, alone, appears to have survived, for a few years, his father's coronation. Gibbon is also mistaken when he says (note 42) that, “without the help of medals and inscriptions, we should be ignorant that Antoninus had two sons.” Capitolinus says expressly (c. .1), Filii mares duo, dua foemina ; we only owe their names to the medals. Pagi. Cont. Baron., i., 33, edit. Paris.-W. P. 47–" Cassius was murdered by his own partisans. Vulcat. Gallic. in Cassio, c. 7. Dion, lxxi., c. 27.-W. P. 47.—t Marcus would not accept the services of any of the barbarian allies who crowded to his standard in the war against
Avidius Cassius. “Barbarians,” he said, with wise but vain sagacity, “must not become acquainted with the dissensions of the Roman people.” Mai. Fragm. Watican., ii., 224.—M. P. 47.-f See one of the newly discovered passages of Dion Cassius. Marcus wrote to the senate, who urged the execution of the partisans of Cassius, in these words: “I entreat and beseech you to preserve my reign unstained by senatorial blood. None of your order must perish either by your desire or mine.” Mai. Fragm. Watican., ii., p. 224.—M. P. 49.—* It was Tiberius, not Augustus, who first took in this sense the words crimen laosae majestatis. Hist. Aug. Bachii Trajanus, 27.-W. P. 50–" His brother by adoption, and his colleague, L. Werus. Marcus Aurelius had no other brother.—W. P. 52.-" The conspirators were senators, even the assassin himself. Herod., i., 81.-G. P. 52.—t This work was on agriculture, and is often quoted by later writers. See P. Needham, Proleg. ad Geoponic., Camb., 1704.—W. P. 53.—* Gibbon praises Dion for the moderation with which he speaks of Perennis: he follows, nevertheless, in his own narrative, Herodian and Lampridius. Dion speaks of Perennis not only with moderation, but with admiration: he represents him as a great man, virtuous in his life, and blameless in his death: perhaps he may be suspected of partiality; but it is singular that Gibbon, having adopted from Herodian and Lampridius their judgment on this minister, follows Dion's improbable account of his death. What likelihood, in fact, that fifteen hundred men should have traversed Gaul and Italy, and have arrived at Rome without any understanding with the praetorians, or without detection or opposition from Perennis, the praetorian praefect! Gibbon, foreseeing, perhaps, this difficulty, has added, that the military deputation inflamed the divisions of the guards; but Dion says expressly that they did not reach Rome, but that the emperor went out to meet them: he even reproaches him for not having opposed them with the guards, who were superior in number. Herodian relates, that Commodus, having learned from a soldier the ambitious designs of Perennis and his son, caused them to be attacked and massacred by night.—G. from W. Dion's narrative is remarkably circumstantial, and his authority higher than either of the other writers. He hints that Cleander, a new favourite, had already undermined the influence of Perennis.-M.