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forty years, undertaken * the most stupid,(1) maintained by the most dissolute, and terminated the most timid of all the emperors, the far greater part of the island submitted to the Roman :::::) The various tribes of Britain possessed valour without conduct, and the love of freedom without the spirit of union. They took up arms with savage fierceness; they laid them down, or turned them against each other with wild inconstancy; and while they fought singly, they were successively subdued. Neither the fortitude of Caractacus, nor the despair of Boadicea, nor the fanaticism of the Druids, could avert the slavery of their country, or resist the steady progress of the Imperial generals, who maintained the national glory, when the throne was disgraced by the weakest, or the most vicious of mankind. At the very time when Domitian, confined to his palace, felt the terrors which he inspired; his legions, under the command of the virtuous Agricola, defeated the collected force of the Caledonians at the foot of the Grampian hills; and his fleets, venturing to explore an unknown and dangerous navigation, displayed the Roman arms round every part of the island. The conquest of Britain was considered as already achieved; and it was the design of Agricola to complete and ensure his success, by the easy reduction of Ireland, for which, in his opinion, one legion and a few auxiliaries were sufficient.(3), The western isle might be improved into a valuable possession, and the Britons would wear their chains with the less reluctance, if the prospect and example of freedom was on every side removed from before their eyes. But the superior merit of Agricola soon occasioned his removal from the government of Britain; and for ever disappointed this rational, though extensive scheme of conquest. Before his departure, the prudent general had provided for security as well as for dominion. He had observed, that the island is almost divided into two unequal §. by the opposite gulfs, or, as they are now called, the Friths of Scotland. Across the narrow interval of about forty miles, he had drawn a line of military stations, which was afterwards fortified in the reign of Antoninus Pius, by a turf rampart, erected on foundations of stone.(4) This wall of Antoninus, at a small distance beyond the modern cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, was fixed as the limit of the Roman province. The native Caledonians preserved in the northern extremity of the island their wild independence, for which they were not less indebted to their poverty than to their valour. Their incursions were frequently repelled and chastised; but their country was never subdued.(5) The masters of the fairest and most wealthy climates of the globe, turned with contempt from the gloomy hills assailed by the winter tempest, from lakes concealed in a blue mist, and from cold and lonely heaths, over which the deer of the forest were chased by a troop of naked barbarians.(6)
and livid colour. Tacitus observes, with reason (in Agricola, c. 12), that is was an inherent defect. “Ego facilius crediderim naturam, margaritis deesse quanu nobis avaritiam.” (1) Claudius, Nero, and Domitian. A hope is expressed by Pomponius Mela, l. iii. c. 6, (he wrote under Claudius) that, by the success of the Roman arms, the island and its savage inhabitants would soon be better known. It is amusing enough to peruse such passages in the midst of London. (2) See the admirable abridgment given by Tacitus, in the Life of Agricola and #. though perhaps not completely, illustrated by our own antiquarians, Camden and orsley. (3) The Irish writers, jealous of their national honour, are extremely provoked on this occasion, both with Tacitus and with Agricola. (4) See Horsley's Britannia Romana, l. i. c. 10.* (5) The poet Buchanan celebrates, with elegance and spirit (see his Sylva v.), the unviolated independence of his native country. But if the single testimony of Richard of Cirencester was sufficient to create a Roman province of Vespasiana to the north of the wall, that independence would be reduced within very narrow limits. (5) See Appian (in Prom.) and the uniform imagery of Ossian's poems, which, according to overy hypothesis, were composed by a nativo go , which, 2
Such was the state of the Roman frontiers, and such the maxims of Imperial policy from the death of Augustus to the accession of Trajan. That virtuous and active prince had received the education of a soldier, and possessed the talents of a jo ) The peaceful system of his predecessors was interrupted y scenes of war and conquest; and the legions, after a long interval, beheld a military emperor at their head." The first exploits of Trajan were against the Dacians, the most warlike of men, who dwelt beyond the Danube, and who, during the reign of Domitian, had insulted with impunity the Majesty of Rome.(2) ... To the strength and fierceness of barbarians, they .a contempt for life, which was derived from a warm persuasion of the immortality and transmigration of the soul.(3) Decebalus, the Dacian King, approved himself a rival not unworthy of Trajan; nor did he despair of his own and the public fortune, till, by the confession of his enemies, he had exhausted every resource both of valour and policy.(4) This memorable war, with a very short suspension of hostilities, lasted five years; and as the emperor could exert, without control, the whole force of the state, it was terminated by an absolute submission of the barbarians.(5) The new province of Dacia, which formed a second exception to the precept of Augustus, was about thirteen hundred miles in circumference. Its natural boundaries were the Niester, the Teyss, or Tibiscus, the Lower Danube, and the Euxine Sea. The vestiges of a "... may still be traced from the Banks of the Danube to the neighbourhood of Bender, a place famous in modern hisory, and the ... frontier of the Turkish and Russian empires.(6) rajan was ambitious of fame; and as long as mankind . continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters. The praises of Alexander, transmitted by a succession of poets and historians, had kindled a dangerous emulation in the mind of Trajan. Like him the Roman emperor undertook an expedition against the nations of the east, but he lamented with a sigh, that his advanced age scarcely left him any hopes of equalling the renown of the son of Philip.(7) Yet the success of #. however transient, was rapid and specious. The degenerate Parthians, broken by intestine discord, fled before his arms. He descended the river Tigris in triumph, from the mountains of Armenia to the Persian gulf. #. enjoyed the honour of being the first, as he was the last, of the Roman generals, who ever navigated that remote sea. His fleets ravaged the coasts of Arabia; and Trajan vainly flattered himself that he was approaching towards the confines of India.(8) Every day the astonished senate received the intelligence of new names and new nations, that acknowledged his sway. They were informed that the kings of Bosphorus, Colchos, Iberia, Albania, Osrhoene, and even the Parthian monarch himself, had accepted their diadems from the hands of the emperor; that the independent tribes of the Median and Carduchian hills had implored his protection; and that the rich countries of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, were reduced into the state of provinces.(9) But the death of Trajansoon clouded the splendid prospect; and it was justly to be dreaded, that so
(1) See Pliny's Panegyric, which seems founded on facts. (2) Dion Cassius, l. lxvii. (3) Herodotus, I.iv. c.94. Julian in the Caesars, with Spanheim's observations. (4) Plin. Epist. viii. 9. (5) Dion Cassius, l. lxviii. p. 1123, 1131. Julian in Caesaribus. Eutropius, viii.2. 6. Aurelius Victor in Epitome. (6) See a Memoirof M. d'Anville, on the Province of Dacia, in the Academie des Inscriptions, totn. xxviii. p. 444–468. J o Trajan's sentiments are represented in a very just and lively manner in the Caesars of ulian. (8) Eutropius and Sextus Rufus have endeavoured to perpetuate the illusion. See avery sensible dissertation of M. Freretin the Academie des Inscriptions, tom.xxi. p. 55. (9) Dion Cassius, l. lxviii.; and the Abbreviators.
many distant nations would throw off the unaccustomed yoke, when they were no longer restrained by the powerful hand which had imposed it. It was an ancient tradition, that when the Capitol was founded by one of the Roman kings, the god Terminus (who presided over boundaries, and was represented according to the fashion of that age by a large stone) alone, among all the inferior deities, refused to yield his place to Jupiter himself. favourable inference was drawn from his obstinacy, which was interpreted by the augurs, as a sure presage that the boundaties of the Roman power would never recede.(1) During many ages, the prediction, as it is usual, contributed to its own accomplishment. But though Terminus had resisted the majesty of Jupiter, he submitted to the authority of the emperor Hadrian.(2) The resignation of all the eastern conquests of Trajan was the first measure of his reign. He restored to the Parthians the election of an independent sovereign, withdrew the Romangarrisons from the provinces of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, and, in compliance with the precept of Augustus, once more established the Euphrates as the frontier of the empire.(3) Censure, which arraigns the public actions and the private motives of princes, has ascribed to envy, a conduct which might É. attributed to the prudence and moderation of Hadrian. The various character of that emperor, ...” by turns, of the meanest and the most generous sentiments, ma afford some colour to the suspicion. It was, however, scarcely in his ower to place the superiority of his predecessor in a more conspicuous ight, than by thus confessing himself unequal to the task of defending the conquests of Trajan. The martial and ambitious spirit of Trajan, formed a very singular contrast with the moderation of his successor. The restless activity of Hadrian was not less remarkable, when compared with the gentle repose of Antoninus Pius. The life of the former was almost a perpetual journey; and as he possessed the various talents of the soldier, i. Statesman, and the scholar, he gratified his curiosity in the discharge of his duty. Careless of the difference of seasons and of climates, he marched on foot, and bare-headed, over the snows of Caledonia, and the sultry plains of the Upper Egypt; nor was there a province of the empire which, in the course of his reign, was not honoured with the presence of the monarch.(4) But the tranquil life of Antoninus Pius was spent in the bosom of Italy; and, during the twenty-three years that he directed the public administration, the longest journeys of that amiable prince extended no farther than from his palace in Rome, to the retirement of his Lanuvian Villa.(5) Notwithstanding this difference in their personal conduct, the general system of Augustus was equally adopted and uniformly pursued by Hadrian and by the two Antonines. They persisted in #. design of maintaining the dignity of the empire, without attempting to enlarge its limits. By every honourable expedient they invited "ie friendship of the barbarians; and endeavoured to convince mankind, that the Roman power, raised above the temptation of conquest, was actuated only by the love of order and justice. During a long period of forty-three years
T (1) old. Fast. l. ii. ver. 667. See Livy, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, under the reign of arquin. (2) St. Augustin is highly delighted with the proof of the weakness of Terminus, and the vanity of the Augurs. See De Civitate Dei, iv.20 * (3) See the Augustan History, p. 5. Jerome's Chronicle, and all the Epitomisers. It is somewhat surprising, that this memorable event should be omitted by Dion, or rather by Xiphilin. (4) Dion, l. lxix. p. 1158. Hist. August. p. 5. 8. If all our historians were l medals, inscriptions, and other monuments, would be sufficient to record the travels hadrian.t (5) See the Augustan History and the Epitomes.
their virtuous labours were crowned with success; and if we except a few slight hostilities that served to exercise the o of the frontier, the reigns of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius offer the fair prospect of universal peace.(1) The Roman name was revered among the most remote nations of the earth. The fiercest barbarians frequently submitted their differences to the arbitration of the emperor; and we are informed by a cotemporary historian, that he had seen ambassadors who were refused the honour which they came to solicit, of being admitted into the rank of subjects.(2) The terror of the Roman arms added weight and dignity to the moderation of the emperors. . They preserved peace by a constant preparation for war; and while justice regulated their conduct, they announced to the nations on their confines, that they were as little disposed to endure as to offer an injury. The military strength, which it had been sufficient for Hadrian and the elder Antoninus to display, was exerted against the Parthians and the Germans by the emperor Marcus. The hostilities of the barbarians provoked the resentment of that philosophic monarch, and, in the prosecution of a |. defence, Marcus and his generals obtained many signal victories, both'on the Euphrates, and on the Danube.(3) The military establishment of the Roman empire, which thus assumed either its tranquillity or success, will now become the proper and important object of our attention. n the purer ages of the commonwealth, the use of arms was reserved for those ranks of citizens who had a country to love, a property to defend, and some share in enacting those laws, which it was their interest, as well as duty, to maintain. But in proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest, war was gradually, improved into an art, and degraded into a trade.(4) . The legions themselves, even at the time when they were recruited in the most distant provinces, were supposed to consist of Roman citizens. That distinction was generally considered, either as a legal qualification, or as a proper recompense for the soldier; but a more serious regard was paid to the essential merit of age, strength, and military stature.(5) In of. preference was given to the climates of the north over those of the south; the race of men born to the exercise of arms, was sought for in the country rather than in cities; and it was very reasonably presumed, that the hardy occupations of smiths, carpenters, and huntsmen, would supply more vigour and resolution, than the sedentary trades which are employed in the service of luxury.(6) After every qualification of P. had been laid aside, the armies of the Roman emperors were still commanded, for the most part, by officers of a liberal birth and education; but the common soldiers, like the mercenary
(1) We must, however, remember, that, in the time of Hadrian, a rebellion of the Jews raged with religious fury, though only in a single province; Pausanius (l. viii. c. 43.) mentions two necessary and successful wars, conducted by the generals of Pius. 1st, Against the wandering Moors, who were driven into the solitudes of Atlas. 2d, Against the Brigantes of Britain, who had invaded the Roman province. Both these wars (with several other hostilitics) are mentioned in the Augustan History, p. 19.
(2) Appian of Alexandria, in the preface to his History of the Roman wars.
(3) Dion, l. lxxi. Hist. August. in Marco.. The Parthian victories gave birth to a crowd of contemptible historians, whose memory has been rescued from oblivion, and exposed to ridicule, in a very lively piece of criticism of Lucian.
(4) The poorest rank of soldiers possessed above forty pounds sterling (Dionys. Halicarn. iv. 17), a very high qualification, at a time when money was so scarce, that an ounce of silver was equivalent to seventy pound weight of brass.” The populace, excluded by the ancient constitution, were indiscriminately admitted by Marius. See Sallust. de Bell, Jugurth, c. 91.
(5) Caesar formed his legion Alauda, of Gauls and strangers; but it was during the ficense of civil war; and, after the victory, he gave them the freedom of the city for their reward.
ob) Boe Vegetius de Re Militari, l. l. c. 2–7.
troops of modern Europe, were drawn from the meanest, and very frequéntly from the most profligate, of mankind. That public virtue which among the ancients was denominated patriotism, is derived from a strong sense of our own interest in the preservation and prosperity of the free government of which we are members. Such a sentiment, which had rendered the legions of the republic almost invincible, could make but a o: impression on the mercenary servants of a despotic prince; and it became necessary to supply that defect by other motives, of a different, but not less forcible nature; honour and religion. The peasant, or mechanic, imbibed the useful prejudice that he was advanced to the more dignified profession of arms, in which his rank and reputation would depend on his own valour; and that, although the É. of a private soldier must often escape the notice of fame, his own ehaviour might sometimes confer glory or disgrace on the company, the legion, or even the army, to whose honours he was associated. 3. his first entrance into the service, an oath was administered to him, with every circumstance of solemnity. He promised never to desert his standard, to submit his own will to the commands of his leaders, and to sacrifice his life for the safety of the emperor and the *::::::: The attachment of the Roman troops to their standards, was inspired by the united influence of o and of honour., The golden eagle, which glittered in the front of the legion, was the object of their fondest devotion; nor was it esteemed less impious, than it was ignominious, to abandon that sacred ensign in the hour of danger.(2) These motives, which derived their strength from the imagination, were enforced by fears and hopes of a more substantial kind. Regular pay, occasional donatives, and a stated recompence, after the appointed time of service, alleviated the hardships of the military life,(3) while, on the other hand, it was impossible for cowardice or disobedience to escape the severest punishment. . The centurions were authorized to chastise with blows; the generals had a right to punish with death; and it was an inflexible maxim of Roman discipline, that a good soldier should dread his officers far more than the enemy. From such laudable arts did the valour of the Imperial troops receive a degree of firmness and docility, unattainable by the impetuous and irregular passions of barbarians. And yet so sensible were the Romans of the imperfection of valour without skill and practice, that, in their language, the name of an army. was borrowed from the word which signified exercise.(4). Military exercises were the important and unremitted object of their discipline. The recruits and young soldiers were constantly trained, both in the morning and in the evening, nor was age or knowledge allowed to excuse the veterans from the É. repetition of what they had completely learnt. Large sheds were erected in the winter-quarters of the troops, that their useful labours might not receive any interruption from the most tempestuous weather; and it was carefully observed, that the arms destined to
(1) The oath of service and fidelity to the emperor was annually renewed by the troops, on the 1st of January.
(2) Tacitus calls the Roman Eagles, Bellorum Deos. They were placed in a chapel in the camp, and with the other deities received the religious worship of the troops.”
(3) See Gronovius de Pecunia vetere, l. lii. p. 120, &c. . The emperor Domitian raised the annual stipend of the legionaries to twelve pieces of gold, which in his time was equivalent to about ten of our guineas. This pay, somewhat higher than our own, had been, and was afterwards, gradually increased, according to the progress of wealth and military government. After twenty years' service, the veteran received three thousand Jenarii, (about one hundred pounds sterling.) or a proportionable allowance of land. The pay and advantages of the guards were, in general, about double those of the legions.
(4) Exercitus ab exercitando, Varro de Lingua Latina, l. iv. Cicero in Tusculan. l. ii. 37. There is room for a very interesting work, which should lay open the connexion between the languages and nanners of nations.#