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the doors were very aptly distinguished) poured forth the immense multitude; and the entrances, passages, and staircases were contrived with such exquisite skill, that each person, whether of the senatorial, the equestrian, or the plebeian order, arrived at his destined place without trouble or confusion.94 Nothing was omitted which, in any respect, could be subservient to the convenience and pleasure of the spectators. They were protected from the sun and rain by an ample canopy, occasionally drawn over their heads. The air was continually refreshed by the playing of fountains, and profusely impregnated by the grateful scent of aromatics. In the centre of the edifice, the arena, or stage, was strewed with the finest sand, and successively assumed the inost different forms. At one moment it seemed to rise out of the earth, like the garden of the Hesperides, and was afterwards broken into the rocks and caverns of Thrace. The subterraneous pipes conveyed an inexhaustible supply of water; and what had just before appeared a level plain, might be suddenly converted into a wide lake, covered with armed vessels, and replenished with the monsters of the deep.95 In the decoration of these scenes the Roman emperors displayed their wealth and liberality; and we read on various occasions that the whole furniture of the amphitheatre consisted either of silver, or of gold, or of amber.96 The poet who describes the games of Carinus, in the character of a shepherd attracted to the capital by the fame of their magnificence, affirms that the nets designed as a defence against the wild beasts were of gold wire; that the porticoes were gilded; and that the belt or circle wbich divided the several ranks of spectators from each other was studded with a precious mosaic of beautiful stones.97

In the midst of this glittering pageantry, the emperor Carinus,

54. secure of his fortune, enjoyed the acclamations of the people, Sept. 12. the flattery of his courtiers, and the songs of the poets, who, for want of a more essential merit, were reduced to celebrate the divine graces of his person. 98 In the same hour, but at the distance of nine hundred miles from Rome, his brother expired ; and a sudden Maffei (1. ii. c. 12) finds room on the open seats for no more than 34,000. The reInainder were contained in the upper covered galleries.

94 See Maffei, 1. ii, c. 5–12. He treats the very difficult subject with all possible clearness, and like an architect as well as an antiquarian.

35 Calpurn. Eclog. vii. 64–73. These lines are curious, and the whole eclogue han been of infinite use to Maffei. Calpurnius, as well as Martial (see his first book), was a poet; but when they described the amphitheatre, they both wrote from their own senses, and to those of the Romans. so Consult Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 16, xxxvii. 11.

57 Balteus en gemmis, en inlita porticus auro

Certatim radiant, &c. Calpurn. vii. [v. 47.] Dr Et Martis vultus et Apollinis esse putavi, says Calpurnius (Ecl. vii. 83]; but John Malala, who had perhaps seen pictures of Carinus, describes him as thick, short, and white, tom. i. p. 403.

A.D. 284.

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revolution transferred into the hands of a stranger the sceptre of the house of Carus.99

The sons of Carus never saw each other after their father's death. The arrangeinents which their new situation required were Return of probably deferred till the return of the younger brother to with the Rome, where a triumph was decreed to the young emperors Persia. for the glorious success of the Persian war.100 It is uncertain whether they intended to divide between them the administration or the provinces of the empire; but it is very unlikely that their union would have proved of any long duration. The jealousy of power must have been inflamed by the opposition of characters. In the most corrupt of times Carinus was unworthy to live: Numerian deserved to reign in a happier period. His affable manners and gentle virtues secured him, as soon as they became known, the regard and affections of the public. He possessed the elegant accomplishments of a poet and orator, which dignify as well as adorn the humblest and the most exalted station. His eloquence, however it was applauded by the senate, was formed not so much on the model of Cicero as on that of the modern declaimers; but in an age very far from being destitute of poetical merit, he contended for the prize with the most celebrated of his contemporaries, and still remained the friend of his rivals; a circumstance which evinces either the goodness of his heart, or the superiority of his genius.101 But the talents of Numerian were rather of the contemplative than of the active kind. When his father's elevation reluctantly forced him from the shade of retirement, neither his temper nor his pursuits had qualified him for the command of armies. His constitution was destroyed by the hardships of the Persian war; and he had contracted, from the heat of the climate,102 such a weakness in his eyes, as obliged him, in the course of a long retreat, to confine himself to the solitude and darkness of a tent or litter. The administration of all affairs, civil as well as military, was devolved on Arrius Aper, the Prætorian præfect, who, to the power of his important office, added the honour of being father-in-law to Numerian. The Imperial pavilion was strictly guarded by his most trusty adherents; and


army from

* With regard to the time when these Roman games were celebrated, Scaliger, Salmasius, and Cuper have given themselves a great deal of trouble to perplex a very clear subject.

19 Nemnesianus (in the Cynegeticon (v. 80, seqq.]) seems to anticipate in his fancy that auspicious day.

101 He won all the crowns from Nemesianus, with whom he vied in didactic poetry. The senate erected a statue to the son of Carus, with a very ainbiguous inscription, * To the most powerful of orators." See Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 251. [Nuterian. c. 11.]

108 A more natural cause, at least, than that assigned by Vopiscus (Hist. August, p. 251 [Nunerian, c. 12]), incessantly weeping for his father's death.

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during many days Aper delivered to the army the supposed mandates of their invisible sovereign.103

It was not till eight months after the death of Carus, that the Death of Roman army, returning by slow marches from the banks Numerian. of the Tigris, arrived on those of the Thracian Bosphorus. The legions halted at Chalcedon in Asia, while the court passed over to Heraclea, on the European side of the Propontis.104 But a report soon circulated through the camp, at first in secret whispers, and at length in loud clamours, of the emperor's death, and of the presumption of his ambitious minister, who still exercised the sovereign power in the name of a prince who was no more. The impatience of the soldiers could not long support a state of suspense. With rude curiosity they broke into the imperial tent, and discovered only the corpse of Numerian.105 The gradual decline of his health might have induced them to believe that his death was natural; but the concealment was interpreted as an evidence of guilt, and the measures which Aper had taken to secure his election became the immediate occasion of his ruin. Yet, even in the transport of their rage and grief, the troops observed a regular proceeding, which proves how firmly discipline had been re-established by the martial successors of Gallienus. A general assembly of the army was appointed to be held at Chalcedon, whither Aper was transported in chains, as a prisoner and a criminal. A vacant tribunal was erected in the midst of the camp, and the generals and tribunes formed a great military A.D. 284. council. They soon announced to the multitude that their Election of choice had fallen on Diocletian, commander of the domestics Diocletian. or body-guards, as the person the most capable of revenging and succeeding their beloved emperor. The future fortunes of the candidate depended on the chance or conduct of the present hour. Conscious that the station which he had filled exposed him to some suspicions, Diocletian ascended the tribunal, and, raising his eyes towards the Sun, made a solemn profession of his own innocence, in the presence of that all-seeing Deity.106 Then, assuming the tone of a sovereign and a judge, he commanded that Aper should be brought in chains to the foot of the tribunal. “ This man," said he, “is the murderer of Numerian ;” and without giving him time to

Sept. 17.

the emperor

103 In the Persian war Aper was suspected of a design to betray Carus. Hist. August p. 250. (Vopiscus, Carus, c. 8.]

104 We are obliged to the Alexandrian Chronicle, p. 274, for the knowledge of the time and place where Diocletian was elected emperor.

1Q6 Hist. August. p. 251. (Vopisc. Numer. c. 12.] Eutrop. ix. 88 [c. 12). Hieronym. in Chron. According to these juclicious writers, the death of Numerian was discovered by the stench of his dead body. Could no aromatics be found in the Imperial household ?

106 Aurel. Victor. [De Cæsar. c. 39.] Eutropius, ix, 20 [c. 13]. Hieronym. in Chron

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death of

every advantaespised the incapace people were en forefer an

enter on a dangerous justification, drew his sword, and buried it ir. the breast of the unfortunate præfect. A charge supported by such decisive proof was admitted without contradiction, and the legions, with repeated acclamations, acknowledged the justice and authority of the emperor Diocletian. 107

Before we enter upon the memorable reign of that prince, it will be proper to punish and dismiss the unworthy brother of Defeat and Numerian. Carinus possessed arms and treasures sufficient Carinus. to support his legal title to the empire. But his personal vices overbalanced every advantage of birth and situation. The most faithful servants of the father despised the incapacity, and dreaded the cruel arrogance of the son. The hearts of the people were engaged in favour of his rival, and even the senate was inclined to prefer an usurper to a tyrant. The arts of Diocletian inflamed the general discontent; and the winter was employed in secret intrigues and open preparations for a civil war. In the spring the forces 1.0.295. of the East and of the West encountered each other in the May." plains of Margus, a small city of Mæsia, in the neighbourhood of the Danube. 108 The troops, so lately returned from the Persian war, had acquired their glory at the expense of health and numbers, nor were they in a condition to contend with the unexhausted strength of the legions of Europe. Their ranks were broken, and, for a moment, Diocletian despaired of the purple and of life. But the advantage which Carinus had obtained by the valour of his soldiers he quickly lost by the infidelity of his officers. A tribune, whose wife he had seduced, seized the opportunity of revenge, and by a single blow extinguished civil discord in the blood of the adulterer.109

Cet intriggeneral


107 Vopiscus in Hist. August. p. 252. [Numer. c. 13.] The reason why Diocletian killed Aper (a wild boar) was founded on a prophecy and a pun, as foolish as they are well known. (Vopisc. I. c.]

106 Eutropius [lib. ix. c. 13] marks its situation very accurately; it was between the Mons Aureus and Viminiacum. M. d'Anville (Géographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 304) places Margus at Kastolatz in Servia, a little below Belgrade and Semendria.b

109 Hist. August. p. 254. [Vopisc. Carin, c. 17.) Eutropius, ix. 20 [13]. Aurelius Victor. Victor in Epitome.

• This date is only conjectural ; for though Carinus must have been slain in this year, there is no evidence to deter mine the month.-8.

b Placed by others at Semendria or Passamowitz. See Forbiger, Handbuch der alten Geographie, vol, iii. p. 1092,-8.





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As the reign of Diocletian was more illustrious than that of any of Elevation his predecessors, so was his birth more abject and obscure. racter of The strong claims of merit and of violence had frequently A.D. 285. superseded the ideal prerogatives of nobility; but a distinct line of separation was hitherto preserved between the free and the servile part of mankind. The parents of Diocletian had been slaves in the house of Anulinus, a Roman senator; nor was he himself distinguished by any other name than that which he derived from a small town in Dalmatia, from whence his mother deduced her origin.' It is, however, probable that his father obtained the freedom of the family, and that he soon acquired an office of scribe, which was commonly exercised by persons of his condition. Favourable oracles, or rather the consciousness of superior merit, prompted his aspiring son to pursue the profession of arms and the hopes of fortune; and it would be extremely curious to observe the gradation of arts and accidents which enabled him in the end to fulfil those oracles, and to display that merit to the world. Diocletian was successively promoted to the government of Mæsia, the honours of the consulship, and the important command of the guards of the palace. He distinguished his abilities in the Persian war; and after the death of Numerian, the slave, by the confession and judgment of his rivals, was declared the most worthy of the Imperial throne. The malice of religious zeal, whilst it arraigns the savage fierceness of his colleague Maximian, has affected to cast suspicions on the personal courage of the emperor Diocletian. It would not be easy to per

1 Eutrop. ix. 19 (13). Victor in Epitome (c. 39). The town seems to have been properly called Doclia, from a small tribe of Illyrians (see Cellarius, Geograph. An. tiqua, tom. i. p. 393); and the original name of the fortunate slave was probably Docles; he first lengthened it to the Grecian harmony of Diocles, and at length to the Roman majesty of Biocletianus. He likewise assumed the Patrician name of Valerius, and it is usually given him by Aurelius Victor.

? See Dacier on the sixth satire of the second book of Horace. Cornel. Nepos, in Vit. Eumen. c. 1.

3 Lactantius (or whoever was the author of the little treatise De Mortibus Persecu. torum) accuses Diocletian of timidity in two places, c. 7, 8. In chap. 9 he says of him, " erat in omni tumultu meticulosus et animi disjectus."

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