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2 MODERATION OF AUGUSTUR. [CH. I.
The principal conquests of the Romans were achieved under the republic; and the emperors, for the most, part; were satisfie with preserving those dominions which had been acquir.ed by the policy of the senate, the active emulation of the consuls, and the martial enthusiasm of the people. The on first centuries were filled with a rapid succession. of triumphs; but it was reserved for Augustus juish the ambitious design of subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation into the public ...uncils. Inclined to peace by his temper and situation, it was easy for him to discover that Rome, in her present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful and the possession more precarious, and less beneficial. The experience of Augustus ... weight to these salutary reflections, and effectually jnced him that, by the prudent vigour of his counsels, i.i.d be easy to secure every concession which the safe or the dignity of Rome might require from the most i. able barbarians. Instead of exposing his person and his legions to the arrows of the Parthians, he obtained, by an honourable treaty, the restitution of the standards and prisoners which had been taken in the defeat of Crassus.”
His generals, in the early part of his reign, attempted the rediction of Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. They marched ... thousand miles to the south of the tropic ; but the heat of the climate soon repelled the invaders, and protected the unwarlike natives of those sequestered regions.t. The
• Dion Cassius (1.54, p. 736), with the annotations, of Reimar, who has collected all that Roman vanity has left upon the subject. The marble of Ancyra, on which Augustus recorded his own exploits, asserts that he compelled the Parthians to restore the ensigns of Crassus. [Roman poets have given a splendid celebrity to this peaceful achieve}...". "Augustus” see Horace (Oct. iv. o. and Ovid, in Tristia (1.2, v.227).-Guizot.] j.16, p.789). the elder (Hist. No. 6, c. 32–35), and Dion Cassius (1.5%. 723, and l. 54, p. 734), hajeft us very curious details concernio these wars. The Romans made themselves masters of Mariabo, or Morab, a city of Arabia Felix, won known to the Orientals. (See Abulfed” and the Nubian geography, p. 3. They were arrived within thro days . of the spice sounty, the rich object of their invasio. [Merab. Fo to Arabian writers, was the residence of Belkis, the Queen 9. o a, who visited Solomon. The banks of a neighbouring reservoir having burst, the northern countries of Europe scarcely deserved the expense and labour of conquest. The forests and morasses of Germany were filled with a hardy race of barbarians, who despised life when it was separated from freedom; and though, on the first attack, they seemed to yield to the weight of the Roman power, they soon, by a signal act of despair, regained their independence, and reminded Augustus of the vicissitude of fortune.* On the death of that emperor, his testament was publicly read in the senate. He bequeathed, as a valuable legacy to his successors, the advice of confining the empire within those limits which nature seemed to have placed as its permanent bulwarks and boundaries; on the west the Atlantic Ocean; the Rhine and Danube on the north; the Euphrates on the east; and towards the south, the sandy deserts of Arabia and Africa.f
Happily for the repose of mankind, the moderate system recommended by the wisdom of Augustus was adopted by the fears and vices of his immediate successors. Engaged in the pursuit of pleasure, or in the exercise of tyranny, the first Caesars seldom showed themselves to the armies, or to the provinces; nor were they disposed to suffer, that those triumphs which their indolence neglected, should be usurped by the conduct and valour of their lieutenants. The military fame of a subject was considered as an insolent invasion of the imperial prerogative; and it became the duty, as well as interest, of every Roman general, to guard the frontiers intrusted to his care, without aspiring to conquests which might have proved no less fatal to himself than to the vanquished barbarians.:
torrent, which suddenly escaped, destroyed this city, some vestiges of which still remain. It was situated near a country called Adramaut, which produces a noted aromatic plant; and for this reason the expe. dition of the Romans was said to have carried them within three days’ march of the spice country. See d'Anville, Geog. Anc. tom. ii. p. 222. Guizot.] (See Notes, ch. 42 & 50.—Ed.) * By the slaughter of Varus and his three legions. (See the first book of the Annals of Tacitus. Sueton. in August. c. 23, and Velleius Paterculus, ii. 117. &c. Augustus did not receive the melancholy news with all the temper and firmness that might have been expected from his cha. racter. + Tacit. An. l. 2, Dion Cassius, l. 56, p. 833, and the speech of Augustus himself in Julian's Caesaro, , it oceives great light from the learned notes of his French translator, M. Spanheim:
$ Geluanicus, Suetouius Paulinus, aud **, * checked 4 THE ACCESSION OF BRITAIN [CH. I.
The only accession which the Roman empire received, during the first century of the Christian era, was the proVince of Britain. In this single instance, the successors of Caesar and Augustus were persuaded to follow the example of the forme” rather than the precept of the latter. #. proximity of its situation to the coast of Gaul seemed to invite their arms: the pleasing, though doubtful intelligence of a pearl fisher attracted their avarice;” and as Britain was viewed in the light of a distinct and insulated world, the conquest sorcely formed any exception to the general system of continental measures. After a war of about fort years, undertaken by the most stupid,t maintained by the host dissolute, and terminated by the most timid, of all the emperors, the goater part of the island submitted to the Roman yoke.: The various tribes of Britons possessed valor without conduct, and the love of freedom without the spirit of union. They took up arms with savage fierceness; the laid them down, or turned them against each other, o, 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 jjruids, 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 comon 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
and recalled in the course of their victorio Corbulo, was put to death. Military merit, as it is admirably expressed by Tacitus, was, in the strictest sense of the word, imperatoria virtus. * Caesar him if onceals that ignoblemotive; but it * mentioned by Suetonius, c. 47. The British pearls proved, however, of little value, on account of their dark and livid colour. Tacitus obse. with reason (in Agricola, c. 12), that it was an inherent defect. “Ego facilius grediderim, ...n, shargaritis deesse quam nobis oyo.ni t Claudius, Nero, and Domitian. A hope is expressed by Pool. Mela, l. 3, c. 6 (he wrote under Claudius), that by the slo. of o, o arms, the island and its savage inhabitants would ". }. e i. nown. It is amusing enough to peruse such passage.” t .. s o, London. it see the admirable abridgment given by Taci o the life of Agricola, and copiously, though perhaps not completely, illustrated by our own antiquarians, Camden and Horsley.
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 comF. and ensure his success by the easy reduction of Ireand, for which, in his opinion, one legion and a few auxiliaries were sufficient.* }. 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 were 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 parts 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 afterward fortified in the reign of Antoninus Pius, by a turf rampart erected on foundations of stone.f. This wall of
* The Irish writers, jealous of their national honour, are extremely provoked on this occasion, both with Tacitus and with Agricola. [Gibbon's pointed expression, “the western isle,” alluded to the original Celtic name of Ireland, Jarin or Eirin (M'Pherson's Introduction, p. 56; Whitaker's Genuine History of Britons, p. 129), which the Romans, cor. rupted into Hibernia, making “the western isle" of one language into “the wintry region” of another. Juvenal used it in the form of Juverna (Littora Juvernae, Sat. 2, 160), and other ancient writers as Jerne, Ivernia, Hivernia, &c.—Ed.) + See Horsley's Britannia Romana, l 1, c. 10. [Agricola constructed a fortified line in the very heart of Scotland, from Dumbarton to Edinburgh. The Emperor Hadrian, during his visit to Britain, about the year 121, ordered a rampart of earth to be raised between Newcastle and Carlisle. Antoninus Pius, whose lieutenant, Lollius Urbicus, had gained fresh advantages over the northern tribes, wishing to check the inroads of the Caledonians, had another rampart of earth made between Edinburgh and Dumbarton, parallel to which Septimius Severus, in 208, built, a stone wall. ese monuments of Roman dominion in Britain may still be traced in many remains; for an account of which see the “Vallum Romanum, or the History and Antiquities of the Roman Wallomoly called the Pict's Wali; by John Warburton, 4to, London, 1754. with a map and numerous engravings. Among the inquiries of earlier, antiquariano, those of Alexander Gordon, in his Travels (fol. London..!?26, chap. 5), W. the most exact, and deserve to be compared with Warburton's Exck.] -
6 INDEPENDENCE OF THE CALEDONIANs. [CH. I.
Antoninus, at a small distance beyond the modern eities 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 o independence, for which they wore not less indebted to their poverty than to their valour, Their incursions were frequently repelled and chastised; but their country was never subdued.* The masters of the fairest and most wealthy climates of the globe turned with contempt from gloomy hills assailed by the winter ten Post, 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.t
Such was the state of the Roman frontiers, and such the maxims of imporial policy, from the death of Augustus to th. ...ession of Trajan. That virtuous and active prince had received the education of a soldier, and possessed the talents of a general. The peaceful system of his predeces: sors was interrupted by scènes of war and conquest ; and the legions, after a long interval, beheld a military emperor ... to 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 injith impunity the majesty of fome.S To the strength and fierceness of barbarians, they added a o: for life, which was derived from a warm persuasion of the immortality and transmigration of the soul." 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.” This memorable war, with a very short suspension of hostilities, lasted five years; and as the emperc, could exert, without control, the whole force of the state, it was terminated by * absolute submis
• The poet Buchanan celebrates, with elegance and spirit (see his Sylva, 5), the unviolated independence of his native country. But If the single testimony of Richard of Cirencester was sufficient to creat, a Roman province of Vespasiana to the north of the wall, that independence would be reduced within very narrow limits: + See Appian (in Procem.) and the uniform imagery of Ossian t Poems, which, according to every hypothesis, were composed by ". ive Caledonian.
it see fliny's Panegyric, which seems founded on to i Š Dion Cassius, 1. 67. * Herodotus, iv. o. o. oo e Caesars, with Spanheim's observations. * Plin. Epist. 8, *