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the particular effects of which are felt in every society, .." with much more diffusive energy in the Roman world. The provinces would soon have been exhausted of their wealth, if the manufactures and commerce of luxury had not insensibly restored to the industrious subjects the sums which were exacted from them by the arms and authority of Rome. As long as the circulation was confined within the bounds of the empire, it impressed the political machine with a new degree of activity, and its consequences, sometimes beneficial, could never become pernicious. But it is no easy task to confine luxury within the limits of an empire. The most remote countries of the ancient world were ransacked to supply the pomp and delicacy of Rome. The forest of Scythia Hai. some valuable furs. Amber was brought overland from the shores of the Baltic to the Danube; and the barbarians were astonished at the price which they received in exchange for so useless a commodity.” There was a considerable demand for Babylonian carpets and other manufactures of the east; but the most important and unpopular branch of foreign trade was carried on with Arabia and India. Every year, about the time of the summer solstice, a fleet of a hundred and twenty vessels sailed from Myos-hormos, a port of Egypt on the Red Sea. By the periodical assistance of the monsoons, they traversed the ocean in about forty days. The coast of Malabar, or the island of Ceylon,t was the usual term of their navigation, and it was in those markets that the merchants from the more remote countries of Asia expected their arrival. The return of the fleet of Egypt was fixed to the months of December or January; and as soon as their rich cargo had been transported, on the backs of camels, from the Red Sea to the Nile, and had descended that river as far as Alexandria, it was poured without delay into the capital of the empire.: The objects of oriental traffic were splendid and trifling: silk, a pound of which was esteemed * Tacit. Germania, c. 45. Plin. Hist. Natur. 37, 18. The latte; observed, with some humour, that even fashion had not yet found out the use of amber. Nero's not a Roman knight to purchase go Quantities on the spot where it was produced—the coast of modern Prussia. t Called Taprobana by the Romans, and Serendib by the Arabs. It was discovered under the reign of Claudius, and gradually

became the principal t. Plin. Hist. Natur. l. 3. Strabo, l. 17. Pal mart of the eas $

not inferior in value to a pound of gold;" precious stori among which the pearl claimed the first rank after the diamond;t and a vari: ty of aromatics, that were consumed in religious worship and the pomp of funerals. The labour and risk of the voyage were rewarded with almost incredible profit; but the profit was made upon Roman subjects, and a few individuals were enriched at the expense of the public. As the natives of Arabia and India were contented with the productions and manufactures of their own country, silver, on the side of the Romans, was the principal, if not the only, instrument of commerce.f. It was, a complaint worthy of the gravity of the senate, that in the purchase of female ornaments the wealth of the State was irrecoverably given away to foreign and hostile nations.# The annual loss is computed, by a writer of an inquisitive but censorious temper, at upwards of 800,000l. Sterling." Such was the style of discontent, brooding over the dark prospect of approaching poverty. And yet if we

* Hist. August. p. 224. A silk garment was considered as on ornament to a woman, but as a disgrace to a man. + The two great pearl fisheries were the same as at present—Ormus and Cape Comorin. As well as we can compare ancient with modern geography, Rome was supplied with diamonds from the mine of Jumelpur, in Bengal, which is described in the Voyages de Tavernier, tom. 2, p. 281. f [Silver was certainly not the only instrument of this commerce. The Indians were not altogether indifferent to the wares of Europe. Arrian enumerates those which they received in exchange for their own, and among them the wines of Italy, copper, lead, tin, coral, shrysolite, storax, glass, articles of dress, &c. (See the Periplus of the Erythrean sea, in Hudson's Geogr: minor, vol. i. p. 27, and following.) No inconsiderable profit was also made by the exchange of Indian money for Roman denarii. But as all these were not sufficient to pay for the costly wares of the east, a large proportion of silver was added, even as at the present day the same is still the case. Why did Gibbon restrict the consumption of Indian aromatics to “religious worship and the pomp of funerals f" When the subjugation of Egypt to Roman power was completed, Augustus made excellent fiscal arrangements for deriving advantage from Oriental commerce. The merchants of Alexandria at that time were the carriers of East India commodities to the port of Puteoli for the use of the Romans. After the reign of Claudius, the latter took a more immediate and active part in this traffic. (See Eichhorn's History of the East Indian Trade, before the time of Mahomet, 8vo. Gotha, is 75, p. 39 and following.)—WENck.]

§ Tacit. Annal. 3, 53. In a speech of Tiberius, * Plin. Hist. Natur. 12, 18. In another place he computes half that sum; Quingen. ties H. S. for India, exclusive of Arabia.

74 DECLINE OF COURAGE. [ch. II.

compare the proportion between gold and silver as it stood in the time of Pliny; and as it was fixed in the reign of Constantine, we shall discover within that period a very considerable increase.” There is not the least reason to suppose that gold was become more scarce; it is therefore evident that silver was grown more common; that whatever might be the amount of the Indian and Arabian exports, they were far from exhausting the wealth of the Roman world; and that the produce of the mines abundantly supplied the demands of commerce. otwithstanding the propensity of mankind to exalt the past, and to depreciate the present, the tranquil and prosperous state of the empire was warmly felt, and honestly confessed, by the provincials as well as Romans. “They acknowledged that the true principles of social life, laws, agriculture, and science, which j been first invented by the wisdom of Athens, were now firmly established by the {. of Rome, under whose auspicious influence the fiercest arbarians were united by an equal government and common language. They affirm, that with the improvement of arts, the human species was visibly multiplied. They celebrate the increasing splendour of the cities, the beautiful face of the country, cultivated and adorned like an immense garden; and the long festival of peace, which was enjoyed by so many nations, forgetful of their ancient animosities, and delivered from the apprehension of future danger.”t What; ever suspicions may be suggested by the air of rhetoric and declamation, which seems to prevail in these passages; the substance of them is perfectly agreeable to historic truth. It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporarie. should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. ‘This long peace, and the uniform government of j. Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius X” extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and robust. Spain, Gaul,

* * The proportion, which was one to ten, and twelve and a half, rose to fourteen and two-fifths, the legal regulation of Constant* See Arbuthnot's Tables of Ancient Coins, c. 5. + Among #. Sther passages, see Pliny (Hist. Natur. 3, 5). Aristides (de Ur Româ), and Tertullian (de Anima, c. 30).

Britain, and Illyricum, supplied the legions with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the monarchy. Their personal valour remained; but they, no longer É. sessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life. The love of letters, almost inseparable from peace and refinement, was fashionable among the subjects of Hadrian and the Antonines, who were themselves men of learning and curiosity. It was diffused over the whole extent of their empire; the most northern tribes of Britons had acquired a taste for rhetoric; Homer as well as Virgil were transcribed and studied on the banks of the Rhine and Danube; and the most liberal rewards sought out the faintest glimmerings of literary merit.” The sciences of physic and astronomy were successfully cultivated by the Greeks; the observations of Ptolemy, and the writings of Galen, are studied by those who have improved their discoveries, and corrected their

* Herodes Atticus gave the sophist Polemo about 8000l. for three declamations. See Philostrat. l. 1, p. 538. The Antonines founded a school at Athens, in which professors of grammar, rhetoric, politics, and the four great sects of philosophy, were maintained at the public expense, for the instruction of youth. The salary of a philosopher was ten thousand drachmae, between 300l. and 400l. a year. Similar establishments were formed in the other great cities of the empire. See Lucian in Eunuch. tom. 2, p. 352, edit. Reitz. Philostrat. l. 2, p. 566. Hist. August. p. 21. Dion, Cassius, l. 71, p. 1195. Juvenai himself, in a morose satire, which in every line betrays his own disappointment and envy, is obliged, however, to say, 0 Juvenes, circumspicit et stimulat vos,

Materiamgue sibi Ducis indulgentia quaerit.—Satir. 7, 20.

[Vespasian first established salaried professorships. Each chair of eloquence, whether Greek or Roman, was endowed by him with a yearly income of centena sestertia, equal, according to Arbuthnot, to about 4850 crowns. He also rewarded artists and poets. (Sueton. in Vesp. l. 18.) Hadrian and the Antonines were less generous; still they were liberal. See Reimarius on Dion Cassius and Xiphilin, lib. 100 but he has overlooked the earlier example of Vespasian—WENck-]

76 GENIUS. LCH. II.

errors; but if we except the inimitable Lucian, this age of indolence passed away without , having produced a single writer of original genius, or who excelled in the arts of elegant composition. The authority of Plato and Aristotle, of Zeno and Epicurus, still reigned in the schools; and their systems, transmitted with blind deference from one generation of disciples to another, precluded every generous attempt to exercise the powers, or enlarge the limits, of the human mind. The beauties of the poets and orators, instead of kindling a fire like their own, inspired only cold and servile imitations; or if any ventured to deviate from those models, they deviated at the same time from good sense and propriety. On the revival of letters, the youthful vigour ot the imagination, after a long repose, national emulation, a new religion, new languages, and a new world, called forth the genius of Europe. But the provincials of Rome, trained by a uniform artificial foreign education, were engaged in a very unequal competition with those bold ancients, who, by expressing their genuine feelings in their native tongue, had already occupied every place of honour. The name of poet was almost forgotten; that of orator was usurped by the sophists. A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commen. tators, darkened the face of learning; and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.*

* In addition to the writers on medicine, the astronomers and grammarians, among whom we may find distinguished names, there lived also in Hadrian's time, Suetonius, Florus, and Plutarch ; and in that of the Antonines, Arrian, Pausanias, Appian, Marcus Aurelius himself, Sextus Empiricus, &c., writers, indeed, of unequal ability, but not destitute of genius. Jurisprudence, too, owed much to the labours of Salvius Julianus, Julius Celsus, Sextus Pomponius, Caius and others. Gibbon's verdict is, therefore, too stern, indiscriminate, and hasty. At least it ought to have been restricted to the Latins, who, is: must be owned, were very deficient in good taste, after the time of Trajan. But there is not so perceptible a change among the Greeks, when compared with those who flourished under preceding empo. -WENCK.] The decay of talent began earlier in Greece than in Italy. The Greek writers of the first jūry were so few and of such info note, that those of the second gain little honour by surpoš them; Nor did M. Wenck consider how much even the few who disting.ished themselves during that period, had been indebted to their to: by education or early residence at Rome. To his general loo he might have added, such names as Apuleius, Maximus Tyrius, and . Still his galaxy would have hone faintly beside the constellations *

ages, with which jon placed them in contro"

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