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nted by the hopes and fear* of their respective leaders. The prudent emperor endeavored, by every expedient of advice and authority, to%llay this growing animosity. The unhappy discord of his sons clouded all his prospects, and threatened to overturn a throne raised with so much labor, cemented with so much blood, and guarded with every defence of arms and treasure. With an impartial hand he maintained between them an exact balance of favor, conferred on both the rank of Augustus, with the revered name of Antoninus; and for the first time the Roman world beheld three emperors 10 Yet even this equal conduct served only to inflame the contest, whilst the fierce Caracal la asserted the right of primogeniture, and the milder Geta courted the affections of the people and the soldiers. In the anguish of a disappointed father, Severus foretold that the weaker of his sons would fall a sacrifice to the stronger; who, in his turn, would be ruined by his own vices.11
In these circumstances the intelligence of a war in Britain, and of an invasion of the province by the barbarians of the North, was received with pleasure by Severus. Though the vigilance of his lieutenants might have been sufficient to repel the distant enemy, he resolved to embrace the honorable pre text of withdrawing his sons from the luxury of Rome, which enervated their minds and irritated their passions; and of in. ring their youth to the toils of war and government. Notwithstanding his advanced age, (for he was above threescore,) and his gout, which obliged him to be carried in a litter, he transported himself in person into that remote island, attended by his two sons, his whole court, and a formidable army. He immediately passed the walls of Hadrian and Antoninus, and ntered the enemy's country, with a design of completing the ong attempted conquest of Britain. He penetrated to the northern extremity of the island, without meeting an enemy. But the concealed ambuscades of the Caledonians, who hung unseen on the rear and flanks of his army, the coldness of the climate, and the severity of a winter march across the hills and morasses of Scotland, are reported to have cost the Romans above fifty thousand men. The Caledonians at
1• The elevation of Caracalla is fixed by the accurate M. do Tillemont to tho year 198; the association of Geta to the year 208.
"Hcrodian, 1. Hi. p. 130. The lives of Caracalla and Geta, in thtf Augustan History.
length yielded to the powerful and obstinate attack, sued for peace, and surrendered a part of their arms, and a large tract of territory. But their apparent submission lasted no longe; than the present terror. As soon as the Roman legions had retired, they resumed their hostile independence. Their rest. less spirit provoked Severus to send a new army into donia, with the most bloody orders, not to subdue but to «». tirpate the natives. They were saved by the deatn of thr:» haughty enemy.18
This Caledonian war, neither marked by decisive event nor attended with any important consequences, would ill de serve our at'ention; but it is supposed, not without a conskl enable degree of probability, that the invasion of Severus if connected with the most shining period of the British history or fable. Fingal, whose fame, with that of his heroes and bards, has been revived in our language by a recent publication, is said to have commanded the Caledonians in that memorable juncture, to have eluded the power of Severus, and to have obtained a signal victory on the banks of the Carun, in which the son of the King of the World, Caracul, fled from nis arms along the fields of his pride.13 Something of a doubtful mist still hangs over these Highland traditions; nor can it be entirely dispelled by the most ingenious researches of modern criticism ; M but if we could, with safety, indulge the pleasing supposition, that Fingal lived, and that Ossian sung, the striking contrast of the situation and manners of the contending nations might amuse a philosophic mind. The parallel would be little to the advantage of the more civilized
•* Dion, 1. lxxvi. p. 1280, ice. Herodian, 1. iii. p. 132, &c. u Ossian's Poems, vol. i. p. 175.
14 That the Caracul of Ossian is the Caracalla of the Roman History, is, perhaps, the only point of British antiquity in which Mr. Macpherson and Mr. Whitnkcr are of the same opinion; and yet the opinion is not without difficulty. In the Caledonian war, the son of Severus was known only by the appellation of Antoninus, and it may seem strange that the Highland bard should describe him by a nickname, invented four years afterwards, scarcely used by the Itoraans till after the death of that emperor, and seldom employed by the most ancient historians." See Dion, 1. lxxvii. p. 1317. Hist. August- p. 89. Aurel. Victor. Euseb. in Chron. ad ann. 214.*
• The historical authority of Macpherson's Ossian has not increased lince Gibbon wrote. We mav, indeed, consider it exploded. Mr. Whitawr, in a letter to Gibbon, (Misc. Works, vol. ii. p. 100,) sttemfte, not rery successfully, to weaken this objection of the historian. - - M.
people if we compared the unrelenting revenge of Sevenis with tiie generous clemency of Fingal; the timid and brutal crueltv of Caracalla with the bravery, the te derness, the elegant genius of Ossian; the mercenary chiefs, who, from motives of fear or interest, served under the Imperial standard, with the free-born warriors who started to arms at tho voice of the king of Morven; if, in a word, we contemplated the untutored Caledonians, glowing with the warm virtues of nature, and the degenerate Romans, polluted with the mean vices of wealth and slavery.
The declining health and last illness of Sevenis inflamed the wild ambition and black passions of Caracal la's soul. Impatient of any delay or division of empire, he attempted, more than once, to shorten the small remainder of his father's days, and endeavored, but without success, to excite a mutiny among the troops.15 The old emperor had often censured the misguided lenity of Marcus, who, by a single act of justice, might have saved the Romans from the tyranny of his worthless oon. Placed in the same situation, he experienced how easily the rigor of a judge dissolves away in the tenderness of a parent. He deliberated, he threatened, but he could not punish; and this last and only instance of mercy was more fatal to the empire than a long series of cruelty.16 The disordej of his mind irritated the pains of his body; he wished impatiently for death, and hastened the instant of it by his impatience. He expired at York, in the sixty-fifth year of his life, and in the eighteenth of a glorious and successful reign. In his last moments he recommended concord to his sons, and his sons to the army. The salutary advice never reached the heart, or even the understanding, of the impetuous youths; but the more obedient troops, mindful of their oath of allegiance, and of the authority of their deceased master, resisted the solicitations of Caracalla, and proclaimed both orothers emperors of Rome. The new princes soon left the Caledonians in peace, returned to the capital, celebrated their father's funeral with divine honors, and were cheerfully acknowledged as lawful sovereigns, by the senate, the people and the provinces. Some preeminence of rank seems to have been allowed to the elder brother; but they both administered the empire with equal and independent power.17
1S Dion, 1 . Ixxvi. p. 1282. Hist. August. p. 71. Aurel. Victor.
Dion, 1. lxxvi. p. 1283. Hist. August. p. 89. '» Dion, 1. lxxvi. p. 1284. Herodian, 1 . iii. p. 135.
Such a divided form of government would have proved a source of discord between the most affectionate brothers. Il was impossible that it could long subsist between two implacable enemies, who neither desired nor could trust a reconciliation. It was visible that one only could reign, and that the other must fall; and each of them, judging of his rival's designs by his own, guarded his life with the most jealous vigilance from the repeated attacks of poison or the sword. Their rapid journey through Gaul and Italy, during which they never ate at the same table, or slept in the same house, displayed to the provinces the odious spectacle of fraternal discord. On their arrival at Rome, they immediately divided the vast extent of the imperial palace.18 No communication was allowed between their apartments; the doors and passages were diligently fortified, and guards posted and relieved with the same strictness as in a besieged place. The emperors met only in public, in the presence of their afflicted mother; and each surrounded by a numerous train of armed followers. Even on these occasions of ceremony, the dissimulation of courts could ill disguise the rancor of their hearts."
This latent civil war already distracted the whole government, when a scheme was suggested that seemed of mutual benefit to the hostile brothers. It was proposed, that since it was impossible to reconcile their minds, they should separata their interest, and divide the empire between them. The conditions of the treaty were already drawn with some accu
"Mr. Hume is justly surprised at a passage of Hcrodian, (1. iv. p 139,) who, on this occasion, represents the Imperial palace as equal m extent to the rest of Rome. The whole region of the Palatino Mount, on which it was built, occupied, at most, a circumference of eleven or twelve thousand feet, (see the Notitia and Victor, in Nardini's Roma Antica.) But we should recollect that the opulent senators had almost surrounded the city with their extensive gardens and suburb palaces, the greatest part of which had been gradually confiscated by the emperors. If Oeta resided in the gardens that bore his name on the Janiculum, and if Caracalla inhabited the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline, the rival brothers were separated from each other by the distance of several miles; and yet the intermediate space was filled by the Imperial gardens of Sallust, of Lucullus, of Agrippa, of Domitian, of Caius, &c, all skirting round the city, and all connected with each other, aud with the palace, by bridges thrown over the Tiber and the streets. But this explanation Bf Herodian would require, though it ill deserves, a particular dissertation, illustrated by a map of ancient Rome. (Hume, Kssay on Pnnulousness of Ancient Nations. — M.)
* Herodian, 1. iv. p. 139.
racy. It was agreed, that Caracalla, as the elder brother should remain in possession of Europe and the western Africa; and that he should relinquish the sovereignty of Asia and Egypt to Geta, who might fix his residence at Alexandria or Antioch, cities little inferior to Rome itself in wealth ana greatness; that numerous armies should be constantly encamped on either side of the Thracian Bosphorus, to guard the frontiers of the rival monarchies; and that the senators of European extraction should acknowledge the sovereign of Home, whilst the natives of Asia followed the emperor of the East. The tears of the empress Julia interrupted the negotiation, the first idea of which had filled every Roman breast with surprise and indignation. The mighty mass of conquest was so intimately united by the hand of time and policy, that t required the most forcible violence to rend it asunder. The Romans had reason to dread, that the disjointed members would soon be reduced by a civil war under the dominion of one master; but if the separation was permanent, the division of the provinces must terminate in the dissolution of an empire whose unity had hitherto remained inviolate.90
Had the treaty been carried into execution, the sovereign of Europe might soon have been the conqueror of Asia; but Caracalla obtained an easier, though a more guilty, victory. He artfully listened to his mother's entreaties, and consented to meet his brother in her apartment, on terms of peace and reconciliation. In the midst of their conversation, some cen turions, who had contrived to conceal themselves, rushed with drawn swords upon the unfortunate Geta. His distracted mother strove to protect him in her arms; but, in the unavailing struggle, she was wounded in the hand, and covered with the blood of her younger son, while she saw the elder animating and assisting91 the fury of the assassins. As soon as the deed was perpetrated, Caracalla, with hasty steps, and horror in his countenance, ran towards the Prcetorian camp, as his only refuge, and threw himself on the ground before the statues of the tutelar deities.99 The soldiers attempted ta
*" Hcrodian, 1. iv. p. 144.
*1 Caracalla consecrated, in the temple of Serapis, the sword with which, as he boasted, he had slain his brother Geta. Dion, 1 . Ixxvii. p. 1307.
"Hcrodian, 1. iv. p. 147. In every Roman camp there was a •mill chapel near the head-quarters, iv which the statues of tha tutelar deities were preserved and adored, and we may remark, that