(1 -100.)

Eome still, as in the preceding century, embraces in its dominion the most important part of the then known world Eome makes Britain (except the northern part and Ireland) a Eoman province A. D. 47. No other territorial change of importance occurs in this century.

Britain (which was temporarily invaded by Caesar in the last century) becomes (except the northern part and Ireland) a Roman province A. D. 47.

Juvma, which became subject to Rome in the preceding century, is reduced to a Roman province A. D. 6, but revolts in 66, and in 70 the Romans under Titus destroy Jerusalem, and the nation becomes dispersed throughout the world.

Paethia is a powerful state, though an unequal rival of Rome.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


Emperors. — Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan.

Poets and Dramatists. —Ovid, Phsedrus, Persius, Lucan, Statius, Silius Italicus, Juvenal, Martial. Historians. Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius, Qnintus Curtius.

Philosophers and Orators. — Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Epictetus (Greek Stoic). Rhetorician. — Quintilian. Greek Geographer. — Strabo. Greek Biographer and Philosopher. — Plutarch. Writer on Agriculture. — Columella. Writer. — Petronius.

Christian Apostles, Fathers^ and Martyrs. — Clement (Clemens Romanus), Barnabas, Hennas, Ignatius.


King. — Herod Agrippa. Ethnarch. —Archelaus.

Roman Governors. Pontius Pilate, Felix, Portius Festos.



THE close of the last century witnessed the concentration of all power in the hands of one man, — Octavius Caesar. Though not openly declared emperor, and though many of the forms of republican government still continued, yet the Eoman Empire may be said to have had its beginning when in the year 27 B. c. the submissive senate greeted him with the title of Augustus. The period now opens when Eome entered upon her career of imperial power and greatness. See also the preceding century for the beginning of the Eoman Empire and the Augustan Age.

From Mummius to Augustus the Roman city stands as the living mistress of a dead world, and from Augustus to Theodosius the mistress becomes as lifeless as her subjects. — Freeman.

At length, verging towards old age, and sometimes conquering by the terror only of her name, she sought the blessings of ease and tranquillity. The venerable city, which had trampled on the necks of the fiercest nations, and established a system of laws, the perpetual guardians of justice and freedom, was content, like a wise and wealthy parent, to devolve on the Csesars, her favorite sons, the care of governing her ample patrimony. A secure and profound peace, such as had been once enjoyed in the reign of Numa, succeeded to the tumults of a republic; while Rome was still adored as the queen of the earth, and the subject nations still reverenced the name of the people and the majesty of the senate. But this native splendor is degraded and sullied by the conduct of some nobles, who, unmindful of their own dignity and of that of their country, assume an unbounded license of vice and folly. — Ammianus Marcellinus.

"In war, all bolts drawn back, my portals [temple of Janus] stand,

Open for hosts that seek their native land;

In peace, fast closed, they bar the outward way,

And still shall bar it under Caesar's sway."

He spake : before, behind, his double gaze

All that the world contained at once surveys.

And all was peace; for now with conquered wave,

The Rhine, Germanicus, thy triumph gave.

Peace and the friends of peace immortal make,

Nor let the lord of earth his work forsake!

Ovid. Tr. Church.

The political condition of the world was most melancholy. All power was concentrated at Rome and in the legions. The most shameful and degrading scenes were daily enacted. The Roman aristocracy, which had conquered the world, and which alone of all the people had any voice in public business under the Caesars, had abandoned itself to a Saturnalia of the most outrageous wickedness the human race ever witnessed. Caesar and Augustus, in establishing the imperial power, saw perfectly the necessities of the age. The world was so low in its political relations, that no other form of government was possible. — Renan.

Augustus established peace in the world, or rather maintained it, for Caesar had conquered everything; but that peace was, as Tacitus says, only another name for slavery. He founded the organization of the empire, that is to say, the disorganization of Roman society, of which liberty was the life, and the disorganization caused death, as it always does. Augustus constructed with patient skill a hateful machine of tyranny, a government of suffocation and servility, in which there was only one thing to praise; that is, that it carried in itself, by its excess of despotism, the element of its ruin. — Ampere.

The character of the government is totally changed; no traces were to be found of the spirit of ancient institutions. The system by which, every citizen shared in the government being thrown aside, all men regarded the orders of the prince as the only rule of conduct and obedience; nor felt they any anxiety for the present, while Augustus, yet in the vigor of life, maintained the credit of himself and house, and the peace of the state. — Tacitus.

Augustus was not of that first class of men who make revolutions; he was of that secondary class who profit by them, and who with dexterity put on the finishing touch, for which a stronger hand has prepared the foundation. — Chateaubriand.

Still we admire the government of Augustus, because Rome enjoyed under him peace, luxuries, and plenty. Seneca says of him, "Clementiam non voco lassam crudelitatem." — Voltaihe.

Toutes ces craautes,
La perte de nos biens et de nos libertes,
Le ravage des champs, le pillage des villes,
Et les proscriptions, et les guerres civiles,
Sont les degres sanglants dont Auguste a fait choix
Pour monter sur le trSne et nous donner des lois.


To resume, in a few words, the system of the imperial government, as it was instituted by Augustus, and maintained by those princes who understood their own interest and that of the people, it may be defined an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth. The masters of the Roman world surrounded their throne with darkness, concealed their irresistible strength, and humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed. — Gibbon.

The theory of the Roman Empire was that of a representative despotism. The various offices of the republic were not annihilated, but they were gradually concentrated in a single man. The senate was still ostensibly the depository of supreme power, but it was made, in fact, the mere creature of the emperor, whose power was virtually uncontrolled. Political spies and private accusers, who in the latter days of the republic had been encouraged to denounce plots against the state, began under Augustus to denounce plots against the empire, and the class being enormously increased under Tiberius, and stimulated by the promise of part of the confiscated property, they menaced every leading politician and even every wealthy man. The Patricians

« ForrigeFortsett »