arrangement of his funeral, and paying honour to his memory, that, amongst several other proposals, some were for having the funeral procession made through the triumphal gate, preceded by the image of Victory, which is in the senate house, and the children of the first quality, of both sexes, singing the funeral ditty. Others moved that on the day of the funeral they should lay aside their gold rings, and wear rings of iron; and others, that his bones should be collected by the priests of the superior orders. One likewise proposed to transfer the name of Augustus to September, because he was born in the latter, but died in the former. Another moved that the whole period of time, from his birth to his death, should be called the Augustan age, and be inserted in the calendar under that title. But at last it was judged proper to be moderate in the honours to be paid to his memory. Two funeral orations were pronounced in his praise, one before the temple of Julius, by Tiberius; and the other before the rostra, under the old shops, by Drusus, Tiberius' son. The body was then carried upon the shoulders of senators into the Field of Mars, and there burned. A man of praetorian rank affirmed upon oath that he saw his spirit ascend into heaven. The most distinguished persons of the equestrian order, bare-footed, and with their tunics loose, gathered up his relics, and deposited them in the mausoleum, which had been built in his sixth consulship, betwixt the Flaminian way and the bank of the Tiber, at which time likewise he gave the woods and walks about it for the use of the people. He had made a will a year and four months before his death, upon the third of the nones of April, in the consulship of Lucius Plancus and C. Silius. It consisted of two skins of parchment, written partly in his hand, and partly by his freedmen Polybius and Hilarion. It had been committed to the custody of the vestal virgins, by whom it was now produced, with three other volumes, all sealed up as well as the will, which were every one read in the senate. He appointed for his first heirs, Tiberius for two thirds of his estate, and Li via for the other third, whom he likewise desired to assume his name. The heirs substituted in their room, in case of death, were Drusus, Tiberius' son, for a third part, and Germanicus with his three sons for the rest. Next to them were his relations and several of his friends. He left in legacies to the Roman people 40,000,000 sesterces; to the tribes 3,500,000; to the guards 1000 each man; to the city battalions 500; and to the soldiers in the legions 300 each; which several sums he ordered to be paid immediately after his death. For he had taken care that the money should be ready in his exchequer. For the rest he ordered different times of payment. In some of his bequests he went as far as 20,000 sesterces, for the payment of which he allowed a twelvemonth; alleging for this procrastination the scantiness of his estate ; and declaring that not more than 150,000,000 sesterces would come to his heirs: notwithstanding that during the twenty preceding years, he had received in legacies from his friends, the sum of 1,400,000,000; almost the whole of which, with his two paternal estates, and others that had been left him, he expended upon the public. He left order that the two Julias, his daughter and grand-daughter, should not be buried in his sepulchre. With regard to the three volumes before mentioned, in one of them he gave orders about his funeral; another contained a narrative of his actions, which he intended should be inscribed on brass plates, and placed before his mausoleum; in the third he had drawn up a concise account of the state of the empire; as to the number of soldiers in pay, what money there was in the treasury, exchequer, and arrears of taxes; to which are added the names of the freedmen and slaves, from whom the several accounts might be taken.c in republican times. Co-operation was secured to the ruler through his official power as a consul or later as a tribune. Besides this, like every magistrate of former times, he could announce his will to the people by edicts and acts; and that these expressions received great consideration in view of his position and personal authority need scarcely be said, especially from the time when senators and officials were sworn on every New Year's Day, not only to the laws themselves, but also to the Acta Ccesaris. It does not follow from this in any way that the princeps was superior to the laws; we must be careful not to import the views of the Greek of a later period into the judicial views of a regent like Augustus. Practically, of course, he found for the most part a means of carrying out his will in a given case: but the emperor never expressed such a doctrine as a fundamental principle of jurisprudence. On the contrary the emperor was not empowered even to suspend the prevailing law; under Augustus at any rate this remained the privilege of the senate. He recognised it, too, without opposition; for instance, in not publishing a gift to the people before he had requested and received permission from the senate. It was then a constitution full of contradictions, capable of interpretation only by means of compromise, this constitution substituted by the new ruler for the old republic, in order, beneath the garb of republican form, to make the exercise of monarchical power possible. Whether the student of systems called it a republic or a monarchy troubled him little, although until his death he himself clung to the fiction (and with a certain degree of truth) that he had restored the ancient and legitimate constitution of the state.1« A most extraordinary man, then, was this foremost citizen of the new Roman state. But nothing about him is more extraordinary than the view regarding him that has been entertained by posterity. He has been almost uniformly regarded as not a man of the very first capacity, — as an opportunist rather than a creative leader. He held the world under the sway of his will for almost half a century, and was never so autocratic in his power, so securely fixed in his position, as at the hour of his death. He found Rome brick and left it marble; he found the Roman state an inchoate, wavering commonwealth, and left it a peerless empire. Yet the world has denied him the title of "great"; is disposed to deny him even the possession of genius. Perhaps a partial explanation lies in the fact that we demand always a certain theatrical quality in a man of genius. It has been suggested by an eminent historian (Professor Sloane) that a great man has usually a capacity for inordinate wickedness, as well as for consummate greatness. Alexander loses control of himself on occasion, and in his frenzy kills his friend. Hannibal spends his whole life under the spell of a sworn hatred. Caesar stops at nothing to attain his selfish ends. In modern times your Frederick, your Napoleon, is not called great because of any moral quality. Public taste seems to demand a rounded character in its favoured heroes: it likes the piquant flavour of immorality. In every direction youi hero must be measured by other standards than ordinary mortals. But the life of Augustus is keyed to the tone of a passionless moderation.

A BRIEF RESUME OF THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF AUGUSTUS It will be observed that Suetonius makes reference to brass plates, which Augustus had had inscribed with a narrative of his actions, to be placed before his mausoleum. It would appear that this biographical inscription, or a kindred one, was widely copied on tablets placed in the various temples dedicated to Augustus all over the empire. Fragments of this duplicate inscription from various ruins have been preserved, but by far the most complete one is that which was discovered in the sixteenth century, on a marble slab in the wall of the temple at Ancyra (the modern Angora) in Asia Minor; which, owing to the place of its discovery, is known as the Monumentum Ancyranum. This inscription, to which reference has already been made, supplies many important data as to the life of Augustus. It has a peculiar interest, because, as has been said, it is virtually autobiographical. In addition to the facts that it tabulates, it therefore gives interesting glimpses into the character of its author. <*

In a well-known passage of this inscription Augustus reviews his political career. In this review he does not begin with his adoption by Julius Caesar, but he starts from the fact that in his nineteenth year he raised an army and saved the state on his own initiative and by his own resources. As an emperor upon whom old age was creeping, he looked back at the single landmarks of his rising career and saw the turning-point which decided his later destiny in this acquisition of an army of his own; according to him his political significance begins with the moment in which he became the head of an army. This right of exercising authority over the army, and indeed sole, undisputed authority, Caesar had wanted to be sure of preserving at any cost for the future; this was the fundamental notion of his whole system, if that can be called a system which was indeed only a practice. The republic, too, could not do without its commanders, but it only left them for a year, or at the most a year and a half, in office. The innovation of the emperor's time consisted in this, that the sole commander actually kept his power for a lifetime, held it simultaneously with other powerful offices, and even dared to exercise it in the capital itself. In order to maintain his army, he had been permanently invested with control of the important boundary provinces and with the permanent garrisons of the legions; as also with the right to supervise the other provinces, which were of course bound to supply their quota to the imperial army. The new ruler then had to have a domestic power which he could exercise uncontrolled; he found it in the legions and the provinces, which, from beginning to end, remained the sure foundation of the principatus. The good will of the senate and of the people, who had formerly conducted the government, was now but of second or third rate consideration to the princeps; both senate and people were conquered and had to a large extent lost their importance in the civil wars. In spite of this, every senator who frankly recognised the new regime, and provided necessary assurances in other ways, had been raised to the highest honours and treated, at least externally, on an equal footing by the ruler.

H. W. — VOL. TL E

As we have seen, Augustus preferred the modest title of Princeps, although it could not be reckoned amongst official titles and only implied the first man of the senate and of the citizens. As the ruler's rank as a citizen found expression in this title, so Augustus chose the title of Imperator to indicate his military standing. Both were selected with much ingenuity to promote the intentions of the new ruler. They were meant to cover a new thing with an old name; for this reason he pitched upon words in no way foreign to former times, which had remained totally unstamped and were soon employed exclusively in the modern sense. This it was to which the ruler attached quite particular weight, and this characterises the man no less than his administration.

He let himself be greeted by the senate in the year 29 B.C. as imperator, but not in the sense in which so many victorious generals for centuries past had been greeted for the period between the day of victory and the triumph, after which the army was disbanded. What these generals had enjoyed for a short period young Caesar had wished to possess for a lifetime: that is, the military supremacy of the Roman Empire. That is why this title in the new monarchical sense comes, not at the end, but at the commencement of the full name in the place of the citizen forename which was set aside.

Rightly was the conferring of this name, even by the ancients, regarded as the beginning of monarchy; rightly have the Middle Ages, rightly have the thinkers of to-day, described the successors of the Roman ruler as emperors. With this title Augustus wished to mark the transition from the ancient to the modern spirit; for his achieved work lies essentially in this, that he dovetailed into the constitution the notion of a permanent commander-in-chief and a permanent army, such as had hitherto been unknown to the republic.

The practical position of the princeps must always be clearly distinguished from the theoretical. The new office of commander-in-chief for the whole Roman Empire was analogous to the office of a republican proconsul in a single province, who administered his country, commanded his troops, with a possible right to supervise the neighbouring districts. In the year 23 B.C., by way of addition, Augustus, who in the course of his long reign was always more and more occupied in obscuring the unconstitutional elements of his new position, had caused to be conferred upon him a regular proconsular imperium, so as to be sure that the exercise of his authority should also meet with recognition in the senatorial provinces.

Although Caesar was then pre-eminently an imperator, we should do him an injustice were we to describe his achievement as a military despotism. He was personally far too little a soldier and too much a statesman for this form of government, even to suit his own taste. The army was there only to make it possible for him in all important questions to carry out his will; as a rule he kept within those constitutional limits which he himself had reconstructed.

Whereas formerly the Absolutist development of the empire was assumed without any further inquiry into its origin, we owe it to Mommsen to have fixed his gaze on the difference between the times and to have hit the note of the constitutional scheme in his systematic presentation, which is certainly more important for the conception of Augustus than for his practical illustration of it. Mommsen talks of the "juristic construction of the principatus," very rightly dwelling on the point that " Augustus' principate is not a boundless authority, but a measured magistracy within republican forms." The right of legislating remained, in theory at least, the same as

P Modern historians have much to say of the "disguised monarchy" of Augustus. But probably the Romans were not so blind as to the character of the Augustan constitution as are now the historians. The government was in reality a compromise between republic and monarchy —a compromise made easy to the Romans by their habit of investing magistrates, especially extraordinary magistrates, with vast powers. The republic was for Rome and Italy, the monarchy for the provinces. This form of government Mommsen aptly terms a dyarchy.] He is all judgment, no emotion. Between the courses at dinner he listlessly plays games that he may not be annoyed by the persiflage of the jesters who are there to amuse his guests. And he plays the game of life in the same fashion. One cannot imagine him excited, enthusiastic, angry even. He might, indeed, commit a crime, but it would be a carefully measured crime, dictated by policy: not a crime of passion. Even in his liaisons, it was said of him that his chief ambition was to learn the real sentiment of those about him through their wives, rather than merely to gratify a personal appetite. But it must not be forgotten that Augustus, had he not been such a man as this, could not have accomplished the work he did. Had he been full of enthusiasms he would have antagonised too many people; would have made too many powerful enemies; would have invited the fate that befell the man of genius whose nephew he was, and by whose good example he profited. Yet, after all, the measure of capacity is success, and it seems a grudging estimate which withholds the title of "great" from the man who changed the entire complexion of the civilised world and put his stamp indelibly upon the centuries. But whether genius or not in the ordinary acceptance of that loosely applied and somewhat ambiguous word, there is one regard in which Augustus need fear comparison with no leader of any age: in practical statecraft, judged by its result, he has no superior. In a pre-eminent degree he was able to isolate himself from his environment; to visualise the political situation; to see his fellow-men through the clear medium of expediency, undistorted by any aberration of passion or of prejudice. To the theatrical quality of personal vanity, from which Caesar was by no means free, Augustus was an entire stranger. Because he was master of his own ambition, he came to be master of the world. If because of his placid logicality, posterity has been disposed to speak slightingly of his genius, the same quality won him at least an unchallenged position as the most consummate master of practical politics.*

« ForrigeFortsett »