{30 B.C.-14 A.D.]

grassy steppes beyond the Danube; Roman traders were robbed and murdered. The alarm which took possession of the capital at these woeful tidings, and the military activity aroused throughout all Italy, sufficiently prove that Rome did not underestimate the danger that menaced her from the East. Discharged veterans were again enrolled in the legions, a slave tax was imposed to defray the cost of the war, peace was concluded with Marboduus, the prince of the Marcomanni, whom the Romans were on the point of attacking. This devastating war, according to Suetonius the most terrible since the Punic Wars, lasted for three years [7-9 A.d.]. Tiberius and his nephew Germanicus, the son of Drusus, marched through the length and breadth of Dalmatia and Pannonia—now tempting the fortune of war, now treading the paths of treachery, and fostering discord by negotiations. After many sanguinary battles Bato came to terms with the Romans for the surrender of the impregnable mountain stronghold of Anderium, not far from Salona, and went with his family to Ravenna, where Tiberius granted him a liberal allowance to the end of his days, in recompense for his desertion of his country's cause. The fortress of Arduba, built on a steep height and protected by a turbulent river, held out longer; the most determined of the insurgents had thrown themselves into it, together with a large number of deserters. But its hour at length drew nigh. After the flower of the garrison, having made a sortie, had fallen in a sanguinary fight at close quarters, the survivors set fire to their homes and, with their wives and children, sought death in the flames or in the foaming torrent. The other towns then surrendered at discretion, and mute obedience settled once more on all the land between the Adriatic and the lower Danube. But the country was waste and inhabitants were few in the blood-sodden fields. The great river from source to mouth soon formed the northern boundary of the empire. The Thracian principalities were merged into the province of Moesia. In Asiatic countries, too, there were many conflicts to be endured, many complications to be unravelled, before the states and nations west of the Euphrates bowed in awe and submission to the supremacy of Rome. The order of things established by Pompey had indeed remained valid in law down to the days of Augustus, but great changes had taken place in the various states in consequence of the civil wars. The republicans Brutus and Cassius, no less than the triumvirs Antony and Octavian, had requited the friendly or hostile sentiments of princes, towns, and provinces with rewards or penalties, had given or taken away privileges and dominion, had bestowed or withdrawn their countenance according to merit or liking. When Augustus appeared in the East, ten years after the battle of Actium, native kingdoms, temporal principalities and hierarchies, free cities, and other territorial divisions, occupying a more or less dependent position towards Rome and bound to render her military service, still existed, as in former times, side by side with the four Roman provinces of Asia, Bithynia, Cilicia, and Syria. Many of these were deprived of their previous status on various pretexts, and swallowed up in the congeries of Roman provinces. Thus, after the death of that able factionary Amyntas, the general and successor of Deiotarus, Augustus created the province of Galatia out of the major part of his possessions, adding to it first Lycaonia, and later, after the death of Deiotarus Philadelphus, the grandson of the famous Galatian king, the inland region of Paphlagonia. The Pontic kingdom, together with Lesser Armenia, Colchis, and the seaboard towns of Pharnacia and Trapezus, were

[30 B.C.-H A.D.J

ruled under favour of Antony and Octavian, by the brave and prudent Polemon as the "friend and ally of the Roman people," and to these dominions he added the kingdom of the Bosporus, the heritage of his wife Dynamis. After his death, his widow Pythodoris bestowed her hand upon King Archelaus of Cappadocia, who likewise owed his kingdom to the favour of Antony and Octavian and to his devotion to Rome.

By this means the two kingdoms were united, and formed an excellentbarrier against the eastern barbarians. But this new creation was not destined to last. Lesser Armenia and Cappadocia were merged into the province of Cappadocia as early as the reign of Tiberius, after Archelaus had died at Rome of fear at the charges brought against him in the senate by the emperor, whose displeasure he had incurred, and the hieratic principality of Comana was added to the same province. Under the rule of Rome the ancientcities rose to great wealth and magnificence, especially Nicomedia in Bithynia and Caesarea in Cappadocia. Dioscurias and the myth-haunted region about the Phasis became the centre of a far-reaching commercial activity, the market of the world. There Roman merchants bought wool and furs from northern lands, and precious stones, seric (silken) garments, and luxuries from th& far East.

Augustus and his successors endeavoured in like manner to unite the disjointed provinces of southern Asia Minor and to range them under the Roman provincial system. The confederacy of Lycia maintained its existence and liberty for some decades longer as a " ruin of antique times," and Antony and Octavian exerted themselves to the best of their ability to stanch the wounds which Brutus had inflicted. But the confederacy, its prosperity shattered and its bonds loosened by internal discords, was so far past recovery that its conversion into a Roman province in the reign of Claudius seemed a boon. The province of Cilicia was augmented by the addition of Pisidia and the island of Cyprus. A Roman garrison was set t i guard the "Cilician Gates" leading to Syria, and Augustus committed to some native dependent princes the work of conquering the robber tribes which dwelt in savage freedom in the mountains and gorges of the Taurus and Amanus. These were not incorporated into the actual dominions of Rome till the reign of Vespasian.

After the battle of Actium, Syria with her subordinate provinces reverted to her old position, which had been temporarily disturbed by the Parthian invasions and the donations of Antony to Cleopatra and her children. Four legions provided for internal tranquillity and security against the neighbour races to the south and east. The northern mountain region of Commagenc, with the town of Samosata, the last relic of the Seleucid empire, remained in possession of an independent prince for some time longer, and at his death it was annexed to the province of Syria. A like fate befell the district of Judea, which the Romans had long treated with peculiar favour, for the Julian family was at all times well disposed towards the Jews. After the death of King Herod, who had contrived to gain and retain the favour and confidence of tbe emperor and Agrippa, his son-in-law and general, by flatteries, presents, and services, the kingdom of Judea, convulsed by party hatreds and dissensions, was also merged, as we have seen, into the Roman world-empire. As a Roman province it was put under the rule of a procurator, who, though nominally under the control of the governor of Syria at Antioch, exercised most of the prerogatives that pertained to proconsuls and propraetors in other countries, in particular the power of inflicting capital punishment. Judea was nevertheless for a long while the "spoiled darling (30 B.C.-14 A.D.]

of Rome"; the people of God remained in possession of their faith, their laws, and their nationality; they were exempted from military service and enjoyed many rights and privileges in all countries. The procurator (agent) for Judea resided at Caesarea, the new port which Herod had founded, and which rose rapidly to commercial prosperity under Roman rule. Many foreigners settled there under the protection of the Roman garrison, which had its headquarters in the seat of government. The governor was subject in all military matters to the proconsul of Syria, in so far that the latter was bound to come to his assistance in war if appealed to. The inconsiderable garrison at Caesarea and the small force encamped at Jerusalem were only just sufficient to maintain tranquillity and order in time of peace. At festivals, when great crowds gathered together in Jerusalem, the governor himself went to the Holy City with an army, and "probably disposed of a good deal of business in the supreme judicature and other matters which had been deferred till then." He then resided in the praetorium, near the Antonia. He gave judgment from a lofty judgment seat set up in a portico adorned with beautiful marble. The trials took place in an inner court. The army had another camp in Samaria. Though the Jewish nation had more liberty to manage its domestic concerns under Roman rule than under the Herods, it found small relief from the burden of taxes and customs. The Romans exacted a property tax (a poll tax and ground rate), a duty on houses, market produce, and many other imposts. The temple tax, on the other hand (assessed at two drachmae), was regarded as a voluntary rate and collected by priestly officials, the Romans not concerning themselves about it. A general census which Augustus caused to be made by P. Sulpicius Quirinus, knight and proconsul, after he had taken possession of the country(about 10 A.d.), with a view to finding out how much the country could annually yield to the revenue in proportion to its population, the acreage under cultivation, and other circumstances, was the first thing that gave deep offence to the orthodox among the Jews. The small dominions which Augustus and his family left to be administered as vassal states by the Herod family — such as the northeastern district with the old town of Paneas, first ruled by the upright and able Herod Philip, who expanded Paneas into the great city of Caesarea (Philippi); and Galilee and Perea, the heritage of the subtle and greedy tetrarch Antipas, (commonly called Herod) the fulsome flatterer of the Romans, and founder of the cities of Sepphoris (Diocaesarea) and Tiberias — were merged into


Augustus (From a camoo)

(30 B.C-14 A.D ]

the Roman world-empire some decades later by the failure of heirs to the subject dynast)r. On a journey to Jerusalem the last-named prince, Antipas, the Herod of the Gospels, became enamoured of Herodias, the beautiful wife of his half-brother Philip, herself a member of the Herod family, and prevailed upon her to leave her husband and bestow her hand upon himself.

This criminal marriage bore evil fruit for the tetrarch. His former wife fled to her father, the Arab prince of Petra, and urged him on to make war upon her faithless husband, who allowed himself to be led in all things by Herodias, and heeded the sullen disaffection of his people as little as the open rebukes of the preacher of repentance, John the Baptist. In the reign of Caligula, Antipas was deprived of his kingdom on the indictment of his cousin and brother-in-law Herod Agrippa, and banished with his wife, Herodias, to Gaul, where they both died. Under the emperor Claudius, however, Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, who had been brought up at Rome, again gained dominion over Judaea and Samaria, and maintained his authority for three years (-11-44). An adventurer and soldier of fortune, and a favourite and flatterer of the Caesars by turns, he was smitten with a horrible disease while looking on at the games in the circus, shortly after a. persecution of the Christians, and succumbed to it in a few days.

The deserts in the southeast of the province of Syria were inhabited by free Arab tribes, which from the earliest times had led a roving and predatory life. Augustus acted as Pompey had done before him; he concluded a treaty and alliance with Malchus of Petra, the Nabataean prince and successor to Aretas, and with the chieftain Iamblichus of Emesa, whose father, another Iamblichus, had been executed by Antony, guaranteeing to them the possession of their paternal inheritance on condition that they should ward off the predatory incursions of the sons of the desert. An attempt made by JElius Gallus, governor of Egypt, to subjugate Arabia Felix in the year 24 ended miserably. The glare of the sun and the perils of the climate soon scared the invaders away and protected the natives from the Roman swords. The general of the Nabataean prince, who had conducted the desert campaign, paid for his supposed treason with his life; but the disloyalty of the servant was not laid to his master's charge.

Rome had still an affair of honour to settle with the Parthians; the day of Carrhae was not yet requited and the blood of Crassus and his comrades cried for vengeance. Augustus nevertheless cherished no desire to expose himself and his legions to the darts of the iron horsemen. In this instance fortune again proved his ally. Parthia and Armenia, which at that time stood in intimate relations with one another, were distracted with quarrels over the succession. Tigranes, son of the unhappy Artavasdes, appealed for Roman aid against Artaxias, the nominee of the Parthian king. Tiberius invaded Armenia with an army, and bestowed the throne on the protege of Rome, Artaxias having been slain by the natives at the general's coming (20 B.C.). This catastrophe filled the Parthian king with apprehensions that the Romans might declare for the pretender Tiridates, and procure for himself a like fate with Artaxias. He therefore complied with the demands of Augustus and restored the Roman ensigns and the prisoners who had been detained in the far East ever since the disaster of Carrhae. The emperor celebrated the restoration of the eagles by a sacrificial feast, as if it had been a victory, and dedicated a temple to Mars the Avenger.

But Armenia attained to no lasting tranquillity: at one time it was dominated by Roman influence, at another the Parthians gained the upper hand; kings were installed and exiled, quarrels for the throne and party feuds [30 B.C-14 AJ>.]

filled the land. Under Nero, the Parthian king Vologeses I set his brother Tiridates on the throne of Armenia, and thus fanned the embers of war between the Romans and Parthians to a blaze. The perfidious Armenians themselves supplied occasions of strife by invoking the aid of Rome on the one hand to save themselves from falling completely under the sway of their eastern neighbour, and favouring the Parthians on the other, lest they should be oppressed by Rome. In local situation and similarity of manners they were, as Tacitus observes, more closely akin to the Parthians, with whom they intermarried freely; and were inclined to servitude by reason of their ignorance of liberty. At this time Domitius Corbulo won great renown and revived the terror of the Roman arms, even under the vilest of the emperors. Having restored discipline among the legions, he victoriously invaded the mountain country, took its principal towns, Artaxata and Tigranocerta, and set up a certain Tigranes as a Roman claimant to the throne and a rival to the Parthian pretender (58 B.C.). Tigranes and his successor, a scion of the Herod family, held their ground for five years by the aid of Rome; then the Parthians regained the ascendency and again bestowed the throne on their own candidate Tiridates* Caesennius Paetus, Corbulo's successor, being powerless to prevent this revolution. But when Corbulo himself advanced once more into Armenia with his army the Parthians despaired of being able to hold their own in defiance of Rome. They therefore effected a compromise. In an interview with Corbulo, Tiridates consented to lay down his royal fillet before the emperor's image and to receive it back from his hand at Rome. From that time forward the peace of the Eastern provinces long remained undisturbed. In the province of Asia little alteration was made in the existing state of things, the privileges of certain cities were increased or curtailed according to the position they had taken up during the civil wars, and restrictions were imposed on the right of sanctuary of the Ephesian Diana, which had made the city a harbourage for criminals. The fresh vigour which Augustus infused into the disordered commonwealth produced a splendid aftermath of prosperity in the ancient seats of civilisation. Under the sway of order, that "bounteous daughter of heaven," the peaceful arts rose to fresh glory, and in the first century of the empire the province of Asia contained five hundred populous cities. From the Greek islands the Romans imported articles of luxury and sensuous enjoyment; Parian and Phrygian marbles for their gorgeous buildings; the wine of Chios, the sea fish of Rhodes, and the game of Asia Minor for their epicurean banquets. Ephesus and Apamea were the marts and emporiums for the produce and artistic productions of the East. Thence the Roman merchant brought his fine Babylonian tissues, his Arabian and Persian incense and ointments, his robes of Tyrian purple. In the island of Cos were made the fine female garments which displayed rather than concealed the limbs, the "Coan robes against which Seneca so vehemently inveighs. The provinces of Achaia and Macedonia underwent no great change; they had both long since grown accustomed to the Roman rule, and though the former (which embraced the territory of ancient Greece up to the Cambunian and Ceraunian mountains and the islands of the iEgean Sea) had not, like the latter, renounced all interest in political life, but had sided with one party or the other in the wars of the Roman despots, the Romans of those days were too ardent admirers of Greek culture to visit the transgressions of individuals upon the mother of humane studies as Sulla had done. Caesar, Antony, and Augustus forgot with equal magnanimity th&

« ForrigeFortsett »