« AnkstesnisTęsti »
COSTUMES OF ROMAN MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN IN THE These reliefs formed part of the outer frieze of the right wall of the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace), erected by Augustus and dedicated 9 B.C. These two well-preserved sections are in the Uffizi Palace, Florence. One of two other fragments in the Villa Medici contains the head and bust of Augustus, and with the sections here shown
the same time attend to her husband's clothes and aid him in governing the empire. For so had done from time immemorial all the great ladies of the aristocracy, mindful of their good repute and the prosperity of their families. And Livia must have tried the more earnestly to fulfil all that her education had taught her to consider a sacred duty, since to a woman of her old-fashioned breeding the times must have appeared especially difficult and perilous.
The civil wars had greatly reduced in numbers the historic aristocracy of Rome, and the peace which followed after so long a time and which had been so anxiously invoked, very soon began to threaten the prosperity of the remnant of that nobility with a more insidious but more inevitable ruin. About 18 B.C., when Livia was approaching her fortieth year, the men of the new generation who had not seen the civil wars, for when these ended they were either unborn or only in their infancy, were already beginning to come to the front. They brought with them a previously unknown spirit of luxury, of enjoyment, of dissipation, of rebellion against discipline, of egotism and fondness for the
new, which rendered very difficult, not to say impossible, the continuation of the aristocratic régime. Women submitted with more and more repugnance to those obligatory marriages, arranged for reasons of state, which had formerly been the tradition and the sure bulwark of dominion for the aristocracy. The increase of celibacy was rendering sterile the most celebrated stocks; the most lamentable vices and disorders became tolerated and common in the most illustrious families, and ruinous habits of extravagance spread generally among that aristocracy, once so simple and austere. All this had grown up after the conquest of Egypt, which had established points of contact with the East; and it increased in proportion as those industries and the commerce in articles of luxury which had flourished at Alexandria under the Ptolomies were gradually transplanted to Rome, where the merchants hoped to establish among their conquerors the clientele which had been lost with the fall of the Kingdom of the Nile. The ladies especially took up with the new oriental customs, and, preferring expensive stuffs and jewels, turned from the loom, which Livia had wished to preserve
PROCESSION OF A PEACE FESTIVAL completes what is supposed to be a group of the family of Augustus, in which A. might be Livia, B. Antonia, C. Drusus, D. Germanicus, and E. Tiberius, though the ascriptions are not certain.
as the emblem of womanhood. young men of the great families were beginning to show a distaste for the army, for the government of the state, for jurisprudence, for all those activities which had been the jealous privilege of the nobility of the past. One gave himself up to literary pursuits, another cultivated philosophy, another busied himself only with the increase of his inherited fortune, while another lived only in pleasure and idleness. So it happened that there began to appear descendants of great houses who refused to be senators; every year an effort had to be made to find a sufficient number of candidates for the more numerous positions like the questorship, and in the army it was no easy matter to fill all the posts of the superior officers which were reserved for members of the nobility.
The Roman aristocracy then, that glorious Roman aristocracy which had escaped the massacres of the proscriptions and of Philippi, ran grave danger of dying out through a species of slow suicide, if energetic measures were not taken to supply the necessary remedies. It is certain that Livia had a conspicuous part in the policy of restoring the aristocracy, to which Au
gustus was impelled by the old nobility especially toward the year 18 B.C., when with this purpose in view he proposed his famous social laws. The Lex de maritandis ordinibus attempted by various penalties and promises to constrain the members of the aris
tocracy to contract marriage and to found a family, thus combatting the increasing inclination to celibacy and sterility. The Lex de adulteriis aimed to reëstablish order and virtue in the family, by threatening the unfaithful wife and her accomplice with exile for life and the confiscation of a part of their substance. It obliged the husband to expose the crime to the tribunals; if the husband could not or would not make the accusation, it provided that the father should do so; and in case both husband and father failed, it authorized any citizen to step forth as accuser. Finally the Lex sumptuaria was designed to restrain the extravagance of wealthy families, particularly that of the women, prohibiting them from spending too large a part of the family fortune in jewels, apparel, body slaves, festivities, or buildings, especially in the building of sumptuous villas, then a growing fashion. In short, it was the purpose of these laws to bring the ladies of the Roman aristocracy to a course of conduct patterned upon the example of Livia. In the protracted discussions concerning these laws, which took place in the senate, Augustus on one occasion made a long speech in which he cited Livia as a model for the ladies of Rome. He set forth minutely the details of her household administration, telling how she lived, what relations she had with outsiders, what amusements
The scene evidently is at Livia's country palace at Prima Porta. Agrippa is seen descending the steps to be received by Augustus and Livia (who are not shown in the picture). The original of the statue of Augustus, here shown, was found in the ruins of Livia's villa close to the flight of marble steps and its base. The remains of the steps and the base of the statue are standing to-day at Prima Porta.
she thought proper for a person of her rank, how she dressed and at what expense. And no one in the senate judged it unworthy of the greatness of the state or contrary to custom thus to introduce the name and person of a great lady into the public discussion of so serious a matter of governmental policy.
Livia, then, about 18 B.C. personified in the eyes of the Romans the perfect type of aristocratic great lady created by long tradition. Having been safely preserved by good fortune through the long civil wars, this model was now set back again upon a fitting pedestal in the most powerful and richest family of the empire. She was the living example of all the virtues which the Romans most cherished, a beloved wife and a heeded counselor to the head of the state, honored with that veneration which power, virtue, nobility of birth, and the dignified beauty of face and figure drew from every one; furthermore, there were her two sons, Tiberius and Drusus, both intelligent, handsome, full of activity, docile to the traditional education which she sought to give them in order that they might be the worthy continuators of the great name they bore. Livia, with all this in her favor, might have been expected to live a happy and tranquil life, serenely to fulfil her mission amid the admiration of the world.
But opposition and difficulties sprang up in her own family. In 39 B.C. Augustus had had by Scribonia a daughter, Julia. Following in the government of his family, as in so large a part of his politics, the traditions of the old nobility, Augustus gave his daughter in marriage when very young,—she was not yet past seventeen,just as he early gave wives to Livia's two sons, whose guardian he was. In each case in order to assure within his circle harmony and power, he chose the consort in his own family or from among his friends. To Tiberius he gave Agrippina, a daughter of Agrippa, his close friend and most faithful collaborator; to Drusus he gave Antonia, the younger daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, sister of Augustus. To Julia he gave Marcellus, his nephew, the son of Octavia and her first husband. But while the marriages of Drusus and Tiberius proved successful and the two couples lived lovingly and happily, such was not the case with the
marriage of Julia and Marcellus. As a result, disagreeable misunderstandings and rancors soon made themselves felt in the family. We do not know exactly what were the causes of these disagreements. It seems that Marcellus, under the influence of Julia, assumed a tone somewhat too haughty and insolent, such as was not becoming in a youth who, although the nephew of Augustus, was still taking his first steps in his political career; and it seems too that this conduct of his was especially offensive to Agrippa, who, next to Augustus, was the first person in the empire. In short, at seventeen, Julia desired that her husband should be the second personage of the state in order that she might come immediately after Livia or even be placed directly on an equality with her. According to the Roman ideas of the family and of its discipline, this was a precocious and excessive ambition, unbecoming a matron, much less a young girl. For the duty of the woman was to follow faithfully and submissively the ambitions of her lord and not to impart to him her own ambitions or make him her tool. In contrast to Livia, who was so docile and placid in her respect for the older traditions of the aristocracy, so firm and strong in her observance of the duties, not infrequently grievous and difficult, which this tradition imposed, Julia represented the woman of that new generation which had grown up in the times of peace- -a type more rebellious against tradition, less resigned to the serious duties and difficult renunciations of rank; much more inclined to enjoy its prerogatives than disposed to bear that heavy burden of obligations and sacrifices with which the previous generations had balanced privilege. Beautiful and intelligent, even in the early years of her first marriage she showed a great passion for studies, and a fine artistic and literary taste, and with these a lively inclination toward luxury and display which hardly suited with the spirit or the letter of the Lex sumptuaria which her father had carried through in that year. But fraught with greater danger than all this was her ardent and passionate temperament, which both in the family and in politics was altogether too frequently to drive her to desire and to carry through that which, rightly or wrongly, was forbid
den to a woman by law, custom, and pub- which was growing the determination to
It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that a young woman endowed with so fiery and ambitious a nature did not become in the hands of Augustus as docile a political instrument as Livia. Julia wished to live for herself and for her pleasure, not for the political greatness of her father; and indeed, Augustus, who had a fine knowledge of men, was so impressed by this first unhappy experiment that when Marcellus, still a very young man, died in 23 B.C., he hesitated a long time before remarrying the youthful widow. For a moment, indeed, he
did think of bestowing her not upon a senator but upon a knight, that is, a person outside of the political aristocracy, evidently with the intention of stifling her too eager ambitions by taking from her all means and hope of satisfying them. Then he decided upon the opposite expedient, that of quieting those ambitions by entirely satisfying them, and so gave Julia, in 21 B.C., to Agrippa,
free itself from tradition. She lavished money generously, and there soon formed about her a sort of court, a party, a coterie, in which figured the fairest names of the Roman aristocracy. Her name and her person became popular even among the common people of Rome, to whom the name of the Julii was more sympathetic than that of the Claudii, which was borne by the sons of Livia. The combined popularity of Augustus and of Agrippa was reflected in her. It may be said, therefore,
Enlarged from the original owned by Professor G. N. Olcott
A BRONZE SESTERTIUS WITH THE HEAD
She was the wife of Germanicus, and their daughter,
who had been the cause of the earlier difficulties. Agrippa was twenty-four years older than she and could have been her father, but he was in truth the second person of the empire in glory, riches, and power. Soon after, in 18 B.C., he was to become the colleague of Augustus in the presidency of the republic and consequently his equal in every way.
Thus Julia suddenly saw her ambitions gratified. She became at twenty-one the next lady of the empire after Livia, and perhaps even the first in company with and beside her. Young, beautiful, intelligent, cultured, and loving luxury, she represented at Livia's side and in opposition to her, the trend of the new generation in
that toward 18 B.C., the younger, more brilliant, and more "modern" Julia began to obscure Livia in the popular imagination, except in that little group of old conservative nobility which gathered about the wife of Augustus. So true is this that about this time, Augustus, wishing to place himself into conformity with his law de maritandis ordinibus, reached a significant decision. Since that law fixed at three the number of children which every citizen should have, if he wished to discharge
his whole duty toward the state, and since Augustus had but a single daughter, he decided to adopt Caius and Lucius, the first two sons that Julia had borne to Agrippa. This was a great triumph for her, in so far as her sons would henceforth bear the very popular name of Cæsar.
But the difficulties which the first marriage with Marcellus had occasioned and which Augustus had hoped to remove by this second marriage soon reappeared in another but still more dangerous form, for they had their roots in that passionate, imperious, bold, and imprudent temperament of Julia. This temperament the Roman education had not succeeded in taming; it was strengthened by the undisciplined