« AnkstesnisTęsti »
raised its head and resorted once more to its former policy-that of urging on Germanicus against Tiberius. The former was young, ambitious, bold, and would have preferred daring strokes and a war quickly concluded. It is certain that there would have risen then and there a Germanican and a Tiberian party, if Augustus, on this occasion, had not energetically sustained Tiberius. from Rome. But the situation again became strained and full of uncertainty.
In the midst of these conflicts and these fears, a new scandal broke out in the family of Augustus. The Younger Julia, like her mother, allowed herself to be caught in violation of the lex Julia de adulteriis, and she also was compelled to take the road of exile. In what manner and at whose instance the scandal was disclosed we do not know; we do know, however, that Augustus was very fond of his granddaughter, whence we can assume that in this moment of turbid agitation, when so much hatred was directed against his family and his house, and when so many forces were uniting to overthrow Tiberius again, notwithstanding the fact that he had saved the empire, Augustus felt that he must a second time submit to his own law. He did not dare contend with the puritanical party, with the more conservative minority in the senate, -the friends of Tiberius,-over this second victim in his family. Without, a doubt everything possible was done to hush up the scandal, and there would scarcely have come down to us even a summary notice of the exile of the second Julia had it not been that among those exiled with her was the poet Ovid, who was to fill twenty centuries with his laments and to bring them to the ears of the latest generations.
Ovid's exile is one of those mysteries of history which has most keenly excited the curiosity of the ages. Ovid himself, without knowing it, has rendered it more acute
by his prudence in not speaking more clearly of the cause of his exile, making only rare allusions to it, which may be summed up in his famous words, carmen et error. It is for this reason that poster
From the statue in the Lateran Museum, Rome OCTAVIA, THE SISTER OF AUGUSTUS
ity has for twenty centuries been asking itself what was this error which sent the exquisite poet away to die among the barbarous Getæ on the frozen banks of the Danube; and naturally they have never compassed his secret. But if, therefore, it is impossible to say exactly what the error was which cost Ovid so dearly, it is possi
having violated some clause of the lex Julia de adulteriis, which, as we know, was so comprehensive in its provisions that it considered as accessories to the crime those guilty of various acts and deeds which, judged even with modern rigor and severity, would seem reprehensible, to be sure, but not deserving of such terrible punishment. Ovid was certainly involved under one of these clauses,-which one we do not, and never shall, know, but his error, whether serious or light, was not the true cause of his condemnation. It was the pretext used by the more con
the pleasures which had transformed the austere matron of a former day into an extravagant and undisciplined creature given to voluptuousness; the poet who had gained the admiration of women especially by flattering their most dangerous and perverse tendencies. The puritanical party hated and combatted this trend of the newer generations, and therefore, also, the poetry of Ovid on account of its disastrous effects upon the women, whom it weaned from the virtues most prized in former days-frugality, simplicity, family affection, and purity of life. The Roman ladies
This is the largest ancient cameo known, and is said to have been sent from Constantinople by Baldwin II to Louis IX. It represents the living members of the imperial family protected by the deified Augustus. In the center Tiberius is shown seated, as Jupiter, with his mother, Livia, at his left, as Ceres. In front of them stand Germanicus and his mother Antonia.
Rome a strong aversion to light and immoral literature. If books had circulated among men only, the poetry of Ovid would perhaps not have enjoyed the good fortune of a persecution which was to
Ovid learned to his cost when he was driven into exile because his books gave too much delight to too many ladies at Rome. By the order of Augustus these books were removed from the libraries,
which did not hinder their coming down to us entire, while many a more serious work -like Livy's history, for example-has been either entirely or in large part lost.
AFTER the fall of the second Julia up to the time of his death, which occurred August 23, in the year 14 A.D., Augustus had no further serious griefs over the ladies of his family. The great misfortune of the last years of his government was a
public misfortune -the defeat of Varus and the loss of Germany. But with what sadness must he have looked back in the last weeks of his long life upon the history of his family! All those whom he had loved were torn from him before their
time by a cruel destiny: Drusus, Caius, and Lucius Cæsar by death; the Julias by the cruelty of the law and by an infamy worse than death. The unique grandeur to which he had attained had not brought fortune to his family. He was old, almost alone, a weary survivor among the tombs of those dear to him who had been untimely lost through fate, and with the still sadder memories of those who had been buried in a living grave of infamy. His only associates were Tiberius, with whom he had become reconciled; Antonia, his sweet and highly respected daughterin-law; and Livia, the woman whom destiny had placed at his side in one of the
most critical moments of his life, the faithful companion through fifty-two years of his varied and wonderful fortune. We can therefore understand why it was that, as the historians tell us, the last words of the old emperor should have been a tender
expression of gratitude to his faithful wife. "Farewell, farewell, Livia! Remember our long union!" With these words, rendering homage to the wife whom custom and the law had made the faithful and loving companion, and not the docile slave, of her husband, he ended his life like a true Roman. If the family of Augustus had undergone grievous vicissitudes during his life, its situation became even more dangerous after his death. The historian who sets out with the preconceived notion that Augustus founded a archy, and imagines that his family was destined to enjoy the privileges which in all monarchies are accorded the sover
eign's house, will never arrive at a complete understanding of the story of the first empire. His family did, to be sure, always enjoy a privileged status, if not at law, at least in fact, and through the very force of circumstances; but it was not for naught that Rome had been for many centuries an aristocratic republic in which all the families of the nobility had considered themselves equal, and had been subject to the same laws. The aristocracy
avenged itself upon the imperial family for the privileges which the lofty dignity of its head assured it by giving it hatred instead of respect. They suspected and calumniated all of its members, and with a malicious joy subjected them, whenever possible, to the common laws and even maltreated with particular ferocity those who by chance fell under the provisions of any statute. As a compensation for the privileges which the royal family enjoyed, they had to assume the risk of receiving the harshest penalties of the laws. If any of them, therefore, fell under the rigor of these laws, the senatorial aristocracy especially was ever eager to enjoy the atrocious satisfaction of seeing one of the favored tortured as much or more than the ordinary man. There is no doubt, for example, that the two Julias were more severely punished and disgraced than other ladies of the aristocracy guilty of the same crime. And Augustus was forced to waive his affection for them in order that it might not be said, particularly in the senate, that his relatives enjoyed special favors and that Augustus made laws only for others.
Yet as long as Augustus lived, he was a sufficient protection for his relatives. He was, especially in the last twenty years of his life, the object of an almost religious veneration. The great and stormy epoch out of which he had risen, the extraordinary fortune which had assisted him, his long reign, the services both real and imaginary which he had rendered the empire -all had conferred upon him such an authority that envy laid aside its most poisonous darts before him. Out of respect for him even his family was not particularly calumniated or maltreated, save now and then in moments of great irritation, as when the two Julias were condemned. But after his death the situation grew considerably worse; for Tiberius, although he was a man of great capacity and merit, a sagacious administrator and a valiant general, did not enjoy the sympathy and respect which had been accorded to Augustus. Rather was he hated by those who had for a long time sided with Caius and Lucius Cæsar and who formed a considerable portion of the senate and the aristocracy. It was not the spontaneous admiration of the senate and of the people, but the exigencies of the situation,
which had made him master of the government when Augustus died. The empire was at war with the Germans, and the Pannonico-Illyrian provinces were in revolt, and it was necessary to place at the head of the empire a man who would strike terror to the hearts of the barbarians and who on occasion would be able to combat them. Tiberius, furthermore, was so well aware that the majority of the senate and the Roman people would submit to his government only through force, that he had for a long time been in doubt whether to accept the empire or not, so completely did he understand that with so many enemies it would be difficult to rule.
Under the government of Tiberius, the imperial family was surrounded by a much more intense and open hatred than under Augustus. One couple only proved an exception, Germanicus and Agrippina, who were very sympathetic to the people. But right here began the first serious difficulties for Tiberius. Germanicus was twenty-nine years old when Tiberius took over the empire, and about him there began to form a party which by courting and flattering both him and his wife began to set him up against Tiberius. In this they were unconsciously aided by Agrippina. Unlike her sister Julia, she was a lady of blameless life; faithfully in love with her husband; a true Roman matron, such as tradition had loved; chaste and fruitful, who at the age of twenty-six had already borne nine children, of whom, however, six had died. But Agrippina was to show that in the house of Augustus, in those tumultuous, strange times, virtue was not less dangerous than vice, though in another way and for different reasons. She was so proud of her fidelity to her husband and of the admiration which she aroused at Rome that all the other defects of her character were exaggerated and increased by her excessive pride in her vir