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of the aristocracy, as we have seen, re- focus upon it the attention of posterity. ceived considerable instruction. They The greater liberty conceded to women read the poets and philosophers, and pre- thus placed upon society an even greater cisely for this reason there was always at reserve in the case of its literature. This
THE GREAT PARIS CAMEO
Rome a strong aversion to light and im- Ovid learned to his cost when he was moral literature. If books had circulated driven into exile because his books gave among men only, the poetry of Ovid too much delight to too many ladies at would perhaps not have enjoyed the good Rome. By the order of Augustus these fortune of a persecution which was to books were removed from the libraries,
which did not hinder their coming down to most critical moments of his life, the faithus entire, while many a more serious work ful companion through fifty-two years of - like Livy's history, for example— has his varied and wonderful fortune. We been either entirely or in large part lost. can therefore understand why it was that,
as the historians tell us, the last words of After the fall of the second Julia up to the old emperor should have been a tender the time of his
expression of gratideath, which OC
tude to his faithful curred August 23,
wife. "Farewell, in the year
farewell, Livia! A.D., Augustus had
Remember our no further serious
long union !" With griefs the
these words, renladies of his fam
dering homage to ily. The great
the wife whom misfortune of the
custom and the last years of his
law had made the government was a
faithful and loving public misfortune
companion, and not - the defeat of
the docile slave, of Varus and the loss
her husband, he of Germany. But
ended his life like with what sadness
a true Roman. must he have
If the family of looked back in the
Augustus had unlast weeks of his
dergone grievous long life upon the
vicissitudes during history of his fam
his life, its situaily! All those
tion became even whom he had loved
dangerous were torn from
after his death. him before their
The historian who time by a cruel
sets out with the destiny: Drusus,
preconceived noCaius, and Lucius
tion that Augustus Cæsar by death;
founded a monthe Julias by the
archy, and imagines cruelty of the law
that his family and by an infamy
was destined to enworse than death.
joy the privileges The unique gran
which in all mondeur to which he
archies are achad attained had
corded the sovernot brought for
eign's house, will tune to his family.
arrive at He was old, almost
a complete underalone, a weary sur
standing of the vivor among the
story of the first tombs of those dear to him who had been empire. His family did, to be sure, untimely lost through fate, and with the always enjoy a privileged status, if not still sadder memories of those who had at law, at least in fact, and through the been buried in a living grave of infamy. very force of circumstances; but it was His only associates were Tiberius, with not for naught that Rome had been for whom he had become reconciled; Antonia, many centuries an aristocratic republic in his sweet and highly respected daughter- which all the families of the nobility had in-law; and Livia, the woman whom des- considered themselves equal, and had been tiny had placed at his side in one of the subject to the same laws. The aristocracy
avenged itself upon the imperial family for which had made him master of the govthe privileges which the lofty dignity of ernment when Augustus died. The emits head assured it by giving it hatred in- pire was at war with the Germans, and stead of respect. They suspected and the Pannonico-Illyrian provinces were in calumniated all of its members, and with revolt, and it was necessary to place at the a malicious joy subjected them, whenever head of the empire a man who would possible, to the common laws and even strike terror to the hearts of the barbarimaltreated with particular ferocity those ans and who on occasion would be able to who by chance fell under the provisions of combat them. Tiberius, furthermore, was any statute. As a compensation for the so well aware that the majority of the privileges which the royal family enjoyed, senate and the Roman people would subthey had to assume the risk of receiving mit to his government only through force, the harshest penalties of the laws. If any that he had for a long time been in doubt of them, therefore, fell under the rigor of whether to accept the empire or not, so these laws, the senatorial aristocracy espe- completely did he understand that with cially was ever eager to enjoy the atrocious so many enemies it would be difficult to satisfaction of seeing one of the favored rule. tortured as much or more than the ordi- Under the government of Tiberius, the nary man. There is no doubt, for exam- imperial family was surrounded by a much ple, that the two Julias were more se- . more intense and open hatred than under verely punished and disgraced than other Augustus. One couple only proved an ladies of the aristocracy guilty of the same exception, Germanicus and Agrippina, crime. And Augustus was forced to waive who were very sympathetic to the people. his affection for them in order that it But right here began the first serious diffimight not be said, particularly in the sen- culties for Tiberius. Germanicus was ate, that his relatives enjoyed special fa- twenty-nine years old when Tiberius took vors and that Augustus made laws only over the empire, and about him there befor others.
gan to form a party which by courting Yet as long as Augustus lived, he was a and flattering both him and his wife began sufficient protection for his relatives. He to set him up against Tiberius. In this was, especially in the last twenty years of they were unconsciously aided by Agriphis life, the object of an almost religious pina. Unlike her sister Julia, she was a veneration. The great and stormy epoch lady of blameless life; faithfully in love out of which he had risen, the extraor- with her husband; a true Roman matron, dinary fortune which had assisted him, his such as tradition had loved; chaste and long reign, the services both real and im- fruitful, who at the age of twenty-six had aginary which he had rendered the empire already borne nine children, of whom, -all had conferred upon him such an however, six had died. But Agrippina was authority that envy laid aside its most to show that in the house of Augustus, in poisonous darts before him. Out of re- those tumultuous, strange times, virtue spect for him even his family was not par- was not less dangerous than vice, though ticularly calumniated or maltreated, save in another way and for different reasons. now and then in moments of great irrita- She was so proud of her fidelity to her tion, as when the two Julias were con- husband and of the admiration which she demned. But after his death the situation aroused at Rome that all the other defects grew considerably worse; for Tiberius, al- of her character were exaggerated and inthough he was a man of great capacity creased by her excessive pride in her virand merit, a sagacious administrator and tue. And among these defects should be a valiant general, did not enjoy the sym- counted a great ambition, a kind of harumpathy and respect which had been accorded scarum and tumultuous activity, an irreto Augustus. Rather was he hated by fective impetuosity of passion, and a danthose who had for a long time sided with gerous lack of balance and judgment. Caius and Lucius Cæsar and who formed Agrippina was not evil; she was ambitious, a considerable portion of the senate and violent, intriguing, imprudent, and thoughtthe aristocracy. It was not the spontane- less, and therefore could easily adapt ous admiration of the senate and of the her own feelings and interests to what people, but the exigencies of the situation, seemed expedient. She had much influ
ence over her husband, whom she accom- pinnacle of glory and power. It did not panied upon all his journeys; and out of please the pushing and eager youth Gerthe great love she bore him, in which her manicus, who was anxious to distinguish own ambition had its part, she urged him himself by great and brilliant exploits, and on to support that hidden movement which who had at his side, as a continual stimuwas striving to oppose Germanicus to the lus, an ambitious and passionate wife, suremperor.
rounded by a court of flatterers. GerThat two parties were not formed was manicus, on his own initiative, crossed the due very largely to the fact that Germani- Rhine and took up the offensive again all cus was sufficiently reasonable not to allow along the line, attacking the most powerhimself to be carried too far by the current ful of the German tribes one after the which favored him, and possibly also to other in important and successful expedithe fact that during the entire reign of tions. At Rome this bold move was natuTiberius his mother Antonia was the most rally looked upon with pleasure, especially faithful and devoted friend of the empe- by the numerous enemies of Tiberius, ror. After his divorce from Julia, Tibe- either because boldness in politics rather rius had not married again, and the offices than prudence always pleases those who of tenderness which a wife should have have nothing to lose, or because it was felt given him were discharged in part by his that the glory which accrued to Germanimother, but largely by his sister-in-law. cus might offend the emperor. And TibeNo one exercised so much influence as An- rius, though he did disapprove, allowed his tonia over the diffident and self-centered adopted son to continue for a time, doubtspirit of the emperor. Whoever wished less in order that he might not have to to obtain a favor from him could do no shock public opinion and that it might not better than to intrust his cause to Antonia. seem that he wished to deprive the youthThere is no doubt, therefore, that Antonia ful Germanicus of the glory which he was checked her son, and in his society counter- gaining for himself. balanced the influence of his wife.
He was nevertheless resolved not to alBut even if two parties were not low Germanicus to involve Rome too formed, it was not long before other diffi- deeply in German affairs, and when it culties arose. Discord soon made itself seemed to him that the youth had fittingly felt between Livia and Agrippina. More proved his prowess and had made the eneserious still was the fact that Germanicus, mies of Rome feel its power sufficiently, who, after the death of Augustus, had been he recalled him and in his stead sent Drusent as a legate to Gaul, initiated a Ger- sus, who was his real, and not his adopted, man policy contrary to the instructions But this recall did not at all please given him by Tiberius. This was due the party of Germanicus, who were loud partly to his own impetuous temperament and bitter in their recriminations. They and partly to the goadings of his wife and began to murmur that Tiberius was jealthe flatterers who surrounded him. Tibe- ous of Germanicus and his popularity; rius, whom the Germans knew from long that he had recalled him in order to preexperience, no longer wished to molest vent his winning glory by an immortal them. The revolt of Arminius proved achievement. Tiberius so little thought of that when their independence was threat keeping Germanicus from using his brilened by Rome they were capable of unit- liant qualities in the service of Rome that ing and becoming dangerous; when left to shortly after, in the year 18 A.D., he sent themselves they destroyed one another by him into the Orient to introduce order continual wars. It was advisable, there- into Armenia, which was shaken by interfore, according to Tiberius, not to attack nal dissensions, and he gave him a comor molest them, but at the proper moment mand there not less important than the to fan the flames of their continual dissen- one of which he had deprived him. At the sions and wars in order that, while de- same time he was unwilling to intrust stroying themselves, they should leave the things entirely to the judgment of Gerempire in peace. This wise and prudent manicus, in whom he recognized a young policy might please a seasoned soldier like man of capacity and valor, but, nevertheTiberius, who had already won his laurels less, a young man influenced by an impruin many wars and who had risen to the dent wife and incited by an irresponsible court of Alatterers. For this reason he However that may be, the dissension placed at his side an older and more ex- between Germanicus and Piso filled the perienced man in whom he had the fullest entire Orient with confusion and disorder, confidence-Cnæus Piso, a senator who and it was early echoed at Rome, where belonged to one of the most illustrious the party hostile to Tiberius continued to families in Rome.
accuse him, out of motives of hatred and It was the duty of Cnæus Piso to coun- jealousy, of forever laying new obstacles sel, to restrain, and to aid the young Ger- in the way of his adopted son. Livia, too, manicus, and doubtless also to keep Tibe- now no longer protected by Augustus, berius informed of all that Germanicus was came a target for the accusations of a doing in the East. When we remember malevolent public opinion. It was said that Tiberius was responsible for the em- that she persecuted Germanicus out of pire, no one will deny him the right of hatred for Agrippina. Tiberius was much setting a guard upon the young man of embarrassed, being hampered by public thirty-three, into whose hands had been opinion favorable to Germanicus and at intrusted many and serious interests. But the same time desiring that his sons though this idea was warrantable in itself, should set an example of obedience to the it became the source of great woe. Ger- laws. manicus was offended, and driven on by A sudden catastrophe still further comhis friends, he broke with Piso. The lat- plicated the situation. In 19 A.D., Gerter had brought with him his wife Plan- manicus was taken ill at Antioch. The cina, who was a close friend of Livia, just malady was long and marked by periods as Germanicus had brought Agrippina. of convalescence and relapses, but finally, The two wives fell to quarreling no less like his father and like his brothers-infuriously than their husbands, and two law, Germanicus, too, succumbed to his parties were formed in the Orient, one destiny in the fullness of youth. At thirtyfor Piso and one for Germanicus, who four, when life with her most winning accused each other of illegality, extortion, smiles seemed to be stretching out her and assuming unwarranted powers; and arms to him, he died. This one more uneach thought only of undoing what the timely death brought to an abrupt end a other had accomplished. It is difficult to most dangerous political struggle. Is it to tell which of the two was right or in how be wondered at, then, that the people, far either was right or wrong, for the whose imagination had been aroused, documents are too few and the account of should have begun to murmur about poiTacitus, clouded by an undiscerning an- son? The party of Germanicus was driven tipathy, sheds no light upon this dark se- to desperation by this death, which virtucret. In any case, we are sure that Ger- ally ended its existence, and destroyed at manicus did not always respect the laws a single stroke all the hopes of those who and that he occasionally acted with a su- had seen in Germanicus the instrument of preme heedlessness which now and then their future fortune. They therefore forced Tiberius to intervene personally, eagerly collected, embellished, and spread as he did on the occasion when Germani- these rumors. Had Agrippina been a wocus left his province with Agrippina in man of any judgment or reflection, she order that, dressed like a Greek philoso- would have been the first to see the abpher, he might make a tour of Egypt and surdity of this foolish gossip; but as a see that country, which then, as now, at- matter of fact no one placed more implicit tracted the attention of persons of culture. faith in such reports than she, now that But at that time, unlike the present, there affliction had rendered her even more imwas an ordinance of Augustus which for- petuous and violent. bade Roman senators to set foot in Egypt It was not long before everyone at without special permission. As he had Rome had heard it said that Germanicus paid no attention to this prohibition, we had been poisoned by Piso, acting, so it need not be astonished if we find that was intimated in whispers, at the bidding Germanicus did not respect as scrupu
of Tiberius and Livia. Piso had been the lously as Tiberius wished all the laws tool of Tiberius; Plancina, the tool of which defined his powers and set limits to Livia. The accusation is absurd; it is his authority.
even recognized as such by Tacitus, who