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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 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
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 tion that Augustus founded a monarchy, and imagines that his family was destined to enjoy the privileges which in all monarchies are corded the sovereign'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
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
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 virtue. And among these defects should be counted a great ambition, a kind of harumscarum and tumultuous activity, an irreflective impetuosity of passion, and a dangerous lack of balance and judgment. Agrippina was not evil; she was ambitious, violent, intriguing, imprudent, and thoughtless, and therefore could easily adapt her own feelings and interests to what seemed expedient. She had much influ
ence over her husband, whom she accompanied upon all his journeys; and out of the great love she bore him, in which her own ambition had its part, she urged him on to support that hidden movement which was striving to oppose Germanicus to the
That two parties were not formed was due very largely to the fact that Germanicus was sufficiently reasonable not to allow himself to be carried too far by the current which favored him, and possibly also to the fact that during the entire reign of Tiberius his mother Antonia was the most faithful and devoted friend of the emperor. After his divorce from Julia, Tiberius had not married again, and the offices of tenderness which a wife should have given him were discharged in part by his mother, but largely by his sister-in-law. No one exercised so much influence as Antonia over the diffident and self-centered spirit of the emperor. Whoever wished to obtain a favor from him could do no better than to intrust his cause to Antonia. There is no doubt, therefore, that Antonia checked her son, and in his society counterbalanced the influence of his wife.
But even if two parties were not formed, it was not long before other difficulties arose. Discord soon made itself felt between Livia and Agrippina. More serious still was the fact that Germanicus, who, after the death of Augustus, had been sent as a legate to Gaul, initiated a German policy contrary to the instructions given him by Tiberius. This was due partly to his own impetuous temperament and partly to the goadings of his wife and the flatterers who surrounded him. Tiberius, whom the Germans knew from long experience, no longer wished to molest them. The revolt of Arminius proved that when their independence was threatened by Rome they were capable of uniting and becoming dangerous; when left to themselves they destroyed one another by continual wars. It was advisable, therefore, according to Tiberius, not to attack or molest them, but at the proper moment to fan the flames of their continual dissensions and wars in order that, while destroying themselves, they should leave the empire in peace. This wise and prudent policy might please a seasoned soldier like. Tiberius, who had already won his laurels in many wars and who had risen to the
pinnacle of glory and power. It did not please the pushing and eager youth Germanicus, who was anxious to distinguish himself by great and brilliant exploits, and who had at his side, as a continual stimulus, an ambitious and passionate wife, surrounded by a court of flatterers. Germanicus, on his own initiative, crossed the Rhine and took up the offensive again all along the line, attacking the most powerful of the German tribes one after the other in important and successful expeditions. At Rome this bold move was naturally looked upon with pleasure, especially by the numerous enemies of Tiberius, either because boldness in politics rather than prudence always pleases those who have nothing to lose, or because it was felt that the glory which accrued to Germanicus might offend the emperor. And Tiberius, though he did disapprove, allowed his adopted son to continue for a time, doubtless in order that he might not have to shock public opinion and that it might not seem that he wished to deprive the youthful Germanicus of the glory which he was gaining for himself.
He was nevertheless resolved not to allow Germanicus to involve Rome too deeply in German affairs, and when it seemed to him that the youth had fittingly proved his prowess and had made the enemies of Rome feel its power sufficiently, he recalled him and in his stead sent Drusus, who was his real, and not his adopted, son. But this recall did not at all please the party of Germanicus, who were loud and bitter in their recriminations. They began to murmur that Tiberius was jealous of Germanicus and his popularity; that he had recalled him in order to prevent his winning glory by an immortal achievement. Tiberius so little thought of keeping Germanicus from using his brilliant qualities in the service of Rome that shortly after, in the year 18 A.D., he sent him into the Orient to introduce order into Armenia, which was shaken by internal dissensions, and he gave him a command there not less important than the one of which he had deprived him. At the same time he was unwilling to intrust things entirely to the judgment of Germanicus, in whom he recognized a young man of capacity and valor, but, nevertheless, a young man influenced by an imprudent wife and incited by an irresponsible
court of flatterers. For this reason he placed at his side an older and more experienced man in whom he had the fullest confidence-Cnæus Piso, a senator who belonged to one of the most illustrious families in Rome.
It was the duty of Cnæus Piso to counsel, to restrain, and to aid the young Germanicus, and doubtless also to keep Tiberius informed of all that Germanicus was doing in the East. When we remember that Tiberius was responsible for the empire, no one will deny him the right of setting a guard upon the young man of thirty-three, into whose hands had been intrusted many and serious interests. But though this idea was warrantable in itself, it became the source of great woe. Germanicus was offended, and driven on by his friends, he broke with Piso. The latter had brought with him his wife Plancina, who was a close friend of Livia, just as Germanicus had brought Agrippina. The two wives fell to quarreling no less furiously than their husbands, and two parties were formed in the Orient, one for Piso and one for Germanicus, who accused each other of illegality, extortion, and assuming unwarranted powers; and each thought only of undoing what the other had accomplished. It is difficult to tell which of the two was right or in how far either was right or wrong, for the documents are too few and the account of Tacitus, clouded by an undiscerning antipathy, sheds no light upon this dark secret. In any case, we are sure that Germanicus did not always respect the laws and that he occasionally acted with a supreme heedlessness which now and then forced Tiberius to intervene personally, as he did on the occasion when Germanicus left his province with Agrippina in order that, dressed like a Greek philosopher, he might make a tour of Egypt and see that country, which then, as now, attracted the attention of persons of culture. But at that time, unlike the present, there was an ordinance of Augustus which forbade Roman senators to set foot in Egypt without special permission. As he had paid no attention to this prohibition, we need not be astonished if we find that Germanicus did not respect as scrupulously as Tiberius wished all the laws which defined his powers and set limits to his authority.
However that may be, the dissension between Germanicus and Piso filled the entire Orient with confusion and disorder, and it was early echoed at Rome, where the party hostile to Tiberius continued to accuse him, out of motives of hatred and jealousy, of forever laying new obstacles in the way of his adopted son. Livia, too, now no longer protected by Augustus, became a target for the accusations of a malevolent public opinion. It was said that she persecuted Germanicus out of hatred for Agrippina. Tiberius was much embarrassed, being hampered by public opinion favorable to Germanicus and at the same time desiring that his sons should set an example of obedience to the laws.
A sudden catastrophe still further complicated the situation. In 19 A.D., Germanicus was taken ill at Antioch. The malady was long and marked by periods of convalescence and relapses, but finally, like his father and like his brothers-inlaw, Germanicus, too, succumbed to his destiny in the fullness of youth. At thirtyfour, when life with her most winning smiles seemed to be stretching out her arms to him, he died. This one more untimely death brought to an abrupt end a most dangerous political struggle. Is it to be wondered at, then, that the people, whose imagination had been aroused, should have begun to murmur about poison? The party of Germanicus was driven to desperation by this death, which virtually ended its existence, and destroyed at a single stroke all the hopes of those who had seen in Germanicus the instrument of their future fortune. They therefore eagerly collected, embellished, and spread these rumors. Had Agrippina been a woman of any judgment or reflection, she would have been the first to see the absurdity of this foolish gossip; but as a matter of fact no one placed more implicit faith in such reports than she, now that affliction had rendered her even more impetuous and violent.
It was not long before every one at Rome had heard it said that Germanicus had been poisoned by Piso, acting, so it was intimated in whispers, at the bidding of Tiberius and Livia. Piso had been the tool of Tiberius; Plancina, the tool of Livia. The accusation is absurd; it is even recognized as such by Tacitus, who