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Moderation of Auguftus. to suppress corruption in the senate, and licentiousness in the people. He enacted, that the senators Thould be always held in great reverence; adding to their authority what he had taken from their power. He made a law, that no man should have the freedom of the city, without a previous examination into his merit and character. He fined many, who had refused to marry at a certain ages and rewarded such as had many children. With regard to players, of whom he was very fond, he severely examined their morals, not allowing the least licentiousnets in their lives, nor indecency in their actions,
His treatment of Cornelius Cinna, Pompey's grandson, is a proof of his good sense, and political sagacity. This nobleman had entered into a very dangerous conspiracy against him; but the plot was discovered before it was ripe for execution.
Auguftus, for some time, debated with himtelf how to act; « but, at last his clemency prevailed; he therefore fent for those
who were guilty, and after reprimanding them, dismissed them all. But he was resolved to mortify Cinna by the greatness of his generosity; for addressing him in particular, « I have « twice," says he, “given you your life; first, as an enemy, « now, as a conspirator ; I now give you the consulship; but « let us, therefore, be friends for the future: and let us only “ contend in fhewing, whether my confidence or your fidelity, “ fhall be victorious.” This generosity which the emperor very happily timed, had so good an effect, that from that instant, all conspiracies ceased against him.
Though he was, by the single authority of his station, capable of condemning, or acquitting whomsoever he thought proper, yet he gave the laws their proper course ; and even sometimes pleaded for those he desired to protect. One of his veteran soldiers entreated his protection in a certain cause; but Auguftus taking little notice of his request, desired him to apply to an advocate. “ Ah!” replied the soldier, « it was “not by proxy that I served you at the battle of Actium.' This reply pleased Augustus so much, that he pleaded his cause in person, and gained it for him.
Mæcenas, an able ftatefinan, and great patron of learning, had great in Auence over Augustus. His talents qualified him for the highest posts, but his love of ease would not suffer him to accept of them. His benevolence, however, often made him employ his credit with the emperor, in behalf of his friends, and seldom without success. Of the freedom with which he corrected the faults of Auziistus, a judicious histo
rian* gives us the following remarkable instance: Augustus was one day judging fome criminals, when Mæcenas, perceiving him to be in a bad humour, and inclined to give too great a loose, attempted to approach his tribunal. Not being able, however, to break through the crowd, he wrote the fol lowing note, Come down from the tribunal, butcher, and threw it into his lap. Auguftus no sooner read it, than he rose up, and quitted ihe tribunal, without sentencing any of the criminals to death, He died in the twenty-first year of the reign of Augustus,
Horace, the prince of the Latin lyric poets, did not long survive his great patron and benefactor. Mæcenas died about the beginning of September, and Horace on the 27th of the following November. About the same time Dionyfius of Halicarnafsus began to write his books of the Roman History and Antiquities.
Virgil died some years previous to this period. Having retired to Greece to finish his Æneid, he went to Athens to meet Augustus, on his return to Rome from the East. The emperor, who had a great regard for him, received him with uncommon marks of kindness and esteem. Virgil, leaving Athens soon after, in the hot season of the
with an inten tion to visit the antiquities of Megara, fell fick there. In that condition he embarked for Italy; but the fatigue of the voyage increasing his distemper, he died at Brundufium, in the fiftyfirst year of his age, leaving the greatest part of his wealth, which was very confiderable, to Auguftus and Mæcenas, his two chief patrons and benefactors. As he had not yet put the last hand to his Æneid, he ordered, by his will, that inimitable poem to be burnt; but Augustus saved Troy from a second conflagration, and, by that means, preserved for all future ages a most perfect pattern of epic-poetry.
From the battle of Aetium, Auguftus reigned forty-four years, and died at Nola in Campania, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His power began in the slaughter, and terminated in the happiness of his subjects; so that it was said of him, “That it had been good for mankind if he had şi never been born, or if he never had died.” It is very probable, that the cruelties, exercised in his triumvirate, were suggested by his colleagues; or, perhaps, he thought, in the cale of Cæsar's death, that revenge was a virtue. When he became emperor,
government an air fuited to the disposition of the times ; indulged his subjects in
220 Of the Arts, Sciences, and Manners of the Romans. the pride of seeing the appearance of a republic, while he really made them happy in the effects of a most absolute monarchy, guided by the most consummate prudence. In this last virtue he seems to have excelled most monarchs; and, indeed, could we separate Octavius from Auguftus, he would be one of the most faultless princes in history * The long peace which his subjects enjoyed, during his administration, may be entirely ascribed to his moderation alone; and about the middle of his reign, the greatest part of mankind saw themselves, at once, professing obedience to one monarch, and in perfect harmony with each other.
This was the time in which our Saviour Jesus Christ, came into the world. He was born at Bethlehem, in Judæa, in the 25th year of the reign of Augustus, and in the 4004th year of the world, according to the common computation.
Of the Arts, Sciences, and Manners of the Romans-Milie tary Exercises of the Romans. --- Roman Camp. -- Roman
URING the first ages of the Republic, the Romans
lived in a total neglect, or rather contempt, of all the elegant improvements of life. War, politics, and agriculture, were the oniy arts they studied, because they were the only arts they esteemed. But upon the downfall of Carthage, the Romans having no enemy to dread from abroad, began to taste the fweets of security, and to cultivate the arts. Their progress, however, was not gradual, as in the other countries we have described. The conquest of Greece at once put them in poffeffion of every thing most rare, curious, or elegant. Afia, which was the next victim, offered all its stores; and the Romans, from the most limple people, speedily became acquainted with the arts, the luxuries and refinements of the whole earth. Eloquence they had always cultivated, as the high road to eminence and preferment. The orations of Cicero are inferior only to those of Demosthenes. In poetry Virgil yields only to Homer, whose verse, like the profe of Demosthenes, may be considered as inimitable. Horace, however, in his fatires and epistles, had no model among the
Greeks, and stands to this day unrivalled in that species of writing. In history, the Romans can boaft of Livy, who possesses all the natural ease of Herodotus, and is more defcriptive, more eloquent, and sentimental. Tacitus, indeed, did not fourish in the Augustan age, but his works do himself the greatest honour, while they disgrace his country and human nature, whose corruption and vices he paints in the most striking colours. In philofophy, if we except the works of Cicero, and the fystem of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, described in the nervous poetry of Lucretius, the Romans, during the time of the republic, made not the least attempt. In tragedy, they never produced any thing excellent; and T'erence, though remarkable for purity of style, wants that comica vis, or lively vein of humour, that distinguishes the Greek comedian, and which distinguishes our Shakespeare.
Cato the Elder, called also the Censor, from an apprehenfion of bad consequences, endeavoured to get a law enacted, by which philosophers and teachers of Rhetoric, might be banished from Rome. In this he was certainly mistaken. Learning is beneficial to a nation ; nor can men be called wise and happy, as long as they are ignorant. The writings of Cicero, Virgil and Horace; of Livy, Sallust and Tacitus, do more honour to the Roman name, than all the wars and conquests of ancient Rome. Learning, like religion, or any other good, may be abused; but learning, when directed to its proper end, namely, the investigation of truth, and to disseminate useful knowledge, is one of the greatest blessings of human life. The difference between the man of learning, and the ignorant, may be said to be as great, as that between a person endowed with reason, and an idiot.
« There is one thing surprising to us,” fays an ingenious writer *, “ which yet was very common at Rome. To fee “ the fame man a magistrate, a warrior, a judge, and a ge« neral; an able pleader, and a skilful politician; a states
man, and a man of letters ; capable of signalizing himself, « and of being useful in all those different employments. « What wonderful men! surely their education must havebeen
very different from ours ! How limited the circle in which « our talents are confined !” In modern times, the person who acts well in one department of life, is highly commended; but to fill several with advantage, to the public, would make him be thought a kind of prodigy.
222 Military Exercises of the Romans.
In the earlier and more virtuous ages of the commonwealth; the use of arms was confined to the citizens of Rome.—They were equally interested in increasing the territory, or maintaining the glory of the republic. But as dominion was extended, public virtue declined; and the legions, though supposed to consist of the Roman citizens, were recruited from the distant provinces. The officers were, generally, men of birth and education; but the common foldiers, allured by the hopes of gain, answered to the mercenary levies of modern times.
The Roman peasant, or mechanic, was taught to consider the profession of arms with a degree of veneration. His reputation was to depend upon his own valour; and he confidered the corps in which he served as, in some measure suffering froin the infamy he laboured under, or partaking of the glory he acquired. On his first entrance, an oath of allegiance aird obedience was administered to him; and to abandon his Itandard, in the hour of danger, was not confi. dered less ignominious than impious. Thus honour and religion bound him to the faithful discharge of his duty; while a regular pay and a certain recoinpence, after the stated time of service, afTured prefent fubfiftence and future ease. To these incentives was added the tear of chastisement; and cowardice or disobedience was, unexceptionably, destined to exemplary punithinent. The authority of the Centurions extended to every severity short of death; the power of inficting the last was reserved to the general.
The Romans were not less sensible of the effects of skill and practice, than the advantages of valour. In their language, the very name of an army was borrowed from the word which fignified exercise. Military evolutions were practised with unremitting attention. The hoary veteran and inexperienced recruit were equally compelled to daily repetition; and the first was not suffered to forget, what the lait was intructed to acquire. Their limbs were continually burthened with arms, and the weight they were accustomed to bear in peaceful preparation doubled what was necessary in real action. The body was strengthened by continual exertion, and rendered active by incessant motion; to run, leap, and swim, were considered as important parts of their duty.
The arms of a Roman legion were uniform; an open helmet, with a lofty crest; a coat of mail; greaves on their legs; and on their left arm a buckler, framed of light wood, covered with a bull's hide, and guarded with plates of brass; a light spear, and a ponderous javelin called the pilum, the length of