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Nerva and Trajan. two execellent examples of his father and brother as to seem more desirous of copying Nero or Caligula ; and accordingly he met with their fate, being murdered by some of his neareft relations. The fenate, in deteftation of his memory, ordered his name to be rased out of all public acts.
What fome writers relate concerning Apollonius Tyaneus, who was then at Ephesus, is almost incredible. This
perfon, whom some call a magician, and some a philosopher, but whó more probably was nothing more than an impoftor, just at the minute in which Domitian was slain, was lecturing in one of the public gardens of the city.
But stopping Thort, all of a sudden he cried out, “ Courage, Stea phanus, strike the tyrant.”
And then, after a pauseRejoice, my friends, the tyrant dies this day; this day do « I say! the very moment in which I kept silence he suffers « for bis crimes-he dies !”
The truth seems to be, that a belief in omens and prodigies was again become prevalent. The people were relapsing into their pristine barbarity. A country of ignorance is ever the proper foil for an barvest of impofture.
Nerva had scarcely accepted the purple from A. D. 97. the aflaffins of Domitian, before he discovered that
his feeble age was unable to stem the torrent of public disorders, which had multiplied under the long tyranny of his predecessor ; after a short reign of fixteen months,
he adopted Trajan his successor, a prince possessed A. D. 98. of every talent and virtue that can adorn a love
reign. The great qualities of his mind were accompanied with all the advantages of person. His body was majestic and vigorous; he was at that middle time of life, which is happily tempered with the warmth of youth, and the caution of
age, being forty-two years old. To these qualities were added, a inodesty that seemed peculiar to himself; so that mankind found a pleasure in praising those accomplishments of which the pofleffor feemed no way conscious. Upon the whole, Trajan is distinguished as the greatest and best emperor of Rome. Others might have equalled him in war, and some might have been his rivals in clemency and goodness; but he seems the only prince who united these talents in the greatest perfection, and who appears equally to engage our admiration, and our regard.
One of the first lectures he received, respecting his con. duet in governing the empire, was from Plutarch, the philosopher, who had the honour of being his master. Upon his arrival at Rome, he is said to have written him a letter to the following purpose : « Since your merit, and not your im
« portunities, have advanced you to the empire, permit me “ to congratulate your virtues, and my own good fortune. « If your future government prove answerable to your for“mer worth, I shall be happy. But if you become worse “ for power, yours will be the danger, and mine the igno
conduct. The errors of the pupil will be charged upon his instructor. Seneca is reproached for the « enormities of Nero; and Socrates and Quintilian have « not escaped censure for the misconduct of their respective “ scholars. But you have it in your power to make me the « most honoured of men by continuing what you are.
Go on to command your passions ; and make virtue the scope “ of all your actions. If you follow these instructions, then << will I glory in having presumed to give them; if you neg“ lect what I offer, then will this letter be my testimony, that. “ you have not erred through the counsel and authority of « Plutarch."
It would be tedious and unnecessary to enter into a detail of this good monarch's labours for the state.
His application to business, his moderation to his enemies, his modefty in exaltation, his liberality to the deserving, and his frugality in his own expences, have been the subject of panegyric amcng his contemporaries, and continue to be the admiration of posterity.
Upon giving the prefect of the prætorian bands the sword; according to custom, he made ule of this remarkable expression: « Take this sword, and use it; if I have merit,
for me; if otherwise. against me.” After which he added, “ That he who gave laws was the first who was bound to observe them.”
How highly he was esteemed by his subjects; appears from their manner of congratulating his succeffors, upon their accession to the government.
« We wish you,” said they, " the fortune of Augustus, and the goodness of Trajan." He died in the fixty-third year of his age, after a reign of nineteen years, fix months, and fifteen days.
The Roman empire was never lo large, nor so formidable to the rest of the world, as when he left it. And yet its strength was much impaired; for being spread over so great an extent of territory, it wanted the invigorating principle of patriotism among its subjects, to inspire them in its defence. Its bulk, therefore, seemed rather a symptom of its disease than its vigour.
The successor of Trajan was Adrian, his nephew, under whom the government Aourished in peace A.D. 117. and prosperity. He was one of the most remarkable of the Roman emperors for the variety of his endowments.
Reign of Adrian. He composed with great beauty, both in prose and verse s he pleaded at the bar, and was one of the best orators of his time. He was deeply versed in the mathematics, and no less skilful in phyfic. In drawing and painting, he was equal to the greatest masters. He was an excellent musician, and sung to admiration. Besides these qualifications, he had an astonishing memory. He knew the names of all his foldiers, though never so long absent. He could dictate to one, confer with another, and write himself, all at the same time.
His moderation and clemency appeared, by pardoning the injuries which he had received, when he was a private man. One day meeting a person, who had formerly been his most inveterate enemy, “ My good friend,” said he, “ you have “ escaped, for I am made emperor."
It was one of his maxims, that an emperor ought to imitate the sun, which diffuses warmth and vigour over all parts of the earth. He, therefore, prepared to visit his whole empire. Having taken with him a splendid court, and a confiderable force, he entered the province of Gaul, where he numbered all the inhabitants. From Gaul he went into Germany, from thence to Holland, and then passed over into Britain. There he reformed many abufes, and reconciled the natives to the Romans. For the better security of the northern parts of the kingdom, he built a wall of wood and earth, extending from the river Eden, in Cumberland, to the Tyne, in Northumberland, in order to prevent the incursions of the Picts, and other northern nations. After travelling into Greece, he passed over into Asia Minor, from whence he directed his course into Syria. He then entered Palestine, Arabia, and Egypt, where he caused Pompey's tomb, which had been long neglected, and almost covered with sand, to be repaired and beautified.
He refided in Africa for some time, and erected many magnificent buildings. Among the rest, he ordered Carthage to be rebuilt; calling it, after his own name, Adrianople.
Adrian, having spent thirteen years in travelling through his dominions, refolved, at length, to return and end all his fatigues at home. There he amused himself in conversing with philosophers, and the most celebrated men in every art and science; who did not fail to grant him that superiority he seemed so eagerly to affect. Favorinus, a man of great reputation at court for philosophy, happening one day to dispute with him upon some philosophical subject, acknowledged himfelf to be overcome. His friends blamed him for thus giving up the argument, when he might easily have pursued it with succeks: “ What,” replied Favorinus,
« would you have me contend with a man, who is master of
thirty legions ?”
Adrían, tinding the duties of his station daily increasing, and his own strength proportionally decreasing, resolved upon adopting a successor, whose merits might deserve, and whose courage would secure, his exaltation. After many deliberations, he made choice of Lucius Commodus, whose bodily infirmitics rendered him unfit for a trust of such inportance. Of this, after some time, Adrian feemed sensible, declaring, that he repented of having chosen fo feeble a successor ; and saying, That he had leaned against a mouldering wall. However, Commodus soon after dying, the Emperor immediately adopted Titus Antoninus, afterwards surnamed the Pious; but previously obliged him to adopt two others, namely, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, all of whom afterwards fucceeded to the empire.
In his last illness, he could not be prevailed upon to observe any regimen, often saying, “ That kings died merely by the " multitude of their physicians.” It was probably joy at the approach of death, which dictated the celebrated stanzas, so well known, in repeating which he expired:
Animula vagula blandula,
« Oh fleeting spirit, wandering fire,
“ That long has warm’d my tender breast,
“ No more a plçafing chearful guest?
" To what dark, undiscovered more »
« And wit and humour are no more.
Epi&tetus the philosopher, Plutarchos Suetonius, Florus, Arai rian, and Philo fourished at this period.
Antoninas Pius.--Marcus Aurnlius, otherwise called Antoninus
the Philofopher. His excellent Government.-His Army relieved by the Prayers of a Christian Legion.His Philosophical Maxims.--His Death.
DRIAN, after a prosperous reign of twenty-one years,
relius Antoninus, an amiable as well as a good A.D. 133. man. His morals were so pure, that he was usu
ally compared to Numa, and was surnamed the Pious both for his tenderness to his predecessor, Adrian, when dying, and his particular attachment to the religion of his country.
When any of his subjects attempted to inflame him with a passion for military glory, he would answer, “ That he « more desired the preservation of one subject, than the de“flruction of a thousand enemies.”
Before his death, he ordered his friends and principal officers to attend him, when he confirmed the adoption of Marcus Aurelius, without once naming Lucius Verus, who had been joined by Adrian with him in the fucceffion.
His funeral oration was pronounced as usual, by his adopted son, Alarcus Aurelius; who, though left successor to the throne, took Lucius Verus as his associate and equal,
in governing the state. Thus Rome, for the first A. D. 161. time, saw ittelf governed by two sovereigns of
equal power, but of very different merit and pretensions. Aurelius was as remarkable for his virtues and accomplishments, as his partner in the empire was for his ungovernable pailions and diffipated morals. The one was an example of the greatest goodness and wisdom; the other of ignorance, sloth, and travagance,
The irregular life of Verus foon destroyed an excellent conftitution; and, on a journey from Aquileia to Rome, he was seized with an apoplexy which put an end to bis life, in the thirty-ninth year of his age, and after having reigned nine years in conjunction with Aurelius.
The Marcomanni, Quadi, Sarmatians, Vandals, and other barbarous nations, having commenced hoftilities, with unusual rage and devastation, Aurelius crossed the Danube by the bridge of boats. He then attacked the enemy, gained feveral advantages, burnt their houses and magazines of corn,