FROM A. D. 211 to 217.

From A. D.


From A. D.




Biography. It has been already mentioned, that the original name Soldiers with the view of inducing them to declare for Marcus

of this Emperor was Bassianus, derived from his him alone, and to set aside his brother. But the Troops, Aurelius maternal grandfather, who was Priest of Apollo, in a attached to the memory of Severus, and respecting his Antoninus city of Phænicia. When Severus had ascended the will in the destination of the Empire, rejected the prof

Caracalla. 21. Throne, and resolved to perpetuate the Crown in his fered bribes; looking upon themselves as the proper

family, he made his eldest son relinquish an appellation guardians of the two Princes, to whom they owed an 217. which denoted the humble, and even obscure, lineage equal allegiance and affection. Geta tried other arts

211. of Caracalla

from which he drew his blood, and assume the noble to supplant his more boisterous colleague. He had and of Geta, and respected names of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, recourse to smooth speeches and plausible professions; 217.

which were associated in the mind of every Roman and as he was naturally of a mild and, apparently, an
with the happiness and glory of the Empire. It was from open disposition, he did not fail to secure a great
the fancy which the young Prince manifested for a parti- number of partisans. He inherited his father's taste
cular robe of Gaulish manufacture that the cognomen for Learning, promoted the study of the liberal
arose by which he is most commonly known in History. Sciences, and in all his amusements encouraged only
He not only used it himself, but recominended it to the such exercises as became a man of rank and refinement.
Soldiers, and even distributed it among the inhabitants Caracalla, on the other hand, was harsh and brutal,
of Rome; whence, as the national name of the gown extremely passionate, and always more desirous to be
in question was Caracalla, the wit or contempt of the feared than to be loved. He affected the airs of a rough
Capital designated the young Monarch by a reference soldier; and while others praised the pursuits of Art
to his favourite dress. A similar proof of his frivolous or of Literature, he thundered out his approbation of
disposition drew upon him the nickname of Tarantus, war and arms.
which was borrowed from a famous Gladiator, whose In a case where interests and dispositions were so The Princes
reputation the heir of Severus valued more highly than diametrically opposed, it was in vain to expect the propose to
the renown of all his father's victories in the East and restoration of harmony. All the efforts of Julia proved divide the
in the West.*

unavailing; her entreaties and her tears were despised; Empire. Their dis

The late Emperor continued to cherish the ground and she at length began to perceive that the enmity less hope that his two sons, whom he invested with an which embroiled the Palace and divided the Army, equal and joint authority, would administer the Govern- could not be extinguished but by the death or distant ment with mutual affection, and a due regard to the separation of the two brothers. It is, therefore, surprisinterests of the Commonwealth; a proof that his ing that she should have opposed herself to the only natural acuteness failed him in the most important con- expedient which could have removed her apprehensions cern of his whole life, or that his partiality for two very respecting the fate of her sons. Fatigued with their unpromising youths had more weight in his decision incessant quarrels, the young men themselves proposed than the peace and prosperity of half the globe. Such a to divide the Empire, and to establish their Thrones in divided rule, it has been well observed, would probably different seats of Government. Geta declared that he have proved a source of discord between the kindest bro- would be satisfied with Egypt and the Asiatic Provinces, thers : it was therefore impossible that it could long sub- and would fix his residence at Alexandria or Antioch. sist between two implacable enemies, who had no desire The Propontis, a natural boundary between the East to accomplish either a reconciliation or even a compro- and the West, was to have fixed the limits of their mise. Both seemed to be impressed with the conviction respective dominions, while garrisons at Byzantium and that only one could reign, and that the other must fall; Chalcedon would have been charged with the duty of and each of them, judging of his rival's designs by the preventing all such communication as might have sentiments which filled his own breast, thought it neces- endangered the repose of either Country. sary to guard his life with the most unremitting vigilance. But the dismemberment of the Roman Empire was Prevented Herodian tells us, that during their journey from Britain opposed not only by Julia, who compared it to the dis- by Julia. to Rome, they neither lodged in the same house nor section of her own body, but it was likewise deprecated eat at the same table; and that when they arrived in by the chief persons in the Commonwealth, who forethe Capital, they divided between them the Imperial saw, in its division, the seeds of weakness and mutual Palace, shutting up all communications which might distrust. Disappointed in this project, which the connect their several apartments, and placing Guards feelings of his subjects were not prepared to adopt, at their doors, as if the City had been threatened by an Caracalla resolved to rid himself of his colleague by invading Army.

means less scrupulous. He solicited an interview with Caracalla, even before the obsequies of his father his brother in the chamber of their common parent; were duly performed, wrought upon the avarice of the where, by the hands of assassins, whom he had con- Geta is

cealed for the purpose, he put him to death, notwith- murdered. *Spartian. in Caracall.c. 9. Herodian. lib. ix. Dion Cassius, standing the shrieks and struggles of the Empress, who Epilom. p. 344.

had clasped her unfortunate child in her arms. She


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A. D.


A. D.


Biography. even received a wound in her endeavours to prevent the Geta, posterity has cast a veil over bis vices. That Marcus

murder ; but the bodily pain which she endured was young Prince has been considered as the innocent vic- Aurelius From

Antoninus nothing, in her estimation, compared to the anguish tim of his brother's ambition, without a recollection that

Caracalla. inflicted upon her maternal sensibility, by an order from he himself wanted power rather than inclination to 211. the brutal survivor to suppress every token of grief, and consummate a crime similar to that by which he was

From to conceal from the world that she was aware of the destroyed.* 217.

melancholy catastrophe which had just polluted and The subsequent conduct of Caracalla is marked by 211. alarmed the Palace of the Cæsars. *

so many features of extravagance, that it is impossible Caracalla This compulsory dissimulation on the part of Julia to account for it without the supposition of occasional 217. gains the was necessary to accomplish the object which Caracalla insanity. His conscience appears to have been haunted ExtravaPrætorians. had yet in view. Geta, he knew well, possessed a by the most frightful phantoms; and he confessed that gance and firm hold upon the affections of the Ariny: on which he often saw the indignant shades of his father and cruelty of

. account he determined to have recourse to strata- brother pursuing him with angry looks, and threatening gem, in order to divert their resentment until he him with the severest punishment for his cruelty and should have an opportunity of addressing himself with disobedience. His remorse for the murder of Geta flattery and an extraordinary largess to their vanity and frequently melted him to tears; and while the fit of avarice. Rushing out of his mother's apartment with compunction was him, he was wont to issue orders an air of assumed terror, he exclaimed, that he had to put to immediate death certain of the individuals just escaped from the most imminent danger, and had who had been concerned in that atrocious deed. with difficulty saved his life. Summoning his Guards Lætus, who is understood to have approved his deterto attend him, he proceeded to the Camp of the Præ- mination to reign alone, was among the first who fell torians, where he returned thanks to the Gods for his victims to his repentance. But, with the inconsistency miraculous escape, and entreated the wondering Soldiers of a madman and a tyrant, he embrued his hands deeply to join with him in offering up sacrifice to Heaven for in the blood of those who were known to have been the continued preservation of the Empire. He inti- attached to Geta. Dion Cassius relates, that about mated, indeed, that his brother had not been as for- twenty thousand persons, against whom no other charge tunate as himself; but congratulated them that one could be brought than that they had been friends or Emperor still lived, ready to promote their interest and dependents of the Emperor's brother, were condemned increase their coinforts. He promised them a donative to death in some one of the various forms in which it of ten thousand sesterces a man, doubled their daily pleased Caracalla to inflict it. In this miserable proallowance of provisions, and professed that the pleasure scription were included all who had served the Prince, of his whole life would be to live amongst them, and in a public or in a private capacity; his Guards, his his greatest honour to die in their ranks.fi

Freedmen, his Counsellors, the Officers whom he had The Senate The mercenary Prætorians could not resist such promoted, and the Commanders whom he had emlistens to arguments as these.

After passing a night in the ployed. Virtue could not protect, nor could obscurity his defence. Camp, which he pretended to regard as the only conceal the victims; and both sexes were equally

place of safety, the Emperor convoked the Senate, exposed to the fatal resentment of the unfeeling and
to whom he delivered a speech, full of deceit and capricious despot.t
prevarication, relative to the event which had spread Among the thousands whose unmerited fate signa- Death of
among the Citizens so much fear and sorrow. He lized this reign of terror, a conspicuous place has been Papinianus.
complained that his brother had laid snares to take assigned by Historians to Papinianus, whose death was
away his life; and, accordingly, represented the death lannented as a public calamity. During the latter years
of Geta as an act of self-defence which could not of Severus, this distinguished person exercised some
be avoided, inasmuch as he was compelled to choose of the most important offices of the State, and by his
the painful alternative of removing a rival by vio- judicious advice kept the tenour of Government within
lent means, or of falling himself a victim to a similar the limits of justice and moderation. Relying upon
resolution.. His auditors were far from being satisfied his virtues and ability, the Emperor, when on his death-
either with his motives or his reasoning; but having, bed, entreated him to continue his services for the
perhaps, anticipated such a result, and being sensible welfare of the Commonwealth, and for the benefit of
that the Government could not have been conducted the Imperial Family. But Caracalla endured with im-
advantageously by two Princes whose sole study it was patience the influence of a character which controlled
to oppose each other's views, they listened to the state- his own, and seemed more disposed, in all matters of

ment of Caracalla without any expression of impatience public interest, to lead than to follow. In truth, the Apotheosis or of disapprobation. It was suggested to him, how- more assiduously Papinianus laboured for the good of of Geta. ever, that in order to soothe the feelings of the People, the community, the more did he become an object of

and to atone, in some measure, for the crime to which hatred to the jealous spirit of his master.
Political necessity had urged him, he should honour the deprived of the important office of Prætorian Præfect,
memory of his brother with the usual apotheosis con- and divested of all military rank and authority. But
ferred upon deceased members of the Imperial Family as he was not less eminent as an orator and a constitu-
The consent of this unworthy son of Severus was cha- tional lawyer than he was at the head of an Army, the
racteristic of his fierce and contemptuous disposition. Emperor applied to him immediately after the assassi-
“Let him be a God,” he exclaimed, “provided he does nation of Geta, to compose such a defence or apology
not come alive again!" In pity to the misfortunes of for that nefarious deed as he might pronounce before

He was

Herodian. lib. iii. Dion Cassius. Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 345.
Spartian. in Get. p. 5, 6.

+ Dion Cassius, Epitom. p. 352. Herodian, lib. iv.

* Spartian. in Get. p. 6, 7.

+ Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 352. Herodian. lib, iv, Spartian in Caracall. 4; in Geta, 6

A. D.


A. D.


[ocr errors]

War on the

Biography. the Senate. The generous Roman made answer, that he took away the life of his own cousin, because Marcus

it was much more easy to commit a murder than to his name was Severus. In this instance, indeed, Aurelius From justify it; and that to assail the memory of the mur- he added the most contemptible duplicity to his in


Caracalla, dered person, was nothing better than to commit the humanity. He sent to him a dish from the Imperial 211 crime a second time. Such freedom could not be par- table as a mark of his respect and friendship, and next

From 217.

doned at the Court of Caracalla. The wrath which he morning gave orders for his immediate death. Pertinax,
had excited was only to be appeased with his blood ; a son of the Emperor of the same name, owed his 211.
and, accordingly, a short time afterwards, the intrepid destruction to an ill-timed joke. Being in the Senate-
Commander was put to death, together with his son, house on one occasion when the Prætor rehearsed the

who had risen to the rank of Quæstor, and who could be titles which Caracalla had been pleased to assume, and
charged with no other offence but that of imitating his hearing the epithets of Sarmaticus and Parthicus, with
father's virtues. *

others denoting foreign conquest, annexed to the ImIndignity Not being able on all occasions to carry with him perial designation, he suggested that they should add inficted on the concurrence even of the brutal Soldiery who exe- the more striking honour of Geticus; an expression

cuted his commands, the Emperor found it necessary to which was at once applicable to the Gete, a people
cover his cruel intentions with the most consummate with whom the Romans had been at war, and to the
hypocrisy. For example, although he had resolved on unfortunate youth who had recently shared the Empire.
the death of Fabius Cilo, he was compelled by popular Pertinax, who was at no time a favourite, paid for this
indignation to relinquish his intentions, and even to witticism with the loss of his head. *
applaud the excellence which he had wished to remove Fortunately for Rome, her inhuman master was at The Em-
from his sight. Cilo had been one of the dearest length seized with the desire of martial renown, and peror leaves
friends of Severus; had served twice as Consul ; and resolved to conduct the Legions in person against the Bomers in

engages ia
having been appointed to superintend the education of Barbarians beyond the Rhine. The occurrences of the
the two Princes, Caracalla affected to honour him as a war which ensued are very obscurely related ; but it Rhine.
second father. For these reasons, though he hated him admits not of doubt, that, by means of the most
as a monitor who had often reproved his vices, and abominable treachery, he succeeded in perpetrating an
blamed his conduct towards his brother, he could not extensive massacre among the Alemanni; a valiant
openly give orders to put him to death. But a party Tribe, whom he himself acknowledged he could not
of his devoted Prætorians, who were no strangers to otherwise subdue. Another horde, to whom Dion
his wishes, determined, by anticipating his commands, Cassius gives the name of Catti, admonished, perhaps,
to earn a claim upon his liberality. Stimulated, as it by the fate of their neighbours, defended themselves
were, by voluntary zeal in behalf of their Chief, they with so much bravery that Caracalla was glad to pur-
seized Cilo while in the bath, plundered his house, and chase, with a large sum of money, permission to re-
dragged him, with the utmost violence, through the treat. Defeated by the men, he took revenge upon
streets, towards the residence of the Emperor. The some females who had fallen into his hands, and who,
sight of such indignity inflicted on so good a man, though they preferred death to servitude, were all sold
roused the inhabitants to sedition. The City Cohorts, for slaves. He reaped no other fruit from his Ger-
in particular, whom he had commanded, assumed in man expedition than the contempt of the natives, who
his defence an air of so much determination, that Cara- plainly saw, through all his pompous boastings, the
calla found it expedient to leave the Palace in order to cowardice and perfidy of his real character. The
calm the tumult, and protect his venerable tutor. He Barbarians still more remote, encouraged by his im-
threw his own robe round the naked body of Cilo, becility, menaced him with war; finding that, though
commanded the soldiers to desist from their meditated he threatened them with utter extermination, he did not
crime, and directed that they should be punished with disdain to solicit their forbearance, and even to bribe
death for proceeding so far without his authority. The them into peace.f
Prætorians met their doom, says a native Annalist, not From the banks of the Rhine, Caracalla pursued his Proceeds to
because they had assaulted the ancient friend of warlike career to the borders of the Danube ; where he the Danube,
Severus, but because they did not despatch him when provoked the enmity of the Goths, whose manners and
he was in their power.f

arms were at that time new to the Romans, and received Minor. C-ber The reader of History cannot fail to regret, that the hostages from the Dacians, who wished to avoid hoseruelties of records of the Roman Empire, for the period now

tilities. Passing through Thrace, he arrived at the under our consideration, are so closely connected with shores of the Hellespont; after which he sailed for Asia the personal character of its rulers; or rather, indeed, Minor, with the view of visiting Troy, and of doing that the events which stand inost prominently forward honour to the heroes who had perished under its walls. may be identified with the caprice, the extravagance, He erected a statue to Achilles, and offered up libations and the cruelty of the Sovereign. But as such details upon his tomb. Smitten with disease, both in body are neither agreeable nor instructive, we shall not enter and mind, he repaired to Pergamos, where there was a into them with the minute diligence of Spartianus and magnificent Temple of Æsculapius, celebrated for the Dion Cassius. It cannot be interesting to any one

wonderful cures performed in it by the influence of that to know that Caracalla condemned to death an aged God. The effects of dissipation, and the disorders of lady, sister of Commodus and daughter of Marcus an intellect which had never been well balanced, were Aurelius, merely because she mixed her tears with ascribed to the incantations of the Germans, who, as those of the Empress Julia upon the murder of his flatterers insinuated, being unable to oppose

him Geta. Nor can it be more gratifying to learn, that in the field of battle, had sought their revenge in magic

and passes

into Asia


Spartian. in Caracall. c. 5. Dion Cassius, Epitom. lib. lxxvii.
Spartian, in Caracall. c. 3, 4; in Sever. c. 21; in Get. c. 6,

* Spartian. in Caracall. c. 10.
† Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 353. Herodian. lib. iv.


A. D.


A. D.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Biography. and witchcraft. From the evils under which he la- of that facetious People ; who, finding that he aspired Marcus

boured, the Emperor found no permanent relief in the to the fame of Achilles in respect of strength and Aurelius From

Autoninus professional fame of Æsculapius, nor even in the more beauty, and to the renown of Alexander the Great as a

Caracalla. powerful aid of Apollo and of Serapis ; the Gods, says conqueror, could not repress their merriment when they 211. Dion Cassius, being less pleased with his offerings, saw in Caracalla a deformed figure of very


From 217.

costly as they might be, than they were incensed at his stature, and learned that his courage had never been
criminal conduct and impious designs.

shown, except in the murder of his friends and relatives. 211. Prepares to During a winter spent at Nicomedia, he made great Their unseasonable wit sought vent even in the invade the

preparations for invading the Parthians and Armenians, theatres and public places. Eteocles and Polynices 217. Parthians.

who, it was acknowledged, had given him no provoca- were produced as types of Caracalla and Geta; and
tion, and were even averse to war. The former People Julia, the mother of these last, was alluded to under the
had recently lost their King, and were exposed at that name of Jocasta.
moment to all the disadvantages which attend a dis- But they soon discovered reason to repent the li- Visits that
puted succession. The Crown was claimed by two berties which they had taken with the ferocious Ty- city.
brothers, one of whom, Artabanes, obtained the as- rant. He announced his intention of repeating his
cendency; and being unwilling to hazard his acquisition visit, that he might at more leisure examine their works
in a doubtful war with the Roma he complied with of Art, and do honour to the genius and patriotic views
the conditions prescribed by Caracalla, and was allowed of their immortal founders. Forgetting the ground of
to occupy the Throne of his father as a vassal of the offence which they had given him, or hoping that it
great Western Empire.

had altogether passed away from his mind, they made Treachery The advantage which Caracalla thus took of the cir- preparations to receive him with the utmost joy and to the

cumstances in which the Parthian Prince found himself magnificence. Concerts of music, illuminations, perKings of Edessa and

involved, might, perhaps, be justified by the example of fumes, garlands of flowers, and crowns of gold, were Armenia. better men, and might find an apology in the motives lavished with profusion. The sullen, vindictive Monarch

upon which Sovereigns too frequently go to war. But appeared to receive these tokens of loyalty with entire
his conduct towards the Kings of Edessa and Armenia satisfaction. He went first to the Temple of Serapis,
admits not of excuse on any principle recognised among where he sacrificed whole hecatombs, and burnt a pro-
civilized nations. He invited the former, whose name digious quantity of incense upon the altar. He next
was Abgarus, to meet him at Antioch, to consult on repaired to the Tomb of Alexander, where he made an
matters connected with their common interest; and as offering still more costly, and not less flattering to the
soon as he had him in his power he loaded him with vanity of those who witnessed it. He pulled off his
chains, and seized upon his territory. In a similar Imperial robe, which was composed of the richest
manner he entrapped the Armenian King, who, with his materials, his belt, which was covered with precious
two sons, was detained as a prisoner while a body of stones, and all the rings which were upon his fingers ;
troops was sent to take possession of his land. But the and placing them on the coffin, or urn, which contained
people of that Country, more numerous and warlike than the ashes of the hero, devoted them to the memory of
the subjects of Abgarus, flew to arms in order to defend the greatest Warrior that any Age had produced, and
their property, and to avenge the injuries inflicted upon whom he of all Commanders admired the most.*
their Monarch. In a battle which soon followed, they The scene which followed was truly horrible, but as Massacre of
repulsed, with great slaughter, the Roman Army which Dion Cassius and Herodian differ materially in the the inhabi-
Caracalla had despatched against them, and compelled details, there is ground to suspect that the narrative
his feeble General to fall back upon Syria with the has been much exaggerated. According to the latter,
remainder of his broken and dispirited forces.

Caracalla pretended a desire to form an Alexandrian Boasts of Though the perfidy of the Emperor recoiled upon his phalanx, after the model of the famous Macedonian his dupli- own head, and involved him in disgrace which could Body; and in pursuance of this object, he assembled city.

not have occurred in an open and honourable war, he all the young men of the city in a plain adjoining to
nevertheless took credit to himself for unbounded the walls, where he surrounded them with his troops,
success and the most manly exploits. In a Letter to and put them all to death. Dion Cassius makes no
the Senate, he boasted of his triumph in having recon- mention of this atrocious slaughter, but merely relates
quered the East, and of his personal exertions in defying that the Emperor first murdered the most eminent of
the effects of climate, and the obstacles of seas and the citizens, who had waited upon him on his arrival,
mountains ; reproaching, at the same time, the Members and whom he had invited to his table; that the
of that illustrious Council with their effeminacy and Soldiers afterwards spread themselves all over the city,
idleness, so unworthy of Romans, and of the glory and killed without distinction every person whom they
which continued to follow their arms. It was perfectly found, of whatever age or sex; and that the massacre
well known, meanwhile, that the author of this boastful was so extensive that even Caracalla thought it neces-
Epistle never saw an enemy in the field, but that, while sary to conceal or diminish the number of the slain. It
his Lieutenants were ravaging one district, or retreating is said that he feasted his eyes with the sight from the
with shame from another, he was wallowing in the summit of the Temple of Serapis, whence, from time
luxuries of Antioch, or seeking remedies for his bodily to time, he sent orders to the Tribunes to increase the

activity of the assassins. It was on this occasion, if Caracalla is The cruelty and deceit with which he treated foreign Herodian is to be believed, that he consecrated to incensed at Princes, were in a short time surpassed by the bar- Serapis the dagger with which he had murdered his the people

barities which he exercised upon the Citizens of Alex- brother.t of Alexandria. andria. His person and pretensions excited the ridicule

* Spartian. in Caracall. c. 6. Herodian. lib. iv.

of Herodian. lib. iv. Spartian. in. Caracall. c. 6. Dion Cassius, * Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 354.



A. D.


A. D.



the Par

thian war.


Biography. Resuming the intention of an Eastern campaign, he was unprovided by nature with those qualities which Marcus

returned into Syria ; but as he was at peace with all are necessary to form a successful Commander, he Aurelius Prom the nations which bordered on the Roman Province, it thirsted for military reputation with so strong an appe- Caracalla.

was necessary to create a pretext for a quarrel before he tite, as to place the main study and pleasure of his life 211.

could march' his Army into their country. With that in the aggrandisement of the Soldiery, whom he was From

view, he demanded in marriage a daughter of the King pleased to regard as the instruments of his fame. The 217,

of Parthia, in the hope that she would be refused, and desire which he manifested to be thought like Alexander 211. into Syria, thereby justify an appeal to arms, or in the prospect, if the Great, and to rival the exploits of that celebrated and renews his request were granted, of having a right to dictate conqueror, led him into a thousand absurdities. It 217.

in all affairs of Government. Herodian states, that was not enough for him to form a Macedonian phalanx
though the projected marriage was contrary to the of sixteen thousand men, all natives of Greece, and to
established customs of the Romans as well as to those appoint Officers with names corresponding to those of
of the Parthians, Artabanes, after considerable hesita- the Generals who served under the son of Philip. He
tion, at length agreed to it. But the authority of Dion; was not satisfied with copying the dress, the armour,
in this instance, seems entitled to greater confidence. and the gait of his favourite warrior, and with erecting
He assures us that the Parthian King, seeing through to him innumerable statues in all parts of the Empire.
the unjust and ambitious designs of Caracalla, resolutely He thought it, moreover, incumbent upon him to per- His foolish
declined to sanction an alliance the consequence of secute the Peripatetic School of Philosophy wherever a imitation of
which, he predicted, could not fail to prove both fatal single Member of it could be found, merely because


the Great.
and disgraceful to his subjects. The Legions were rumour had reached his ears that Aristotle was privy
therefore pushed forward into Mesopotamia without to the death of Alexander. The accusation itself is
loss of time, and finding the low country of Parthia admitted to have been an arrant calumny: but Cara-
quite unprotected, they carried devastation over the calla thought otherwise ; and in consequence of this
greater part of it, plundering the cities, and destroying notion, he not only gave orders that all the Works of
every monument of art and of independence. In the that great Philosopher should be burnt; he farther
neighbourhood of the Capital, the Emperor observed insisted that every individual who was known to hold
some Royal Sepulchrcs, which he caused to be thrown his opinions should be made responsible for the crime
open, and gratified his paltry resentment by scattering with which his memory is charged, and accordingly he
to the wind the dust of several generations of the issued instructions that the annual payments, and other

advantages, bestowed upon the Museum at Alexandria,
The King of Parthia had retreated beyond the wherein the doctrines of the Stagyrite were inculcated,
Tigris, and taken possession of a line of strong posts, should be forthwith discontinued.
whereon he resolved to collect the military forces of his Mistaking the real points of excellence in the cha-
Country, and to descend thence, like a storm, upon the racter which he was so desirous to imitate, he professed
Romans in the following Spring. Meanwhile, Caracalla to take a great delight in military exercises which he
fell back upon Edessa, a town in Syria, to spend the did not understand ; he dressed and armed himself
winter in the voluptuous living peculiar to the Orientals, like the meanest of the Soldiers, mixed with them in
to write magnificent Letters to the Senate descriptive of their labours, and shared with them the same food;
his victories, and to prepare his Troops for a renewal of but as he chose for these manifestations of his zeal the

their conquests. But the career of his boasting and time of profound peace, or the security of a summer Is usassic folly was now near an end. The author of his death encampment, his bustling activity had no other effect

was Macrinus, one of the Prætorian Præfects, whose than that of exciting derision. Herodian adds, that he Martialis. hatred he had provoked by many contumelies, and sometimes ground with his own hands the corn which

whose aspiring disposition had alarmed his jealousy. was selected to make his bread, then kneaded the doughi, This Commander, aware of the danger with which he baked it, and eat the fruit of his own toil. He condewas surrounded, resolved to anticipate the designs of scended, on other occasions, to act the part of an Ensign, his suspicious master; for which purpose he applied and carry on his shoulders the heaviest standards of the to Martialis, an Officer of the Guard, who had various Legions. In a word, he thought himself an Alexander reasons to be dissatisfied with Caracalla, and incited merely because he did the duty of a common soldier, him, by the strongest motives of hope and of fear, to by working in the trenches; and imagined that he revenge his wrongs on the body of the tyrant. During could revive in his Army the Spartan discipline, by a march, accordingly, which the latter, attended by a tasting once or twice of coarse food, and by descending detachment of the Prætorians, undertook to Carrhæ, from the necessary dignity of his high station. where he meant to offer up a sacrifice in the Temple of Another bad consequence arising from his military His con. the Moon, Martialis, seizing an opportunity when the affectation, appeared in a marked contempt for Learning, tempt of Emperor was quite alone, stabbed him with a poniard. and for all men of Letters. The peaceful pursuits of learning. The assassin was himself almost instantly put to death the Student, and the abstract researches of the Philoby a Scythian bowman belonging to the Imperial Guard, sopher, were regarded by him as an avowed dereliction but not before he had the satisfaction of knowing that of manhood; and on no occasion was he more dehis personal enemy had breathed his last.*

lighted than when an opportunity occurred for expresUnworthy and contemptible as Caracalla was, his sing his deep and utter aversion from all the vozed by loss was nevertheless deeply regretted by a large por- taries of the Muses. He endeavoured to forget that Be Army. tion of the Army. The Prætorians, already increased he had ever heard the name of one of the Sciences,

in number from ten to fifty thousand, bewailed in him a The Games of the Circus and the fights of wild beasts constant benefactor ; for although the son of Severus were his favourite studies; and he boasted that in one

day, after taking a share in other combats, he had killed Diou Cassius, Epitom. p. 359. Spartian, in Caracall. c. 6, 7. a hundred boars with his own hand.

mated by

Es death

« ElőzőTovább »