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Biography. To such a person the patience and self-command ancient and in modern times. We allude to the decree
Marcus necessary for the administration of justice must have by which he threw open the rights and privileges of Aurelius From
been extremely irksome. We find, accordingly, from Roman Citizens to all the inhabitants of the Empire. Caracalla.
Dion Cassius, that he avoided as much as possible this The pride of the Commonwealth had long restricted 211.
important part of his duty, and never, indeed, engaged this honour to the native subjects of the original State, From
in it but with reluctance and disgust. This Historian, and it was not granted to the rest of Italy until after 217.
who was Præfect of the City, and hence officially bound the struggle of a long and bloody war. The first Em- 211. Neglect of his Civil
to assist the Emperor in his decisions, tells us, that perors, Augustus and Tiberius, were equally sparing of duties. Caracalla frequently sent notice to the Judges that he this envied distinction; and it was not until the weak 217.
would be ready to hear causes, or hold a Council, early and mercenary reign of Claudius had raised the Pro-
invested with the robes and the power which had Affectation Did not the history of Human Nature abound with awakened the ambition of Julius Cæsar and of Cneius of zeal for similar examples, we should be surprised to learn that Pompeius. Still there was a certain distinction beMorality
Caracalla, amid his rank debaucheries, affected a great tween Citizen and Subject even in the Colonies, till it
zeal for purity of morals. He punished adultery with was abolished by a solemn edict issued by Caracalla;
wish to mortify the inhabitants of the Capital, all deHis exten- The Government of Caracalla was rendered remark- scriptions of whom he most cordially hated, than to sion of the able by a measure, the Policy of which has been greatly enlarge the income of the State, which he knew how to privileges questioned by writers on Constitutional Law, both in improve by more compendious means. of Roman Citizens to all the subjects of the Empire.
MARCUS O PILIUS MACRINUS.
FROM A. D. 217 TO 218.
Biography. It has been already stated, that the death of Caracalla fanaticism, had announced, as the will of the Gods,
proceeded from the fears and ambition of Macrinus. that the Præfect just named and his eldest son were From
An African Soothsayer, impelled either by malice or by destined to reign over the Roman People. The preA. D.
diction created so much uneasiness in the Province, that 217
the Seer was immediately carried to Rome ; where he to * Damnuti sunt eo tempore qui urinam in eo loco fecerunt, in
was examined with the greatest care by those trusty 218. quo statuæ, aut imagines erani Principis : Damnati sunt et qui remedia quartanis tertianis que collo annera gestarent, Spartian, in
persons whom the Emperor had charged with the duty Caracall, c. 5.
of discovering the favoured individual whom the stars
Frona A. D. 217.
Biography. had fixed upon for his successor. A regular report of rating his son with the name and rank of Cæsar. Ma. Marcus
Opilius this singular investigation was forwarded to the Im- crinus, indeed, owed the accomplishment of his wishes to
Macrinus. From perial Court, then resident at Antioch ; but Caracalla the detestation with which every one not of the military being engaged in a chariot race when the messenger profession regarded the son of Severus. Even the
From 217. arrived, the packet was handed to Macrinus, who pre- Senators did not conceal their deep aversion to his
sided over the Civil department of State affairs. The memory. “We would have preferred any one,” said 217. 218.
intelligence with which he was thus supplied, acted they, “ to the parricide from whose hands we have just
neither Nature nor education had qualified him to fill. founder of their State, was hailed as the presage of His election Macrinus is greatly blamed by Dion Cassius for not returning liberty. Had not the fear imposed upon the
using the influence which belonged to his office, in Senate by the presence of a large military force checked
pointments. to attack them with a powerful army, quickened alienated to a greater extent the minds of the more their deliberations, and induced them to commit the reflecting among the Patricians, by the injudicious destiny of the Empire into the hands of the junior appointment of certain Magistrates. Desirous to be Præfect. *
freed from the society of his former colleague, the PræThe usages of Government required that the suffrages fect Adventus, he sent him to Rome, gave him a high of the Soldiers should be confirmed by the Senate. To office in the City, and even nominated him to the Conobtain this confirmation, Macrinus addressed a letter to sulship for the following year. This promotion was that illustrious assembly, in which he informed them of extremely disagreeable to the Public, for the Consul the two great events which had just taken place, and elect was not only arrived at a very
In conferring the rank of Cæsar upon Diadumenus, His son'
Cæsar by the tyranny of Caracalla, sanctioned, with loud accla- the Army, who, in the expectation of a more abundant
the name of
gestion was received with the loudest expression of joy:
Capitolin. in Macrin. c. 2. * Ibid. c. 5.
He appies to be Senate,
From A. D.
Biography. praises and vows were lavished upon the Emperor and finding that he had to negociate with a pusillanimous Marcus the youthful Cæsar; and the name of Antoninus upstart, rejected the proposed terms with disdain ; and Opilius
Macrinus. From Diadumenus was reechoed throughout the Camp. insisted that the Romans should, moreover, rebuild all
Macrinus was willing that the Senators and Roman the fortresses which they had destroyed in their repeated 217. People should, in like manner, share the happiness of invasions of his Country, and embellish the cities which
greeting another Prince by a name which they so much they had plundered of their ornaments and wealth. 218.
217. loved and admired. He therefore wrote to the former, He demande restitution of all the territory which giving notice of the auspicious event which had been had belonged to him in Mesopotamia, an equivalent 218. so enthusiastically celebrated by the Army; and pro- for all the losses which his subjects had sustained in mised to the latter a splendid donative, to welcome the that part of his Kingdom, together with an ample satisreturn of better days, and the restoration of justice, faction for the indignity which had been offered to the peace, and security, among all Orders of the Republic. sepulchres of his fathers.* The multitude, which gladly embraces every opportunity Desirous as Macrinus was of peace, he was not Concessions of amusement and hilarity, was easily impressed with allowed to accede to such disgraceful conditions in rejected, the joy which it was meant it should express; but order to obtain it. The two Armies met at Nisibis, where and war the Senate, displeased at finding its prerogative in- an engagement soon took place, in which the Romans
menced. vaded by the Soldiers, contented itself with announcing with difficulty kept their ground. A second action a sullen acquiescence in an arrangement which it had ensued, the result of which was again favourable to not been asked to promote, and which it could not have Artabanes. But as his Parthians never carried with
them any large store of provisions, and were in other His affected The higher Orders of the People had not forgotten respects unaccustomed to protracted or regular warfare,
the low extraction of their Emperor, which, unfortu- he was now more willing, though in fact a conqueror, bring him into con
nately for his own peace, he himself endeavoured to to listen to an accommodation than he was before he tempt.
forget. A haughty demeanour and an affected address drew the sword. He accepted from the Emperor two
zeal of others, he might have retained the affection of began to thicken round his character, ordered Feasts
provokes perhaps, that ever placed himself at the head of the their resent
ment. * Dion Cassius, Epitom. p. 362. Herodian. lib, y Capitolin, in Macrin. c. 6.
* Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 363. + Capitolin, in Macrin. c. 4.
+ Herodian. lib. v. Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 362.
Biography. Legions, would have found much difficulty in satis- the Throne. Soæmis was married to Varius Marcellus, Marcus fying the demands and repressing the extravagance of by whom, or by Caracalla, she had a son, who is Opilius
Macrinus. From such disorderly troops ; it is not wonderful, therefore, known to History by several names, but who subsethat Macrinus, whom they despised, should have failed quently rose to the head of the Roman world under the
From 217. of success. In his first attempts at reform he proceeded, appellation of Heliogabalus.* indeed, with much caution, and without directly alarm- The reader will remember that the father of Julia,
ing the jealousy of his mutinous Cohorts. To the men (the wife of Severus,) and consequently of Julia Mæsa,
esteemed an unnecessary hardship. The Soldiers, of communicating with one another supplied an oppor- who were accustomed to resort in great numbers to tunity for maturing the revolution upon which they had the Temple of the Sun, beheld with veneration and already fixed their thoughts. The veterans, instead of delight the rich vestments and the fine figure of the being flattered by the distinction which was made in young Pontiff; in whose countenance they imagined their favour, persuaded themselves that the concessions they could recognise the features of Caracalla, whose of the Emperor were extorted from him by fear; and that memory they were more than ever disposed to adore. he would unceremoniously revoke them as soon as he Mæsa, who was naturally ambitious and impatient Supposed to should find himself in a condition to quash their resist- of the private condition to which she had been forced be the son ance; and the young soldiers entered with reluctance to descend, no sooner perceived this favourable dispo
of Caracalla. into a service of which the labours were increased, while sition on the part of the Military, than she resolved to the rewards were greatly and systematically diminished. turn it to the best advantage. Regardless of the repuA few attempts to enforce discipline among the more tation of her daughter, she eagerly confirmed the conseditious bands which were scattered over Mesopotamia, jecture that Heliogabalus was indeed the son of Caracompleted the irritation of the Syrian Legions, and calla; and distributing her bounties with a liberal prepared them for the most desperate resolutions. hand, she silenced every objection which might have Seditious murmurs, from time to time, were heard in been raised to the alleged paternity of the youthful the Camp; the mutinous spirit which pervaded the Priest. She was greatly assisted in the execution of whole Army was with difficulty suppressed; and symp- her designs by Eutychianus and Gannys, the latter of toms were everywhere manifest of a rooted disaffection whom had been tutor to her grandson while resident at and contempt of authority, which, on the slightest occa
Rome and Antioch. These two individuals, whose dission, would infallibly burst out into a general rebellion positions inclined them to Political intrigue, practised against the unwarlike Monarch. As it was to be ex- upon the fidelity of the Troops so successfully, as to pected, troops so disposed soon found or created an prevail upon them to receive the young Prince into incident which afforded them an opportunity for realizing their camp during the night, and to proclaim him their all their views,*
Sovereign. At an appointed hour, Heliogabalus made
of women and Priests. The Empress Julia, whose calla used to wear in his youth. His resemblance to Hacrinus. powerful influence over a husband and a son had been
the son of Severus was thus rendered very striking ; experienced during two reigns, was compelled, upon
and being accompanied by a band of Soldiers who were the accession of the new Sovereign, to relinquish all
in his interest, he had no sooner presented himself at concern in Public affairs. But notwithstanding the the gate than it was opened for his reception, and he respectful civility expressed by the usurper to the widow was instantly saluted, amidst a thousand acclamations, of Severus, she descended with a painful struggle into by the name of Antoninus, and the title of Emperor.t, the condition of a Subject; and is said to have soon This step committed beyond retrieve the fidelity and Revolt in afterwards withdrawn herself from a state of anxious character of the Legions at Emesa. They accordingly his favour at dependence by a voluntary death. Her sister, Julia strengthened their fortifications, added to their stores, Mæsa, had experienced similar varieties of fortune. and made all other preparations for a regular siege. On the death of her nephew she was ordered to leave Macrinus, who did not at first allow himself to see the the Court, and even the city of Antioch, wherein it had evil in its full magnitude, sent against the rebels one been sometime held. She retired to Emesa with great of the Prætorian Præfects, Ulpius Julianus. This riches, accumulated during twenty years of Imperial Commander had in his little army a body of Moorish favour; for Macrinus, although he hated the whole auxiliaries, extremely attached to the Emperor, as house of Severus, did not disgrace himself by plunder their countryman, and quite devoted to his cause : ing the establishment of an unprotected female. As
and had he availed himself of the ardour with which the wife of Julius Avitus, she had two daughters, they assailed the camp of the insurgents, he might, it Soæmis and Mamæa; the latter of whom became the mother of Alexander Severus, who afterwards ascended
* Capitolin. in Macrin.c. 9. Dion Cassius, Sprtom. Xiphilin.p.363.
+ Dion Cassius, Epitom. Xiphilin. p. 364. Lamprid. in Heliogab, * Capitolin. in Macrin. c. 12.
c. 1, 2. Capitolin. in Macrin, ubi suprà.
From A. D.
Biography, was thought, have suppressed the rising before its Troops abandon his ranks, and pass over to the enemy. Marcus abettors could have gained additional strength from Terrified by this desertion, he set the example of a Opilius'
Macrinus. other quarters. But unwilling, perhaps, to originate precipitate retreat, which he did not attempt either
a Civil war and to shed the blood of Citizens, he to direct or to justify. The Prætorians, meanwhile, 217.
From had recourse to delay; until at length his men, shaken ignorant of the cowardly resolution adopted by their 218. in their fidelity, joined the party which they had been master, continued the battle some time after he was
217. commissioned to chastise, and concluded by assassina- gone; till at length the young Antoninus sent mesting their Officers, and by sending the head of Julianus sengers to inform them that they were fighting for no 218. to his irresolute master.
object, that their Prince had already provided for his Macrinus The defections from Macrinus, although numerous, own safety, and that the Sceptre of Rome had now prepares to still left to him a Body of troops upon which he could passed into another hand. The Guards, who had take the
sufficiently rely for restoring the balance of affairs. He sacrificed enough to honour, listened to the terms profield.
wrote to the Senate, and that Body, at his request, de- posed by the conqueror; and upon finding that their
The insurgent Army was commanded by Gannys, under the protection of Artabanes, the King of Parthia.
occasion to ask for a sum of money in the name of the A battle Macrinus, on the other hand, was well supported by Government. Hence he was carried back as far as ensues, in Officers of courage and experience. The Prætorians, Cappadocia, on his way to the Capital of Syria. Learnwhich he is too, who had just
been relieved from the more weighty ing in the district just named, that his son had been and cumbersome part of their armour, presented a for- intercepted and put to death, he threw himself
, in a midable array; and although they did not express that transport of despair, out of his carriage, and broke one enthusiastic ardour which they were wont to exhibit of the bones of his arm; and, as the wound thereby when about to engage under the eye of a spirited received left no hope of his being able to complete the Sovereign, their pride, their martial character, and journey, he was deprived of life in the city of Archelais, their excellent discipline, afforded an ample security for and his head sent forward to Heliogabalus. their good conduct in the presence of an enemy. In The character of Macrinus, as a Civilian and States. His chathe first onset, accordingly, these gallant Troops broke man, has usually been estimated rather from the things racler and
moderation, through the ranks of the rebel Army, and had almost which he meditated than from such as he actually perdecided the fortune of the day, when the two Princesses, formed. He is said to have expressed his resolution whose fate hung upon the issue of the contest, sprang to restore to the Laws of the Commonwealth the authofrom the chariots in which they had been concealed, rity of which they had been gradually deprived by the threw themselves before the flying Soldiers, and with introduction of Imperial rescripts; which documents prayers and tears endeavoured to check the disgraceful not only superseded the Law in the particular cases to rout. Heliogabalus, likewise, who on no other occasion which they were applied, but became, in fact, precedents of his life was distinguished for heroism, mounted his of so much weight as to interfere with the adminihorse, and at the head of a body of men who had rallied stration of justice in all parts of the Empire. In this round his person, charged sword in hand among the reserve he followed the excellent example of Trajan, thickest of the enemy. His example and exhortation who uniformly refused to employ his prerogative produced a great effect. Shame revived the courage wherever a Court of Law could determine the matter of the fugitives: they halted, returned to their standards, at issue. and prepared once more to dispute the sovereignty of There was another great abuse in the Criminal Juris- Laws Europe and of Asia.
prudence of Rome which he attempted to remove.
As against Heliogaba- The battle was resumed with a degree of obstinacy there was no Public Prosecutor, whose special office lus acknow, which rendered the result a long time doubtful. Ma- it would have been to receive informations and to colledged crinus, it is said, might
have again obtained the ascen- lect evidence for the punishment of all crimes against
dancy, had he not betrayed his own cause by a shameful