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From A. De
Biography. requested permission to contend for the prize of wrest- of his mother. By means of his emissaries he spread Caius ling. Severus, unwilling to hazard the reputation of a report, which he knew would incense the veteran
Verus the Soldiers in an unequal combat, sought an antagonist troops, in whom he reposed the greatest confidence, that
Maximinus for Maximinus among the followers of the Camp; and Mamæa had prevailed upon her son to relinquish the 235.
upon seeing him throw down sixteen of the stoutest German war altogether, and to march back the Legions From
without any effort or symptom of fatigue, he rewarded into Syria, her native country, where she might enjoy 238.
his success with some trifling ornaments of silver, and the ease and splendour to which she had been long 235. a request to enlist in the legions. Two days after- accustomed, and which suited better with the female wards, when the Emperor appeared among the troops, disposition than a dangerous encampment on the banks the young recruit placed himself in his way; when the of the Rhine. * former, either to rid himself of the freedoms which he The event has been already mentioned : Alexander Dissimulaapprehended on the part of the victorious wrestler, or and his mother were assassinated by the disaffected tion on the
death of to put his astonishing swiftness to the test, gallopped Soldiers, and Maximinus was immediately saluted Em
Alexander. off at full speed. Maximinus kept close at the horse's peror. Some time passed, it is said, before the Army side, without any diminution of vigour or alacrity. in general was aware that the death of their late “Thracian,” said Severus, “would it not give you Sovereign was attributable to the machinations of his pleasure to have a boat of wrestling after your race ?" successor, To conceal the share which he had in that " It would indeed,” replied the indefatigable youth, atrocious crime, he affected to bewail the loss of a and he forthwith cast to the ground seven of the master so virtuous and gentle, and even to honour strongest soldiers that were in the whole Army. This his memory with all the tokens of regard which friendfeat was immediately acknowledged by the gift of a ship and the sense of obligation are wont to confer splendid gorget, and a place in the Imperial Guards. * upon departed worth. A magnificent sepulchre was
The stature of Maximinus is said to have exceeded erected in Gaul, and the Royal ashes were conveyed to eight feet. His strength, as we have seen, was in pro- Rome with every mark of reverence and affection. portion to the magnitude of his body; and if we may But while the fierce Maximinus was thus amusing believe the statement of Capitolinus, his appetite and the grief of the better part of the Army, he neglected powers of digestion were not less extraordinary. Forty no means for establishing the power to which his pounds of flesh and seven gallons of wine supplied the intrigues had raised him. He had a son, a young man materials of his daily meals. Nor was his courage of high promise in all the qualities which recommend inferior to his prodigious physical energies. In his a Prince to the favour of a warlike people; handsome, early youth, while occupied with the cares of a herds- accomplished, and brave. Him he forthwith invested man, he was chosen by his companions to take the with the rank and title of Cæsar, and placed at the command of their troup when employed against the head of the noble youths who bad formed themselves robbers by whom their country was infested. The into a body to study the Arts, and acquire the habits of same qualities of coolness and resolution secured his inilitary life. He also wrote a submissive Letter to the promotion in the more regular service of the Roman Senate, entreating that they would confirm the election armies; and accordingly we find, that in the reign of of the Army; a boon which it was no longer in their Caracalla he had risen to the respectable rank of Cen- power to refuse. He gave or promised a large donative turion. Disgusted with the murder of this Prince, he to the Soldiers, praised their loyalty, and held out to them refused to serve under Macrinus; but retiring into his the prospects of numerous triumphs in the war upon native Province made a purchase of land, and devoted which they had just entered. Under various pretences, He gains himself for a time to the arts of peace. The accession too, he dismissed from all employments near his person
the Army. of Heliogabalus opened a path for his return to mili- those individuals upon whose attachment he had not tary life; and during the succeeding Government of the fullest reliance. ' He sent into distant parts of the Alexander, he continued to rise in his favourite profes- Empire every one who had attracted the regard or sion until at length he attained to the command of a merited the friendship of Alexander; or if there were legion, the personal friendship of the Emperor, and the any whom he suspected of cherishing in their minds respect of the whole Army.t
a feeling of detestation for the treacherous cruelty by But his ambition did not fail to keep pace with his which that amiable Prince had been cut off, he hesiTarcze, preferment, and even to outstrip all legitimate means tated not to remove his fears and to gratify his re
for augmenting his fortunes. He cast his eye on venge, by putting them to instant death. It is said, the Imperial Throne; thinking it not too much that moreover, that he manifested the utmost impatience of he who could wield the affections of the Soldiers the society of such Officers as had witnessed his proand train them to victory, should likewise have the gress through the different ranks of the service, and power of remunerating their toils. Though a stranger were acquainted with the meanness of his origin. to real wisdom, he was not devoid of that selfish cun- Though he depended on the affection of the Soldiers, ning which can point out to the least instructed mind who really loved him for virtues like their own, he was the proper occasion for pursuing its own interests. He conscious that his low birth, his rude manners, and his saw that amidst the casualties of actual war, Alexander total ignorance of the Arts and refinement of civilized was gradually losing the hold which he had once pos. life, formed very unfavourable contrast with the high sessed upon the reverence of the Army. He improved lineage and accomplished character of his predecessor. this change of sentiment among the men, and endea- For this reason, he took away the lives of several disvoured to inspire them with contempt for a Prince tinguished men, who were chargeable with no other whom he represented as a child still under the direction crime besides that of having known the Emperor when
• Capitolin. in Marim. c. 2, 3.
* Capitolin. in Maxim. c. 7.
Caius Biography. a poor and savage Thracian, or of having relieved his and carried his head to Maximinus. The jealous Em
Julius wants and aided his promotion.* peror was pleased at obtaining so easy a deliverance
Verus From A conspiracy, for the detection of which he gave from the danger with which he had been threatened ;
Maximinus. honour to his own vigilance and penetration, supplied but reflecting that the individual to whose treachery he 235. him with an opportunity of glutting his revenge against was indebted for it, had been active in fomenting the
From some of the noblest and most meritorious of his rebellion of the Asiatic auxiliaries, and judging besides 238.
subjects. Magnus, a man of Consular rank, was ac- that he could not put any confidence in a man who 235. Ilis cruelties,
cused of having corrupted the fidelity of several sol- had betrayed the most sacred feelings of private life,
Germans, in regard to it, no evidence was collected or recorded; Mamæa had collected on the Rhine, he crossed that
and gains the voice of the Emperor alone declared that Magnus, river, and advanced to attack the Barbarians in their repeated with four thousand accomplices, had plotted against forests and marshes. If the extent of his success were victories. his life and Government, and that the punishment of to be measured by his own estimate of his exploits, as death must be inflicted on every individual conspi- transmitted to the Senate, it could not be denied that rator. Some of the unfortunate sufferers were crucified, he had, by his valour and skill, entirely eclipsed the others were sewed up in the hides of slaughtered ani- fame of Julius Cæsar. “It is not in the power of mals, several were exposed to wild beasts, and many language,” said he, “to do justice to our achievements. were beaten to death with clubs.t
We have laid waste forty miles of the country, swept Nor was his cruelty confined to the hour of domestic away the flocks, taken multitudes of prisoners, and treason and danger. Even after a successful campaign slain every man who carried arms. In a very short in Germany, in which his vanity was flattered by vume- period, I have finished more wars than any hero of rous victories over the Barbarians, he filled his camp antiquity ever waged. The booty sent to Rome exwith legal murders, and the whole Empire with suspi- ceeds all expectation; and the soil of Italy could not cion and alarm. He sent forth a host of spies, whom supply room for the captives who have fallen into our he incited to torment the People with false accusations. hands.”+ To assist the comprehension of the Senators, Occurrences which had slept in oblivion for more than he ordered a picture to be executed, in which he hima hundred years, were revived by the ministers of his self was represented fighting up to the breast in a bog, rapacity, in order to plunder the rich, or to punish the and hewing down with his own hand some of the suspected. To be charged with an offence and to be natives, whom he had pursued into that retreat. This found guilty were the same thing ; for every one who piece of Art was forwarded to Rome, and hung up in was tried was sure to be condemned. Age and digni- the Senate-house ; but it did not long insult the eyes ties were so far from being a protection, that on the of the descendants of Piso, of Lollius, and of Corneslightest surmise of disloyalty, the greatest and most lius, for it was taken down and destroyed with the venerable persons in the State, even those who had other monuments erected in honour of Maximinus, at commanded armies, governed Provinces, and had en- the moment when they first resolved to oppose him in joyed the Consular and Triumphal ornaments, were the field. seized, thrown into close carriages, and hurried away, The triumphs of which he boasted, however, afforded Extends his day and night, to the head-quarters of the tyrant, where, to the People of Rome no compensation for the nume- oppressions after enduring every species of contumely and outrage, rous indignities and sufferings to which the most dis- to the
Provinces, they were usually put to death.
tinguished of their Body were constantly subjected. As and occaHis severia The brutal ferocity of Maximinus realized on more long, indeed, as the cruelty of Maximinus was confined sions ties produce than one occasion the very evils which he dreaded. A to the illustrious Senators, or even to such adventurers tumults. a reaction, body of Osrhoënians, whom the late Emperor had en- as, in the Court or Army, exposed themselves to the and dispose listed in the East, and carried with him into Gaul, upon caprice of fortune, the mass of the Citizens viewed his the Troops
learning that the life of their master had been sacrificed tyrannical measures with a less intense degree of sorrow
Per quadraginta millia Germanorum vicos incendimus, &c.
Brevi tempore, tot bella gessi quot nemo veterum. Tantum prædec
tivorum adduri ut' vina sola Romana suficiant, Capitolin, in Maxim. * Capitolin, in Marim. c. 9.
+ Ibid. c. 10, c. 12, 13,
Eiography, money. Such impious proceedings could not be effected reluctance to engage in the weighty cares of Govern- Marcus without tumults and massacres ; as in many places ment, the hazards with which they were about to sur
Antoninus the inhabitants chose rather to die in defence of their round him, and above all, his earnest desire to close his
Senior and altars, than to behold their Religion exposed to the brief career without_staining his hands with the blood
violation of war, by the hands of their own soldiers, of his countrymen. But his expostulations were uttered
in vain. Menaces were used to overcome his hesita- From 238.
A scene of this nature, which occurred in Africa, tion; and he was assured, that if he did not immeHis Procu
led to events which shook the Throne of Maximinus. diately accept the Purple, his life would be made to 235. Africa slain, His Procurator, who followed in a certain district of atone for his indifference to the safety of the Empire. and an
that country the destructive maxims upon which the Another motive was suggested to remove his scruples surrection
general Government was conducted, condemned several and to strengthen his resolution. He was reminded, occasioned.
noble youths to the payment of a fine which must have that to have been thought worthy of the Crown, would exhausted the greater part of their estates. They be regarded by Maximinus as a crime not less heinous petitioned for a delay of three days, to enable them to than that of actual rebellion. The danger, therefore, raise the sum which the iniquitous sentence of the judge if he persisted in his refusal, was certain and inevitable. had imposed upon them. But instead of collecting These considerations fixed the decision of Gordianus. money, they assembled from their respective lands a He was instantly proclaimed Emperor, with power to His son large Body of trusty slaves, whom they armed with associate his son in the Government. The multitude associated clubs and axes, and other rustic weapons, which they
with him. gave a free expression to their zeal and delight, by iastructed them to conceal under their garments until pulling down the statues of Maximinus, effacing his the moment of action should arrive. The chiefs of the name from the public monuments, and by transferring conspiracy made their way into the presence of the all his honours to the new Sovereigns, into whose Procurator, as if to discharge the claims of their hands they had thrust his Sceptre.* penalty, whom they immediately stabbed with their The two Gordiani removed from Tysdrus to Car- Election daggers, and then threw themselves upon the protection thage, whence they wrote to Rome, informing the confirmed of their tumultuary train. The multitude soon oppressed Senate of the proceedings which had placed them on by the
Senate. the irresolute attempts of the Soldiers, avowed their the Throne, stating the principles on which affairs were determination to throw off the intolerable yoke of the thenceforth to be administered, and soliciting the conThracian tyrant, and already mingled with their shouts firmation of the National Council to the unanimous act of victory and defiance the name of their venerable of the whole African Province. The popular voice in Proconsul, Marcus Antonius Gordianus.*
the Capital was not less decided in favour of the new Gandanus This distinguished Senator belonged to one of the accession, than was that of the Colonists on the opposite
most illustrious families in Rome. By the father's shores of the Mediterranean. Every demonstration of Et qerarside he was descended from the Gracchi, by the mo- hatred and contempt against Maximinus was indulged
ther's from the Emperor Trajan; and his wife, Fabia in without the smallest disguise or restraint. His perOrestilla, could boast the blood of the Antonini. His son and authority were denounced in the streets; and great wealth was decorated by a love of Literature and every emblem that could perpetuate the recollection of of the Arts, by a virtuous character, and by a bene- his savage manners or boastful pretensions, was thrown. volent and peaceful disposition. He had been twice down and destroyed. The Senate acted with more: Consul, and had even seen one of his sons invested with deliberation, though not with less vigour. Having that high office. The magnificence with which he lived met in the Temple of Castor, they declared the Gorat Rome excited the envy even of Caracalla. The diani Emperors, with one voice, and the most hearty Palace which formerly belonged to the great Pompey acclamations; and, at the same time, pronounced had already been several generations in the family of Maximinus and all his adherents to be enemies to their Gordianus, now ornamented with the trophies of naval Country. The Prætorian Cohorts followed the example victories, and beautified with the finest specimens of of the Senate and People. The Provinces, too, deArchitecture, Sculpture, and Painting. But the quali- clared their acquiescence in the new state of things; ties of his mind endeared him to the African provincials and the African Proconsul might have congratulated still more than his high lineage and his great riches. himself upon the ease and safety of his elevation to They compared him to Scipio, to Cato, to Rutilius, the Supreme power, had not the malice of a personal to Scævola, and to Lælius, and they even maintained enemy defeated his plans, and disappointed the hopes that every thing which was esteemed most excellent in of the Roman People. the characters of these renowned Warriors and States- Cupelianus, the Governor of Numidia, was a creature The men, was revived in his single person.t
of Maximinus, and as such had never studied to render Gordiani It is not surprising that Gordianus should have himself agreeable to his superior Officer in the Pro
slain. declined the dangerous honour to which the partiality vince. When this last was raised to the Empire, he of the Colonists had raised him. When the leaders of sent orders to the former to resign his command. the insurrection entered his house, they found him Cupelianus not only refused to comply, but made preenjoying the repose which the heat of an African cli- parations to march at the head of his troops against mate renders necessary about the middle of the day, the usurpers, as he deemed them, of his master's and altogether unacquainted with the events which had Throne. The younger Gordianus proceeded from Carjust taken place at the tribunal of the Procurator. thage with such a force as he could raise, to oppose Upon hearing their proposal to set him on the Throne, the Numidian Commander ; but the soldiers whom the he entreated that they would consider his great age, his latter brought into the field being greatly superior, as
* Herodian. lib. vii. Capitolin. in Marim. c. 14. + Capitoliq. in Gordian. c. 1, 2; in Maxim. c. 15.
* Herodian, lib. vii. Gordian. c. 3.
Capitolia, in Mazım. c. 16, 17; in
Biography. well in numbers as in discipline, to the tumultuary bands Germans gave him a title to the highest honours which M C. P.
which followed the other, gained an easy victory over Rome conferred upon the military eminence of her Maximus From
apd them, and drove the fugitives back to the city in con- sons; and we find that, besides having been suc
fusion, with the loss of their Imperial leader, who had cessively Proconsul of Bithynia, Greece, and Gaul, Balbinus 235.
fallen in the action. The father of this unfortunate there is reason to believe that he was colleague in the
Prince, upon finding that the troops of his victorious Consulship to Numius Albinus, who held that high From 238.
enemy had forced their way through the gates, and had office in the reign of Alexander Severus. The pursuits
air, which was thought more suitable to the Camp than 238 Terror at No sooner was this event made known at Rome, to the Palace; and hence, perhaps, arose the reason why Rome. than grief and consternation seized all classes of the the Senators who placed him on the Throne wished to
People. The Senators, aware that by their concur- blend in the government of the Empire the useful
therefore propose, that we instantly invest with the chance supplied, drove the former back into the TemElection of Imperial dignity Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus, ple, and insisted that their proposal should be consiMaximus and Decimus Cælius Balbinus.” The acclainations of dered with attention. A boy, thirteen years of age, the and Balbi,
the assembly approved the wisdom of the nomination grandson of the elder Gordian, was at length produced nus.
which was thus made by Sabinus: the merit of the to the eyes of the multitude, and invested with the
tion in which he was born. From his infancy he was Danube, the impetuous Maximinus would have thrown
• Capitolin. in Marim, et Balb. c. 2~5.
+ Herodian. lib. viii. Capitolin, in Gord. Tert. c. l; in Maxim.
From A. D.
Braztaphy. is said, indeed, to have received the intelligence with longer disposed to tolerate the brutality of a leader M. C. P. the most frantic rage ; but before he could take any who had proved himself destitute of
every sentiment From step to retrieve his affairs in the South, his mind was but those of selfishness and revenge. The Prætorians D. C.
relieved by the information that his competitors had in particular, whose families were at Rome, began to Balbinus. 235. already fallen, and that the insurgents at Carthage had entertain fears for the safety of their wives and chil
in consequence returned to their duty. When he heard, dren, who might he visited with the resentment of the 288.
however, that the Senate, regardless of his displeasure, Senate, or fall victims to the fury of the multitude, who
235. Emperors on the Throne, he vowed to inflict upon Maximinus. Besides, they called in question the duty
238. them the most signal chastisement; and yet, if we can of fighting for a monster who was detested by Gods put any confidence in the imperfect chronology of the and men, and of laying waste their native country, Augustan History, not fewer than nine or ten months merely to enable a Thracian adventurer to shed, in elapsed before he appeared with his Legions on the gratification of his personal revenge, the best blood of frontiers of Italy.*
Rome. They accordingly resolved to put an end to Vaximus Maximus, after giving to the People of Rome the the war by taking away his life. In pursuance of this prepares for usual shows and gratuities, proceeded towards the object, they went in a Body to the Imperial tent, de
Julian Alps, to make preparations for checking the stroying in their progress through the camp the various advance of the fierce invader. He placed his head- images and inscriptions which denoted the supreme quarters at Aquileia, the walls of which were fortified power of Maximinus ; till at length, having upbraided and slain. with suitable care, its magazines well supplied with pro- him with his cruelty, and repelled every effort he made by his own visions, and its garrison strengthened by the addition to speak in his own defence, they killed him and his of a large body of troops. He gave orders, at the son, whom he had associated in the Empire, and same time, to remove all the corn and cattle from the carried back their heads in triumph through the ranks surrounding country, to break down the bridges, and to of their applauding countrymen. destroy every thing which might afford shelter or pro- The joy which this event created at Rome exceeds Joy at tection to an enetny's army. the power of description. The Senators crowded to Rome on
the news of Maximinus After some delay, occasioned by the swelling of the the Temples to thank the Gods for their deliverance
his death. besieges rivers, the deposed Emperor made his way to the city from the most frightful tyranny with which their Order squiteiajust named; where he began his hostile operations by was ever threatened: the common People filled the
rooting up the vineyards in the neighbourhood, demo- streets with acclamations, tore down every monument lishing the suburbs, and employing the timber of the that appertained to the late Emperor, extolled the buildings for constructing the engines and towers by valour and wisdom of his successors, and congratumeans of which he hoped to make himself master of lated their Country upon the return of happy times. that important place. But he was opposed in all his There was only one class of subjects whose satisfaction attempts, not less by the skill and bravery of the Soldiers was not complete. The Soldiers were offended that than by the resolution of the Citizens, whose knowledge the Throne should have been filled without their of his character impressed upon their minds, from the voice or concurrence; and amid the shouts which moment they shut their gates against him, the alterna- met their ears as they approached the gates of Rome, tive of death or of victory. The sentiments of Religion, they could distinguish the applauses bestowed upon the too, mixed with those of native courage in defence of Senate for their considerate choice of persons to guide their town. Crispinus, an experienced Commander, the helin of affairs. In such praise they listened to appointed by the Senate to superintend the prepara- their own condemnation, for having raised to the tions within the walls, inspired them with the most Throne the rude warrior whom they had recently put to confident assurances of success; representing to them death, and they detected, at the same time, the grounds that the Gods had declared their will that Aquileia of a resolution on the part of the Civil authorities to should not fall, and even that the tutelar Divinity of the deprive the Army of the dangerous privilege which it place had already appeared amongst them in person, to had so long usurped and exercised. Maximus, too, secure the safety of his favoured dwelling. But they when he addressed the Legions under the walls of were not permitted to rely entirely upon the coopera- Aquileia, reminded them that by the original Constitution of Apollo Balænus. Instructed by the regular tion of the Roman Government the supreme power troops, they made frequent sallies upon the besiegers, resided in the Senate and the People, and that the of whom they slew a great number. They also Commander of the Armies, whether he were called showered down upon them from the wall large quan- Emperor or Consul, was nothing more than the deputy tities of melted pitch, which destroyed their machines, of those two constituent bodies. Hence, he impressed and drove them from their trenches ; until, at length, upon them, as the first duty of armed Citizens, a their confidence increased so much, that they insulted constant observance of discipline, and a respectful with loud taunts the ineffectual labours of the tyrant, attention to the orders of their superiors ; and upon and defied at once his power and his anger.t
this basis, he assured them, they would meet with an The Barbarian, accustomed to conquer, was filled entire forgiveness of every thing tha was past, and with rage at the successive repulses which his troops merit the esteem of all classes of their countrymen, had sustained, and which, in a burst of passion, he whether in Italy or in the Proviuces.t
Dissatisfacascribed to their want of courage, or of ardour in his The Prætorians participated deeply in the feelings of tion of the cause. The men, on their part, having already suffered resentment and suspicion which pervaded the Legions. Army, and a great deal from want, fatigue, and disease, were no They called to mind the conduct of Severus, who, to
assassination of Maximus and Balbinus.
* Capitolin. in Maxim. c. 17, 18. † Ibid. c. 20, 21.
* Capitolin. in Marim. c, 22. Herodian. lib. viii.
† August. Hist. vol. ii. p. 21. edit. Bipont. 1782.