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From A. D.
From A. D.
Biography. revenge the death of Pertinax, disbanded their several to the faithful Germans who were in attendance, M.C.P. Cohorts; a measure of which they apprehended the dragged them both into the street, naked and man
Maximus, repetition under the auspices of Maximus, who was gled, and at length put an end to their sufferings by a D. C.
known to dread their power and condemn their preten- cruel death. The fears of Maximus, from the first Balbinus. 235.
sions. They imagined, moreover, that they could per- moment of his accession, predicted this fatal issue. 238.
ceive in the German troops whom this Emperor had “What reward,” said he to Balbinus, “shall be beassembled to oppose the inroad of Maximinus, the stowed upon us, if we succeed in delivering the Roman intended successors of the Imperial Guards. Deter- world from the tyrant who now domineers over it ?" — 235 mined, therefore, to anticipate the designs of their new “We may,” replied the other, “ depend upon the grati
238. masters, they took advantage of the Capitoline Games, tude and esteem of the Senate, of the People, and
MARCUS ANTONINUS GORDIANUS III.
FROM A. D. 238 to 244.
Froma A. D.
Biography. No sooner had the Prætorians accomplished their nations were determined by caprice or money, without Marcus
design against Maximus and Balbinus than they hur any regard to the merits of the case; the public trea- Antoninus From ried the young Cæsar into the Camp, where he was
Gordianus sures were plundered by designing knaves, who agreed
III. proclaimed Emperor, and forthwith recommended to in nothing but their resolution to deceive their master. 238.
the loyalty and affection of the People. The murder The Prince, in reply, acknowledges the accuracy of the 244.
of the reigning Prince had now become an event of picture which was presented to his recollection ; but, in
, he entreats his monitor to call to
238. Gordianus public mind any feeling of horror, or desire of punish- mind the hard fate of an Emperor, from whom truth is raised to ment. Hence, we find that the multitude, who had studiously concealed, and who, as he cannot see every 244. the Throne. scarcely concluded the festivities with which they thing with his own eyes, is compelled to listen to the
greeted the victorious entrance of Maximus, joined in reports of others, whether honest or deceitful.t
an obscure soldier, whose name was Sabinianus, was
of Sapor. possess a mother like Mamæa, the judicious parent and had assumed a commanding attitude in Western Asia; guardian of Alexander Severus. Under the influence they claimed the territory which belonged to them in of Mætia Faustina, the Government passed into the the days of Cyrus, and even announced their intention hands of eunuchs, and other unprincipled retainers of of reestablishing that powerful Empire which had the Court, who made a traffic of the honours and emo- fallen before the genius of Alexander the Great Artaluments of the Empire, and prostituted on all occa- xerxes, the first of the new race of Kings, had shown, as sions the name of the Sovereign to accomplish their we have seen above, equal ambition and talents as a own nefarious purposes. This condition of affairs soldier; and although he retired across the Euphrates is well described in a Letter from Mysithæus, the preceptor and father-in-law of Gordianus, written to
* Quid tu, Balbine, et ego merebimur, cum hanc tam immanem congratulate him on his escape from the disgrace and belluam exitio dederimus ? Cumque Balbinus dixisset, senatus popuruin which must have resulted from the administration lique Romani ferventissimum amorem et orbis terrarum: dirisse of such sordid wretches. Military commands, says fertur. Maximus, Vereor, ne militum odium sentiamus et mortem.
Herodian. lib. viii.
Herodian. lib. vii. Capitolin. in Gord. Terl.; in Jaxim, et
From A. D.
Biography. When the son of Mamæa advanced to attack him, it the father of their Emperor than as the guardian of Marcus does not appear that his Army was broken, or that his their Commonwealth.*
Gordianus views of conquest were in any degree relinquished. On That Mysithæus deserved all the honour which was
III. the contrary, he seems to have renewed the invasion of conferred upon him, was but too soon proved by the 238. Syria as soon as the Romans withdrew to celebrate their melancholy events subsequent upon his demise. The From
triumph; and hence the reason why Maximinus was disease which put an end to his valuable life is said to 244. preparing to march against him from the banks of have been rendered more malignant than usual, by 238.
the Danube, when he was diverted from his purpose by injudicious treatment on the part of his attendants;
The death of the Persian ruler, which must have ambition of a rival. Philip, who was soon afterwards Death of
and prefer of Aquileia, occasioned a pause in the course of hos- to the office of Prætorian Præfect, is accused of having tilities; and it was not until Gordianus had been tampered with the fidelity of the physician, or with the Philip, three years on the Throne, that Sapor, the son of honour of the person who administered the drugs to Artaxerxes, made such demonstrations of war on the his patients, and of having thereby procured the death eastern frontiers of the Empire, that an expedition of Mysithæus. Whatever truth may be in this charge, into Asia could be no longer delayed. He had al- there is no doubt that the ambitious soldier obtained ready, indeed, entered Mesopotamia, taken Nisibis and the object on which he had set his heart. He was Carrhæ, and even laid siege to the Imperial city of elevated to the dignity of the Præfecture, which he Antioch. His progress was everywhere marked with soon allowed himself to regard as only a convenient that rapidity and determination which distinguished his step to the Throne. An Arab by birth, and in the future campaigns, and which enabled him, during a earlier part of his life a robber by profession, he thought reign of thirty years, to keep the field on equal terms no means unlawful by which he might supplant his with the ablest Generals of the West. Italy itself master and patron. He contrived that an artificial heard the sound of his menaces; for his plans of con- scarcity should irritate the minds of the Soldiers, who quest were not, like those of his father, bounded by were taught to ascribe it to the youth and incapacity of the Ægean Sea and the Hellespont, but stretched to their leader. From that moment the fate of Gordianus the Alps, and even to the shores of the ocean.
was determined. The circumstances which attended who Eredition
In the spring of the year two hundred and forty-two, his death are, indeed, variously related; but it admits murders
and began his march towards his Asiatic dominions. of the new Præfect, who corrupted the Army, and even Persia25. Whilst passing through Mæsia and Thrace, he had to employed against him the hand of a conspirator. Capi
contend with some detached bodies of the Barbarians, tolinus informs us, that at first Philip was appointed
years and eight months.
In his Letter to the Senate, the young Emperor the Haboras and the Euphrates. An inscription, re2 stk. acknowledged that he owed his great victories to the markable for a play upon the word Philippi, continued
admirable arrangements of Mysithæus, and requested for some generations to record his exploits, and in-
Divo Gordinno l'ictori
ersarum, Victori Gothorum,
Victori Sarmatarum, Depulsori Romanarum Seditionum,
Capitolin. in Gord. c. 34.
* Capitolin, in Gord. Tert. c. 27, 28,
* Capitolio, in Gord. Tcrt. c. 29, 30.
MARCUS JULIUS PHILIPPUS AUGUSTUS,
FROM A. D. 244 to 249.
them to sus
Biography. Enjoying no longer the assistance of Herodian, nor Macedonia to his father-in-law, Severianus; while he Marcus the light which was supplied by the earlier Authors of prepared to take the field in person against some war
Julius From the Augustan History, we feel ourselves becoming more like tribes who occupied the mountains which divide
Augustus. and more destitute of those characteristic details which Modern Hungary and Transylvania from Poland.* 244. give the chief interest to Biography. From the middle The Carpi, who appear to have given their name to
From of the IIId century we are compelled to trust for many the Carpathian range, first disturbed the administration 249.
facts to the accuracy of the Ecclesiastical writers, in of Alexander Severus, and afterwards provoked the re 244.
Upon his return to Rome, the Emperor, trusting to He celcFor these reasons it cannot appear wonderful that the favourable impression which his success had made brates the Philip considerable obscurity should still hang over the origin on the public mind, and actuated by the desire of esta
Games. of the Emperor Philip. That he was a foreigner by blishing his family on the Throne, adopted his son as birth, is admitted on all hands ; but whether he drew his colleague in the Consulship, and soon afterwards his lineage from an indigenous Arabian, or was entitled declared him Augustus. But a more interesting cereto boast of a descent from one of the noble families mony ere long invited his attention, and signalized his of Rome, is a point which still remains undetermined. reign. It was now a thousand years since Romulus The same doubts exist in regard to his Religion. It laid the foundations of the Eternal City; and it became has been customary, among writers connected with the alike the piety and the gratitude of the Romans to disChurch, to claim this barbarous soldier, not only as a tinguish this remarkable epoch by the celebration of believer in the Gospel, but as a dutiful son and an exem- their Secular Games. This solemnity had been obplary penitent; an opinion which appears to have no served by Augustus, to whom is due the merit of its other foundation besides the weak conceit of an ancient revival, or, perhaps, its institution; by Claudius, by author, and the boundless credulity of subsequent com- Domitian, and by Severus. It has been well observed, pilers.*
that every circumstance of those Games was skilfully He marches Philip was in the East when the last of the Gordians adapted to inspire the superstitious mind with deep and
Desirous to establish his power at Rome, he solemn reverence. The long interval between them
hastened to make peace with Sapor, the King of Persia; exceeded the ordinary term of human life; and as none
* Zonar. lib. xii. c. 19. p. 624. Edit. Paris.
f Zosim. lib. xi. Aurel. Victor, de Cæsaribus. Eutrop. lib. ix. Eutrop. Aurel. Victor, de Cæsaribus.
Zosiin. lib. xi.
against the expired.
Masia rerolt and
Biography. in religious hymns, that, according to the faith of their foreseeing the danger of presenting a popular leader to an Marcus ancient Oracles, they would still maintain the Virtue, army the angry passions of which had not yet subsided,
Julius From the Felicity, and the Empire of the Roman People. and which had much to fear from a Sovereign whom
Augustus. The magnificence of the shows and entertainments they had attempted to degrade. His anticipations were 244.
given by Philip dazzled the eyes of the multitude. again fulfilled." He no sooner appeared in Mæsia, than From
The devout were employed in the rites of Superstition, the soldiers proclaimed him Emperor, and invested 249.
whilst the reflecting few revolved in their anxious him with the usual ensigns of Imperial authority ; 244.
employ no means for preventing the still greater dan- resolved to place him on the Imperial Throne, and with slain. raise Decius
gers with which he was threatened by the avarice and this view began their march towards Rome. Philip, Irode. sedition of the Provincial Legions. The troops sta- at the head of a more numerous body of forces, met
tioned in Mæsia revolted, and raised to the rank of his rival near Verona, where a battle ensued between
CAIUS MESSIUS QUINTUS TRAJANUS DECIUS AUGUSTUS.
FROM A. D. 249 to 251.
Biography, Decius was received with acclamations by the it; and Decius, accordingly, was hardly seated on the
Caius Senators, who, for the most part, respected his virtues Throne when he received information that Cniva, King Messius and admired his talents. But his reputation has been of the Goths, had a second time crossed the Danube, Quintus
Trajanus tarnished by the just indignation of the Ecclesiastical and was spreading desolation over the fairest fields of 249.
Decius writers, who could not be induced to regard the pru- Masia.t
dence of his Civil Government, or the splendour of his The events which marked the progress of the Gothic Decius
victories, as any atonement for his violent persecution war are perplexed with no small degree of inconsist. From 2. szed by of the Christians. He had not, indeed, employed ency. It should seem that the eldest son of the Empe the Gulbs, many months in the administration of affairs, when he ror was sent, in the first instance, to check the progress 249. burade was called to the banks of the Danube to oppose an of the invaders; and that he found them employed in
251. invasion of the Goths. This people, afterwards so the siege of Nicapolis, a town situated on the latrus.
Romans memorable for their conquest of the Western Empire, Breaking up at his approach, they directed their march
defeated. had at that period just approached the remoter Pro- towards Philippopolis in Thrace, a place of still greater vinces of the North-East. In the reign of Philip, a strength and riches than that which they had relinGothic Chieftain, followed by numerous and warlike quished. The young Decius pursued them through a hordes, passed triumphantly through Dacia, and at difficult country, anticipating an easy victory over their length planted his standard under the walls of Marcias- undisciplined ranks; when, on a sudden, the Gothic opolis, a principal city in Mæsia. The inhabitants, Chief, turning round upon the Romans, attacked them whose wealth had tempted the avarice of this roving with the utmost fury, compelled them to seek safety in enemy, consented to purchase repose by paying a large flight, and at length crowned his success by pillaging sum of money, as well as by supplying the camp of the invaders with the best of their cattle. The success of
* Zonar. lib. xii, c. 19. Aurel. Victor, de Casaribus. Eutrop. lib.ix, the Barbarians in the first inroad induced them to repeat + Eutrop., Zosim., and Zonar,
Biography. their camp. Philippopolis soon after fell into their once more to battle. The treachery of a rival, how- Caius
hands; the capture of which is said to have been stained ever, is reported to have again frustrated his plans. Messius From by the blood of a hundred thousand of the inhabitants.* Gallus, who succeeded him on the Throne, is repre
Trajanus These advantages, it was thought, were not gained by sented to have given such information to the enemy as Decius 249. the Barbarians without assistance from certain Roman enabled them to extricate their bands from the toils Augustus.
traitors. It is manifest, indeed, amid all the obscurity spread for their destruction by the Roman Commander. 251.
which covers this portion of History, that Priscus, a It is more probable, notwithstanding, that the triumph From
irruption, as also the motives upon which he acted. battle amidst heaps of slain.* Decius and Alarmed at the defeat sustained by his son, the Em- The fortune of Decius, after he ascended the Throne, Character his son are peror himself proceeded to take the command of the was not in any degree commensurate with his care and of Decius slain.
troops in Illyricum. The length of time, as well as the abilities. Perceiving that his Countrymen no longer re-
CAIUS VIBIUS TREBONIANUS GALLUS AUGUSTUS.
FROM A. D), 251 TO 253.
Caius Biography. The Pannonian Legions, mortified by their defeat, Gothic invasion. Unwilling to hazard the interests of
Vibius did not at once exercise the right with which custom the Empire by prosecuting the war, Gallus entered into
Trebonianus had now invested the army, of naming a successor to a Treaty with the enemy; granting them permission to
Gallus the Throne. They even condescended to be in some retire with all the booty and prisoners that the fortune Augustus. 251. measure directed by the Senate in choosing a head to of battle had thrown into their hands, and promising, the Empire ; and the latter Body, influenced by a due besides, to make to their King a yearly present in gold,
veneration for the patriotism of Decius, recommended on condition that he should not violate the integrity of Gallus
251. that his surviving son, Hostilianus, should be elevated the Roman dominions. named
to the vacant seat. The urgency of affairs, however, Emperor.
Having thus effected the object dearest to his heart,
233. required more vigour and experience than could be the Emperor repaired to Rome, where he soon gave him
Returns to expected in the character of so young a Prince; for self up to the pleasures which already occupied the
Rome. which reason the military leaders associated with him days and nights of too many of the higher classes of his in the Government one of their own Chiefs, whose con- Italian subjects. Hostilianus had fallen a victim to
duct or whuse promises had secured their approbation. disease, or to treachery, and no longer divided with his Makes a The first measure adopted by the latter Sovereign was colleague the honours and envy of Imperial power. treaty with to relieve the Mæsian territory from the pressure of Gallus raised his son Volusianus to a participation of the Goths.
* Zosim. lib, i. Zonar. lib, xii. c. 20.
* Eutrop. lib. ix. Aurel. Victor, de Cæsaribus.